Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Neal Boortz Commencement Speech

Click on the title for a link to The Neal Boortz Commencement Speech. He has read this on his radio show before, but he has never been able to give it in front of a real commencement. It wouldn't be pretty if he did.

If you have a grad in your family or friend who has one, print off a copy and give it to him/her. Then save it for them and ten years later, let them read it again. By then, they should have mapped out the course of their lives and should be well on their way to whatever they have chosen for themselves. By then, they can see how prophetic this speech was.

It is a bit wordy, but well worth the read. In my opinion, Neal Boortz is the best radio talk show host, in America.

Al Qaida Handbook Urges Those Captured To Claim Torture

Since we have had torture in the news lately, click on the title for an article in the Washington Times about a handbook telling detainees to claim torture, if they are captured.

Are we really surprised?

Don't get me wrong, there have been incidents. And, many incidents have yet to be uncovered. But, the vast amount of claims have been and still are bogus.

Euro Continues Skid Against Dollar

Click on the title for a link to the full Bloomberg article. Read the full article then look at this part:

The euro may fall to $1.22 in two days, said Austin. It slid 4.4 percent in May as reports also showed European growth is trailing the U.S. expansion for a fourth year.

It is amazing that an entire continent with twice the population cannot produce more economic growth, than this country. So to all of you that have not gone to Europe because the Euro was so over-inflated, get your passports and bags packed. By the end of July, it may actually be affordable again. Go do it soon, while there still is a Europe to visit. The rate things are going, the European continent will partially belong to the Neo-Ottoman Empire, soon.

Chirac Digs In: Appoints Villepin As PM

Click on the title for the complete AP article.

The one word that comes to mind?


Bali Drug Case Sparks Concerns In Australia

The case of an Australian citizen being sentenced to 20 years has raised concern in the Australian government that there could be a racist backlash. Click on the title for a link to the Reuters article.

If Australians want to make a statement, their best bet is to not vacation in Bali for awhile. Nothing speaks more volumes than the loss of revenue and the amount that Australians spend on vacation in Bali, is quite substantial.

A Can Of Worms Unleashed At Q and O on Torture/Abuse

McQ at Q and O has opened a can of worms on torture and abuse. And if you have never seen a can of worms, click on the title for the whole article and the ensuing comments.

It is no secret that I love the job that the bloggers at Q and O do, and McQ is certainly no exception. I highly recommend that blog, because it gets it right so many times and they make compelling arguments for the vast majority of their claims. But on this argument, I must disagree with him.

The questions raised are:

1. Is it moral for the US to torture and/or abuse enemy combatants being held, for any reason whatsoever (to include the specific purpose of obtaining vital information necessary to save a lot of lives)?

2. And if the answer is yes, how can we claim the moral high ground when we do?

McQ is of the opinion that we should never under any circumstances resort to torture/abuse. I say, there are instances that getting vital information at a critical point in time would warrant some methods (of extracting that information) that some would consider torture/abuse. When lives are at stake (especially civilian lives), there should be the freedom to use what ever means available to prevent the loss of those lives.

Now please understand, the kind of activity that went on at Abu Ghraib is not what I am talking about. From all of the evidence we have, that appears to be a case of a group of bored night shift guards looking to liven up the shift, and served no other purpose. That kind of activity is wrong and the government needs to take swift and harsh action against anyone that does this kind of thing. Violators should be prosecuted and punished. I wholeheartedly condemn this, as everyone should.

Before we go any further, we must recognize the difference between torture and abuse.

Torture is defined as the infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion.

Abuse is defined as:

1. noun - the improper use or handling; misuse: abuse of authority

2. verb - to hurt or injure by maltreatment; ill-use.

There are others, but these definitions are sufficient for the purposes of this argument. And, it also must be noted that torture is not a very good way to get accurate information. (Causing repeated instances of physical pain may cause the detainee to give false information, in order to obtain temporary relief from that pain.)

There are some methods used that do not cause physical pain, that fall under the definition of abuse. They do not cause pain, but may cause physical and/or mental duress. Under that duress, the person being interrogated may slip and give up some information that he would not otherwise have given, under normal conditions. Sleep deprivation is one example. Tired people usually slip at some point, when their mental acuity is compromised.

In this type or a similar method, the objective should be only to get valuable information and for no other reason. Doing it just for fun or because you can, is never a valid reason.

Let's look at a hypothetical example:

A computer is seized during a raid that has specific information concerning a name of someone that is already in custody, a vague plan, and date(s). There are also other names of individuals you don't have in custody. From the date(s), you know that something is imminent and not much time exists to link the dots.

So you start the interrogation with the name, you do have. Naturally, he isn't too cooperative. So then, does it not make sense to begin methods that can get that vital information, faster? Which is more important at that moment, the peace and comfort of an enemy combatant or thousands of innocent lives?

McQ is right for the most part. Torture is wrong and as I said, a poor way to get information. But where he and I part company is illustrated in my example. But, these cases need to be rare and these methods used only when absolutely necessary. The objectives need to meet this criteria, as I have so outlined. Any other use of these types of methods, in my opinion, would constitute abuse and would deserve the maximum punishment under law.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Chirac Begins Retaliation For Referendum Loss

Click on the title for an AP article about the beginning of Chirac's predicted purge.

It will be quite interesting to see how the French react to this. They may very well get peeved enough to start demonstrations that could get ugly. If that happens, it could lead to a serious constitutional crisis.

