The Angry Cyclist

A fleeting grasp of civil, well reasoned discourse.
This blog will comment on topics of interest like politics, business, taxation, the War with Islam / Islamofascists, road cycling, football, and others.


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Tuesday, December 30, 2003
 
Casting Aspersions

James Carrol, at his schizoid best.

American 'values' cast a global shadow

By James Carroll, 12/30/2003

THIS HAS BEEN the year of American democracy. The values of this nation have never been more dramatically on display before the world. "Freedom" has been the watch word, from Operation Iraqi Freedom to the coming Freedom Tower at Ground Zero in New York. In a period of enormous stress, America has pulled itself together, freshly defined its beliefs, and begun to press them on others. Washington aims at nothing less than the propagation of US notions of civil order and social justice everywhere. And why shouldn't citizens be proud? But this vision throws a shadow. Contradictions of American idealism have also been manifest with rare clarity this year -- and not only in wars abroad. A signal event took place in Massachusetts as the year approached its end. A jury made up of citizens of one of the relatively few states that outlaws the death penalty nevertheless imposed it in the federal murder case against Gary Lee Sampson, the brutal killer of Jonathan Rizzo and Philip McCloskey. As advocates of the death penalty hoped, this decision in the heart of a community that has long rejected capital punishment -- the last execution in Massachusetts was in 1947 -- speeds America's complete return to frontier justice.


I find it hard to believe that anyone except for a journalist would regard the application of a single death penalty as a contradiction of American idealism. Carroll blithely ignores or airbrushes the fact that Sampson murdered two people. If Carroll wants to learn about what frontier justice was really like, I suggest he put down his copies of 'The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" and read about real frontier justice.

Even in a period when the fallibility of the death penalty has been repeatedly exposed, roughly two out of three Americans still support it.


Fine. Show me one case where a known innocent was executed in the United States.

In Texas, George W. Bush personally supervised the executions of 152 people -- and is proud of it.


Right. This writer expects us to believe George W. Bush personally supervised every execution on his watch, and then what, did an end zone dance after each one to show he was proud of it? While I was unable to find any examples of this, it looks like there was another governor who 'personally supervised' at least one execution.

That the blood of this slow-motion massacre on the president's hands is a political asset says everything about current American values. Where once leading Democrats opposed capital punishment, now, as the Globe's Brian C. Mooney reports, they (i.e. the Clintons, Gore, Dean, Kerry, Lieberman, Edwards, Gephardt, Clark) support it. As the world's democracies go in one direction on this question, the United States goes in another.


It's hard to tell if he's talking about the usual suspects, France and Germany being among them. I find it hard to reconcile their stance on the death penalty, however, with their support for Saddam Hussein, whose disregard for human life is off the scale compared to the disregard Carroll ascribes to George Bush the United States.

This grisly embrace of death is only part of the year's story of crime and punishment, American style. In August, the rapist of children, John J. Geoghan, was murdered by a fellow inmate at a prison in Massachusetts.


Let's point out the one salient fact that shows the prison officials took reasonable precautions to prevent this:

Geoghan was being held in protective custody to shield him from the general prison population, but he still had some contact with other inmates (emphasis added).


Unless you want to put him in isolation, usually a form of punishment, such things, sadly, can and will occur in a room full of criminals. Must be that 'frontier justice' thing...

As Geoghan's crimes had led to the exposure of the abusive secrets of the Catholic Church, his punishment led to revelations of what America's "criminal justice system" actually involves. Sadistic treatment by guards and a lawless culture in which prisoners are allowed to prey on each other -- are these exceptions or the rule?


Whom are the guards treating sadistically, or is this another broad brush, baseless accusation against The SystemTM?

In America there can be no question of an outright acceptance of torture,


Sure there is! How about an example or two, since it's so commonplace?

...and US sponsorship of democracy abroad insists on that (or did before the war on terrorism). Yet the US prison system, with many abusive guards and unchecked sadist-inmates, effectively assumes torture as part of punishment. If Geoghan were not notorious, his fate would have gone unnoted.


Maybe that's the best argument for the death penalty, Mr. Carrol. It's a concept called deterrence.

But the year just ending marked other milestones toward a reckoning with the real meaning of American democracy. In late October, in a speech in Fall River, Robert A. Mulligan, chief administrative judge of Massachusetts, noted current characteristics of US criminal justice. The American prison population recently went over 2 million for the first time, putting the United States ahead of Russia as the world capital of incarceration. Add to that number those on parole or probation and the total under "correctional" control grows to 7 million. Thirty years ago, one in 1,000 Americans was locked up; today, almost five are. In famously liberal Massachusetts, the prison population has grown, since 1980, from under 6,000 to almost 23,000. In 2003, for the first time, the amount of money Massachusetts spent on prisons was more than what it spent on higher education.


Any 'root cause' of this phenomena?

These statistics accumulate a punishing weight falling more on African-American males than anyone else, and from that springs the year's fundamental epiphany. Justice? Democracy? In the United States, according to Judge Mulligan, one in three African-American males between the ages of 20 and 30 is "under correctional control." In places like Baltimore and Washington, more than half are. The number of African-American men in college is less than the number of those under supervision of the courts. And why? Such facts reveal far more about the way justice is administered in America than about the moral character of any group.


Why, you ask? This might shed some light on things:

Here are Interpol 2001 crime statistics (rate per 100,000):

4161 - US
7736 - Germany
6941 - France
9927 - England and Wales

Thus the US has a substantially lower crime rate than the major European countries!

. . .

[The US] murder rate is high largely due to the multicultural nature of our society. Inner city blacks, members of a distinct subculture, have a vastly higher criminal and victim homicide rate than our society as an average:

Homicide Offender Rate/100,000 by Race in US (2000):

3.4 - White
25.8 - Black
3.2 - Other

It is often hypothesized that blacks are overrepresented in murder statistics due to racism on the part of police and the justice system. If this were true, one would expect that the race of victims would have significantly different distribution than the race of the perpetrators, but this is not the case:

Homicide Victim Rate/100,000 by Race in US (2000):

3.3 - White
20.5 - Black
2.7 - Other

Thus if you remove homicides committed by blacks (total: 21862, Blacks:9316), and assume a proportionality between number of offenders and number of offenses, you can extrapolate US homicide offender rate of only 2.6/100,000, lower than Germany (3.27) and France (3.91).

Mulligan, for one, points to the "war on drugs" as key, a war that has seen the rate of imprisonment of drug offenders jump by 700 percent since 1980; a war that depends on narrowly targeted law enforcement and on mandatory prison sentences. In 2002, 80 percent of those receiving such sentences were minorities. The war on drugs has been disproportionately a war on young black men.


Another reason to scale back or eliminate the War on DrugsTM.

2003. The death penalty set loose. Prison populations setting records. Effective torture as part of punishment. A system of racial injustice that rivals slavery. American values across the world. Please.


The Boston Globe. Shoddy, slanted journalism. Ignorance of the facts. Bush hatred. Hyperbole as argument. Cries of RACISM!!!!

Please, give us a break...

James Carroll's column appears regularly in the Globe.

Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


 
Trouble In Paradise?

With nine people in the race and three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, the sniping between frontrunner Howard Dean and his three closest rivals is becoming more strident.

Lieberman: Dean Will 'Melt' Under GOP Attacks
Rival Says It Was 'Outrageous' for Front-Runner to Suggest Party Shield Him

By Dan Balz and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 30, 2003; Page A04


Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) charged yesterday that former Vermont governor Howard Dean will "melt in a minute" under Republican attacks if he becomes the Democratic presidential nominee and said it was "outrageous" of Dean to suggest that Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe step in and shield him from growing criticism by his rivals.


McAuliffe is Clinton's installation as DNC head. Dean's out of his mind if he expects a lot of help from him, and I don't think that's in McAuliffe's job description.

Lieberman pounced on a comment Dean made Sunday in which he criticized McAuliffe for allowing the other Democratic candidates to attack him. "If we had strong leadership in the Democratic Party, they would be calling those other candidates and saying, 'Hey look, somebody's going to have to win here,' " Dean said. He added that "if Ron Brown were chairman, this wouldn't be happening," referring to the late former DNC chairman.


Mr. Dean, it's time to turn that infamous "Bush Anger" on your rivals, isn't it? Grow a fuckin' pair...

Dean spoke with McAuliffe yesterday morning to clear the air. They chatted for about five minutes, according to Dean aide Kate O'Connor, who called the conversation "very, very friendly," but refused to elaborate. DNC spokeswoman Debra DeShong also declined to describe the content of what she said was a private conversation.


So one aide says the talks were friendly but neither is willing to describe them further. That means they engaged in a "frank exchange of ideas", diplospeak for "they were pissed at each other".

She offered no indication McAuliffe was prepared to intervene in the escalating fight between Dean and his rivals. "The chairman understands and the message is that politics is a combat sport, and ultimately it's going to be up to the voters to decide what they like and don't like," DeShong said.


