Thursday, August 31, 2006

Welcome Philly Metro Readers

Welcome to Blonde Sagacity! I am currently on vacation in The Outer Banks, NC, but please have a look around and check out some of the other talented bloggers that have been guest-posting for me while I'm away. You'll find posts from both left and right leaning bloggers. I will be back and posting again on Monday...

For the regulars:
The Philadelphia Metro interviewed me yesterday for their paper and the article ran today... Though I don't come off as very articulate in the piece --which was my fault because I did the interview from the beach with a cell signal that was going in and out--I'm happy with the finished product. You never know what the interviewer will do when you're a conservative in a navy BLUE city, but the Metro's Josh Cornfield was pleasant and surprisingly neutral.



I haven't seen the paper yet (AB grabbed me a few on her way to work this morning) but she says that they cropped my best assets out... ;) LOL

There is a Difference...

Guest Post by Ron Goodwyne

All of us have heard someone at some time say something like, "I don’t vote because all politicians are alike." Or perhaps you’ve heard someone say, "I don’t read political blogs, they all sound the same." Whether talking about elected officials or bloggers, there is a marked difference between conservatives and liberals.

Take politicians first. I am as disillusioned as anyone about the rampant spending that has taken place in a GOP Congress in order to buy votes or the disinformation disseminated by some on the right regarding illegal immigration and characterizing those of us who disagree with them as anti-immigrant or worse. Seeing these things it is easy to see why someone might believe there isn’t any difference. Yet the differences are glaring if you only look.

Does anyone believe Democrats would have enacted the Bush tax cuts? Does anyone seriously think the Democrats would be prosecuting any war against Islamo-fascism? What about the courts? Would we have two new conservatives on the Supreme Court if a Democrat had been in the White House or Democrats controlled the Senate? The answer to these and a whole host of related questions is a resounding NO.

All politicians are subject to the same temptations of office, regardless of political persuasion. The primary temptations are to get re-elected and gain power and influence as a result. Spending is one of the primary ways to do this. Another is to pander to certain groups. But while a politician may be likely to betray some aspects of his moral philosophy, he isn’t likely to abandon it altogether. After all, it is what got him elected in the first place. And the result is things like tax cuts and conservative judicial nominations that would not occur under Democrats.

In the blogosphere the differences are more pronounced. While no one is standing for election, we all want to attract readers. No one wants to put their heart and soul into writing only to find that no one is reading. In order to attract readers we need to have something to say and we must be able to say it in a way that others will be interested in reading. For conservative bloggers that typically means reasoned conservative arguments presented in either a logically irresistible way or in an entertaining way. ALa is a great example of an entertaining conservative blogger and she often times engages in serious irresistible logic. Other examples can be found in ALa's blogroll and my blogroll at www.rongoodwyne.com. What we say, however, is generally governed by what we perceive as the truth. We may vary in style but the underlying truth tends to be the same.

On the left there are some pretty whacky writers (affectionately referred to by bloggers on the right as moonbats), not to mention whacky thinkers (if thinker can even be applied to some of these people). While conservative bloggers are, at times, less than complementary to liberals, we do not generally resort to abject hatred when talking about them. They, on the other hand, can’t seem to resist personally attacking us rather than dealing with our arguments in a substantive way. I’ve personally dealt with this sort of thing many times both before starting my blog and since.

Lefty bloggers tend to be conspiracy theorists as well. Just look at the claims from the left that, for example, George W. Bush either knew about or planned the 9/11 attacks or that Bush and Rove were somehow behind the British terrorist arrests and that they did it because of Joe Lieberman. I’ve certainly seen some things from the right that I disagreed with but nothing remotely on the level of these kinds of delusions.

What drives these people to such obviously ridiculous conclusions? I think first and foremost it is hatred. The far left is consumed with hate for conservatives in general and George W, Bush in particular. They believe that the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen, consequently any action necessary to unseat Bush is justified. I’m convinced that many of these left wing bloggers don’t actually believe the stuff they write. They simply see it as an effective way to stir up the liberal masses. We on the right have a difficult time understanding such reasoning because we believe the truth is the best defense. On the left, however, truth is relative to begin with.

Take the recent edited photos from Israel’s war that came from Reuters. Many on the left have taken the position that, while the photos were doctored, they accurately reflected the truth on the ground. That sounds amazingly like Dan Rather’s position regarding the forged documents purporting to "prove" Bush’s bad military record. The bottom line for them is it is okay to falsify evidence so long as you are doing so to convey the truth. What they don’t get is that no one else ever has the chance to see for themselves what the truth really is. They become the sole arbiters of what is truth and what is not. The rest of us are not privy to the actual evidence.

All this applies directly to the left wing bloggers. They don’t care whether they are reporting the truth or not. Their larger "truth" is that Bush should be removed from office and Democrats should be in control. All else is subjugated to that.

Bloggers on the right, rightly malign such approaches because we recognize the value of the truth. We recognize that the truth suffers when evidence is falsified. We understand that truth is not served by agonized, emotionally charged fakery employed for the "right reasons". Truth is truth!

We are not always right on the right. But when we are wrong, we tend to move that to the top and make corrections. The left makes excuses and engages in cover-ups.

I have, of course, engaged in some rather broad generalizations. I freely concede that there are bloggers on the left and on the right that defy these characterizations. But on both the left and the right those who defy these generalizations are the exceptions and not the rule.

So the next time someone says there isn’t two cents worth of difference between the left and the right, point them to some of the liberal blogs. Show them the whacky stuff coming from DNC Chair Howard Dean. Get them to listen to a little bit of Air America. And make sure you’re there to help them see just how whacky each of these is.

((You can find Ron daily at Ron’s Musings))

Massachusetts Beefcake

Guest Post by Courtney



I know, the word "beefcake" conjures up images of men in low-cut leather pants, partially unzipped, lounging around on a... sorry, distracted there.� Anyway, this is not that kind of beefcake (although if Brownie wants to come pose for a picture for me, bring it, hon).� This is the first installment in a very unusual series I'm starting about my hometown.

Norwood, MA has an unusual number of bars and restaurants.� Many of these local establishments have tried to "upscale" themselves in recent years, and bring in the family crowd.� Each of these bars is known for something (other than the place Sully got into a fight with Jonesy and they both got arrested).� These bars all have some sort of beef specialty as their claim to fame.� So, like the lifer I am, I'm going to chronicle each and every one of these specialties, and maybe, declare a "Best Beefcake of Norwood" at the end.� It's also possible that I'll be too drunk and/or constipated to declare a winner.� Go figure.

First up, Lewis'.� For many years, Lewis' was one of those "unmentionable" places for reputable ladies of the 'Wood.� Maybe it's the nudie oil paintings on the wall of the main bar, who knows?� All I know is that, growing up, Lewis' was labelled "scary", and only certain people went there.� In recent years, the owners have redefined the "back bar" of Lewis' from a divy sports-themed performance space, to a grill pub-like, upolstered booth, generic town bar.� Oh well.� Maybe they're trying to reclaim the local lunch crowd.� At any rate, Lewis', naturally, has a specialty.� Well, a dual specialty.� A "bucket" of beer, and the Lewis Burger, shown in the picture.�

The Lewis Burger, for all intents and purposes, is a heart attack on a bun.� Take a look at the picture, and we'll start at the bottom.� You have� a medium rare cheeseburger, American cheese, of course, then a piece of white toast.� On top of the white toast, you have lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayo, and EGG SALAD.� That's right, egg salad, folks.� Start popping the Lipitor and the Protonix now.� Then, the top of the bun.� Served with fries, naturally, and a big ole draft beer.�

In true Norwood tradition, I had my first Lewis Burger at age 19.� Yes, the drinking age in MA is 21.� I could make the story less interesting, but I won't.� Suffice to say, this burger is the most nasty and alternately satisfying burger you'll ever eat.� Filling doesn't even BEGIN to describe the feeling you experience once you've finished this burger (if you can).� This burger is a Norwood legend, and if any of you are ever here in my hometown, you can bet your asses I'm taking you for one.

