June 30, 2004

A Little Light Reading

A hearty soul who is apparently even more pissed off than I am has taken it upon himself to write up a transcript of Fahrenheit 9/11.

The Man (Who's Never) On The Street

Why can't they ever seem to find these people to interview?

I was deeply moved by this great man’s [Bremer's] words but I couldn’t prevent myself from watching the effect of his words on my friends who some of them were anti-Americans and some were skeptic, although some of them have always shared my optimism. I found that they were touched even more deeply than I was. I turned to one friend who was a committed She’at and who distrusted America all the way. He looked as if he was bewitched, and I asked him, “So, what do you think of this man? Do you still consider him an invader?” My friend smiled, still touched and said, “Absolutely not! He brought tears to my eyes. God bless him.”

Another friend approached me. This one was not religious but he was one of the conspiracy theory believers. He put his hands on my shoulders and said smiling, “I must admit that I’m beginning to believe in what you’ve been telling us for months and I’m beginning to have faith in America. I never thought that they will hand us sovereignty in time. These people have shown that they keep their promises.”

You should read the rest.

Quote Of The Day

From Brit Paul Johnson, author/historian/intellectual:

The Clintons are not fully backing Kerry, he adds. After all, they want a Hillary 2008 campaign. “Let’s not forget: The Clintons’ marriage is a dynastic marriage of ambitious swine.”

But Isn't That What You Wanted?

I just don't get it. The media goes on and on about the "quagmire" of Iraq, they write story after story about how awful things are going there, how much the Iraqis hate us. And eventually, we turn the country over to the new Iraqi leadership. So now everything's cool, right?

Guess again.

Despite the obvious fact that completing the transfer two days early pulls the rug out from under those terrorist groups planning various sorts of mayhem (a great band name, by the way)for June 30, that same media who seemed to want us out so desperately sees this brilliant piece of misdirection, this fourth-quarter-flea-flicker, as a sign that we are running scared.

Now we're 'fleeing,' we're 'abandoning,' etc.

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann compared it to fleeing Vietnam in 1975. Peter Jennings says that Bremer "leaves behind a country with more than 50 percent unemployment and a crumbling infrastructure." (As opposed to the little slice of heaven it was under Sadam.) A Pat Oliphant editorial cartoon shows a forlorn, solitary Iraqi looking at a note, supposedly from Bremer, that says: "Mission accomplished! Congratulations! Carry on." The message? We abandoned them.


Michael Moore Lie #....Somebody Help Me Out Here.

I've lost count. A little while back, I questioned Michael Moore's claim that:
"It's a violation of my First Amendment rights that I cannot advertise my movie. It's a movie," Moore said. "I have not publicly endorsed John Kerry. I am an independent; I am not a member of the Democratic Party."

Now, I talked about how it was essentially a two-man race, and by bashing Bush, Moore was endorsing Kerry by default. Turns out I did a lot of work for nothing. All I had to do was go over to The Smoking Gun. According to TSG, Moore is registered to vote in Michigan. Oh...And he's also registered in New York.
We're sure this is some kind of innocent mix-up, that Moore forgot to cancel his New York registration before signing up in Michigan. Though, as a New York City voter, TSG can tell you it's hard not to realize you are registered, since a voter's mailbox is regularly bombarded with candidate mail, official voter guides, and Board of Election notices about upcoming elections and reminders about the location of your polling place.

But wait...there's Moore. (sorry, had to slip one in there.)

The article also has a copy of Moore's NYC voter registration card. And guess which party he checked on the card? I'll give you a hint--it begins with "d" and ends with "emocratic."

A misstatement, perhaps? Or maybe, as Mike is always saying, it's comedy and I just don't get it, which is weird because I know as well as anyone that you can often create improbable situations for comedic effect.

And speaking of improbable situations, I saw a beautiful display of the Aurora Borealis last night. Or maybe it was just somebody's pants on fire.

This Probably Won't Mean Much To Anybody...

...but the members of one family, but:

"Friends" star Matthew Perry is being hailed a hero after saving a drowning tot during a pal's Hollywood Hills barbecue. The actor reportedly spotted the 2-year-old boy lying lifelessly in the swimming pool as he took a wander through his friend's yard. He dived in and dragged the boy to safety before urging partygoers to call for medical help. Medics arrived minutes later and took the boy to the hospital, where doctors praised fast-thinking Perry for saving the tot's life.

I just thought that we tend to pounce all over these people when they pop too many pills, or drink too many drinks, or generally embarrass themselves, and that it would be nice this time around to pass along the gossip when they do something that's deserving of praise.

June 29, 2004

Just The Facts, Man...

A couple of people wanted to know where I had found the George Soros/Carlyle group connection. My bad for not listing the links. To be honest, I first found it on various web pages listing biographies of both Soros and Carlyle. As some of these might seem questionable, or biased, I though I would pass along some more accepted sources. I'm getting these from LexisNexis, so I don't have the direct links.

From The Times (London), May 9, 2003, "Group remains guarded about funds' returns," Tom Bawden:

Private equity firms make their money by borrowing from wealthy individuals and institutions and channelling the proceeds into a range of investments. In Carlyle's case, high net worth backers include Bakr bin Laden and George Soros.

From The New York Times, April 28, 2000, "A New Managing Director at Carlyle Group," Bloomberg News:

Carlyle is expanding its staff as it prepares to raise its second United States venture capital fund later this year, probably raising $750 million to $1 billion. Its first fund, Carlyle Venture Partners I, was $250 million, which included $40 million from the billionaire George Soros.

NOTE: Soros is NOT the managing director mentioned in the headline.

From an abstract for The Wall Street Journal, September 27, 1993, "CARLYLE GROUP'S FUND GET STAKE FROM GEORGE SOROS," Christi Harlan:
International money manager George Soros will invest $100 million for a $500 million investment fund being formed by the Carlyle Group, a merchant banking firm

And from The Washington Post, December 8, 1993, "Soros Pledges $ 100 Million In Carlyle Fund," Brett D. Fromsom:

Billionaire investor George Soros has agreed to invest $ 100 million in a new buyout fund to be managed by the Carlyle Group, a Washington-based investment firm, according to sources familiar with the deal....Soros has invested $ 25 million to $ 50 million in Carlyle deals in the past four to five months, according to the sources.

You can also find some good info on Carlyle here:
As the company's reputation grew, so did its cast of players. Among its new backers were James Baker and Richard Darman (both Reagan and Bush administration alums) and investor George Soros, who chipped in some $100 million into the Carlyle Partners L.P. buyout fund. With the help of its 'access capitalists' such as Baker and Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal (whom the firm helped add to his fortune in a 1991 Citicorp stock transaction), Carlyle made deals in the Middle East and Western Europe (including a bailout of Euro Disney) in the mid-1990s.

