Friday, November 24, 2006

Wash your hands...

...or else!

A bloody brawl erupted outside a tavern after one customer thought another failed to wash his hands after using the bathroom, according to police.

One man was hospitalized with stab wounds. Another was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

According to a police report, the fight broke out Thursday after Eric Jennings Kisiah, 27, became upset about a customer's apparent hygiene failure at the Tumbleweeds Sports Bar.

Witnesses told police Kisiah confronted the customer and two of his friends, calling them names, telling them they were dirty and threatening to "slash their throats."
My mom was right...the hygene police really do exist!

Read the rest.

Sigh..

People really make me sad sometimes:

Two men who say they were insulted by actor-comedian Michael Richards during his racist rant at a comedy club want a personal apology and maybe some money, their lawyer said Friday.
So what is it that they really want? He went on national television and apologized repeatedly, admitted his wrong.
But Allred complained Friday that he "has not apologized to his victims directly, face to face, man to man."

Allred, speaking by phone from Colorado, said Richards should meet McBride and Doss in front of a retired judge to "acknowledge his behavior and to apologize to them" and allow the judge to decide on monetary compensation.
He didn't really insult them face to face, man to man either. What is the difference? Ah, of course. It doesn't matter if its face to face...it matters if its in front of a judge! A light begins to dawn...

Lawyers and their ilk are a blight on our society. They get fat off of the culture of victimhood while true victims are ignored.

Tell me, someone -- why should Kramer have to pay money for speaking his mind? I'm speaking both philosophically and legally of course; either way, there's no room for wiggling. In this country, your opinion on all matters is protected. I wish, sometimes, that I was a judge, so cases like this could be thrown out and the plaintiffs held in contempt of court for lack of basic understanding of the rule of law which governs our society.

**Disclaimer*** Before anyone berates me about not criticizing Richards for what he says, please note that one man's problem is not my problem. I don't agree with what he said (as far as I know; I haven't seen the tape) but I refuse to side with idiotic folks who are looking for a reason to be offended. Surely, surely it is no worse than any one of countless Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, or Dave Chapelle skits.

Read the rest.

Religion of Peace...?

These guys really know how to play nice:

Revenge-seeking militiamen seized six Sunnis as they left Friday prayers and burned them alive with kerosene in a savage new twist to the brutality shaking the Iraqi capital a day after suspected Sunni insurgents killed 215 people in Baghdad's main Shiite district.
I wonder if that country will ever rise above the religious instability it inflicts upon itself. I suppose that decades of brainwashing is a hard thing to lose.

Read the rest.

Christendom takes one

After years of giving in, bending over backwards, and otherwise prostrating itself for the sake of political correctness, Christianity finally cries foul, says "Enough!" and asserts itself -- with predictable results:

British Airways backed down over its ban on workers wearing the cross after a hurricane of criticism.

Airline chief Willie Walsh ordered a rethink of the rule that barred check-in worker Nadia Eweida from wearing a tiny cross at work.

The airline had faced four days of angry condemnation from an overwhelming alliance of Cabinet ministers, 100 MPs, 20 Church of England bishops and, finally, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Rowan Williams called its stance 'deeply offensive' and threatened to sell the Church of England's £6.6million holding of BA shares.

The voice of reason rings true, later --

Critics pointed out that the airline let her Muslim and Sikh colleagues at Heathrow wear religious symbols headscarves and turbans– on the grounds that it would be impractical to hide them under uniforms.

Dr Sentamu described BA's policy as 'nonsense'. He said the airline's reasoning would appear to allow a 3ft long cross, which could not be hidden, but not one like Miss Eweida's, the size of a 5p piece.

He said last night: 'The national carrier, which carries the crosses of St George, St Andew and St David across the world, reminding them of our country's Christian heritage, has arrived at the right decision.'

It makes me wish that folks would understand that no state religion doesn't mean that all non-Christian religions get preferential treatment for being minorities. Ah well, one of the benefits of a parliamentary monarchy I suppose.

Read the rest.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lately

I've been kind of busy lately and I've found that I don't really enjoy blogging so much any more. Its not that I don't read the news still, but more that when I do read things they don't interest me enough to provoke a comment.

Updates will probably still happen, just on a less regular basis.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Oops!

Tehran did an uh-oh:

International Atomic Energy Agency experts have found unexplained plutonium and highly enriched uranium traces in a nuclear waste facility in Iran and have asked Tehran for details, a report from the U.N. watchdog said Tuesday.