Stay tuned for further installments, where I dissect the differences between the 9000 varieties of steak tips served in this town (I'm only slightly exaggerating).

((You can read Courtney daily at her Midvale School for the Gifted))

This is a Real Ad...

...that I came across today in a little local paper down here:

"Selling diamond chipped ring fairly new. White gold 10K. Needs to sell immediately! Will take no less than $30 dollars. Bought at $60. Call [number omitted] ask for [name omitted]. Excellent engagement ring!"

I.won't.be.mean.

Except for this, it's even better when you read it with a Southern accent... ;)

(Dedicated to Free0352 and "East Coast snobbery" LOL)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

WHY ISRAELI SECURITY WORKS AT AIRPORTS

Guest post by Sage

The safest airline in the world, it is widely agreed, is El Al, Israel's national carrier. The safest airport is Ben Gurion International, in Tel Aviv. No El Al plane has been attacked by terrorists in more than three decades, and no flight leaving Ben Gurion has ever been hijacked. Has American ingenuity in security caught up to Israels?
Nope, For example, passengers in the United States are required to take off their shoes for X-ray screening, while passengers at Ben Gurion are spared that indignity. On the other hand, major American airports generally offer the convenience of curbside check-in, while in Israel baggage and traveler stay together until the security check is completed. Screeners at American airports don't usually engage in conversation with passengers, unless you count as conversation their endlessly repeated instructions about emptying pockets and taking laptops out of briefcases. At Ben Gurion, security officials make a point of engaging in dialogue with almost everyone who's catching a plane.

There is a reason for these differences. Nearly five years after Sept. 11, 2001, US airport security remains obstinately focused on intercepting bad things — guns, knives, explosives. It is a reactive policy, aimed at preventing the last terrorist plot from being repeated. The 9/11 hijackers used box cutters as weapons, so sharp metal objects were barred from carry-on luggage. Would-be suicide terrorist Richard Reid tried to ignite a bomb in his shoe, so now everyone's footwear is screened for tampering. Earlier this month British authorities foiled a plan to blow up airliners with liquid explosives; as a result, toothpaste, eye drops, and cologne have become air-travel contraband.
Of course the Israelis check for bombs and weapons too, but always with the understanding that things don't hijack planes, terrorists do — and that the best way to detect terrorists is to focus on intercepting not bad things, but bad people.

Israeli airport security, much of it invisible to the untrained eye, begins before passengers even enter the terminal. Officials constantly monitor behavior, alert to clues that may hint at danger: bulky clothing, say, or a nervous manner. Profilers — yes, that’s what they’re called — makes a point of interviewing travelers, sometimes at length. They probe, as one profiling supervisor recently explained to CBS, for "anything out of the ordinary, anything that does not fit." Their questions can seem odd or intrusive, especially if your only previous experience with an airport interrogation was being asked whether you packed your bags yourself.

Unlike in US airports, where passengers go through security after checking in for their flights and submitting their luggage, security at Ben Gurion comes first. Only when the profiler is satisfied that a passenger poses no risk is he or she allowed to proceed to the check-in counter. By that point, there is no need to make him remove his shoes, or to confiscate his bottle of water.

Because federal policy still bans ethnic or religious profiling, US passengers continue to be singled out for special scrutiny mostly on a random basis. Countless hours have been spent patting down elderly women in wheelchairs, toddlers with pacifiers, even former US vice presidents — time that could have been used instead to concentrate on passengers with a greater likelihood of being terrorists.
No sensible person imagines that ethnic or religious profiling alone can stop every terrorist plot. But it is illogical and potentially suicidal not to take account of the fact that so far every suicide-terrorist plotting to take down an American plane has been a radical Muslim man. It is not racism or bigotry to argue that the prevention of Islamist terrorism necessitates a heightened focus on Muslim travelers.

Of course most Muslims are not violent jihadis, but all violent jihadis are Muslim. "This nation," President Bush has said, "is at war with Islamic fascists." How much longer will we tolerate an aviation security system that pretends, for reasons of political correctness, not to know that?
'Nuff said (source)

((You can read Sage daily at A Sage Moment))

Democrats Learn Lessons From Aztec History

Guest Post by Sage



CALPULALPAN, Mexico- Skeletons found at an unearthed site in Mexico show that Aztecs captured, ritually sacrificed and partially ate several hundred people traveling with invading Spanish forces in 1520.

Skulls and bones from the Tecuaque archaeological site near Mexico City show that about 550 victims had their hearts ripped out by Aztec priests in ritual offerings, and were dismembered or had their bones boiled or scraped clean, experts say.

The priests and town elders sometimes ate their victim’s hearts or their cooked flesh. On hearing of the massacre, Cortes renamed the town Tecuaque-meaning “where people were eaten” in the indigenous Nahuatl language-and sent an army to wipe out its people.

Okay, how does this relate to the Dems learning history you ask? Well if you go against their ideas as Lieberman did with his stance on the Iraqi war, then you find yourself in the proverbial cooking pot. They attacked him, they are attacking Hiliary now but with not as much gusto, maybe because her skin is tougher, I don’t know.

And can anyone imagine what kind of a “picnic” they would have if one of their own went from the dark side and opposed Roe vs. Wade??!! They would be standing in line at the “soup kitchen” for that turncoat.

Disagree with me all you want, but it’s obvious that the Democratic Party does eat their own.

‘Nuff said.

((You can read Sage daily at A Sage Moment))

ONE OF THOSE DAYS

Guest Post by Sage

Ever have one of those days when you just don’t feel like facing the traffic, facing the doldrums, facing the boss.

You just want to keep hitting that "snooze" button until the clock breaks?

Of course you do, we all do, what is the answer?

Call in to work with a case of a new malady..."anal Glaucoma!!" Everything else has already been taken like the car won’t start, the clock didn’t work on time, you had to go to your child’s school to meet with the Principal...ad nauseam, ad Infinitum. All used so many times before that they hold as much water as a sieve.

Remember…Anal Glaucoma...it's so new that they will be scratching their heads at work long enough for you to get a couple of day out of it.

‘Nuff said.

Caption It...

Guest post by Sage

Okay folks,
Caption this. Can't wait to see what Id and Zelda have to say lol.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Context? We Aint Got No Context...

Guest Post by Voolfie

One of the most penetrating and trenchant insights of the last five years was by Douglas W. Kmiec in a 2004 review of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 in National Review.

Mr. Kmiec writes,

"...Moore's political fulmination offers up a nominal truth so shorn of context as to be rendered utterly false."

The brilliance of this is that it forcefully points out something that many who like to comment on current affairs, either never knew, have forgotten or are purposely ignoring - namely, the importance of context in a discussion of "facts".

This ought not be a tricky idea, but for people with an agenda, context which could diminish (or, on the other hand amplify) the emotional ‘punch’ of a particular statistic can be discarded to suit the ends of whoever is talking.

A large factor in this, sadly, is that the American people’s attention span is such that there is frequently no time for context in the fifteen or thirty-second sound bites which today pass for reasoned discourse.

Nevertheless, without context there can be no understanding - and without understanding, there can be no good decisions.

