Friday, November 30, 2007


Save Us from Fools

I've been trying to stay away.

Other than the minor fact that abortion is still a legal medical procedure in this state when performed by a licensed physician and with the concurrence of the woman , is there anything about this post by Jessica McBride that even resembles logical thought ... oh hell, how about adult thought?

An Appleton man is correctly charged with "first-degree murder of an unborn child."

So why aren't women who abort their unborn children charged with the same offense?

The only difference is who's taking the life. But the life is the same no matter who's taking it. If it wasn't a life, he wouldn't have been charged. So, logically, if it's a life, as the system has thus conceded, why do some people have the right to take it? Can you think of any other crime where the victim is the same, and there is the intentional taking of life, but there's different legal consequence for different perpetrators? The only analogy I can think of is for mentally ill defendants or juveniles - same victim, different punishment.
Another example of the “brilliance” and “genius” of the right side of the cheddarsphere, I guess.

Laugh of the Day – Sexual Enticement “Tangential” Issue

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette and h/t to Uppity Wisconsin

MADISON — The Republican Party of Brown County will be reorganized after recent vacancies in key offices created a constitutional technicality, the chairman of the state party said today.

Reince Priebus, state chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said the Brown County group has been decertified by the state, but not because of the recent legal troubles of its former chairman, Donald Fleischman of Allouez. Fleischman resigned in September after charges of child enticement were brought against him in Brown County Circuit Court; they have since been dropped.

Priebus called the reorganization “tangential” to Fleischman’s predicament.Fleischman’s resignation created two vacancies in the party’s officer corps. Holly Arnold, the first vice-chair, did not want the top spot, and the second vice-chair position already was vacant, Priebus said.That meant the party didn’t have enough officers to call a caucus to elect new officers, Priebus said. At Arnold’s request, the state GOP decertified the county party on Nov. 13.
As goofticket surmised, is it really any surprise that no one wanted “... to volunteer for a party that harbored a sex offender for 8 months? Answer questions about that, and why they did nothing about it? ...and then ask for money?”

As Freddy the Clown might say, "Oh, the hypocrisy."

Free Speech Still Lives

Amidst the fun of showing that Walid Shoebat is likely a charlatan cooked up by someone on the right to provide some sort of legitimacy to their war against humanity, I forgot to express my disdain for the actions by the UW-Milwaukee administration for attaching an extra fee of $2,500 for security purposes. There have been other speakers who provoked heated reactions. This action seemed punitive and preemptive.

I may not like the Conservative Union's politics, but free speech is guaranteed to all. If the Muslim students have a right to speak (no thanks to hypocrite Charlie Sykes) and Shoebat has a right to speak, then the conservative students have a right to unencumbered speech as well.

Now if only those on the right would understand that criticism of their speech does not equal attempts to censor.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Next Time ...

The next time you hear some clown named Fred say, "Yeah, but Congress' poll numbers are even lower," check this "brilliant" Tom Tomorrow cartoon out.

Milwaukee Police Officers Sentenced

Good. There's been enough said.

Illegal Aliens Invade Canada

Another Internet phenomenon sent to me by my Mother.

From the Manitoba Herald (a very underground paper):*

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration.

The actions of President Bush are prompting the exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and agree with Bill O'Reilly. Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

"I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. "The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left. I didn't even get a chance to show him my screenplay."

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers and blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn't give milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves.

"A lot of these people are not prepared for the ugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about the Bush administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races. In recent days, liberals have turned to sometimes-ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs.

After catching a half-dozen young Vegans disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers on Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney hits to prove they were alive in the '50s. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we get suspicious about their age," an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies. "I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors does one country need?"

*The Manitoba Herald was published daily from January 11, 1877 until August 2, 1877. Its intention was to defend the interests of Manitoba and to keep an eye on the behaviour of the province’s representatives.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shoebat A Charlatan

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel we learn that Walid Shoebat, ostensibly a former terrorist (PLO member) and now a Christian fundamentalist anti-Islamic speaker, was asked to give a speech at UW-Milwaukee on December 4 by the Conservative Union, a student group that promotes conservative issues.

We also learned that Muslim Student Association President Mohamed Elsayed and Palestinian Student Organization President Lina Abdulkarim wrote a Nov. 20 e-mail to UWM administrators demanding that they cancel the Shoebat program. They apparently described his appearance as a "direct attack" on Muslim students. Of course Charlie Sykes and the right wing blogosphere jumped all over this and the fact that UWM has asked for additional funds to pay for added security, thereby imposing additional financial burden on the Conservative Union (ask Sensenbrenner for the money). As usual, one's outrage is another's reasonable request. And so it goes.

Whatever. In any case, I think this is a good lesson for our visiting Muslim friends. They made a request to have Shoebat's visit cancelled, it was rejected. They had a right to make the request as much as the Conservative Union had to invite Shoebat. Done deal. First Amendment wins. The Muslim students have said they will not venture out to cause trouble, instead they plan to hold a forum to discuss Shoebat's accusations. I'd bet much of the local "talent" on the right side of the blogosphere wouldn't be so understanding.