Smart move, Terry. Let them sling the mud around.

Dean and McAuliffe talk often, as do their top aides, but several Democrats described the relationship between the front-runner and the DNC chairman as civil though sometimes awkward.


Translation - they don't like each other.

McAuliffe is a close friend of former president Bill Clinton, whose former top aides are playing leading roles for some of Dean's rivals. As party chairman, McAuliffe has remained neutral in the race and turned to Dean for fundraising help on a few occasions. If Dean wins the nomination, he could shake up the DNC leadership.


"If Dean wins, McAuliffe's history" is more like it.

Dean's rivals have no plans to back off.

Lieberman, who has been one of Dean's harshest and most persistent critics, said he found it "stunning" that the former governor was calling for help to fend off attacks after launching the first negative ad of the campaign and after answering criticism "not with substance but with personal insults." Earlier this year, Dean ran the first ad of the campaign that specifically mentioned one of his rivals.


So Dean can dish it out, but he can't take it?

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), the target of that ad, yesterday echoed Lieberman, as did Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.). "Howard Dean has spent the last year criticizing me and other candidates at every opportunity," Gephardt said. "Now, as he makes a series of embarrassing gaffes that underscore the fact he is not well equipped to challenge George Bush, he suddenly wants to change the rules of the game."


Probability that, if Dean wins the nomination, he'll get any of these guy's endorsement = 5 percent.

Over the past few weeks, Dean's rivals have grown more pointed in their attacks, and Dean has been forced to backtrack explain or weasel out of clarify several controversial remarks.

Lieberman said he believes the attacks are prompting many Democrats to rethink their support of Dean.


I doubt it. Lemmings usually walk of the cliff.

"I've got some news for Howard Dean," Lieberman added. "The primary campaign is a warm-up compared to what George Bush and Karl Rove have waiting for him. . . . He's going to melt in a minute once the Republicans start going after him."


There's plenty of material to choose from...

Jay Carson, spokesman for Dean, said the Vermont Democrat is running a positive campaign that can generate the money and momentum to beat Bush. He said it is Dean's rivals who are doing the attacking -- out of desperation. "The politics of attack . . . is exactly the kind of politics that turns off voters and suppresses turnout," Carson said. "It's bad for the party."


So, he's running a positive campaign but was the first out of the gate with the negative ads. This will be fun to watch, if your idea of fun is watching someone torch his own house...


Monday, December 29, 2003
 
Need A New Career?

The old Brawny cover guy, referred to as "the '70s porn guy" by the new execs, has been replaced by

...the New Brawny Man: younger, clean-shaven, dark-haired, ethnically ambiguous, wearing red flannel over a white T-shirt (instead of Old Brawny Man's blue denim), drawn with a far more visible, powerful torso.


I was about ten years old going through a grocery store with one of my brothers (who I will not embarrass by name), he picks up one of the old Brawn-Man rolls and says "Hey, note the resemblance". I know it was just a goof and all that, but there was a strong resemblance, that's all I'm sayin'.



Sunday, December 28, 2003
 
Bush Uber Alles

Limits for Bush

12/28/2003

AMERICA HAS always thought of itself as a nation of laws and not men, but that comforting assumption is under challenge from President George W. Bush. In a series of recent reversals, Bush has been forced to back off of several of his key initiatives in both foreign and domestic arenas because they violated the US Constitution, federal law, or international agreements. The pattern is even more troubling than the individual cases, suggesting a belligerent disregard for the law until liberal brave judges call the administration to account.


Well, I understand that a president's primary duty is to uphold the constitution. Are you suggesting it's not anymore?

Just last week, a Bush plan to allow polluting power companies to make major changes to their plants without making them cleaner was halted by a three-judge panel of the federal Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia. Bush's Environmental Protection Agency was about to gift the industry with a regulation retreat so great it violates the Clean Air Act.


My take on that report is that older plants can make small upgrades to existing equipment but if the total expenditure for a 'process unit' exceeds 20 percent, you have to also install anti-pollution equipment. I believe this concept can be called the cost-benefit analysis, a rarely applied concept in government brought on by that dumb MBA President we have.

The week before, the federal Appeals Court in New York ruled that the administration had denied basic rights to US citizen Jose Padilla by detaining him as an enemy combatant without specific charge.


We're at war, folks, did you forget already?

At nearly the same time, the notoriously liberal federal Appeals Court in San Francisco scolded Bush for holding some 650 people at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely without trial as undemocratic and likely a violation of international law.


When their only responsibility is considering U.S. law. Did I mention this is a brave liberal court?

Earlier, another federal judge overturned Interior Department plans to open Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks to hundreds of snowmobilers, saying the move would violate the "primary mandates, regulations, and policies of the National Park Service."


Whatever that's supposed to mean...

These cases followed shortly after Bush finally surrendered to national and international pressure by rescinding steel import tariffs that were clearly a violation of international trade agreements from the start, and never should have been implemented.


That's right. He talks free trade but the tarrifs were done for political gain, Not that the noble, selfless Democrats never did anything so crass.

So in the month of December alone, Bush was rebuffed by three separate federal appeals courts, another federal judge, and the World Trade Organization.


Your scores may vary.

Unfortunately, these cases are not isolated.


"It's a nefarious plot! Quick, to the Dean forum!"

Potentially unconstitutional infringements on individual rights were pursued by John Poindexter when he was in the Pentagon, and others are still being advanced by Attorney General John Ashcroft under the Patriot Act.

The San Francisco Appeals Court said it well: "It is the obligation of the judicial branch to ensure the preservation of our constitutional values and to prevent the executive branch from running roughshod over the rights of citizens and aliens alike."

Bush, like any president, should uphold the law and not advance vigilante policies that attempt to get away with as much as they can before being caught.


This is nonsense. The President has a sworn oath th protect us from our enemies, domestic and foreign. To characterize Bush's action in this war as 'vigilante' smacks of crackpot discourse and shoudn't be part of any argument this editorial's trying to make. I'd expect this from the Boston Phoenix, but not these guys.

The second lesson for Americans is to treasure and support an independent judiciary that will uphold fundamental rights.


As judiciaries continue uphold laws that contravene the Constitution. This check and balance concept works two ways. I'm just pissed that Bush didn't veto the thing last year when he had the chance. He even admitted that parts were unconstitutional but wrongly relied on the courts to do this for him.

Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


 
NFL 2003 - 2004, Week 17, Remainder

Home team in CAPS:

Chi +9.5
Cle +7.5
HOU +7
Jax +3
DET +10
Tb +7
Den +6.5

Best overall team - STL (130.7)
Worst overall team - AZ (56.6)
Best offense - STL (144)
Best defense - NE (131)
Worst offense & worst defense - still AZ (59 and 54, respectively)

Last week = 2-4.

For the year = 26-34-5.


 
Nope, No Double Standards Here

The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby does the annual roundup of political hate speech of the left. Read the whole thing, as they say, but I'll just throw a few comments in some parts.

Of course no one came in for more Hitler comparisons this year than George W. Bush. Third Reich references were practically a staple of antiwar rhetoric.

The president "is not the orator that Hitler was," acknowledges leftist commentator Dave Lindorff at Counterpunch.org. "But comparisons of the Bush administration's fearmongering tactics to those practiced so successfully and with such terrible results by Hitler and Goebbels . . . are not at all out of line."

Such repugnant comparisons are in fact wildly out of line. But so long as the double standard persists, liberals will continue to make them with impunity.


And I'll gladly continue to point them out.

Of course this complaint can be taken too far. Ed Gillespie, the Republican Party's chairman, has been accusing Democrats of engaging in "political hate speech" when they call Bush a "liar" or a "miserable failure."


Just like fellow Globe columnist Thomas Oliphant did in today's column by labeling it a scam and, yes, a lie:

From the fine print of the law itself, however, it appears to be a lie. When the first batch of regulations under the new law was issued by the Bush administration, the fine print described a system under which "discounts" are a goal, not a requirement. Retired people have a statutory right to "share" in savings that result from bulk purchasing of drugs, but whether that share is puny or substantial is a matter the Republicans and Bush are leaving up to private corporations.


By qualifying the statement, Oliphant leaves himself wiggle room so he can deny that he'd ever call his policies a lie. Very courageous stand, Tom. And, of course, we see the use of the word puny because no amount of prescription drug benefits will ever be enough for Oliphant. Back to Jeff:

But there is a world of difference between labeling someone a failure and labeling him Hitler. My objection has never been to political elbow-throwing. What I have tried to argue is that certain kinds of insult -- those that fantasize about people's deaths, or slime them as racists or fascists or terrorists -- do such violence to our public discourse that they should simply be shunned.

Ten years ago almost no one was calling attention to this liberal slander problem; now magazine articles and even books are being written about it. Progress of a sort, I guess. There's room for a lot more.