NOTE: That last one illustates a Carlyle/Disney connection, and since Carlyle also now owns a chunk of Loews, you have to admit that among those who have benefitted from Carlyle and the Bin Ladens and the Saudi royals is Michael Moore. And, unless he plans to give up ALL profits, I would say he also benefits from the war in Iraq, since that seems to be a driving issue in the film.

June 28, 2004

I Would Have Got All Of Them Eventually

But just to save some time, and my typing fingers, here is an article from the Chicago Sun-Times in which Tom McNamee refutes a few points from Fahrenhype 9/11. I've already detailed a few of them, and some that McNamee leaves out, but you get the gist.

"Say...Why Are You Guys Puttin' On Them Rubber Gloves?"

Okay, just how fucking stupid do you have to be to try to bring a loaded gun and knife onto an airplane these days? What if your name just happens to be Ali Reza Khatami? I bet parts of your body are slamming shut right now, just anticipating the inevitable full-body cavity search.

Best Quote:
"He's not on any terrorist watch list or a person of interest - not until now."

By the way...I think I'm making fun of this because I also find it more than a bit scary.

HAT TIP: Bryon

Fair And Balanced, Mate

Figures I'd have to go to just about the other end of the Earth for this objective view of Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11.* More objective than Moore, anyway. It's mildly critical, but fair in those criticisms, I think. Anyway, what's particularly interesting is this section:
Moore spends a lot of time in his movie attacking the Bush family for its links to the Carlyle Group, which has links to Osama bin Laden's family.

Moore tries to make the Carlyle Group sound shady, by saying that it invests in oil projects. I wondered how many of the people who leapt to their feet to applaud knew that the seats from which they leapt were also owned by the Carlyle Group. See, it also invests in the shady business of cinemas, including 300 that are now showing Fahrenheit 9/11.

The NY Post has said essentially the same thing:**
Reports Sunday's New York Post: "The Carlyle Group - which [Moore] bashes in the movie as some sort of shadowy war profiteering company - has become part owner of Loews Cinemas, which is currently showing his film."

But according to Newsday, guess who actually doesn't have ties to Carlyle? That's right...George Bush.**
...Sunday's Newsday debunks his claim that President Bush has any financial links to Osama's kin.

Citing Craig Unger's book "House of Bush, House of Saud," Moore invokes the name of James R. Bath, who served with Bush in the Texas Air National Guard and who managed the Texas investments for the Bin Ladin Group during the 1970s. Supposedly, one of their investments was in George W.'s Arbusto Energy.

Reports the paper:

"Moore implies the bin Ladens wanted to curry favor with Bush while his father was CIA director. But Unger's reporting - omitted by Moore - says that Bath denies putting bin Laden money in Arbusto."

I sent Ken an interesting e-mail a while back which traced another connection to Moore through Disney and Miramax. I can't remember if he posted it, but I'll try to find it and post it here, just in case. Found it.

* It looks like you have to register, but look for the "continue without registering" small print.
** I would have linked directly to the original articles, but you have to pay for the Post, and although Newsday has a print version of the article (I checked), they apparently don't have one on their web site.

UPDATE: Although W wasn't a member of the Carlyle Group (as far as I could find, it was only his daddy.), you know who was? George Soros. The same George Soros who is a major supporter of John Kerry, and who donated $8 million to anti-Bush organizations America Coming Together and MoveOn.org. Soros invested some $100 million or so through Carlyle. Funny you don't hear too much about that.

Education...Indoctrination, PoTAYto...PoTAHto

If this is what passes for higher education, then I'm a little ashamed to call myself a teacher.
Jews are responsible for anti-Semitism, according to Mr. Massad. He blames anti-Semitism on what he calls, "complicity between Zionism and anti-Semitism."

....Mr. Massad makes clear that the "resistance of Palestinians" should not be restricted to military targets but should also include "civil institutions." In keeping with this analysis, he hails terrorists who target Israeli civilians within Israel's 1967 borders as "anti-colonial resistors."

....Israel is racist, in Mr. Massad's view. This is Mr. Massad's conclusion from its not supporting an unqualified "right of return" of Palestinians to Israel. Mr. Massad rejects out of hand Israel's fears of being overrun demographically by an unfettered Palestinian right to immigrate, portraying this as another extension of "Jewish supremacy."

....In April 2002, Mr. Massad delivered a public lecture at a Columbia sit-in. During the lecture, he denigrated Israel as "a Jewish supremacist and racist state" and declared, "Every racist state should be destroyed."

....He gave a similar talk at Oxford University in March 2002, where he proclaimed, "the Jews are not a nation" and a "Jewish state is a racist state that does not have the right to exist."

You'd think the students would be up in arms at someone so obviously biased in the classroom. Well, a quick look at the Columbia Underground Listing of Professor Ability website shows that some do. Frighteningly, though, some don't.
Many students take offense at the very quality that makes Massad such a brilliant academic and honest, effective teacher: he neither claims nor supports purported academic 'objectivity.'

That just blows my mind. Now, you're probably a little concerned about it, but unless you're in the system, you can't understand how completely offensive that statement is. Never mind that the student apparently confuses education with indoctrination, can you imagine the outrage if this was going on about any other historical conflict? Take, for example, a white supremacist professor who "proves" to his students that blacks are an inferior race buy using "factual" material like slave diaries. "You see," he would say, "these miserable creatures could barely string sentences together. Look at that spelling! That grammar! Why, they're barely more intelligent than a good horse." Although the claim and the content differ, I find little difference between the methodology of the two arguments. And both arguments are vulgar, and professionally unethical.

June 26, 2004

It's Un-Cannes-y!

Those of you (us?) to the right of center, take heart--you finally have your own film festival. The American Film renaissance will be held in Dallas in September. It contains, among other things, a film about Fox News hottie Ann Coulter, and two documentaries that I've mentioned here previously.

Michael Moore Hates America, by Michael Wilson and Michael & Me, by Larry Elder both document the difficulty in getting Moore to sit down for an interview. Elder's film deals specifically with many of the issues brought up in Moore's film Bowling for Columbine. I hope that if they come to your area, you'll check them out and make up your own mind.

This should be interesting. The organizers seem to have the right spirit about the thing.
[Jim] Hubbard and wife, Ellen, both attorneys, co-founded the festival in the spirit of competition. Boycott efforts, like the one from the group MoveAmericaForward.org that is asking exhibitors not to show Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," "are for the weak," Hubbard said.

