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Friday, May 27, 2005

Our Lady of Czestochowa
A good history of what's likely the truest national symbol of Poland.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article
Five months in, Congress can point to the following achievements: a bankruptcy bill 10 years in the making, and a class-action reform watered down essentially to a jurisdictional change to federal from state courts. That's about it. Among the 2004 campaign promises that aren't close to being fulfilled are making the Bush tax cuts permanent, reforming Social Security and expanding the market for private health care. Instead of any of those big three, Congress next seems poised to pass a subsidy-laden energy bill and a highway bill with some 4,000 earmarks for individual Members. For this we elected Republicans?

The Democratic/media explanation for this performance is that Republicans are "overreaching" and trying to "govern from the right." We should be so lucky. The fact is that they are governing from nowhere at all. Far from pushing their agenda, they seem cowed by their opposition into playing it safe and attempting too little.

Cruise Launches War on Psychiatrists
He's a member of the "Church" of Scientology and he thinks pyschiatrists are full of crap? What do they say about people living in glass houses?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

American Scientist Online - Predicting a Baseball's Path
Very interesting article with suggestions on how a pitcher might get even more of an advantage over hitters.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

K-Lo on Biden
Joe Biden talks and I hear the adults on Charlie Brown.

Indecency and Idiocy
All human activity has a purpose or a reason behind it. We eat to nourish. We sleep to refresh. We read to learn. We exercise to keep healthy. We work to earn money. We even relax for a purpose, to replenish ourselves, and invite leisure because it is the vineyard of creativity, good will, dispassion, and other splendid traits.

We indulge in pornography to... what?

"I would remind you that extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." --Barry Goldwater

"The Court is most vulnerable and comes nearest to illegitimacy when it deals with judge-made constitutional law having little or no cognizable roots in the language or design of the Constitution." --Byron White

"People...love to say that 'Violence never solved anything.' But what solved Hitler? Was it a team of social workers? Was it putting daisies into the gun barrels of Nazi Panzer divisions? Was it a commission that tried to understand what made Hitler so angry? No. What solved Hitler was violence." --Michael Medved

"It occurred to me...that 'illegal immigration' is an oxymoron. If it's immigration, it is not illegal, and if they are here illegally they are not immigrants, are they? Maybe it's time that a more accurate term be coined to describe these people. I'll start the process -- how about 'foreign trespassers?'" --Ron Olliff

"Voters in Los Angeles elected a new mayor -- Antonio Villaraigosa. Voters admitted they only voted for Villaraigosa because they want to hear Arnold Schwarzenegger pronounce it." --Conan O'Brien

"In a way, both the U.S. media and those wacky rioters in the Afghan-Pakistani hinterlands are very similar, two highly parochial and monumentally self-absorbed tribes living in isolation from the rest of the world and prone to fanatical irrational indestructible beliefs -- not least the notion that you can flush a 950-page book down one of Al Gore's eco-crazed federally mandated low-flush toilets, a claim no editorial bigfoot thought to test for himself in Newsweek's executive washroom." --Mark Steyn

"There is an old saying in this town -- I just made it up -- that when the going gets tough the Democrats can always count on a few Republicans to switch sides." --Lyn Nofziger

Jay Leno.... America continues to search for alternative sources of energy. Other companies now are making fuels made from corn and soybeans. This is amazing. You know what that means? Our cars will have healthier diets than we do. .... The New York Times has had fake stories. CBS has had fake stories. And now Newsweek had a fake story. You realize the only one that hasn't had to print a retraction is the National Inquirer.

Walter E. Williams: Our trade deficit
I buy more from my grocer than he buys from me, and I bet it's the same with you and your grocer. That means we have a trade deficit with our grocers. Does our perpetual grocer trade deficit portend doom? If we heeded some pundits and politicians who are talking about our national trade deficit, we might think so. But do we have a trade deficit in the first place? Let's look at it.

One of the things I like about being Catholic...
is that we can get in discussions of what alocholic drink we should invent to pay tribute to our new Pope.

Starting the discussion is The Theological Depth-Charge:
Also thought I'd mention that a friend and I recently partook of that drink touted by some as the Theological Depth-Charge (a shot of Benedict dropped into a pint of Heineken or other German beer.)
The first response:
Perhaps the problem was that Heineken is a Dutch beer, not a German beer? That would make it, what, a Hadrian VI?

Jonah Goldberg on Judges on National Review Online
First, there’s the abiding faith — eternally celebrated by the press — that compromise is always and everywhere a good thing. If I say two plus two equals four, and you say two plus two equals one billion, is it really such a great advance to split the difference and agree that it’s somewhere near 500 million? The media’s love of compromise is the moral hazard that comes from always seeking both sides of an issue. The press should seek both sides, of course, but it shouldn’t conclude that simply because each side has good arguments that both are right, or that splitting the difference is enlightened. The media sees such blurring as wisdom, when really it’s cynicism.
One thing I think Jonah's wrong on in this article: the press doesn't always seek compromise. If the press is arguing for a compromise, it's a sure the liberal side is wrong or going to lose. Then compromise is great. If conservatives are losing the debate, compromise is unneeded.