Suggestion - write about your fellow columnists. That ought to keep you busy for months...

Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is jacoby@globe.com.

Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.




Saturday, December 27, 2003
 
NFL 2003 - 2004, Week 17

Buf +8.5
WAS +7

The Buffalo / New England game, which I'm going to for the eight consecutive year with Mark, is looking like Bledsoe's Custer's Last Stand. It's off the board because it's gonna be UGLY! I'm predicting a shutout, say Patriots, 27-0.

My car shit the bed three hours ago. I'm too fuckin' pissed off right now to post the Sunday picks and all the trimmings right now.

Anger Management. Is that a movie? Damn, I could have written the script.

Later on, and thanks for stopping by...


Friday, December 26, 2003
 
There Go The Moonbats

Dean touts a 'Jesus Strategy'

Ralph Nader, here's your chance...


 
It's A Family Affair

By way of the most glorious creator of worlds, Allah reminds us all about the importance of tight-knit families.


 
I Can't Believe He Whacked Him!

Beating the shit out of people has become a lost art.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The scene in one of New York's fabled Italian restaurants would have done "The Sopranos" TV scriptwriters proud -- a reputed mobster shot a man dead for heckling a woman singer.

Police said Broadway chanteuse Rena Strober was singing "Don't Rain on My Parade" at Rao's, an East Harlem restaurant, Monday night when a patron, Albert Circelli, criticized her performance.


A most prophetic song title, no?

Reputed Luchese crime family associate Louis Barone told him to watch his mouth but when Circelli swore in response, Barone pulled out a .38-caliber revolver and shot him in the back, police said.


Shot in the back. In the interests of civil, well reasoned discourse, I will resist cheap ethnic stereotyping here...

A second shot fired by Barone hit another diner, Al Petraglia, 57, in the foot, police said.


"Hey, sorry 'bout dat, Al."

Barone dropped the revolver, walked out of the restaurant and was arrested by police officers.


Sounds rather instantaneous. Think he was under surveillance?

Circelli, 37, died of stupidity his wounds and Petraglia was treated in the hospital, police said.

Rao's is a 10-table restaurant that accommodates only 40 people. It has a reputation for exclusivity and a Mafia mystique, but police said the shooting was not a mob "hit." (emphasis added)


I'd venture to say that Circelli wasn't one of the 'boys' and / or was painfully unaware of his immediate environment.

Barone, 67, has a record of arrests for gambling and weapons possession dating back four decades. He could be a character in "The Sopranos," a popular cable TV show about an organized crime family in neighboring New Jersey.


He could, but this arrest is a career limiting move...

Barone appeared in Manhattan criminal court Wednesday on charges of second degree murder, assault and weapons possession. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life.

New York tabloids had a field day."Songfella" read the front page of the Daily News, "Bullets Bolognese at Rao's as wiseguy whacks a wise guy who insults singer." The New York Post headline was "Swan Song" and "Diva diss sparked geezer's gunfire."



 
Mad Cow Conspiracy Theory

Mark wants a post about the above. And I found one!

A cow collided with a vehicle Tuesday evening, sending a man to the hospital, officials told News2Houston.

The cow somehow got loose from a pasture and made its way onto the Interstate 10 bridge over the Trinity River in Chambers County. A vehicle traveling west at 6:30 p.m. struck the cow. The crash caused a chain-reaction accident with two other vehicles.

One of the drivers, in his 70s, suffered head injuries and was taken by LifeFlight to Memorial Hermann Hospital. His injuries are not life-threatening, according to authorities.

The highway was closed for about an hour until the scene was cleared.



 
More Cat Blogging

Here's a story of one cat who was on an extended stay at an airport near Seattle, and here's a site for hard working cats.

No, not too much free time on my hands today...


 
A Fool And His Money

Or it's put up or shut-up time for John Kerry.

Kerry mortgages home for campaign cash

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. John Kerry has lent his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination more than $6 million secured through a mortgage on his family's Boston home, his campaign said Wednesday.

Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, already had lent his campaign $850,000 to become the first candidate in the 2004 race to turn to his own fortune. The Kerry campaign has declined to disclose the value of the Beacon Hill house or the extent of the senator's wealth, except to say that he had several millions of dollars at his disposal.


Yeah, I couldn't find squat on it myself. I may be mistaken but I think Kerry owned that Beacon Hill place before he met Heinz, so I think it's worth $6 million. No sane lender would give anyone a mortgage over fair market value.

Under federal campaign law and as much as he wants to, Kerry cannot take the money from his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, an heir to the multimillion-dollar Heinz food fortune. She can give no more than $2,000, the limit applied to campaign donors. He is allowed to tap the full value of any property solely in his name and half the value of property he co-owns.


That's another reason I think he owns the property in his name only. I simply don't see a $12 million residential property, even on Beacon Hill, unless it's like 30,000 square feet in size. CNN has his net worth pegged at about 163.6 million, while these guys give that as the low range and 626 million at the high end. As an aside, Jon Corzine, D - NJ is fourth on the CNN list; he spent $60 million on his 2000 campaign, so he used to be worth about $131 million, which would have put him 2nd overall behind Captain Hairdo.

Kerry and rival Howard Dean are the only Democrats who have declined to take federal funds for their campaigns. President Bush also has decided to reject federal funding.


I see Kerry taking it sometime after he gets his head handed to him in the N.H. primary and he somehow convinces himself he'll win in South Carolina or on Super Tuesday. That'll tell you how big his ego really is.

Kerry campaign spokesman Michael Meehan said Thursday the mortgage-based loan shows Kerry's personal commitment to the race for the nomination.


Putting his money where his mouth is. I'll have to grant him some credit there.

Past presidential candidates who spent millions of their own money on their campaigns include Republican Steve Forbes and Reform Party candidate Ross Perot.


 
Tilting at...

Yes, windmills (light registration req'd).

Kerry, Dean see wind as energy source

By PAULA TRACY

Union Leader Staff

John Kerry and Howard Dean see wind as an important source of renewable energy to help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign fuel, but that does not translate into automatic support for wind projects in their own New England states.


I'm for alternate energy sources, but until there's a replacement for oil is invented or discovered, we'll have to do things like allow oil drilling in ANWR / off our shores and look to countries like Mexico, Russia, Venezuela, etc., that are practical. Therefore I treat such commentary for the posturing it is.

Although Kerry has used images of windmills in TV ads and in campaign statements has referred to wind technology as part of his plan to decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil, he has not taken a clear position on the Cape Wind project for Nantucket Sound (emphasis added).


I got a new surprise meter for Christmas. This one looks busted, too...

That massive plan, proposed by a Kerry supporter, is very unpopular with fellow Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and many other Democrats who have vacation property on Cape Cod or the nearby islands. While governor of Vermont, Dean signed a moratorium against using state land for wind production.

This week, Dean said he is not opposed to windmills on private land, including a large wind power project proposed on a ridge that can be seen from 600 acres he owns in Lowell, Vt., a tiny town in the remote Northeast Kingdom. Dean said he took all Vermont state lands off the table for wind power consideration because the land was never bought for that use.

“I said, ‘Not on state lands,’ because state lands are owned with specific purposes in mind that have to do with no development and public aesthetics. But next door to my house? Sure. Why not, because they have to go somewhere,” Dean said in an interview this week.


Upping the ante on Kerry, nice move.

Dean said he also supports the extension of tax credits, which expire Dec. 31, with the stalling of the federal energy bill as incentive for developing wind power as part of the nation’s energy portfolio.


Is it me or did that last sentence make no sense?

Kerry referred to the Cape Wind project when asked by a Hopkinton Middle School student Dec. 18 if he favored wind production.

“I am in favor of wind power, and I think we ought to find a place that is appropriate off the coast of New England to build some wind power. The question is, what is the site process going to be? You can’t just allow anybody to go build one anywhere they want without some kind of process,” he told students.


"Anywhere except near my yacht!"

He said he supports offshore wind power development but would like to see alternatives such as the six sites the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now having the Cape Wind developer analyze.

“Wind power is not going to be the solution to the power (needs) of the United States. It is one form of power and one form of contribution,” Kerry said. “We can produce clean energy in this country and we need to do it more.”


Fine, come do your next couple of speeches at my house. There'll be enough hot air to get us through the winter...



 
Darwin Award Nominee - Midwest Division

When returning 'garage sale items', use the gate next time. There's a few holes in this story, pardon the pun...

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City police are investigating after a woman was impaled on her neighbor's wrought iron fence the same day the neighbor's home was robbed, KMBC reported.


Coincidence?

Mary Beth Byers, 37, was trying to climb over the fence when she was impaled on it early Thursday morning. Her husband heard her screaming and found Byers stuck in the fence. He supported her to prevent the iron spike from impaling Byers further while waiting for paramedics to arrive.


Was she coming or going?

