Bad Blogsitter


Okay, so I was supposed to post here to keep the site from going stagnant, and the first thing I do in the morning is post up ten to fifteen posts on my own site before realizing I need something unique for here.

Bad me.

You'd think that I'd have a lot to say about Blix, the UN, Iraq, and Bush but the truth is it really doesn't matter what anybody says on the subject...

BLIX: Probably asking Scott Ritter for online dating tips.
THE UN: A waste of perfectly good Manhattan real estate.
IRAQ: If they really loved the kids we're about to starve and bomb, they'd get wise really fast.
BUSH: Life support for Powell.

Hopefully, they do all this during Sweeps Month and mess with all the ratings.


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Pirates of the Super Bowl


I told you so! Bucs 48, Raiders 21. Most telling statistic: The 'high powered offense' of the Raiders was held to 2 first downs until midway through the third quarter.


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Elmer Season


Decoy.jpg

(shamelessly stolen from NNP)


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Weblog Vacation


I've got to leave town for a week, and will have no time for blogging next week. Laurence Simon has agreed to blogsit for me, so please behave while I'm gone. I'll answer the usual hate mail, bomb threats, and love letters when I return next week.


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Test Post


This is a test post.

I know I'm an idiot because I'm typing for 5 minutes after making a batch of pretzels and I realize the strange feeling in my hands is that I've put my ring back on my right hand instead of my left one.

Blogsitting will begin shortly. Right now the timer's going off to let me know something's burning.


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Bloggies spur controversy


Wow. The Bloggies are really turning into a Soap Opera. I haven't paid any attention until now, but apparently it involves the downfall of a blogger named Jessica, and a war of words between her and her.

My personal recommendation is that we get a big vat of jello and some boxing gloves and let the girls duke it out. (My money is on Michele)


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Liberals poke fun at medical condition


John F. Kerry recently referred to Bush's policy as one of "too often belligerent and myopic unilateralism".

Meanwhile, Sr. VP of DaimlerChrysler, Frank Fountain said that conservative critics of Jesse Jackson have a "myopic view of the world."

As someone who suffers from debilitating myopia that has kept me in eyeglasses since I was two years old, I am horrified at the insensitivity. Myopia sufferers already have to live a lifetime of pinched noses, and eyeglasses that never seem to be clean enough. Not to mention that screws are always coming loose and that gravity is constantly (and perhaps cruelly) tugging spectacles further down on your nose. As if suffering from all that isn't enough, now we have to be on the butt end of liberal analogies.

Sure 'sources' like Miriam-Webster and Heritage say that myopic can mean 'to hold a narrow view'. But in today's day and age, I am upset that liberals, of all people, would spread vicious stereotypes about people with a serious medical condition.

If we aren't allowed to use words like niggardly anymore, I think myopic should be taboo as well.


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Pirates of the Super Bowl


I'm going on the record in predicting that the Bucs will win the Super Bowl. I think they manhandled Philly, and will overcome all of the hype to beat the Raiders tomorrow.

UPDATE (1/26 22:31): I told you so! Bucs 48, Raiders 21. Most telling statistic: The 'high powered offense' of the Raiders was held to 2 first downs until midway through the third quarter.


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Lawsuit Would Ban Raiders Logo from Super Bowl


ScrappleFace reports that the Raiders might be in trouble with their insensative, non-politically correct, one-eyed logo.


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Pro-US demonstration in South Korea


Owen Courreges wants to know why this isn't making the mainstream news.


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Stop, or I'll say 'stop' again!


Rachel points out that the Brits have resorted to begging criminals for mercy. The Fox News report reads:

A British police force announced Friday it has come up with a new measure to combat crime -- a polite letter asking persistent offenders to mend their ways.
This is the most absurd idea I've ever heard, and the police ought to be ashamed for wasting taxpayer resources on something so ludicrous.

If this happened in the USA, the recidivists would probably sue the police for libel, defamation of character, and harassment.


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Trade in your blogspot for a .mil address


The Register reports that online security at the DoD is so lax that anyone can give themselves admin privileges, register a .mil domain, or even tinker with existing .mil websites.

All you Blogspot users out there should take the plunge to dump the free ad-based accounts for a federally provided .mil domain. You'd better hurry though, at the rate the federal government moves, this security hole should be closed in a mere 12 to 18 months.


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NY Times, biased or incompetent?


It seems like major media outlets take polls every single week. Actually, they pretty much do. This week, the New York Times released an article that claims that Americans agree with Democrats on major issues. To support this claim, they used polling data from a poll they conducted the previous week.

Whether or not media outlets are biased is a matter of much debate, but an objective look at the most recent NY Times poll turns up some shoddy reporting, regardless of motive.

In their article, the New York Times claimed that "more than half the respondents said they opposed a centerpiece of Mr. Bush's tax cut plan, the elimination of a tax on dividends, which Democrats have used to portray Mr. Bush as a friend of the rich."

There were only two questions that mentioned dividends. One was whether or not the subject paid dividends on stock that they owned. The other question was "Do you think stock holders should pay taxes on their stock dividends or not?" Response showed that 52% felt that stock holders "should pay taxes" and 38% felt that stock holders "should not" pay taxes.

Of course, anyone with general accounting knowledge knows that stock holder dividends are already taxed TWICE; first as corporate income, and then again as shareholder income. As a stock holder myself, I don't think I should receive dividends tax free, but that doesn't translate into opposition of President Bush's dividend tax cut. The NY Times assumes that it does.

The NY Times poll was also full of questions without collectively exhaustive or mutually exclusive answers:

If you had to choose, would you prefer reducing the federal budget deficit or cutting taxes?

If you had to choose, would you prefer preserving programs like Social Security and Medicare or cutting taxes?

Which do you think is better way to improve the national economy: cutting taxes or reducing the federal budget deficit?

The questions assume that these are either-or choices, and 'both' is not listed as an answer. In fact, it is possible to reduce the deficit AND cut taxes. It is possible to preserve Social Security/Medicare AND cut taxes.

The Times, however, offers up only two choices, as if they are the only possible answers. When a majority of the people select the answer that they want to hear, they make the claim that "a majority of the poll's respondents - including 49 percent of Republicans - said reducing the deficit would be more likely to revive the economy than would cutting taxes." The Times tries to convey that even Republicans think that a tax cut is a bad idea, when in fact, most conservatives probably want the deficit reduced AND a cut in taxes.

On the foreign policy front, the Times is even more incompetent. They asked "Which of these do you think represents the greater threat to peace and stability -- Iraq, North Korea, or terrorists such as Al Qaeda?" The choices allowed were Iraq, N. Korea, Al Qaeda, All equal, or None. Al Qaeda was the obvious choice for greatest threat, which led the Times to claim that "while the public said they viewed Iraq as a bigger threat to world peace than North Korea, reflecting the White House view, respondents named Al Qaeda as the biggest threat of all." The assumption is that the Al Qaeda organization is mutually exclusive of both Iraq and N. Korea. Since Al Qaeda is a fluid organization with members from numerous countries (including the U.S.), it isn't fair to compare it even-handedly to independent sovereign nations. It would be like asking who is a greater risk, Al Qaeda or the Taliban? Arafat, Hamas, or the Fatah movement? (FYI, Arafat leads the Fatah movement.)

Most damning of all, is what the New York Times leaves out. The poll asks "Do you think Iraq probably does or probably does not have weapons of mass destruction that the U.N. weapons inspectors have not found yet?" The results of which were: Does, will find: 37%; Does, will not find: 48%; Does not: 4%; and NA: 11%. Clearly, 85% of Americans think Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Only 4% think they do not, less than the 11% that didn't know or didn't answer the question.

That is a pretty significant figure, but the New York Times didn't even think it was worth mentioning in their article.


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Black Confederate Finishes 1500 Mile Trek


Sierra Times reports about H.K. Edgerton, an activist marching across the South to raise awareness for Confederate heritage and issues.

Black Confederate activist and former branch NAACP President, H.K. Edgerton, will finish his 1500+ mile "March Across Dixie" at 11:00 AM Saturday, January 25, at a brief ceremony in front of the Texas Supreme Court Building.
Edgerton should finish his march tomorrow.



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PDA Version


For anyone that has a PDA, feel free to read the PDA version of Ravenwood's Universe.


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Jerry Springer for Senator


The AP reports that Democrat and former Mayor of Cincinnati is considering running for the U.S. Senate.

Springer realizes that his talk show fame could be a hindrance. "There are pluses and minuses," Springer said. "The plus is that I'm known by everybody. The minus is that I'm known by everybody."

Springer also has a dream of helping rebuild the Democrat Party. "I want to be helpful in rebuilding the party," he said. "Whether I have to be a candidate is a totally separate issue. ... I don't need a job."

What the AP left out is that Springer resigned public office when it was discovered he'd solicited a prostitute, and written her a check. The public was forgiving, however, and he was elected again a few years later.

He should fit right in with the Dems.


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Hilary Rosen quits RIAA


Ding, Dong, the bitch is dead!


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ND defeats cigarette 'prohibition'


How long before a state gets a bill like this passed?

BISMARCK - North Dakota House representatives Monday voted overwhelmingly against a bill proposing to ban tobacco sales in the state.
The measure, which would make selling or using tobacco products except for using it for religious purposes misdemeanors, failed by an 88-4 vote.
Is this the first attempt to make tobacco products illegal? Probably. Would this open the door to bootlegging and organized crime? Definitely.

While I'm happy that the ND legislature didn't vote to ban tobacco, part of me wishes they had. It's the same part of me that wanted Oregon to pass their Fascist health care program, just to see it fail miserably.

(link via Kim)


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Activist: Ban gay-shooting game


CNN reports that gay 'activists' in Holland are upset about a video game that allows the shooting of "homosexuals, junkies, dogs, and cats."

For quite a long time, homosexuals were kept out of shooting games. The gaming industry was a closed door to homosexuals, while popular games like Quake, Doom, and Wolfenstien concentrated on shooting only heterosexual beasties, baddies, and nazis. Now that gays are finally making some inroads into the gaming community, Dutch activists want to shut it all down.


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Fox News imitates Ravenwood


"Anchorage warmer than NYC. America's northernmost state was sounding like a tropical retreat." -- FOX News, January 23, 2003.

"The low tonight is -1 F! It is 30 right now in Nome, AK. I should go there for a warm winter vacation." -- Ravenwood, January 18, 2003.


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Gasp! Media Bias at the LA Times?


So, the libs are coming up with another study to grab headlines, and the LA Times is very happy to lap it all up.

The LA Times headline reads "More Guns in Citizens' Hands Can Worsen Crime, Study Says". Reading the article, I expected to find the 'proof' behind the LA Times inflammatory headline. Instead of proof, all I found was opinionated conjecture about a 'study' that was recently released by the Brookings Institute, a leftist organization that liberals desperately try to sell as 'centrist'.

The 'study' mainly deals with the relationship between concealed carry permits and crime rates, and was conducted by Stanford University law professor John Donohue.

"If somebody had to say which way is the evidence stronger, I'd say that it's probably stronger that the laws are increasing crime, rather than decreasing crime," Donohue said Wednesday in an interview. "But the stronger thing I could say is that I don't see any strong evidence that they are reducing crime."

For his part, Donohue said that right-to-carry laws may deter violent crimes, such as murder or robbery, in some situations, while encouraging them in others.

For example, he said, an attacker may wrest control of a handgun away from a victim, who may be less experienced in handling firearms, and use it against the victim.

Also, otherwise law-abiding citizens may become "emboldened to do bad things, some of them violent" in the heat of the moment, Donohue said.

There was no evidence offered to further Donohue's wildly opinionated claims. Instead, the LA Times unsuccessfully tried debunking John Lott's famous "More Guns, Less Crimes" study.

I find it interesting that the LA Times would take Donohue's word as gospel. Where is the reporting? The leftist media bias is overwhelming. What evidence does Donohue have to support his claim that concealed carry owners can be turned into violent murderers by merely carrying around a firearm? I carried all the time when I was in Georgia, and I never had an urge to knock somebody over the head and demand money from them.

It sounds to me like Donohue is a leftist idiot following the typical leftist play book. They make wild claims and show no evidence to support them. If they repeat the claims enough, they become 'fact' in the mind of the public. The Soviets did it all the time.


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'God' considered inappropriate at funeral


This is really quite disturbing.

As a military honor guardsman, Patrick Cubbage had a simple message to the families of deceased veterans at graveside services.

"God bless you and this family, and God bless the United States of America," he would say as he presented a folded flag to them.

Although no families ever complained, Cubbage was fired for his 'politically incorrect' use of the word 'God' at the graveside services.

It's hard to imagine that we've gotten to the point where people aren't allowed to use the word 'God' at a funeral service.


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Attending the Super Bowl is not for the fans


I knew Super Bowl tickets were hard to come by, but I never knew they were this rare!

The SF Gate reports that "more than 60,000 [of the 67,000] tickets are distributed to corporate sponsors, business associates of the NFL, players, ex-players and major television networks."

The Oakland Raiders organization received an allotment of 11,500 tickets. Of that allotment, 2000 went to fans and 9,500 went to the team for its "players, ex-players and corporate friends."

Now, I'm not one to tell the NFL, or the Oakland Raiders how to run their business. But for Super Bowl I, the NFL couldn't give away all of the tickets. Now, attending the Super Bowl is so far removed from the common man, that TV is just about the only option available.


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Update: NY Man faces prison time for defending family


Remember Ronald Dixon? Ronald Dixon is a New Yorker who caught an intruder messing around in the bedroom of his toddler son. His understandable response was to bust a cap off in his ass. Now, New York is prosecuting Dixon for having an unregistered firearm.

The NY Daily News is reporting that although prosecutors have offered Dixon a plea bargain, it still includes time in prison. If I were Dixon, I would hold out for a jury trial. After all, right is right, and I would hope that no jury would convict a man for protecting his family. I sure as hell wouldn't. Under those circumstances, there is absolutely no way on Earth someone could convince me to vote for a conviction.

I first covered Dixon in December, and mentioned him again in early January when a similar incident happened to Mark Freamon.

(link via Rachel)

Defending Your Life
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Zero tolerance at Liquor Store


A Liquor store in Wisconsin adopted a zero tolerance policy for carding patrons. They card everyone, including 76-year old WWII vets like Don Meyer.

"People may not like it, but they understand what we are trying to do. We're just trying to do the right thing," said Robert Mariano, president and chief executive officer of Pick 'n Save's parent company, Roundy's Inc.

Personally, I refuse to patronize stores with such a moronic policy. It's the same reason I don't eat at restaurants in Alpharetta, GA.

When I lived in Atlanta, the suburban city of Alpharetta decided to pass a law requiring all restaurants to card everyone, regardless of age. It didn't seem like a big deal, until my 30-something year old friend left her ID, and was denied service. It was then that I realized just how silly zero tolerance could be.

Had this been my 60-something year old father, they would have had to deny him service for not having an ID. Had this been a daily regular customer, the 'Norm Peterson' of Alpharetta, GA, they are still required to ask for ID.

Frankly, it is idiotic, it is a waste of time, and in Alpharetta's case it is a burden on the restaurant industry. So, Mister Meyer, I say give that Pick 'n' Save the finger and shop someplace else. If they don't value you as a customer, that's their problem.


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Dumbing down today's pop stars


FOX News reports on the dumbing down of today's pop stars. Many of them are just spokespeople for the product with little creative input, so it isn't surprising that they have never heard of David Bowie, Yoko Ono, or Joan Jett.

Another set of verbal mishaps sprung from the lips of Britney Spears. Last year, when Fox 411's Roger Friedman jokingly asked the starlet if she would be the millennium's Yoko Ono - referencing her relationship with 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake - Spears' response was: "Who?"
Fox News doesn't mention it, but perhaps this is part of the reason CD revenues are falling year after year.

NJEA bigotry?


Did you hear about the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) posting an 'African-American' dumbed down version of their Parents Resource, but didn't get to see it? Well, when I heard about it yesterday, I captured a screen shot.


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EU takes away playground swings


Don't you just love socialism? The almighty European Union is now legislating the height of children's swing sets, reports The Sun (UK). Naturally, this has resulted in the closure of many children's swing sets.

A VILLAGE had to get rid of its playground swings because Euro rules say they are too TALL.

The three swings were erected more than 25 years ago.
Kids playing on them have suffered nothing worse than a grazed knee ever since.

But now Brussels bureaucrats have introduced a new maximum height order for swings throughout the UK.

EU-swing.jpg

Don't you just love bureaucracy. The EU, helping make Europe a better place by pushing children off of swing sets.


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Carnival XVIII


Carnival is at Yourish, right now. You're missing it!


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BBC: Nuts to Run Asylum


This year should be a banner year for human rights. As the BBC notes, Libya takes over as head of the UN Human Right's Commission.


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No more Fag Four Beatles


The Sun (UK) reports that the pleasure police have pushed for famous Beatles posters and album covers to be digitally altered to remove Paul McCartney's cigarette.

