Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Some of today's observations on the Bush Administration's Great Society "victory" yesterday:

Cal Thomas: Less than a dime's worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats anymore

Terence Jeffrey: The G.O.P.'s Shotgun Wedding
But since when did subsidized drug handouts become a litmus test of good government? When did they become a defining issue for the party of limited government?

The answer: in the wee, small hours last Saturday.

It was 3 a.m. when the leadership called a vote on the drug entitlement. When the voting period expired 15 minutes later, the entitlement seemed doomed. But Republican leaders kept voting open and kept twisting arms. At 5 a.m., President Bush called Republicans who still wouldn’t crawl into bed with AARP.

Feeney recounted an earlier call from the president. "I basically said it was a matter of principle, that I came to Washington not to ratify and to expand Great Society programs," Feeney told the Associated Press. "He wasn't happy to hear that."

Yet, toward dawn, the shotgun wedding was completed. The bill passed 220-215 -- with 25 Republican defectors.
Doug Bandow: "The largest expansion of the welfare state in 40 years"
Alan Colmes (the liberal guy from Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes") has a nighttime radio program which recently was picked up here in South Florida.

Last night, in talking about the new (and abominable) Medicare bill, Colmes was predictably whining about how it didn't go far enough, since it could possibly lead to the horror of privatization later in the decade. "I mean, who are you going to trust," he asked, "the government or these corporations?"

By the rhetorical tone he was using, he seemed to think the answer was self-evident: the government. He went on to describe corporations as being "greedy" and "only concerned with profits." In contrast, he said, the government is "benevolent." Yes, he actually used the word "benevolent."

Hey, look, I know that this is (and has always been) the way that liberals view the government (and business, for that matter). But I don't know if I've ever actually heard one be so bold and blunt to say it just the way the conservatives always parody them as saying it.

He summed up by saying "You see, this is the difference between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives put their trust in corporations, while liberals put their trust in the government." Well, I can't argue with that assessment too much. But I'm more convinced than ever that Colmes is actually a conservative hired by Roger Ailes to satirize liberals.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Here's a snippet of something that appeared in the Dear Abby column yesterday:
DEAR ABBY: You should read "Grand Illusions," George Grant's expose of the racist roots of Planned Parenthood. Not to have advised that girl to visit her local Crisis Pregnancy Center was misleading. -- LENORE IN MANHATTAN, MONT.

DEAR LENORE: Margaret Sanger, who founded the tiny birth control clinic that was to become the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, became a family planning crusader because she felt it was vital for POOR women (and that included women of color) to control their fertility and not be forced to have large families they couldn't take care of. A woman who is not in charge of her reproductive life is not in charge of her life.
Interesting way of putting it. Here's how Sanger herself used to put it:
"Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race."
-- Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control . New York: New
York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.

"We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don't want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."-- Margaret Sanger's December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts.
But who needs facts, right? For good measure, "Dear Abby" (actually Abby's twit daughter, who now handles the column) adds a postscript at the end of the column:
P.S. I would advise women to go to Crisis Pregnancy Centers if I were convinced they wouldn't be forced to watch color videos of aborted fetuses.
So instead she sends them to abortion mills where their money is taken and their health is jeapardized. Janet Folger once brilliantly pointed out how one can tell the deeply caring and compassionate abortionists from the Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the Yellow Pages: the abortionists are the ones that have the Visa and MasterCard logos in their ads.
Okay, I know there's been a lot of football lately, but I just can't let it go. The St. Louis print media is bordering on delusional in their assessment of the St. Louis Rams. In column after column, the St. Louis scribes pen odes to the supposed gutsiness and tenacity of this squad.

My old friend Bernie Miklasz of the Post Dispatch, with whom I used to work and who is one of the good guys, uncharacteristically finds himself hyperventilating like a love-besotted schoolgirl:
This is about a team slipping but not falling, a team dodging the potential knockout force of falling rocks, a team that manages to maintain footing as it continues to climb this treacherous NFC mountain.

This is about the collective heart of a team that has won seven of its last eight games and gone 4-1 in a difficult stretch that included four road games. A team that has won three of its last four on the road. A team that's now tied for the best record (8-3) in the NFC. A team that has a firm jaw, able to absorb heavy punches.
This is also about a team that nearly blew a win against the horrific Arizona Cardinals. A team that has in recent weeks squeaked by some of the most awful teams in the league, such as the Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens. A team whose schedule strength currently ranks around 29th of 32 teams in the league.