A resident who witnessed the incident said the woman had slipped 6 to 8 inches down on the fence. Gail Stark, the victim's mother, said paramedics had to remove part of the fence to free the impaled woman.

She was taken to an area hospital, where she was listed in serious condition.

Byers told authorities she went to her neighbor's house to return some garage sale items. But later in the day, the neighbor, who lives in the 1200 block of Northeast 81st Street, reported that her home had been robbed. Police are looking into the incident.


Sounds like she neglected the 'cat' part about being a cat burglar. In broad daylight, no less. Since this woman doesn't appear to be the sharpest tool in the shed, the fingerprint ID should match them up nicely.


 
Ullrich Talks Some Smack

The usual offseason posturing, folks...

Ullrich refused to be drawn on the issue of the ‘Did he wait? Didn’t he wait?’ stage to Luz Ardiden, but did admit to being upset by another statement the Texan made following his fifth consecutive Tour win. "What really annoys me is that after the Tour he was saying that he was not in great condition because he only won by a minute. That devalues the performance of all the other riders," said Ullrich.


You could also interpret that to mean Lance felt he wasn't living up to his usual standards. I somehow doubt we'll hear about a 'clarification' from US Postal.

It also looks like Joseba Beloki will be ready by July as well. Barring a crash, we're looking at the top 3 riders for le Tour.


 
The Rest... Of The Story

Further destroying the myth of unbiased journalism. EFL.

Those stories are falling through the cracks, he implies, because most reporters would rather sit around at base camps and use material supplied by the military instead of venturing into the dangerous desert. The biggest story we’re not getting, he says, is the huge number of successes the U.S. military has enjoyed in foiling terrorists. ``We had a small ship try to ram one of our cargo ships right before I left. If it had hit and blown us up like the USS Cole, then it would have made news. But our guys were alert enough and shot the thing 75 meters off the bow. I didn’t see anything (in the news). ``We’ve got this terrorist stuff every day. We’re stopping package bombs, car bombs, people with bombs strapped to them. We’re taking caches of weapons away from people. Is it just me, or isn’t that news anymore?’’


Apparently not. Good news isn't news anymore.

Another story flying under the media’s radar is a technological breakthrough. ``We have this new, fancy technology called a Warlock system. Without telling you how it works, it basically knocks out the systems of the bad guys so they can’t detonate anything when we come by. We’re just now putting them into trucks. That’s a great story!’’


Sounds like an RF jammer. That's supposedly what saved Musharraf's hide last week.

Another untold story, he says, is terrorists’ targeting of female soldiers. ``They want to kidnap female soldiers for rape the shock value of it. (Non-American) females over there don’t speak. When (Iraqis) see a female soldier, they are absolutely in shock.’’


They should be, because they'll kick your ass, Ahmed...


 
All Hail

Marx, Lenin and the other mass-murdering asshole. Only in Massachusetts, folks...

At 110, Mao still a powerful icon in China

By Ross Terrill, 12/26/2003

MAO ZEDONG, alone among 20th-century dictators, enjoys a largely benign life after death. Taxi drivers in China hang a Mao photo on the steering wheel or else to ward off accidents. Department stores use a pink plastic model of Mao to display silk pajamas or else. Farmers clutch a Mao image or else as they fend off flood waters.


Yes, I'm sure it's just an involuntary reflex or something.

Mao, born 110 years ago today, has transcended communism backward into Chinese history. He has escaped the harsher verdicts on Stalin and Hitler by entering Chinese folklore, becoming a version of the semi-mythical Yellow Emperor for an age of space capsules and the WTO.


I can't figure it out either. A ruler who devised and implemented world-class misery such as Ther Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution gets the proverbial pat on the ass, even from this writer.

In addition, Beijing needs Mao, and here the picture grows darker. The Chinese Communist Party cannot dismiss Mao as a Stalin, because he was also the Lenin as organizer and the Marx as philosopher of the Chinese Revolution.


Well, Lenin was known to whack a few people in his time. Just ask the Romanovs. Does that make him better somehow?

Mao's 110th is being honored with exhibitions, speeches, galas, rap songs, pilgrimages to sacred spots, films, and books, all devised by the party-state, but most are being met with a yawn -- occasionally a curse -- from the Chinese people.


Not enough curses to make a difference, unfortunately.

In much of urban China, Mao has lost meaning, negative or positive. Youth can dine in a "Cultural Revolution-style" cafe off rough-hewn tables with Mao quotations on the wall as they chat about sex or the stock market. In rural China Mao looms larger as a flawed emperor who yet remains a father figure. His home village has built 110 gold statues of Mao. One is being donated for erection in the Mao Mausoleum at Tiananmen Square. The other 109 are on sale at $25,000 apiece.


He's starting to get ignored? That's a good thing.

After his death in 1976, silence about Mao was safest until the Communist Party sliced him up into good and bad. In 1981, Beijing promulgated a Delphic balance sheet of his "great deeds" and "grave blunders."


Guess you can't ignore the obvious forever.

Deng Xiaoping, knocked down as a "capitalist roader" in Mao's Cultural Revolution, criticized his predecessor in the 1980s to signal a fresh agenda of economic reform. After Deng's death in 1997, Jiang Zemin made a few pro-Mao gestures, differentiating himself from Deng, reminding people that Mao was 70 percent correct and only 30 percent wrong. The current leader, Hu Jintao, seeking to be less aloof and corrupt than Jiang, has waved a flag of homespun populism that invokes Mao in word but not in policy. Hu said Mao at 110 offers "precious spiritual wealth" to China.


It's stating the bloody obvious to point out that all dictators are corrupt...

Internationally, Mao's brand of Third World revolution has collapsed like a cold souffle. Pockets of Maoism remain in the hills of Nepal and Peru, but post-Mao China itself has given up the export of communist ideas for the import of capitalist ideas.

Reevaluation of Mao goes on as fashions change. America's need for China as a counterweight to the Soviet Union in the early 1970s, for example, led many in the United States to focus on Mao's qualities and downplay his flaws. Later, Mao's image lost this boost. He shrank from a near-Superman to just one dictator and nation-builder among others.


Well, that worked, didn't it?

Some say Deng reversed Mao's revolution, but it is an important distinction that Deng dismantled Mao's whimsical thought yet retained Mao's authoritarian state. Dengism (continued by Jiang and Hu) was a retreat from as much as possible of Maoism without endangering Leninist political power.


Fair assessment there. I can't find anything about how many people got iced because of his rule.

We won't know what many Chinese people think of Mao until they are free the monopoly of power by the Communists comes to an end. If it has not been possible to build a museum to the Cultural Revolution, as the writer Ba Jin suggested, or a monument to the victims of the famine caused by Mao's Great Leap Forward, certainly it is not possible -- with the Community Party's image still at stake -- to approach Mao without political blinkers.


Great epitath - Mao Tse Tung, Over 30 million murdered served.

Under the surface, the collapse of the Soviet Union has probably begun a reassessment of Mao within China that will one day go far.


Yeah, it's only been what, 12 years? That tells me they want to hold power, and nothing else.

A future Chinese leader may say the whole Marxist-Leninist phase of China's 20th-century history was an unnecessary detour from the self-strengthening approach to the challenge of the West in the 19th century. And thus, for Mao, Marxism was actually a handicap to his great missions of farmer rebellion and national unification.


A real future Chinese leader might dismiss all of this as the shit that it is. Japan seems to have transitioned nicely from its feudal traditions and have chosen the parts of 'the West' it likes and adapted. Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp?

Last week in a radio interview I was asked by a caller from Shandong Province if China would have been better off had Liu Shaoqi, Mao's methodical deputy, become top leader from 1949 onwards. A tough question.


Not at all. You say yes or he whacks you. He says jump, you say 'How high?'. That's what he was all about. Get it?

Without Mao there would have been no utopian Great Leap Forward or fascist Cultural Revolution. But Liu's China, resembling the Soviet Union, would probably have experienced Brezhnev-like stagnation. Mao went off the rails so badly that Deng was handed a tremendous unspoken mandate to be pragmatic in pursuit of prosperity and stability.


In other words, Mao's Communism was a failure. Just like Stalin's, or Honecker's, or Kim Jong Il's, or Castro's, or...

Time was lost, yes, I told the man on the phone from Shandong. But the deck was cleared for a fresh voyage.


Just sink the fuckin' boat, please?

Ross Terrill's latest book is "The New Chinese Empire." A new edition of his "Mao" was published this week in Chinese in Beijing.


Buy it, or else.

Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


 
Cat Blogging



Awwwww...


 
Slow News Day

We're at war with radical Islamists and this clown chooses the day after Christmas to trash Christianity (this, from an atheist). Nice touch, asshole.

That being reviled for your opinions, however unpopular, doesn't mean you're wrong. But it doesn't mean you're always right, either.


Bill Berlow, deep thinker...