(link via Greeblie)


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RIAA to bully AOL?


This is a fight I'd like to see. Has the RIAA met it's match in thinking it can push around ISPs like AOL?

CNET reports that Hillary Rosen, Comandant of the RIAA claims full credit for spuring the demand for broadband. Rosen suggested that if it weren't for online music swapping, broadband wouldn't have gotten off the ground.

"We will hold ISPs more accountable," claims Rosen. CNET also reports that "Rosen suggested one possible scenario for recouping lost sales from online piracy would be to impose a type of fee on ISPs that could be passed on to their customers who frequent these file-swapping services."

How can the RIAA impose a fee on ISPs? Well, they do have a few Congressmen in their pocket, but I still think they're in for a hell of a fight. They've already tried bullying the electronics manufacturing industry, by demanding that they build digital rights management into everything with a power cord. Now they intend to piss off the ISPs. Who's next? Computer manufacturers?

(link via Dustbury)


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ScrappleFace: NFL Reverses Playoff Results


ScrappleFace reports that the NFL has adopted Affirmative Action rules and changed the results of this weekend's playoff games, so it will be a Eagles v. Titans Superbowl instead.


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Russia adopts Kyoto; bad for environment


CNS News reports that Russia has decided to adopt the Kyoto treaty. That's good for the environment, right? Wrong.

While environmentalists will undoubtedly tout the Russian acceptance as a validation of their agenda, it actually doesn't help overall pollution. You see, Kyoto requires that nations reduce their carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels. Because Russia's industrial output peaked around 1990, and has plummeted in recent years, they are already back to their 1980 pollution levels. This actually gives them pollution 'credits', which they can sell on the open market to other nations. Therefore by Russia adopting Kyoto, other nations will be able to purchase their pollution credits and actually pollute more than is normally permitted under Kyoto. For Russia, it was really a 'no-brainer' decision. For the environment however, it means more pollution.


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California brings back the poll tax


When the Fifteenth Amendment was passed in 1870, it guaranteed the right of every man to vote, regardless of race. However, following the passage of the Amendment, many states set up poll taxes and literacy tests in an attempt to intimidate blacks and keep them from voting. It took almost 100 years, and the passage of the 24th Amendment in 1964, to keep states from limiting people's right of suffrage.

In 2003, there is a movement in the People's Republic of California to keep people from exercising their unalienable Second Amendment rights. California has adopted a new state law that amounts to a tax and a literacy test on the individual right to keep and bear arms.

A new state law in California requires handgun buyers to pass a 30-question written test and pay a $25 fee for a Handgun Safety Certificate, which is good for five years. A gun rights group is outraged, saying the new law amounts to a "literacy test" for would-be gun owners.

"It is an outrage that California law now treats gun buyers in much the same way that African-Americans were treated in the South to prevent them from voting," said Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, in a press release.

"The right to own a firearm is no less important than the right to vote," Gottlieb added. "California is treating gun owners like cracker racists treated black citizens in the South during the days of segregation."

How far will California go to discourage the private ownership of firearms? Today the tax is $25, but before long it could be $200, and the written test could be made more and more difficult.

I get nervous whenever State governments attempt to limit the Bill of Rights. How long before they start charging people for their right to a jury trial, or institute a 'religion tax'?


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All your votes, are belong to us


Senator John F. Kerry, D-MA, like other Democrats, is counting on getting the black vote during his Presidential bid. The Boston Globe reports that Kerry is already trying to shore up the black vote and paint Republicans as inherently racist. "It's important for politicians in my position, white politicians frankly, to show up, to stand up," said Kerry. "I wanted to make clear the unfinished business of the country is race."

The Boston Globe also noted that:

In 1992, [Kerry] said he supported affirmative action but described it as "an inherently limited and divisive program" that "has kept America thinking in racial terms."
Does anyone wonder why race is always an 'unfinished business'? The sad fact is that as long as blacks continue to show overwhelming support for democrats like Kerry, they will continue to be strung along in dependence and subservience.

What many people fail to realize, or refuse to admit, is that liberal Democrats don't have any vested interest in the success of black people, and in fact have everything to gain from the strife of black people. As long as blacks are in need, the liberal Dems know they can count on them for votes simply by making empty promises.

Contrast that co-dependent relationship to the relationship between conservatives and blacks. Conservatives and Republicans almost never get any black votes. Meanwhile, their 'rich' constituency is stuck paying the lions share of taxes that support government programs. Therefore they have every interest in getting people off of government assistance and programs and helping them to become independently successful and wealthy.

Consider another point of view. The business of all career politicians is to 'attract' votes. That is they want to basically 'buy' votes with promises and political favors. Liberals and Democrats don't really need to attract the 'black vote'; they already have it. Year after year, liberals get support from over 90% of the 'black vote', and thus have little to gain by actually paying off on those political promises. (A similar analogy could be made for Republicans and the 'religious right'.) This explains why people in need today are complaining about the same old problems they've been complaining about for the past 35 years. After all, if they solve some of those problems, will there still be a need for them as 'problem solvers'?


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Missile Control


Charles Hill responds to Barbara Boxer's desire to put anti-missile defense systems on commercial airliners.

I think they should just ban missiles. After all, the gun control measures that California has used have done wonders for gun crime in California. Therefore, a 'missile control' campaign should work equally well.


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Could this have been me?


When I recently applied for a position in Kuwait, to work as a civilian contractor assisting the military to build up their operations, people told me that I was crazy. Now the Washington Post reports about an attack on two such Americans. One American was killed.

Still, I am not dissuaded. If offered the chance, I will leave the bosom of my cushy mid-western apartment for a tent city in Kuwait. As for the risk, when it comes to death I take a very realistic point of view. First of all, I realize that we are all going to die. It is really just a question of when, where, and how. Second, I feel that if my number is up, it doesn't matter much whether I'm on a high risk international assignment, or sitting on my own toilet. There are inherent dangers in every aspect of life, and I don't think that traveling abroad is any more dangerous than commuting to and from work on a daily basis. So, it may be a little bit more dangerous, but someone's got to do it, so it might as well be me.


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'Double jeopardy' in Norway


Another reason to love the USA. Jon Lech Johansen of Norway faced criminal charges regarding his DeCSS DVD decryption software. The Norwegian court acquitted Johansen on the grounds that he had not used the DeCSS code to pirate DVDs, rather than to simply play DVDs on a Linux or Unix platform.

Norwegian prosecutors are appealing the acquittal, in the hopes of getting a conviction the second time around. In the U.S. it is called 'double jeopardy' and is unconstitutional. In socialist Europe, it's just a matter of fact part of the process. Prosecutors just keep trying until they finally get a conviction.


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'The Plantation' stirs controversy


In yet another example of political correctness run amok, the Northampton Human Rights Commission (Mass.) is complaining about the proper use of the word "Plantation".

NORTHAMPTON - The name of a 29-home subdivision called "The Plantation at West Farms" being built off Burts Pit Road has sparked complaints of racial insensitivity, but the project developers say they have no intention of changing the name.

Those who object to the name "The Plantation," which appears in large pink script on the subdivision's billboard on Westhampton Road, say the term is inextricably linked to Southern plantations and slavery.

"They used to raise tobacco here, and it was such a large property that it was called the plantation," Wzorek said. "The name had nothing to do with racism or anything like that."

Is it me, or does it seem like these people actively look for things to complain about?

(Link via Foxnews)


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San Francisco supports terrorism


San Francisco, the city that until just last year allowed people to deficate on the streets, has banned the Segway. Now that the environmentally friendly human transporters are banned, I guess citizens will either have to huff it up and down the hills of San Francisco on foot, or drive their smog producing, gas guzzling, baby killing, devil incarnate, SUVs.

Big Oil/Big Auto 1
Environmentalists 0


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Carnival XVIII


Has this really been going on for 18 weeks? Wow, it seems like only yesterday I attended my first one. This week, Carnival will be hosted at Yourish. Get your entries in by tomorrow.

After being tardy to the last two Carnivals in a row, I made up for it this week by actually getting my entry in early.

Acidman, if you want, I'll send your entry for you this week, so that you don't get left out again. ;-)


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Detritus of Peace


Kudos to Anna of Bunny Blog for pointing out this bit of leftist hipocrisy.

detritus_of_peace.jpg

Anna notes that these 'friends' of peace, love, and the environment "despoiled a national landmark and departed feeling smug about their contributions to the public good."


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Loony Clooney II


The NY Daily News reports that George Clooney, TV's 'Booker' from Roseanne, is quite upset at the Bush Administration for acting too quickly and harshly with Iraq.

"The government itself is running exactly like the Sopranos," claims Clooney. "We go into a war [with Iraq] and kill a lot of innocent people. Are we going to try and talk [to Saddam Hussein] ... without jumping in and killing people first?"

For the record, Clooney profited handsomely from the Gulf War in Iraq, by starring as a U.S. Army Major in the 1999 movie Three Kings, based on the Operation Desert Storm.

In other news, it is rumored that George Clooney also insulted Charlton Heston and poked fun at Alzheimer's Disease while receiving a film award from the National Board of Review. However, Ravenwood's Universe staff writers have been unable to find a mainstream press story corroborating the rumor.

UPDATE: I found a cached version of yesterday's Page Six column by Liz Smith:

George was in town to accept the Special Filmmaking Achievement Award from the National Board of Review. He made history at that event by wisecracking in a politically incorrect manner that "Charlton Heston announced again today that he is suffering from Alzheimer's." When I asked the actor if this was going too far, he said simply, "I don't care. Charlton Heston is the head of the National Rifle Association; he deserves whatever anyone says about him."
Clooney also claimed to be "graphically and fully informed about world events", and said he knows that war with Iraq is imminent. According to Page Six, he wants to know why no one is speaking out against it.

For someone who is supposedly "graphically and fully informed", why didn't Clooney know about Saturday's world wide pro-oppression rally?

Evidence of Iraqi Nuclear Program found


Why isn't this being reported in the US?

The teams of UN inspectors sent to investigate Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction arsenal made a stunning breakthrough last week when they uncovered evidence of Iraq's attempts to build an atom bomb.

Once inside they found what one Western official has described as a "highly significant" batch of documents which, on closer inspection, revealed that Saddam's scientists were continuing development work on producing an Iraqi nuclear weapon.

(link from Right Wing News)


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Happy Lee-Jackson-King Day


As a boy growing up in Virginia, we celebrated Lee-Jackson-King Day. While I think that the imperial Federal government has told the Commonwealth of Virginia that King must have his own day from now on, I still celebrate the multi-holiday as I did back then.

That said, Happy Birthdays to Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


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The Ballad of Leon Scott


The late Leon Scott, 22 of Ville Platte, LA was described by his mom as "very good, never sassy." His sister Gertie described him as being "quiet and respectful." She says, "He wasn't someone who would be (influenced) by others to do something. He had his own mind."

A local newspaper, The Town Talk covers the outpouring of love and emotion over the death of Leon Scott into the 29th paragraph of their story.

If you read carefully between the lines of gushing support and shock over the shooting death of Scott, you might actually find out that Scott was allegedly an armed robber. He and two other men entered a local convenience store, roughed up the owner and his wife, and took a good amount of cash. Officers aren't sure who started shooting first, but when the smoke cleared, Leon Scott, one of the alleged armed robbers was mortally wounded with gunshots to the face and abdomen.

Still, the Scott family insists that it was Leon who was the innocent victim. They claim that he was only armed with a hammer, and could have been shot in the legs or someplace non-fatal. His sister denies it was even a robbery. "He drank and stuff, but rob? Never," claimed Gertie. The Town Talk even calls it a 'homicide'. I'm inclined to agree with them, only in that his partners in crime should be charged with that homicide.

I would like to go on record and warn any of my friends or family members. If you are caught or killed while committing an armed robbery, don't expect such an outpouring of emotion from me. If I'm angry at anyone, it's going to be at your stupid ass for going and getting yourself kilt. Anyone who walks into a store with a hammer or otherwise, demanding money deserves a sucking chest wound.

Defending Your Life
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Police refuse to arrest Canadian outlaw


When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. While Canada has recently outlawed unregistered guns, they are reluctant to arrest the newly created outlaws.

TORONTO -- Oscar Lacombe hoped to be the first person charged with possessing an unregistered rifle under Canada's controversial firearms law. But after presenting himself to police in Edmonton, Alberta, Monday, he was finally told to go home.

Lacombe, 70, has spent his life on the right side of the law. A Korean War veteran, former sergeant-at-arms of the Alberta Legislature, and former bodyguard to Alberta's provincial premier, Lacombe is now willing to fight the gun law to Canada's Supreme Court.

Lacombe pleaded with the legislature on New Year's Day to arrest him. He called the law "unjust and dangerous".

While police have remanded the case to prosecutors, there is no telling if they will file charges against Lacombe. Perhaps it is fear of submitting the law to a Constitutional challenge that keeps Canadian lawmakers from enforcing it.

In typical political fashion, the costs of the Canadian registry that had originally been estimated to be a mere $1.3 million have ballooned to over $550 million (only off by 42307%). This has led to eight of Canada's ten provinces to call for a suspension of the registry. Despite the criticism, the imperial Canadian government is holding firm, and warns scofflaws that the unofficial moratorium on enforcement was not going to last much longer.


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Having cake and eating it too


While I am no flaggot, I don't see the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism either. Still, there are a lot of people out there that would like to paint the image that way.

That said, and with all your knowledge and stereotypes of government politics, please take a look at this photo, and try to answer the following question.

Which party is Mike Snow from, and who paid for this advertisement?

1. Democrats
2. Republicans

maserati_yardsign.jpg

If you said Republican, you'd be wrong. A Republican running ads like this would yield cries of racism from the left. Mike would be the next Trent Lott, and be asked to resign. No, Mike is a Democrat, so there is no problem if he supports and displays the St. Andrews Cross.

It must be nice for Dems to be able to have their cake and eat it too. Not only do Democrats get more than 90% of the black vote year after year, but they can support issues like the St. Andrews Cross without being branded as a racist.


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Pirates of the Super Bowl


Am I the only one that notices that both Superbowl contenders have a pirate logo?


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'Peace' march turns riot, left blames police


A march in support of fanatical despot and genocidal murderer Saddam Hussein, commonly called a 'Peace Protest' by the left, turned into a riot that included vandalism and graffiti yesterday in San Francisco. Only, to read the SF Indymedia, you'd never know it.

They describe the riot as a 'march.' Events such as attacking the SF Chronicle, British Consulate, Citicorp Center and INS building were described using terms like 'covered in a graffiti mural', and 'descended on the Citicorp Center'. One vandal was described as having 'phrased her message', and damage to the INS building was described as 'redecorating'.

Of course, there is no lack of adjectives to describe the police reaction to the violence. (emphasis mine)

After the march left the INS building, plainclothes policemen who had infiltrated it tackled, brutalized, and hauled off at least two activists. The police became more and more aggressive, and organizers worried as the march began to be hemmed in.
Isn't it interesting that police are always described as being 'in riot gear' and the ones who were 'aggressive', while the 'protesters' were simply trying to go about their 'march'.

This was obviously no spontaneous outburst of civil disobedience either. These buildings were deliberately targeted. Organizers even deemed the riot to be successful.

Organizers of the march expressed gratitude to all who participated and made the event a great success. Organizers also dismissed the preliminary media reports of violence saying, " Our march did not confront a single individual human being with violence. The only people looking for a fight today were the police."
See. If only the police would have left them alone to destroy private property. It is all the fault of the police.

I can only hope that some of these rioters were beaten down by overzealous police officers. I also hope that they are sufficiently gang raped in jail. Rioters who would intentionally destroy property, and then evade or even attack the police who are trying to arrest them deserve what they get.

(link via Michele)


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All Hail the Hit Counter


Ravenwood's Universe goes over 1 Billion hits! (counter.jpg)

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Misha, with your measly 150,000.

I expect I'll be getting praise from Simon any time now too.


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UK: Trivial crimes like burglary, assault no longer investigated


I have to start reading Dean's World more often. Dean notes that the police in the UK are no longer investigating such trivial crimes as home invasion, burglary, and assault. This is the same government that confiscated firearms from the citizens and made it illegal for people to defend themselves.


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Why Britain needs more guns


Try to guess who wrote this:

"If guns are outlawed," an American bumper sticker warns, "only outlaws will have guns." With gun crime in Britain soaring in the face of the strictest gun control laws of any democracy, the UK seems about to prove that warning prophetic.

1) the NRA
2) some Libertarian weblogger on the war path
3) pro-gun citizens of the UK
4) a liberal UK media outlet

Surprisingly, the answer is 4. While the first three have been saying it for years, now the BBC has gone on record in calling for a loosening of the UK's restrictive gun control laws.

The BBC pulls out every argument that Libertarians and pro-gun advocates have been using for the past decade:

A study found American burglars fear armed home-owners more than the police. As a result burglaries are much rarer and only 13% occur when people are at home, in contrast to 53% in England.

The failure of this general disarmament to stem, or even slow, armed and violent crime could not be more blatant.