I'm always on the side of the marketplace of ideas. Shoebat should be allowed to speak. But I couldn't help but be a little curious. I knew very little about this man, so I spent a significant amount of time (more than I would normally considering I actually have a life) doing some Internet research. What I found was summed up nicely by this person, Moshe Katz (a commenter at Daniel Pipe's blog).

Has anyone heard of this supposed "Palestinian" darling of the Zionist movement, Walid Shoebat? I've read his articles and something doesn't sound right with this guy. He claims to be Palestinian but nobody in the territories has ever heard of him. He says he was a former PLO fighter but strangely enough he doesn't have any documentation or proof to back up his claims.

Lately, he's been selling his services to many different Jewish organizations. My cousin saw him at a college lecture and was shocked at his insistence that Palestinians are actually Nazis in disguise. I'm the first to condemn Palestinian terror but we should never discount the fact that it was European Christians who slaughtered six million Jews. Nobody should ever be compared to the Nazis - they have a special place in the wrath of Hashem.

Have you ever heard the phrase "never trust a man who sells out his own people". That sums up Shoebat. He is too right wing in his rhetoric. He claims to be a former Moslem who now embraces Christianity and loves Israel. Well, how can you love Israel if the only road to salvation is through Jesus Christ? How can you proclaim your admiration for the Jewish people if you feel they are lost in not accepting Christ as the Messiah?

From what I've read on many posts, Shoebat is a former Lebanese militiaman who was brought over to Israel after the Southern Lebanon fiasco. He then set out to proclaim himself a Palestinian. In the end he is a former member of the Christian Phangist (Fascist) party who's making a living telling Jews what they want to hear. I'm one who will plant a tree in Israel before I give this man a dime.

G*D help us all if Jewish organizations keep buying snakeoil from charlatans.
SourceWatch had this to say about Shoebat:

To be generous, Shoebat is an oddball. But for propaganda purposes people like Shoebat are useful fools, and they are taken on tour in the United States, Canada, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe to score cheap propaganda points to denigrate Palestinians in general, smearing all of them with broad smears, and to equate Islam with a "malevolent Jihadist ideology". Shoebat's statements are offensive and smear most Palestinians and Islamic groups with broad denigrating brushstrokes. Often his comments are contradictory, but this is no bar for putting him on an international tour. For example, since Shoebat is billed as a "PLO terrorist" then this would give him some credibility to smear the PLO, but he is also used to smear some Islamic groups, and Islam in general; he also denigrates/smears the ISM (a non-violent solidarity movement run by Christians, Jews, and Muslims) by accusing it of supporting a malevolent and violent jihadist ideology.

Back to Moshe Katz and Daniel Pipes. I shouldn't have been surprised that Daniel Pipes, noted Arab hater, would show up as a Shoebat supporter. He actually responded to Mr. Katz, though the response left a bit to be desired factwise.

(1) Mr. Shoebat showed me a number of documents in several languages - official papers, newspaper clippings, and the like. I read them when he visited me but did not keep copies.

(2) He admits that he can document his life but not his having been a near-terrorist. He asks that that be taken on faith, given that the rest of his life is as he says it is. I see no reason to doubt him.

Hey, okay. That clinches it, I believe him now ... not. Let's take a look at Mr. Pipes. From Christopher Hitchinson we get this:

On more than one occasion, Pipes has called for the extension of Israel's already ruthless policy of collective punishment, arguing that leveling Palestinian villages is justifiable if attacks are launched from among their inhabitants. It seems to me from observing his style that he came to this conclusion with rather more relish than regret.

Hitchinson concludes with:

The objection to Pipes is not, in any case, strictly a political one. It is an objection to a person who confuses scholarship with propaganda and who pursues petty vendettas with scant regard for objectivity. Okay, I'll admit no where does it say he wants to eliminate Palestinians, but there is some groundwork laid for feeling unkind things for Palestinians.

Here's more about Pipes:

He is best known for his strident and often racist denunciations of Arabs and Islam. In an effort to divide Americans -- one that if you inserted "blacks" for "Muslims" and "whites" for "Jews," would be vigorously damned as KKK-speech -- he told the American Jewish Congress a year ago that he worries "the presence and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews."

I contacted Pipes, and he not only confirmed his quote but, incredibly, added: "It is accurate in itself but you must note that this was spoken to a Jewish audience. I make the same point respectively to audiences of women, gays, civil libertarians, Hindus, Evangelical Christians, atheists, and scholars of Islam, among others, all of whom face 'true dangers' as the number of Muslims increases..." --John Sugg, Creative Loafing, 10/2/02

Based in Philadelphia and headed by anti-Arab propagandist Daniel Pipes, Campus Watch unleashed an Internet firestorm in late September, when it posted "dossiers" on eight scholars who have had the audacity to criticize US foreign policy and the Israeli occupation. As a gesture of solidarity, more than 100 academics subsequently contacted the Middle East Forum asking to be added to the list…

Pipes is notorious in the academy for calling Muslims "barbarians" and "potential killers" in a 2001 National Review article and accusing them of scheming to "replace the [US] Constitution with the Koran," in a similar piece in Insight on the News. Along these lines, a 1990 National Review article insisted that "Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene....