Thursday, December 25, 2003
 
And I Thought I Was Misanthropic

Just read this piece from Andrew Sullivan's site:

HAPPY CHRISTMAS: Why not the anglicism? Now that Christmas is at our throats again, let me extend my sincere hope that my readers can survive the nightmare of the next few days with as little psychic, gastro-intestinal, and familial anxiety as possible. Yes, I might as well confess that I cannot stand this time of year. (I'm with Blitzen.) But the BF and the beagle and I have both LOTR DVDs and are planning a nine-hour Tolkien marathon with cigars and Jagermeister shots and a pig ear. I guess diversity is everything. Hang in there. Don't despair. It will all be over soon enough. Back Friday with the annual award ceremony for the Begala, Von Hoffman, Sontag, Derbyshire and Poseur finalists and winners for 2003. Special guest stars: Bill Moyers, Robert Fisk, Bill O'Reilly and all your favorites. Don't miss it!


Predictions - Derrick Z. Jackson gets the Begala award, and old Brit hand Derb gets his own reward (do they get cash or medals for this? Can I get into the mix? I'm curious!)

Well, Andrew, I will differ with you and think it's time for me to try to break my misanthropic streak and hang out with the new neighbor (thanks for that rack of Sam's last week!). I don't know if such (avoidance) behaviour is considered impolite or whatever, but my best friend's wife invited me to a Christmas dinner earlier today, and I couldn't thank them enough for it (though I regret not baking them an apple pie for them, but I couldn't do it on such short notice). As much as one might be inclined to dislike someone for the turmoil that may have been introduced into your best buddy's life (they're recently separated, and I'm not privy to everything that's transpired. I won't make uninformed, snap judgments. Sorry, Larry, it's a coin flip, please forgive me, maybe I'm just overwhelmed right now. I'm still getting that lawnmower, right? :-) ), I understand that I'm not privy to everyone's opinions and point of view, and I'll cut slack accordingly, but Brooke has now earned my undying respect. My friends know I don't say such things lightly...


Wednesday, December 24, 2003
 
And Before I Forget...

Happy Holidays Merry Christmas to you all! Thanks for reading my blog.

Both of you.


 
Wow

I am astounded by Derrick Z. Jackson's latest contribution to civil, well reasoned discourse vicious hate filled bile. Sorry if this is off-tone for this particular time of year, but...

Against the war, for the soldiers


I believe the only way you could establish such a belief is that you feel genuinely concerned for the welfare of the soldiers, as we all should. The contradiction lies with the fact that a soldier's job, by definition, puts them in harm's way.

By Derrick Z. Jackson, 12/24/2003

DEAR AMERICAN SOLDIERS:

I wish you a safe holiday. Congratulations on being named Time magazine's Person of the Year.


Somehow, I don't buy it.

You might find this strange coming from the journalistic equivalent of a huge racist asshole Scrooge. I was against the war.


And that's changed? Wonderful!

I wrote last week that despite the capture of Saddam Hussein, the war is still a lie.


That's not exactly what you wrote recently, but go on...

I believe history will be less kind than today's triumphant headlines. I believe that thousands of Iraqi babies, mothers, and fathers are dead because our political leaders created a panic over weapons of mass destruction that have not yet been found. I fear America will one day pay for our panic.


I believe Saddam Hussein, who held Iraqis under his bootheel for thirty five years and is reputed to have been responsible for at least 300,00 deaths bears far more responsibility for atrocities in that country. I believe our military did the right thing in removing this son of a bitch. I fear Derrick Jackson will never pay for such irresponsible journalism.

This backhanded praise at it's absolute worst and transparent.

I also recognize and salute your personal courage.


That's an 'interesting' thing to say to 'your' troops, just after you kicked them in the jimmies...

You are mothers and fathers, too. Many of you are also babies.


I'm simply amazed at the arrogance of a statement asserting that people old enough to fight in wars, hold jobs, drive cars and sign legally binding contracts (and should have the right to drink, by the way) are considered 'babies'. Amazed, that is, but not surprised. But that's why he's writing the column, so he can 'educate' you 'babies' (why not upgrade them to children, Derrick?)

Of the 460 American soldiers who have died in Iraq, 36 were 18 or 19 years old. My oldest son is 18. My best friend's son recently turned 21. My friend was also against the war. His son is in the military and may very well go to Iraq. My friend cried: "They're babies. Just babies."


Your friend needs to file a missing brain report with the police.

On this eve of the Christian celebration of an eighteen year old adult baby, I celebrate you. In June, I wrote a column that said our soldiers must be dying for oil, since we found no weapons of mass destruction.


Yes, well trodden ground...

I wrote, "Nearly another 50 soldiers have died in nebulous situations that range from justifiable self-defense to dubious overreactions more reminiscent of the shootings of American students and rioters by National Guardsmen in the 1960s."


Then I said:

I would think that if Saddam's thugs innocent Iraqi citizens take up arms against our troops, they should be allowed to fight back. Derrick, much more 'nuanced' than I, doesn't think that's legitimate use of force. I'd sure hate to have this guy as my C.O.


I still think he regards warfare as a police action. Let me tell you something, Derrick: we cannot appear weak or timid to our enemies. This is a constant, similar to time and gravity. There are still remnants of the Baathists there, and they need to stand down and disarm or they're going to suffer from an overdose of lead poisoning.

That column sparked a letter for the shit it is from the father of a 20-year-old soldier who died a month after President Bush declared major combat operations to be over. The father wrote: "The use of the word `nebulous' is insulting to all who do their duty every day and especially to those who lose their lives. My son died doing what he volunteered for, doing something he loved and was exceptional at.

"You insult his intelligence by intimating that he was some sort of dupe in this grand power play for the world's oil. If you have a point, then make it, but do not invoke the memory of my son to justify your political point of view. . . . My son willingly followed the orders of his commander in chief to accomplish a mission.

"During his time in Iraq, he grew to like and respect the people there. On missions (prior to his death) he earned the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal. All this from a 20-year-old Airborne infantryman. Do not dare to insult his memory by equating him with a barrel of oil."


How does Derrick weasel out of this contortion?

I wrote the father back: "I am very sorry that your son was killed serving this country. . . . I certainly and sincerely understand how reading my column during this time could inflame your feelings.


Because you write most of your columns for that very purpose.

"What I want you to know is that while you and I have strong, differing feelings about the political purpose of the war itself and the decisions and actions of world leaders that led to it, I have no doubt that at the individual level, young men and women went off genuinely believing they were furthering the cause of peace and democracy and helping to create a better world.


If that isn't Grade A Bullshit, I don't know what is. To overthrow a dictator who's waged war with Iran and also killed hundreds of thousands of his own citizens has to be by anyone's definition the fucking blueprint of furthering the cause of peace and democracy and helping to create a better world. God damn, this guy makes me so fuckin' sick...

"If it is of any solace to you, despite the anger my column caused you, I salute your son as he died in the service of freedom, with one of those freedoms being freedom of speech and the freedom to dissent without fear of retribution."


What a great man Derrick Z. Jackson is, pissing on a soldier's grave. If there is a hell, its fire await you, not me.

The father wrote back: "I have always believed the true fundamental strength of our country is the vast diversity of people and their thoughts. We will never have just one mind-set. . . . Thanks for responding and hope to keep in contact. On a lighter note, my slightly premature but inevitable condolences for another also-ran season for the beloved Red Sox -- born and raised in the Bronx."


Yeah, I buy that not.

Dear American soldiers, perhaps there will come a day where the true fundamental strength of our country will be measured more by our diversity than by our ability to wage war.


And perhaps it won't. What meaningless PC drivel / claptrap. That's not the purpose of a country's military, Derrick simply cannot accept certain facts.

I trust we share that common dream even as we disagree about how to get there. I believe that in your hearts, you are trying to make the world a safer place, where diversity of political thought becomes a global value.


The only person dreaming here is you, Mr. Jackson. I wish you could place more emphasis on the fact that jihadis wish to kill us instead of endless navel gazing and hoping our enemies will stand down. They won't until we defeat them.

If it is of any solace to you, despite my opposition to the war, I salute the fact that you are ready to give your lives for an ideal. Be careful as you patrol the streets. Defend yourselves if you must.

When you can, take a hard look at the Iraqi man, woman, or child your gun is pointed at.


Stock assumption of Coalition soldiers as implicit baby killers. This guy's a class act, all right.

You are in Iraq under the orders of the commander in chief. I cannot do anything about that. What I can wish for is that even as many Christians prepare to sing "Peace on earth, goodwill to men," that you find a way, one soldier at a time, to bring it to Iraq. I pray that babies stop killing babies.


As the average American tries to help the average Iraqi. Right now, since it's Christmas and all, I cannot express enough contempt and profanities at Derrick Z. Jackson's latest intellectual turd. I think he's a truly reprehensible being.