Still, in reading reaction to the editorial, it is clear that some citizens of the UK are still not convinced. RK Bulmer of the UK takes the illogical argument:
With around 30,000 gun deaths a year, I think we should look elsewhere than the US for ideas on this subject. More legally-owned guns means more chances for accidental deaths in the home from guns, more teenagers finding their parents' guns and playing with them, more chances for legal guns to be stolen by criminals to be used by criminals.
Accidental deaths from firearms are negligible, and rank right up there with getting run over by your own lawn mower. Besides, you cannot legislate responsible parenting.

Sean Aaron, however, just refuses to see the facts as they've been laid out on the table:

I find this notion ludicrous. We do not need a nation of armed vigilantes (potential or otherwise) to ensure the peace, but rather active citizens who are willing to stand together against crime in their neighborhoods and cooperate with local authorities to apprehend criminals. This is the way to reduce crime. To draw a link between gun ownership and an overall drop in crime in the US is spurious and the article does not have enough evidence to point to a causative relationship between the two.
While Sean's utopian dream world sounds like a nice place to live, I'm not so sure I have faith in standing together in front of the firing squad.. er... against crime? Dreamers like Sean would have us host a big 'love-in', to wash away crime with our good intentions.

Some of the other comments range from the fearful to the downright loony. Mike K apparently sets his TV on his front porch before he goes to bed, while J... well, I don't know what the hell J is talking about.

Allowing homeowners to arm themselves will simply encourage potential burglars to arm themselves, and I don't particularly want to get into a gunfight for a colour television.
Mike K, UK

This is like saying that raising the speed limit in built-up areas will cut pedestrian deaths since cars will spend less time passing through.
J, UK

Meanwhile, J. Canning from the UK and Gordon from Canada play on the irrational idea that guns actually corrupt otherwise law-abiding people:
More availability of firearms in the UK would bring us more Dunblanes and perhaps a Columbine.
J.Canning, UK

Can you imagine the number of mistakes, accidents, acts of temporary insanity, etc. that would result from having guns freely available? I wonder what the police think of this crazy idea - what policeman would dare to investigate a "domestic quarrel" call, not knowing what firepower he might face?
Gordon, Canada

The lack of logic and rational thought of those that support gun control never ceases to amaze me. These gun grabbers clearly have an irrational fear of an inanimate object. They have personified firearms, they have demonized firearms, and clearly they fear firearms. These are the same minded people that march on Washington in support of tyrannical despots like Saddam Hussein. They'd rather trust the thugs of the world to behave or leave them alone than to trust their neighbors with a firearm. It's a recipe for disaster, and I only hope that I'm not there to see it.

(link shamelessly stolen from Dean's World)


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Ten Best Generals


Ravenwood's Universe reader, Ray, asks a question that is nearly impossible to answer correctly.

Question: Who is considered the best/smartest general of all time?

That is a big question. First of all, any attempt to pin down a specific General or Admiral would be futile. Patton for instance was very good tactically, but not politically. Ike on the other hand was much more political. Omar Bradley is perhaps one of our smartest Generals of all time, but to most, he's a relative unknown. Despite the painful difficulties, I have put together the following lists. Feel free to flog me in the comments.

Ten Best American Generals/Admirals:

10. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant - While Grant is probably under-rated among American Generals, he was mediocre at best. His late comeupance in the Civil War illustrates just how desparate the North was to find a good General. Still, you must admit that winning the Civil War required some good strategery.

9. Gen. George C. Marshall - Marshall served as Chief of Staff from 1939 to 1945, and was "American's foremost soldier" in World War II. As the highest ranking Army officer, Marshall was responsible for training and building an army of several million soldiers. As Secretary of State after the war, Marshall developed the 'Marshall Plan'. It was an unprecedented plan of rebuilding Europe after the war and providing economic and military aid.1

8. Gen. Douglas MacArthur - "You couldn't shrug your shoulders at Douglas MacArthur," observes historian David McCullough. "There was nothing bland about him, nothing passive about him, nothing dull about him. There's no question about his patriotism, there's no question about his courage, and there's no question, it seems to me, about his importance as one of the protagonist of the 20th century."2

7. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower - Ike was the Supreme Allied Commander during WWII, a great political general, and the principle architect of the allied invasion of Europe.

6. Gen. Omar Bradley - Bradley "earned a reputation as an eminent tactician and as a "soldier's soldier, a general with whom lower ranks could readily identify." 3

5. Adm. Chester Nimtz - After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Nimitz accepted the promotion to CINCPAC (Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet). He led the Pacific Fleet to numerous spectacular victories including Midway and Layte Gulf.

4. Gen. George Washington - A capable commander who took ill-trained and badly equipped troops and led them to victory and independence over the British.

3. Gen. Robert E. Lee - Probably the best American commander of all time. Without Lee, the Confederacy wouldn't have lasted nearly as long as it did. On the battlefield, Lee was good tactically, and able to get his troops out of some tough situations. Still, Lee was sometimes faulted for issuing unprecise orders, and putting himself at unnecessary risks.4

2. Gen. Stonewall Jackson - Probably the best battlefield commander of all time, with brilliant battlefied execution. His "leadership and unrelenting will made Union generals shudder and Confederates feel that they had a chance to win the war."5 Had he not died an untimely death in 1863, (accidentally shot by his own troops) the South may just have won the Civil War.

1. Gen. George S. Patton - Probably the best battlefield strategist of modern times. Perhaps Patton's finest hour was the Battle of the Bulge. Despite having greatly fatigued and unrested troops, and facing severe winter weather, Patton pulled out of a battle, and marched his troops over 100 miles in less than 48 hours. Then, with no rest, he engaged and defeated the Germans, sliced through their flank, and helped relieve the men stranded in Bastogne. Patton's biggest vice was his mouth, which frequently got him into trouble.

Five Best Foreign Generals/Admirals:

5. Joan of Ark - She is by far, France's best 'general' of all time. She led her armies to several victories over superior British troops, and brought France back from the edge of collapse; all at the age of 17. Not to mention she was probably battling severe schizophrenia.6

4. Gen. Julius Caesar - A General, writer and politician who was credited with changing Rome's government from a republic to a monarchy. While some view Caesar as a ruthless dictator, it's hard to argue that he wasn't a good General.7

3. Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto - Yamamoto orchestrated the attack on Pearl Harbor, and held naval superiority in the Pacific until the Battle of Midway in 1942.

2. F.M. Erwin Rommel - The 'Desert Fox' frustrated American and British troops all over North Africa.

1. Gen. Bernard Law Montgomery - Britain's own primmadonna.

Honorable Mentions:

Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf - Stormin' Norman liberated Kuwait.
Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte - Conquered Spain.
Gen. Nathaniel Bedford Forrest - A good calvalryman.
Gen. Benjamin Franklin Cheatam - Another hard fighting Confederate.
Alexander the Great - Tactically, Alexander was not much of a General. He already had excellent troops, and was using proven methods. While his armies were very efficient at slaughtering the enemy, there was very little creativity to his leadership, which keeps him out of the Top 10.8
Phillip II - Macedonian King and father to Alexander the Great. Phillip was largely responsible for putting together the army that Alexander used for his conquests.
Gen. William Sherman - A Union General who burned, looted, and pillaged Atlanta and much of the south.
F.M. Alexander Suvarov - A Russian Field Marshal who commanded during the Napoleonic wars.

Those are my lists. You'll notice the lists are heavily Anglo-centric. I guess that is a product of my Anglo-centric education. Also it consists of mostly 19th and 20th century military leaders. I'm sure there are plenty of good African, Asian, and South American generals which should have been mentioned or listed. Feel free to add to or flame the lists in the comments.

1-src 2-src 3-src 4-src 5-src 6-src 7-src 8-src

Essays
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It's c-c-cold out there!


The low tonight is -1 F!

weather-0118.jpg

Sadly, it is 30 right now in Nome, AK. I should go there for a warm winter vacation.


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Pro-enslavement rallies all across the U.S.


Pro-enslavement rallies were staged in cities all across the nation today, supporting tyrannical despot Saddam Hussein. Hussein, whose notable achievements include murder, rape, gassing his own people, and numerous other human rights abuses, could not be reached for comment. (UPDATE: Saddam was finally able to be reached for comment.)

King Kong's girlfriend, Jessica Lange, accuses President Bush of having a 'Son of Kong' mentality. "Was this born out of some vendetta mentality? A son trying to absolve the sins of the father?" Lange continued, "What I am saying to you, Mr. Bush: we do not want these sins visited upon the heads of our children."

Not to be upstaged, Rev. Jesse "The Sloganmaster" Jackson complains about Bush hogging the remote control. "It does not stand to reason to have an unfinished confrontation with al Qaeda, ignore the Middle East and then fast forward to Iraq." You have to imagine the inflection that Jesse would give such a speech. 'It does not stand to reee-zun...'

The U.S. protests were coordinated to coincide with international pro-enslavement demonstrations in several different nations; most fitting, the Communist Party protests in Russia and San Francisco. In the Syrian capital of Damascus, the protesters were at least honest about who Saddam is. Their protest included support for Iraq and shouts of "Our beloved Saddam, strike Tel Aviv."

While I have no problem with people standing up for what they believe in, I do have a problem with what they choose to believe. Saddam is a ruthless dictator that has committed horrific crimes against humanity. To me it is an issue of right and wrong, and Saddam is most definitely wrong. And, if you support Saddam, you are wrong too.

These pinko peaceniks need to understand that peace is not obtained through marches are demonstrations. Just ask anyone lucky enough to survive the Tiananmen Square massacre. Peace is obtained through force and/or the threat of force; for it is force that keeps monsters like Saddam from subjugating others.


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2003 North American International Auto Show


Check out some of the concepts from the 2003 Auto Show in Detroit.

Best in Show was the Cadillac Sixteen:
sixteen150.jpg
(click to supersize)


It is called Sixteen, because it sports a 13.6 liter V-16, that produces 1000 ft-lbs of torque and 1000 hp. It has 24 inch wheels, and no B-pillar. (The pillar that usually separates the front and rear doors.) What is most remarkable is that the massive V-16 is all aluminum and actually weighs less than their standard V-8 in production today.

My favorite was the new Mustang concept:
mustang150.jpg
(click to supersize)

It sports a supercharged 400 HP 4.6 liter V-8. One look at the front, and you'll immediately recognize the retro 60s grill which will have Mustang enthusiasts (like me) drooling. Unlike the Cadillac, this Mustang is actually slated for production. While the production vehicle will have some differences, the concept is very close to what will be available at the dealerships in about 18 months. (Look for Ravenwood to be in the market for one of these when they finally scrap the ugly post 1998 body style)

Doing Hard Time in Arizona


tent-city-jail.jpgI saw a story about the Maricopa County (AZ) prison on TLC this week, and just had to write about it. A web search turned up this very old CNN story about the prison.

The prison is probably the most unconventional prison in the U.S. Unconventional in one sense, old fashioned in another.

First of all, prisoners are kept in non-air conditioned tents, and not structures. The 'Tent City' was erected to save taxpayer money, and the County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, feels that pinching pennies is more important than coddling felons.

Inmates also must pay about $1 per day for their meals, which consist only of bologna sandwiches. Coffee was taken away to save $150,000 a year, and the only TV they get is the Disney Channel and the Weather Channel. Inmates wear old fashioned black and white stripes, and pink underwear. (White underwear was frequently stolen and sold on the black market. Changing to pink underwear nipped that in the bud.)

Arpaio also has an old fashioned 'chain gang' for off site work crews. In contrast to the infamous southern chain gangs, Arpaio's chain gangs are voluntary. They usually consist of work in high profile urban areas, to serve as quite a deterrence to those thinking of a life of crime. It is considered a privilege to work on the chain gang, and to get to leave the tent city for a short period of time.

While the prison has drawn the ire of organizations like the ACLU, the sheriff's 3+ million constituents are happy with the changes he's made. The changes are a direct result of criticisms of the modern penal system. The system that has long been accused of coddling felons, and making life on the inside better than life on the outside. I'm inclined to agree with them.


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U.S. Resisting Calls for a 2nd U.N. Vote on Iraq


How many votes do they want? Canada, New Zealand, and other wishy washy panty waste countries want us to get another UN vote before we act on Iraq.

I say to hell with them. Sure, it's nice to have moral support, but do we really need 600 troops from Canada, or either of New Zealand's tanks?


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Anti-war movement


For some reason, anti-war protesters make me feel intellectually superior.

Whenever I hear of people marching on Washington, the words 'idiot' and 'moron' come to mind. Hopefully they've changed a little since the 60's, and are at least shaving and bathing now.


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W. Hollywood may be 1st to ban feline declawing


I wonder how they feel about beheading?


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La. Ponders Dead Voter Absentee Ballots


Currently, absentee ballots of dead people are tossed out in Louisiana. However, if a few State Senators have their way, soon even those votes will count.


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Sniper Victims' Families to Sue Over Assault Rifle


As if losing a loved one wasn't bad enough, now families of the DC sniper have become pawns for the gun lobby.

The fact that the plaintiffs are represented by the Brady Campaign illustrates that the purpose of the lawsuit is simply to try to punish the firearm's industry. The case need not even be proveable or based on factual evidence, as long as it drives up costs for the gun industry. This is a good argument for a loser pays legal system.

"I hope ultimately there will be control over who obtains firearms," said Vickie Snyder of Rockville, the sister of one of the victims.

Dennis Henigan, legal director of the Brady Center, says "This assault rifle, which served the snipers' deadly purposes so well, did not fall from the sky into their hands."

At least Snyder admits her gun control motives. Henigan, meanwhile, clearly blames the gun, and the people who manufactured it. I presume he'd also sue GM and the dealership for the Buick that accidentally ran over his grandmother. After all, that Buick didn't just fall out of the sky.


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Last entry for today


I'm taking a short overnight business trip today, so there probably won't be any more blogging until at least tomorrow evening, when I return.

Everyone have a good weekend, and if you need to get your blogging fix, feel free to check out some of the categories on the left. Amendment of the Day, Drunk Story of the Day, or even Liberal for a Day are all pretty good reads. Granted they aren't Required Reading, but then again, nothing on this web page is required.

(Don't tell Michele, but I'm pretty much against required reading. In High School, the best way to ensure students didn't read something was to 'require' it.)


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Adult store offers 'clergy discount'


As a member of the clergy, I was originally excited to see this offer. That is, until I saw they were prejudging the clergy as gay. Their sign advertises, "No need to mail order. Gay videos in stock. Clergy discount. Have good sex. Hallelujah!"

For the record, not all clergy are gay. In my circle of friends that are men of the cloth, not a single one is gay. In fact, most of them are married with children. Sure, we had those naked drunk nights every once in a while, but that doesn't mean we're gay.


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Tax cuts for the rich?


who_pays_taxes.gif


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Armed Robber Makes Classic Comic Bungles


While nobody ever said armed robbers are very smart, did they say anything about funny? The AP reports of a masked robber, Edward Blaine, who robbed a Virginia bank. His getaway included classic slapstick comedy maneuvers such as:

1. Dropping half the money on the way out.
2. Locking his keys in the car.
3. Abandoning said car after angry townspeople give chase.
4. And an old favorite, trying to shoot said angry townspeople and inadvertently shooting himself in the leg.

Blaine, who had previously served 20 years after an armed bank robbery conviction in 1963, will undoubtedly be returned to the bosom of the Virginia penal system.

Required Reading for 2002


After weeks of hype and anticipation, Michele's Required Reading for 2002 is starting to make an appearance.

It looks like she has a lot of stuff posted, but she says there is more to come. It looks like a lot of good stuff on there, so go check it out.


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History 101: Appeasement, reposted


Sheryl Crow says all we need to do is 'not have enemies'. This philosophy is known as appeasement. While I originally wrote about appeasement back in September, I think there is a need to repost it.

-----------------

Although history has shown that appeasement doesn't work with a fanatical despot, there remains to be a sizeable movement for appeasement of Saddam Hussein.

What is appeasement, you ask? How do we know it won't work, you ask? The Godfather of modern appeasement is Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain became the British Prime Minister in 1937, and his foreign policy of pacifying Adolf Hitler and the rising German tensions became known as appeasement.

Chamberlain began to ask "Why do they hate us?" He felt that the Germans had been mistreated after the first World War, and that agreeing to the demands of Hitler and Mussolini would stave off another European war. This included the unification of Austria and Germany, a violation of the Treaty of Versailles, as well as turning over the Sudetenland, part of Czechoslovakia, with the signing of the Munich Agreement. It should be noted that the Czechoslovakia's head of State not only didn't sign the Munich Agreement, but he wasn't even invited to the meeting.

About six months after receiving the Sudetenland, Hitler seized the rest of Czechoslovakia, breaking the Munich Agreement he had signed. Oops. I bet Chamberlain didn't think he'd do that.

Chamberlain gave up appeasement, and with the invasion of Poland, Britain finally declared war on Germany. A short time later, Chamberlain resigned.