Mike Martz must buy these guys a lot of beer to get this kind of coverage. Bryan Burwell is mystified by the fact that the fans are not quite as confident in this team as he is right now:
Yes, someone please tell me what is the problem? A year ago, the Rams were 5-6 and in the midst of a football nightmare. Now they are 8-3, and I guess someone forgot to inform a lot of people in this town that that is a good thing. It's like Armageddon is just around the corner, and I just don't get it.
That's true, Bryan, you don't get it. An embarrassing thing to admit when it's your job to get it.

Perhaps the fans are "whining" (to use a phrase that both Bernie and Burwell have been throwing around a lot lately) because they see a team that with Warner at the helm boasted the greatest offense in NFL history, and which now battles to merely squeak by in games against teams that won't even get a whiff of the playoffs. Perhaps they recognize a team that will be embarrassed in their first playoff game, a team that is not capable of playing on the same field against real football teams--playoff football teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys.

Here are some facts the fans see that apparently the media guys have overlooked: the Rams, in this "spectacular" eight win season, have beaten precisely two teams that currently have a record over .500--the Green Bay Packers (who are a whopping 6-5), and the Baltimore Ravens (who are also a whopping 6-5). They've only managed a split with the San Francisco 49ers (5-6).

This is a team that is thoroughly mediocre in every way. They will be cannon fodder in the playoffs. Though the fans see the clear truth, it may take the lapdog St. Louis media a while to catch up.

Monday, November 24, 2003

From the referral logs:

Over the weekend, somebody reached my blog through the following Google search: "Wayne's World" + translation + monkeys.
Marc Bulger threw four interceptions yesterday (and fumbled) in the Rams' near loss to the putrid Arizona Cardinals. Head coach Mike Martz never once considered pulling him.

Anyone still believe that Martz doesn't have a personal grudge against Kurt Warner?

Friday, November 21, 2003

My kids (11 and 9 1/2) generally don't watch television, so they have no idea who Michael Jackson is.

Last night, we were watching ABC's program on the JFK assasination (I figured it might be semi-educational for them, and I think it actually was), and station showed one of those "tonight at 11" promos for the local news. I had the TV muted (as always during commercials), but my wife, who had strolled into the room, saw out of the corner of her eye the video of Jackson being led in handcuffs into the police station. They then showed his mugshot.

"So they arrested him, huh?" she said.

"Him?!?" my kids shouted. "That's a man?"

I still haven't figured out how to explain it to them. All I could really come up with is: "So they say. He has some real problems, though."
Yesterday, I interviewed Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, a great champion of religious liberty, on local radio. He said he thinks it's possible that the gay marriage ruling in Massachusetts may be too much, too soon, and that (paraphrasing Admiral Yamamoto after the Pearl Harbor attack) they may have "awakened a sleeping giant."

Though acceptance of homosexuality has been gaining, most polls show that Americans are still overwhelmingly opposed to gay marriage. Staver thinks political opposition is strong enough and widespread enough that legitimate work can begin on the "Defense of Marriage" constitutional amendment. I hope he's right.

On the other hand, Jonah Goldberg makes a strong case today that both Republicans and Democrats are scared to death of the issue, and just want to leave it to the judges. As Goldberg points out, there's no denying a strong gutless streak on both sides of the aisle:
As with abortion and affirmative action, both parties are so scared of seeming "divisive," they'd rather have an unelected judiciary make the tough calls for them. There's no easier dodge for a politician than "It's out of my hands." The end result is a public policy fait accompli, crafted and implemented without democratic input at any level.
This would be a good time to let your representatives know that you'd like them to move forward on a constitutional amendment.
We've had a recent onslaught of Damn Dirty Hippies here in South Florida as a result of the Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting in Miami.

These protesters are the same "anarchists" (the term "anarchist" evidently meaning "those who spend all of trust fund on Che Guevara t-shirts, hacky sacks, and Phish tickets") who are always destroying Starbuck's (I don't know how to spell the plural on that. Starbuck'ses?) in Seattle and protesting world trade.

Fortunately, the police in Miami have been preparing for this for quite some time. They knocked 'em over and rounded 'em up yesterday before any of the brain-fried Dead-heads had any idea what was happening. Come to think of it, most of them probably still don't know what's happening.