A brief example: If I tell you that Mrs. Smith died today, leaving four children - you may respond with sadness and even shock at this tragedy. If, however, I then tell you that Mrs. Smith was 108 years old, had been in ill health for several years and that her children are all in their seventies, you would likely have a different response than your first one.

Now if you read the newspaper or watch the news you’ve no doubt heard certain people say we need to get out of Iraq. When queried as to why this is, they will often make the statement, "We've lost 2500 soldiers in Iraq!"

Is this true? Yes. Is this bad? Yes. But without context you will never know how bad. Without knowing how bad, you cannot make an intelligent decision regarding a proper course of action. Its weight and import as a fact are dependent on its context.

So, what is the context that we’re missing? Is it the weather we had at the time these soldiers were lost? (NOTE: I use "soldier" as a generic term, I am not ignoring or downplaying the efforts and sacrifices of marines, sailors or airmen) Is it the color clothing they were wearing? Is it their political affiliation? No. The only context that makes any sense is the military and historical context of their deaths. Only by comparing their loss with similar losses in similar situations can we measure ‘how bad’ these losses are.

To that end, please consider some other facts which can reasonably be compared to the one at issue in order to give us the proper context:

We’ve lost twenty-five hundred personnel in three and a half years of combat in Iraq. However...

-We lost 116,000 soldiers in under a year during WWI.

-We lost an average of around 12,000 soldiers every month during WWII.

-We lost 2,500 soldiers in just eight hours at Normandy in 1944

-We lost 19,000 soldiers on Okinawa in three months in 1945

-We lost over 13,000 soldiers a year during the Korean conflict.

-We lost an average of 5,000 soldiers per year for the ten years from 1964 through 1973 in Vietnam.

-We lost roughly 3,000 civilians in about three hours as a result of the 9/11 atrocity.

-We lost about 5,000 soldiers during training accidents between 1981 and 1989

When these facts are placed side-by-side with the fact of our losses in Iraq, it becomes quite clear that, while tragic as every lost life is, we are doing damned well at keeping our people safe over there.

We are not suffering catastrophic losses and while we should constantly strive to improve the safety of our people, we can and should stay there as the Iraqis pick themselves up and put their country back together.

"Facts", devoid of context are just statistics. And we all remember the old saw that there are, "lies, damned lies and statistics". Just piling up statistics to support an argument is not sound logically.

There are gravely important issues to resolve. We do ourselves no small disservice by just tossing out statistics without considering them thoroughly.

I consider this such an important topic that as time goes by I'll revisit it whenever the "discussion" of an issue seems to lack important context.

((You can read Voolfie daily at The Further Adventures of Silence DoGood))

Anniversaries: Meaningful and Political.

Guest Post by Salt1907

As I am sure you have heard by now, today is the one year anniversary of the breaking of the levee in New Orleans that led to the destruction of the city. The MSM is making the most of this anniversary because it allows them to fulfill their daily quota of rehashed accusations against George Bush. I hardly ever watch the morning news programs, but already I have heard more than I care to about Katrina in the last few days. The networks have spent as much time flogging the Katrina anniversary as they have discussing the ongoing Hurricane in Florida.

In contrast to the MSM treatment of Hurricane Katrina, the MSM hardly mentions terrorist anniversaries. While we expect to hear grudging tributes to the victims of 9-11 in couple of weeks, we never hear about the anniversary of so many other attacks that led up to 9-11. I have never heard the MSM note the anniversary of the African embassy bombings in 1998, the attack on the USS Cole or the first WTC bombing in 1993. Last year was the perfect opportunity to remember the 20th anniversary of the TWA hijacking or the Achille Lauro. Instead all we hear are crickets.

Each of these anniversaries would remind us that terrorism did not start with George Bush. More importantly, they would remind us that terrorism started prior to the Iraq war. Because each anniversary commemoration would tend to prove that terrorism was not caused by Bush' invasion of Iraq, the MSM remains silent. Even though these anniversaries are crucial for Americans to place the war in context and understand the growing danger from Iran and other states, the MSM remains silent for
political purposes. Here is the chronology I presented in August 2005:

(1) Global terrorism occurred many times over the past thirty or more years.

(2) We began to fight back, including the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq.

(3) The MSM/DNC began a relentless campaign to reverse the order of #1 and #2 in the minds of the public. That is a very difficult task. Judging from the last election, this strategy has worked with only 47% of the voters.

The MSM has become a political organization, more interested in the preservation of the Democratic party than in real facts that place current events in context.

((Salt Can be found daily at The Cassandra Page))

Katrina Reflection: What Lessons Learned?

Quick post from ALa

There has been so much I have wanted to write since I've been down here in beautiful, sunny (but still a little to crowded this time of year) Outer Banks, NC... BUT, Sprint lied to us and our high speed card does not work "anywhere in the country". Our connection here is 15X slower than dial up. It took me almost two hours to get Nimbus' post from my email, upload a picture for it and post it yesterday. Needless to say, unless a small technical miracle occurs this will be the last time you hear from me until Sunday...

But, I did feel like I needed to say something about the one year anniversary of Katrina...and in perfect succession to the guest post yesterday:

For all those that champion socialized medicine or just those in dire health care straits (like The Man and I) who wonder if a national health care would be better than nothing --look to New Orleans one year ago and take it as a shining example that government (on the city, state and federal level) can't really handle anything efficiently.

'They' say that we have anniversaries and study history to learn from our mistakes --that is the only lesson I see learned from this disaster: remember that is the American citizens that are resilient and resourceful and the government bloated and wasteful. Well, that and evacuate when you're told to...

Good luck rebuilding, New Orleans – I look forward to finally getting to visit the Big Easy... (even if Mayor Nagin wants it strictly "chocolate")

Caption It...



(H/T: AB)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Health Care: The New Oxymoron?

Guest Post by Mr. Nimbus

In Vermont, there is a pretty amusing colloquialism that describes the state of an object when it self destructs in a big way.

You say that it "shit the bed".

When I first heard the term, I was struck by the hilarity and inappropriateness of it. Since then, it has become a huge part of my lexicon, as well as a phrase of choice when highly specialized systems suddenly give up the ghost for no reason at all.

So what does this have to do with the health care system in the US?

I'll get to that.

Recently, I went through the rather pleasant experience of major abdominal surgery. It seems that my appendix, a benign evolutionary throwback with no real function, apparently decided to become something other than a benign evolutionary throwback with no real function.

The net result?

After 43 years of peaceful coexistence, my appendix shit the bed.

The physical experience, as lousy as it was, paled in comparison to the realization of how financially unprepared I was to handle a major medical crisis. You see, when I was presented with the reams of gotcha's, deductibles and percentages that make up my health plan, which I pay out the nose for, I just did not appreciate the full ramification of the 10% coinsurance deductible or the yearly family deductible.

OK - "not appreciate" is too kind of a term. Perhaps "could not afford" would be a much better way to describe it. As it was, to buy into the next range of coverage would have doubled my already astronomical premiums. Even there, the deductible and coinsurance was only slightly reduced.

It wasn't always this way. In fact, I remember just a few years back when I felt my family could weather any medical crisis, that is, from a financial perspective. I mean - isn't that why we all hand over our hard earned cash to the insurance companies? Back in the glory years of managed health care, the hospital only charged about $20 per kid, copays for drugs were almost nonexistent and office visits were about 5 bucks a pop.

All in all, not a bad setup, and nearly worth every penny that that was doled out every week.

Then something changed.