"We want everyone to see Michael Moore's film," he said. "We also want everyone to see 'Michael Moore Hates America.' Conservatives complain about institutional bias in Hollywood. They need to stop whining and get out there and produce."

Better watch your ass, Redford.

In Case You Didn't Notice...

I added a few more links to my sidebar.

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education--FIRE just filed suit against SUNY Brockport for alleged free speech violations. They've already been successful with a number of such lawsuits, and they're not going away. A really fine organization.

Larry Elder, also known as "The Sage From South Central"--I read his excellent book Ten Things You Can't Say In America a few years back and I was hooked. His eloquent, yet no-bullshit delivery appeals to me. He's also (from what I've been able to tell) got better research than a lot of the others out there. I'm a little disappointed that he left the Libertarian party. I'll also be mentioning him in the next post, as he has a new documentary coming out titled Michael & Me. Guess who that's about?

Roger Simon--Ken turned me on to him. I like the fact that he's also an author and screenwriter and that he writes the kind of stuff I like to read.

I'm going to try to add a few more in the next couple of days.

As The Stomach Churns

If you want to see a really frightening sight, click on over to the Northeast Intelligence Network and scroll down to June 23. You should see some clips taken from a video of good, old-fashioned childplay:

One young boy kneels in front of three other children, in the same manner of the condemned man; Three other children stand behind him in the same way that the terrorists stood over the men prior to their beheading. The three standing children are armed with pretend weapons. One of the three children is a girl.

The tallest of the three standing children pretends he is Zarqawi, and reads a list of demands.

The film clip ends with the pretend beheading of the kneeling child.


I'm not sure 'chilling' covers it.

For the full video, click here.

June 25, 2004

My, My, My...

It seems that someone is claiming that advertisements for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 violate existing campaign finance laws. Seems to me, I've heard that one before. (HINT: scroll down)

The funniest part of the article is Moore's response:
"It's a violation of my First Amendment rights that I cannot advertise my movie. It's a movie," Moore said. "I have not publicly endorsed John Kerry. I am an independent; I am not a member of the Democratic Party."

What really makes me laugh is Moore's claim "I have not publicly endorsed John Kerry." No? This seems to be another example of Moore playing semantics. Like his tautological "all the facts in my movie are true," which is like saying "all the women in my family are female," he carefully phrases his claim so it sounds like he's saying something that he's not.

Moore may not have publicly endorsed Kerry anywhere. I certainly haven't seen him say anything specific about the man. But what he has done is publicly excoriate George Bush in what is, for all intent and purpose, a two-man race. What is that, if not an endorsement of Kerry by default? He's certainly said he hopes his film gets people to vote. Who does he want them to vote for, if not Bush? Yet, he uses the term "independent" so we will all see how "objective" he is.

And really...let's be honest. How many ads have you seen "supporting" a candidate which do nothing but talk about how awful his opponent is? Is Fahrenheit 9/11 really any different?

In a slightly different vein, the threads of "evidence" from 9/11 are already starting to unravel. First, Moore's claim that Bush spent 42% of his term on vacation takes a bump down to 13% when you realize that the initial numbers included weekends. Next, his criticism of Bush's reaction upon learning of the attacks is refuted by someone who was actually there--the Principal:
But Gwendolyn Tose’-Rigell, the principal at Emma E. Booker Elementary School, says Bush handled himself properly.

“I don’t think anyone could have handled it better,” Tose’-Rigell told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in a story published Wednesday. “What would it have served if he had jumped out of his chair and ran out of the room?” ...

My take on it has always been that the "six or seven minutes" that Moore complains about is a non-issue. It seems to me that when someone appears to be targeting Washington and the country's leaders, six or seven minutes doesn't seem to be an extreme amount of time to, say, adjust security concerns that had been previously planned to the last detail. His security certainly had much to do at that point. Six or seven minutes seems fair to me.

June 24, 2004

Wetness For The Prosecution?

Well, the most obvious headline was taken, so I had to improvise. It seems that an Oklahoma judge was caught "banging his gavel" during a number of trials. Drudge has the story.

Guess his honor should have been a little more juris-prudent.

UPDATE: You have to read the court papers, if only for little gems like this one:

On one occasion, Ms. Foster saw Judge Thompson holding his penis up and shaving underneath it with a disposable razor while on the bench.

UPDATE #2: Ken suggested that I should put my alternate blog titles down for posterity's sake, so:

"No Wonder Justice Is Blind"


"Move Over, To Kill A Mockingbird, Presenting: To Choke A Chicken."

June 23, 2004

Just a Thought...

Apparently because of the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, a number of the countries in the UN have decided not to renew the U.S. exemption from the International Criminal Court.
A resolution needs a minimum of nine "yes" votes for adoption in the 15-member council but the United States could only be sure of support from Britain, the sole European Union (news - web sites) member prepared to vote in favor, as well as Russia, Angola, the Philippines and Pakistan, diplomats said.

All others, including Germany, France, Spain, China, Brazil, Romania, Benin, Chile and Algeria, signaled they would abstain or were leaning in that direction.

Well, if those countries are so worried, I have a simple solution. The U.S. should remove all military and military bases from the areas in and surrounding: Germany, France, Spain, China, Brazil, Romania, Benin, Chile, and Algeria. That should ensure that no American abuse happens to any of them.

Maybe we could start here.

Et Tu, NPR?

A short single post tonight, as I'm a little under the weather. I don't even have a link to this, but I happened to catch an NPR review of Clinton's book. I was SURE it was going to be a big ego stroke, but even NPR trashed it. Not as bad as the Times did, mind you, but bad. I'm paraphrasing here, but it opened with something like "it's amazing that a President so well known for his ability to speak can't manage to write a book that keeps the reader awake." They also (I'm working from memory here people, and on an hour of sleep, so give me a break.) pointed out the hypocrisy in first claiming that he had an affair for the worst of reasons--because he could--in some sort of mini-mea culpa, and then suddenly claiming a "badge of honor" when he got caught and committed perjury to hide it. Is he sorry or proud?

June 21, 2004

There's a First Time For Everything

I thought I'd try to post a picture or two just to make sure I could do it. I thought about which pics to post, and finally decided that since we were just discussing the impending demise of Southampton, these two were appropriate:

A gang of unseemly and slightly dangerous rebels, to be sure. Posted by Hello

Some of my favorite Southampton ladies, AKA The Girls Across The Hall Posted by Hello

June 20, 2004

Somebody's Gonna Be Eating Crow

We'll just have to wait and see who it is. I know where my money's going.