All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most." In addition to running the Middle East Forum, serving on a Defense Department antiterrorism task force and writing columns for the Jerusalem and New York Post, Pipes is also a regular contributor to the website of Gamla, an organization founded by former Israeli military officers and settlers that endorses the ethnic cleansing of every Palestinian as "the only possible solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict… --Kristine McNeil, The Nation, 11/11/02

Israel needs to take more active steps ... Bury suicide bombers in potter's fields rather than deliver their bodies to relatives (who turn their funerals into frenzied demonstrations)…Permit no transportation of people or goods beyond basic necessities. Shut off utilities to the PA...Raze the PA's illegal offices in Jerusalem, its security infrastructure and villages from which attacks are launched. --The National Post, 7/18/01

As Danish politicians, we are offended by the way integration problems in Denmark were portrayed by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard and we wish to set the record straight (Muslim Extremism: Denmark's had Enough, Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard, Aug. 27). The authors claim that 40% of Danish welfare expenses are consumed by Muslim immigrants … Muslim immigrants do not receive 40% of those allocations even though they represent a substantial part of the clients. The main reason being: It is hard to compete on a job market not interested in employing immigrants. The further assumption that more than half of all rapists in Denmark are Muslims is without any basis in fact, as criminal registers do not record religion. NOTE: In the article referenced above, Daniel Pipes smears the Muslim community in Denmark with several accusations eerily similar to those leveled against the Jewish community in Europe by anti-Semitic propagandists prior to World War II. These include: 1) being parasites on the society, 2) being disproportionately engaged in criminal behavior, 3) having "unacceptable" customs, 4) seeking to take over the country, and 5) sexual aggression against women in the dominant culture. --Elisabeth Arnold and Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, National Post, 9/6/02

Well, I think you get the idea. Anyone supported by Pipes has got to be a little questionable.

The Greatest Game

Inspiration for this post provided by that paragon of Wigginess, Mr. James Wigderson at Wigderson Library & Pub, a happily demented Dallas Cowboys fan. For another game and another take on the rivalry, here's a link to the Brew City Brawler, who takes you down memory lane for a recap of a recent shellacking of the Cowgirlsboys by the Pack.

From Wikipedia:

The 1967 National Football League Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys was the 35th championship game in NFL history. Popularly known as the Ice Bowl, it is widely considered one of the greatest games in NFL history, due in part to the hostile conditions in which it was played, the importance of the game, the rivalry between the two teams and the dramatic conclusion.

This was the second consecutive NFL championship game played between the two teams. In the previous season, the Packers defeated the Cowboys 34-27 by preventing Dallas from scoring a touchdown on four consecutive plays starting from the Packers 2-yard line on the game's final drive.

The 1967 game, played on December 31, 1967 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, remains the coldest NFL game on record. The official game-time temperature was -13°F / -25°C, with a wind chill around -48°F / -44°C. The bitter cold overwhelmed Lambeau's new turf heating system, leaving the playing surface hard as a rock and nearly as smooth as ice. The officials were unable to use their whistles after the opening kickoff; the referee blew his metal whistle to signal the start of play and it froze to his lips. For the rest of the game, the officials used their voices to end plays.

Several players, including Dallas defensive tackle Jethro Pugh and Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr, still claim to suffer occasional mild effects of the frostbite they developed that day. The Dallas quarterback, Don Meredith, came down with pneumonia after the game and was hospitalized on his return to Texas. In addition to the effects of the weather, Starr absorbed a lot of punishment from Dallas players during the game; he was sacked eight times.

Furthermore, the Wisconsin State University - La Crosse Marching Chiefs band were supposed to perform the pregame and halftime shows. During warmups in the brutal cold, the woodwind instruments froze and wouldn't play, the mouthpieces of brass instruments got stuck to the players' lips, and seven members of the band were transported to local hospitals for hypothermia. The band's performances were canceled.

The Packers jumped to an early 14-0 lead with a pair of touchdown passes from Starr to wide receiver Boyd Dowler. But Green Bay committed two costly turnovers in the second quarter that led to 10 Dallas points. First Starr lost a fumble while being sacked by Cowboys lineman Willie Townes; Dallas defensive end George Andrie recovered the ball and returned it 7 yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead in half. Then, with time almost out in the second quarter, Packers safety Willie Wood fumbled a Dallas punt after calling for a fair catch, and Cowboys rookie defensive back Phil Clark recovered the ball at the Green Bay 17-yard line. The Packers were able to keep Dallas out of the end zone, but kicker Danny Villanueva kicked a 21-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 14-10 by halftime.

Neither team was able to score any points in the third quarter, but then on the first play of the final period, the Cowboys took a 17-14 lead with running back Dan Reeves' 50-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Lance Rentzel on a halfback option play. Later in the quarter, the Packers drove into scoring range and had a chance to tie the game, but kicker Don Chandler missed a 40-yard field goal attempt.

Starting from his own 32-yard line with 4:54 left in the game, Starr led his team down the field with three key completions: a 13-yard pass to Dowler, a 12-yarder to running back Donny Anderson, and a 19-yard throw to fullback Chuck Mercein. Then Mercein ran 8 yards to a first down on the Cowboys' 3-yard line on the next play. Twice Anderson attempted to run the ball into the end zone, but both times he was tackled at the 1-yard line, the second time after his footing failed on the icy field.