Over the last 12 years, I have been working primarily for Fortune 50 companies. At first it was real simple, there were three types of medical plans: The cheapy plan for 20 something's who did not have kids, the well balanced plan for those who did and the executive plan, for those who could afford it. As time progressed, I watched as those 3 simple plans grew into confusing hydra of choices that dealt with primary care physicians, specialists, referrals, in/out networks rates, fixed copays, percentage copays and the most evil word in the English language: deductible.

If Ambrose Bierce were alive today, I am sure that his "Devil's Dictionary" entry for deductible would read :

Deductible - The art of giving nothing for something..

Now some of you might be thinking that it's not about recouping the piddly amount of money you contribute every month - it's all about being covered when a major medical crisis happens.

That is what I believed - until this year when I found out the hard way that I was within inches of having a hospital garnish my wages simply because the health insurance industry has been increasing the amount of small print on policies and reducing the amount of coverage that they actually provide, while, jacking up prices that exponentially exceed the rate of inflation.

Somewhere along the line, the insurance industry figured out that providing an infrastructure that allowed the best medical care was not very good for corporate profits. Hospitals figured out that quick patient turnaround was the only way to cut losses. Doctors figured out that they were fighting a losing battle on either front, so they caved in and entered into super practices, which maximized profit, reduced
malpractice rates, reduced beeper time and all but guaranteed that a patient would never see the same doctor twice.

And, no Virginia, this is not the result of evil illegal aliens driving up costs or lawyers suing the pants off of the insurance industry. Hospital administrators and health care executives (and believe me, there is no shortage of them) are still making more money than god.

This is the result of profiteering in a field that was borne out of mercy, care and the highest aspirations of humanity.

In short, what we have here is a system that is cutting costs at the expense of the patients well being; where bean counters with business degrees are making medical decisions that doctors are obligated to follow if they want to get paid; where everyone wants to send patients home before they are ready to go; where claim number snafu's hold up tests or worse deny them; where doctors treat people like pieces of
meat; and finally,where people are just as likely to die from corporate mismanagement and poor communication as as they are from surgical complications.

In my humble opinion, the health care system in our country, from the most experienced doctor to the lowliest claims adjuster has, in essence, shit the bed.

What are the alternatives? Well, there is socialized medicine, which works great for preventative care and emergency care, but really sucks when one needs treatment for conditions that are not life threatening. Additionally, people have died after their "non life threatening" condition has gone untreated under the socialized systems. Some states, like Vermont, are setting health initiatives, but, history has shown
time and again that government programs usually provide very little relief for all of their citizens.

To me, it comes down to is this: Can a health system actually run as a nonprofit that is staffed by medical professionals as opposed to a capitalist venture where stockholder dividends and quarterly profits are much more important than the actual business of providing patient care?

Considering the diverse opinions that are represented on a daily basis on this blog, I would be very interested to see what people think.

Extra points will be granted to those who can avoid the terms liberal or neocon. For this post, I want us to have a dialogue as Americans who are concerned over the state of our health system, not as ideologues looking for a reason to slam a political party or candidate.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Planetary Mnemonics (Witty Commenters Needed)

Guest Post by Courtney

"My very excellent mother just served us nine pancakes."

Well, what do we do now?



The reclassification of Pluto from a major planet in the solar system to a dwarf planet has left the scientific and educational communities in turmoil. Aside from this revelation, which have left many of us scratching our heads, and muttering, "well, what IS it?", textbook companies, and software engineers are now scrambling to make revisions. And then there are the kids, who for years had the wonderful aforementioned mnemonic to help the remember the order of the the planets in our solar system.

For Ben Kranner, 13, of Madison, Wis., one fewer planet will require a new planetary mnemonic device. " 'My very excellent mother just served us nine pancakes' will become 'My very excellent mother just served us nine. . .," he said. "It doesn't make any sense." (source)

Well, Ben, I have the answer.

A caption contest for the new mnemonic. That's right folks, I'm leaving it for you to help the teachers and tutors of the world over find a new way to remember 8 simple things.� If Kottke can have one, well, having seen the immense talent of the captioners who visit this site, I'm sure you all can come up with SOME WAY to remember round things. Uranus jokes encouraged.

((Courtney can be found daily at her "Midvale School for the Gifted"))

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Parting Question...

By the time you read this, I will be making the eight hour drive to North Carolina with boys in tow and The Man not coming until Monday... I will have the laptop with me and will be checking in, but as of tomorrow I am turning over the keys to all those that graciously agreed to guest post.



However, I do have one last question before I attempt to relax:

Why is the United States (i.e. President Bush) pledging $50 MILLION dollars to Lebanon?

If the Lebanese people love Hezbollah because they "take care of them" so much, than let Hezbollah finance the rebuilding. It's their fault it's destroyed anyway -
So they can fight from civilian areas, NOT be disarmed as was promised and then have 50 MILLION in American tax dollars to rebuild?

What message are we trying to send here? Why don't all the rich Arab countries that don't recognize Israel's right to exist step up?

And before anyone says it -yes, the civilians SHOULD have to suffer for Hezbollah's acts. They supported them and elected them to their government. Now they have to deal with the fallout or get them out.

Ok, now that that's off my chest I can go in peace. Have a great week everyone -and be nice and post lots of comments for the guest writers!!!

Airport Bomb Scare Turns Up a Penis Pump

Twenty-nine year old Madin Azad Amin wanted to hide his penis pump from his mom so bad that he was willing to take the rap for having a bomb...

"...guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors said.

When officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto.

He later told officials he'd lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he didn't want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump, Scaduto said.

He's been charged with felony disorderly conduct, said Andrew Conklin, a spokesman with the Cook County state's attorney's office." (source)

Amin shouldn't be ashamed.

I'm going to give you guys something you'll never get on another conservative site --a bit of a "sex toy" lesson. The lesson is that a penis pump usually isn't an item of pleasure, but a necessity for men that have had heart and blood pressure problems. I used to think that pumps were for fanciful men that actually believed it could "enhance" their God-given equipment. About a year ago a good friend told me how these pumps have saved dignity and marriages by allowing men that could no longer sustain erections to keep one. They pull the blood that has stopped going ‘there’ for one reason or another and the man then "seals" it in with a rubber ring. Wah-lah! Man happy and wife happy...

As a conservative I am all for happy marriages --so if these little devises help achieve that...pump away! ;)

Third Trimester Update:

Well, AB (My little sis -also a commenter here for the new folk) is now in her third trimester already with only 7 weeks to go until baby M_____ arrives (I'm not allowed to blab her name yet). She did let me pick the middle name -with veto power of course ;)



As you can see she looks huge... I was thinking maybe it's because she's still so skinny everywhere else. I don't know how her skin can possibly stretch 7 more weeks worth...
Random strangers tell her "Congratulations" that "she's having twins" --even the girl at the Maternity store thought she was having twins.

The 3-D/4-D ultrasound showed one baby girl. So as far as we know there is no second baby, but the other night her doctor told her she was "measuring big".
Now you have to know that she always teases her hubby for having a big head and now she's getting paranoid. She's worried the baby's head will esure a C-section.
She's mad because I've been doodling pictures of the impending baby and e-mailing them to her at work...;) LOL

What Superhero Are You?

I wanted to be Storm...oh well.

You Are Superman

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
And pretty cute too. No wonder you're the most popular superhero ever!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Morning After Pill: One Conservative's Opinion



I hate to stand with Planned Parenthood and Hillary here, but I'm okay with the FDA decision to allow "Plan B" to be sold OTC. I didn't have time to peruse through other right/conservative sites, so I don't know if I'm a minority opinion here...

