Monday, October 31, 2005

Vlad looks to 2008

Vlad the Putin says he won't seek a third term, which is convenient since the Russian constitution doesn't currently allow third terms. He also says he won't let the political situation in Russia "destabilize" between the next president's election in 2008 and his swearing in.

Now in the United States, if a president said something like that, we'd say, "So what?"

But when Vlad says it, your gut reaction is different. You say, "What's he got planned?"

Whether it's Putin or Russian tradition we trust least, we're not sure.

Knowing the right thing to say

Oh those moments when you realized you just missed the perfect comeback or broadside. Sometimes it's 20 seconds late. Sometimes a couple of days late.

The latest hit us with about a 48-hour delay as the Llamas strike gold with this:

Thank your revolutionary patriot forefathers this horse's ass aint your King ...

Followed, naturally, by a picture of Bonny Prince Charley and his Lady, er, Fair. Plus some other "tasty bits."

Go now.

Those riots in Paris

Intelligent Rule No.1 -- If you have done nothing wrong, do not run from the police.

Intelligent Rule No.2 -- Never try to hide in the middle of high voltage electrical circuits.

There have been four nights of rioting in a Paris suburb, largely because a couple of teens did not follow rules 1 and 2.

It started after a couple of immigrant teens, running from police, climbed the fence and leaped into an electrical substation. Unwisely, it seems, as they were both electrocuted.

Now the entire immigrant section of the city is up in arms, or rocks. Many of these immigrants are followers of that peaceful religion that international reporters dare not print. It did not help that someone, perhaps a police officer, reportedly tossed a tear gas grenade into one of their houses of worship, which we will call the M-word so as not to offend the international journalists' code.

We've been scanning the news stories, dozens of them, to try to get a handle on how bad this thing is. It's like hearing the news as delivered by the cast of Sesame Street.

No. That's unfair to Sesame Street.

As is typical for the French, the leading Socialist, Laurent Fabius, is using the riots as a great opportunity for claiming that he can do the job better by working on "prevention, repression, education, housing, jobs ... and not play(ing) the cowboy."

What is it about cowboys that absolutely sets off socialists?

As for repression, socialists are best at repressing an individual's right to make a profit. That may not sit all that well even with the followers of that religion of peace that dares not be named.

There is an old prophecy that at some point in time Paris will be lie in ruins. It didn't happen in World War II. We pray that this is not the start of its fulfillment.

In the spirit of the season ...

Oh, what a lovely day.

Not being snide, or supercillious, whatever that means, or even sarcastic. We like rainy day Mondays, particularly if they coincide with Halloween. It's sets a great mood. We're keeping the lights down low and letting a little of that rain-cooled air in through the window, and wondering if chili dogs and fries wouldn't be perfect (along with pilfered candy meant for the neighborhood kiddies) while we load the multi-disc DVD player with our favorite fright movies of all time!

Not that we're really into most of the junk that passes for fright movies these days. Not into violence for the sake of violence ... it's gotta pander to some redeeming social value at some point ... and the movie can't be just totally brain dead either. No, we enjoy a little humor with our Halloween.

On tap for the afternoon and evening, will be:

Young Frankenstein.

The Sixth Sense.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

An American Werewolf in London.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.


Van Helsing.

The Exorcist would be on the list if we actually owned a copy, but the Missus thinks having one on the shelf might constitute an open invitation to unwanted guests, or at the least an excuse for the entertainment center to spontaneously combust, so we don't. Probably too late to rent it today.

Ghostbusters sometimes makes the list but as much as we love this one it's too familiar, maybe just a bit too comedic for the day.

Then again, given some of the news out there in the real world, comedic is not so bad.

Must say something about Central Standard Time.

We like it.

Next year we get less of it, so it becomes even more precious. (That's the way things work according to the Law of Supply & Demand.) If Congress really thought that more daylight savings time was such a good thing for energy savings, why not start the change this year instead of 2006? It's all part of a big charade to pretend to care about saving energy by passing legislation that has no real impact on it, except to seriously aggravate the Oklahomilist and others who believe, as he does, that a real energy bill would involve mandating more refineries and drilling and offering a big, huge PRIZE to anyone who can come up with a new energy plan that doesn't involve growing corn in Nebraska and Iowa. (Corn is for eatin', not for burnin'.)

We are not going to save the planet by turning corn into gasoline, or by turning our clocks forward for another two months. We'll be damned lucky to save our economy unless Americans wake up to what's being done to us "for our own good." More on that later. Today or the 'morrow.

Looking around the neighborhood, we see that ...

Michael Bates is helping unmask the Let Tulsa Vote At-Large Cartel, which is doing its part to repeal representative government.

OkieDoke is horrified at the suggestion of an Oklahoma Department of Aging. Why not a
Department of Elderly Excellence instead? He has other suggestions. So do we: if it costs more than $10 a year, let's just forget the whole thing. If it costs more they'll want to tax something.

The Mad Okie managed to find some time outside of Tulsa, specifically a Prattville pizzeria he passionately praises!

Chase cuts his own list of Halloween favorites, and we decided to latch onto "The Shining" just because he reminded us of its excellence. Gotta agree with his No.1 pick too. Maybe we'll go buy a copy and hide it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Would our border with Mexico be the model?

Does Condi Rice understand border control?

OTTAWA (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested Tuesday that Israel must loosen controls at border crossings to allow freer passage for Palestinians and economic development in areas that would one day be an independent Palestinian state.

Rice spoke in the Canadian capital a day after reports that a top Mideast envoy had criticized Israel for moving too slowly on negotiations to open borders around the Gaza Strip.

Israel withdrew troops and settlers from Gaza over the summer after nearly 30 years. The territory, now under Palestinian control, is on the other side of Israel from the larger Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, and Palestinians must cross Israel or go through Egypt to pass between the two areas.

"It is very clear that the crossings issues need to get resolved," Rice said.

She did not specifically call on Israel to change its border policies, but did not dispute the findings of envoy James Wolfensohn that Israel was stalling in the restoration of movement across the borders.

Let's see. Israel pulls out of Gaza. Palestinians fire rockets into Israel. Israel seals border.

Somehow that means that Israel is stalling in restoring openness to the borders.

Given that top officials in the Bush administration do not seem to recognize Israel's legitimate security concerns with that mess that one day wants to call itself independent Palestine, is it any wonder they don't even understand our own border concerns with Mexico?

Religion of Peace Update

This story ought to help Prince Charles make his case.

Three teenage Christian girls were beheaded and a fourth was seriously wounded in a savage attack on Saturday by unidentified assailants in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi.

The girls were among a group of students from a private Christian high school who were ambushed while walking through a cocoa plantation in Poso Kota subdistrict on their way to class, police Major Riky Naldo said.