Compare this to Saddam Hussein. Some say Iraq has been mistreated after the Gulf War. UN sanctions have wreaked havoc on the country, and appeasement might make Saddam come around. If we meet a few of his demands, like lifting UN sanctions, we may stave off another Gulf War.

Or, he may 're-unify' with Kuwait, or seize Saudi Arabia. He may build up an arsenal filled with weapons of mass destruction, while deflecting our attention with weapons inspectors and broken UN resolutions. If we wait until he 'does something', it just may be too late. src


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Nebraska 'Motivates' Football Team


The University of Nebraska plans on taking drastic measures to improve their football program.

nebraska_coffin.jpg


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Sheryl Crow Invents World Peace


"I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies." -- Sheryl Crow

Really, it's that easy.

(link shamelessly stolen from Rachel)

How to Fight Hotlinking


Greeblie has all the action today. Lately, Dave's had trouble with a certain someone hotlinking his images.

(brief lesson on hotlinking)
Hotlinking is when someone links to an image on your server, so that it shows up on their web site. Since the image resides on your server, every time someone views their site, it is costing you bandwidth. Now, anyone who has ever hosted a website knows that bandwidth isn't free, nor is online storage space for that matter. So, effectively, not only are the 'leeching' your images, but they are actively stealing your bandwidth and storage space.

The neat thing about hotlinking, is that since the image is hosted on your server, all you need to do is change the image or rename it. But even with the images gone, if the hotlink remains, they are still eating up some of your bandwidth by merely hitting your site looking for the image.

The most effective way to get them to remove the link is to change the image to something really nasty. (like this) That way, viewers see your nasty image instead of the original image the author intended them to see.

When I discovered a hot linker about a week ago, this particularly nasty little baby, had them removing their hotlink within a matter of hours.

(Kudos to Michele for reminding me that as the hoster of the image, I had the power)


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PC 12v Cigarette Lighter Adapter Kit


Thanks to Greeblie for pointing this one out.

For some reason, I see Acidman having one of these.


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Confederate flags yanked at 2 historic sites


I hate to sound like a 'flaggot', or like I'm beating a dead horse with the whole Confederate flag issue.

But can anyone tell me why the Georgia flag is any less 'offensive' than it was two years ago? After all, it still contains an image of the Confederate flag, it's just much smaller. It sounds to me like the 'offense' is simply a smoke and mirrors ploy to further a politically correct agenda.


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Cash-poor police to get cars that carry ads


This DUI arrest is brought to you by Budweiser.


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Police: Inmate french-kissed sister to slip drugs


This would have worked in West Virginia.

FL smoking ban could wipe out 500 year old cigar business


Anyone who smokes cigars knows that Tampa, specifically Ybor City, is world renown for their import and manufacture of cigars. Even today, you can go down to the Tampa shops and see authentic cigar makers hand rolling their products.

However, a new Florida Constitutional Amendment that bans smoking in any place where people work puts the entire cigar industry in jeopardy.

Importing and manufacturing of cigars naturally requires testing the product. This is now banned under the Florida Constitution, after November's passage of Amendment 6.

Cigar manufacturers are suing the state of Florida, Governor Bush, and several others over the Amendment, mainly because they had no other choice. While the Amendment was crafted to exclude tobacco retailers, cigar importers and manufacturers were left out of the exclusions. That leaves them with few legal options, other than the lawsuit. Personally, I wish them the best. The Amendment is a slap in the face to property rights and business owners everywhere.

On a related note, given that retailers are exempt, I wonder how easy an exemption would be to obtain. Restaurants and bars which are likely to be hurt the most, sometimes sell premium cigars. Does that classify them as a tobacco retailer? Could they gain an exemption, simply by selling a certain amount of tobacco each month? Hmm?


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A Civil War Essay: Politicians and their lies


"My own personal feeling is that the Confederate flag no longer has a place flying any time, anywhere in our great nation," says Dick 'Gebhardt', D-MO. Well, my own personal feeling is that dickheads like Gebhardt need to keep their fucking hands off my pay check. But something tells me that won't happen.

It's bad enough that there is a huge historical revisionist movement out there, but now idiots like Gebhardt and former Georgia Governor, Roy Barnes are using the issues for political gain. The big issue now is Confederate flags, but later it will turn to Confederate monuments, holidays, and possibly even burial sites.

Despite what they would have you believe, Lincoln was no saint, and the Civil War was not about slavery. While slavery was a divisive issue, it was not at the core of what the Civil War was about. Southern states fled the union because they felt under-represented in Congress, and oppressed by the industrious northern states. Northern states had the power in Washington, and southern issues were not being properly addressed. Slavery obviously was an issue, mainly because the southern economy depended on it. However, it was this polarization and industry vs. farming mentality that was responsible for the secession. It was also largely what caused the Commonwealth of Virginia to separate into two states.

The southern states naturally felt that seceding from the Union and forming their own nation, the Confederate States of America, was the right thing to do. After all, this was pretty much what the American Colonies did to England less than 100 years earlier. Lincoln however, vowed to preserve the Union, and invaded the southern states. In doing so, he plunged the nation into a Civil War that cost over 600,000 American lives.

Whether or not the Civil War was about slavery is still debated even today. To many northerners, it was about slavery. However to most southerners, it was about defending your land from an oppressive government.

This is best illustrated by the fact that very few southerners owned slaves. Some figures put it at 45,000 southern planters owning more than half of the nation's slave population. Given this fact, it is difficult to believe that a call to arms simply to preserve slavery would have been answered by very many people.

While Lincoln's role in freeing the slaves was instrumental, it is not as grandiose as many scholars would lead you to believe. What Lincoln did was use the issue of slavery to help end the war. His motivations were not moral so much as they were calculated. In fact, Lincoln didn't really free the slaves so much as they freed themselves. When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, he only freed Confederate slaves. Those slaves owned by slave states that remained in the Union were deliberately left out of the Proclamation.

The Proclamation was largely symbolic for two reasons. First, Congress had already written legislation prior to the 1863 Proclamation that 'freed' the Confederate slaves. However, neither the Emancipation Proclamation, nor the Congressional legislation legally applied due to the fact that the Confederacy was an independent sovereignty, and technically no longer part of the Union. The laws applied to the Confederacy no more than the U.S. Constitution applies to Canada.

What Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did do, was it motivated southern slaves to flee to the north, and wreaked havoc on the south. Slaves that fled were either offered protection in northern free states, or by the U.S. Army that was invading the Confederate lands.

What many people don't understand is that even today, many southerners identify with their Confederate roots and southern heritage. Removal of their emblems and monuments is a slap in the face to every southern soldier that died defending his land. These weren't slave owners protecting the interest of slavery, they were Virginians, Carolinians, and Mississippians defending their land from an attacking northern army.

One of today's modern arguments against symbols like the Confederate flag, is that it is a symbol of hatred and racism. This is due in part to ignorant fools in the KKK and other racist organizations who commonly soil the image of the Confederacy to spread their racist ideas and hatred. However, they also use the Bible and a cross, but I don't hear anyone asking to ban those.

Meanwhile, politicians like Dick Gebhardt continue to use issues like this to keep people divided. They propagate lies and ideas of ignorant hatred in search of political gain. By fostering the Us vs. Them mentality, they are able to cash in politically at the ballot box. They use the same play book for Black vs. White, Rich vs. Poor, and Haves vs. Have Nots. Consider that the Civil War was 140 years ago, and politicians are still bringing it up, even today, all the while saying, 'Vote for me'.


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Carnival 17


Carnival of the Vanities 17 is being hosted at Greeblie Blog.

The permalink is broken right now, but I'm sure Dave will fix it soon. Meanwhile, I got to visit Dave's unique 404 error page, one of the most original I've seen.

Speaking of Carnival, this is the second time in a row I've been late getting my submission in, and the third time in a row that I've 'forgotten'. The last two weeks, the ring masters were gracious enough to let me participate, but each week, I seem to forget competely.

Currently, I'm looking for volunteers to email me each Tuesday morning and remind me that my Carnival submission is due. I'm also looking for volunteers to vacuum my apartment. Any takers?


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Chinese block the Internet Filtering Tester site?


Remember the Real-Time Testing of Internet Filtering in China web site? Apparently their tool is offline because now the Chinese are blocking them.

Update: The testing system is currently unavailable due to blocking of our testing methods by Chinese network infrastructure.
I guess the blockers don't want the blockees to know if they are being blocked.


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Huffington: Detroit won't give up the preciousss


Arianna Huffington doesn't know whether or not to be ticked off at corporate America or apathetic American consumers. As she ramps up her anti-SUV campaign, Detroit automakers have announced plans for hybrid SUVs. Still, Arianna isn't very happy. The voices in her head tell her it's too little too late, and that Detroit is hoping for failure so that they can continue to sell their preciousss; their gas-guzzling, baby killing, weapons of mass distruction -- SUVs.

Because of the corporate takeover of our democracy, Washington has remained firmly stuck in the Dark Ages of energy policy. That's why President Bush can try to score points by proposing to raise the SUV mileage standard by a ludicrously low 1.5 mpg over the next four years.

But Detroit has sensed that public opinion is shifting. Now it's up to all of us to make sure the pressure and the demand for more socially responsible cars continue to grow. Otherwise, the auto industry will gladly allow the hybrid models to crash and burn -- yet more "proof" that Americans don't really care about anything other than their SUVs.

Actually Arianna, it would be 'proof'. Proof is in the pudding, or in this case the economics.

Detroit sees a rising demand for hybrid SUVs. So, they will rise to meet the demand, and produce a few hybrid models. Still, it is up to Americans. If a profitable demand isn't there, the models will go the way of the Edsel. If the demand is there, automakers will gladly cash in, just as they have with the SUVs and mini-vans. Why on Earth would anyone think they are rooting for failure?

The fact that we already have hybrid cars shows that there is some demand. However big, heavy, SUV hybrids may not have the range or speed of the smaller cars. Also, they probably won't be 4WD or capable of going off-road, and they are bound to be more expensive to produce. Automakers are betting that they can extend the hybrid technology to their other brands. The next logical step is for hybrids to extend to luxury cars, SUVs, and the various other models that automakers produce. They'd be foolish not to try it.

As for Huffington's moronic assertion that our country has been the victim of a corporate takeover, I choose not to comment. I also choose not to point out that we don't live under a democracy, never have, and hopefully never will. (oops, I just did)


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Sayonara Spoons


Spoons uses his weblog to meet babes, and then when he finds a keeper, he decides to shut it down.

"I've decided to shut down this site indefinitely in order to 'spend more time with my family.' "
Or did she decide for you?

Just kidding Spoons. You'll be missed. The Blogosphere just got a little smaller, I guess.


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Proof that there are no temporary taxes


A new tax levy is being put on the May ballot to benefit the Ontario (OH) school systems. Ontario successfully passed a 1 mil tax levy to make some permanent improvements to the schools. Now that the levy is expiring, they want a 1 mill levy put on the ballot to 'maintain' the new buildings and permanent improvements.

WMAN reports (last item) that "this levy would not be a tax increase, because one mill is coming off the bond issue." Since the measure is deceitfully* being sold as 'not a tax increase', it will probably pass.

* The fact is that it is a tax increase. As the law is written right now, 2003 taxes are set at X mills. They want to increase that level to X+1 mills through a bond issue on the May ballot. The liberal slant of "well, you aren't paying any more than you were in 2002, so it is not a tax increase" is deceitful.


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California raises confiscatory taxes to make ends meet


The LA Times offers up the story of the rise and fall of the California budget surplus.

The gist of the story is that California historically relied on upper income earners to pay the lions share of state income taxes.

An analysis of state tax returns for the year 2000 shows that the 10% of California taxpayers who have an adjusted gross income of $100,000 or more paid 78% of all the state's income taxes. And just 1% of wealthy Californians account for 48.7% of the state's personal income tax revenue.
When those upper income earners cashed in on the stock market, and stock options, Sacramento had an 'avalanche of money'. California Democrats and Republicans alike increased state spending at a record pace, despite warnings that the stock market boom wouldn't last forever.

Well, it didn't. California's income tax receipts fell from a high of around $45 Billion in 2000, to an estimated $33 Billion in 2002. Still, that only accounts for a fraction of the almost $35 Billion budget deficit.

So what is Gray Davis' answer? While he is cutting some programs, he intends to increase state revenues by increasing taxes across the board. Cigarette taxes, income taxes, motor vehicle taxes, sales taxes, and taxes on Indian reservation gambling are just a few of the new ways California will tax it's citizens. So, what is the message here?

Quite simply, private individuals and corporations will have to bear the brunt of the shortsightedness of California's lawmakers. What it comes down to, is that California wasn't fiscally responsible. They spent every penny that came in, and then when the flow of money slows down, they use the threat of lethal force to go out and collect more.

Now, when private individuals or businesses experience a decrease in income, they don't have that option. Sure, they can try taking money by force, but they are likely to end up in prison. Instead, most people cut their budget and look for ways to increase revenue. (ie: second job, going back to school, etc)

Not the government. They simply seize the money they need. At the same time, this stifles economic growth and ensures they'll have just as tough of a time meeting their budget needs next year. Also, as the 'rich' (and the jobs that go with them) move out of California, the problem will only get worse; and those that are left behind are really screwed.


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Cockfighting Rooster Kills Handler


These are exactly the kind of incidents that Americans for Chicken Safety works to prevent here in the U.S.

Perhaps there is a need for Filipinos for Chicken Safety.


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Tree sitter to come down easy or hard


How do you get an environmentalist out of a tree?

In California, a judge has issued a court order demanding that tree-sitter vacate the premises before dawn on Thursday. John Quigley, has been perched in a 400 year old oak tree since November 1st. The owner of the land (and tree) is John Laing Homes, a developer who wants to either move or cut down the tree as part of a 21,600 home development. Quigley and others claim the tree would never survive the move, and are demanding that it remain.

The way I see it, Quigley can come down the easy way or the hard way. If he comes down voluntarily, he can still protest on his own land, or in one of California's designated 'free speech zones'. Quigley could also purchase the land and use it (and the tree) any way he sees fit.

If he thumbs his nose at the court order, his options are limited to forcible arrest and imprisonment, or simply coming down when the tree falls. (If he's smart, he'll try to come down on top of the tree and not the other way 'round.)

Although I know the judge won't, I'd like to see the him take a hard line stance with this moron. I'm sick and tired of people trying to tell others what to do with their land. (Which is why I'll never own a house with an HOA.) Regardless of how Quigley comes down, he should literally be imprisoned, made to pay for any applicable construction delays, and forced to watch 1000 old growth trees ground into toothpicks.

Or, we could simply hang him and pull his pants down to set an example.


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RIAA ramps up to start hacking users


The Register reports on hacking rumors coming out of the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA). They aren't talking about internet users hacking the RIAA, rather the RIAA hacking internet users.

So far the reports are un-corroborated, but they use words like 'virii', 'worm', 'infect and spread' and 'exploit'.

The really scary part is that the RIAA has a few congressmen in their hip pocket. As I reported back in July, and again in September, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif. would make it perfectly legal for the RIAA to hack into end-user's computers. He would also take away your rights to fight the RIAA in court.


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Hawk interviews Williams


John Hawkins, from Right Wing News interviews the great Dr. Walter E. Williams.

It is a good read and an excellent piece. Of course, since Dr. Williams is one of my personal conservative favorites, I'm probably pretty biased.


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Stars are two-faced on SUVs


The NY Post's Page Six reports that "many of the Hollywood celebrities behind the new campaign against gas-guzzling SUVs are hypocrites who consume huge quantities of fossil fuels in their stretch limos, Gulfstream jets and oversized Beverly Hills mansions."

Page Six notes that Norman Lear, who heads the Environmental Media Association (EMA) and sponsors the anti-SUV advertising, built a 21 car garage in violation of city height restrictions. Meanwhile Gwyneth Paltrow who appears in some of the EMA ads drives a Mercedes-Benz SUV and rudely parks it on the sidewalk.

Chevy Chase and his wife's avid support of the EMA doesn't stop them from driving around in their SUV. Barbra Streisand and hubby James Brolin have SUVs as well, despite her frequent attempts at telling others how to live their lives.

(link via RWN)

Thousands support Somalis in Maine


Neal Boortz has been covering this story for years. He notes that CNN leaves out some major facts in the article.

While the article centers on the news of a racist group protesting the presence of more than 1100 Somalis in the small town of Lewiston, Maine, they leave out the reason the Somalis are there in the first place.

As Neal points out, most of the Somalis had lived in Atlanta. That is, until they found out about the wonderful welfare benefits in the small town of Lewiston, population 35,000.

A few years ago, Lewiston decided to use their governmental police powers and the threat of lethal force to get residents to cough up money for downtrodden Lewiston citizens. Atlanta Somalis found out how easy it was to claim money for food and housing, and the migration to Lewiston began. Now, two years and 1100 Somalis later, Lewiston is in financial trouble. Their generous welfare system is stretched to the limit, and tax increases are certain for the working folks of the small New England town. Of course, you won't hear about that on CNN.