Despite all the best efforts by well-meaning abstinence educators -we have millions of "unwanted pregnancies" in the United States each year and that number translates into millions of abortions. I would rather see women take the overdose of progesterone before the embryo attaches to the uterine wall and becomes viable than after when it would need to be sucked from her womb limb by limb. Though I am very pro-life, I'm not a subscriber to the "every sperm is sacred" theory...

I don't buy the argument being offered by "conservative groups" that this pill will "encourage promiscuity". (If I moved somewhere that allowed prostitution and heroin I still wouldn't partake in either...the fact that it was legal wouldn't change my own convictions.)

Here's the thing though, this decision better drastically decrease those abortion statistics. It's easy, cheap, convenient and women will have NO excuse to have abortions when they could have handled their business in a less barbaric manner...

(*Remember: The "Morning After Pill" and the "Abortion Pill" (RU-486) are very different drugs -Plan B will not end a pregnancy, just prevent one.*)

Islam Despises Women: Example #3,496

The "Hudood Ordinance", passed 27 years ago in Pakistan, is based on Shari'a law:

"The Hudood Ordinance criminalizes all extra-marital sex. Even when the woman claims that she was raped and not involved in adultery, she must have four pious male witnesses to prove rape, but only Muslim men can testify in cases involving Muslim women (non-Muslim rape victims may also produce four non-Muslim male witnesses). But if four witnesses are not provided by the woman but rape is proved by other means (e.g medical evidence) then the jury can punish the accused according to the Pakistani penal court.[1] For married couples, the punishment for adultery is death by stoning but this has never been carried out. Unmarried people receive 100 lashes.

This ordinance has sometimes been misused against rape victims if they are not able to provide four male witnesses, however the extent to which this occurs is currently disputed. In certain situations, the alleged rapist accuses the raped woman of confessing to consensual intercourse."


Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is attempting to rewrite these laws, but is meeting fierce opposition by the Mullahs of the religion of peace.

"...It also sets no minimum age for sex with girls, saying only that they should have reached puberty. A powerful militant Muslim lobby regards this code as sacred and based on Koranic texts and shari’a law. No previous Pakistani leader, not even the country's first female leader, Benazir Bhutto, dared reform it.

But Gen Musharraf's allies in parliament sparked the fury of the militant opposition by introducing a Women Protection Bill. This would remove the requirement for four male witnesses to prove rape and set 16 as the age of consent for sex with girls.

When this measure came before parliament, Islamic radicals responded by tearing up copies of the bill and storming out. "This bill is against the Holy Koran," said Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of the militant opposition. "We reject it and will try to block it in any possible manner." Other MPs chanted "death to Musharraf" and "Allah is great." (source)

They are that mad over the age being moved to 16? Is Islam the religion of pedophilia and peace? I guess so since a top leader said this reform was "an attack on Islam"...

These women must all suffer from Stockholm Syndrome to remain in this "religion".

When Conservatives Talk Too Much...

This is the actual transcript of a traffic stop in Largo, Florida:

Officer: Sir you are being cited for speeding which is the reason why I was stopping you to begin with for going 55 in a 40, you're also going to be cited (non-moving) for stereo loud, audible over 25 feet away. Need you to sign here for the speed please.

Driver: You are a very shameful person you know that. You're a liar. I'm saying it just like this.

Officer: OK sir, sign the citation please.

Driver: You're a liar. You're thing about ...

Officer: Sign the citation.

Driver: That's for kids who listen to rock and roll, or listen to rap music I was listening to Bill O'Reilly, OK.

Officer: Bill O'Reilly doesn't fall under that statute.

Driver: No, I was trying to hear.

Officer: Sign the citation please.

Driver: I wasn't trying to let everybody else hear my radio I was trying to hear it myself. You're a shameful person.

Officer: OK sign the citation please.

Driver: You're a donut-eater and you will rot in hell, for lying. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Officer: Sign the second one also.

Driver: You should be ashamed of yourself, but you're not because you have the nature of a person, an animal, and the kind of animal I'm referring to, is probably, you don't want to hear about, but I'm sorry you have to hear about it. It's a swine. It's a swine.

Officer: You have thirty days to take care of both the citations. Buckle up and slow down. Make sure you get your registration in the car. (source)

I'm not even sure what to add to this story... except that when you watch the video of the traffic stop, the guy doesn't sound old.

(H/T: Liz)

United Abominations

The Man hates that I like Megadeth, but I am feeling pretty vindicated...

Dave Mustaine (heavy metal band Megadeth's lead singer) said their new album, set for release in 2007, will be called "United Abominations":

"..."I was watching TV and saw the trucks that said 'UN' on them and said, 'Man, you are so uncool, ineffective, anything," the singer/guitarist said in a recent Billboard interview.

"I thought, 'Wow, I've got to run with this. I got it -- United Abominations, 'cause it's an abomination what they're doing!' "

The longtime bane of American conservatives, the United Nations has been criticized for its slow responses to humanitarian crises in hot spots such as Darfur and Rwanda. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan recently expressed frustration that the group took so long to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon." (source)

Is Mustaine a conservative? I have no idea and I don't much care --it shouldn't take a conservative to recognize the ever-growing ineffectiveness of this organization...

Never-the-less, I'll be buying the CD even if it sucks...

(H/T: Liz)

Calling All Potential Guest-Posters:

Just a reminder to everyone that was interested in guest posting to get those articles in to me as soon as you can (all the new Powerline readers that are interested in submitting a guest post for use in the next week are welcome to do so!)

Right now the left-leaning volunteers are outweighing the conservatives --so some of you right-leaning thinkers need to step up and help even the score... I don't want to appear too fair and balanced. ;)

Please send me the posts via email so I can make sure that they all don't go up on one day.

I will be leaving for OBX tomorrow morning so anytime you wanna send them over is great! (hint, hint...)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

ACLU: NSA Wiretapping & War Deserters...

For those of you that haven't heard --The decision of Detroit-based U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, that the NSA wiretapping is illegal, has been brought to new light. She is being charged with a conflict of interest. The case was brought by the ACLU and (go figure) Taylor is an ACLU contributor... She has given the ACLU at least $125,000.

"...Questions about a possible conflict of interest appear likely to raise new concerns. The Web site for the group that supported the A.C.L.U., the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan in Detroit, lists Judge Taylor as its secretary and a trustee. It indicates that trustees make all financing decisions for the organization, whose assets exceed $350 million and which gives grants for a variety of community projects.

Judge Taylor declined to comment on the matter on Tuesday, and the foundation did not respond to a message for comment on what role if any she had in awarding the civil liberties grants." (Source)

I feel bad for the left'o'sphere --first the very public humiliation after the cancellation of "Fitzmas" and now this impending deflation...
(More at Stop the ACLU)

The ACLU, who has also taken up for NAMBLA, has taken another pressing cause - War Deserter Ehren Watada. Because the civil rights of sexual predators and war deserters should be what is taking precedence in this day and age...

This from the Washington chapter of the ACLU's website:

"In a military justice case that has drawn wide attention, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is backing the free speech rights of a soldier facing court martial for refusing to serve in the war in Iraq. The ACLU today submitted a friend-of-the-court brief contending that Lt. Ehren Watada should not be punished for his public statements expressing legal and moral objections to the war in Iraq.

The military is holding a hearing on August 17 to determine whether to go forward with court martial proceedings against Watada. The ACLU takes no position on his challenge to the lawfulness of the orders to report for duty in Iraq.