The Christian-Muslim conflict in Sulawesi was an extension of a wider sectarian war in the nearby Maluku archipelago in which up to 9000 perished between 1999 and 2002.

The Maluku conflict intensified soon after it began with the arrival of volunteers belonging to Laskar Jihad, a newly created militia from Indonesia's main island of Java that was supported by hardline elements of the security forces.

Analysts and diplomats accused senior army commanders of funding and training the militia, which was hurriedly disbanded following the terrorist attacks on the tourist island of Bali in 2002 which claimed 202 lives, including 88 Australians.

Certainly argues for a misunderstanding of some kind going on.

Apostate, cowardly or both?

The Prince of Wales will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11.

Prince Charles has done more than any other member of the Royal Family in history to understand Islam. He said in 1994 that when he became Supreme Governor of the Church of England, he would rather be "defender of faiths" than "defender of the faith".

A year earlier Prince Charles made a speech, acclaimed throughout the Arab world, on relations between Islam and the West. He urged the West to overcome its "unthinkable prejudices" about Islam and its customs and laws.

He spoke warmly of the West's debt to the culture of Islam and distanced moderate Muslims from misguided militants. "Extremism is no more the monopoly of Islam than it is the monopoly of other religions, including Christianity," he said.

Sure, your highness. Those maurading, murdering Presbyterians are a bitch.

Prince Charles proves beyond doubt that he not only does not understand his role as the leader of the Church of England, he doesn't understand the relationship between militant Islam and the political future of the world. Militant Islam is in the ascendancy, not only in the Middle East but in places like England and France where Islamic immigrants are changing population ratios and pushing for special legal recognition.

He also has to gloss over the London subway and bus bombings of earlier this year, as if they had not happened.

Sadly the president will probably listen to this pretender to royal greatness and say nothing offensive. If the Oklahomilist were the president (and you can thank the Christian God for small favors that he is not), we'd probably wind up kicking Charlie's royal butt.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Speaking of the Apocalypse

Let's play word association.

We say "Golf". You answer "Scots." (They invented it.)

We say "Scots." You respond, "Kilts!"

We say, "Kilts?" and suddenly this very stylish image pops into the little grey cells:

That's right. The Practikilt which comes in four sizes: small, medium, large and extra large, and a variety of styles, including --

Islander is made in khaki cotton twill.

Practikilts come in these 6 great versions:
Outlaw #100628
Badland #100630
Islander #100632
Defcon13 #100634
Avenger #100636
Warlord #100638

The price? A mere $69 per pair.

But, say, perhaps you'd like a demonstration of the utility of one of the other models of kilt, say for instance, the Warlord?

Yeah, baby! We're talkin' manly AND stylish, with just that trace of devil may care what the bike seat feels like after 250 miles down that old rugged highway! You'll feel like a modern William Wallace rallying the troops just before the bloody battle of Stirling Bridge. "Sure ya ken go home and wear yer leather breetches, but hower yer gonna live without yer kilt?"

Our Hat Tip goes out to Father Shane at Catholic Ragemonkey.

Father, how do we erase these images from our brain?

Scientist Recipe: Chicken ala Morte

Why does this sound like a disaster in the making?
British scientists are genetically engineering chickens to protect them against the H5N1 virus that has devastated poultry farms in the Far East, with a view to replacing stocks with birds that are not susceptible to influenza.
Not only that, but they'll be able to type and take dictation. The perfect secretary, and they'll work for chicken feed. But seriously folks:
Even if the technique works, it will be several years before it can be used to stock farms and it also faces important regulatory hurdles and a battle to win over public opinion. If these obstacles are overcome and farmers are willing to adopt GM chickens, the entire world stock could be replaced fairly quickly.
Admittedly we are neither rocket scientists nor genetic engineers but we do know a little bit about bio-diversity and the Way Things Work. If we replace the entire world stock with one single, genetically enhanced chicken, we will have eliminated the diversity of thousands of years.

Meaning all it will take is one strange virus, a bacteria, a funky mold or a genetic "gotcha" that no one anticipated and no one took the time to research first, and every damn chicken on the planet will be gone.

Gone with the dodo, only the dodos will be us -- the saps who let these utopian scientists run wild with toys they do not fully understand.

More bastards than ever before

Confirmed by The Associated Press:

Births to Unmarried U.S. Women Set Record

Nearly 1.5 million babies, a record, were born to unmarried women in the United States last year, the government reported Friday.
Other than some interesting statistical data on who's having children and who isn't, one more example of the decline of civilization as we knew it.

The Games People Play

So I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is indicted, which means that the prosecutor must believe that he did something wrong.

Yet as you analyze the charges against him, it doesn't seem at all clear if he actually did anything more than try to evade responsibility for talking to a reporter on a matter which most objective analysts believe isn't a crime.
The 22-page indictment charges Libby with two felony counts for making false statements to mislead the grand jury. He is also charged with obstruction of justice and perjury. In total, five counts were included in the indictment.
The charges are based on the assertion that Libby was not forthcoming with the grand jury or the FBI when questioned about when he first learned the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Part of the indictment focuses on Libby's alleged deception about conversations he had with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper, New York Times reporter Judith Miller and TV's "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert. According to the indictment, in those conversations Libby allegedly confirmed without equivocation Plame's identity to the reporters, rather than learning her name from them.

But if Valerie Plame-Wilson was no longer a covert operative at the time, and if her job description did not fit the criteria for leak protection, then Libby was free to disclose her name. Which is likely why he is not being indicted for revealing the name!

Reporters and bureaucrats in Washington play the "I'll tell you a little something off the record" game all the time. The press would be furious if politicians and their aides quit talking.

So what we have is Libby under indictment, not for committing a crime but for evasion about how he played a common political game in Washington.

It makes you wonder: If Libby had told the grand jury right up front that he discussed Plame with the reporters, would there even be an indictment?

A chronology of faith & opposition

The apostle Paul once wrote that there are spiritual battles taking place in unseen realms around us. Once in awhile, if we pay close attention, we can discern certain physical locations that appear to be regional centers of spiritual disturbance.

One of these, we believe, is Mount Davidson, at 938 ft. the highest point overlooking San Francisco.
At a website simply entitled, "A History of Mt. Davidson," a chronology is posted of the development of the mountain, the park and the cross. It also features a long MIDI sound clip of "White Bird" with no off switch. We like the song, but you may want to have your volume control handy.

Originally named Blue Mountain by the man who did the official survey of the peak in 1852, George Davidson, it was given his name when he died in 1911.
In 1923 the first cross was erected on the mountain.

In years to follow thousands of people would come up to the cross on the mountain for Easter sunrise services. The land around the cross would have its ownership transferred from private to public ownership. In fact, in 1932 six acres were donated to the City of San Francisco so that a cross and sunrise services could be maintained at that location in perpetuity.