The hippies will probably be protesting again today, but the police are rounding up lots of big, shiny objects to distract and calm them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

My man Bud alerts me this morning to an outstanding column on, where Michael Ventre examines the Michael Jackson case. In Ventre's opinion, Jackson is about to do hard time:
In retrospect, Michael Jackson and his people probably would have been well-advised to rent some prison movies, because it seems to me that in all the films and television shows I have seen that deal with the milieu of the maximum-security penitentiary, there are no stuffed animals, video games, swing sets, cotton candy machines or choo-choo trains. In the yard, they don’t play “Ring Around the Rosey,” they play “Garrote the Squealer.” In the shower, when somebody passes you the soap, it’s not just a gesture of courtesy, it’s the beginning of a relationship.
According to Ventre, things looked bad for Jackson from the git-go:
[T]here are...developments that disturb me the most and make me wonder if indeed Michael has a cavity search and a delousing in his immediate future.

First, Court TV reported that a portable toilet was brought to the scene. When the police bring their own toilet when serving a search warrant, it means one of two things: a) they’re going to be there for a while, or b) Michael Jackson’s bathroom is too disgusting to use. My guess is the former, not the latter, because people who have had 300 plastic surgeries tend to pay attention to detail. So that means the cops probably took the square footage of Neverland, divided it by the size of the average adolescent pubic hair, and then realized this was going to be a takeout food and porta-potty kind of day.
As of this morning, the cops are still there. That can't be good. Unless Haley Joel Osment can get himself arrested quickly, one suspects that Jackson is not going to find his cellmate so attractive.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Barry Bonds is simply in a league of his own. Today, he scored his sixth National League Most Valuable Player award at the age of 39. Nobody else in baseball history has ever won more than three. Bonds has now won that many in a row.

Albert Pujols of the Cardinals finished second behind Bonds for the second straight year. Pujols, who contended for the Triple Crown this season, will win this award a few times himself before all is said and done--but only after Bonds decides to hang it up.
Goofball televangelist Joyce Meyer, in addition to being a theological abomination, is also getting rich off the backs of the poor dopes who send money into her ministry.

Meyer's inexplicable worldwide ministry is based in the St. Louis area, and the newspaper there has started doing a little checking into her act. According to one of the stories in an outstanding investigative series on Meyer that is being run in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Joyce Meyer says God has made her rich.

Everything she has came from Him: the $10 million corporate jet, her husband's $107,000 silver-gray Mercedes sedan, her $2 million home and houses worth another $2 million for her four children — all blessings, she says, straight from the hand of God.
But, of course, those blessings have come through a lot of hard-working, misguided folks who think that the swill Meyer preaches has anything to do with authentic, historic Christianity. They send her money, expecting that their money is being used to further the gospel. Apparently, however, a lot of it isn't.
Meyer is fond of nice things and is willing to spend for them. From an $11,000 French clock in the ministry's Fenton headquarters to a $105,000 Crownline boat docked behind her vacation home at Lake of the Ozarks, it's clear her tastes run more to Perrier than to tap water.

"You can be a businessman here in St. Louis, and people think the more you have, the more wonderful it is," Meyer said in an interview. "But if you're a preacher, then all of a sudden it becomes a problem.

"The Bible says, 'Give and it shall be given unto you.' "
No, it "suddenly becomes a problem" when you spend people's tax-deductable gifts on vacation homes and boats. It's weird how you look all through the New Testament and can't find one vacation home or closet full of designer clothes among the disciples. They did have a boat, I guess, although it sounds like it was a rickety old rowboat used for fishing.

So, Granny, when you send in your $20 check, just know that it's one drop in a very large bucket that Joyce will be using to doll up the office:
A Jefferson County assessor's list offers a glimpse into the value of many of the items: a $19,000 pair of Dresden vases, six French crystal vases bought for $18,500, an $8,000 Dresden porcelain depicting the Nativity, two $5,800 curio cabinets, a $5,700 porcelain of the Crucifixion, a pair of German porcelain vases bought for $5,200.

The decor includes a $30,000 malachite round table, a $23,000 marble-topped antique commode, a $14,000 custom office bookcase, a $7,000 Stations of the Cross in Dresden porcelain, a $6,300 eagle sculpture on a pedestal, another eagle made of silver bought for $5,000, and numerous paintings purchased for $1,000 to $4,000 each.