The report, prepared for next week’s meeting of the 35-nation IAEA, also faulted Tehran for not cooperating with the agency’s attempts to investigate suspicious aspects of Iran’s nuclear program that have led to fears it might be interested in developing nuclear arms.
According to Wiki, Plutonium is used for (surprise!) weapons and extremely long-term batteries, such as those used on satellites. Its not a byproduct of any so-called peaceful uranium enrichment. The one exception to this rule is MOX fuel, which is a mixture of uranium and plutonium and is a way to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium via power generation.

"With the wisdom and resistance of the nation, today our position has stabilized," Ahmadinejad said before the report was released. "I'm very hopeful that we will be able to hold the big celebration of Iran's full nuclearization in the current year," the hard-line president said at a news conference.

Iran's current calendar year ends on March 20.

Well. We have a date. Now its the waiting game, since no one in the world besides the US has the balls to do anything about it.

Read the rest.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sigh and Double Sigh

The fence-that-never-was never will be, and a Vatican cardinal says dumb stuff:

The incoming U.S. Congress will review the law mandating 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, and may seek to scrap the plan altogether.

He said that the high technology Secure Border Initiative, or SBI Net -- essentially a set of monitors, cameras and other integrated surveillance systems to monitor the border -- was a viable alternative.

"We might do away with it, or look at (integrating it into) SBI Net," he said, "A virtual fence rather than a real one."

Emphasis mine. I think its the most telling sentence in the whole piece. We're trading a real fence for a not-real fence.

Explain this to me, please. A man walks across the border, and is filmed. How, then, are we to stop him, considering that our border patrol agents are prohibited by law from pursuing known criminals and have no legal recourse to stop infiltrators or would-be illegal immigrants? (See this).

Next on the list of things that make me sad:
A senior Vatican cardinal on Tuesday condemned the building of walls between countries to keep out immigrants and said Washington's plan to build a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border was part of an "inhuman program".

Cardinal Renato Martino made his comments at a news conference presenting Pope Benedict's message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Migrants and Refugees, in which the Pope called for more laws to help immigrants integrate.

"Speaking of borders, I must unfortunately say that in a world that greeted the fall of the Berlin Wall with joy, new walls are being built between neighborhood and neighborhood, city and city, nation and nation," said Martino, head of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace.

This sort of rhetoric is so worn out. If he's truly for Justice and Peace he should encourage people to follow the law, not break it. The fence-that-never-was wasn't a preventative measure, it was reactionary. We didn't even think of putting up a fence until it became painfully obvious that this was a serious issue.

Also, the fence-that-never-was is again compared to the Berlin Wall, which is becoming something of a trend among global leaders who should keep their mouths shut about our country's sovereign policies.

My response to Cardinal Martino will be the same as my response to Gorbachev:
We're not building an iron curtain here. No country in its right mind has a totally open border with completely ineffective police / laws and is serious about security. The border with Mexico is a magnet for drug and human trafficking, illegal immigration, and likely terrorism.

The Berlin wall was the East keeping the West out for fear of losing people to the freedom of democracy. It was just another means of Soviet corruption. This wall is a wall of defense, aimed to protect us from the dangers of a non-cooperative neighbor and a global terrorist threat. The difference between the two is significant.
Finally, a little research on Cardinal Martino reveals this lovely gem of illogic:

On November 6 2006 he said after the death sentence had been passed on Saddam Hussein that "punishing a crime with another crime – which is what killing for vindication is – would mean that we are still at the point of demanding an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth".

To quote from Matthew 5 directly
38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
This is directly and completely referring to personal practices, not practices on the judge or legal level. Christ is not reversing the concept; He is correcting a verse that had been taken out of context to condone personal vengeance. After all, Christ and God are but two aspects of the same Being. How could they disagree?

The original reference that Christ quotes, "Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth" comes from Exodus 21:24, Lev. 24:20, and Deut. 19:21. All are rephrasing of the same aspect of Mosaic Law - and every single one is referring to the "law of retaliation," which limits punishment to fit the crime on a legal level. So, if anything, Cardinal Martino is using his bully pulpit to denounce the Old Testament. You'd think someone who spent his life studying the Bible would know better than to abuse a passage of scripture so thoroughly.

He goes on The List of Stupid People Who Say Stupid Things, right up there with Murtha for Iraq-related comments and Al Gore for global warming climate change..