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


Monday, December 22, 2003
 
Nice Call

Two weeks ago I predicted that with Roberto Heras' departure from the U.S. Postal Service squad, that team would have to get another climber of his caliber in order to provide better support in the mountain stages for Lance Armstrong.

Today, U.S. Postal announced the signing of Daniel Rincon:

US Postal have signed Colombian Daniel Rincon, the younger brother of former ONCE star Oliverio Rincon, who took a famous victory at Andorra in the 1993 Tour after a stage-long solo break through the Pyrenees.

Johan Bruyneel has described Rincon as the natural replacement for the departed Roberto Heras, which suggests that the Colombian comes from the same climbing mould as his elder brother.


Hey, Rob - how 'ya like me now?


 
You Old Dog, You

The Professor Who I Dare Not Name mentions something about last night's Patriots - Jets game that I somehow missed. Suzy Kolber, the attractive sideline reporter for ESPN asked Joe Namath a few questions and the responses were not quite as expected:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

3:57 p.m. December 21, 2003

NEW YORK – Joe Namath's interview on ESPN was cut short when the Hall of Fame quarterback gave curious answers to Suzy Kolber's questions.


Curious? I heard Joe was gassed...

Namath was at the Patriots-Jets game Saturday night as the Jets celebrated their 40th anniversary team. Asked by Kolber, ESPN's sideline reporter, about what the team's struggles meant to him, Namath replied:

"I want to kiss you," as he leaned toward her.


As a single male, I must concur, but decorum should have prevented such a response.

He added that he believed the team would come back next season with Chad Pennington available to play quarterback all year. But those at ESPN had heard enough.


"Turn that mike off, NOW!"

"Based on Joe's response to the second question, we concluded the interview expeditiously," the network said in a statement Sunday. "While Joe made some relevant football points, had we known what was to come, of course, we would not have conducted the interview."


Guess Broadway Joe won't be interviewed again anytime soon.

Kolber responded to Namath's comments by saying "Thanks, Joe. A huge compliment."


Grace under pressure...

Namath capped off the interview by repeating: "I want to kiss you." before Kolber turned things back over to the announcers in the booth.


"Joe, how about... no?"

The Jets said they would have no comment.


Try as he might, Joe's got nothing on Nicole Richie, daughter of Lionel Richie.

Let the record state that, during that basketball game, Kobe, er, got the last shot off and won the game for the Lakers, 101-99.


Sunday, December 21, 2003
 
Civil, Well Reasoned Discourse

No, not me (natch), but Wesley Crusher Clark is taking John Kerry's lead in using profanity on the campaign trail:

Better not mess with Clark

Associated Press

DERRY, N.H. -- Moments after praising his opponents in the Democratic presidential race as worthy running mates, Wesley Clark said, in no uncertain terms, how he would respond if they or anyone else criticized his patriotism or military record.


Do tell...

"I'll beat the s--- out of them," Clark told a questioner as he walked through the crowd after a town hall meeting Saturday. "I hope that's not on television," he added.

It was, live, on C-SPAN.


Whoops!

The campaign's traveling press secretary, Jamal Simmons, was with Clark at the time.


"I told you not to pull a John Kerry!"

"If anyone tries to question Wes Clark's character, integrity or his commitment to this country or its security, they're going to be in the biggest fight they've ever had," Simmons said.


I envision this as a potential Pay-Per-View between Clark and Kerry. Problem is, I'd not pay more than $10 USD for it.

Pantywaists, all...


 
Standing Headline

Kerry rips Bush policy

This will stop, oh, around June...

By Rick Klein, Globe Staff, 12/21/2003

ALTOONA, Iowa -- Presidential candidate John F. Kerry yesterday used Libya's announcement that it would end its nuclear weapons program to slam the Bush administration's foreign policy, saying the agreement with Moammar Khadafy shows what is possible through negotiations instead of force and threats.


Captain Hairdo deserves all the scorn and ridicule that can be mustered against him. He either never read the report that revealed a captured shipment of WMD to Libya (i.e., we caught Gaddafi red-handed) or he knows this and is ignoring it in order to score political points against Bush when he ought to be concentrating his fire on Howard Dean. Either way, I believe this is what makes Kerry unfit for the office.

While applauding Libya's announcement, the Massachusetts senator said in a statement that it "makes clear the shortcomings of George Bush's go-it-alone unilateralism." Kerry said the United Nations and NATO could be used to help end weapons programs in North Korea and Iran.


More bullshit. Kerry will call this 'unilateralism' until France comes on board. He is also ignoring or doesn't understand the point that 'diplomacy' does not work unless it's backed with a credible threat of force if diplomatic goals are not achieved.

"An administration that scorns multilateralism and boasts about a rigid doctrine of military preemption has almost in spite of themselves demonstrated the enormous potential for advances in the war on terror through cooperation," Kerry said.


Let's see. We have us, Great Britain, Australia, Poland, Italy and Spain all with troops in Iraq, and I know I'm missing some. Japan and probably South Korea will send troops as well. I guess this is 'unilateralism' in Kerry's Europhile mind.

In a speech to campaign supporters and other Democratic activists at an amusement park in Altoona,


Ha! That shoe fits, because Kerry's campaign is a complete circus at this point...

...outside Des Moines, Kerry offered a veiled jab at rival Howard Dean by saying Democrats must challenge President Bush with a candidate who has foreign-policy experience.

"You wouldn't hire a contractor to build your house who's never built a house, and you shouldn't hire somebody to be commander in chief and head of state who has no experience in foreign policy and national security," Kerry said.


Great analogy, Senator. I trust you're versed in diplomacy, negotiating treaties and such?

Kerry made the comments as he began a four-day tour of Iowa to highlight his support among working families, a swing that will be capped by a 24-hour bus trip tomorrow. With Kerry far back in polls in New Hampshire, Iowa is quickly emerging as a crucial state for his campaign to make a splash.


And we all know how much Captain Hairdo loves campaigning out there, don't we (Item 3)?

Kerry's campaign sought to highlight the growing number of Iowa lawmakers who have endorsed his bid for president. He has the support of 24 state senators and representatives, more than twice the support of any other Democratic contender.


We'll see soon enough if that helps...

Kerry is aggressively courting veterans in Iowa. Mailings tout his service in Vietnam, and plans are afoot to bus elderly and disabled veterans to caucuses.


I knew I should have tried to take out that bus yesterday...

Rick Klein can be reached at rklein@globe.com.

Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


UPDATE - What do you have to say about this, Senator? Do you really think 'negotiations' would have resulted in Libya giving this stuff up?

In my not so humble opinion, this further illustrates why the Democratic party, as currently configured, is completely unfit to lecture George W. Bush and his administration on matters of national security, much less to hold the office of President of the United States.

 
Hero

Saddam Hussein spit on one of the soldiers who captured him last week. The soldier then put the smack down.

Sunday, Dec. 21, 2003

New York – U.S. government sources familiar with the accounts given by troops who helped capture Saddam Hussein tell TIME that the fallen dictator apparently made one feeble attempt at defiance, TIME's Timothy Burger and Phil Zabriskie report. As soldiers were handcuffing him after he was extracted from his "spider hole," these sources say, Saddam spit on his captor.

As the incident was reported by the military, according to a U.S. source, a soldier promptly slugged the old tyrant -- probably the first time in more than two decades that Saddam was powerless to exact lethal revenge on someone who stood up to him.

An official military spokeswoman in Iraq claims no knowledge of the incident. "I think this is an urban legend," she says. But the full story is yet to be told. A U.S. intelligence official, meanwhile, casts doubt on another widely reported tale: that a U.S. soldier hailed the nemesis of two Commanders in Chief named George Bush by saying: "Regards from President Bush." This person says some officials suspect the story is "apocryphal."

The full text of the story will be on TIME.com Sunday evening.


Fuck with the best, die like the rest...


 
NFL 2003 - 2004, Week 16

Home team in CAPS:

Det +9.5
Nyg +11
Sd +6
Az +14
Sf +3.5
OAK +5.5

Best overall team - STL (130.7)
Worst overall team - AZ (56.3)
Best offense - KC (150)
Best defense - TB (133)
Worst offense & worst defense - still AZ (60 and 53, respectively)

Last week = 3-3-1.

For the year = 24-30-5.


Saturday, December 20, 2003
 
Close Encounter Of The Worst Kind

I was driving around Quincy an hour ago, trying to find a store that carries belts for washing machines. I'm on Willard Street, heading for Home Depot, and what do I see pulling out of the gas station at the corner?

John Kerry's Presidential tour bus, MA bus registration 15723.

The bus was slow getting out of the station, so I made a half-attempt at gunning around him on the right side, since he was coming from the left side. Seventy-five feet later it became obvious that I wan't going to overtake him, so I backed off, slammed on the brake for effect (my ABS is offline, and I'd rather have it that way, actually) and beeped at the driver for the next three blocks.