Chirac is said to be fuming and seeking revenge against those that opposed him. I really can't imagine the French tolerating this without some noise. Le Pen (the ultra-right wing party leader that is Chirac's closest competition) is gaining support among those sick of Chirac, his ideological imperialism, and now, his tactics to punish those that dared to disagree with the Emperor-wannabe.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Happy Memorial Day From PYY

I just wanted to take a moment to wish my readers a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Blogging will be light, but feel free to visit the archives for some pieces you may have missed, like this one, originally posted on January 24, 2005:

A Farewell To Johnny Carson

Have fun and remember, if you drink don't drive and if you drive, don't drink.

An Analysis Of Bush's Words

Click on the title for a piece by USA Today White House reporter Judy Keen on what Bush is really saying, when he uses some of his press conference catch phrases. Evidently, Ari Fleischer helped contribute.

On a related note:

Who can forget the famous Reagan quote, "Well there you go again, Sam!"? This was his way to collect his thoughts after a tough question by ABC reporter, Sam Donaldson.

Why Is Europe Is Becoming Disenchanted With EU?

Dale Franks at the Q and O Blog has the answer, just click on the title for the article.

What was once Western Europe (which was once a model of hard work and full of innovation), has been forced to absorb the lazy, government dependent crowd, that was once Eastern Europe. These socialists have not adopted the ways of the west, rather they have contaminated the thought processes of those that were once innovative pioneers, in capitalism.

Dale does an outstanding job of explaining it, in vivid detail. I could comment on it until I am blue in the face. But the bottom line is, I would only be repeating what he has already said. So, read it for youself. Trust me, you won't be sorry.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Italian Charged With Defamation Of Islam

McQ at the Q and O Blog asks some poignant questions about the freedom of speech in Europe. Click on the title for the article.

Read it and see if you think Europe is some model of enightment and tolerance. Many Europeans just spent the past two years, sitting on their judgement seats about our responses to terror. They compared the American government to Nazis, the President to Hitler, and now have charged a former Fascist resistance leader during WWII, with defaming Islam.

Oh, it's okay to allow the "America is Satan" crowd to chant hateful slogans against western civilization and its culture. Yet, they are sure to suppress the free speech of an Italian that worked to help the allies defeat Mussolini, free from criticism and reproof.

Do you want to know what's really ironic? This woman has been predominantly a leftist most of her life. What ever happened to ideological courtesy? We saw it in the liberal MSM, when they defended Isikoff. But, I guess it only applies when you are trying to tear down the US and those that stand with it, in the war against terror.

Confusion On Fate Of Zarqawi Continues

Click on the title for the complete AP article.

But here is the bottom line:

1. He may be wounded.

2. He may not be wounded.

3. He may be dead.

He might be wounded, he might not. It could be a scam for the specific purpose of confusing us and the Iraqi police. There might be some plan for an operation, one that depends on a smokescreen to be successful.

But know this, the best case scenario is he is dead. And, the remaining lieutenants are trying to keep the death quiet, by persuading us all to believe he is wounded and still alive.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

More GOP Critcism Over Senate Deal

Click on the title for a link to Rick Edwards' (Powerpundit) criticism of the Senate filibuster deal. Here is an excerpt:

There is indeed deep dissatisfaction within the heart
of the Republican Party over this "deal." The "heart" does not mean only the conservative wing of the party. Listening Senator McCain? Senator Graham?

I agree with Rick more times than not, but here he gets it wrong and here is why:

1. The goal was not to destroy the filibuster, but to get judges held in limbo by obstructionist Democrats, confirmed.

2. True, the Dems will no doubt start their filibuster threats after the three nominees included in the deal are confirmed, but that does not mean that the GOP cannot threaten the nuclear option again.

3. A simple majority in the Senate does not give the GOP the right to run roughshod over the Dems, no matter how out of touch they may be. This is more about protecting the system of government, than it is about ideology.

4. If the GOP had invoked the nuclear option, the act could have/would have someday bitten them back when they become the minority again. Remember, the pendulum swings back harder and farther.

Politics is a game. It involves planning, strategy, and precise execution. You don't always get what you want, unless you have a clear cut mandate and support for your stance is extremely popular. Otherwise, some compromise is necessary to get something (versus nothing). So for ideologues on either side to threaten to vote out those that engineered this deal, will only result in cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

Senate Deal Creates Opportunity for Centrists

Click on the link for a short piece on the Radical Centrist about some conservatives' reactions to the Senate Deal.

This Senate deal has created an opportunity for Americans and their government. In this last election, the GOP (to include the President) claimed a mandate. In my book, a mandate is 60% or more, far more than the GOP returns. The reality is we are still very divided and to claim the right to ram an agenda down Americans' throats, may backfire on them.

With that said, the Dems have been quite the obstructionists. The left-wing angry people are stalling processes that are not worth the time or effort. I understand the need to object to certain nominees, when they are on the extreme fringe of either side of the political spectrum. But from what I have read about the three judges in question, they are very well respected by both Dems and Republicans, in their states.

Democrats are only hurting their causes when they waste time and the taxpayer's money by committing these obstructionist actions. To oppose any and every thing Bush, just because it is Bush, is extremely idiotic. After all, he did win the election and like it or not, he is the President. He has the right to appoint whoever he wants and then it becomes the duty of the Senate to give the appointment(s) a yea or nay vote.

Both parties can claim victory or both can claim defeat. The extremists on both ends are whining about losing. But those in the mainstream, see this as the way government ought to work. So hats off to the brave moderate senators that bucked their parties' hard-nosed stands, and got things done.

Both parties should take note of this and if they should become obstinate again in the future, the centrists will once again exert their influence. If the polarizers do not temper themselves soon, future elections may swing to moderates, in a new centrist party.

Light Sabers Injure Two

Dale Franks over at the Q and O Blog calls our attention to the increased danger every time a new Star Wars movie is released. It was only a matter of time before someone (that evidently failed chemistry) would do something stupid.