Thus begins a tale of the steadfast faith of a people who supported the cross, and a tiny but growing minority who did not. Several times the cross was burned by arsonists. It would be rebuilt, once as high as 103 ft.

The mountain and its cross were popular. In 1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt, remotely by telegraph, switched on newly installed lights one week before Easter as 50,000 people gathered there.

In 1941 another seven acres were added to the park by the City of San Francisco, and 75,000 people gathered for sunrise services. More acreage was added in 1950 bringing the park to 38 acres.
In 1955 the cross is lighted year 'round. That would continue until the energy crisis made it politically unpopular. In 1976 the lights were turned off, except at Easter.

But if Satan did not want to see the lit cross advertise itself in the night sky, he must have been apoplectic when the next year the Easter sunrise services began to get live TV coverage. In fact, in 1979 the CBS TV network did a nationwide broadcast of the services. (It's difficult to believe, in today's faith adverse environment, that TV networks routinely had special programs during major religious holidays.)

In 1987 a drive began to have the cross lighting restored fulltime, and to have the peak transformed into a "holy mountain of prayer" in time for Pope John Paul II's scheduled visit to the city. This was apparently more than the Prince of Darkness could stand, and in the chronology we read that by 1989, the San Francisco City Council rejects both the cross lighting and the "holy mountain" proposals, the San Francisco Chronicle actively editorials against the site, and the city puts and end to efforts to designate the mountain as a historical site.

The group Americans United for Separation of Church and State gets actively involved in calling for removal of the cross and activities associated with it.
Fourteen years ago the ACLU, the American Jewish Congress and the church-state separatists go to court, suing the City of San Francisco for ownership of the cross. An incredibly odd legal strategy given that none of the groups were what could be called "friends" of the cross. This strategy proved futile as a year later Judge John Vukasin rules for the City of San Francisco. The ruling holds that while the cross is a religious symbol, it also served as a secular landmark of historic value to city residents.

But down the coast the battle has expanded. A federal appeals court rules against the City of San Diego's public display of crosses, saying they violate the "no preference clause" of the California constitution. This puts the heat back on San Francisco as an appeal is granted to the 1992 decision. Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to get involved. Meanwhile Mount Davidson neighborhoods organize the "Friends of Mt. Davidson Conservancy" to preserve the cross during a proposed transfer from public to private ownership, and to prevent commercial development of the land.

A victory comes in 1997 when the San Francisco Landmarks Board ruled the cross monument and park as historically significant.
Finally the cross and the land directly beneath it are auctioned to a group friendly to the conservancy, and the city council of San Francisco signs an agreement that allows the cross to be maintained in perpetuity. Of course, that could mean next to nothing if the anti-God zealots wish to keep pursuing court actions.

What struck us when reviewing the chronology is how the cross had such widespread acceptance in its early days, yet how over time the attacks against it grew and evolved. At first there were physical attacks, but when the faith of the people proved greater each time than the damage that was caused, the nature of the attacks changed to public relations and lawsuits. The story of the Mount Davidson cross mirrors the attack on Christianity nationwide.

What caused us to find the site were the reports this week of strange pulsating lights over Mount Davidson. We were curious as to what was there that might explain why phenomena is occurring. Now that we know more about the background story, our best guess is that the lights are signs that the spiritual warfare, centered on this cross, is being waged in unseen realms.

You are free, of course, to differ in your interpetation. We merely offer our take for your discernment. We would not be surprised, however, if the lights portend a dramatic moment in the near term for this area of the world.

Baseball Afterthought

We were obviously delirious Thursday or we would not have forgotten to say this.

"Congratulations, White Sox."

Your pitchers solved the Lemonade Park puzzle by throwing sliders away from right handers and then bringing the high and tight heat for the payoff pitch. On lefties, fastballs and breaking stuff inside. Houston's offense looked at home as inept as it always does on the road.

We respect that. Enjoy the trophy and the attention during the off season. The performance bonuses and the World Series pay.

You earned it.

Hope this isn't good money after bad

The radio report on KRMG tonight was that the Bank of Oklahoma is spending $11 million for the naming rights to the new downtown arena. The BOk Center. Or should it read: The Be Okay Center? Or We'll Be Okay Center.

Actually this is how it will look (at right).

KOTV reports that it's a 20-year deal.

Immediately a thinking man (or thinking woman, for that matter) must consider how odd it is that the City of Tulsa, which through its Airport authority is being sued for the not-so-trivial amount of $7 million plus owed to Bank of Oklahoma in the Great Plains Airlines fiasco, should be reaping a fine $11 million harvest from the same Bank of Oklahoma on the arena naming rights.

We ask ourselves: is there a link in this somehow? A quid pro quo? A little smoke-filled backroom agreement which might salve the wounds caused by an unpaid $7 million loan?

Not even sure there would be anything wrong with that. (That's for the legal department to ponder. Not our job.)

All of this is mere speculation, of course, but it's all we have left to occupy our time since Tulsa Mayor Bob LaFortune insists that there is no linkage at all. "Totally separate issues," he said, twice, on the radio newscast. If there was linkage, would he admit it?

Thus we get no satisfaction for our speculation.

Part of our thinking is that it would be a smart move of reconciliation for the City of Tulsa to sell the naming rights for $11 million, and write-off $7 million as a gesture of good will, a forgive-and-forget kind of thing. Whether that would satisfy the demands of justice is another matter altogether and, once again, an issue for more lawyerly minds.

It's hard not to ponder one other question: Who really pays for the naming rights when banks go throwing money around?

The answer? Its customers.

That's not very satisfying either. Sure would be sad if it turned out that the BOK customers pay off the bill for the unpaid airport loan, when there are most definitely others out there who actually derived some benefits from the Great Plains adventure in creative financing.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Too bad about Miers, but ...

Must. Say. Something. About Miers.

On a personal level there is sadness. As a human being she deserved better than she got.

That can probably be said for nearly every one of Dubya's nominees that require advise and consent approval, whether they survived or not. The difference here is that a lot of the volleys against Miers came not from the front, but from the rear echelons.

That's where one has to look at a Supreme Court nomination in a greater context than the merely human response.

Miers' failure as a candidate was not so much her failure but the president's. It has been reported that initially Miers didn't want the job. However, it's hard to say no when the president, and perhaps his wife, are twisting your arm. As the time got closer to the actual hearings, however, it became obvious that no real vetting had taken place (the process where an administration goes through background materials and prepares a case FOR the nominee).

If anyone thinks that the nay-saying on Miers was getting ugly on the right, it was tea party chatter compared to what was going to happen before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And where John Roberts had former Senator Fred Thompson at his side to help run the guantlet (unnecessarily, it turns out), where was Miers' champion, other than a busy president himself? She really could've used one.