Inside Meyer's private office suite sit a conference table and 18 chairs bought for $49,000. The woodwork in the offices of Meyer and her husband cost the ministry $44,000.
The sad thing is, scam artists like Meyer and Benny Hinn and Robert Tilton are the public faces of "Christianity." The vast majority of non-Christians in this country directly equate "Christianity" with "the goofballs with big hair who are always asking for your money on TBN." Of course, Meyer's preaching has little to do with the central message of the Bible--Christ's atonement for sins (and our reconciliation with God through Him), and has much to do with God as a cosmic butler, who is at our service and brings us what we want when we order him too. As the close of the article says:
None of her critics seems to rile Meyer. She says her material success is a reflection of her commitment to God.

As she puts it: "The whole Bible really has one message: 'Obey me and do what I tell you to do, and you'll be blessed.'"
And then I'm sure she blew her nose in a $100 bill.

Monday, November 17, 2003

The transcripts for the day are now up on Rush's website, so I can be more specific about what I meant. Try to read this interaction without cringing. The caller was asking Rush how to handle an addict in her own life:
CALLER: What kind of support - is there any support that helps, or do you just have to be yourself?

RUSH: Be who you are. Just be who you are. Don't try to make decisions for this person, don't try to anticipate what they're doing, just trust them, and if they disappoint you, they disappoint you. You cannot control what they do.

CALLER: Well, I think that's really important. I think that you said trust them. I guess that's what I wanted to know.

RUSH: If you feel it, then trust it. If you don't, then don't. But I mean be honest with yourself about how you feel, be honest with yourself about who you are and understand that you've got enough of a load living your own life and doing the things that you like and want to do that you have to do, this sort of thing. To take on the burden of somebody else's is only going to harm you and you're not going to succeed at controlling somebody else's life. It never works.
Be honest with yourself about how you feel? Ewwwwwww!

Here's hoping the Dr. Laura stuff will be over with quickly.
I've listened to the first hour or so of Rush today to see what he'd have to say. He's making me a little nervous. Yes, he still sounds like himself, but there has already been a disturbing amount of talk about people "taking responsibility for their own happiness." He also said of those who've volunteered for service in the Armed Forces that "we can't live their lives for them, and they can't live our lives for us." Blech.

Hopefully after a few days the more self-conscious aspects of this rehab will have worked themselves out, and the show will stop sounding like Dr. Laura. I'm glad he's back and doing well, but if it turns into the Stuart Smalley show, he's going to be in trouble. What I suspect, though, is that by this time next week the show will sound exactly as it always has.
Marc Bulger had another mediocre outing for the St. Louis Rams yesterday, though the defense played well enough that they were able to leave Chicago with a 23-21 victory against the awful Bears. Still, it makes me want to cry to see what's become of "The Greatest Show on Turf."

Kurt Warner, predictably, displayed incredible class again yesterday. According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Jeff Gordon:
...Kurt Warner rallied behind Bulger, encouraging Martz to stick with the kid in the second half when the game appeared to be slipping away. Warner knows that the starting quarterback can't operate with one eye looking over his shoulder.
There are so many people who want to hate Warner, but he always makes it difficult by walking the walk to go along with his talk.

Still, while Bulger has bought himself another game, his leash is getting shorter and shorter. As Gordon points out:
But the reality is this: Bulger, 7-2 as a starter this season, could very easily be 4-5. The Rams were fortunate to beat San Francisco and Baltimore at home and Chicago on the road.

In nine starts, Bulger has turned the ball over 16 times. His passer rating for his last three games was 79.3, 29.3 and 72.7. The franchise savior has become Just Another Quarterback before our eyes.
The shame of it is, the Rams will likely be going with the strictly ordinary Bulger next season, while some other team finds itself with a two-time NFL MVP in Warner.
In case you haven't heard it in the mainstream media, things are off to a flying start at Harvey Milk High School, the new (and first) public school for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered teens in New York City. According to columnist Joel Mowbray:
Last week, police arrested five cross-dressing Harvey Milk students who posed as female hookers and robbed men who approached them for sex. According to news reports, the teens dressed up as female hookers, and when would-be johns approached to solicit sex, other students posing as cops would start “arresting” the men.

After allegedly taking wallets, cash, ATM and credit cards—and apparently brandishing a gun in at least one case—the students would say something like, “You’re not such a bad guy,” and “release” the men. But before the men were set free, several of them divulged their PIN numbers, allowing the Harvey Milk students to withdraw as much as $1200 from each person’s account.
But that's not the first crime out of Harvey Milk in it's less-than-one-semester existence:
Last month, three Harvey Milk students were charged with gang assault after a group of teens stabbed a man in the back with a screwdriver in the parking lot of a Starbucks coffee shop across the street from the school. Several of the alleged criminals’ classmate’s [sic] told the media that the victim had made homophobic remarks, but police told the New York Daily News, “This was not motivated by him seeking to harass them about being gay.”