Click on the title for the link.

Italy Investigates Child Torture Ring

Click on the title for an article by Reuters about the ongoing Italian investigation of a child porn ring that includes torture.

No wonder Michael Jackson wants to go to Europe.

Dean Accurately Describes Democratic Party Outreach To Blacks

Click on the title for an AP article reporting on Howard Dean's reasoning for the need of continued outreach toward the African-American community. Dems are losing support because blacks are starting to realize that the Dems only court them at election time.

Maybe they will also realize that part of the African-American community's complaints are due to the Democratic party's desire to keep them from realizing their full potential, for votes. The more people are poor and uneducated (in any demographic), the more the Dems can claim they champion their interests. This is also known as what the President calls "the soft bigotry of low expectations" and this is the form of bigotry that has been prevelant in the Democratic party for years.

Dean is realizing this gross error, deeply rooted in past campaigns. But it may be too late. Today, many conservative, educated, and hardworking African-Americans are switching parties. And, they are intelligent enough to see Dr. Dean as the snake-oil salesman, he is.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Zarqawi Wounded?

Reuters is reporting that an Al Qaeda website in Iraq is reporting that Public Enemy #1, is wounded. Reports, reports, reports.

Maybe it's true and maybe it's not. And as much as I would love to believe it is, the skeptic in me believes that this could be a trick in that hidden intelligence war that goes on, beyond the realm of the battlefield and under the media's radar.

Click on the title for the article that right now has Fox News using the famed Fox News Alert segment every 10 minutes.

Senate Filibuster Deal Reached

Dr. Steven Taylor of PoliBlog is currently in DC on vacation. But being the political junkie he is, he writes a few thoughts about the deal. Click on the title for the whole post. In fact, if you haven't visited PoliBlog you don't know what you have been missing. Any political science student should have this site bookmarked, as well as the average political junkie.

The part I want to comment on is:

As I have long argued that the Democrats would have
been better off to pick a couple of nominees to block, I have to say this is the right way to go. Filibusters should be used only for extreme circumstance.

This is the way it should be done.

In fact, the people that are hailing this deal as some kind of miracle probably don't remember the deal making days of the Reagan Administration (and others before him, as well). The Dems and the GOP both used the media to argue the merits of any given issue just as they do today, with one exception.

They made deals where both could claim victory and business could still get done.

One deal in particular was with Dan Rostenkowski. I forget the what the bill was (it might have been the tax bill), but Reagan called Rosty in and asked him if there was any possible way he could send him one that he could sign. Rosty said he could, but he needed the President's camp to not criticize it until it was done. His claim was that if the administration slammed it at every phase along the way, lawmakers would not be able get it done and it would be killed.

Reagan agreed and called Don Regan into the office and told him of the deal in front of Rosty. It was not criticized, until afterwards. He ended up signing the bill. Both sides got enough to claim victory on what they felt was important, at that time. The government did not shut down.

But back to this deal.

This Senate deal is something that needed to happen because the Dems had to have a way to save face. They lost the public relations war on this and they knew it. They also knew they couldn't stop the nuclear option. They knew that they used this whole issue as a desperate means to obstruct, with the specific intent of rendering this government ineffective. And they have done it, for no other reason than to discredit this administration.

The public also knew it.

Every Democratic obstructionist senator knows fully good and well, that using a filibuster to block nominees for no good reason is not wise politics. If they don't know it, they should.

If they are constantly threatening a filibuster or they conduct one on an issue that isn't important in the grand scheme of things, they must also understand that there will come a day when they will truly need one. And support will be thin, due to the fatigue factor.

Fear Merchants As Described By WitNit

.:. WitNit .:.: Fear Merchants describes the people that have evolved from the snake oil salesmen. And does it well. In fact, he says it so well that I don't need to add anything else to it.

Mark Alexander (WitNit) says it all and says it well in a lot more than this. Because of this, he gets blogrolled by a picky blogger.

Give Mark a read through the PYY blogroll and you'll blogroll him too.

Monday, May 23, 2005

French Voters Not Being Swayed By "Yes" Camp

Click on the title for an article that appears in th International Herald Tribune, written by Elaine Sciolino of the New York Times.

Right now, I am sure that the NYT would love to be reporting that the French voters are overwhelmingly ready to ratify the EU Constitution. But to do so would make it even more of a laughing stock of a newspaper, than it already is. As more and more information becomes available, it becomes more and more apparent that France will reject this Constitution and throw the whole EU concept into question and doubt.

Not only does it jeopardize the EU, but this will seriously damage the reputation of the French President (even among some of his most ardent supporters). If he cannot deliver this, his presidency will be severely weakened and may not recover anytime soon (if at all). Maybe then, the good people of France will gain some sense and courage by demanding he resign for the good of the republique and subsequently, the world.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Vintage Howard Dean On "NBC News' Meet The Press"

Click on the title for the full "NBC News' Meet The Press" transcripts, from Tim Russert's interview with DNC chairman Howard Dean. I did not see this morning's interview, but from the transcripts it looks like the same old, tired, and angry rhetoric.

Dr. Dean seems to only appeal to angry people that stand against things and have a very hard time articulating what they stand for. Collectively, the angry people have hijacked the Democratic Party. The very fact that the party chose him (to continue the 2004 election into the midterms and beyond), bears that out. And the good doctor does not disappoint.

Think about it, Democrats. This didn't work in 2000, 2002, 2004 and isn't working today.

When will you get with the program, shut these kinds of embarrassments out, and elevate people that will work to find the great and wonderful plans that you think are better, than the ones being implemented today? When will you see that moderate Americans will not flock to your message (or lack thereof), any longer? When will you see that continuing to press for an indictment of anything Bush, will not win you any more votes?