It seems that lately some newspaper headlines and left-of-center pundits have latched onto this idea that there are no ties between Al Qaeda and Saddam's Iraq. First of all, to imply there are "no ties" is intellectually dishonest. The report from the 9/11 commission, which appears to be what the headlines are condensing, clearly states that there are ties. But of course, you already knew that if you read the report when I linked to it a few days ago. What! You didn't read it? Well, for those of you who didn't, here is an op-ed summary of the findings.

However, here is a little piece of information that you may not have heard yet:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks has been told "a very prominent member" of al Qaeda served as an officer in Saddam Hussein's militia, a panel member said on Sunday.

Republican commissioner John Lehman told NBC's "Meet the Press" program that the new intelligence, if proven true, buttresses claims by the Bush administration of ties between Iraq and the militant network believed responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America...."Some of these documents indicate that (there was) at least one officer of Saddam's Fedayeen, a lieutenant colonel, who was a very prominent member of al Qaeda," Lehman said.

Ready? Cue the dramatic, discordant music: Bum Bum BUUUUUMM!

Can't wait to see how this one plays out.

What A Great Place To Live

If you haven't heard already, my "local city," Rochester, has the distinction of being the first (as far as I know) city to offer free beer to those who register to vote. Monroe County Democrats have joined with a local brewery to give away the beer, and to give those who register a chance to "simulate the experience of voting" by letting them enter a booth and vote for the best-tasting beer. So the Democratic experience is to have a few beers and vote? Well, now I understand how Teddy Kennedy keeps getting elected.

My favorite made-up quote:

"S'easy. You jus' get a beer, g'won in the booth...and vote. I voted...eleventy-five times," said one participant, holding up all the fingers on one hand. "And...I think...maybe I puked twice...UUUUUURRRRP!"

Okay, So I Lied...

...When I said there wasn't going to be a lot of Moore bashing here. This time, however, it's someone much more qualified and thorough than I. David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke are the authors of Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man. They have a blog about the book, which will be released June 29. Go out and buy a copy, and help support these guys.

"I...Did...Not...Write...This...Book...For Money."

As Ken pointed out, the NY Times gave Bill Clinton's book a clear "thumbs down." Although it's not a review, I wanted to share this editorial from the Post. My favorite line:
THERE are words for people who do intimate things for money. "President" is not one that usually comes to mind.

It's not a review of the book, mind you, but it's just as hard on Bill as the Times was.

June 19, 2004

O' The Times, They Are A Changin'

These days, I have a hard time taking any information from the NY Times and/or the 9/11 Commission at face value. But I did find this tidbit interesting, especially in the light of other recent conclusions reached by the commission and lauded by the left:

The new account, based on 19 months of staff work, asserts flatly that there is "no evidence" that the Saudi government or senior Saudi officials financed the group[Al Qaeda],which is led by Osama bin Laden.
Isn't the Saudi-Al Qaeda connection one of the key premises of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11? Wonder how Mike's gonna spin that one.

Nip It In The Bud

There's a rumor floating around that the Al Qaeda leader Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin is not dead. I say rumor, but it doesn't even really have the strength of a rumor. Someone simply posted the claim on a AQ website. But even Al Jazeera is putting him in the 'deceased' column:

But al-Muqrin's death has been verified based on the pictures, forensic tests and family identification, Saudi political analyst Zuhair Harthy told Aljazeera.

He dismissed the website statement, saying they were trying to create a "media tempest" to shake what he said is the triumph of the Saudi authorities.

Buddy, I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

This is from an article about the death of Abdulaziz al-Muqrin, the leader of the Al Qaeda cell that abducted and murdered American Paul Johnson. Al-Muqrin was killed by Saudi security while trying to dispose of Johnson's body.

"Perhaps these operations will draw their last breath just as Muqrin drew his last breath, may he rot in hell," said Saeed Nasser as he watched police patrol al-Malazz. [emphasis mine]

It's nice to see what the Iraqi people really think. You know, when they're not constatntly under the threat of being blown into tiny little Ara-bits by other Arabs. Also, could this mean that the Saudis are ready to hike up their robes and get down to some serious pest removal?

June 18, 2004

Not-so-quotable Quotes

These from Iraqis, some of them military men, after a car bomb went off in Baghdad:

A former first lieutenant in the Iraqi air defense command, he was driving up to the recruiting center to rejoin when the bomb exploded. Now, he said, has no intention of returning. "I'll never go back to this place or the army, no matter what happens to Iraq," he said. "Nothing is worth giving my life for."

"Never, never, never," said Majeed Hameed Mikhlef, 29, who was hospitalized after being wounded in the blast, when asked if he would go back to the center to renew the enlistment application he had submitted. "It is not worth it anymore."

Dhia Kahtan Muhammed, 36, a former warrant officer in the Iraqi army, said from a neighboring hospital bed that he had applied to enlist in a special forces unit but was no longer interested in the job. "I will not go back to that place," he said, "even if they make me a general."

Bashar Mizhar Hamoud, 25, a former sergeant who was hoping to reenlist, said that before the bomb went off, wounding him and so many others, he had received a piece of paper ordering him to return June 26 for processing. "But after this, I am not going back," he said from his hospital bed. "I have had enough."

Not quite as inspiring as "Give me liberty, or give me death," or as memorable as "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country."

But lest you think that the article was being less than objective, they did include one last quote:

Capt. Mohammed Imad, a 30-year-old civil defense officer, said that despite the attacks, he would persist in his job. "If I quit, who is going to stop these attacks?" he said. "If we quit, only terrorists will have jobs in Iraq."

June 17, 2004

School's Out For...Ever

Since I'm pretty sure that most of my readers are on loan from Ken, I'm guessing you already know that they're closing down LIU Southampton. I have to say I'm a little bummed out about it. First of all, if I knew they needed money that badly, I would have paid off that 50$ I owed them.

This is really a first for me. All the other places I've worked or studied are still around. Many of the same people still work there. When picking my nephew up from kindergarten, I ran into a teacher who once taught me. It amazes me that people can teach for that long and not want to rip their eyes and ears out. Apart from being a little grayer, he still looks the same. And he remembered me. Not only did he remember me, he correctly guessed my age (I'm assuming) by remembering what year he had me in class. Now, granted...I'm a fairly memorable guy. But not that memorable.

LIU Southampton represents a significant part of my life. Not a large part, but a significant part. I feel like I thrived there, excelled there. And the people... I met some of the best people I know there, many of whom I keep in touch with. Some of you are probably reading this right now. And as sad as I am to see it go, that's how I'll always remember it--a place of good people.