The police official also told the Daily News, “The Harvey Milk students were the aggressors.”
Maybe it's not a fair statistical sample, however. I mean, after all, Harvey Milk High School has all of 100 students in it. So in reality, only 8% of the school's student body has been arrested in the last month. That's pretty good, right?

Friday, November 14, 2003

Taranto, after having a good outing the other day, ruins it all by adding reflexive stupidity to the Judge Moore debate today:
We'd say the Alabama Court of the Judiciary did the right thing yesterday when it removed Roy Moore from his position as the state's chief justice. Moore placed a Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda at the State Judicial Building, then defied a federal court order to remove it. His fellow justices subsequently had the monument removed, but Moore's defiance nonetheless prompted his ouster, on the grounds that no man is above the law. As the Court of the Judiciary said in its decision (link in PDF format):
Any person who undertakes a solemn oath to carry out a public trust must act in a manner that demonstrates both respect for and compliance with established rules of law of the institution that person serves.
Indeed. This doesn't mean we agree with the federal court that ordered Moore to remove the monument, or with the body of law on which it was relying. But the law is the law.
Good grief. Again, I'd love to know, James: what law? What law did Moore violate? Of course no man is above the law. But what you're telling us here is that no man is above the lawyer.
On a more positive note, it's encouraging to see Senate Republicans starting to take the judiciary issue seriously. The nearly 40-hour marathon session was a big step in the right direction, and hopefully it signals a Republican desire to keep this issue on the front burner until it's resolved.

Never in American history has there been a single judicial nominee, approved by the judiciary committe, who was then filibustered and denied a straight up/down vote in the Senate. Currently, Senate Democrats are blocking a vote on four of this president's nominees, and will likely do the same to a half-dozen more in the coming months.

After the marathon, the Senate again voted on whether to close debate on three of the nominees, which would then allow them to be voted on by the full Senate. The vote to close in the three cases was 53-43, 53-42, and 52-42 in favor of closing debate. Which, of course, means that debate does not get closed, and the 53 senators are held hostage by the distinct minority. But the Democrat's blockade will be much harder to maintain if the public glare continues to build.
I watched, nauseated, last night on Fox News as "the Beltway Boys" (Fred Barnes, Morton Kondracke, Brit Hume, and whatever token chick they had dragged in for the show) fell all over themselves and one another to declare how richly Roy Moore deserved removal from his job. They could hardly contain themselves over this triumph of virtue.

All agreed that Judge Moore really had no case. I mean, a federal judge had issued an order. You don't mess around with something like that--when the king issues a decree, you salute and obey it.

"Maybe when he becomes governor of Alabama, he can change the law that caused all this trouble," offered Token Chick, demonstrating her stultifying ignorance of the very case she had volunteered to opine on. Of course, Roy Moore's entire case hinged on the fact that there is no law outlawing the display of the Ten Commandments in Alabama or anywhere else, and that Myron Thompson's ruling was an unjustified intrusion of federal power into state business.

Thompson, the unelected federal judge who ordered the monument removed despite the express wishes of the Alabama electorate, never cited a single law or statute in his decision--only judicial precedent. All who crow about the supposed "rule of law" have yet to produce a single law written anywhere on which Thompson based his ruling. Instead of "rule of law," what's being excercised is "rule of lawyers," which is an entirely different thing.

Sensing disaster, "conservative" Fred Barnes put Token Chick's notion to rest, lest anyone be frightened by the ominous specter of an uppity American governor carrying out the will of his own voting constituency.

"Well, it was a federal judge who issued the order, so he wouldn't be able to do anything about it as governor," Fred smiled.

Translation: The federal government reigns supreme over the state. And the unelected federal judges reign supreme over the federal government. In other words, Roy Moore's got nothing to say about it, because we live in a judicial monarchy. And judging by Fred's beatific smile, That's a Good Thing (as Martha Stewart says).

Thursday, November 13, 2003

As expected, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been removed from office by an "ethics" committee.

The case was prosecuted by the state's attorney general, Bill Pryor, who disingenuously weaseled his way into office by misrepresenting himself to the governor as one who believes a state official is duty-bound to disobey an unconstitutional court opinion.