Juvenile? Yes and no. By that time I was heading for my fourth store and I pretty much knew that the belt has to be scored at an appliance store, all of them close early on Saturday. I was making the obligatory last-ditch effort to find one so I could get the repair out of the way before tonight's Patriots at Jets game, and frustration started setting in by that time, so I think some of you know you can relate to that scenario.


 
Marc Herold, Call Your Office

Meryl Yourish has the goods on the Associated Press and their fast and loose treatment of the facts.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you...


 
Rewriting History

The rabid anti-American bias at the BBC (Baathist Broadcasting Corporation) continues unabated:

"An email has been circulated telling us not to refer to Saddam as a dictator," I'm told. "Instead, we are supposed to describe him as the former leader of Iraq.


This reminds me of that line from Full Metal Jacket:

MAJOR - Uh, we have a new directive from MAF on this. In the future, in place of "search and destroy," substitute the phrase "sweep and clear." Got it?

JOKER - Got it. Catchy.


"Apparently, because his presidency was endorsed in a referendum, he was technically elected. Hence the word dictator is banned. It's all rather ridiculous."


It is, but not in the way you think it is...

The Beeb insists that the email merely restates existing guidelines. "We wanted to remind journalists whose work is seen and heard internationally of the need to use neutral language," says a spokesman.


What a load of crap. Andrew Sullivan asks (scroll up):

Under these guidelines, would Hitler have ever been called a "dictator"? He was originally elected in a freer election than Saddam, after all.


 
You Reap What You Sow

The French aristocracy government's going to love this one.

Decision day for fusion project

Scientists are meeting in Washington to decide where to build the world's first big nuclear fusion reactor.
Nuclear fusion holds out the promise of virtually limitless pollution-free energy - but the reactor will take 10 years to build.

The multi-billion dollar project is likely to be based either in Cadarache in France or in Rokkasho-mura in Japan.


I wish I could bet on stuff like this...

But the US is opposing the French option because of France's opposition to the invasion of Iraq.


Pros and cons

Member countries of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) project have been gathering in the US to make a final decision on the location of the project.

The Japanese site has the advantages of proximity to a port, a ground of solid bedrock and a nearby US military base.

The French site offers an existing research facility and a more moderate climate.


Excluding the political angle, I'd give the edge right there to Japan because of our military base. I'd also form an opinion that, given Japan's recent announcement about their intention to procure an anti-missile system, they'll need a credible counter deterrent, so it seems logical to me to let Japan develop The Bomb, whether it be China or North Korea rolling their eyes and screaming incoherent 'capitalist running-dog' bullshit. Why not have the Japanese build their own 'research facility' and give them the green light?

The experts are supposed to reach a consensus based on objective criteria, but observers say that the wider political context may play a part.


The French just love playing politics...

A French government envoy, Pierre Lellouche, said "very intense" talks were being held at a high-level before the meeting.


Well, that's obvious.

The European Union is backing France - but Canada, China, Russia, South Korea, the United States and Tokyo itself are reported to be favouring Japan.


Baker must have had something special in his briefcase to get Russia to side with us for a change. Or does the dispute over the Kurile Islands somehow come into play, getting resolved in Russia's favor?

The US, in particular, has raised objections to the French option, citing its opposition to the Iraq invasion.

"We have the structure, scientific and technical environment to ensure that this scheme can start up with competence, expertise and solid safety guarantees," French Research Minister Claudie Haignere said.


That's complete bullshit, Claudie. You can't even build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with 'competence, expertise and solid safety guarantees', so how are you going to convince anyone otherwise?

"If our site is chosen, Japan will cover the costs that are needed," said Hidekazu Tanaka, a senior official of the Japanese Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology ministry.


Note that Claudie doesn't say the same thing.

Self-sustaining

Iter is the boldest nuclear initiative since the Manhattan Project - the effort to build the first atom bomb, says BBC News Online's science editor David Whitehouse.

It would also be the world's largest international co-operative research and development project after the International Space Station.

Scientists say it will be the first fusion device to produce thermal energy at the level of an electricity-producing power station.

Its goal will be to produce 500 megawatts of fusion power for 500 seconds or longer during each individual fusion experiment and, in doing so, demonstrate essential technologies for a commercial reactor.

But they are all agreed that taming the power of the Sun will not be easy.

The superhot gas in which the fusion takes place is notoriously difficult to control.

The gas, termed a plasma, has to be kept hot and contained for fusion to take place. So far, no one has achieved a prolonged self-sustaining fusion event.

Advocates of fusion power point out that if they succeed, there is an almost limitless supply of power available because the deuterium atoms on which it would be based can be derived from seawater.


Cool technology, if they can pull it off. Good luck, France Japan!


 
Yeah, That Was A Tough Call

As soon as I spotted the headline:

Kerry won't match Dean on ads

I immediately thought:

Kerry can't match Dean on ads because he's broke

Sure enough...

Presidential candidate John F. Kerry does not have enough campaign funds to match rival Howard Dean's steady series of television commercials in Iowa and New Hampshire, despite Kerry's recent $850,000 loan to his campaign and his plans for another larger infusion of personal cash, campaign advisers said yesterday.


John Kerry commanded a boat in Vietnam, in case anyone's forgot. I'm guessing it was named the Titantic.

The Boston Herald's Joe Fitzgerald quotes Dirty Harry when talking about Kerry's Presidential run: "A man's gotta know his... limitations."


 
Resistance Is Not Futile

Looks like the Somerville smoking ban is going over like a fart in a church:

Some pubs rebel at Somerville smoke ban

By Benjamin Gedan, Globe Correspondent, 12/20/2003

SOMERVILLE -- Pubs in this working-class city are in open rebellion against a seven-week-old smoking ban, after the Board of Aldermen passed a nonbinding resolution to postpone the policy until the statewide prohibition takes effect next summer.

So far, the city's Board of Health is ignoring the political pressure, and its inspectors have discovered violations in three bars, a towing company, and a pizza parlor. At the pubs, ashtrays lined bars, and patrons openly flouted the ban.


"Fuck you!"

"They're playing dumb at this point," said Cesar Pungirum, the tobacco control officer for Cambridge, Chelsea, and Somerville. "The Board of Health will not tolerate that kind of defiance."


Fine, Ceasar, then you go into a bar in, say, the Winter Hill area and arrest them yourself. You wouldn't last five seconds.

Unlike Somerville, other cities and towns in the area report compliance with their smoking bans. Pungirum said he had found no violations in Cambridge since the city banned smoking Oct. 1, or in Chelsea, where a ban has been in place since September. Diane Pickles, executive director of Tobacco Free Mass, an advocacy group, said compliance also has been high in Boston, where the ban took effect last May.

"We're not hearing these things going on in other communities," Pickles said.


I'm surprised Chelsea's in compliance. Real surprised...

In all, 96 cities and towns in Massachusetts have banned smoking. The Legislature has approved a statewide ban, but it won't take effect until July 5. Only Framingham has reversed its ban.


Why that is, they won't don't say.

Soon after the Somerville ban took effect Oct. 1, bars began aggressive lobbying to overturn it, saying they were losing business to neighboring towns without bans.


Cause, meet effect.

On Nov. 13, at least 150 restaurant and bar owners and employees crowded City Hall, demanding that the Board of Aldermen ask health officials to drop the restriction. The Board of Aldermen voted, 11-0, to urge that the ban be delayed. Joseph A. Curtatone, who will be inaugurated mayor Jan. 5, sided with the protesting bars and restaurants.


Capuano, former mayor of Somerville and now a congressman, probably wouldn't have done the same, given some of his more PC comments since he moved to the Big Leagues.

Less than a month later, the city's Board of Health voted to ignore the aldermen.


"No, fuck you!"

"The world is a political world. But for me, this is a health issue," said Dr. David Osler, chairman of the Board of Health. "The board is standing by the decision."


So much for democracy...

The city sent letters to all 40 bars and restaurants that had previously allowed smoking, warning against violations, which could result in $50 to $200 fines and a two-day suspension. Pungirum dispatched inspectors to monitor compliance.


The locals will spot these assclowns the second they come through the door. I almost feel sorry for these guys. Almost.

But some bar owners, insisting they have seen up to a 50 percent drop in revenue, are ignoring the edict.


It's not a health issue anymore.

On Dec. 5, inspectors said the Irish Eyes bar had violated the ban. Situated in a shopping center a block from the Police Department, the bar is still regularly smoke-filled, said bartender Bettie Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald, who said her daily tips dropped from $40 to $10 after the ban, said business is slowly improving. "Now that we allow smoking in here, it's picked up somewhat," she said. "It's our livelihood that it's affecting."

The Union Square pub is not the only bar complaining about a dramatic decline in sales. Stephen Mackey, chairman of the Somerville Chamber of Commerce, said average receipts are down 20 percent citywide. Patrons, he said, are going to Malden, Everett, and Revere or to private clubs, where smoking is still legal.