Democrats desperately need an extreme makeover. But to do so will require them to get rid of the angry, vindictive, and vengeful elements that allow a Chairman Dean, to be possible. It will also require alternative plans to those that they waste an inordinate amount of time slamming. (Okay now, we know you dislike them and we know why. Now once again tell us all, what would you would do differently?)

If a group of Centrist Democrats would take the bold risk and separate themselves from the angry people and would make deals with the President and get something in return, for the common good of the nation, they could reverse the inevitable trend of more losses, in the next two elections. They had better start now, because if they don't the damage may be so severe, it would takes years to recover.

They could do it, if they wanted to. They just don't want to.

Hezbollah In America?

A Daily Briefing on Iran has linked to a piece from the Washington Times about Hezbollah cells existing right here in the US. Click on the link to read it at Regime Change Iran.

People, this isn't a joke. It isn't political rhetoric solely for the sake of winning an election. It is real and it should concern all of us, even the bleeding hearts.

Another thing you should keep in mind is, somewhere in the Middle East right now is a group of jihadists learning to read and write Spanish, in Mexican dialects. They will learn all about Mexican culture, such as how to act and dress, for the eventual infiltration of Mexico in order to slip through the border as an illegal immigrant looking for work.

Who knows? It may already have happened. So to those that are calling what the Minutemen were doing horrific, think about that one.

NBA Conference Finals Set

Eastern Conference: Detroit Pistons vs. Miami Heat

It will be power vs. power, in this one.

Detroit plays relentless defense and scores just enough to pull out the close ones. If they let Shaq have his points and shut down the rest of the team, they will have the edge.

Miami has Shaq, but the big question is his health. How close he is to a hundred percent will be the determining factor. If he plays like he did when he was healthy this year and gets the others involved in the scoring, then give the edge to Miami.

Western Conference: San Antonio Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns

This will be a match that will pit defense vs. offense.

The Spurs play defense with similar style as the Pistons. Tim Duncan is the leader offensively but has a cast of others that can score too. If they can keep the Suns in the 70s or 80s, they have a chance. Defense will be what wins it for San Antonio.

The Suns run and gun you to death. They are relentless scoring machines with the MVP Steve Nash as the leader. You can throw any and every thing at them and they just get stronger. They are like the Energizer bunny, they just keep going and going. They will have to wear the Spurs down with their speed and agility.

My Predictions:



An added note to this year's NBA playoffs is how things have changed over the years:

Who would have thought that all three Texas teams would have made the playoffs in basketball, with neither of the two NFL teams making theirs?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

EU Constitution Vote Splits France In Half

Click on the title for the AP article.

The battle between the far left and the far right on one side, and the Gaullists and big corporations on the other, is shaping up to be a wait and see game. The old saying "too close to call" applies here and will likely make the vote counts, the subject of close scrutiny.

Wouldn't be funny if the vote counts ended up in court? The way the courts work in Europe, it could be years before we know the outcome.

Your Assignment (Should You Decide To Accept It)

This is primarily for pro-UN, bleeding heart liberals that can't wait to use any opportunity to tear down this country or at very least cast a dark shadow on its reputation. It also is for those that sit on the fence and can't make up your minds on what it right. But to all of you that have it figured out, you may skip this if you choose.

I have a question for you to ponder and it will help to know your history, in order to come to the right conclusion.

Pat Buchanan wants to take the country back to the 50s. The radical jihadists want to take us back to the 7th century. Neither is prudent, but which is worse?

UN Finds Sweden Broke Torture Convention

Click on the title for the AP article, but as you well know the UN is full of hypocrisy.


They have a UN Torture Committee and in this instance they condemn Sweden for just sending this terrorist back to Egypt (where he is wanted). They spend countless hours, days, and months debating this kind of thing, but stay silent on issues like terrorist beheadings, Iranian and North Korean Nuclear Programs, and the massacres at Darfur.

This is precisely why the UN is irrelevant. They have no teeth in anything they do. And it is precisely why no one listens to them, even when they do go out on a limb and do something that is right.

The UN is becoming a waste of time, money, and effort; more than or at least equal to an insurance seminar.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Welcome To Eclipse Ramblings: New Addition To PYY Blogroll

Eclipse Ramblings: It looks bad, but it's just politics...

Click on the link for an article by Mark at Eclipse Ramblings.

I have been watching Mark's political commentary for awhile and he certainly has interesting perspectives on current issues. His disdain for socialism and the suffering that accompanies it, makes him okay, in my book. (And he should be in yours too.) He and his blogging buddy Les, at Living In The Surreal World, are avid science fiction fans too.

In this post I have linked to, he points out the obvious fact that three of Bush's judicial nominees have been minorities ( a woman, an African-American woman, and a Hispanic). As well as the obvious fact that they have yet to be confimed for no good reason (other than the fact that they are not supported by the so-called champions of minority rights, the Democratic Party).

I guess it's because they are moderate/conservative and don't fit the typical radical and liberal, socialist mold. So much for the Dems being the party of inclusion.

Be sure to visit Eclipse Ramblings often using the blogroll. Hell, you may even want to blogroll it, yourself.

Welcome Back Soviet Threat Factory

Click on the title for an article about a Russian official's threat to use force, if the US tried to weaponize space.

It kind of brings a tear to my eye. It reminds me of my childhood and early adulthood listening to Radio Moscow for laughs, on a boring Saturday night. Those were the days.

French Economical Growth Lethargic

Click on the title for an article on the disappointing decrease in French economical growth.