According to an affidavit filed by former Alabama governor Fob James, who appointed Pryor to his job:
I talked with Bill Pryor about all this when I was considering him for the job of Alabama Attorney-General. He impressed me with his knowledge of these things and provided me with some legal papers on “non acquiescence” that he was responsible for while at the Tulane Law School. I told Bill about my view that constitutional officials needed to challenge the Supreme Court. For instance, for twenty years my view has been that a Governor should refuse to allow enforcement of a patently unconstitutional court order, and force the president to take action one way or the other on the issue. I don’t mean that we should fight anyone with troops. I do mean that we should use our constitutional authority to force the great issue of the day into the provinces of all branches of the federal government, not just a judiciary that likes to sweep everything under its own rug where it has nearly exclusive control. Bill Pryor was aware of my views when I appointed him, because we discussed these things. Bill had indicated nothing but his wholehearted support of my position on these issues at the time

....Bill’s actions today are utterly contrary to the political and legal convictions he expressed to me. Had he expressed his present view, I would not have found him qualified to be Attorney-General of Alabama. The main reason Pryor was appointed was his understanding and the ability to express that understanding well that a public official’s highest duty was to the Constitution of the United States and not to the Supreme Court or any other entity.
Here is a portion of Bill Pryor's questioning of Roy Moore on the stand yesterday:
Q: Mr. Chief Justice? And your understanding is that the federal court ordered that you could not acknowledge God; isn’t that right?

A: Yes.

Q: And if you resume your duties as Chief Justice after this proceeding, you will continue to acknowledge God as you have testified that you would today?

A: That’s right.

Q: No matter what any official says?

A: Absolutely.
Wow, I guess Pryor got him there. Imagine the gall--a state official acknowledging God!

Fortunately, while Moore's legal battle has come to an unsuccesful end, he will likely only move forward from here--very possibly to the United States Senate.
Since I wrote this on September 16, that particular "world's oldest person" has left us, and now her successor has shed this mortal coil as well.

I'm telling you, you don't want to be "the world's oldest person." It's bad luck.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

What's the deal with you people who insist on making a big production out of backing into a parking space?

What exactly is the purpose of that? I'm sure it's a good one, because otherwise I know you would never dream of holding up a whole line of traffic just so that you could properly line up your big, stupid Buick for the slow, grandiose back-in, but I just don't know what it is.

I mean, are you going to possibly be called upon to go out crime-fighting? Are you awaiting the call from Commissioner Gordon, and you need to be able to make as quick a getaway as possible?

Or perhaps you're picking up one of those Igloo coolers with a human liver in it, so that you can rush it to the airport to be flown to the transplant unit?

I know there must be some life-or-death reason. I have too much respect for you to think that you're a solipsistic, narcissistic jackass who's willing to inconvenience the world to save yourself ten seconds on your way out. Right?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Art Carney, best known for his wonderful portrayal of Ed Norton on the television classic "The Honeymooners," has died in Connecticut at 85.

The only proper and appropriate reaction to this sad news, in my opinion, is: "Wow, Art Carney was still alive?"
Veterans Day: A Mother's Salute to her son, killed in battle in Iraq.
There's a common phenomenon that takes place in the NFL when a star starting-quarterback goes down with an injury. Frequently, his replacement comes in and sets the league on fire for six or seven games.

This phenomenon could be called the "Damon Huard Syndrome," after the justly-forgotten quarterback who stepped in for the injured future Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino in Miami during the 1999 season and led the team to a 5-1 record in Marino's absence.

Smart coaches know that it is a temporary phenomenon, that an entire team often steps up its game in the wake of an injury to a star, and that ultimately, "hey, we're dealing with Damon Freakin' Huard here."

Dumb coaches think that the temporary phenomenon is permanent, and that the "Damon Huard" character is actually somehow better than the "Dan Marino" character. They listen to the no-attention-span fans who think that the guy who played well today is the best there ever was.

Unfortunately, the St. Louis Rams are currently saddled with one of the dumb variety. Mike Martz, who doesn't like two-time league MVP Kurt Warner because Warner happens to have an annoying wife, somehow got it into his head that somebody named Marc Bulger, who took over at QB last year after a Warner injury, is as talented as Kurt Warner. Bulger had the predictable run of good games (see "Huard, Damon" above; also see "Reich, Frank," and "Hostetler, Jeff") in Warner's absence, giving Martz the bright idea to permanently give Bulger the job.

Now, of course, Martz is having to come to terms with the fact that a 100% healthy Marc Bulger doesn't even have the talent of a 60% healthy Kurt Warner. Or, to put it another way, "we're dealing with Marc Freakin' Bulger here."