Here's another unintended consequence - driving greater distances while under the influence. How's that for a 'health issue'?

Upscale taverns, like the Burren and the Joshua Tree Bar and Grill on Elm Street in Davis Square, appear less affected. Managers report large crowds smoking on the sidewalks and returning to drink at the bar.


Or doing the 'chew and screw'. There's some more lost revenue.

In the less affluent East Somerville neighborhood, merchants say the financial impact has been devastating. Brett Henry, president of the Somerville Bar and Restaurant Association and general manager of the Mt. Vernon Restaurant, said business is at its worst in 70 years.

Bar revenue is down 40 percent in many places, he said. "I've heard of three or four bars in the city that are allowing smoking," he said. "They're just saying it's unfair."

Pickles, the Tobacco Free Mass director, said studies in other states have found no adverse economic impact of smoking bans. Local proprietors dispute that data. At the Good Time Emporium in Assembly Square, manager Ray Zonghetti said revenue has dropped 20 percent since Oct. 1; Keno earnings have also fallen precipitously.


Who did those studies, Pickles?

Robert Elliott, who owns Tir Na Nog in Union Square, reports a similar trend. Earnings are down 45 percent, and the bar, known for its nightly concerts, has booked no bands for January. "It's just killing us," he said. "We're really hurting."

Mayor Dorothy Kelly Gay, a former nurse, still supports the policy. The aldermen's proposal, she said, would be a "step backward."

But despite the prospect of fines and suspended licenses, opponents are vowing to keep up the fight. Their hope, said Richard G. DiGirolamo, a lawyer for the Somerville Bar and Restaurant Association, is that the Board of Health will relent under pressure from mayor-elect Curtatone. Two of the board's three members could be replaced in January after Curtatone takes office, said Jack J. Vondras, director of the city's Health Department.

In an interview, Curtatone said he would not compromise the board's independence or replace officials based on this issue. "We've made a public appeal," he said. "I have never spoken to any individual board member."


Not until he can bring the hammer down is sworn in, anyway.

The official crackdown is continuing, and officials promise fines instead of warnings. The city threatened Monday to punish Tir Na Nog for a Christmas party at which it allowed guests to smoke.

"We were hoping," Elliott said, "to have an extra couple of months to get back on our feet."


As soon as the inspectors get out of the hospital get back on theirs...

Benjamin Gedan can be reached at gedan@globe.com.

Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company


Friday, December 19, 2003
 
That's Obvious

Tooth study leaves few smiling in Appalachia


Insert banjo jokes as you please.

Damn, and I was born there. Guess I'm someone who has a relatively normal diet flosses doesn't have sex with his sister did something right...




 
The Crushing Of Dissent

It's happening in John Ashcroft's AmeriKKKa Hollywood:

TOM CRUISE IS A JACKASS: Tom Cruise, on how he instructs his lawyer to deal with libelous remarks about him in the press: "Just sue. Just do it. Sue, sue, sue. Do it. Go, go, go, go." (Quoted in the Washington Post. [Note to Tom Cruise's lawyer: the title to this post is an expression of opinion, and therefore not actionable; if you want to sue me, though, just bring it on . . .]


He's a great actor and all that, but when you command $25 million per movie, I suppose suing your detractors with high-powered legal talent is like paying the paperboy.

Adam Freakin' Sandler gets $25 million per? I'm sorry, but I think he hit his peak when he made Happy Gilmore.

"Bring it on..." A quote that will age gracefully, I'm sure.



 
If The Shoe Fits

Saw this little gem on the Corner:

Seen this a few times now:

Did you hear what the troops were calling the Sikorsky Blackhawk which Hillary used to tour Iraq? "Broomstick One"


Anyone know if that is actually true?


If I had to guess, I'd say absolutely! This sort of thing doesn't surprise me at all.


 
Captain Bike Toss On Lance

Bjarne Riis, who threw his time-trial bike a record 27 feet during the 1997 Tour de France, opines about Big Tex:

However, 1996 Tour champion Bjarne Riis is not so convinced about Armstrong's intentions to continue in to 2005. "I think that he'll announce his retirement the day after he wins six times in a row," Riis said.

If Armstrong is still riding in 2005, it could be for a sponsor other than his current one, the United States Postal Service, who are set to end their support of the squad at the end of the 2004 season.


I should have confirmed it yesterday, but Lance's 3 year, $24m contract expires next year as well. I don't see him signing for another team, especially if he's asking anything above $1m at that point of his career. Especially a French team:

He got sweet revenge on one of the non-believers. Armstrong's former team, Cofidis of France, dropped him after the cancer was diagnosed. The USPS team edged Cofidis in the Tour's final team standings by 49 seconds.


 
Stupid Is As...

Tim Blair points out one of the stupidest people on the planet not yet eligible for the coveted Darwin Award. I mean, how stoopid are you when you fall for the Nigerian Mail ScamTM that's been a running joke for the past three years?

Then again, I had the benefit of working the World Cup soccer matches at the old Foxboro Stadium in 1994, where Nigerians were passing fake $100 bills faster than they could be caught. We were selling $190 soccer balls (yes, that price is accurate) and the only clowns buying them were the Nigerians. That made them much easier for the cops to catch.

But on the other hand, guess where Polly lays the blame? That's right, on the present U.S. administration:

We reap from the third world what we sow: if some Nigerians learned lessons in capitalism from global oil companies that helped corrupt and despoil that land, it is hardly surpising they absorbed some of the Texan oil values that now rule the White House.


Denial - no longer a river in Egypt...


 
God Bless AmeriKKKa

Otherwise, your dissent will not be tolerated (link via Instapundit):

Apparently, DNC stands for "Do Not Comment". I visited the Democratic National Committee website, and proceeded to check out their blog page, Kicking Ass . I read a short blurb regarding the Halliburton story, and then I registered on the blog and posted a comment to the effect that Halliburton could use Cheney back at the helm. My posted comment elicited this somewhat unrelated response:

When Cheney went to work at Halliburton, it is reported they had about 4 off shore accounts. When he left, they had 44. Two, with the joblessness, what are our troops going to do for jobs when they return home. Thirdly, last night we heard the doctors in Iraq are furious because after all these months the hospitals there still don't have antibiotics.

Posted by Don and verna withrow :: 12/16/03 04:37 PM


I posted a second response comment, very lucid, no ranting or profanity. Immediately following my second comment, a new poster who identified himself as a Democrat opined that if the Dems could merely offer up a candidate with a credible National Security agenda, he would happily vote for him/her. As of 8 o'clock this evening, both of my comments have been deleted from the blog and my login has been disabled. They even pulled the comment from the registered Democrat in search of a viable candidate. This is their idea of tolerance, inclusion, The Party of the People. They should be selling some nice brownshirts at the DNC online giftshop.



Read the comments that follow. It's not just the DNC that's doing this, but it seems to be a common tactic with other left / liberal websites. I doubt I'll hear too many Quincy residents refer to themselves as 'Reagan Democrats', which was the norm when I first moved here. That, or the passage of time made the phrase passe.

UPDATE - I decided to check it out for myself. This thread is noteworthy for a complete lack of self-analysis, a snide poem about our SpecOps soldiers, extolling the virtues of "St. Krugman" (no, that's not a misprint), comments about the vast 'right-wing media' (hello? CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, NY Times / Boston Globe, CNN, USA Today, LA Times, etc. ), and what I'd have to consider a general tone of uninformed commentary and flat-out denial:

Lately right-wing radio and now even the mainstream media are claiming that our party has been hijacked by the far left. I know that's not true, that it's just another ploy to scare people away from our party and our candidates.

It's my opinion that the GOP is the party that's been taken over by extremists. But I'm looking for examples. I know of a few myself but wanted your input. Thanks

...

Thanks Robert, but it goes beyond simple right-wing radio. The idea that the Democratic Party has been taken over by extremists is entering the mainstream media.

As the mainstream media becomes more and more subservant (sic) to the Bush administration, the things you hear on right-wing radio and cable are often precursors to what the mainstream media will be saying.

I'm looking for actual policy or attempted policy by the Bush administration that is clearly extreme. Such as turning the FBI loose on anti-war protestors and Bush thinking that the U.S. Constitution no longer applies to U.S. citizens if he labels them enemy combatants.


Here's a suggestion - try using Google, lazy idiots...

UPDATE - Unsalted Cracker at Little Green Footballs reports on another incident he / she encountered at Dennis 'Department of Peace' Kucinich's website. Banned within three posts. Outstanding!

My favourite part:

I think I got banned for offering advice to a self-proclaimed 18 year-old lesbian, communist/socialist, atheist who was bitching that she didn't have enough money to go to school and wanted to know what the government was going to do about it.

I suggested she get a job like I did.


You can't parody this type of mindset. They do it for you.