Some, like Hugh Hewitt, are weeping today that the conservative voices of America have descended down the same vituperative trail as the moonbat liberals, having "denied" Miers a clear up and down vote.

Hugh, we did the president a favor. While he seems intent on proving that he can spend "political capital" from last year's elections, we'd like him to at least shop around a little first. A "no" vote in the Senate would have cost him more capital than Miers' withdrawal letter does.

And all the fancy talk of how appointments to the federal bench should be above the merely partisan and political is just so much hot air. Yes, conservatives smiled and twiddled their thumbs when Bill Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg, taking the non-partisan high road. What did we get? An internationalist jurist who sees her mission to remake America by judicial fiat from the top down. Without a fight. How civilized we were!

We did not fight the good fight then because we wished to take "the high road." Problem: liberals don't care whether we take the high road or not, because they have found that the low road works just fine, especially when we aren't there, blocking the path.

Does the president have the stomach for a good philosophical fight over judicial philosophy? He said he was spoiling for one when running for office in 2000 and 2004. Well, the time has come to put someone in the ring who will make the case for traditional constitutional law as defined by the Constitution itself.

Pick a good one, Mr. President, and we will be in your corner, emptying the spit bucket and fetching the liniment.

Under the weather

Today's posting will be light, and that's being optimistic.

Eyes don't want to focus. Ears are ringing. Head is banging (on the inside, the not fun kind). Voice is verging on non-existence.

It's probably a cold aggravated by valiant jogging.

If it's bird flu, there's a 50% chance that the Oklahomilist will live to tell you so. Obviously this is a long-shot, but the image of the droppings of the devil-birds, who perch wickedly in the oak trees of the front yard, keeps repeating itself. A reminder to take the Merc to the car wash more frequently.

If we live.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Just in from Iran: A word of hatred

Actions have consequences but so do words. In fact, there is nothing more potent than a word, which is the realization of a thought.

Thus when the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, declares that Israel should be "wiped off the map," there will be consequences.

In Genesis 12, Verse 3, God tells Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Before some idiot starts yelling that Muslims are the children of Abraham, too, let us simply say this:

So what?

Did God say that he would allow Abraham's children to curse one another with no consequences?


Anyone -- Gentile, Jew, Christian, Muslim -- who dishonors Abraham by cursing one of Abraham's children, especially his chosen ones, is subject to the curse.

It's a spiritual principle.

If you're not into spiritual principles, that's your choice; it's your poison, people used to say.

Let's say it in a secular way: What comes around goes around. You sow the wind (hatred), you reap the whirlwind (devastation and death).

The president of Iran is sowing a lot of wind as he ...
"warned Arab countries against developing economic ties with Israel in response to its withdrawal from Gaza.

His remarks, delivered at a conference in Tehran entitled “A World without Zionism”, led to diplomatic protests by the UK, France and Spain, while Shimon Peres, Israel’s deputy prime minister, said Iran should be expelled from the United Nations.

In Washington, spokesmen for the Bush administration said the statement underscored US concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Ahmadi-Nejad’s comments came as Islamic Jihad, a militant Palestinian group allied to Iran, killed at least five Israelis with a bombing in the Israeli town of Hedera.
And to prove that there is no moral courage left in the European Union, diplomats suggested:
"... the comments would not derail efforts by France, Germany and the UK to get Iran to return to the negotiating table and halt work at its Isfahan uranium conversion facility. One diplomat said the EU3 had made a point of keeping the nuclear issue separate from Iranian support for militant Palestinian groups during two years of talks.
How open-minded they are.

The president told an audience of students there was “no doubt the new wave [of attacks] in Palestine will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot from the face of the Islamic world”.

“Anybody who recognises Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury,” he said, in remarks aimed at Arab states.

Sounds an awful lot like a threat to world peace.

Media Dishonesty Watch

Michelle Malkin has the goods on USA Today: before and after photos of Condi Rice that obviously were given the ol' USA Today photoshop treatment.

You have to see it to believe it. You can do that now, HERE.

How often have photos been retouched for the benefit of the body politic, especially in the days before web logs?

CONFEDERATE YANKEE weighs in on the ethics of photo-journalism. This is particularly relevant:
Now is when we will discover if USA Today is a responsible news organization, or a tabloid.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day

Some people are making a big deal about a KKK rally in Austin, Texas, in support of the anti-gay marriage amendment due for a statewide vote on November 8.
The rally planned on the steps of city hall the Saturday before the election will urge voters to favor proposition 2.

However, some who support proposition 2 don't welcome the KKK's assistance.

One such person is Pastor Ryan Rush of Bannockburn Baptist Church. Rush said that a group that would come in that is characterized as hateful and bigoted is not welcome in this city. He said he doesn't want the Klan as a partner on any cause.

In a letter the Klan sent to the city, the group acknowledged that security will be an issue, noting the violence that erupted at a KKK rally and march to the capitol in Austin in 1983.
Can't blame the Rev. Rush for his concern, but he should relax. Most Americans realize that the KKK has always been very opportunistic in its causes, hoping to find just the right mixture of issues that will increase its fan base beyond the bigoted nutjobs who comprise its core. In modern times it has never worked.

The KKK are not strange bedfellows at all. Isn't it obvious that they only dropped by just to steal the sheets!

Is MLB censoring the broadcasts?

Noticed something odd last night while watching Game 3 of the World Series.

Houston's Jason Lane hits what is declared a "home run" leading off the bottom of the 4th. But a slow-mo replay shows that the ball was not a home run by several feet, though it is difficult for umpires to judge given the way the stadium is striped and painted. (Another factoid for our File of Loathing for Lemonade Park!) Given the way the ball caroomed and was fielded, Lane would've been pressed for a double.

The broadcasters started to make a big deal out of the mistake but after the inning ended, the commercial break taken, there was no more mention of the fact. Not once. Not even when the game was tied and began going into extra innings to become the longest World Series game in history. Not one mention that the umps had given Houston a golden chance to win their first home World Series game.

True, baseball fans have a high degree of tolerance for umpiring mistakes: we think it's a colorful part of the game that instant replay would ruin, even though it angers us temporarily when bad calls happen. It gives us the "what if" stuff to talk about, so you'd think that the Lane "homer" would be noteworthy. It was never mentioned again.

Further, we have scanned several stories on last night's game and not one mentions the questionable home run call.

Was the broadcasting team told to drop the subject? It's no secret that Bud Selig is no fan of instant replay. As he told Sports Illustrated:
"I'm a football fan. Those football games last interminably," he said. "It would not be something that I think would work. The human element in this sport has always been a part of it."
MLB is also throwing its weight around on other matters, like ordering Houston to open its dome roof on a beautiful fall night in October. Houston objected -- it's a guaranteed noise maker -- but complied. Houston is 36-17 this year with the roof closed but only 15-11 with it opened.