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22% of Americans get news from talk jocks


The Los Angeles Times, being a major news outlet isn't too pleased to hear that 22% of Americans are looking to talk radio for news.

They quote Amy Mitchell, associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to raising the standards of American journalism, as saying "There's certainly nothing wrong with listening to Rush Limbaugh for what Rush Limbaugh provides. Limbaugh isn't concerned about an objective portrayal of the facts, and he admits that."

Meanwhile, Robin Bertolucci, director of AM programming for Clear Channel-Los Angeles notes that "Rush Limbaugh is arguably a news program as much as Peter Jennings is, though it's filtered through Rush Limbaugh."

The Times, as well as most other media outlets, are missing the point. Sure, Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz, and other conservative talk radio jocks are opinionated. They are the first to admit their lack of objectivity. They openly state that their sole purpose is to keep people tuned to the radio, so that they can sell advertisements, and make money.

Major media outlets like CBS, MSNBC, the NY Times, and the LA Times are in the exact same business however, only they refuse to admit it. They filter news through the liberally slanted anchormen, editorialists, and coorespondents, and are basically just entertainment outlets whose main goal is ratings and profit. Even commercial-free NPR is dependent on public support in the form of tax monies and private donations.

Still, the major news outlets insist on putting on airs as if they are being fair minded and objective, all the while they roll their eyes at the Rush Limbaugh's of the world and refer to them as mere entertainers. The hypocrisy astounds me. Anyone who believes that big media outlets are working for the 'greater good' and not for profit is an idiot.


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NFL Affirmative Action, revisited


Ward Connerly continues to take on the race warlords and profiteers. This time, he's aiming at none other than the man who freed O.J., Johnnie Cochran.

Cochrane has the NFL kowtowing to him, under the assertion that for whatever reason, the NFL becomes racist when it comes to letting blacks into the front office. Sure, 75% of players are black, most teams are in urban areas, and the only color NFL owners ever see is green. Still, that doesn't stop Cochran from trying to extort money from the NFL under the guise that blacks are being kept out of coaching spots because the NFL feels that they are genetically inferior.

If Cochran had his way, the Dallas Cowboys would have been penalized for hiring Bill Parcells, arguably (although not by much) the best available coach in pro football. Rather than hiring the best candidate that they can afford, Cochran feels that they should have passed over Parcells for a less qualified candidate who is black. Of course, as an incentive, they would get an extra draft pick.

What Connerly doesn't touch on is the inherent 'success' built into Cochran's plan. I mentioned this last October, and have yet to see anyone else pick up on it. If any group of competent coaches were given an extra draft pick to work with, they would have an inherent advantage over the other teams and thus, would have a greater chance for success in the NFL. After all, NFL teams, players and coaches are pretty much evenly matched anyway. The slightest advantage can often times yield huge results.

As for the NFL Affirmative Action program, you can bet dollars to donuts that any such success would in turn be held up by Cochran and other proponents as a big fat 'See I told you so', and attributed solely to the black coach's talent, the success of Cochran's program and not to the 14% increase in awarded draft picks.

Remember, you heard it here first.


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What Would Jesus Drive


Taranto points out (last item) that the What would Jesus Drive? website isn't about wacky environmentalism at all, it is about religious scholarship.

One theory is that Jesus would tool around in an old Plymouth because the Bible says, "God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury."

But in Psalm 83, the Almighty clearly owns a Pontiac and a Geo. The passage urges the Lord to, "pursue your enemies with your Tempest and terrify them with your Storm." - Psalm 83:15

Truly the Best of the Web.


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Cheap chickens used to bait Hamas


The Jerusalem Post headline reads: Undercover unit traps Hamas man with offer of "excellent chickens at an interesting price"

This is just the kind of thing that Americans for Chicken Safety is trying to prevent. While this time, it was the good guys who lured the bad guys into a trap, it could have easily been the other way 'round. Are your children safe? Do they know not to accept chicken offers from strangers, or offers that sound too good to be true?

(link via Taranto)


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Fishin Ain't so Bad


This is what hunters will have to resort to when they take away all our guns. (watch the whole thing, it's worth it.)

(link via Steve M. in Michigan)


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With Gore Out, Lieberman Announces Bid


I can only hope that Crazy Joe gets the nomination. Why do I call him Crazy Joe? I'll let his speech speak for itself:

"Two years ago we were promised a better America," Lieberman said. "But that promise has not been kept. So, today I am ready to put our country first, to rise above partisan politics to fight for what's right for the American people. I am ready to protect their security, to revive their economy, and to uphold their values. I am ready to announce today that I am a candidate for the president of the United States."
Use your imagination to insert the half hearted 'Ra Ra Ra' inflection that Leiberman put into it.


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Female shuttle crew, 'GoreSat' scrubbed by mean Republicans


The largest make-work organization in the world, NASA, is still looking for their next big gimmick.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- Space shuttle Columbia's pure science mission initially was seen as a vehicle for an all-female crew, but that idea was abandoned. Then it was proposed as a carrier for GoreSat, the Earth-observing spacecraft dreamed up by Vice President Al Gore, but that was put on ice by a Republican Congress.
I like how the AP can't resist getting in a jab against the Republicans and fiscal responsibility. Is this the best way to spend taxpayer money, that was seized from hard working Americans at the point of a gun? Satellites can typically be launched by cheap and efficient rockets. There is no need to send up 7 or 8 people in a huge launch vehicle as babysitters.

And is Al Gore inventing satellites now? First the internet, and now this!


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From the Department of 'No Shit Sherlock'


Fox News has these epiphanies:

Frist: Dems Are 'Playing Politics' With Pickering Renomination

Justice Scalia: Courts Go Overboard on Church-State Separation


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Ill. Gov. clears death row, looks for Nobel prize


During his last few days in office, outgoing Illinois Governor George Ryan commuted the sentence of the 167 inmates on Illinois' death row. Immediately following his commutation, there were talks of nominating Ryan for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Could the Nobel prize and the cash award that comes with it be the real motivation for such an ambiguous clearing of the Illinois death row? Is this akin to the Clinton pardon scandal, where outgoing President Clinton issued hundreds of pardons to supposed big campaign donors?


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Rachel takes on tax cuts and stupidity


Kudos to Rachel Lucas for pointing out that saying the we have to 'pay' for tax cuts "is like saying that the mugger has to 'pay for' not mugging you."


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3 armed thugs no match for man with walker, shotgun


The AJC reports on a 74-year old store owner, J. C. Adams, who uses a walker. Adams successfully defended himself against three armed thugs by hitting two of them, one fatally, with one shot from his 12 gauge. The story was picked up by the AP, so you've probably heard it before.

Part of what makes the story so heart warming, is that a firearm equalized one 74-year old man with limited mobility, to three young and tough street thugs. The other detail that makes this a great story was Adam's warning to would-be robbers to "Make your own money; quit trying to take mine."

Fellow Atlantan, Neal Boortz doesn't hold back expressing his feelings on the matter:

I love the fact that one predator is dead. Good. He has been removed from society and will never threaten anyone again. The world is better off today without this jerk using perfectly good oxygen molecules. I hope he remained conscious long enough to lay there in a pool of his own blood thinking about things might have turned out for him if he had actually worked for his money.
Gee Neal, tell us how you really feel.

Defending Your Life
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The Aspen Global Warming Tax


"I'm fairly convinced that it will be quite common for energy codes in the next 20 years to require houses to produce some of their own energy. Buildings are going to have to be something other than parasites on the landscape. They're going to have to do something useful - produce hot water, produce electricity, harvest rainwater. They can't be on intensive care for the next century." -- Environ-wacko Randy Udall.

Udall supports the Aspen, CO law that requires new homes to either install renewable energy features (such as solar panels) or pay a penalty of up to $100,000. The law is meant to offset the effects of global warming, which Udall predicts could ruin Aspen's economy which is based on skiing and winter tourism.


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Oregon bans minors from stripping in bars


So reports the AP. The 'minors' they are talking about are those girls that are 18, but not yet 21. They will no longer be allowed to earn a living in establishments that also serve alcoholic beverages.

Personally, I don't see what one has to do with the other. In most establishments, dancers are not even employees, they are independent contractors. What should it matter if the place they contract to serves beer to their patrons or not? Are blue laws coming back?


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CDC looks to control human behavior


Just how much money did the CDC spend in their New Hampshire study that concluded that raising cigarette prices will curb smoking? Any first year economics student could tell you that increasing price will decrease demand. Perhaps the biggest question is what business is it of the CDC, or any governmental body for that matter, to try to control human behavior?

You can raise the price of beer, gasoline, water, electricity, cigarette, SUVs, and doritos, and you are likely to see a decrease in demand. But what right does the government have to do that? The CDC has absolutely no right to try to control human behavior.

Pleasure police argue that smoking raises health care costs, but the argument doesn't hold water. First of all, smokers already pay higher insurance premiums. Second, health insurance is not a communal expense, even though socialists would like it to be.

The recent legislative attacks on cigarettes and smokers is the start of a new temperance movement, similar to the prohibitionist movement of the early 20th century. It is nothing less than an attempt to control personal habits, and it is starting to spread into alcohol and fatty foods.

It is also a perfect example of what is wrong with a true democracy and the idea of 'majority rule'. With smoking, there are the smokers, the anti-smokers, and the non-smokers. The smokers enjoy their personal freedom to puff on their cancer sticks and get their nicotine fix. The anti-smokers think smokers are the anti-Christ. The non-smokers are people that don't smoke, and are probably apathetic about the restrictions that anti-smokers push on the rest of society.

Those that are apathetic toward smoker's rights need to be careful. Right now the smokers are outnumbered, and it won't be long before smoking is made illegal. After which, the anti-smokers will move on to another pet peeve like alcohol, fatty foods, SUVs, or who knows what.


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Delta cuts mileage credit in half


Any of you fly Delta? Well they realigned their Medallion program so that you need up to twice as many miles to qualify for basic preferred status. Delta Air Lines web site outlines the changes. Note that instead of needed 25,000 miles or 30 segments to get preferred status, you now need 25,000 'qualifying miles' to get Silver Medallion. The kicker is that the miles are multiplied by a coefficient based on your fare.

If you fly deep discounted coach fares, your miles are multiplied by 0.5, whereas if you fly a full coach fare, the coefficient is 1.5. (Regular discounted coach fares are multiplied by 1.0) Therefore, if you usually fly deep discounted L-class fares, you now need twice as many miles (50,000 x 0.5) to get basic Silver Medallion status.

What this does is even the playing field between the expensive tickets and cheap seats. Those buying last minute tickets and paying $1000 for full fare coach will now get a bonus. Those flying the deep discounted $150 fares will get their mileage credit cut in half.

This can still screw the business travelers though. Many commuter travelers that fly weekly, book in advance to take advantage of the savings. Even though they are still the 'bread and butter' of the airlines, they get screwed for 50% of their mileage.

Other damning changes include no longer issuing complimentary 800 mile segment upgrades when you reach Gold or Silver levels. Also, earned mileage upgrades are being cut from 800 to 500 miles in May. That means that 510 mile segment you used to fly will now require two upgrade certificates instead of one. If you are connecting, and have a 510 mile leg followed by another 510 mile leg, you'll need 4 certificates instead of 2.

Not only are upgrade certificates being cut from 800 to 500 miles, but they are getting more expensive too. Four 800 mile certificates now cost $120 or 10,000 miles. Effective May 1st, four 500 mile certificates will cost $160 or 25,000 miles. That is quite a boost in price from $0.0375 to $0.08 per upgrade mile, or a 113% increase. If you use mileage to pay for upgrades it's even worse, increasing from 3.125 miles to 12.5 miles per upgrade mile, or a 300% increase. (Assuming you use all 800 miles of an upgrade certificate versus 500 miles under the new program.) Earning certificates through flying becomes more difficult to, in that Gold level fliers now earn only four 500 mile upgrades per 10,000 miles flow whereas they used to earn eight 800 mile upgrades.

On the brighter side, in May those cheap L-class fares will now be upgradable on the day of departure, whereas before they were not. Also, a good part of their new program is that those that have 75,000 or more 'qualifying' miles at the end of 2003 can opt to carry over up to 15,000 miles to the next year. That should give people a jump start on maintaining their preferred status the following year. Of course now that preferred benefits are cut back so much, is it really worth it?

Personally, I've given up on airline loyalty. Delta has fucked me over for the last time. I now consider airlines like a commodity, and just fly whoever is cheapest. There isn't much difference between the major carriers any way.


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What caused the budget deficit?


"You don't get deficits by cutting taxes. We have a deficit today because the economy tanked, revenue collection slowed down. The most important factor to closing the deficit will be economic growth and a resurgence..." -- Sen John Sununu, R-NH, on Hardball with Chris Matthews


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Feinstein admits her Marxist beliefs


Anyone see Senator Dianne Feinstein, Socialist-CA, on Hardball yesterday?

MATTHEWS: But shouldn't the people who pay the most in taxes get the biggest tax relief?
FEINSTEIN: Well that's certainly...
MATTHEWS: Isn't that logical?
FEINSTEIN: That's a theory. Not if you're trying to use it as a stimulus to prime the economy, because the person in the top rate doesn't need it. It's the person that's worried about their retirement, that may have lost their job...
(emphasis mine)
That is pure Socialism.

"From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs." -- Karl Marx, father of Communism


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Gun control having usual results in UK


The near total gun ban in the UK has had the usual results.

Gun crime in England and Wales increase by 35% last year and criminals used handguns in nearly 50% more offences.

The figures also show the number of crimes involving handguns has more than doubled since the ban on the weapons imposed after the Dunblane massacre from 2,636 in 1997-1998 to 5,871 in the 12 months to April last year.

The number of homicide victims killed by firearms increased 32%, or 23 cases, in the year to April 2002. In all, handgun crime rose 46% year-on-year.

This news was released by the Home Office in Britain, amid a movement to ban replica guns, air guns, water guns, sticks that look like guns, and sticking your finger in your pocket. Will UK lawmakers admit their mistake and repeal the gun ban? Not likely. Instead they look for other things to ban like water pistols and steak knives.

London streets are becoming more and more unsafe, meanwhile law enforcement is cracking down on honest, hard working citizens who carry crow bars, chains, and knives in a vain attempt to protect themselves from heavily armed thugs and street gangs. I guess it's easier to arrest a would-be law-abiding citizen with a pocket knife than it is to take on a heavily armed street gang. It doesn't help that even the police in the UK are largely unarmed.


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Bigger, Faster, Scarier


Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio has plans to build the worlds tallest, fastest roller coaster. The huge 'Amazement Park' commonly competes in the race to outdo other parks with bigger, better thrill rides.

The latest coaster will be 420 feet tall and have a top speed of 120 mph.

The park currently has 15 roller coasters (Tazteck tried to get me to ride all 15 last summer).


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Fed subsidizes evil gas guzzling SUVs


While the Commonwealth of Taxachusetts is raising taxes on SUVs to stir up class envy and warfare, the federal government is subsidizing them.

Writing for the AJC, thrifty guru Clark Howard notes that small business owners who purchase SUVs can get a tax break to the tune of $24,000. SUVs are claimed as a business expense, but include such luxury models as the BMW X5, Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes ML500, Land Rover Discovery, and dozens of other models.

Most notably, the models all weigh over 6000 pounds and would thus easily be classified as evil gas guzzlers. (Screw you Arianna Huffington.)


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Anti-SUV pioneer owns a Mercedes


Neil Cavuto really handed it to Lawrence Bender of the Detroit Project yesterday. They are the ones responsible for those anti-SUV advertisements that claim the gas money used to fuel SUVs goes to support terrorism.

Cavuto: What do you drive?
Bender: Right now I drive a Mercedes, but...
Cavuto: Not exactly gas efficient.
Bender: Not effe.. not exactly gas.. But I have er.. er... a [Toyota] Prius [hybrid] on order, and as soon as I get my Prius, I'm going to be getting.. going to be giving up my a.. my Mercedes.


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Amtrak to cut fares to boost revenue


This sounds a bit like the economic stimulus package. It isn't a cost so much as an investment.


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Vest a Pup


An Alabama college student has donated two bullet proof vests (should actually be called body armor, because nothing is really 'bullet-proof') to the Mobile County (Alabama) sheriff's office.

What is unique about this donation is that the vests are not for the patrolmen, but for the K-9s. The doggy vests cost about $495 a piece and are being donated under Stephanie Ladnier's 'Vest-a-Pup' program.


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England to address fake gun crime


England is finally cracking down on replica gun crime by cracking down on replica guns. Fake gun crime in Britain has skyrocketed after the total ban of real guns in 1997.

The ban will cover anything that looks like a gun or is used to emulate a gun. This has been a real problem in England, where people are commonly held up with combs, cell phones, and the old finger in the pocket trick.

Crime in England is still much lower in the U.S. where people are permitted to carry guns around, sparking frequent wild west style shootouts. I saw two of them on the way home from the mall yesterday.