“Soldiers should not be court-martialed for explaining their views on important political issues when doing so does not adversely affect military functioning. Lt. Watada was exercising his free speech rights as a citizen in a democratic society,” said Kathleen Taylor, Executive Director of the ACLU of Washington." (source)

How is violation of a contract a civil rights issue?
(More at Stop the ACLU)

(*Watada Photo Credit: Sanctuary)

My Wal-Mart Change of Heart

I've never really shopped at Wal-Mart. It wasn't any political statement -more of a vestige of my childhood when shopping was limited to Sears & Clover... And, a secret most moms haven't seemed to discover, you can get big named brand items at a consignment shop cheaper than K-Mart/Wal-Mart clothes (that get weird the first time you wash them) anyway.

But I always wondered what the big debate over Wal-Mart was. The fact that every liberal I know is against them always baffled me...?

I read a Harvard report about them (sorry that I can't find it to reference) that said when Wal-Mart comes into a small town it's almost the equivalent of each person in that town getting a 20% raise. Also that there had been comparison studies and Wal-Mart pays a very competitive wage in those towns with better benefits than most places of business. The left complains that Wal-Mart tells big companies what they will charge customers for their products and they don't agree the store won't carry the item.

So shouldn't the left love Wal-Mart --wouldn't it seem that they are the first huge cooperation that actually does fight for the poor people (an estimated 30% of Wal-Mart customers don't even have checking accounts)?

Given all this information I have read, I have to assume that all the complaints consist of smoke and mirrors --and the real reason is that Wal-Mart won't unionize.

So I decided that I will try to shop at Wal-Mart whenever I can. I went yesterday and bought all the boy's back-to-school stuff. (And, on a friend's advise bought the "Sam's Choice" brand Bean and White Corn Salsa and she was right --it was the best Salsa ever...)

Neighbors From Hell...

I was really disgusted when I heard this story on the news yesterday afternoon...

A 14 year old boy has been charged and brought before a judge for meowing at his neighbor. (Don't you want to live in that town if that's all the cops have to do with their time?!)

The neighbor from hell, Alexandria Carasia, is a crotchety 78 year old woman who complained so much about the young boy's cat "using her flower garden as a litter box" that his parents gave the cat away. He is charged with meowing when he saw her after that. In my opinion, an appropriate response from a young teen.

"...Sally Loughner told the court that she ended up sending her cat to live with family members so that she could "keep peace in the neighborhood."

Defense attorney David Martin Jr. asked that the case be dropped. "This should never have been filed," Martin said. "This is not something that police should be wasting their time with or wasting the court's time."

The judge heard from both parties Tuesday. He decided to wait 90 days before ruling, saying he'll decide what to do after seeing how the boy and his neighbor get along in the meantime." (source)

Liz, who posts here, has her own crotchety neighbor from hell, but unfortunately for her he's not a 78 year old woman, but a big thuggish Carp Union boss. He has done some despicable things to her (a grown man constantly harassing a single mom) and last night we were trying to come up with legal things she could do to annoy him (she's tried being the overly-nice neighbor to no avail). I suggested a huge "Lynn Swann for Governor" sign which would annoy Carp-Boy on two levels: Swann’s opponent is the bought and paid for Union candidate and her neighbor is a racist...

Any suggestions for dealing with neighbor trouble –or anyone disagree with me and think the "meowing" is worthy of a court date?

Time Honored Tear-Jerkers



Yesterday I was thinking about movies that make me cry no matter how many times I watch them. I was thinking of this because my oldest has never cried, no matter how sad the movie. I even rented Old Yeller to no avail (he told me it just "burns in his throat") Now, what you need to know about me is that I cry VERY easily when I watch movies --I think it's because I rarely ever cry in real life...

Here's my List:

Man On Fire (Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning)
Stella (Bette Midler)
Stepmom (Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon)
Iron Giant
Charlotte's Web
Harry and the Hendersons (John Lithgow)
Turner & Hooch (Tom Hanks)
Rudy (Sean Astin)
Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood, Hillary Swank)

So, What movies make you tear up or actually cry (happy or sad cry) over and over?

Caption it...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Is This My Debra LaFave?



This is one of those 'penance' posts I feel the need to write every so often...

I gave the men here a lot of grief about defending that hot little blonde teacher that had sex with her 13 year old student. It was the first time the comments here were split down gender instead of party lines. The women said it was still molestation and Debra Lafave was a sexual predator, but most of the men said it was different and they wish they would have been that 13 year old boy. I'll be honest, I was disgusted.

Yesterday I read the story about the 36 year old Shotokan Karate Sensei in Florida that was arrested for allegedly "having an affair" with a 16 year old student. I looked up his school's website and read through it. He had been an MP in the Army, he started after school programs to keep kids out of trouble and boot camp programs, he's been teaching since 1988 without one complaint, he travels to Japan and learns from the monks, and his referral page is more than impressive....and... he's really nice looking.

My first thought --there is no way he did this. And I don't think he did. It doesn't fit. It sounds like a girl had a crush on him and is being vindictive because he didn't respond.

...But I realize that it was his resume and possibly his looks that verified my initial thoughts. So was the double standard about Debra LaFavre less about the fact that she was a woman and more about the fact that she was a cute woman? And if so, can I be disgusted with you guys if I find myself believing the Sensei...?

John Mark Karr: Alabama's Marriage Laws

More disturbing to me than the (IMO) fabricated JonBonet confession from John Mark Karr is the fact that he legally married a 13 year old and then a 16 year old in Alabama. Now, I don't want to stir up North vs. South contentions --but this sort of thing may be why we Yanks have some misgivings about you folks in the South... ;)

From the Alabama "marriage license information" site:

Proxy Marriages: No.
Cousin Marriages: Yes. (*ahem*)
Common Law Marriages: Yes.
Same Sex Marriages: No.

Under 18:
If either of you are under 18, you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate. Both parents must be present with identification, or if you have a legal guardian they must be present with a court order and identification.

The state also requires a $200 bond to be executed, payable to the State of Alabama. If one or both parents are deceased, proper evidence of such must be provided. Individuals under the age of 14 may not marry. (source)

I don't know about ya'll, but I'd much rather see same sex marriages than 14 year old marriages and "cousin marriages"... but what do I know, none of my cousins are very attractive...

Bin Laden's Nubian Secret

So, despite the NYT claims that Kola Boof didn't really exist, the Sudanese author and self-proclaimed former mistress of the religiously pious Osama Bin Laden released her memoirs in hardback yesterday:

Diary of a Lost Girl: The Autobiography Of Kola Boof

After a quick browse through the well-written book, it would seem that terrorist extraordinaire UBL doesn't practice what he preaches... I guess 5 wives and 24 children wasn't enough to maculate him.

"... While he's still alive and could reasonably have her killed, Kola Boof charges that because she is "Black Arab", Bin Laden saw her as a "non-woman" and used her body accordingly, keeping her against her will for six months in 1996 and implanting tracking devices in her teeth to keep her from escaping. Boof says that a recent book by Bin Laden's sister-in-law Carmen only demonstrates how he treated White Arab Muslim women in his own family. Boof's 441 page autobiography is decidedly literary and contains over 90 detailed pages of her time with Bin Laden, including hunting and fishing excursions with the terror chief, very graphic details about their sex life, Bin Laden's gift for writing poetry, his marijuana smoking and his reputed illnesses (Boof claims that Ayman Al-Zawahri acted as Bin Laden's doctor and that his "kidney disease" is greatly exaggerated)." (source)

I guess his minions overlook the fact that he requires devoutness from them that he can't manage to muster for himself.

(It seems that the veracity of Boof's story is one of the things being disputed at Wikipedia)

Why Go to College?

Can you believe if you Google Air Guitar Championships more than ten pages of results come up? There is actually a "US Air Guitar logo?!