Bulger headed up the most painful offensive "effort" I've ever seen from a St. Louis football team on Sunday night--and I say that as someone who watched the football Cardinals for 15 years. It was horrific. It was unendurable. It should be shown on a loop as punishment to prisoners in solitary confinement.

So now Martz has a decision to make, having squandered the once-best offense in NFL history: Do I pop a Pamprin and leave a two-time MVP on the bench because his wife said some mean things about me in the press, thus peeing away any hope I have of ever sniffing a Super Bowl again in my soon-to-be-shortened NFL career? Or do I suck it up, be a man, and put the best player out on the field--the one who was an integral cog in the best offense in NFL history--even though some may see it as an admission that I was wrong, which I was?
I know that James Taranto of "Best of the Web Today" at Opinion Journal is a "neocon," and thus hated even more by those on the ultra-right than the ultra-left.

Still, when the guy nails it, few are better. Yesterday, he discussed Julianne Malveaux's (of USA Today) laughable suggestion that the Democrats beat George W. Bush in 2004 by making government daycare their big issue:
What is this "care crisis"? Well, it seems some parents have trouble finding baby sitters, and although Malveaux does not care for the United States of America ("I don't celebrate the Fourth of July," she said in 2002. "I get up in the morning and read Frederick Douglass's 'The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro' and then I grouse for the rest of the day"), she does trust its government to take care of everyone's children.

Is this a winning issue for the Democrats? Probably not. If the Dems accept Malveaux's recommendation, they will immediately open themselves up to ridicule for seeking a literal nanny state. The potential appeal of this issue, meanwhile, is limited to those voters who have small children--a constituency kept unnaturally small by the "right to choose" beloved by Democrats. And if you've got kids to care for and can't even get a baby sitter, where will you ever find the time to vote?
"A constituency kept unnaturally small..." What a beautiful line.

Incidentally, if Malveaux's name rings a bell, it could be because she's the one who once said of Clarence Thomas on PBS, "I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that’s how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible person."

Is that "hate speech?" Just curious.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Morbid obesity saves lives!
I saw the highly praised, Clint Eastwood-directed "Mystic River" this weekend.

It's dark.

I believe that Sean Penn will earn a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his part, and Eastwood very well might for his directorial effort. The film is extraordinarily well-crafted and well-acted. But I can't say I enjoyed the picture. Very nihilistic.
According to observers on both sides of the issue, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore will likely be removed from office on Wednesday when he goes before a judicial review board for refusing to obey a federal judge who, without reference to any law, ordered him to remove the granite Ten Commandments monument he had installed at the State Judicial Building.

For standing against an unlawful order from a power-mad federal judge acting outside his proper jurisdiction, Moore has been abandoned by state officials who once stood behind him and will now lose his job. Meanwhile, the idea of "statehood" has ceased to mean anything, and the nation is run by a judicial monarchy. Judges reign supreme, and the people have ceased to be their own rulers.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

What a Kroc

The late Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, has left a record $200 million of her estate to...the government. Like many liberals, she evidently did not feel that the government took enough of her money while she was alive, so she's thrown 200 big ones at National Public Radio.
The nonprofit organization, which will disclose details of the bequest at a news conference this afternoon, called the donation the "largest monetary gift ever received by an American cultural institution" in a brief announcement to its staff yesterday.
Sensing my objections to NPR, the Washington Post story hastens to point out:
About half of NPR's revenue comes from public radio stations that pay annual dues based on the size of their audience. The balance comes primarily from private donations and corporate contributions. The organization receives less than 1 percent of its funding directly from federal tax dollars. The federal Corporation for Public Broadcasting supplies about 15 percent of the budgets of NPR's member stations, however, which then pay some of that money to NPR.
Terrific. If their tax-siphoning is as inconseqential as claimed, perhaps now as a result of Mrs. Kroc's largesse NPR would be willing to take zero tax dollars. And perhaps, as Wayne used to say on Wayne's World, "monkeys might fly out of my butt."

Incidentally, if NPR's listenership is truly 22 million people per week as they claim (which, by the way, is a wildly exaggerated figure), why don't they try to support themselves like any other American business, rather than mooching off taxpayers and corporations?

Perhaps if they actually had to pay their own freight, we'd see how many listeners they really have.
Don't get me wrong--the more inept Terry McAuliffe is, the better it is for me and the country. But still, from an outsider's perspective, I'm really trying to figure out: what in the world would this guy have to do to get fired?