Ah, the sweet roar of success! The quiet tear drops of failure.

What to cook first: the chicken or the egg?

Eastern European health officials, having determined at last that the bird flu virus is in the henhouse (so to speak), are advising citizens to avoid eating raw eggs and bloody chicken parts.

To which we add a hearty "amen." Unless you are Sylvester Stallone bulking up for Rocky VI, you don't really need raw eggs in the manana. And we've never really cared for uncooked, or even undercooked, poultry. Besides bird flu there are other nasties that can make you quite ill.

Inevitably the bird flu strain H5N1 will come to America. Less inevitable, though possible, is that it will mutate to allow human-to-human transmission. The fewer humans that get the disease, the less likely it mutates.

So keep that meat thermometer handy, and let's be careful out there.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Where do we cash in?

There's no way this can be explained.

My blog is worth $5,080.86.
How much is your blog worth?

The Llamabutchers took the same test and flunked. They're worth a grand total of $0.

Something's just not right.

Right is left, and good is evil, and the center cannot hold.

But we'd probably take the cash if we knew where to collect.

Two good reasons to root for the Sox

Just for the record, we'd already decided to cheer the White Sox on to victory in the World Series, but Andrew Cline, the editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union-Leader, has given us two great reasons to do so, courtesy of NRO.

Orlando Hernandez and Jose Contreras.

So as not to spoil his reasoning, let's just say that a White Sox win would be another spitting in the face of Fidel Castro, a former baseball player who perverts every ideal of the game.

It's a lot more noble reason than our original thinking, which is to spite the Houston Astros and their tinker-toy Lemonade Stand stadium, which is an affront to baseball almost as much as is Fidel.

Bitter? Who's bitter?

Pray for this man

His name is Fred Phelps and he is the leader -- we hesitate to call him a pastor -- of an outfit called the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. You've probably heard about the group's picketing of military funerals in recent months, including one in Broken Arrow.

His message is that because of its tolerance for homosexuals and homosexuality, America is being targeted by God through natural disasters, terrorist attacks and seeing its soldiers die from suicide bombers.

The message itself is controversial but not unique to Mr. Phelps. A great number of Christians believe that God's patience may well be at an end with a nation that accommodates what we see as sexual perversion, actions that are sinful.

But that's where mainstream Christianity and Mr. Phelps diverge. Phelps pleasurably wallows in every report of a dead U.S. soldier. He gleefully points to the London subway and bus bombings as more examples of a Christian nation being brought up short by God. He and his followers heap scorn upon grieving relatives. Witness today's report from Britain's SKY News:

The Sky Report has secretly filmed one of America's most controversial Christian ministers praising the London bombings.

Fred Phelps says that terrorist outrages and natural disasters such as Hurricane Rita are examples of God's wrath against countries such as America and Britain for tolerating homosexuals and homosexuality.

Fred Phelps, who set up the controversial Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, told our undercover reporter about the attacks, which killed 52 people:

"Oh I am so thankful that happened. My only regret is that they didn't kill about million of them. England deserves that kind of punishment, as does this country (America)".

These are shocking words, and unlike any Baptist preacher we ever heard, thank God.

Phelps is not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ when he calls for the deaths of innocents. Jesus commanded His followers to go into the world and preach the gospel, the good news, of salvation. He did not order them out into the world to preach the bad news of damnation.

A follower of Christ hears the words: "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust." (Mt 5:44-45) If you wish death and destruction on your fellow man, then you do not understand what Jesus is commanding. Hatred will not get you into the Kingdom of Heaven.

It's that simple.

It's that hard.

No Christian ever should pray for the death of another human being. When evil men die, they lose the opportunity to reject evil. As long as there is breath, there is hope of conversion.

Further, God who is All Knowing has a much better idea of who deserves to be plucked out of this life than any of us do. He doesn't need any cheerleaders urging Him on when it comes to trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.

Please join us as we begin a daily prayer effort for the conversion of Mr. Fred Phelps and his congregation to true Christian discipleship. Every day find a quiet moment to ask God to forgive him for the harm that he is doing, and to heal the wounds that he is opening. Ask God to send His healing spirit upon Mr. Phelps and convert him from one who is misrepresenting the Message to one who will astound the world with a remarkable conversion.

God willing, if enough of us pray for this conversion -- and seek it ourselves -- it can happen.

Were We Dissed by Okiedoke?

Morning Memo to Mike:

What gives with your "comments" programming? We were trying, Mike, to give you your props on your "Dam Politics" post, but after the third time of being rejected because APPARENTLY we do not know how to spell your first name, Mike, we gave up.

For the record, Mike, we wanted to tell you that you, Mike, were dead on correct in telling the world that today's politicians are generally worthless, short-sighted, egotistical, money-grubbing sots who are leading this country to ruin. Mike, our infrastructure decays while we build bridges to nowhere in Alaska and erect monuments to not-quite-dead and thus undeserving-of-veneration members of Congress, spending gazillions that we don't have, which encourages the Federal Reserve (a collection of private banks that pretend to be the U.S. Gov't) to print more money. And that leads to inflation and everybody working harder but getting less bang for their bucks, but that's a whole 'nuther issue.

We wanted to tell you, Mike, that Jefferson was right. Political parties still stink. They drag potentially great men down to mediocrity.

But what we really wanted to tell you, Mike, is that you were too rough on the "sorry ass" wooden dam in Massachusetts, and the men who built it 173 freakin' years ago! What a magnificent testament to old time craftsmanship. We can't even begin to imagine today's "best and brightest" trying to do anything similar. Why, if you can't use a dozen or so helicopters and spend a billion bucks or so, where's the fun?

Anyway, Mike, that's all we wanted to say.

Feeling somewhat rejected, this beautiful Tuesday morning ... End transmission.

UPDATE -- It's no longer a beautiful morning, but at least there is no more feeling of rejection. Once more we have proven that the Oklahomilist has feet of clay ... maybe eyes, too.

The Word is Not Refute

Morning Memo to Matt Drudge:

When someone "refutes" a charge, it means that they provide some evidence that the charge is false.

Refute is not the same as deny. It is not the same as protesting one's innocence. The same goes for the words "dispute," "reject," and even "dismiss."

Even if the person speaks with a British accent and acts like he knows all things, even when he uses the phrase, "I refute the charges against me," but offers no proof, he is still wrong and the charges remain until further notice.

We know you are in a hurry.

But get it right.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Totally in the Tank for Saddam!

If the congressional report on the United Nation's Oil for Food Scandal is anywhere close to accurate, British Member of Parliament (MP) George Galloway has a huge problem. The report claims to have the goods on Mr. Galloway's receiving some $600,000 worth of Saddam's oil vouchers:

In a report issued here, Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman and his colleagues on the Senate Subcommittee for Investigations claim to have evidence showing that Mr Galloway's political organisation and his wife received vouchers worth almost $600,000 (£338,000) from the then Iraqi government.