After Anderson's second attempt, Starr called the Packers' final timeout with only 16 seconds left in the game to confer with coach Vince Lombardi and decide on the next play. Starr asked for a sneak, and Lombardi's response was "Well run it, and let's get the Hell out of here". Some observers (and Dallas players) expected the play would be a pass because a completion would win the game, while an incompletion would stop the clock, allowing the Packers another play to attempt a touchdown or kick a field goal to send the game into overtime. But Green Bay's pass protection had been poor, and Starr's throws late in the game had been mostly short and out in the flat; in this treacherous footing, the touchdown-or-incompletion alternative was not guaranteed. So Green Bay had other ideas. After taking the snap, Starr executed a quarterback sneak behind center Ken Bowman and guard Jerry Kramer's block through defensive tackle Jethro Pugh, scoring a touchdown that gave the Packers a 21-17 win and their unprecedented third consecutive NFL championship.

The Packers' final play was selected in a sideline conference between Starr and Lombardi. As reported in the book, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, by David Maraniss (1999), the coach wanted to get the game over with, one way or another, before conditions became worse, rather than attempting a tying field goal. The field goal try was no certainty given the conditions; and if it were successful, it would have sent the game into a grueling overtime period. As reported in the Maraniss book and also in The Packers!, by Steve Cameron (1995), the called play was a handoff to Mercein. Starr decided, but did not tell anyone, that he would keep the ball and avoid the risk of a fumble. Following the touchdown, the Packers had to kick off to the Cowboys, but Dallas was unable to advance the ball in the few remaining seconds, and Green Bay had the victory.

The Starr dive became legendary. It was the climax of Jerry Kramer's Instant Replay, a diary-style account of the whole 1967 season that illustrated the theretofore anonymous life of an offensive lineman. Overlooked sometimes is the long, desperate fourth-quarter drive that led to the score, wherein a host of offensive players contributed, as well as the heroic efforts of the players on both teams for the entire game.

Green Bay went on to finish the postseason by easily defeating the American Football League (AFL) champion Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II, which at the time was still considered by many to be of lesser importance than the NFL championship itself. However, Lombardi made it clear that losing the game was not an option, and the Packers gave it all they had.

The game was the end of several eras. With Green Bay having won five championships in seven years, Lombardi retired. The following year age and injuries caught up to the team and they had a losing record; it would be almost 30 years before the team would become a dominant force again, in the Brett Favre era of the 1990s. Dallas rebounded to one of the top teams of the 1970s, winning two Super Bowls in that decade, but Don Meredith would never win a championship, and he would soon become more famous as an announcer for Monday Night Football than he had been as a player. This would also be the last year that the NFL championship game was considered more important than the Super Bowl, for in the following year Joe Namath and the New York Jets staged an upset victory over the Baltimore Colts that would bring the AFL to full legitimacy.

Lambeau Field supposedly got its nickname, "The Frozen Tundra", from an NFL Films highlight film of the game that included in its narration the phrase, "the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field," spoken by "the voice of God," John Facenda. However, Steve Sabol of NFL Films has denied that Facenda used the phrase; it is believed that an imitation of Facenda by ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman popularized the phrase.

One reason this game is so famous is because it featured numerous players who would later be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well as the head coaches of both teams.

Cowboys future hall of famers in the game
Tex Schramm (GM)
Tom Landry (coach)
Bob Lilly (defensive lineman)
Mel Renfro (defensive back)

Packers future hall of famers in the game
Vince Lombardi (coach)
Bart Starr (quarterback)
Forrest Gregg (offensive lineman)
Herb Adderley (defensive back)
Willie Wood (defensive back)
Willie Davis (defensive lineman)
Ray Nitschke (linebacker)
Henry Jordan (defensive lineman)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Just Shocked

Shocked, I tell you. I was shocked to discover that Republican party strategists are turning to wealthy individuals to mount candidacies for congressional races, because Republican fund-raising is lagging behind Democratic Party efforts. According to an article in the NY Times:

... Democrats, who have been closely monitoring the Republican millionaires, assert that the recruiting underscores the Republicans’ financial weakness since they lost control of Congress in 2006.

The most recent figures show that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised $56.6 million and has $29.2 million at its disposal. By contrast, the National Republican Congressional Committee has raised $40.7 million with a cash balance of $2.5 million.

That is a striking turnabout for the Republicans, who have outraised the Democrats by considerable margins for years. As recently as 2006, the Republican Congressional campaign committee raised $40 million more than its Democratic counterpart, $179.5 million to $139.9 million.

“National Republicans are in disarray, forcing them to recruit inexperienced and unprepared self-funders,” said Doug Thornell, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

I think the message is becoming clearer that the fractious principles and convenient morals of the Republican Party, and conservatism generally, are not those held by the majority of Americans. The citizenry is rediscovering that the Republicans were always about two things: protecting the interests of the wealthy, and providing a home for those elements that think calling people "chihuahuas" because they may be "Mexican" is somehow appropriate. The same elements that think slandering a religion because of the violent actions of a small minority is somehow serious discourse.