This from the website:

"..US Air Guitar is the official air guitar association of the United States and is responsible for operating the US Air Guitar Championships, official Regional events and specialized championships such as the Collegiate Tour.

US Air Guitar is devoted to taking our nation's unofficial pastime out of the bedroom and putting it up on the world stage. US Air Guitar has an alliance with the World Air Guitar Association and each year sends the US Air Guitar Champion to compete for the world title in Oulu, Finland.

Founded in 2003, the US Air Guitar Championships have grown into a major national event that reaches more cities, fans and competitors every year." (source)

So, kids, put away the college loan papers and pick up your air guitar... You may be able to make a living not playing an instrument of you win the Air Guitar World Championship.

Wow, this kinda makes D&D and karaoke seem cool...

(H/T: JustRose)

Class Action Law Suits

Aside from flat-out insurance fraud, class action suits are a big contributor to the insane insurance prices... I am sure there are worthwhile suits out there --I believe my grandfather was involved in one against U.S. Steel (and he does have asbestosis), but I think when all was said and done he got like 40 bucks.

Most C.A. suits I read about (i.e. against the tobacco companies) seem like thinly guised get-rich-quick endeavors.

For the past few weeks I keep seeing a recruiting add for a class action suit against the manufacturers of ACE (Angiotensin-converting-enzyme) inhibitors. The commercial (run by a local law firm) asks if you were taking ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure during your first trimester of Pregnancy. If you were call them...you could sue. And your baby could have heart and brain defects.

Now here's the thing. I'm not saying I don't have sympathy for babies born with defects -whether from the drug or not, but every women I know realizes doctors aren't the Amazing Kreskin and most mothers feel bad popping a Tylenol for a migraine while they're pregnant. I didn't know I was pregnant with Ninja until I was almost three months (first trimester)...so would I have been eligible to sue? The doctor should have known when I didn't? Is the doctor supposed to ignore your blood pressure (that's so bad during your child-bearing years that you need to be on meds) and have you sue him for that too when you end up with a heart condition and lose the baby?

Sorry, this was one of my yelling at the TV moments and I had to vent...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Savagely Succinct

Hate him or love him, Michael Savage said something so right on last night I haven't been able to get it out of my head (and my gut).
Now, you all know I am not normally in the habit of regurgitating what talk show hosts are saying --but I feel this bears repeating and some serious pondering:

["How can we say to American parents, 'If your boy comes home in a casket, he's a hero. If your boy dies and comes home in a body bag he was a hero, but if your boy shoots first so he doesn't die...we're sending him to Camp Pendleton and charging him with murder'."]

***In related news: The 'Camp Pendleton 8' are "charging the hill" by asking to waive pre-trials and go right to trial. Of course the NYT, who is no friend of the United States military, is speculating the marines hid or destroyed evidence in the case.

Amnesty International Doing Something Worthwhile...



I know, I'm sure AI does many worthwhile things...but I only ever seem to read about their involvement with things dangerously close to politics --things that should jeopardize their tax-exempt status...

But, I like to give credit where it's due and right now AI is fighting for the rights of a Chinese anti-abortion activist who has been under house arrest since September 2005 for questioning China's "one child" rule, mandatory late-term abortion and forced sterilization practices.

"...[Blind activist Chen Guangcheng] had accused officials in Shandong of breaking family planning laws in their enforcement of the one-child policy.

Before the trial, three lawyers connected to his case were arrested, but two have now been released. One of them, Li Fangping, told the BBC that Mr Chen had been represented, against his will, by two state-appointed lawyers in the closed-door proceedings.

His wife told the news agency AFP she had not been allowed to attend the trial, which according to reports lasted about two hours.

The rights group Amnesty International said Mr Chen's rights were being denied and he was not getting a fair trial.

"It is Chen Guangcheng's fundamental right to have the lawyers of his choice and to have family members attend his trial," said Corinna-Barbara Francis from Amnesty International. "Their attitude epitomizes the general pattern of obstruction towards human rights lawyers in China."

He had accused local health workers in Linyi city of forcing people to have late-term abortions or sterilizations in order to enforce the one-child policy.

His allegations were covered in the international media, including an article in Time Magazine which claimed some 7,000 people had been sterilized against their will in Shandong. In 2006, the magazine named Mr Chen as one of the world's 100 most influential people for exposing the problem...." (source)

It's nice to see funds allocated to protect human rights actually being used to do so and not wasted on worrying about the fat content of the mango chicken at GITMO.

"Wiki Wars"

Though I love Wikipedia and use it often, I recognize the downfall of a site that can be edited by anyone... Back when I directed your attention to the entry about Iraqi man allegedly killed by U.S. Marines, and the fact that Wikipedia said the Marines had killed him -no use of the words "accused" or "allegedly" I began to wonder how the site is regulated. (BTW, it was awesome how someone went in and edited that entry with a quickness...)

Now with the November elections creeping closer it seems the blog wars have seeped over and become editing wars:

"... Along with blogs, meetups and other `Net innovations, 2006 is featuring full-scale "Wiki wars," as partisans from right and left edit candidate information on Wikipedia biographical entries to gain political advantage at the popular reference site.

Candidates across the country have been caught doctoring their own entries, erasing politically embarrassing facts and spinning their positions on issues. But their political opponents also change information online, straining Wikipedia's strength as a reliable resource.

"Our primary goal is neutrality," said Wayne Saewyc, a Wikipedia spokesman in Vancouver, British Columbia. "In election years especially, people don't want the articles to be neutral."

Wikipedia is more popular online than Disney, Wal-Mart and ESPN. And as more people view it, its offerings grow more extensive. But its open-source approach creates problems when it is applied to controversial topics, as contributors use sites to push their versions of "the truth."(Read the entire article)

This may be the healthiest way to record history though --with contributors from both sides of the aisle and all walks of life keeping checks on each other.

Hidden Cameras Create "I, a Muslim"

A documentary made with a hidden camera that claims to capture the "true feelings of Muslims" caused almost as much angst in the Czech Republic as the Mohammad cartoons...

"...The footage in I, Muslim shows a reporter pretending to be someone interested in converting to Islam. He conducts several conversations with members of the mosque, located in Černý Most, about Islam, Europe, terrorism and the role of women.

Ovečka says he stands behind his choice to use the hidden camera footage.

"I wanted to get real opinions of the local Muslim community on the issue — find out what the differences are between Czech and foreign Islam," he says.

One Muslim in the documentary compares Islamic terrorists to Jan Palach, the Czech student who committed suicide by setting himself on fire in protest of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Another says Islamic law should be implemented in the Czech Republic, including the death penalty for adultery, Ovečka says.

"I have to say with 100 percent certainty that by using hidden camera I have learned things that I would never have learned otherwise," he says. "The result was alarming, and if not for the hidden camera, I would have never had any of this footage." (source)

This documentary aired back in March, but now a Little Green Footballs reader has made the film available on Google Video.

Click Here to watch "I, a Muslim" (English subtitles).

(H/T: LGF)

Caption It: Murtha Edition...

Monday, August 21, 2006

President Hillary --Is She Picking up Steam?

Of course I won't say anything silly like "I'm leaving the country if Hillary wins"... I'm a pretty optimistic person and a Hillary win, while devastating for the country, would be a endless treasure-trove for conservative bloggers...

A new Time Poll released seems to indicate that it really could happen. In two years the country could have our first woman President.

"... According to the poll - which will hit newsstands tomorrow - Clinton would be the only Dem to make it a real race against GOP favorite Sen. John McCain.

The poll shows a statistical dead heat, with McCain getting 49 percent of the vote to Clinton's 47 percent. The 2-point gap is within the poll's margin of error.