Where are all of those francophiles that sing the mighty praises of the French system, when you want them? It just goes to show what happens when labor is the driving force in any economy. Labor driven economies have never outperformed those driven by business and entrepreneurship. And they never will.

Take away incentives to work hard and you will soon find a workforce that is lazy and unproductive.

Some Democrats Not Impressed With Dean

DNC Chairman Howard Dean is not delivering the goods, some Dems are saying as his first 100 days as leader of the party approaches. It seems Dean has resurrected the same old tired, over the top rhetoric to mobilize the existing base; while his RNC counterpart Ken Mehlman has been working to expand the GOP base, by reaching out to disenchanted minorities.

Click on the title, for the full USA Today article.

But I have to ask, what did the Dems expect when they selected Dean as their leader? What did they expect, when he embarrassed himself and the party almost daily, during last year's primary races?

He has done nothing worthwhile to attract the people that the party has alienated over the past five years. His idiotic speeches have done nothing but serve as a rallying point for those that are already hardcore liberal socialist Democrats. His continued indictment on anything and everything Bush does or stands for (and offering no alternatives in the process) is wearing thin and not attracting those that swing elections, the moderate voters.

If he continues on this path, look for more losses in the 2006 election.

European Union Nerves On Edge

The future of the EU is on the line in the upcoming French referendum. Nerves are jittery. The dream of the Gaullist Chirac and his Gaullist gang to form the Neo-Holy Roman Empire, may not be realized.

I, for one, am utterly heartbroken. (Not)

To read more about it, click on the title.

Detroit Bests Indiana 4-2: Gets Miami Next

Remember my post, A Sports Milestone: The Final Playoffs Of Reggie Miller?

Well, it wasn't to be.

Miller played his last game tonight at Conseco Fieldhouse in front of fans that will miss him sorely next year. He may have gone out in style tonight, scoring 27 points. But it was not enough to spark the rest of the team to victory and he certainly was not in regular form the last two games, when they had the Pistons down 2-1.

As a result, 18 years in the NBA came to a screeching halt tonight.

Teams win games, not players. And even though Jermaine O'Neal added 22 and Jeff Foster 12, it was not enough. You see, the Pacers play best and win most, when 4-5 guys score in double figures. And that clearly did not happen tonight or in the past three games, for that matter. The team that showed up for most of the series won the both the game tonight, and the series.

There was little consistency on either end of the court, for the Pacers. They jacked up hurried and off balance shots. Forced action, when there was nothing there. And most of all, they didn't hit the good shots that they did take. They couldn't hit the side of the barn from the inside.

But make no mistake, Detroit has a way of making opponents play that way. They are the best defensive team in the league and can hit enough key shots throughout games, to pull even the tough ones out consistently. And, they have the best coach in the NBA, Larry Brown. They block shots, intercept passes, and make teams take shots that they don't like to take. They do it as a team and on any given night, any of the starters (and a couple bench players, as well) are capable of stepping up and having a big game.

Well, the Pistons now get the Miami Heat. The NBA world has awaited this matchup since the beginning of the playoffs and now it has it. No doubt, the same NBA world (full of its bombastic sports pundits) will pick Shaq and the Heat to defeat Detroit and advance to the finals against the champion of the Western Conference. And don't be surprised that the oddsmakers will have the Heat as the favorites too.

But as for little ol' me, I won't be a bit surprised if Detroit beats Miami, with good solid defense and lots of heart. After all, they are still the champs. And until some else beats them, they own that distinction and will not relinquish it easily without a fight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

New UN Strategy: Oust France From Security Council?

Click on the title for a link to an article at World News Daily that advances an interesting theory about the possibility of Bolton pushing for France to be replaced on the Security Council, by a seat representing the EU.

There is a double edged sword at work here.

For this to be a viable theory, France must first ratify the EU constitution. If they don't, they will not be a member. If they are not a member, they may be out in the cold. Then, the argument can be made that Europe, as a whole, deserves more representation than just one small country. If they hold on to it, they may find themselves at odds with the remainder of the continent on certain issues (creating a schism with their European counterparts).

If they vote it in, they will become part of a larger entity and will lose influence. The argument will then be made that the rest of Europe needs a voice and should not be left to the mercy of France to set the tone for international relations. France will lose more sovereignty and power, either way.

At this point, it's just a theory and a lot will depend on what happens.

Does The Military Share the Blame For This Newsweek Story?

Click on the title for a link to a post at Dr. Steven Taylor's Poliblog.

I agree with Dr. Taylor's assessments most of the time, but on this one I do not. In past wars, the treatment of POWs (even by our forces) was much worse than this one. With the media of today, our treatment of POWs is much improved. Interrogation techniques are nowhere near what they were in past wars, by our forces and certainly not by the others we opposed. In wars past, prisoners were often tortured and killed, as a means to get valuable information and save lives in the long run.

The media in those days were not nearly as aggressive and technologically advanced, as they are today. Today we have 10 second sound bites, very often in real time. We also have young upstart journalists eager to make names for themselves using much of that same technology, to expose wrong doing by their own government instead of the enemy.

Just ask veterans of those wars.

Isikoff Will Not Be Sacrificed

The Drudge Report is reporting that Newsweek is digging in its heels and refusing to fire or accept any resignation from Isikoff. If this is true, say goodbye to Newsweek. Look for circulation to decline. Subscriptions will be cancelled and newstand sales will likely drop. Maybe the stockholders will fire the whole board.

Click on the title for the link.

Newsweek Story Retracted (Sort Of)

Click on the title for a link to Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker's feeble attempt at a retraction of a flawed story, on US soldiers' desecration of a copy of the Qu'ran. This story was very irresponsible for several reasons. But one clearly stands out.