The fact that fundraising is lagging is a clear sign that Americans are tiring of this type of message.

h/t Brew City Brawler

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Keep Your Eyes on the Road, Please

The always humorous dad29 threw himself into the fracas about the Coexist bumper sticker over at Professor John McAdam's blogsite (if ever there were an argument against tenure, McAdams would be exhibit #1). Anyway, here is the text of dad29's comment:

The syncretism expressed by the original "coexist" sticker is offensive to anyone who values that which is true.

It was also smug and condescending--as though those who speak out about the deficiencies of Islam are somehow bellicose, or impolite.

Sorry, Seth, that's wrong. Just as you correct your children when they are wrong, (I think you do, anyway) someone has to correct the Mohammedans.

Benedict XVI has taken an initiative in that regard. So have Sykes and Limbaugh (and countless others), each in their own way.

The IFC's "offense" is spurious.

Further, I seriously doubt that Abp. Dolan formally concurs with ANY letter that espouses religious syncretism. Board member or no, that is not his position.

Dad's got his undies in a bundle I think and it must be uncomfortable. Until Tom McMahon came out with his revision of the bumper sticker, I really doubt daddio gave it more than two seconds of his ponderous thought, though I suppose it's possible. But if so, there are a few traffic accidents I'd like re-investigated.

Anyway, I've seen the bumper sticker, too. I spent less time looking at the symbols (I had other things on my mind, like minding the road) and more thinking the thought expressed was kind of cool. I mean, who wants to be perpetually offended anway?

Now truly, I could not infer any impolite references to dad's or other conservatives' thoughts regarding Islam. The message of the bumper sticker was simply one of hope that we (all of us) might find a better way to live together, and used a few symbols as examples because they matched the letters needed to spell out Coexist.

I suppose, for those of you who actually like being perpetually offended, this might be difficult to ignore. But the bumper sticker message was smug and condescending ... nah, one has bigger issues if that's what one really thinks. One of which is the idea that you, daddio, have somehow cornered the market on what is true. History is full of those making that assumption. They were all brought back down to earth eventually, usually by a coalition of forces.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Box Score Line of the Week

From ESPN, this is the box score line for Thai pitcher, Chanati Thongbai, from the recently completed World Cup baseball tournament. For those of you who are not baseball fans, these numbers are not good.

6 IP, 22 H, 24 R, 19 ER, 9 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 4 HR.

In English, these stats mean that Mr. Thongbai pitched six innings (he managed to get 18 outs somehow), he gave up 22 hits, the other team scored 24 runs of which only 19 were earned (Mr. Thongbai's fielders did him no favors), he did not help his own cause by walking nine batters and embarrassingly enough for one batter, Mr. Thongpai actually struck someone out. Mr. Thongpai threw one wild pitch (got past the catcher) and gave up four home runs.

I'm guessing Thailand lost this game.

Honor the Three Sisters Tomorrow

It was traditional in many First Nations cultures to offer an official giving of thanks during autumnal gatherings. In Haudenosaunee culture, Thanksgiving is a prayer recited to honor "The Three Sisters" (i.e., beans, corn, and squash) during the fall harvest. -- Wikipedia

Tomorrow is the day we all give thanks the Native Americans didn't wipe out the group of 38 British settlers who landed at Berekely Hundred on December 4, 1619. And let's all give thanks that Squanto freely offered his help to the colonialists in Massachusetts so they might survive.

We returned the favor nicely over the next 250 years by forcing them off their lands, starving them, massacring them and attempting to convert them to that heathen religion, christianity.

So tomorrow, give thanks.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Sad Day for Baseball

I am not going to waste time heaping vituperation on Barry Bonds. The lesser lights on the right will do that for me. However, I will say this: What a sad day for baseball.

Here are two links to articles at ESPN, one by Gene Wojciechowski, who manages to express his disdain for Bonds without the use of vulgar language or coded racial epitaphs. The other is an investigative report that goes far in illuminating the evidence that Bonds did perjure himself.

Brilliance? Genius? Fred Dooley?

It's as though conservatives have this huge self-image issue so they must go around labeling each other as brilliant or genius. Seriously, keep an eye out for this and you will see it recur over and over.

Now, I like Tom McMahon, he is very clever and has had more than a few interesting posts, but “genius” and “brilliant?” Oh, heck ... yeah, I'd rank Tom right up there with Stephen Hawking and Charles Dickens. It's the weekend and I'm leaving to visit friends, so I'll be generous. Have a great weekend, Tom.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's Not Attacking, It's Poking Fun

As always, apologies to the genius of Tom Tomorrow and This Modern World.

I Object (continued)

The continuing saga of Peter DiGuadio and the chattering chihuahuas. Capper at Whallah and the Brew City Brawler have taken up the slack and kept up the heat on some very objectionable blogging. Below are links to four additional posts.

Very interesting, indeed.