By comparison, McCain would wallop John Kerry by 10 points, and slap former veep Al Gore by 9.

Americans appear to have at long last warmed to Bubba's long-suffering wife. She has the highest favorable rating of big-dog Dems: 53 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of her. That tops Gore at 49 percent, and former Sens. John Edwards and Kerry at 46.

The poll also found that Dems overwhelmingly describe Clinton as a strong leader with strong moral values, while Republicans view her as an opportunist who'd say or do anything to advance her political career." (source)

I inferred from the headline that Hillary was the poll winner --but good news for those that lean to the right, both McCain and Giulianii scored higher despite the MSM telling us that the country is disgusted with the Republican Party.

(**Here's a great OpEd about the 9/11 Republicans and the liberal base succeeding to embolden the right --written by a Left Coast Democrat**)

More on Islamic Child Rearing

Italy is politely calling it the "clash of civilizations"...some call it honor killing, I prefer to think of it as sick and twisted murder. Worse than your run-of-the-mill homicide because families are killing their own children and doing so because they believe there's a God out there twisted enough to require it...

"... Hina Saleem, 21, was reported missing last Saturday by her boyfriend, a 33-year-old Italian carpenter with whom she was living, after a visit to her family. Her relations with them had been strained for years.

She told the manager of the pizzeria where she worked as a waitress that she had been summoned home to meet a cousin who was passing through. Then her mobile phone went dead.

When the Carabinieri broke into the house in the region of Brescia in northern Italy, they found Hina's bedroom spattered with blood. In the garden, buried under a metre of soil and with her jeans and blouse soaked in blood, was the body of the missing girl. Her throat had been slit." (source)

A harsh punishment indeed for refusing to marry her cousin.

Once again I have to ask where all the feminist voices are when it comes to Islam? If any other religion or group was treating women this way --would "America’s foremost feminist thinkers" be so silent...?

Britain Accused of Supplying Hezbollah?

Night vision goggles stamped "Made in Britain" were found in Hezbollah bunkers... Israel. In 2003 Britain sold night vision goggles to Iran to combat "drug smuggling"...but Israel doesn't believe this equipment is from that batch.

"A Department of Trade and Industry official said night-vision equipment of military specification required an export license. The investigation will look into whether any British company might have breached export regulations.

If any of the equipment has been diverted to Hezbollah, it would be a serious embarrassment for the Government. Hezbollah’s “external security”, the military wing of the militant organization, is proscribed as a terrorist group. The Government has also made clear its support for Israel’s struggle with Hezbollah and has approved the transit of bunker-busting bombs and missiles for the Israelis from the US through British airports.

Liam Fox, the Shadow Defense Secretary, said: “If this turns out to be true, and Iran supplied backing for Hezbollah, it will have consequences for any future military exports to Iran. And it points the finger all the more strongly at Iranian involvement in destabilizing the Middle East.” (source)

Do we really need more proof that Iran is a destabilizing force in the Middle East? I thought maybe the continued uranium enrichment might be a tip off...

As for England, every article I read makes the state of affairs there seem worse than the last -- clerics calling for Sharia law, Muslim population thinking of themselves as Muslims and not as Brits, UK Muslims thinking 9/11 and 7/7 was 'deserved', and now voices in U.K. academia saying that dying for your beliefs is just".

(Interesting aside: MS Word has Hezbollah in the spell-check dictionary, but still doesn't have blog...)

No Jail if You Can Throw a Pass...

I can't get this story out of my head... Is it the unbelievable injustice of it? Am I over-empathizing with the mothers? Or just once again stunned with the message our legal system portrays to the country?

"...A judge decided two high school athletes can complete the football season this fall before they serve 60-day jail sentences for a car crash caused by a decoy deer placed in a country road. Two teens were injured.

"I shouldn't be doing this, but I'm going to. I see positive things about participating in football," Judge Gary McKinley said Tuesday.

Dailyn Campbell, a 16-year-old quarterback for Kenton High, and 17-year-old teammate Jesse Howard will serve their time in a juvenile detention center. They were also ordered to write a 500-word essay titled "Why I Should Think Before I Act." (source)

Two high school jocks playing a prank caused one boy permanent brain damage and the other broke his neck, collarbone, arm and leg (I think I read he's had 11 surgeries?)

...But the two that thought making drivers swerve across the road to avoid a fake deer get to finish their football season? Has everyone that dons a black robe lost their collective minds?

Something About Marriage That May Shock You...

Throw away your Prozac and take a stroll down the aisle... Apparently marriage lessens the symptoms of depression!

"...An Ohio State University study indicates that getting married enhances mental health, especially among depressed individuals, Cleveland television station WEWS reported.

Researchers measured symptoms of the blues, such as an inability to sleep or persistent sadness, in more than 3,000 people before and after marriage.

--The study found that symptoms decreased after taking vows.
--The study's authors said they believe that depressed people may have more of a need for intimacy.
--The study found that symptoms decreased after taking vows.
--The study’s authors believe that depressed people may have more of a need for intimacy." (source)

Weighing in, I’d have to say that I am happier now than I was when I was single (though I’ve never been someone that was prone to depression) --I wonder if The Man would say the same... ;)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

PLB Blog of the Week

I want to thanks all the guys over at Powerline Blog and Powerline Blog News (especially John Hinderaker) for the honor of being their "Blog of the Week". They are all great guys that constantly elevate the bar for all political bloggers...

So welcome Powerline readers.

I would publish some brilliant posts to extend some extra special House of Sage hospitality --if my sister's baby shower (that I have painstakingly planned for the past two months) wasn't in two hours...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

When Americans Work Together...

We are amazing when we pull together. After 9/11 citizens poured into lower Manhattan from all over the country. It was regular citizens that took down and subdued would-be shoe-bomber Richard Reed. Citizens from all over the country gave until it hurt after Katrina, and just the other day it was civilian passengers that took down that strange muttering, peeing woman on the flight that was diverted to Boston...

Americans have become so self absorbed talking and texting on cell phones, living in single McMansions with no neighbor interaction and shopping online so that they never have to leave the confines of their house... but on those rare occasions when we engage the world around us incredible things are accomplished:

"...A Philadelphia neighborhood has fought back against crime. Police say it was the quick actions of residents that stopped a teenaged girl from being abducted, and helped put a wanted rapist behind bars.
For a 14-year-old, your own home is supposed to be safe. Friday night at 9:30pm, it was the scene of an attempted abduction. A woman whose identity we're protecting says her daughter and a friend were sitting on a porch swing. A man then jumped their fence and pointed a gun at them.

Mother: "He told my daughter if you don't come with me I'll kill you."

The 14-year-old went with the man and her friend and her sister who were inside the house started screaming. Neighbors like Ken Hyers heard the commotion and came outside.

Ken Hyers\Neighbor: "It wasn't only me the father came out all the neighbors came out we evidently spooked the guy and he let her go."

But Hyers didn't want the man to get away. Hyers followed him to his car parked down the block behind a trailer.

Hyers: 'The guy came out with a gun and said he was going to shoot everyone."

With Townwatch training under his belt, Hyers knew what to do.

Hyers: "I wasn't there to try to grab him or apprehend him. Townwatch information tells you to get information and that's what I did."

The information was so good that police say they apprehended 18-year-old Antoine Mathis down the street. Police noticed similarities between Mathis and a sketch of a suspect wanted for an August 7th sexual assault that occurred a few blocks down on the 200-block of East Comly..." (source)

If we just all agree to bond together to stop pedophilia and terrorism --we actually could change the world...