I was going to add a comment to Kenny's post, but everyone was talking about The Still, and partying, and other incidents. I thought I'd focus on the people--the ones that made all those other things worthwhile. After all, every town has a Still. It's how you fill it that makes the difference.

So I'll go ahead and hoist one to Southampton, and ask you all to do the same. Here's to Cutts, Peterson, Pattison, and all those others who gave us some good book learnin'. Here's to the advisors and administrators, who often times let us get away with everything short of murder. Here's to those good, nameless souls who cleaned the suites and bathrooms of some of the vilest substances known to man. And most of all...here's to all of you who shared that brief but important time with me. You fuckers are alright.

June 16, 2004

Feeling Lazy

I was all set to do a post on the report from the 9/11 commission, but I'm not sure it would do any good. All I would do is encourage you all to go and read it for yourselves*. Make up your own minds.

(although I reserve the right to bitch about this later.)

*It's a .pdf file, so it takes a while to load, and you have to have Adobe reader installed. (You probably do already.)


I see that the New York Times is a little upset...

The National Rifle Association is moving its new NRANews program to satellite radio this week. The New York Times described the broadcast as a "direct challenge to federal limits on political advocacy."

The daily radio program offers news and Second Amendment commentary. As a media organization, it is not restricted by federal campaign finance law. That means NRANews may continue broadcasting in the run-up to the November election - at a time when federal law requires political advocacy groups to stop running ads.

I wonder if they will take the same stand when commercials and clips for Fahrenheit 9/11 start showing?

And Sometimes Things Work Out Right...

Like they did for four-year-old Nick O'Brien. And a big pat on the back for Cardinals outfielder Reggie Sanders.

This guy Starr seems like a real tool. Yeah...youth minister. Right.

UPDATE: It's already being reported that Starr wants to give the ball back to the kid. Really? Really, Mr. "I got it"? This out of the generosity of your heart? You thought what...maybe you'd just keep it safe for him for a while rather than give it to him at the time? It's a little bit easier to do the right thing when the rest of the world suddenly finds out what a complete ass you are, isn't it?

Too little, too late, you lowlife. I hope the kid gets free games all season.

"Maybe They'll Be Too Stupid To Notice.."

I've been seeing reports that a LA Times poll that showed Kerry ahead by 7 points(!) may be fudged a little. Roll Call is reporting that the poll was made up of 38% Democrats and 25% Republicans. RC is a subscription site, so no link, but I'll try to keep you posted.

Man...with fudge like that, you've got to have plenty of nuts.

UPDATE: Here's the LA Times article. Go ahead and click on the poll graphic on that page. What's really interesting, is that even if the poll is lopsided, nearly half of the people polled think Kerry flip-flops, and fully half think Bush would be better at keeping the nation safe. Even more interesting, a much higher percentage (by 9 points) felt that Bush shared their moral values.

Add to that the fact that Bush is 11 points ahead in one of the battleground states, and essentially tied (within the margin of error) in the other two...well, I'd be interested to see how these numbers turn out when the poll is a little more balanced.


I've often said, when times are bad, that I'm sure God must be punishing me because I don't believe He exists.

If you're like me, here is a list of reasons that may just change your mind. My two favorites:


(1) God exists.
(2) [atheist's counterargument]
(3) Yes he does.
(4) [atheist's counterargument]
(5) Yes he does!
(6) [atheist's counterargument]
(7) YES HE DOES!!!
(8) [atheist gives up and goes home]
(9) Therefore, God exists.


(1) God is love.
(2) Love is blind.
(3) Ray Charles is blind.
(4) Therefore, Ray Charles is God.
(5) Therefore, God exists.
P.S. also, this now proves that Nietzsche was right when he wrote that God is dead.
P.P.S. also, Nietzsche is dead.
P.P.P.S. Paul is not dead, but I'm pretty sure John and George are.
P.P.P.P.S. I've never written four postscripts before. Woo-hoo!


A possible new favorite:


1) God is so totally awesome, dude, and if you would pretend that Creed and POD were good bands, you would realize that.
2) Also, our Youth Group leader Skip once, like, cured a broken leg using only the power of the almighty Lord.
3) Therefore, God exists.

June 15, 2004

For God's Sake, DS...The Horse Is Dead Already!

The last thing I want to do is turn this into a blog that bashes Michael Moore. If there's one thing I've learned from him, it's that if every time you open your big mouth, you endlessly badmouth the same guy, you begin to look like a freakishly paranoid asshole. But he makes it so easy.

Filmmaker Michael Moore had footage of prisoner abuse in Iraq long before the atrocities captured international attention, but decided to stay quiet until his new movie came out. Now he's questioning that decision.

I can't tell which bothers me more about this new wrinkle...the shameless self-promotion or the hypocrisy. I'll let you decide.

First, the self-promotion. One thing that Michael Moore is good at is talking about what a great guy Michael Moore is. And apparently a bit of an investigative Superman. Let's see...he had evidence of abuse before the press did; he has secret yowza footage from secretly getting embedded with secret military groups; he interviewed Richard Clarke before he was big news; he also interviewed Nick Berg before he was big news. According to Michael Moore, if he had only acted on this information, he could have single-handedly ended all Iraq-related problems before they even occurred. If only the internet hadn't been invented already. Although Moore may any day disclose that he once interviewed Al Gore, and just maybe let something slip...

All I'm going to say about the hypocrisy is this: you all know damn well that if Moore thought that George Bush or any members of his administration sat on information, refusing to disclose it until it suited them...well, he'd make a movie about it, wouldn't he.

Somebody Had To Say It...

CAPE TOWN (AFP) - Residents of a small South African coastal town are threatening to declare all-out war on baboons who have terrorised pre-schoolers, raided homes for food and urinated on clothes after pulling them out of closets.

"All right, men...hold your fire until you see the red of their asses."

June 13, 2004

Just To Be Fair...

I thought I should include this page, where Michael Moore attempts to defuse the criticisms about his films. Unfortunately, a critical reading of the page should illustrate that he a) makes a few more 'misstatements' and b) doesn't really address the specifics of the claims at all. For example:

Moore tries to explain 'the truth' about the bank scene
I walked into that bank in northern Michigan for the first time ever on that day in June 2001, and, with cameras rolling, gave the bank teller $1,000 – and opened up a 20-year CD account.