Happy Birthday, Abby

Been busy (inside joke, but yes, Fred ... I know the word ). This past Sunday we held a Packer/ Barbie party to help convince relatives to come and to celebrate my daughter Abby's seventh birthday (I suspect the relatives would have come anyway). It was a blast. Here are a few pictures of one very ecstatic little girl, and one of her baby sister who hogged some of the spotlight.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I Object

Thanks to John Foust and here is a link to the offending comments by Peter DiGaudio that were referenced below in the post titled: McIlheran Likes it Caustic and Pungent.

The title of Peter's post was innocent enough: Texas Pizza Chain Accepting Pesos. Here's the text of the post.

This is wrong on so many levels.

Pizza lovers who don’t happen to have American currency on them can still purchase their favorite pies with Mexican pesos, thanks to a Texas-based restaurant chain.

Starting this week, Pizza Patrón outlets, which caters heavily to Mexicans, will offer the alternative form of payment.

“We’re trying to reach out to our core customer,” Antonio Swad, president of Pizza Patrón Inc., told the Dallas Morning News.

“We know they come back [from Mexico] and have pesos left over. We want to be a convenient place for them to spend their pesos.”

It’s believed no other food chain operating so far from the Mexican border is allowing customers to pay with foreign currency.

You’re in the United States. Embrace our culture. Learn our language. Use our money.

Or go back home.
Pretty standard nonsense from the charitably-challenged. Just commenting now on this subject I could provide a couple of reasons for this being a good thing. One, it's good business. And two, other places in the United States have been accepting international currencies for years ... and the dollar is accepted internationally.

But you see, it's not really a question of what constitutes good business practices, or a question of whether we want to be a good, international buddy. Nope, in the comment section we find out what it's really about. This is where Peter hits his stride.

I am sick of them shoving their fucking culture and theire fucking language down my throat.

I stood in Wal Mart yesterday and listen to a bunch of chattering chihuahuas speaking Mexican until I sick of listening to it and finally said, “You’re in America. Speak English or go back to wherever you came from” and walked away.

Either adopt our culture or language or get the fuck out of the U.S. My grandparents were immigrants and guess what? English was learned in their homes. It was the only acceptable language.
This is who McIlheran links to approvingly. Why does the Journal Sentinel employ this guy? He's not even a real journalist. Hell, I'd feel better (well, just a real, teeny weeny bit - microscopic really) if Jessica McBride were writing the columns.

His posts and columns are poorly researched, using either ultra right-wing conservative think tanks as his sources, or questionable news organizations like the Washington Times, which is run by Sun Myung Moon. Yep, that Moonies guy and humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.

I don't have a problem with conservative columnists being employed by the local paper to provide views. That's as it should be. But the Journal Sentinel must be able to do better.

4-Block Fun

With apologies to Tom McMahon.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

McIlheran Likes It Caustic and Pungent

My good friend Michael Mathias, co-proprietor of Pundit Nation, wrote a post titled "The Banality of Evil Redux." He wrote of the torture issue and noted that Journal Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran admits to having slept well despite evidence that the CIA has involved itself in cruel interrogation methods, popular amongst these being waterboarding, which causes the victim to think he is drowning. Having once almost drowned, I can state unequivocally that the sensation is extremely unpleasant and stressful.

Mathias offers this insight from Hannah Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem that Adolf Eichmann "... represented the sort of everyman that had to exist for the Nazis to exercise total control over German life. Hitler didn’t owe his power to the loyalty of his fanatics, but to the acquiescence of the regular German citizen—the ordinary citizens who were only too happy to turn away from the truth, even as greater and greater evils were perpetrated against his neighbors."

McIlheran took offense. He did not like being compared to Eichmann, he thundered. In fact, though, Mathias never said that. He explicitly said he was not calling McIlheran, Eichmann. You can read McIlheran's rambling post here. He concludes by wondering whether "... Mathias has already sent them [Washington Times and Wall Street Journal editorialists] little paste-on Hitler mustaches."

Mathias responded with a knockout blow, which you can read here.

After reading all this, I checked to see if there were any comments to McIlheran's post. I found this comment left by someone named 3rd Way:

Condemnation of Hitler comparisons are apt. A blogger you are supporting with a link from this page has posted a video of Hitler and claims it is a US senator. I hope you condemn the comparisons being made by the Texas Hold 'Em blogger by removing his link. Such tasteless comparisons do nothing but degrade the debate.
Ah, so let's up the ante. McIlheran relied thusly:

Well, you've got a point there, Mr. Way. I assume you're talking about Texas Hold 'Em Blogger's post of last Jan. 20.

All right, then: Tsk, Tex. It was quite a good PhotoShopping, and it's as amusing, in-house, as it was during the previous Clinton years. But it wasn't the most effective argument against Hillary.
I know this because you've made far better arguments. One would hate to think you'd have to do the reductio ad Hitlerium against the Hildabeast.

There, Mr. Way. Taken care of. And as I gave Matthias a heap of free publicity -- and an enduring link to his blog off my post -- I don't think I'll asymmetrically sever my blogroll link to Tex. After all, he remains the Clorox of Wisconsin blogs: pungent and caustic in such a wonderfully beneficial way.
My, he thinks highly of himself. I had to reply to this impossible defense of DiGuadio:

Peter DiGuadio, or Tex, as you refer to him, once proudly admitted on his blog to yelling at a group of Latinos because they were speaking their native tongue. He demanded they speak English, called them "chattering chihuahuas" and suggested they go home, assuming, I guess, they were here illegally. Which, by the way, is still no excuse in case you had doubts, Mr. McIlheran.