The NewsRadio DVDs came in last night. Somehow I managed to resist the overwhelming to start watching them. Had work to do around the house.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

One More Reason is sucks to be French
According to the Tax Misery & Reform Index, the French suffer the highest marginal tax rates in the world. Even worse than Communist China.

Link via The Corner.

Could the Phillies be getting a clue?
This is most like a case of a blind squirrel finding two nuts, but the Phillies have actually made a few good moves lately.

First on Friday, they released Jose Offerman. (Why he was ever on the team is still beyond me, but hey, at least he's gone.) And just today, they released Terry Adams. These are good signs, not just because they're cutting bad players, but they're cutting bad veteran players. In the past, young players couldn't afford a bad stretch (Marlon Byrd), while veterans could suck like a Hoover. Finally performance is starting matter more than the number of rings we'd see if we cut the player open.

Adams pulled a nifty trick this past Friday. he pitched an inning, gave up a run and lowered his ERA. He promptly atoned for this error the next evening by giving up three earned runs in two-thirds of an inning to raise his ERA to 12.46. And then raised it again last night to 12.83 by giving up a run (on two hits) in one-third of an inning. This is also after he complained about not pitching enough. Well, he pitched three times in four days and gave up 5 runs in 2 innings. What's his excuse now?

I hope the door does hit him on his way out.

The Complete List - ALL-TIME 100 Movies - TIME Magazine
All I have to say about this list: It has "The Fly" (Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis) and not "Die Hard."

I think that's all that needs to be said.

BBC NEWS | England | Beds/Bucks/Herts | Two hurt in mock light sabre duel
Two Star Wars fans are in a critical condition in hospital after apparently trying to make light sabres by filling fluorescent light tubes with petrol[gasoline].

A man, aged 20, and a girl of 17 are believed to have been filming a mock duel when they poured fuel into two glass tubes and lit it.
Natural selection at work.

Link via Drudge.

Web Posting: Iraq al-Qaida Leader Injured
Al-Qaida's branch in Iraq, blamed for numerous terror attacks on U.S. and Iraqi targets, said Tuesday in an Internet posting that its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had been wounded and called on supporters to pray for his recovery.

Link via Drudge.

JIMMY AKIN.ORG: Liturgy Of The Hours
Final comments about the personal advantage of using the “Liturgy of the Hours.”

It unites you to the official, round-the-world prayer and worship of the pope, all bishops, priests, deacons and religious orders.

The themes expressed in the Psalms and throughout the Liturgy of the Hours don’t necessarily line up with your own concerns and moods and moments. So, if you let it do so, the Liturgy constantly calls you to a bigger picture than your lonely only. It is to be offered up as a sacrifice of praise and a sacrifice of intercession.

It can ground you in the two major movements of EVERYTHING: (1) the worship of God, (2) the world’s salvation (in all matters big and small). You end up praying God’s Word about himself, and praying God’s Word for the world and yourself.
Good explanation of the development of the Liturgy of the Hours. Definitely worth praying regularly.

Activist courts are defying, not enforcing, the Constitution
Because most of the Supreme Court's activist rulings of unconstitutionality purport to be based on a 14th Amendment that it has deprived of specific meaning, the problem can be very largely solved by simply restoring the 14th Amendment to its original meaning, or by giving it any specific meaning. The 14th Amendment was written after the Civil War to provide a national guarantee of basic civil rights to blacks. If a constitutional amendment could be adopted reconfining the 14th Amendment to that purpose or, better still, expanding it to a general prohibition of all official racial discrimination, the Court's free-hand remaking of domestic social policy for the nation would largely come to an end. If the justices lost the ability to invalidate state law on the basis of their political preferences, their ability and willingness to invalidate federal law on this basis would likely also diminish.

Thomas Sowell: Liberals, race, and history
Liberal Democrats, especially, must keep blacks fearful of racism everywhere, including in an administration whose Cabinet includes people of Chinese, Japanese, Hispanic, and Jewish ancestry, and two consecutive black Secretaries of State. Blacks must be kept believing that their only hope lies with liberals.

Not only must the present be distorted, so must the past -- and any alternative view of the future must be nipped in the bud. That is why prominent minority figures who stray from the liberal plantation must be discredited, debased and, above all, kept from becoming federal judges.

A thoughtful and highly intelligent member of the California supreme court like Justice Janice Rogers Brown must be smeared as a right-wing extremist, even though she received 76 percent of the vote in California, hardly a right-wing extremist state. But desperate politicians cannot let facts stand in their way.
In reality, reductions in poverty among blacks and the rise of blacks into higher level occupations were both more pronounced in the years leading up to the civil rights legislation and welfare state policies of the 1960s than in the years that followed.

Moreover, contrary to political myth, a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But facts have never stopped politicians or ideologues before and show no signs of stopping them now.

What blacks have achieved for themselves, without the help of liberals, is of no interest to liberals. Nothing illustrates this better than political reactions to academically successful black schools.

Despite widespread concerns expressed about the abysmal educational performances of most black schools, there is remarkably little interest in those relatively few black schools which have met or exceeded national standards.