Read the rest.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A big mess

The middle east is heating up -- new players, same game:

According to the Iranian media Monday, Iranian President Mahoud Ahmadinejad declared that Israel was destined to ‘disappearance and destruction’ at a council meeting with Iranian ministers.

“The western powers created the Zionist regime in order to expand their control of the area. This regime massacres Palestinians everyday, but since this regime is against nature, we will soon witness its disappearance and destruction,” Ahmadinejad said.
Can you really blow off a guy who says stuff like that? Apparently, you can't:
Israel will not accept a nuclear Iran, visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told US television, but while not ruling out military action, said he hoped diplomacy would dissuade Tehran from pursuing its nuclear program.

"We will not tolerate the possession of nuclear weapons by Iran," Olmert told NBC television's "Today Show" program, ahead of talks with President George W. Bush on Iran's nuclear ambitions and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Asked whether his country was considering a preemptive strike targeting Tehran's nuclear facilities, Olmert answered: "I hope we don't have to reach that stage."
I love the last bit -- in short, the answer to the question was a clear "yes".

Read the rest.

China's chest thumping

China is doing a little chest-thumping:

A Chinese submarine stalked a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group in the Pacific last month and surfaced within firing range of its torpedoes and missiles before being detected, The Washington Times has learned.
The surprise encounter highlights China's continuing efforts to prepare for a future conflict with the U.S., despite Pentagon efforts to try to boost relations with Beijing's communist-ruled military.
I'm not particularly afraid, but this doesn't exactly please me. I'll go ahead and tally this up with the rest of the world, including Iran and North Korea, realizing that we're not the ultimate power any more.

Unfortunately, the era of peace that followed World War II wasn't because anyone learned any lessons or anything cute like that. The people who were willing to wage war were simply unable to do so. The world economy has now recovered enough that people are eying each other's farms again, rather than tending to their own.

Perhaps I've been reading too much WWII history, but some of the politics and circumstances are starting to look awfully similar to the 1930s to me....

Read the rest.

And so it begins...

Sen. Levin (D - MI) is starting up the cut'n'run policy the Dems have promised us:

"First order of business is to change the direction of Iraq policy," said Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is expected to be chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the new Congress.

Democrats will press President George W. Bush's administration to tell the Iraqi government that U.S. presence was "not open-ended, and that, as a matter of fact, we need to begin a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months," Levin said on ABC's "This Week" program.

I do find it interesting, though, that they don't even want the phased retreat to even begin for another four to six months. Why that time period? Judging from the conditions over there, I wonder if that will actually be a good time to leave? There's been little in the news about Iraq -- its been peculiarly quiet, even for election season. I guarantee if something bad had happened the media would have been all over it, viewing it as another weapon to hit the GOP with.

I really would like to have access to the inside scoop over there. As I've said before, I'm not too sure that a phased withdrawal is all that far off (in August I predicted the possibility arising as early as November -- perhaps I was a mite optimistic).

Read the rest.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lamont: Whipped

Lieberman put the hurt on Lamont -- 48-39 style:

Sen. Joe Lieberman made a triumphant return from political limbo Tuesday, riding his independent candidacy to victory over Ned Lamont three months after the anti-war businessman toppled him in the Democratic primary.

Lieberman said he was "tested like never before" in the long, bitter campaign.

"But we never gave up, did we?" he declared to cheering supporters gathered at a downtown Hartford hotel.

Lieberman's victory as an independent comes three months after a stunning loss in the Democratic primary that put his 18-year Senate career in peril. Lamont, a wealthy businessman and political unknown, upset Lieberman in August in a contest widely seen as a referendum on Iraq and a sharp rebuke of Lieberman's pro-war views.

I'm just glad we didn't get a prominent cut-and-run supporter into the house. Speaking of elections, this isn't a particularly surprising outcome. Given the latest political atmosphere and the onus of being the majority party, Republicans really didn't do all that badly.

So, let's see what the Democrats have in store -- they're going to foolishly up the minimum wage (see The Throes of Poverty), and "fully implement the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. Have we heard anything else out of the majority of this party? Casey told Santorum he'd sponsor legislation making senators work harder. A few have promised to get to the bottom of the treasonous and corrupt nature of the Bush administration.

We'll see what they do. And in the next election, we can point at their record and politely snicker.

My prediction? Status quo baby. Spending rises as fast (or faster) as the previous congress, and a similar amount of corruption will exist. Count on it.