He even links to an article on the bank from the Chicago Sun-Times. No need to wonder why he didn't link to an AP article by John Flesher (printed here by the Traverse City Record-Eagle). It seems to contradict his story:
When an order is placed, the bank ships the gun to a registered dealer, who runs a background check on the customer before handing over the weapon.

Indeed, most accounts seem to contradict his story. Moore admits that he called ahead of time before walking into the bank "for the first time." Cleverly, that last little phrase also implies that was his first contact with the bank. According to an interview with a bank worker, Moore set the whole thing up ahead of time. The phone call perhaps? The 'vault' talked about is not on the bank premises, and the bank claims that the guns on the wall are models that are not to be given away. One last thought...I know criminals can occasionally be stupid, but stupid enough to fill out a bunch of paperwork and spend $1000 for a rifle priced at $779? Moore can do all the verbal tapdancing he wants to try and make the whole incident sound like an illustration of how bad people can get a gun as easily as going through a revolving door, but in reality it's no easier to get a gun at the bank than it is to get one at a gun shop. Look at it this way...if it were easier, why aren't we constantly reading about criminals who travel from miles around to open up a CD at one of these branches so they can go do bad things?

He also tries to justify including the Charlton Heston "cold dead hands" clip out of sequence:
I have merely re-broadcast an image supplied to us by a Denver TV station, an image which the NRA has itself crafted for the media....Are they now embarrassed by this sick, repulsive image and the words that accompany it?

Moore needs to take responsibility for the context of the clip. For example, I could show a clip of Gerhard Schroeder speaking to the public saying "Long live the German people!" and follow it with images from Dachau and Auschwitz. But if I did, I certainly wouldn't remain true to the spirit and intention of the original speech, would I? I think most would agree that the finished product would be much less 'truthful' than the original.

(By the way, this is called a post hoc fallacy. It comes from the phrase Post hoc, ergo propter hoc, which means "after this, therefore because of this." Essentially, what it does is imply that when one incident follows another, there is a causal relationship there. For example, if I follow a clip of a guy at a strip club with a clip of the same guy getting slapped by his wife, I've created the impression that the second event happened because of the first, despite the fact that I have included absolutely no evidence to support that impression.)

That's Moore's one spot of brilliance--that he is a master at saying anything without actually saying it. He obfuscates, he omits, he plays games with semantics, he plays to expectations...in other words, he's an accomplished liar.


I've often said that arguing about religion is much like arguing about a conspiracy--you can't win because no matter what points you bring up, you're branded as part of the problem. "Of course you say that...you're part of the conspiracy" sounds an awful lot to me like "Of course you believe all those fossil records and scientific evidence...that's what the devil wants you to do." Ultimately, though, no matter how much evidence I provide, it always seems to come down to one statement: "If you have faith, the evidence won't matter." I have a problem with that.

That's why I could never be religious. I don't find the worlds of science and Faith to be compatible. Now before you get all riled up, I know that science deals with a belief system. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about Faith with a capital 'F', which asks you to believe something without any evidence, or worse--to believe in the face of contradictory evidence. In the scientific world, belief is founded on observable, repeatable evidence, and more importantly, scientists (for the most part) change their minds based on new discovery, the same way Newton's gravity becomes Einstein's spacetime becomes Hyperspace theory/Theory of Everything. On the other hand, the case for Faith is made on a two thousand year old text of questionable authorship, and...um...did I mention the two thousand year old text?

Anyway, butterfliesandwheels has another great article about the difference between the two camps. It also clarifies something that I've been trying to get my students to understand--the difference between proof and evidence. For example, to say that there is no evidence of WMD programs in Iraq is incorrect. There is quite a bit of evidence, which I'll bore you with at another time. What they mean is that there is no 'proof'. Occasionally evidence and proof are the same thing (the "smoking gun" at a crime scene, perhaps) but not necessarily, although a culmination of 'evidence' can often 'prove' something. Of course, all this is a matter of semantics, so feel free to disagree with my definitions, but the underlying idea is, I think, good.

My favorite quote from the article:
Naturally we can't prove our own emotions to other people, any more than a bat can prove to us what it is like to be a bat. But what does that have to do with truth-claims about a supernatural being? And in any case the issue is not one of proof but one of evidence. We can't prove our emotional states, but we can offer evidence. We can't prove the non-existence of a deity, but we can ask why there is no good evidence of its existence. Bertrand Russell pointed out that we can't prove there's not a china teapot orbiting the sun, and Carl Sagan pointed out that we can't prove there's not an invisible odorless inaudible dragon in the garage, and both pointed out that that's no reason to assume there is.

Fahrenhype 911

I'm a fan of the documentary. I watched a great one about Waco a couple of years back. Brother's Keeper--another good one. I especially like Errol Morris's films. (The Thin Blue Line is my favorite documentary.) I'm in the process of watching an intriguing doc. titled Keep the River on Your Right.

Maybe that's why it galls me so much when Michael Moore gets nominated for documentary awards. I don't consider his films documentaries any more than, say, This Is Spinal Tap, or Monster, or JFK. True, those films have actors, and a script. But Moore takes just as many liberties. He adds text to existing footage, he stages scenes, he edits actual footage to give the appearance of continuity that doesn't exist...in essence, he manufactures the "truth" so that it plays how he wants it to play. Sure, documentaries can have a message. They don't even have to be objective. But they need to be non-fiction (see Academy Award Rule 12). Moore bends the truth to the breaking point. He commits fallacy after fallacy, and when confronted with them, writes them off as some kind of "poetic license." Mike, you can't have it both ways--it's either fact or it isn't.

That's one of the problems with Moore--he wants it both ways. A lot. I just finished reading an interview with him in a certain nameless bunny mag. In the interview, he constantly doubletalks. He claims Bush and his cronies (Do people really have "cronies" anymore?) put one over on the American people. Later, he says about Bush, "he is not a very bright man." He's an evil genius; yet he's a dope. He wants it both ways.

He claims to know what "the people" are thinking. Yet when discussing the reception to his Oscar speech, he tries to undermine the boos, claiming that they came from "up in the balcony." You mean where the "little people" sit, Mike? The ones who you claim to understand so well? Whenever a poll comes along that seems to indicate that he does not know what the people are thinking, he says what? "I'm convinced the polls are wrong." He wants it both ways.

He rails against the Patriot Act. Yet he incredibly blames Republicans for security problems relating to September 11!
In fact, I would argue that the Republicans are responsible for our lack of preparedness prior to 9/11....In the late 1990s the Republicans should not have wasted the federal government's time trying to impeach Clinton.
Never does he mention the steps taken by the Clinton administration to weaken security. Nor does he point out that his own argument could certainly be taken the next logical step--that Clinton would be ultimately responsible. He shouldn't have wasted the federal government's time by committing perjury.