The man responsible for this story Michael Isikoff, relied solely on verbal information. It appears, he only reported what another had stated and had no documented proof whatsoever. In court, that's called hearsay and it is inadmissible. To base a story on that and that alone (no matter who the source is), shows an extremely high degree of poor judgment.

In the retraction, more poor judgment is on display. Given the magnitude of the fallout (and the Memogate lesson), one would think that Newsweek would want rectify the situation better than this. CBS News and other MSM outlets have suffered greatly, not necessarily because of the initial story, but because of their refusal to own up to their mistake. (Digging in when wrong, doesn't set well with ordinary decent people.)

In this piece, there are two components, the excuse and the retraction. First, let's examine some of the excuse and see what I am talking about, shall we?

Whitaker starts it off with:

Did a report in NEWSWEEK set off a wave of deadly anti-American riots in Afghanistan?

Well Mr. Whitaker, have you been watching the news? Things weren't perfect in Afghanistan and they never will be. But to have open and hostile riots against the forces widely viewed as the reason for the country's new-found liberty wasn't occurring, before the story. Add to that the fact, the instigators used this story as their source and you have your answer.

But here's Mark's answer:

That's what numerous news accounts suggested last week as angry Afghans took to the streets to protest reports, linked to us, that U.S. interrogators had desecrated the Qur'an while interrogating Muslim terror suspects.

Gosh Mark, a simple yes would have saved a little ink for your company and would have helped you contain future costs, since you may see a decline in revenue soon.

What follows is the longest excuse that starts with:

We were as alarmed as anyone to hear of the violence, which left at least 15 Afghans dead and scores injured. But I think it's important for the public to know exactly what we reported, why, and how subsequent events unfolded.

This sounds like something Dan Rather would open his tapdance of an excuse with. Bottom line, you were wrong and you need to say that you were wrong. Ordinary decent people don't care how you screwed it up. What you wrote is something for you and your staff to discuss in your meetings that are usually filled with egos clashing, over who can best damage the government with their liberal biased reporting.

I will not bore you further with what follows. But if you read the entire piece available through the link, you will see a very defensive posture.

That was the excuse and now here is the official retraction:

Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal military investigation had uncovered Qur'an abuse at Guantanamo Bay.

Notice the conspicuous absence of the words, sorry and wrong.

If I commit a wrong against anyone, I first seek to rectify it by saying "I am sorry". Then at some point I want to say that what I said or did was wrong. Then I am free to reflect within myself and/or with others what led to my wrongness and how I can best prevent it from happening again.

I just can't imagine saying to my wife, children, or others near and dear to me:

"Based on what I now know, I retract my comment and/or action."

I can't imagine them accepting that as any form of contrition. I doubt many would. But we as the newsreading public are supposed to just say, that's okay?

If I was a big shot at Newsweek, Michael Isikoff would be fired. Mark Whitaker would be demoted at the very least, if not fired. In fact, anyone that had anything to do with this story would be on the hotseat and would be in my office, coming up with some serious solutions on how to repair the damage. If they didn't, they would be fired. Someone with an office, desk, and pen signed their name approving this. There is no shortage of journalists and all could be replaced.

The bottom line is, the damage is done. Lives have been lost and they can never be found. Money can be replaced, but human lives cannot. If the damage control will only consist of a weak and feeble excuse and an even poorer retraction, you may have just seen the beginning of the end of Newsweek Magazine. So, sell your stock now and minimize your losses.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Fruits Of 40+ Years In A Socialist Country

Living In The Surreal World: And Now...A Link!

Les at LITSW has provided some links to the chic and cosmopolitan metropolis of Havana, Cuba. This just demonstrates why there are very few Marxist regimes (that adhere to the strict communist economic systems of failures, like Lenin and Mao) left in the world.

Prior to Castro's violent overthrow of an equally brutal thug named Batista, Havana was a mecca for vacationers throughout the western hemisphere. No more argument is needed, just click on the links Les provides and the evidence is right before your very own eyes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Errant Plane Forces Government Evacuations In DC

A plane flying into restricted airspace forced the bureaucrats on Capitol Hill to evacuate the Capitol today, as well as the White House and Supreme Court. Almost immediately, the pundits started criticizing the handling of the incident. The arrogance and self inflated importance of several, was quite evident. (Poor babies had to stop doing the usual nothing.)

Now, it would be foolish to suggest that the system is flawless. That much is evident. But absent full drills that involve full evacuations (as in school fire drills), this is the only way we can adequately work the bugs out. Lucky for us, this was a false alarm.

I heard several critics complain that the military should not have let the plane get within the three mile distance that officials reported, it did. What would they have done, shoot it down? Think of the outcry, if that would have been the case. What a mess that would have been and the Left would have had a field day, had that been the case.

At worst, this was a mild inconvenience. At best, it was an opportunity to evaluate the process. It isn't perfect and will never be, but it gives us the chance to improve and that is something all of us need to do.

But more importantly, I must commend the military and the Homeland Security Department for not getting trigger happy, in spite of the tense situation.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Low Volume Blogging

The complete purpose of all of the home improvement I have had to endure at the strict insistence of my wife, has been fulfilled.

The Aussies are here.

So, being the good host that I am, my blogging will be thin until Thursday, or so. They have been on a world capital tour and now they are taking America by storm. They even brought me a bottle of Grand Marnier from Paris. (I know it's French, but since it's the only thing that the French do exceptionally well, I will not cut off my nose to spite my face)

Anyway, I will post when I can. And as always, thank you for reading.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Zogby Poll On Illegal Immigration

Click on the title for an article about a recent poll, on illegal immigration.