Anyone who is serious about the advancement of blacks would want to know what is going on in those ghetto schools whose students have reading and math scores above the national average, when so many other ghetto schools are miles behind in both subjects. But virtually all the studies of such schools have been done by conservatives, while liberals have been strangely silent.

Achievement is not what liberalism is about. Victimhood and dependency are.

Black educational achievements are a special inconvenience for liberals because those achievements have usually been a result of methods and practices that go directly counter to prevailing theories in liberal educational circles and are anathema to the teachers' unions that are key supporters of the Democratic Party.

Many things that would advance blacks would not advance the liberal agenda. That is why the time is long overdue for the two to come to a parting of the ways.

CNN.com - Senators compromise on filibusters - May 24, 2005
Well, McCain's doing his usual Media Whore tricks this morning, continuing his tendency to bask in the media glow for undercutting Republican objectives. I'm sure part of his thinking on this is to bolster his chances for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2008.

One thing he might want to keep in mind: A friend of mine (Republican, but not a doctrinaire conservative) told me in 2000, he wasn't sure who he'd support in the Presidential Primary: W or McCain. Once he realized the media wanted McCain to win, he knew he needed to support Bush.

Being the media darling can hurt in the GOP primaries, Senator McCain.

Monday, May 23, 2005

BBC NEWS | Health | 'Sarcasm' brain areas discovered
Scientists say they have located the parts of the brain that comprehend sarcasm - honestly.
Those parts of my brain must be really overdeveloped.

Thank you, Mike Castle!
Really. I mean it this time. Mr. Castle has (inadvertantly, and against his original purpose) made it possible for the House to uphold a veto of Castle's stem call legislation.

From OpinionJournal.com's Political Diary:
The White House is feeling better about its ability to sustain a promised veto of the stem-cell research bill in the House, thanks in part to some terrible political diplomacy by two prominent GOP supporters of expanded stem-cell funding. Congressmen Mark Kirk (Illinois) and Mike Castle (Delaware) sponsored a poll in the districts of 13 GOP colleagues who were believed to be up in the air on the issue. When the survey showed that 66% of respondents favored federal financing, the duo gave the go-ahead to release the results to the media in those districts last week. One little problem: The two Members hadn't warned their colleagues, who were livid.

So livid, in fact, that the two were upbraided in very rough terms by their colleagues at a closed-door House GOP conference meeting last week. Rick Renzi, a second-termer from Arizona, was especially angry and "hammered" the duo, according to a source. The political upshot is that several GOP Members who had been on the fence now have told the White House they will vote to sustain a veto, in part to show Messrs. Castle and Kirk that they can't intimidate their colleagues in this fashion.

White House aides still expect to sustain some political damage on the issue, given the breadth of media and public support for federal funding for research on more stem-cell lines than President Bush's policy of 2001 allows. But at least they now believe they won't also suffer an embarrassing legislative defeat.

-- Paul A. Gigot

"The doctrine of blind obedience and unqualified submission to any human power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is the doctrine of despotism, and ought to have no place among Republicans and Christians." --Angelica Grimke

"These are four guys [judges in Nebraska] who went to law school, and they don't have a clue what they are talking about when it comes to marriage. These four judges said what is to me the most amazingly ignorant thing. They said, 'Government creates marriage.' That is just the wrong model. Marriage is a social institution. It is much older than the government of the United States. To get some idea of how ignorant that is, what would you think of a judge -- a supposedly educated person -- who said that government created motherhood? You know, we have laws about parenting, but fundamentally this is something older and deeper than government." --Maggie Gallagher

"It would be devastating to the egos of the intelligentsia to realize, much less admit, that businesses have done more to reduce poverty than all the intellectuals put together. Ultimately it is only wealth that can reduce poverty and most of the intelligentsia have no interest whatever in finding out what actions and policies increase the national wealth. They certainly don't feel any 'obligation' to learn economics, out of a sense of 'social responsibility,' much less because of any 'social contract' requiring them to know what they are talking about before spouting off with self-righteous rhetoric." --Thomas Sowell

"Let's do a bit of analysis of efforts to assist the elderly, but let's use our brains instead of our hearts. According to a 2003 Housing Vacancy Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in conjunction with the Current Population Survey, 42 percent of Americans 35 years of age owned their homes compared to 80 percent of those 55 and older. The bureau's May 2003 report, 'Net Worth and Asset Ownership of Households: 1998 and 2000,' shows that excluding home equity, the median net worth of householders 35 to 44 years of age was $44,000 and that of householders 70 to 74 years of age was $120,000. The bottom line is that seniors are far richer than their mid-life counterparts who are in the workforce paying income taxes. They're being taxed to care for those who are not only less likely to be in the labor force paying income taxes but are wealthier than they. That's a particularly perverse form of income redistribution." --Walter Williams

Happy Birthday to....
My celebrity look-alike!

Great News!!!!!
My NewsRadio Season 1 & 2 DVDs shipped yesterday!!!!! Just in time for the long, wet weekend. At least with the rain I now have an excuse to do what I probably would have done anyway: stay inside all weekend watching the DVDs.

DAMN!!!! It's crizappin'!!

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