I could go on, and probably will over the next few days as the mood strikes me. But I want to close with one glaring Lie (note the capital 'L') that Moore continues to perpetrate. Moore continues to claim that the Bush administration set up flights for members of Osama bin Laden's family members so that they could leave the country even though there was a ban on flying. Here's his exact words from the interview:
Up to 140 members of the Saudi royal family and other Saudi officials who were in the country at the time also got picked up and taken out of the country when no one else could fly. You couldn't fly in America on September 12 or 13 unless your name was Bin Laden. The White House approved it. Why? (emphasis mine)

Moore has repeated this line more than once, and it's really very clever the way he does it. The implication is that these people were flown to Saudi Arabia during the two days when flights were grounded. It's untrue, and he knows it. The first part of the claim, that planes picked up these dignitaries, etc., is correct. But it was ostensibly for their own safety. There were other flights going on during those days, too. Flights for medical reasons, like organ transport, for example. The FBI admits that they had a list of all passengers, and decided that none of them deserved further examination. (Moore also says 'family members' knowing that we will all think of the term as we use it. Remember, OBL is one of 52 children. Figure in cousins, etc., and that's a very extended family.) These people, however, did not leave the country until a week after the flight ban was lifted. In other words, anybody who wanted to could fly. I'm not sure at that point that they even needed "approval." The plane was chartered by the Saudi government, and not paid for by the U.S. I'm sure it works much better for Moore's crackpot theories if the public thinks Bush sent these people back to Saudi Arabia in some secret flight, but those aren't the facts.

I can't comment too much on Fahrenheit 911 because I haven't seen it. I don't plan to...at least in the theaters. I will probably do what I did with Bowling For Columbine--wait and rent it on DVD. I can't, in good conscience, give the man any more money than that. And if you really feel the need to see a documentary this summer? You could skip F-911, and try this one. Or hope that this one gets a distributor.

June 11, 2004

Brother Ray

Ray Charles has left us. We're going to have an awful glaring silence from here on in, so I'm not sure a moment of it right now is going to cut it. Go find a copy of "Hit The Road, Jack," or "Georgia On My Mind," or "I Got A Woman," or whatever your favorite Ray Charles song is and give the man a couple of minutes at least. Even though we've had some serious heat lately, I've got a version of Ray and Betty Carter singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" that's just aching to be played.

I'd like to think that President Reagan decided the harps weren't getting it done, and called for the Main Event. After all, Ray does a mean version of "America, the Beautiful."

I Was Just Thinking...

I see a lot of turkey "substitutions"--turkey burgers, turkey bacon, turkey hotdogs, turkey chili...crap like that.

what we really need is someone to come along and fashion a Thanksgiving turkey composed entirely of beef. Just think of the drumsticks!!

June 10, 2004

Fuck Detroit

I'm finding myself cursing a lot more than is my wont. Must be all that red meat.

Anyway, it seems Jimmy Kimmel put his foot in his mouth, joking that, should the Pistons beat the Lakers in the NBA finals, Detroit fans would burn the city to the ground, referencing past riots that occurred under similar circumstances. Apparently Detroit, once proud Motor City home of Motown is now filled with a bunch of wussies. The Detroit ABC affiliate yanked the following night's show, and the network followed suit.

Kimmel apologized, though:
Assuming a somewhat more sober tone on Thursday, Kimmel added: "When you're 2,000 miles away from a city you've never lived in, it's hard to understand the sadness people feel from something that happened in their town -- even if it happened many years ago.

I'm not sure you get to destroy your city and then feel hurt when someone makes fun of it. It's not like Cleveland snuck over, turned a few cars over, lit some fires and left. It's not something that "happened to" them, they did it their own freakin' selves. I can't purposely burn my house to the ground and then get all offended when people point out how stupid I am.

a) let's take some personal freakin' responsibility, people.

2) it's a joke.

For Doug

I couldn't seem to find the original 'wrong' editorial from the Tampa Bay Tribune, but I did find their apology.

I suppose that this is going to happen from time to time in the newspaper industry, a little embarrassing, to be sure, but also a very telling indicator of the major problems with mass media. Ever since Dewey "beat" Truman, the media would rather be first than right. They rush to report, but rarely bother to clean up. Sure, maybe they'll place a minor note somewhere on page 11. They've covered their asses.

Besides which, there's something remarkably insincere about writing two editorials in advance of the result. Don't think so? Just imagine taking your girl out to pop the question. In one pocket, you've got a beautiful ring. But, just in case it doesn't go well, in the other, you've got the key she gave you to her apartment. Tied to the key is a little tag with "hit the bricks, beeyatch!" written on it. Now imagine saying "I've been looking forward to this for a long time," and through some mishap sliding the key across the table instead of the ring box.

Hey, no big deal...just explain that you made a mistake and give her the ring. Just make sure you remember one thing...

When removing a ring from one's ass, it's best to use plenty of lubricant.

June 09, 2004

Maybe It's The Weather?

I hate to jump on the blog bandwagon, but I just can't get excited about writing on the blog today.

Let me set the scenario for you:

I have a steak, an inch thick, medium rare, just taken off the grill. I've finished the second Killians' of a six pack. I was going to make a salad, but shredding lettuce seems like too much work at this point. Since there's nothing on the tube but a funeral and The Simple Life reruns, I plan on eating steak, drinking beer, and reading one of several books I have had lined up for a while until I collapse in sheer, red-meat-induced bliss.

Oh...did I mention that there may be some pistachio ice cream involved in this equation?

I'm sure I'll find something tomorrow to be mad about, but right now, I just don't care.

Can you blame me?

June 07, 2004

Hey...The Professor Has No Clothes On!

Ever wonder why Academia so often seems separated from...well...normalcy? It's because they're like a big Country Club, and they decide who, how, and when anyone joins. Not only that, but they occasionally say stupid things, and they say them with impunity and a false sense of security. The other members are afraid to disagree because they might look silly and be drummed out, and if any 'outsiders' dare criticize...well, what do they matter, they're cretins anyway.

How do I know all this? Well, somebody left the servant's entrance open one day, and while no one was looking, I became a member.

Here's an interesting piece from butterfliesandwheels about academic "bad writing." The idea is that if (some) academics use enough big, made-up, or poorly defined terms, they have a solid defense against criticism. Like they have their own special language. "Well," they will say. "it's just too difficult for you to understand what it's really saying."