I am stunned that the Journal Sentinel keeps you on its payroll ... one who so approvingly links to this character. It's not a good smell emanating from the JS these days.
McIlheran returned fire:

Dear Mr. Rock: You may have missed this one, but I'm not Pete DiGaudio's editor. You may want to go complain to him about that one.

Or, to be more explicit, here's my disclaimer: Hyperlinks from my blog, either in posts or in the blogroll, do not imply agreement in whole or in part with any particular content on the linked pages.

Particularly in the case of the blogroll links, it implies only that these are blogs I look at with some regularity and that I suspect you may find interesting as well. They are, after all, bloggers with viewpoints of their own.

If you want to impose your little speech codes on them, knock yourself out, but don't expect me to play along.
And I conclude here at my blog:

No, you're wrong. Considering the sparseness and selectiveness of your blogroll, it's reasonable to assume a certain amount of agreement with the views of those linked to, including the views of DiGuadio. Additionally, you have accorded praise for other posts he's written in the past, linked to him approvingly and quoted him on occasion. All this implies just a wee bit of agreement..

As far as speech codes, isn't that exactly what you were trying to do with Michael Mathias? I've read his post and nowhere did it imply you were a little Nazi. Michael made a point, albeit a harsh one (as he said), regarding the ease of acquiescence of the “everyman” in WWII Germany. Eichmann is described by the author Michael quotes from as archetypal of that everyman. Your continued defense of the indefensible Bush administration and your dancing around the torture issue brand you as an acquiescent “everyman.” You swallow what you are told and follow in lockstep.

Mathias (one T by the way) is exactly right.

By the way, you still owe Mathias an apology for your little aside regarding Hitler paste-on moustaches. Who now is playing the Nazi-insinuation card?
One More Thing

McIlheran wasn't done, though, and added one more defense of the indefensible DiGuadio, whose writing style he referred to admiringly as caustic and pungent.

Mr Way: Yes, caustic and pungent, just the qualities that made, for instance, H.L. Mencken so readable.
I almost threw up after reading that, but recovered. Here my final comment to it all:

Finally, comparing H.L. Mencken to DiGuadio, even in the abstract, is ludicrous. Mencken was the master of satire and the exquisite use of the lampoon ... quite a bit different from the race-baiting and sophomoric name-calling that DiGuadio engages in.

It discredits you and the Journal Sentinel to lend any credence to DiGuadio's writings.


The Headline Was Telling

I continue to be astounded by Jessica McBride.

Her most recent leap into looniness is titled: Isn't this headline telling?

The headline in question tops a front page article in the Journal Sentinel: Residents of south side divided on whom to blame.

All right, I thought, let's start with how the headline is telling. So I linked over before reading the rest of her post and I read the story. I discovered that the headline is an accurate decription of the story. The story includes a number of interviews with local residents about the recent shootings on southside. Each of the residents interviewed shares personal horror stories and their different views of the shootings and the reasons why. Also part of the article are statements from District Attorney John Chisholm, Police Chief Nannette Hegerty and Mayor Tom Barrett. In other words, the writer, Linda Spice, did her job as a professional journalist. She did not try to ascertain right or wrong. She remained neutral and objective. She reported. It's a good article.

I returned to McBride's blog. All right, why is the headline telling, I asked myself? This weird ramble from the golden-haired one followed:

This is an open question? Why is it a tough question? The people to blame are the shooter(s). THE SHOOTER SHOT 2 COPS.

Both sides play the blame game - it's the gun! it's the culture! it's poverty!I don't even blame gangs. A person has to choose to join a gang.

I would apportion some blame to the parents; however, not as much blame as the shooter deserves. The shooter was allegedly 15. The parents should have made sure their underage child wasn't roaming around the street, possibly with a gang, shooting at cops. Period.

Okay. What was that all about? The headline did not ask a question. The rest read like something my 12-year old would put together. At least he is learning to reread what he writes and work with rough drafts before submitting a final copy.

Now I know that she is just writing on a blog. And I know she's probably writing bits and pieces between the times she spends with her daughter, or looking at the television, or scheming ways for her husband and herself to keep their name in the limelight (you know, like lawyering up for the Sheboygan One). But still, you would think she had a little more self-respect and would attempt to at least make some sense.

Please, why is she teaching journalism?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Help on Deciding for Whom to Vote

My mom just sent this link to me. It's kind of fun. If you are undecided about who to vote for in the presidential race, answer the questions provided by the ABC Match-o-Matic.

I'm apparently a Barack Obama supporter.

It does clarify one thing for me, I knew I was not a supporter of Hillary Clinton or any of the Republicans.

Shallow Hal's Sister?

Is it possible for Jessica McBride to be any shallower?

She links to a story about a child that miraculously survived an attempted abortion and wonders why there isn't any condemnation of the original decision to abort.

Of course, it matters not to her that it was a joint decision of doctors and mother. The doctors believed the child would die in the womb and his death could cause the twin to die as well.

Happily the child survived.