"We have what we call the smoking gun," said Mr Coleman, who will send the report to the US Department of Justice and the British authorities. The MP could face charges of perjury, making false statements and obstructing a Congressional investigation. Each charge carries a possible jail term of five years and a fine of $250,000.

Not that it's likely a British MP will be tried in the United States, but surely the British government may have some questions of its own. Of course, the bombastic Mr. Galloway gives as good as he gets (although you can sure tell he wishes Sen. Coleman was subject to Britain's asinine libel laws.

"I have not made a penny out of oil deals with Iraq, or indeed any other kind of deal," the MP said last night. "This ought to be dead, yet Norm Coleman parrots it once more from 3,000 miles away and protected by privilege." His spokesman later described the report as "derogatory and defamatory". The report claims that between 1999 and 2003 Mr Galloway personally solicited and was granted vouchers for 23 million barrels of oil, at below the market price. These vouchers could then be resold at a profit. It also alleges that money was channelled to Amineh Abu-Zayyad, the MP's wife, and to the Mariam Appeal, an organisation set up by Mr Galloway to help a young Iraqi girl with leukemia.

Mr Coleman maintains that his evidence is based on bank records, as well as interviews with Tariq Aziz, the former foreign minister and deputy prime minister under Saddam, and with the former vice-president Taha Yasin Ramadan.

Mr Galloway's appearance before the panel, the Minnesota senator said, was "a lot of bombast". The MP was "anything but straight with the committee; he was anything but straight with the American people".

If so, it goes a long way to explaining Galloway's longstanding opposition to American and British policy on the War on Terror.

A Word About Senator Tom

Meant to say something about this before now.

Senator Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, tried to shame his Senate colleagues into rescinding several hundred MILLION dollars in congressional pork -- particular focus on the $223 million "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska and on a sister project, a $250 million down payment. His reasoning: the United States government needs the money for more pressing problems in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The response: several mad-as-hell senators and an 82-15 vote AGAINST Coburn's bill.

One of the Alaska bridges, dubbed the "Bridge to Nowhere" by its critics, would connect one small town to a tiny island. It received $223 million in the highway bill that Congress passed this summer. The second bridge, named "Don Young's Way" in honor of its patron, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska), received about $230 million -- but that is just a down payment on a cost that could hit $1.5 billion.

Coburn had wanted to shift all the money to the I-10 rebuilding project, which is expected to cost $500 million to $600 million. Because of restrictions in the way highway dollars are distributed, Coburn's amendment would have redirected $75 million to the Pontchartrain bridge while unfunding the two Alaska bridges.

"I believe that we should spend taxpayer dollars where they are most needed," Coburn wrote fellow senators asking for support.

The amendment became a cause celebre on the left and the right, with watchdog and conservative groups reporting updates on their Web sites throughout the day. The Club for Growth alerted readers early yesterday on its Web log, or blog: "As of last night, the opposition is putting up a big fight. They sense this amendment, if successful, as establishing a precedent. A precedent where all pork is vulnerable and no lawmaker is safe."

Senators are safe for the moment.

Several Oklahoma bloggers are asking whether Coburn just assigned himself to the ashheap of senate insignificance, since one of the seriously aggravated senators was fellow Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe.

Perhaps. But that's the kind of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" that all of us are against when it happens in Oklahoma City or within the Tulsa City Council. It's the rationale that takes the "guts" right out of our politicians and turn them into gutless wonders. It's a big reason why so many Americans, of all persuasions liberal and conservative, have such a low opinion of politicians.

For several decades the United States has had an economy that has made possible extreme profligacy at all levels of government. In simple terms, we could afford to the debt service on our growing national, and private, debts. There are many worrisome signs that the day is swiftly coming when that will no longer be true. It is probable that we are nearing critical mass on deficit spending -- from Dad's seven maxed out credit cards to Uncle Sam's maxed out balance of trade. All it takes to topple the house of cards is for someone to say "no" the next time they are asked to buy more American debt.

The only way to avoid that fate is to learn the ways of fiscal responsibility. Tom Coburn would like to apply those lessons to the federal government. He is correct in wanting to do so.

If he pays a price for his effort, we suspect it is a price he is willing to pay.

What he will not lose is our vote, or the votes of many Oklahoma citizens who agree with him that it is time to trim back.

In Britain, the chickens have come to roost

Legend tells it that Jesse James, when asked why he robbed banks, explained, "Because that's where the money is." He did not bother to say that most bankers are among the least courageous of all the professions. Caution is a second nature. Which only partly explains the latest outrage from Great Britain:
British banks are banning "piggy banks" because they might offend followers of that religion of peace known as Islam.

Halifax and NatWest banks have led the move to scrap the time-honoured symbol of saving from being given to children or used in their advertising, the Daily Express/Daily Star group reports here.

Muslims do not eat pork, as Islamic culture deems the pig to be an impure animal.

Salim Mulla, secretary of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, backed the bank move.

"This is a sensitive issue and I think the banks are simply being courteous to their customers," he said.

However, the move brought accusations of political correctness gone mad from critics.

"The next thing we will be banning Christmas trees and cribs and the logical result of that process is a bland uniformity," the Dean of Blackburn, Reverend Christopher Armstrong, said.

"We should learn to celebrate our difference, not be fearful of them."

Almost makes us wish we'd gone to the University of Arkansas. If we had, why we'd fly our pig flag high!

(But we didn't and we won't.)

Wilma applies reverse thrust

News coming in that it was the strongest storm to hit Broward County since the 1940s. Winds at 125 mph or more, lots of windows missing, meaning lots of inside stuff soaked.

Updated radar can be found HERE.

With but a week left in October ...

It's Monday, October 24. Outside there are traces of frost on the pumpkin, or there would be if we had a pumpkin in the yard. There is frost on the one car that has yet to move today. The weather in northeastern Oklahoma is magnificent today, and promises to be so through the entire week with lows in the 30s and lower 40s, highs in the mid-50s to mid-60s. Quite remarkable ...

Unlike Florida where Hurricane Wilma paid a call this morning just south of Naples. Packing 125 mph winds, a moderate (10 ft.) storm surge and heavy rains, she's just about out of the state now. The good news is that she's moving fast as the same cold front that is giving us delightful weather in the country's heartland is muscling her out into the Atlantic.

Good riddance, we say. We also are saying our prayers for the Mexican victims of Wilma. She spent over a day just slowly throwing body punches to the resort areas of Cozumel and Cancun, her 115+ mph winds relentlessly stripping away many structures. Now authorities in Cancun are trying to control looting! Leaving us to wonder about divine targeting: Earlier the Big Easy and the Gulf casinos are destroyed or shut down. Now the Mexican Riviera. Could God be making a statement? And if He is, are we paying attention?