Read the rest.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Good News and Bad

Good News:

An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced Saddam Hussein to the gallows for crimes against humanity, closing a quarter-century-old chapter of violent suppression in this land of long memories, deep grudges and sectarian slaughter.

The former Iraqi dictator and six subordinates were convicted and sentenced for the 1982 killings of 148 people in a single Shiite town after an attempt on his life there.
I don't understand why the accusations come that say this will spark a civil war. As far as I remember, the folks in Iraq hate Saddam. I watched them on the day we first hit Baghdad, dancing for joy in the streets. Does anyone in their right mind want things to go back to the way they were before that day?

Bad news:
The European Union urged Iraq on Sunday not to carry out the death sentence passed on Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein after his conviction for crimes against humanity. "The EU opposes capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances, and it should not be carried out in this case either," Finland, current holder of the rotating EU presidency, said in a statement.
This shows you how seriously EU (or at least, Finland's president) takes Iraq. They don't view them as a sovereign nation fit to govern their own affairs. I don't recall the EU ever telling us not to drop a bad guy from our society -- and we haven't had someone who so clearly deserved a short drop and a sudden stop in a long time.

What do they propose we do with him? Let him sit in jail for a bit until some Shi'ite terrorist nut breaks him out so he can gas more Kurds? Let him continue to breathe when it is terribly clear that every breath is a waste of perfectly good oxygen?

I don't remember anyone in the EU being particularly evenhanded when it came to the Nuremberg trials.

Read the rest.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Oh, Texas...

So according to this, now folks can go online and watch illegals streaming across the border:

Texas has started broadcasting live images of the U.S. border on the Internet in a security program that asks the public to report signs of illegal immigration or drug crimes.
A test Web site went live Thursday at texasborderwatch.com with views from eight cameras and ways for viewers to e-mail reports of suspicious activity. Previously, the images had only been available to law enforcement and landowners where the cameras are located.
But we already know that to try and arrest an illegal means you're fighting the system and you'll likely wind up in jail. Mixed signals abound!

This program is going to fall flat on its foolish face because it has no teeth.

Read the rest.

Spectre

Whee -- UN, reap what you sow!

THE SPECTRE of a nuclear race in the Middle East was raised yesterday when six Arab states announced that they were embarking on programmes to master atomic technology.

The move, which follows the failure by the West to curb Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, could see a rapid spread of nuclear reactors in one of the world’s most unstable regions, stretching from the Gulf to the Levant and into North Africa.
The UNSC's inaction on the farce that is Iran's nuclear enrichment program is allowing the rest of the Arab world to jump on the bandwagon. When will the appeasers learn you simply can't appease tyrants, terrorists and the like?

Read the rest.

Scientific dishonesty

Scientists police their own when talking about fishing:

Clambakes, crabcakes, swordfish steaks and even humble fish sticks could be little more than a fond memory in a few decades. If current trends of overfishing and pollution continue, the populations of just about all seafood face collapse by 2048, a team of ecologists and economists warns in a report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.
Not so, says another scientist...

But other scientists question that forecast.

"It's just mind-boggling stupid," said Ray Hilborn, a University of Washington professor of aquatic and fishery sciences.

"I'm worried about some areas of the world — like Africa — but other areas of the world have figured out how to do effective fishery management."

For example, most of the harvests in the North Pacific off Alaska — where most Seattle fleets fish — are not in sharp decline.

His common sense is a breath of fresh air. You can't make extrapolations over the whole globe based on local variations. When will these "scientists" learn basic principles such as that?

I find it interesting that the headline for the second article is that the study draws skeptics, even though the first story was just published yesterday. Some newspaper went out to find the dissenting opinion. Why won't anyone in the media hold some of these loons to what they say and go get one of the thousands of respected climatologists who can show you evidence that global warming climate change isn't anthropogenic to rebut the idioitic statements made all the time about global warming climate change?

Read the rest.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kerry: I don't know how to apologize

This is the equivalent of saying "I'm sorry your face ran into my fist":

"I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended," he said in a written statement.

What, exactly, did he say (if you live under a rock)?

"You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well.

"If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
Let's look at what an apology is, shall we?

a‧pol‧o‧gy  /əˈpɒlədʒi/
–noun, plural -gies.
1. a written or spoken expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another

He's not regretting his actions, he's regretting the consequences of his actions. That is not the same thing.

Update: Hoo-ya y'Armay had this to say...

Read the rest.