This poll is a message to all that seek election or reelection in 2006. If I were those people, I would definitely pay close attention. This will be the hot-button issue of both 2006 and 2008.

China Offers Little Help On Dealing With North Korea

Like I said earlier, China isn't helping the situation in North Korea and isn't likely to, anytime soon. Click on the title for an article about China's refusal to consider a ban on fuel exports to Pyongyang and their weak excuse as to why.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Another Innocent on Death Row?

Click on the title for an article explaining.

It certainly begs the question, just how many innocent people do we have sitting on death row?

Friday, May 06, 2005

Prostitution U.?

Click on the title for a link concerning formal prostitution classes. Only in San Francisco can they pull something like this off.

Actually, law enforcement doesn't stop it. Why not just make it legal, tax it, confine it to a limited area, and regulate it? Europe does, it generates revenue, and their sexual assault rate is less because the freaks have an outlet for their perversion. If they have that outlet, they are much more apt to leave innocent people alone.

It may not eliminate it completely, but any reduction is welcome. And besides that you can't stop it. In fact, you can't stop anything from the supply side as easily as you can, from the demand side.

I know many that read PYY won't agree, but it's just a thought. I really don't care either way.

Can We Lighten Up A Little?

I finally got to see the entire George and Laura comedy skit that took place recently. Until today, I had only seen sound bites and heard conservative reaction to it (or should I say backlash?).

To my conservative friends I say, lighten up. It was funny.

Behind every public person is a human being and from what I saw, they were just being human and letting off a little steam. Very few of us understand what kind of immense pressure a president (as well as other high profile jobs) is under. It's easy to sit back on our judgement seats and criticize something as benign this, while overlooking things much more important than this.

Bush And Hu Concerned About North Korea Nuclear Program

Click on the title for a link to a Reuters story on a conversation between Hu and Bush concerning North Korea's nuclear developments.

According to the story, the Chinese president shares the same concern as President Bush. And, you'd think that would be the case, seeing how China is much closer to NK than the US. But personally, I don't see it.

Since the program has been restarted, the bulk of the NK hostility has been directed toward the US (and to some degree, Japan), not China. As long as NK is fueling the fire (so to speak) and fanning it toward the US, what reason does Beijing have to put additional pressure on Pyongyang? Answer: None.

And they aren't.

In fact, very few countries seem to have much concern, at all. Both China and Russia really couldn't care any less at this point, because NK isn't openly threatening them. If they were, it would be very different. In fact if I know either country well enough, I would be willing to bet that both countries would be threatening right back. China would no doubt be massing troops at the NK border as a muscle flex, Russia would be threatening to make the Korean peninsula a crater.

So, it would appear that six-party talks are a joke. This is especially true, when you consider that it is Pyongyang that is refusing to come back to the table with the other five. If China, Russia, Japan, South Korea would all join the US and step up pressure on NK to return to the talks, this thing could be on its way to being resolved. But until the world (to include the precious UN) begins to reject political blackmail, rogue states like NK (and Iran) are going to continue to hold the world community hostage.

Putin Calls Stalin A Tyrant

Click on the title above for an article reporting that Putin had called Stalin, a tryant. Putin, like many other Russians, does not believe that you can equate Stalin with Hitler.

Why? Because he didn't plunge the world into a world war, while killing innocents?

Flaming Duck: Be Very Careful of What You Ask For

Flaming Duck: Be Very Careful of What You Ask For

If, after reading the previous posts and their links, you still think the government needs to meet every need, read this one by someone who works in government.

Confederate Yankee: Among The Left Branch Davidians, Part IV

Confederate Yankee: Among The Left Branch Davidians, Part IV

Here is the link to Part IV, whic was being posted as I was posting the link to Part III. It's great, read it.

(Twilight Zone music playing in background)

Some Characteristics Of Today's Liberals

Confederate Yankee: Among The Left Branch Davidians, Part III

Above is a link to part of an article at Confederate Yankee about some puzzling characteristics of today's liberals. (It is in three parts, I linked to the third part because it has links to the other two. I recommend reading all three.) Read it and then compare it with the characteristics of liberals in the past.

If you read a book on western history in the 18th and 19th centuries, you can see just how far liberalism has evolved. In fact, if yesterday's liberals were alive today, they would feel most comfortable in the GOP or the Liberatrian parties. If today's liberals were to have lived then, they would be in line with the socialists of that day.

The original liberals were a response to absolutism and stood for freedom, liberty, and the right to self determination (with the exception of the French, who turned liberalism into a form of elitist tyranny and yet another example of trading one form of tyranny for another).

The founding fathers of this nation were liberals. They were free-market capitalists and self-sufficient at it. They never envisioned the people serving the government, but rather they believed that government should serve the people. Keeping the government small and out of people's lives was a priority.

Today's liberals are quite the opposite. They have managed to dupe a significant amount of people into believing that the government needs to be involved in more and more of the people's lives, thus reducing the freedoms cherished by the early liberals. They are not particularly fond of free market capitalism, in fact they have adopted an ideology that would have made Marx, Lenin, and Mao extremely proud. At every step, these modern day Robin Hoods are trying to circumvent any legitimate attempt to make it easier for businesses to create jobs, through the false assumptions that even distribution of wealth is an inherent right.

They ask the government to intervene in the private sector in order to gain an advantage over those that own capital, those take the necessary risks with that capital, and those that create opportunities with that capital. They do it through frivolous lawsuits and socialist legislation, designed to cripple the ability to create wealth.

What they fail to see is that there have always been wealthy landowners, owners of factories, and owners of other forms of capital. If you took all of the money and capital in the world, took it and divided it equally with everyone getting an equal share, the same people that have it now would get it all back in due time.