One small piece of good news: Since Wilma left Cancun with a right-angle turn to the east (and isn't that strange in itself?), the Gulf oil platforms were spared. That's dropped today's price per barrel down to below $60. That will affect the pump prices in a positive way, for a change, making everyone happy except for the editorial staff of the New York Times, who today proffer the idea (again) that federal gasoline TAXES should be RAISED! So predictable. Americans aren't suffering enough yet to really embrace the social change advocated by the Times. (Editor's Query: Is social change a euphemism for socialism?)

The bird flu is discovered in England. It's obviously traveling faster than birds can fly, so it must be getting help in some fashion, even if its the importation of foreign birds, like parrots.

Not flying so high are the Houston Astros who find themselves leaving Chicago behind two games to none after closer Brad Lidge gave up another big ninth inning homer last night. If Roy Oswalt doesn't get the job done in Game 3, expect this to be a very short series.

We haven't said much since the early hours of the Harriet Miers nomination, mostly because there is really little to say. She's not John Roberts, meaning her qualifications pale in comparison. It was an ill-advised nomination and barring a miracle it's hard to see how she can win Senate confirmation. The only question is whether the Miers affair is a strategic blunder or a strategic master-stroke engineered by the inscrutable Karl Rove designed to accomplish other arcane goals. As to that question, we don't care.

We do care as to how the financial markets are going to react today to the surprise announcement of a new Federal Reserve chairman. No link yet, but the word is that there will be a news conference at 12 noon EDT today (11 a.m. CDT). About an hour from now.

Also breaking is a report that three car bombs have exploded at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, which is where most of the foreign press bunk at night.

No disrespect to the press, but want to bet which story -- the new Fed chairman or the hotel blast -- will get the most attention in the next 24-48? Yet the Fed chairmanship probably will have more direct impact on living conditions in the world.

And you can take that prediction to the bank.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Winners of the Dr. Ian Malcolm Prize for October ...

... are the team of scientists who found out that a lonely male rate, when confronted with the prospects of life on a deserted island, will find a way even if he has to swim a quarter mile to another island. In other words, "Life Finds a Way."
Scientists got more than they bargained for when they released a single rat named Razza in an experiment into why rats are so hard to eradicate.

Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand had problems catching him even though they had fitted him with a radio transmitter.

He was finally killed by a trap 18 weeks after the experiment began.

It then took the scientists another eight weeks to find and catch him once he arrived on Otata island.

"We were literally tearing our hair out at times trying to find this animal," Mr Clout said.

He said it was fortunate they had used a lone male rat in the experiment.

"If this had been a pregnant female rat it would have been a problem. It takes only one to establish a population."

Comforting thought.

The science team enjoyed the experiment so much they are repeating it.

Scientists have released a new male rat in a follow-up experiment to see if Razza was unusually clever or lucky.

"We want to check whether this was normal behaviour," Mr Clout said.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Islamic threat to French business?

Wake up, sleepy heads. The jihad is coming to a company near you.
PARIS -- The influence of radical Islamist groups is a growing threat to French business, a leading intelligence expert warned on Tuesday, citing the discovery of secret prayer-rooms at the Disneyland theme-park outside Paris.

In a report commissioned by several retail and courier companies, Eric Denece - director of the French Center for Research and Intelligence - said that the Islamists' strategy is to "take control of Muslims within the workforce" and then "challenge the rules in order to impose Islamic values.

"For example, around 10 prayer-rooms have been discovered at EuroDisney," he said.

The claim was originally made in a report by the police intelligence service RG in mid-2004.
How well is the strategy working? Only too well.
Denece also quoted the head of a freight company employing 3,000 people at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris who complained to the RG of "the presence of a small group of Muslims bent on imposing their work methods under the threat of repeated strikes".

"The growth in power of radical Islamism is a new menace, which can threaten the integrity of a business," Denece said.

Supermarkets and other large stores are a prime target, according to the 30-page report.

"Hypermarkets have noted that employees who are heavily involved in proselytizing systematically seek out jobs as telephone operators, delivery-men, cashiers and security officers - positions which allow easy exchanges of information, money and goods," the report said.

Muslim women working at supermarket cash registers are also being placed under pressure to wear the headscarf, it said.

According to Denece, the primary threat of Islamism to business is "sectarian", because it can undermine the loyalty of employees and destroy morale. It should therefore be "treated in the same way as the threat from scientology and other sects", he advised.
Finally, there is this chilling paragraph:
Last month an RG report to the French government said that Islamic militants are moving away from mosques that they know are now under close surveillance, and are congregating in secret prayer-rooms - often attached to businesses.
There's your religion of peace for you.

We'll accept the comparison

William Wallace
You scored 72 Wisdom, 73 Tactics, 65 Guts, and 56 Ruthlessness!

Like William Wallace, chances are you have no problem charging a larger, better trained, better equipped, better armed and armored English army with a band of naked drunken Scotsmen. I'm not contesting that you have balls. It's your brain function I'm worried about.

Scottish soldier and national hero. The first historical record of Wallace's activities concerns the burning of Lanark by Wallace and 30 men in May, 1297, and the slaying of the English sheriff, one of those whom Edward I of England had installed in his attempt to make good his claim to overlordship of Scotland. After the burning of Lanark many
joined Wallace's forces, and under his leadership a disciplined army was evolved. Wallace marched on Scone and met an English force of more than 50,000 before Stirling Castle in Sept., 1297. The English, trying to cross a narrow bridge over the Forth River, were killed as they crossed, and their army was routed. Wallace crossed the border and laid waste several counties in the North of England.

In December he returned to Scotland and for a short time acted as guardian of the realm for the imprisoned king, John de Baliol . In July, 1298, Edward defeated Wallace and his army at Falkirk, and forced him to retreat northward. His prestige lost, Wallace went to France in 1299 to seek the aid of King Philip IV, and he possibly went on to Rome.

He is heard of again fighting in Scotland in 1304, but there was a price on his head, and in
1305 he was captured by Sir John de Menteith. He was taken to London in Aug., 1305, declared guilty of treason, and executed. The best-known source for the life of Wallace is a long romantic poem attributed to Blind Harry, written in the 15th century.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
We can't resist the cool tests over at, even though there is no way that we'll join -- mostly 'cause Mrs. Oklahomilist isn't going to like that idea one damned bit. And however liken William Wallace we may be, tickin' off the Missus is trouble we don't need.

Must be the result of that 11% Gutless Quotient.

A pathetic report on so many levels

Some people have more credit than sense.

American Express is suing the CEO of a communications company for payment of $241,000 worth of disputed credit card charges at a Manhattan topless club.