Here's a little chunk of the article, fairly dripping with sarcasm:

Ah - so that's it. It's not that the writing is bad, it's that the readers who think it's bad are 98-pound weaklings who turn pale and sick at unsettling projects. They are 'frightened off,' the poor cowardly things, by the 'difficulty' of theory - not the ineptitude, mind you, or the slavish imitativeness, or the endless formulaic repetition of repetition - no, the difficulty. So as a result they 'can dismiss' theory - not laugh at, not hold up to scorn and derision, or set fire to or thrust firmly into the bin or take back to the shop and loudly demand a refund - no, dismiss. And dismiss 'as an effort to cover up in an artificially difficult style the fact that it has nothing to say.' Well - yes, that's right, as a matter of fact. We couldn't have said it better ourselves. That is exactly what it looks like to an impartial outsider. And then even though theory is 'difficult' which being interpreted means 'badly written,' we mustn't assume it's all like that (fair enough, and if you show us the good stuff, we'll greet it with a hug and tickets to the Icecapades) because that keeps us 'from confronting the real questions that theory raises.' Oh does it really. Surely that would only be the case if 'theory' were the only discipline raising such questions. But you know what? It isn't. One can confront such questions just as well by reading people who do know how to write as by reading ones who don't.

UPDATE: Here's an article by Dennis Dutton talking about "Bad Writing." Dennis also started the Bad Writing Contest.

Professor Butler’s first-prize sentence appears in “Further Reflections on the Conversations of Our Time,” an article in the scholarly journal Diacritics (1997):

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Why I'm Going To Hell, Part 1

As Ken pointed out in a previous comment, I will occasionally make fun of dead people. Tasteless? Sure. But here's the thing...They never come after you. They're safe. No matter how many times I have poked fun at Shakespeare, never once have I gotten a letter from him:

Dear Jerkweed:

Once I'm done spinning in my grave and clawing frantically through several feet of wet earth, you're finished.

I did get one from my aunt like that, but it was only because we accidentally buried her alive.

You Get What You Pay For

So, I'm with my nephew in the dollar store, mainly because where else can you find that fine German candy, obergrubben? (slogan: You Vill Eat it NOW!!) As I'm looking around, I spot it. There, between the British hand soap and the deodorant with the label in Arabic--a pregnancy test. At the dollar store.

And I have to wonder to myself...Is this a good seller for them? Are there a lot of women out there who are thinking "Oh my God...I'm late! I better get to the dollar store...pronto"? Is this really the place where you want to cut corners, ladies?

I stood there for a while, contemplating just what kind of pregnancy test could be had for $1. Honestly, I would have bought it just to find out, if I didn't think I'd end up looking like some kind of cad. (I'm not sure there's more than one kind of cad, but if there is, buying your girlfriend a pregnancy test at the dollar store makes you the worst kind.) I imagine you would open the box and find nothing but a 3"x5" card with the following:

1. Stand up.

2. Look down.

3. Can you see your feet?
If you answer no, skip ahead to #5.

4. Repeat in one month.

5. You may be pregnant...or just really large-breasted. Either way, Congratulations!!
* results not 100%. Consult your physician.

Anyway, today's lesson...Light bulbs, toothpaste, candles? Okay at the dollar store. Home pregnancy kits? Not so much.

June 05, 2004

Pssst...Dude...Shut Up.

It seems that Verne "Mini-Me" Troyer is going to court. But you'll never guess why.

Apparently Troyer is challenging the claim of Genevieve Gallen that they are married. Oh, did I mention that Ms. Gallen (or Mrs. Troyer?) is a smoking-hot blonde Playboy model and yoga instructor? Yeah, that's right...Just take a second and read that last sentence over again. Take another second or two and check out her website.

Sure, I know what you're all thinking--she's after his money. But I have to say...If it was me? If I was only 32 inches tall? I'd be damn glad to have that kind of bait. Think of all those other little people out there too poor to get their own gold-digging yoga instructor. And there must be something there. After all, he's seeking an annulment, which would indicate at least the semblance of a real marriage.

Ah, who knows...Maybe he's just waiting for a "Mini-She."

Make it a Double...

Well, I have to say that I was rooting for Smarty Jones to win the Triple Crown (although I put my money on the third place finisher--Royal Assault). My grandfather owned racehorses, so I grew up around racing, and later, I grew up even more around the OTB parlor. Even so, I'm always struck by how quick and (mostly) anti-climatic the races are. This one could have been a good race if there wasn't so much of a build-up beforehand.

My thought? Elliott brought Smarty Jones out a little too early. I think had they waited to break away from the pack, Smarty would have had enough gas left to fight off the eventual winner, Birdstone. (Who, by the way, paid $74 on a $2 ticket.)

Some Sad Losses

I'm sure that most of you have already heard that we lost former president Reagan today. While you're immersed in your moment of silence, throw in some kind thoughts for the families of Historian William Manchester, who died last Tuesday, and Loyd Sigmon, inventor of the California "SigAlert."

Manchester wrote thorough biographies of Churchill and MacArthur, and holds the distinction of having written the longest book I've ever read from cover to cover--The Glory and the Dream. I would know nothing about the Bonus Marchers if not for that book. It was also good for holding doors open and squashing insects and small mammals.

Sigmon invented the system with which radio stations warned Southern California commuters of traffic jams. It should be noted that Sigmon never made any money on the system, more or less making it a gift for the city of Los Angeles. Good for him. The funeral will be Monday at 11...or possibly 11:30 if there's a mid-morning gridlock. Better make it noon, just to be safe.

(okay...I'm a little ashamed about that last joke.)

June 04, 2004

My Politics...and welcome to them

I thought in the interest of full disclosure that I should describe myself politically. But here's the problem. I'm not sure what I am. Seriously. I tend to go by the issue at hand. To me, saying that I'm a conservative because I'm against (some) gun control, or liberal because I'm against putting the Ten Commandments in a courtroom, is as silly as saying I must be Korean because I drive a Hyundai. In actuality, I drive a Hyundai because I'm po'. (See, I can't even afford the "or"!)

I guess what I'm saying is: don't be surprised if I occasionally "switch sides," or "contradict myself," or "break down weeping because I drive a Hyundai."

When you get down to it, I'm a registered Libertarian, mainly because I think I'm better equipped to decide how to live my life than the government is. It's the rest of you wackos that need to be babysat. Hahahahahaha. However, most people have the wrong impression of Libertarians, and think we're the party that wants nothing more than to promote wild, crazy drug use. That's not true! We also want to promote wild, crazy sex. Well, there are other things, but you can look for yourself. I actually disagree with them on a few issues, but nobody's perfect.