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Say it isn't so, Zell


Now, I must admit that I voted for Saxby Chambliss over Zell Miller in 2000, mainly because Zell has that little 'D' after his name. But still, having Zell as your Senator was still better than having someone like Daschle or Clinton.

I hate to see Zell go. He was by far my favorite Democrat, and I have nothing but respect for the man.

I wonder who the Dems will get to replace him. Probably Max Cleland if he's interested. It'd be a hoot to see Cynthia McKinney or former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell run. (assuming Campbell isn't in jail)

On the Republican side, Bob Barr might step up and run for the nomination. He recently got squeezed out of the House due to redistricting and his short sighted attempt to take away fellow Republican John Linder's seat.


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VA: Designated drivers not required


Jimmy Cirrito, owner of Jimmy's Old Towne Tavern brought up a very good point about the Fairfax Gestapo cracking down on non-driving drinkers over the legal limit.

Since everyone is required by Virginia law to have a BAC of .08 or below, there is no need for designated drivers, because everyone would be legally able to drive. There you go. Problem solved.

Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano noted that while when you enlist driving privileges, you waive away your right not to submit to a DUI test, you have no such obligation if you aren't driving. You still have a Fifth Amendment protection against self incrimination, and can simply refuse to cooperate. Of course in reality, you'll probably still be arrested, but in a court of law, it should hold up.


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Democrat for a Day


Today, a large part of my posts have been attributed to my 'Democrat for a Day' experiment. I tried to switch off my brain for a day and look at issues from the liberal democrat point of view. I would appreciate any feedback on how the experiment went. Was I successfully able to portray the liberal argument? I tried to genuinely present issues from the liberal point of view without coming off as sarcastic. I think I did a decent job.

Who knows, perhaps other webloggers will try this. Perhaps one day, we'll have a great big 'Democrat for a Day' weblog holiday, with hundreds of weblogs participating.

For your easy reference, the 'liberal' articles are all filed under the 'Liberal for a Day' category on the left. (Too many 'D' categories already) Any future 'Liberal for a Day' posts will be filed there as well. I don't foresee doing any more 'liberal' posts today, but who knows. The day isn't over yet.

Correction


In yesterday's story about the Fairfax Gestapo, I noted that people who failed sobriety test were issued citations. The Washington Post notes that those failing the sobriety tests were actually "charged with public drunkenness and spent the night in jail."


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Are Republicans emboldened?


After seizing control of the Senate in a coup d'etat last November, Bush seems to be emboldened to try to push his conservative agenda. First there are the reckless and irresponsible tax cuts. Next, he re-nominated controversial judges such as Charles Pickering that have already been rejected by the Senate judiciary. I wonder if he will try to push through his plan for school vouchers.

The vouchers are sure to drain our schools of much needed funds, and leave poor, underprivileged children behind; especially those in inner cities. Vouchers will also largely be used in schools with religious indoctrination. They may seem benign on the surface, but there are real Constitutional issues of separation of church and state.

During a time when education funding should be increasing, will Bush propose to decrease the resources that are available for our nation's children? Probably. After all, this is the same party that classified ketchup as a vegetable.

Liberal for a Day
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NJ still the armpit of America


Talk about litigious. A New Jersey Lawmaker is considering suing the NFL for the botched call in this weekend's playoff game.

Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto, D-Hudson, wants the league to allow New Jersey to host a Super Bowl by 2006 and called on the head of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which runs Giants Stadium, to begin legal action against the NFL.

''New Jersey taxpayers may have been cheated of tax revenue the state would have earned from players' income and other Giants-related enterprises had the team advanced in the playoffs,'' Impreveduto said in his letter to George Zoffinger, the sports authority president.
I'm sure that is what Giants fans were concerned about; lost tax revenues.

At first I thought he was just drumming up publicity to try to get a Super Bowl. But the threat of litigation is downright loony. This pretty much seals the deal for the NFL. You will never see them admit another mistake in officiating. From now on, no matter how bad the call, no matter how blatantly obvious the bad call is, the NFL will stick to their guns and say it was a legitimate call. (All because of New Jersey threatening to sue.)


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State tax system hurts poor, data find


Washington State's tax system relies heavily on dollars from the poor. The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports:

The study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy -- which is affiliated with the liberal-leaning Citizens for Tax Justice -- found that the poorest 20 percent of Washingtonians pay 17.5 percent of their income in taxes each year, while the top 1 percent pay just 3.3 percent.
This is radically different than in other states, because Washington has no income tax. Most state revenues come from sales taxes, which affect the poor the most.
Sales taxes are considered regressive because they fall more heavily on poor people, who typically spend nearly all their money on everyday necessities.

Adding to the burden are so-called "sin taxes" on tobacco and alcohol, which also fall heavily on the poor. Washington has one of the highest cigarette taxes of any state.

Clearly, a state income tax is needed, so that the rich will start paying their fair share. Why should the poor pay 17.5% when the rich pay only 3.3%.

Liberal for a Day
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Price controls needed in Health Care Industry


USA Today reports that health spending increased 8.7% in 2001. That is the biggest jump since the previous Bush administration.

Most notably, private sector HMOs have failed to keep health care prices in check. Prescription drug costs are up, hospital costs are up, and of course health care insurance premiums are up. This is proof positive that price controls are needed.

Insurance premiums should be frozen at their 2001 or 2000 levels. If we cannot keep insurers from cashing in on our aging seniors, than the federal government needs to step up and do something.

Price controls are only the beginning. They should also do something for the millions of people that cannot afford insurance. Studies show that poor people are more likely to be sick. Being poor, they often don't have any health insurance, and are faced with some tough decisions. Since getting medical care is expensive and could take food out of their mouths, most simply ignore their ailments. Seniors who rely heavily on expensive prescription drugs are often faced with similar decisions.

A nationalized system would provide health care for all persons, regardless of their ability to pay. When people arrive at the hospital, they will no longer have to fill out lengthy credit checks, proving that they can cough up big bucks before being treated.

There are some sad statistics:

A large percentage of the US population goes without insurance because of the need for profits. US Census Bureau statistics show that 24.3% of people with incomes less than $25,000 went without insurance during some portion of 1996. 15.4% of the total US population went without insurance for all of 1995. Millions of people are unable to get medical care unless they pay out-of-pocket, again leading to poverty.
Health care is a basic human right, and big drug companies, hospitals, and insurers cashing in on the downtrodden is unconscionable.

Bonus snafu causes an AOL revolt


AOL apparently planned to delay some employee bonuses by four weeks without telling them. When pressed by the Arizona Star, AOL showed it's ugly side:

The corporate spokesman also warned a Star reporter that it might be difficult to deal with AOL in the future if the story saw print.
So much for catching more flies with honey.


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College girl's breasts in your hands


The Register writes about this worthy cause. Apparently internet begging has extended to the world of breast augmentation.

Michel, 24, has launched a website asking for contributions to transform her "itty-bitty boobies" from a modest 34A to a mouth-watering pair of "big tatas (o)(o) !!!"
Michel's own site has the tagline "Please contribute to the boob fund. ANY amount will help let the jiggling begin!".

To date, she's only collected $19 and some change, but hopefully charitable Ravenwood's Universe readers will help her out.

This is a charity that will truly make the world a better place.


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Commuter Plane Crashes; 21 Killed


There was a tragic plane crash in Charlotte today. At the bottom of the news article, Fox News notes something interesting:

Last year, no one died aboard a passenger or cargo airliner in the United States, the third time in a decade that a year went by without a fatality on a commercial plane, according to the FAA.
This is the first time I've ever heard that.


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TV Ads Say S.U.V. Owners Support Terrorists


The wonderful Arianna Huffington is taking a brave new stand against the SUV:

"This is George," a girl's voice says of an oblivious man at a gas station. "This is the gas that George bought for his S.U.V." The screen then shows a map of the Middle East. "These are the countries where the executives bought the oil that made the gas that George bought for his S.U.V." The picture switches to a scene of armed terrorists in a desert. "And these are the terrorists who get money from those countries every time George fills up his S.U.V."
Her advertisements are provocative and will hopefully make people think before they spend money on these SUV monstrosities.

Buying oil is a sad fact of life, but SUV owners seem to do it in spades. They use more than their fair share of our natural resources, pollute twice as much, and hog the road with these intimidating, unsafe vehicles.

You don't have to look very far back into history to remember when SUV roll-overs were the news topic of the day. Unfortunately, the media is in league with the auto industry and no longer features such stories. Even Huffington is having trouble purchasing air time for her commercials from an uncooperative, right-wing media.

Liberal for a Day
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Bush's tax cut is reckless and ineffective


Yesterday, President Bush announced a $674 Billion tax cut that is essentially a reward to his rich cronies for coming through during the November elections late last year. Today, USA Today hits the nail on the head about the Bush tax cut:

The risk is that his program of income-tax reductions, new unemployment benefits and the elimination of individual taxes on stock dividends would produce little short-term growth but leave gaping long-term deficits.
The Bush tax give-aways do nothing to stimulate the economy. It certainly doesn't help working families and average Joes like you and me.
Downturns often hurt lower-income families the most. Yet Bush reserves most of his breaks for the affluent. Accelerating the rate reductions scheduled to take effect in 2004 and 2006 would mainly benefit fewer than a third of taxpayers - those in the highest tax brackets. Only about 26% of tax filers would get the dividend tax break.
Despite being right on about the particulars of the Bush cut, USA Today fails to see the bigger Republican agenda. Bush is hoping to take domestic issues off the table so that he can continue his global conquest. Passage of his so called 'stimulus' will enable them to get back to bullying Iraq, North Korea, and anyone else that doesn't toe the line for Bush.

Liberal for a Day
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Carnival of the Vanities XVI


The Carnival makes a stop at Eleven Day Empire today, and will be there all week. This looks like a good one, so go, read, enjoy.


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DO NOT HOTLINK IMAGES


An open letter to NeptuneApollo:

Dear Thief,

Hotlinking to my images is stealing! If you want an image, download it and upload it on your own server. DO NOT STEAL MY BANDWIDTH!

Regards,

The Management

UPDATE: I decided to take Michele's advice. The image is not for the faint hearted.


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'Richest' have had a 'free ride'


"We need to be raising tax revenues back from where we cut them before. We cut taxes for the richest. It's time to get those back. They had a free ride for a while, but that is the first tax we have to get back." -- Art Pulaski, head of the California Labor Federation, on why taxes should be raised for the 'rich'.

Free ride? I suppose the 'richest' have not been paying taxes for the past couple of years, while the poor people shouldered all of the load.


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Fairfax police Gestapo resort to harassment


Imagine you are sitting down to dinner and drinks with a few friends in your local tavern. Several policemen Gestapo dressed in riot gear show up to your table, and ask you to step outside. Your after-dinner small talk is interrupted while the officer gives you a field sobriety test outside the restaurant. If you blow more than a .08 (about 3 drinks), you are written a citation for being drunk in public.

Sounds crazy doesn't it. You aren't behind the wheel, you aren't out staggering around, you are simply sitting down to dinner and drinks with a few good friends. Well, it is a reality in Fairfax County, VA.

The Fairfax Station Times reports several incidents of Gestapo-like harassment.

Fairfax County Police are targeting Reston and Herndon area bar-restaurant patrons suspected of having one too many drinks.

Jimmy Cirrito, who owns and runs Jimmy's Old Town Tavern, said 10 or so officers who showed up in SWAT-like garb were intimidating and unnecessary. He also noted that police seemed to be tagging people at random, despite police telling bar owners they had undercover officers in the bar, calling in and giving descriptions of particular individuals.

"They tapped one lady on the shoulder--who was on her first drink and had just eaten dinner--to take her out on the sidewalk and give her a sobriety test," Cirrito said. "They told her she fit the description of a woman they had complaints about, and that they heard she was dancing topless."

Police public information officer Sophia Grinnan tries to hide the harassment behind 'good intentions'.
"It has less repercussions than driving drunk and is a safer way to battle DWIs," Grinnan said.
I'm no Rhodes Scholar, but isn't driving a fundamental component of DWI? As long as people have a sober ride home, and aren't getting rowdy, what is the problem?

Hopefully any citations will be thrown out in a court of law. Searches and seizures such as these are invasive and completely unreasonable. Perhaps a good scolding from a no-nonsense judge will set the Fairfax Gestapo straight.

(Article via Jenn with two 'n's, a Northern Virginia based staff writer at Ravenwood's Universe.)

UPDATE: The Washington Post notes that those failing the sobriety tests were "charged with public drunkenness and spent the night in jail."


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Democrat for a Day


Here are the Coming Attractions for tomorrow. I'm gonna try playing a Democrat for a Day. Rather than take my logical, libertarian approach for everything, I'm going to unscrew my brain and try to speak 'from the heart' on everything.

We'll see how it goes. I know it's going to be excruciating, and hopefully I'll make it through the entire day. Personally, I think it'll be a cakewalk. All I need to do is blame conservatives for everything, resort to name calling and demagoguing, and talk about 'needs' and 'feelings'.

The real challenge will be trying to leave logic behind, and keeping any of my conservatism from slipping through.

Liberal for a Day
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When governments try to ban guns


Punters in England are beginning to realize their mistake:

Since the Government's "total ban" five years ago, there are more and more guns being used by more and more criminals in more and more crimes. Now, in the wake of Birmingham's New Year bloodbath, there are calls for the total ban to be made even more total: if the gangs refuse to obey the existing laws, we'll just pass more laws for them not to obey.

According to a UN survey from last month, England and Wales now have the highest crime rate of the world's 20 leading nations.

At least Op-Editors at the Telegraph realize the futility of a gun ban. Passing more laws will do little or nothing to reduce England's skyrocketing violent crime rate. I hate to delve into misleading statistics, so I'll just let the British do it for me:
Meanwhile, America's traditionally high and England and Wales's traditionally low murder rates are remorselessly converging. In 1981, the US rate was nine times higher than the English. By 1995, it was six times. Last year, it was down to 3.5. Given that US statistics, unlike the British ones, include manslaughter and other lesser charges, the real rate is much closer. New York has just recorded the lowest murder rate since the 19th century. I'll bet that in the next two years London's murder rate overtakes it.
Since repealing the gun ban is never even considered by lawmakers, he's probably right.


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A Tax Cut is not a 'cost'


Is anyone else out there tired of hearing how much a tax-cut will 'cost' us? Appropriation bills are 'costs', where-as tax cuts are decreases in tax rates that are charged to Americans. That is, the federal government will be charging less than it normally would. If anything, from the perspective of the average America, it should be considered a 'cost decrease'. It is the same way department stores lower their prices.

Even calling it a decrease in revenue is not entirely correct, because tax cuts can actually lead to increases in revenue, the same way reduced prices sometimes lead to increases in sales.


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TSA Employee fired


I never would have thought that the federal TSA employee who fell asleep at his post at the Seattle Tacoma airport would actually be fired.

Typically government employees are reassigned, or suspended (with pay). Congrats to the TSA for getting it right.


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Twenty Most Annoying Conservatives of 2002


It looks like the liberals have their own list. I notice that their list contains the typical liberal name calling and cries of bigotry, with no regards to facts. But then again, what do you expect?


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School car lines are a mystery to me


Perhaps some of you parents out there can explain the mystery of Elementary School Car Lines to me. Living in the Atlanta suburbs, I was stuck in traffic several times because of people dropping their kids off for school.

So, what is the deal? When I was a kid we rode the 'cheesewagon'. Actually, when I was in first grade, we lived too close to the school for bussing, so I had to walk. Being dropped off in a car was never even an option. Are today's kids spoiled? Is bussing available for these kids, but they just don't want to ride it? Are parents afraid of kidnapping or something?

None of these sound like good excuses. What happened to the good old days of sending your kid out into the freezing weather to wait at the bus stop. As for kidnapping, we all had enough street smarts to stay out of harms way.


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Satirist Moore Storms Out of Britain


I wonder if Moorewatch has seen this yet? Excerpt from IMDb:

American satirist Michael Moore has stormed out of Britain after a bust up with the London theatre hosting his one-man show. The Bowling For Columbine moviemaker performed Michael Moore - Live! to packed audiences for two months before Christmas at The Roundhouse in Camden, North London. But on the penultimate night he reportedly flew into a rage, verbally attacked everyone associated with the theatre because he thought he wasn't being paid enough. During the performance he complained he was making just $750 a night. A member of the stage crew says, "He completely lost the plot. He stormed around all day screaming at everyone, even the 5-an-hour bar staff, telling them how we were all conmen and useless. Then he went on stage and did it in public." Staff retaliated by refusing to work the following night, which led to the show being held up for an hour. Eventually he made a groveling apology to staff and the angry audience finally took to their seats. A source reports that Moore then packed his bags and flew to New York the next day without saying thank you or goodbye to anyone.
I have nothing more to add, except HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Small aircraft are not the problem


The assault on general aviation continues:

SMALL AIRPORTS A SECURITY CONCERN

WASHINGTON - Much has been done to improve security at America's commercial airports, but gaps remain in the nation's aviation system.