American Express says in papers filed in state court that Savvis Inc. chief executive officer Robert A. McCormick was in the club Scores in October 2003 with at least three other men.

After McCormick got the $241,000 corporate credit card bill, Savvis called American Express and complained that some of the charges were fraudulent, the lawsuit says. The communications company said its chief disputed all but about $20,000, according to the lawsuit.

"We firmly believe that Mr. McCormick was the victim of fraud," said Deena Williamson, Savvis's deputy general counsel. She declined to comment further.

If that is the case, Savvis and Mr. McCormick's argument is not with the company's credit card provider but with the club. Even a junior high school student could figure that out. The club says it goes through an elaborate procedure, including fingerprinting of its customers, when a bill exceeds $10,000. Apparently even a lap dance there can cost that much.

Part of McCormick's woes stem from the fact that he may have ignored AmEx's bill and did not bother to respond in writing for several months.

Court papers say American Express asked McCormick several times to provide in writing his basis for calling the charges fraudulent. McCormick failed to respond, and when he was billed again he once again objected to the charges, the lawsuit says.

American Express says McCormick finally responded in writing in September 2004, reiterating that some charges on the Scores bill were bogus, the lawsuit says.

Scores has been paid in full, American Express's court papers say, while neither Savvis nor McCormick has paid any of the charges. Failure to pay is a violation of the American Express corporate credit card agreement, court papers say.

Some judgmental people might conclude that a CEO who has no better sense than to frequent an expensive hootchie-kootchie club would be a candidate for a pink slip, even if the bill was only $20,000 (the undisputed amount) instead of $241,000.

We would be among them.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Odd earthquake day

New Mexico may have had its rough and rowdy past, geologically speaking, but when was the last time there were two earthquakes of significant size -- magnitude 3.0? One was in quiet little San Luis, on the border with Colorado. The other was 56 miles NNW of Albuquerque near Encinal.

And, on the same day, in Owen Sound, Canada, just across the border from Michigan, there is a 4.2 mag. It would appear there are fewer quakes here than New Mexico.

Perhaps it all means nothing, but given the number of quakes, tsunamis, mudslides and hurricanes, it's not that easy to dismiss them either.

A Sure Sign of a Winning Issue

Congressman John Sullivan of Tulsa is a nice guy, and a graduate of Bishop Kelley High School, which makes him okay in our book. We've voted for him twice now. His heart is in the right place; we can be reasonably sure that he will vote in a manner consistent with most of our views.

However, he would not be the first person we would picture if we were asked, "Politically speaking, who among Congressmen in Washington, D.C. is the most courageous?" He might not even be in our Top 200.

Which is bad news for the Bush Administration, because John Sullivan has authored a "let's get tough on illegal immigrants" bill that is drawing praise and co-signers galore. If John's ready to get out ahead of this parade, then you know it's gotta be a stampede.

And if it's a stampede, then a few "head 'em off at the pass" remarks by Michael Chertoff, Director of Homeland Security, isn't going to be enough to calm the rising firestorm over our country's leaky borders and the anemic-can-you-spell-pathetic response the issue has received from the Bush administration. Unless there is a serious response between now and November 2006, do not be surprised if the liberals successfully hijack border control -- and issue they do not actually believe in -- and turn it into a congressional majority.

That may well be what Sullivan is seeking to prevent.

Andrew Griffin, over at Spelunking Through the Chaos, reflects on Sullivan and his pet project.

Time is NOT on his side

Time is NOT on his side ... but the questions of Sir Mick's "kavorka" (aka "regrettable sexuality) and his future advertising revenue potential are explored today by the Cranky Neocon, now conveniently dishing it up over at Six Meat Buffet. (Warning: Some comments are NR-17 ... )

With Rolling Stones mania sweeping the country like it’s 1969 all over again, this might be a good time to examine a phenomenon that has baffled the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Gene Simmons and Prince.

What has made this man sexy over five decades? Is there an end in sight? Can I throw up now?

Let’s examine this question throughout the years, shall we?

For the longtime student of popular culture, this is a must read, including the comments.

HT: Llamas.

Alice Cooper's Sunday School lesson

It's not summer and Sunday School is in session with catechist Alice Cooper, he of the "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and "I'm Eighteen" rocker credentials.

So when he says that the Antichrist is coming, well, you might want to pay attention: Alice has been there and done that. The recent spate of disasters -- earthquakes, hurricanes and mudslides -- has him convinced that time is short.

"Everybody is aware of the end of time - the floods, the tsunami, the hurricanes. It's Revelations. It's all supposed to happen. I know where it's going because, according to the Bible, it's like this for a while and then we'll see the Antichrist, who's going to be the smoothest car salesman you've ever seen in your life.

"He's going to be like Gandhi. He's going to be the guy you never expected, because he's saving everybody.

"That's the guy you've got to worry about."

That's the way we have it pegged too, Mr. Cooper.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

French journalists tackle science

Have to admit we missed this until we heard the unmistakable sounds of snickering over at The Corner.

PARIS (AFP) - Venus Express, the European Space Agency's first mission to explore Earth's closest neighbour, will be launched next Wednesday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The ESA gave the prospective launch time as 0443 GMT.

The 1.27-tonne unmanned spacecraft, which will be taken aloft by a Russian-made Soyuz-Fregat rocket, is expected to arrive at Venus on April 6.

Venus Express, equipped with seven instruments, is intended to map the Venusian surface and weather system, looking at temperature variation, cloud formations, wind speeds and gas composition.

A-OK so far, all systems register nominal. But then the red blinking light comes on:
Its main goal is to help understand why Venus fell prey to runaway global warming.
Holy Hothouse, Batman! Was the Kyoto Treaty ignored by the Venusian government? Were the "profits before pure air" Republicans of Venus in charge?

Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is similar in size, mass and age to Earth, but the two planets are otherwise quite different.

The so-called Morning Star has clouds of suffocating gas driven by hurricane-force winds, as well as a surface pressure and temperature high enough to crush and melt steel.

Surely we need answers quickly to avert a similar fate.

News Flash: Saddam says he's not guilty

He also refuses to admit that he's Saddam.


Asked to confirm his name by the chief judge, Rizgar Mohammed Amin, a Kurd, Saddam Hussein refused.

Amid some verbal sparring with the judge, the former Iraqi leader stated: "I preserve my constitutional rights as the president of Iraq. I do not recognise the body that has authorised you and I don't recognise this aggression.

"What is based on injustice is unjust ... I do not respond to this so-called court, with all due respect."

With all due respect? Is this the famous Saddam sense of humor? Like the afternoon he ordered his men to force gasoline down the throat of one of his citizens, and then had 'em flick their lighter?

Ain't no injustice possible here, unless they were to let him go.