What is there to condemn?

If I were the mother, I know what I would call McBride for her insinuation that anyone, doctor or mother needs to be condemned for what was a heartbreaking decision based on the best medical evidence. But I would keep it to myself or the conservative blogosphere would be all over it.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

More Thoughts on Smokers' Rights

Did you know that the cost of a pack of cigarettes averages $4.49, probably more now with the increase in taxes? A pack-a-day smoker, which is what I was for nearly 30 years, coughs up nearly $1,700 per year. But, as the rights people like to say, "Hey, it's their choice."

Did you know that smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States? An estimated 440,000 people were hacked off prematurely from 1995 through 1999.

Did you know that on average adult men and women smokers lose 13.2 and 14.5 years of life, respectively, because they smoke? My grandfather smoked and died of emphysema. It's a painful way to die, gasping for breath. Dobly painful for grandpa. He was unable to play with his grandchildren because the effort was too great for his burned out lungs.

I've got news for the rights people, it's painful to watch, too.

Did you know that the economic costs during the same period were $81.9 billion in productivity losses from deaths (average for 1995 to 1999) and $75.5 billion in excess medical expenditures in 1998? Productivity lost that affected those other than smokers. Excess medical expenditures that resulted in excess time being spent with smokers who had the choice, taking away time and money from those who chose more wisely.

Did you know that smoking during pregnancy results in more than 1,000 infant deaths annually? Some choice. Where are the anti-abortion forces?

Did you know that because of smokers, we all pay in higher taxes to fund government health care programs, like Medicare, and in higher health insurance premiums?

Did you know that secondhand smoke imposes significant costs on nonsmokers and society? The annual cost of excess medical care, mortality and morbidity from secondhand smoke exposure in the U.S. is approximately $10 billion. This includes approximately $5 billion in direct medical costs and approximately $5 billion in indirect costs, such as lost wages, reduced services and costs associated with disabilities per year.

Oh, did you know this stat includes those workers who are non-smokers but must endure the fumes offered up by the rights people?

I have a couple of additional rights that have been conveniently forgotten in the zeal to make a political point:

What about my right to breath clean, smoke-free air, or am I required to change my plans because of the poor choices of smokers.

What about my right to reasonably priced health insurance, which is adversely affected by the poor choices that smokers make?

What about the rights of my children not to be tempted into an unhealthy life style, and to not have to watch family members die a slow, painful death because of the poor choices smokers make.

There is no constitutionally-protected right to smoke. There is agreement, however, that government, which is selected by the people, can pass laws for the betterment of society, according to the standards the community agrees upon.

For example, pornography is legal, too, more legal in many ways than smoking ... the courts having determined that pornography is protected speech. But the courts have also determined that communities may make choices regarding the sale and distribution of pornography.

I have yet to find any free speech connection with inhaling noxious fumes. But I do know that communities have the right to decide how to handle poor choices.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Best Line of Day

From the "I will have to use this line someday" department:

The absolute necessity of the dogs needing to go outside is inversely proportional to the amount of clothes I am wearing at the time.

-- James Wigderson

Mountains Out of Molehills

Regarding yawning, have you ever noticed that yawning seems to be contagious. Researchers have found that 40-60% of people who see a picture of someone yawning will yawn themselves. Even reading the word YAWN can make people yawn.

Apparently the same holds true for faux conservative outrage. Regarding Fred Dooley's (Real Debate Wisconsin blog author) taunt to Jay Bullock (folkbum's rambles and rants bog author) and his thought that a 1,000 word post is in the offing.


Be assured that 40-60% of conservative bloggers will follow suit.

Update: Mike Mathias and Nick Schweitzer chime in about the misplaced outrage.

And now Jay does add-on ... though with considerably less than 1,000 words.
Regarding Fred Dooley's (Real Debate Wisconsin blog author) taunt to Jay Bullock (folkbum's rambles and rants bog author) and his thought that a 1,000 word post is in the offing.


Fred, you and this issue are not that important. It's not the end of the world. It was a stupid and so is your faux outrage.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Don Imus Returns and Give It a Rest

NEW YORK (AP) -- A little more than six months ago, Don Imus' career seemed doomed. The shock jock had been fired over a racist and sexist remark that ignited an uproar over the limits of taste and tolerance.

But the cantankerous Imus has clambered back from the professional brink before, and the Rasputin of radio is poised to do it again.

Citadel Broadcasting Corp. announced Thursday that Imus would return to radio Dec. 3., confirming long-rumored reports that he was coming back to morning drive time on WABC-AM, based in New York - the same city where he was banished from the airwaves last spring.

Good. I have no problem with Imus returning to the airwaves. He was punished for his remarks and deserves forgiveness and a second chance ... something James Wigderson and others on the right would do well to consider the next time they decide to make insipid remarks about Senator Ted Kennedy.

Regardless of what tabloids James and the other righties read, the Kopechne family has moved on, with no indication they have not forgiven Kennedy for his role in their daughter's death. No one knows and it's borderline crazy to keep surmising otherwise.

Or just plain shallow.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Where Torture Advocates Stand ... With Evil

"Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature - that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance - and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth?"

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Brothers Karamazov