This is supposedly the Democrats' big chance to take back the country, with President Bush's approval ratings dropping, problems in Iraq, and a sluggish (though improving) economy. And what has the Democrat party done under McAuliffe? For starters, they've lost three governorships in the last month. Including in states that haven't elected Republican governors in decades.

Add this to the monumental loses sustained by the Dems this time last year, wherein they coughed up the entire Congress, and the sinking ship that is the Democrat presidential contest.

Frankly, I love the guy. Keep up the great work, T!

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

I watched a tape yesterday of ABC's "Da Vinci Code" special, and I have to say, I was suprised at how thin it was. Under Peter Jennings, ABC did a special called "The Search for Jesus" a few years ago, and it was horribly biased, featuring only one conservative scholar amongst a sea of liberals as they "debunked" Jesus' life, work, and miracles. It was, to say the least, a formidable piece of propaganda. Having thus seen ABC's potential to put together a concerted attack on Christianity, I find it difficult to regard this new program as anything more than innocuous.

In case you are not familiar with the best-selling book The Da Vinci Code and haven't seen ABC's special, the essential idea is this: throughout history, there has been a "secret society" operating at the fringes of the Church which believes that Jesus Christ was actually married to Mary Magdelene and even had a child by her. Leonardo Da Vinci is perhaps the most famous alleged member of this society.

The evidence for the claim that Jesus had been married, as presented on ABC, was almost comically lacking. Elizabeth Vargas, the program's correspondent, at one point said something like "While we weren't able to uncover any proof of a marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdelene, we didn't find any evidence that it wasn't true, either. So it can't be proved either way." In other words, because Vargas failed to prove the negative (that Jesus wasn't married), we have to concede that it might be true.

Other claims that Vargas failed to disprove:
* That Jesus loved bowling

* That He played the electric guitar

* That He was a Rams season-ticket holder
You can play the "no evidence against" game all night.

They were so desperate for "evidence," that at one point they interviewed an English guy simply because his last name was "Sinclair," which derives from "St. Clair," which belongs to a family that was said to once be prominent in the society that believes Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene. I'm telling the truth, folks--it was that specious.

Even Vargas, at the end of the program, admitted they had proved nothing beyond the fact that Mary Magdelene had an important relationship with Jesus--a fact which is evident to anyone who simply bothers to read the New Testament. The program was simply nothing more than a one-hour infomercial for Dan Brown, the author of The Da Vinci Code. ABC ought to get a cut of his book royalties.
Of course, Sandra Day O'Connor is not the first U.S Supreme Court Justice to moronically and dangerously herald a deference to international law in decision making. Why, just a few months ago, I took Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to task for the very same thing. It was as frightening then as it is now.

Monday, November 03, 2003

I somehow missed it the other day, but this is an absolutely mind-boggling story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to the story, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says that the U.S. judiciary needs to pay more attention to international law in making its decisions. While her disregard for the American Constitution is obvious in many of her idiotic rulings, it takes a certain boldness to make such a declaration--which would have been impeachable only 30 or 40 years ago.

Here's a nugget from the story:
The second ruling cited by O'Connor was, as she called it, "the famous or perhaps infamous case," in which the Supreme Court overturned the Texas anti-sodomy law.

In that decision, the Supreme Court majority relied partly on a series of decisions by European courts on the same issue, O'Connor said.

"I suspect," O'Connor said, "that over time we will rely increasingly, or take notice at least increasingly, on international and foreign courts in examining domestic issues."

Doing so, she added, "may not only enrich our own country's decisions, I think it may create that all important good impression."
Oh yes, the international good impression is all important. What good is a stupid old Constitution if France doesn't have a good impression of us?
The United States Supreme Court has rejected Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's appeals in the Ten Commandments case.

Thus, the ruling that the monument be removed from the Alabama State Judicial Building and that Chief Justice Moore be suspended stand. Judge Myron Thomposon's ruling that it is unconstitutional for a state to even acknowledge God now stands unopposed.

Associated Press, of course, remains eminently neutral on the matter. The first paragraph from their story (written by an Anne Gearan) reads:
The Supreme Court refused Monday to enter the long-running fight over an enormous monument depicting the Ten Commandments and the renegade judge who wants to put it back on display in an Alabama courthouse.
The "enormous" monument installed by the "renegade judge" stands about waist high and about 2 1/2 feet square.