Tens of thousands of small private planes are vulnerable to the kind of incident that occurred Sunday in Germany, where a man stole a motorized glider and threatened to crash it into Frankfurt's financial center before landing without incident.

That is analogous to someone stealing a car and threatening to crash it into a Wal-mart full of people. Sure, it can happen, but what are you going to do to prevent it? Ban cars?

To date, no one has been murdered with a small airplane in a terrorist attack. The same cannot be said for rental trucks, which have been used in two separate terror attacks on U.S. soil.

The AP makes it sound like money is the only hurdle:

It's unlikely that small planes will ever receive the kind of protection given to commercial airliners. It would take billions of dollars to hire security guards and install special locks, fencing and metal detectors at each of the 5,000 U.S. airports that don't have scheduled service.
Even if we could install metal detectors at every airport, what good would they be? How will keeping people from taking nail clippers, knives, or even firearms onto their own private airplanes make anyone more secure? You could argue that it may prevent someone from commandeering someone's plane, but that really isn't much of a problem. The fact is, a small plane simply cannot do much damage. You couldn't even load them up with enough chemicals to make them an effective weapon of mass destruction. Certainly no more effective than any station wagon or van.


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Lap of Luxury


Here is what $13.2 Million will get you in the Trump World Tower in Manhattan.

The square footage is decent for an apartment, but a look at the floorplan shows that you are paying mostly for the location and the view. Personally, I can think of a lot better things to spend the money on.


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To work or not to work


Can someone please explain to me how extending unemployment benefits for another 6 months puts people back to work?

"The first objective by far is to put people back to work," claims Assistant Minority Leader John Spratt of North Carolina. He was commenting on the Democratic 'stimulus' package that is little more than a $300 rebate and an extension of unemployment benefits for another 6 months. That would bring the total unemployment compensation to 18 months for some people.

Meanwhile, they are blasting the not yet unveiled Bush plan that includes eliminating the double taxation on dividends. "The Democratic plan stimulates, the president's plan procrastinates," said Rep. Bob Menendez a New Jersey Democrat. "Our plan helps Americans of all walks of life." He went on to claim that the Democrats' plan addresses the general population, not just those who invest in the stock market and the upper class.

The democrats are either lying, or they know nothing about economics. When people are allowed to keep more of their own money, who cares what they do with it? In fact, aside from burning it or stuffing it in a matress, any thing that is done with the money will stimulate the economy. Even if they simply put it in the bank, that money is used by the bank for investment or loans. They don't sit on the money, or lock it in a secret room somewhere.

Still that won't stop the socialist from pushing for more vote buying.


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Alumni Directories are for suckers


And I'm a big sucker. I will never purchase another Alumni Directory again. It's not bad enough that I feel like a sucker for puchasing the thing, but when I finally receive it, all the information is incorrect.

Even though I phoned them in plenty of time after my address changed, they still managed to screw it up. They printed my Ohio street name, but left it in Marietta, GA. They also left my old email address and Georgia phone number in there, so those are wrong too. Combine all that with the fact that I am no longer employed at the company I listed over a year ago when they sent out the questionairre.

Basically, the only thing that is correct is my name and the year I graduated, so why bother. I liken it to those Who's Who books that will list anyone gracious enough to fork over $50 to purchase the book. [slaps forehead] DOH!


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The Grinch who stole the Super Bowl


How did I miss this? The Super Bowl could be cancelled or delayed?

Beverly Walker, an activist for the disabled is trying to force the hand of the City of San Diego to comply with a 2001 settlement agreement concerning disabled access to Qualcomm Stadium, and tickets guaranteed to the disabled. The city is 9 months behind schedule in providing disabled access, and Walker wants to force their hand by cancelling the Super Bowl.

Legal 'experts' claim that there is little chance that the Super Bowl will be cancelled, but that hasn't stopped Amy Vandeveld, Walker's attorney from saying, ''We want the court to deny access to Qualcomm Stadium for all events, including the Super Bowl, until all modifications under the settlement agreement are resolved."

So what does all this have to do with the Super Bowl? Nothing. They are seizing the Super Bowl publicity in the same way that Martha Burk is picking on the Masters. The Super Bowl is being held at a stadium where Walker has a beef, and the Super Bowl is the perfect opportunity to turn up the heat. While some may think that her intentions are noble, she sure sounds like an opportunist and a Grinch to me.


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The Empire Strikes Backpack


Back in October, I noted that California was pushing to lighten student's load in their backpacks by eliminating things like books, studying, and homework.

Today, Reuters writes about a 'study' (and you know how I feel about studies) that shows that heavy backpacks are not as big of a problem as some people would lead you to believe. The defining quote is:

Teaching children to put packs out of harm's way and not swing them like a mace would pay bigger safety dividends [than reducing the weight]...

"Recommending that children put the backpacks in a safe place so they do not trip over them, and not to use them as a weapon to hit another person, could eliminate more than 40 percent of backpack injuries"

Who would have thought you'd see common sense popping up? Gee, don't attack each other with your 20 pound backpacks and you're a lot less likely to sustain a backpack related injury. They needed a study for that?


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We need a Boston SUV Party


It should come as no big surprise that liberal media outlet, The Boston Globe is in favor of a progressive personal property tax for motor vehicles. They propose changing the Commonwealth of Taxachusetts law so that the property tax on motor vehicles can be raised above 2.5%. Smaller more fuel efficient econoboxes would be taxed at 1%, while evil, gas guzzling SUVs would see a 60% increase in their tax rate to 4%.

Naturally they wrap all this class warfare up in a nice little 'do it for the environment' mantra. Of course, this does nothing more than shift more of the tax burden to the middle and upper class families with large SUVs and Minivans, while poor folks see their share of the property tax burden dwindle up to 60%.

Also depending on where they center the tax structure, it could net an overall tax increase, if there are far more gas guzzlers on the road than econobox death traps. Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation echoes that point by noting that it would be difficult to fine-tune the scale each year to keep it genuinely revenue-neutral. Of course, that is exactly the point. 'Rich' people's cars could be easily lumped into higher tax brackets with very little notice. Likewise, it would also be pretty easy to fudge the split with some fuzzy math.

What really burns me up is when they try to pass off ignorant logic off like this:

But the Romney tax shift does not prohibit ownership of heavily polluting cars; it simply forces their purchasers to pay more of their share of the health and environmental costs that such vehicles carry.
Where are they getting that? What increase in health and environmental costs? Larger cars probably cut health costs when accidents are considered.

Besides, gas guzzlers already pay more taxes than non-gas guzzlers. It's called the GAS TAX! You pay extra taxes with every extra gallon you pump into your vehicle. Of course the Boston Globe doesn't mention that.

Something else the Boston Globe doesn't mention is that gas guzzlers already pay more PROPERTY TAX. There is a definite trend of automobiles that gas guzzlers tend to be more expensive and econoboxes to be less expensive in terms of purchase price and market value. Since property taxes are based on those values, a person driving a $40,000 SUV already pays 4 times the property tax of a person driving a $10,000 hatch back.

Also considering that economy cars depreciate must faster than luxury cars, the annual property tax on economy cars depreciates just as fast. Next year when that SUV is still worth $35,000 and the hatch back is only worth $7,000, the SUV owner's tax only decreased 12.5%, whereas the hatch back owner's tax decreased 30%.

And don't forget that people that buy the more expensive gas guzzlers pay more sales tax as well.

It seems to me that owners of larger vehicles are already paying more than 'their fair share' of the tax burden.

20 Most Annoying Liberals, revisited


Hawkins The Twenty Most Annoying Liberals For 2002 list made Neal's Nuze today.


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SUVs torched in act of eco-terrorism


These morons from the ELF need to have the goddamn courage to torch SUVs in the light of day. Let me catch one of them torching my SUV, and see what happens. Personally, I think there is a special place in hell for these dipshits, right next to people that ride slow in the fast lane.


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Annual Bloggie Awards


Time to make nominations for the Third Annual Weblog Awards.

Categories include:

Best Merchandise
Best Meme
Best Tagline of a Weblog


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Would-be car thieves don't know how to drive


Reuters reports of two would-be car/pizza thieves in Canada who were foiled by their own ineptitude.

At first they just wanted the pizzas and the cash, but greed got the best of them, and they went for the delivery man's car as well. Reuters reports that the 17 year old driver was a bit flummoxed by the manual transmission, and decided to abandon their attempt at car thievery and just focus on the pizzas.

Reuters adds that when officers soon arrived on the scene, they spotted one of the suspects entering the home where the pizzas were to be delivered. Both were arrested and charged, and the pizzas were seized as valuable evidence.

Taxes 101


Democrats are already blasting President Bush's economic stimulus package, even though it has not yet been released or unveiled. Acting on rumors and leaks, every Dem hoping to make a presidential run in 2004 (which is most of them) jumped on the President with the typical liberal mantra and lies. They are sticking to their typical game plan and clearly communicating their socialist message.

Democrats had the following reaction to the rumored stimulus package (emphasis mine):

Sen. John F. Kerry, Democrat from Taxachusetts called Bush's package "a stimulus mirage, not a plan for economic growth. They won't propose major investments in infrastructure, or provide help to small businesses, and instead cling to ineffective and unaffordable new tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans," said F. Kerry. "I don't think we've ever witnessed an administration more out of touch with the economic needs of average Americans and small businesses."

Rep. Dick F. Gebhardt, Democrat from Missouri said that "President Bush must accept that his economic plan is flawed and start from scratch instead of compounding our economic challenges with this deeply flawed proposal. Simply accelerating a wrong-headed economic plan is not a solution to our economic ills," cried Gebhardt. "We need a fiscally responsible economic stimulus that puts money in the consumer's pocket in the short term and puts us back on track to economic growth in the long term."

Sen. John F. Edwards, Democrat from North Carolina said the White House is "trying to use the Bush recession to put money in the pockets of the richest Americans over a long period of time while providing very little help for regular people. If this is what he thinks is going to help regular people in times of an economic downturn, it just shows how out of touch he is," Edwards said.

Senator Tom F. Daschle, Socialist from South Dakota, claims that Bush's package is "the wrong idea at the wrong time to help the wrong people."

Kerry wants infrastructure? Are we talking roads here? Is that what small businesses want is more roads? And what does he mean by unaffordable? Unaffordable for whom? Is he saying the government cannot afford to let us keep more of our own money?

Gebhardt won't admit that consumer spending has held up great. In fact, consumer spending has been credited for what is keeping our economy afloat. Also, what does short term mean? Short term for whom? I want money in my pocket in the long term, not the short term.

Edwards speaks of 'regular people' and the 'richest Americans'. Just who are regular people, and who are the rich? Also, what is this Bush recession he speaks of? Daschle carries a similar tune with 'right people'. Who are the right people? Are people that make a decent wage the 'wrong people'? Am I a wrong people?

White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan responded by saying that Bush was assembling a plan to strengthen growth, create jobs and help people who are hurting. "Given that Senator Daschle has already found fault with a proposal he hasn't even seen, it's clear he's more interested in politics than helping people," Buchan said.

So, for the Democrats, it's the same old game plan, and their Socialist message is the same. Let me pull out my Socialist to Wrong People dictionary and help with the translation. To believe the democrats, you must believe the following:

- Money is to be distributed by the government to those that need it, and NOT to be earned by those who are motivated, work hard, and take risks.
- Tax cuts are gifts from the government. They are giving you money, NOT simply letting you keep more of your own money.
- We are in a recession. NEVERMIND that we are not in a recession.
- The recession is Bush's fault, and caused by his massive tax cut. NEVERMIND that the economy started into a downturn under Clinton, and that the Bush tax cut has not been fully implemented yet.
- If you received a $300 tax rebate in 2001, you are 'rich' and are partly to blame for the 'Bush Recession'.
- If you and your spouse earn a combined income of more than $45,200, you are 'rich' and should have your taxes increased to pre-2001 levels.
- Money is more effectively used in the hands of the government, and not in the hands of those that earn it.
- A tax cut costs the government money.
- A tax cut means the government won't be able to take care of you.
- A budget surplus is a good thing, and the government should be permitted to collect more revenue than it spends.
To believe the Democrats, you must either believe the above statements, or be a complete moron. The idea that the government letting workers keep more of their own income is a bad thing boggles the mind. The idea that the government can spend your money better than you can is also mind-boggling. Nevertheless, many of the 'less learned' and 'less motivated' folks devour the liberal agenda and go back begging for more. It reminds me of stupid fraternity hazing where pleebs get paddled with a stick, all the while screaming "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

I guess it helps that Democrats have been slowly shifting more and more of the tax burden to less and less people. The misguided concept of 'majority rule' legitimizes the shift and makes people think that since less people are being impacted, it must be okay. The same concept kept slavery and subjugation as a way of life for hundreds of years. The same concept makes people think that it is okay to take away people's unalienable rights and freedoms of life, liberty, and property. I guess that majority rule is okay, when you're in the majority.

Essays
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Taxes 201


The Democrats have been quite successful in spreading lies and hiding the truth about taxes and tax cuts. They typically use phrases like 'giveaways for the rich', 'the less fortunate', and 'tax cuts for those that need tax cuts' to create class envy, and legitimize their position. Dick F. Gebhardt even referred to people that have had financial success as those who have "won life's lottery."

Democrats have done just about everything they can to blame our current economic woes on the 2001 Bush Tax Cut. This means that anyone who received a $300 rebate check in 2001 is partly to blame for the 'Bush Recession', (as the Democrats were quick to label it).

However, in spite of the lies told by the liberal left, the facts are pretty clear. Among other things, the 2001 Tax Cut does the following:

- Replaces the current tax rates of 15, 28, 31, 36, and 39.6 percent with a simplified rate structure of 10, 15, 25, and 33 percent.
- Doubles the child tax credit to $1,000 per child and applies the credit to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
- Reduces the marriage penalty by reinstating the 10 percent deduction for two-earner couples.
- Eliminates the death tax.
- Expands the charitable deduction to non-itemizers.
The next time you hear Democrats bitching about tax cuts, I want you to think about the following facts:
- Congress continues to increase spending year after year.
- When the 2002 budget was planned to increase 8%, and ended up increasing only 4%, the democrats called that a 'cut'.
- Unplanned spending increases in the name of 'homeland security' have only worsened the budget problem, and Republicans stood by while Democrats pushed through pork laden spending initiatives like the 'farm bill'.
- At the same time, Democrats constantly praised the 'budget surplus' that Clinton had supposedly created, and assailed Bush for 'killing' it.
- Every year the federal government spends more money than it spent the previous year.
- The federal government spends over 20 percent of the GDP (up from 17% in 1992)
When Democrats start talking economic stimulus, and federal budget deficits, ask yourself some questions.
- Why should Washington be permitted to collect more money than it spends?
- Why should Congress be permitted to increase spending every year, regardless of how the economy is doing?
- Why do Congressmen get automatic raises every year? Do you get a raise every year unless you voluntarily turn it down?
- If you received 3.1% more pay this year than last year, would you tell people that it's 'not a raise' as Tom F. Daschle told Greta Van Susteren on 'On the Record'?
- Can Washington politicians spend your money to meet your needs more effectively than you can?
The Democrats are the tax and spend party. Lately, the Republicans have been too spineless to object, and have turned into the tax-cut and spend party. On the State level, balanced budget laws have forced some states to choose between cutting programs, raising taxes, or both. Meanwhile, since the fed can run budget deficits, they are under no obligation to shrink the size of the government. If the government was run like a corporation, and had to follow federal laws for corporate accounting, most congressmen would be in jail. That would include Slick Willy Clinton, who deliberately falsified 10 year budget surplus numbers prior to the election. Where are those surpluses now? When Worldcom restated it's numbers, Congress held investigations. When Washington restated it's numbers, the Democrats blamed lower taxes and President Bush.

Taxes are not a tax on wealth. People that are rich and have millions sitting in a bank account, don't pay a lot of taxes. People like you and me that are trying to earn those millions, however, are penalized progressively. Every extra dollar you earn, you pay more taxes on. The harder you work, the more you pay. Then when Congress discusses letting you keep more of your own money, they start talking about 'need' and 'afford' and 'deserve'. According to Congress, people that work less 'deserve' it more, and people that make less than you do work harder than you do. You can go to school for years, work your butt off, get a good job, and make a decent living. Along comes some congressional bum with guaranteed pay raises who tells you that he's taking your money at the point of a gun and is going to give it to someone who 'works' for a living. It makes me sick.

Essays
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Taxes 301


Can someone explain just how the adjustments to these brackets is unfair? It looks to me that every bracket is planned on being cut. Obviously the dollar value of the smaller tax brackets is going to be less than the dollar value of those in the higher brackets. That is something that socialist democrats think is unfair. They would have you leave the top brackets the same and give that money to those in the lowest brackets. Of course, to do that you need to have 0% or lower brackets for the low income persons.