When the New Deal was fashioned, it was done so as a response to a crisis that had never befallen this nation before. Keep in mind that unemployment was at 25%. Something had to be done to fix the problem. It was never intended to become a way of life, but was intended to be temporary relief for people that had fallen on hard times.

But as we move the New Deal into the latter part of the century, we see that was not enough. Instead of moving the nation away from dependency, LBJ dreamed up a sales campaign known as the Great Society. More giveaway and more government control resulted in more dependency (and more votes). Did you ever wonder why inflation was so high during both the Johnson and Carter administrations? (I will save this answer for another rant, another day.)

I am sure you get the idea. But I will leave you with a quote from Isaiah Berlin:

I am normally said to be free to the degree to which no man or body of men interferes with my activity. Political liberty in this sense is simply the area within which a man can act unobstructed by others. If I am prevented by others from doing what I could otherwise do, I am to that degree unfree; and if this area is contracted by other men beyond a certain minimum, I can be described as being coerced, or, it may be, enslaved. Coercion is not, however, a term that covers every form of inability. If I say that I am unable to jump more than ten feet in the air, or cannot read because I am blind…it would be eccentric to say that I am to that degree enslaved or coerced. Coercion implies the deliberate interference of other human beings within the area in which I could otherwise act. You lack political liberty or freedom only if you are prevented from attaining a goal by other human beings (Berlin, 1969: 122).

And that my friends, is as far from today's liberal as you can get.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Two New Blogs Rolled

I have added two new blogs to the blogroll, Q and O Blog and Confederate Yankee.

QOB is a team effort, with a Libertarian perspective. (I fall into that category, in some political spectrum models) It is well managed and contains some very well argued pieces. I like intelligent essays that make me think and this is a good catalyst to get the gray matter firing.

CY is an excellent site for the same reasons. It, too, it is very insightful in that you can tell that the writer has done the homework necessary, to arrive at the necessary conclusions.

I highly recommend both. Both are outstanding blogs.

Deadlock At The UN.

From the AFP:

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Just days into a month-long UN conference on the fight against the spread of nuclear weapons, there is agreement on the need to reform the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but deadlock over how to do it.

The meeting opened Monday without a set agenda and diplomats warned it could end in four weeks without even an agreed final statement. (Click on the title for the full article)

Surprise, surprise. The conference is deadlocked. What did we expect?

Did we really expect any positive results on the most sensitive issue facing the world, today? When the Secretary General can't control his own son, when the Human Rights Commission is led by the world's worst violators, and when the Security Council can't/won't take a definitive stand against terrorism, how do you expect them to do something productive?

It sounds to me like this is just another day at the office with no sense of urgency, no vision, and no commitment. However, there will be lots of partying, extravagant lunches, and a lot of wasted time and energy.

And to think that the Democrats are worried about John Bolton being too hardcore for the job.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Click on the title for another piece from the Q and O Blog, posted by McQ.

Many people are beginning to sympathize with the pro-labor forces that have called for Wal-Mart to increase their wages. These are they that want to dictate how a company should run their business. Keep in mind that Wal-Mart is paying what the market can bear, they seem to have plenty of workers that are willing to work for the wages that Wal-Mart offers. But these self-proclaimed do-gooders fail to realize a lot of things about how a business operates. Read the article for more.

The Dumbing Down Of America

I have heard much criticism by liberals that the so-called ignorant masses (anyone that disgrees with leftist ideology) are somehow incapable of thinking for themselves. The elitists, that hold this belief, seek to impose their agendas by convincing people that they and they alone know what's best for all. They claim some kind of moral and intellectual superiority and therefore should be making the hard decisions for you and your family.

We saw this philosophy in Hillary Clinton's book, It Takes A Village; we see it now with the Social Security debate. Big Brother wants to take care of you and me, but I say we can take care of ourselves. If I ever do need help, I will be sure to ask. But rest assured, it won't be the government that I ask.

Reason: Because government can't take care of itself, let alone me.

Anyway, click on the title for a recent article by Dale Franks at the Q and O Blog, in which he has the same complaint about the all seeing, all knowing, and all wise socialists (Democrats).

A Clear And Lucid Reality On Gun Control

Living In The Surreal World: Quote of the Day

Click on the link for a quote about gun control and how absurd the gun control lobby's arguments are. Les at LITSW has hit the nail right square on the head with this one.

I'm Back (For Now)

I am back from home improvement hell. We are not quite ready for the Aussies' visit, but most of which remains to be done involves the tying of loose ends.

At any rate, I am back for a while (at least until our guests arrive on Sunday).

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Runaway Media?

Fox News is my network of choice to get my news and commentary. I find them more informative, objective, and entertaining than MSNBC or CNN. Yet, I couldn't help but laugh at a segment in which some expert was highly critical of the Runaway Bride coverage overkill.

The commentators were pretty good sports and even agreed with the man on numerous points. At the end of the interview, you come away with a sense that it's pretty well accepted that the media jumped the gun, with the coverage. You also feel the consensus among the commentators that there were more important stories to be covered.

After the interview, they cut to the news desk for an quick update on the headlines and just what do you think they led with?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A Sobering Thought About Some Sobering News

I have been blogging for just a few short months and one of the first blog I began reading was Politics and Religion. (Chip, the administrator, was the first to blogroll PYY.)

Today, he and his family need prayers because his two month old baby is fighting for his life. Click on the title to read his account. But more importantly, offer a prayer.

We never realize just how good we have life until something like this happens. In every sad and tragic case I hear about or witness in someone's life, I sit and think this could be me. But by the grace of God it isn't, but who knows next time?

May God comfort those that suffer, to include Chip and his family.