Tax Rates by 2001 Taxable Income*

Current Code

Bush Plan**

Single

Single

$0

$27,050

15%

$0

$6,000

10%

$27,050

$65,550

28%

$6,000

$27,050

15%

$65,550

$136,750

31%

$27,050

$136,750

25%

$136,750

$297,350

36%

$136,750

--

33%

$297,350

--

39.6%

Head of Household

Head of Household

$0

$36,250

15%

$0

$10,000

10%

$36,250

$93,650

28%

$10,000

$36,250

15%

$93,650

$151,650

31%

$36,250

$151,650

25%

$151,650

$297,350

36%

$151,650

--

33%

$297,350

--

39.6%

Married- Joint Filing

Married- Joint Filing

$0

$45,200

15%

$0

$12,000

10%

$45,200

$109,250

28%

$12,000

$45,200

15%

$109,250

$166,500

31%

$45,200

$166,500

25%

$166,500

$297,350

36%

$166,500

--

33%

$297,350

--

39.6%

* Taxable income is income less deductions and personal exemptions.

**Rate schedule assumes tax plan is fully phased in.

(src)

Essays
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ABC uses F-word in promo, again


Two months ago, I reported that ABC used a bleeped F-word in their promo for a 20/20 interview with the Osbournes.

Tonight, they did it again. The Osbournes are hosting the American Music Awards, and during a break in the Jets-Colts football action, during the 7-7:30 timeslot, the ABC promo dude comes on and says, "Look who's hosting the American Music Awards... ...it's the f-beep-ing Osbournes, live Monday January 13th on ABC."

Now, I'm no prude, and I really don't care much about the use of foul language. Still, I find it difficult to believe that people, especially those with children, give the Disney network a pass. Beeped or not, you wouldn't think they'd deliberately use the F-word in their promo. Do they do that a lot with the Osbournes? I don't watch ABC much, (nor MTV for that matter) so perhaps this is normal for them.

As for the Osbournes, I've only watched about 2 minutes of their show, and what I saw I thought was disgusting. ABC is an over the air network, however, and I thought that they were under more restrictive censorship rules than MTV. They certainly don't hold themselves to a higher standard.


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OSU National Champions, Miami cries foul


Congrats to all my fellow Buckeyes on the Ohio State National Championship. That was definately the most exciting of all the BCS Championship games. FSU-VT stands at number 2, and the others were pretty much yawners.

As a VT fan, I was just happy to see Miami lose. Miami however seems to be a bit sore about the pass interference call in the first overtime. ESPN quotes UM Secondary coach Mark Stoops as saying "And there's not another official in the history of the game that would make that call."

How dare the penalize Miami? (One of the, if not the, most penalized teams in college football.) I saw the play, and while I'm not exactly unbiased, Miami's Glenn Sharpe obviously had is hand around the waist of Chris Gamble while the ball was in the air. That is pass interference, and IMHO, it was a good call.

Still, Stoops sounds bitter. "I wanna see the replay and if that's as bad a call as I think it was, something ought to be done. That was a joke. That's all I can really say."

What can be done? Should they strip OSU of the title and give it to Miami? He reminds me of Al Gore.


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Global Warming and conspiracy theories


The AP reports that "Antarctic Ice May Vanish in 7,000 Years" Now scientists are trying to predict the climate 7000 years into the future, when they cannot even get this week's weather forecast right.

Guess what, the Earth will probably vanish in as little as 5 Billion years when our sun goes nova and swallows the planet. Oh no, what do we do? Ban SUVs?

Has anyone else noticed that environmental alarmists are riding both sides of the equation? On one hand they predict global warming and cataclysmic events if we continue to burn fossil fuels at the current rate. On the other hand, they predict widespread shortages of fossil fuels in the near future. If the latter is correct, am I not just hurrying the process by driving my SUV? Am I not just ensuring that we are no longer able to burn fossil fuels in the future and thus preventing global warming?

I think it's all a matter of perspective. Besides, the largest consumer of carbon dioxide (and maker of oxygen) is not trees, it's plant plankton. Who destroys all of this preciousss, life giving plant plankton? Whales. I say, we slaughter all the whales to prevent them from eating the plant plankton. After all, it is probably just a big whale plot to flood our coastal cities like New York. The whales have had their eye on our coastal real estate for years, which explains why they are always heaving themselves onto our beaches.

How's that for conspiracy theories?


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Gun analogy doesn't hold water


Speaking of bad studies, check out this one. Reuters announces that 'Gunshot Injuries Cost Taxpayers Millions." Some of the important points that they note include:

- Eighty-six percent of the victims were male, and roughly 60% were younger than 30.

- Overall, 29% of gunshot wound patients had no health insurance, and their average length of stay was six days.

- Assaults or police interventions were the leading causes of the injuries, responsible for 54%, while 30% resulted from accidental shootings and 8% were self-inflicted.

- Over 70% of these cases are being seen at fairly select hospitals, large urban level 1 teaching hospitals that are pretty financially stressed these days

- A third of hospital admissions happened on the weekends, and the majority of the patients lived in low-income areas.

- Assault-related injuries made up more than half of all hospital fees for gunshot admissions

Just what does that imply to you? It tells me that a large number of the shootings are due to urban violence. Reuters doesn't say that, but it is definitely implied by the results of the 'study'.

Dr. Jeff Coben, director of Allegheny General Hospital's Center for Violence and Injury Control, tries to justify the research. "It's an important and positive step forward to monitor these kinds of cases. We've had that kind of system in place for 20 years for motor vehicle deaths and it has helped us design safer cars and safer highways, and I think that this has the potential to do that for gun and other types of violence," said Coben.

That may be a nice theory, but it relies on some inane assumptions. First of all, the comparison of deliberate shootings to auto accident injuries is an apples and oranges analogy. People don't often deliberately ram cars into each other. Certainly, 54% of auto accidents are not deliberate and malicious acts.

Second, the idea that making firearms 'safer' through technological innovation will prevent deliberate gun crime is a pipe dream. Criminals and gang bangers who use firearms to deprive people of life and property are not going to be stopped by smart-guns or any other technological improvements to safety.

Third, there is an underlying assumption that they can somehow control the behavior of criminals through gun control. While it is not explicitly said, Dr. Coben does admit that he thinks the research will somehow have an impact on violent crime. Lets set aside for a moment the historical data that shows that less guns equals more crime, and pretend that you could magically remove all the firearms from society. Do these 'researchers' honestly think that acts of violence and aggression will stop if there are no firearms? Are they so dense that they do not realize that thugs will just chose another method of forcing their will on people?

I think a more plausible explanation is that they are attempting to further their anti-gun agenda, while at the same time creating a demand for more research efforts and more taxpayer dollars. But what do I know, I'm pro-gun, and according to liberals must therefore be in favor of crime.


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Edwards in running shoes


Is there anyone in the Democratic party who is not running for President, or who doesn't have an 'exploratory committee'?


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Take your temperance and shove it


This week's Junk Science featurette is a good one, concerning the recent CDC proclamation that Americans are all a bunch of drunks. It would seem that the CDC simply dialed a bunch of random phone numbers, asked embarrassing questions about human behavior, and took the results as gospel. To the 'researchers' at the CDC, that is proof enough that Americans have a drinking problem, and need federal intervention. Of course, the CDC will need a big increase in funding to tackle the 'problem'.

Personally, I only believe about 3% of 'studies' I hear about. Perhaps I'm being overly skeptical, but I've seen so much fuzzy math over the years that I cannot help but be a devil's advocate.

The first thing I look at is whether or not the 'researcher' has a vested interest in the results. Agencies like the CDC stand to gain big by making everything out to be an 'epidemic'. I've also become de-sensitized to the 'cancer cause' scare tactics of the government. It would seem as though everything is said to cause cancer, when in fact, we don't know what causes cancer. While activities like smoking may increase the risk for cancer, they are hardly a cause. If smoking caused cancer, George Burns never would have lived to be 100 years old. I'm pretty much leery of anybody that tells me something 'causes' something else. Causal factors for anything are not always so transparent and easy to spot.

I also don't pay much attention to 'health risks' of any kind. I'm tired of 'studies', and temperance freaks telling me that I should watch my fat intake, cholesterol intake, sodium intake, carbohydrate intake, et. al. I plan on living my life for enjoyment's sake. If something makes me happy and doesn't deprive anyone else of life, liberty, or property, I'm gonna go for it. And to paraphrase the great Walter Williams, if you are so concerned about that extra dinner roll on my plate, than why don't you have the guts to come over and try to take it from me personally, instead of deputizing the government to do it for you.


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A Good Start


What do you call 100 lawyers driving off a cliff and bursting into flames?

The Register reports on the results of the .biz domain name class action lawsuit. NeuLevel, Inc. was accused of setting up an illegal lottery to disburse the new top level .biz domains. Customers 'applied' for the new domain names, and 'winners' were awarded at random.

In typical trial lawyer fashion, the lawyers get $1.175 Million of the $1.2 Million settlement. That leaves between $0.15 and $2 per domain name for the large number of plaintiffs.

Now you tell me, was justice done? Was a wrong righted?


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Required Reading


It looks like Michele is still taking entries for her "Required Reading" of 2002. I have yet to submit anything, although I have read lots of good stuff on lots of good weblogs.

I will try to get around to submitting something this weekend, but I've been so busy lately, I'm not sure I'll have the time.

If there were one article that I think should be required reading, I'd have to go with this article by the Independent Women's Forum. At the very least, it should be required reading for all women. (I feel so strongly about it, that this is the fourth time that I've featured this article.)


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Unions Against Beer


"Unions Urge Members to Boycott Coors, Others" reports the AP. Apparently Coors is a major customer and stockholder in a company with which they are having a labor dispute.

Why don't they boycott those dreadful Miller products? Coors is my second favorite beer, and a regular visitor in Ravenwood's Refrigerator. I'd rather cut off my left hand than quit drinking Coors Light. I prefer a good full flavored beer, but I drink in such high quantities, that I need a good cheap lo-cal beer to offset the financial losses and the abdominal gains.


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America West to sell meals on flights


The airlines are going to start selling meals, and the AP sounds surprised.

In a move that might be imitated by cash-strapped airlines, the nation's eighth-largest carrier will test a "Buy on Board" program starting Monday that allows passengers to buy meals for $3 to $10.
Personally, I welcome the change. I had a conversation over a year ago with a fellow business traveler friend of mine, Russ, and we both agreed that charging $5 or $10 for a meal on a flight is acceptable.

I'd much rather have the option of purchasing a meal on board than being stuck with no meal at all. Worse still is having to pick up a meal at McDonalds and cart it on board myself. That's all I need is some TSA lackey fingering through my french fries looking for an illegal box cutter.

Personally, I think just about everything should be optional. For instance, if you want to fly without a seat cushion that will also double as a life preserver to save a few bucks, that should be your choice. Just don't come crying to me when your plane takes a nose dive into the Atlantic. Still, I'd much rather have a normal, comfortable cushion and take my chances on dying than have to sit on a piece of foam strapped to a wooden board.


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Top 5 Crankiest Celebs


See which celebs made the list for the most demanding behavior on MSN

Death, Destruction, and Global Warming


The Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald reports that some 'scientists' are worried about the growth, migratory, and breeding patterns of animals and flora.

"If we've had so much change with just one degree, think of how much we will have with 10 degrees," Ms Root said, referring to some projections [in shifts in animal habitats] for next century. "In my opinion, we're sitting at the edge of a mass extinction."

Richard Alley, of Pennsylvania State University, said animals and plants that relied on one another were likely to migrate at different rates. "You'll have to change what you eat, or rely on fewer things to eat, or travel farther to eat, all of which have costs," he said. The result in coming decades, the studies say, could be ecological disruption, local losses of wildlife and extinction of some species.

Contrast that to the scare tactics used just 30 years ago:

"Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects... The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality." -- Newsweek, April 28, 1975 on the urging of government leaders to address the problem of Global Cooling.

In the 1970s, it was widely predicted that Global Cooling would shorten the growing cycles and cause widespread famine. Worried about a shortage of fresh water due to ice piling up, there were even plans to try to melt part of the polar ice caps.


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Taking a Bite Out of Toy Gun Crime


toygunban.jpgToy guns are the next big thing under attack by the pleasure police. It would seem that since some people cannot get a hold of real guns, they are committing crimes with toy guns, BB guns, pellet guns and the like.

If anything, this should be proof that guns don't cause crime. Crimes are committed by people, whether it be with a real gun, fake gun, knife, screw driver, pocket comb, or crow bar. You can make everyone walk around wearing nothing but mittens, and there will still be violent crime.

However, as the Christian Science Monitor reports, that doesn't stop some whiney fascist toy gun grabbers from New York from trying:

Christopher Industrious of Manhattan, who was shopping in Times Square, would support the new ban [on toy guns]. "Kids are imitating whatever they see in the movies and on TV," he says, motioning to his 3-year-old son. He says that one time when disciplined, his son "pointed his water gun at me."

Leave it to a liberal New Yorker to cower in fear from a 3 year old with a water pistol.

"Like toy cigarettes, they're promoting something violent," adds Donna Csolak of Princeton, N.J.

Since when did toy cigarettes promote violence? Still, even Donna admits that parents should start parenting, and the government shouldn't restrict people's freedom of choice with restrictive ineffective legislation. The CS Monitor also notes that "New York City's current law, signed in 1998, prohibits the sale of toy guns unless they are brightly colored or transparent or have a prominent trademark. But some City Council members think the law is ineffective: Kids can make toy guns look real simply by spray-painting a gun black, or hiding the toy trademark with tape."

So, should we ban spray paint and tape? After all, any idiot can paint a stick black and make it look like a gun. These morons that think restrictive laws will solve the problem make me want to cry sometimes. They would deny everyone on the planet a water gun, rather than push for more parental involvement. They also insist that inanimate objects cause people to do things they ordinarily wouldn't. I sometimes wonder if they are so weak minded themselves as to be so easily corrupted. Perhaps that explains why they think that normal people would be so easily turned to the dark side.


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NY Man arrested for protecting his family, again


No, I am not repeating a story I featured last month about Ronald Dixon. This time, New York is prosecuting Mark Freamon for protecting himself from a home intruder. The alleged intruder, Edwin Murdaugh broke through a window in Freamon's Long Island home, and was met by .22 caliber gunfire from Freamon's semi-automatic pistol.

Murdaugh was injured and fled, but was later captured and arrested on burglary charges. The NY Post reports that "Freamon, meanwhile, was charged with fourth-degree weapons possession for the pistol, which he said he bought out of state."

Freamon was given a ticket and released, but not before police seized all of his firearms, even those that were legally owned. Freamon commented, "This leaves me in a bad situation; now I'm unarmed."

Defending Your Life
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Ravnwood.com traffic for December


Site traffic decreased a bit in December, probably due to several factors. First and foremost was my decreased blogging. The slow holiday season probably had an impact as well.

Here are some raw numbers, but it is hard to compare them to November's numbers because I switched hosts in mid-November: 7325 visitors (11171 in November), 17163 page views (46534 in November), 99973 hits (138506 in November), and 1.75 GB (1.57 in November).

The Ravnwood.com page counter also went over 20,000 in December, with very little fanfare.

I posted only 131 times in December, down from 186 posts in November, 157 posts in October, and 155 in September. It was only a bit higher than my August number of 124 posts.


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Va. sorry about pep band parody of W.Va.


The University of Virginia has apologized for a pep band parody of West Virginia, that the WV Gov. decried as over the line. The skit in question doesn't seem to be too harmful, and simply included a stereotypical hillbilly girl dreaming of square dancing, and life in the big city of Beverly Hills.

Personally, I think West Virginia needs to shrug it off and learn to beat them on the football field rather than whining about it. A guy could grow old waiting for Virginia's pep band to grow up and tone down their sophomoric hijinks. Attending Virginia's arch-rival, Virginia Tech, I've never put too much stock in their antics which are notoriously brutal. I remember that they would commonly do skits with cows and sheep, poking fun at Virginia Tech's agricultural side. (Like they're too good for steaks and lamb chops.)

Our response was to go out and whip them on the field, especially their home turf; after which, UVA fans would suddenly become interested in women's lacrosse or whatever obscure sport that they happened to be good at.


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Its not all porn and nigerian email scams


So, there is real value in the internet! A childhood chum has found my website and looked me up. Mike moved away to Japan when we were in junior high, and I haven't seen or heard from him since. OK, so we sent a few letters back and forth, but after about a year of that, we just lost touch with each other. I would estimate that it has been about 16 years or so since I'd heard from Mike. This breaks the record set by a French friend of mine who I hadn't seen in about 10 years that had signed my guestbook.


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Carnival of the Vanities


Carnival of the Vanities has been posted.

Go, read, enjoy.

BTW, I am conspicuously absent from this week's carnival. Basically, I got tied up with work and family, and really didn't have anything to submit. Sorry for sitting this one out. Still, there were plenty of bloggers to pull up the slack. Lots of good stuff there.


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Established 1990

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