Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Strong Medicine

Courtesy of Dr. Hanson. A sampling:
In the aftermath of the financial meltdown, 50 years’ worth of careful thinking and hard-won wisdom were erased, as the Reagan Revolution, the work of Milton Freidman, and the classical free-market ethos were suddenly Trotskyized. In their place, the government printed more money to cover its hourly check-writing. The only entertaining element of the tragedy was the sheer shamelessness of a Barney Frank and Chris Dodd — who both once peddled their wares to banks and Freddie/Fannie at Ground Zero of the meltdown — now with flashing eyes and sagging craws pontificating each evening about Wall Street greed and excess.
Read it all.

On Moral Equivalence

If you're not reading Melanie Philips, you're missing out. She's a British writer, outspoken on matters of terrorism and Arab-Israeli relations. She's embroiled in a skirmish in the UK press about the current Iraeli military action against Hamas. Her foil is one Ed Husain, a "former" radical Muslim who claims he came out of the shadows to encourage British Muslims not to radicalize, but who has apparently reverted to his Jew-hating roots.

Ms. Philips skewers him here. An excerpt:
The vast majority of Gazans who have been killed were Hamas terrorists. According to today’s UN figures, 364 have been killed of whom only 62 were civilians. Israel has been targeting only the Hamas infrastructure and its terror-masters, as detailed here. While some civilian casualties are unfortunately inevitable, Israel is clearly attempting to minimise them. It is Hamas which deliberately targets Israeli civilians when it fires its rockets and detonates its human bombs specifically at Israeli civilian targets. It is Hamas which deliberately turns its own civilians into targets by siting its rockets and other military equipment under apartment blocks and in centres of densely crowded population. Hamas tries to kill as many Israeli innocents as possible; Israel’s military operation is conducted solely to defend its people against such attack and is designed to minimise the loss of civilian life in Gaza. To draw an equivalence between the two is obscene.
Read the whole devastating thing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Facts, Volume 1

All chaps are butt-less.

Exclusive Clip

From the Media Relations Department — Immediate Release:

Your favorite blog, Primary Reason, in collusion with United Artists is proud to present the following clip from Valkyrie starring our favorite thetan, Tom Cruise.
(clicken ze photo)

BENEDICK ADDS: Color me relieved I pre-apologized.

9-MONTHS-PREGNANT PUCK SIGHS: You know what really, really sucks? That Hitler looks better in a slinky black dress than I do.

This One's A Keeper

I am proud to announce that Puck and I will be joined here at PR by a new contributor. Yorick (google it if you don't get the joke) has been a close friend of mine for nearly two decades (his wife is also a great friend and -- boy -- you should hear the stories from their wedding). He is a brilliant guy . . . an author, film-maker, computer guy, and Batman expert; and he can grow a beard in four minutes flat. He's at least in the Top Three Funniest People I Know.

I'll let Yorick introduce himself further, but I should say I'm ashamed that I didn't invite his talent and his wit to augment this project much, much sooner.

Also, knowing Yorick as well as I do, I apologize in advance.

PUCK ADDS: Welcome, Yorick. I am sure your infinite jest and most excellent fancy -- to say nothing of your bitchin' cheekbones -- will be well-received.

Tough Assignment

At least one AP reporter is hard at work demonstrating why he and his intrepid, investigative-journalist colleagues deserve that ten-percent raise they've been demanding:
KAILUA, Hawaii (AP) - President-elect Barack Obama thought he'd put the bowling jokes behind him. Not likely.

On the golf course Monday, a woman waiting at the 18th green reminded Obama of his disastrous bowling during the presidential campaign. It was an unwelcome reminder for Obama, whose golf game during a 12-day vacation has been just as troublesome.

"That was pretty good, right?" Obama said to cheers as he finished a round of golf near his $9 million rented vacation home near Honolulu.

The woman sitting on a nearby wall shouted, "Better than your bowling." Obama smiled and went back to lining up his putt, which he got close to the hole but not in.

The woman's quip referred to Obama's embarrassing bowling outing in Pennsylvania, when he knocked down only 37 pins - with the assist during two frames from an 8-year-old. It was an effort to connect with working-class voters, yet he lost Pennsylvania's primary election to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Likewise, Obama has struggled with his golf game. He told reporters during his first round last week that he wasn't that good; he asked other patrons for tips on his second. On Monday he joked that his final drive of the day went only 20 yards.

It was Obama's third trip to a course while on holiday. Accompanying him were Bobby Titcomb, a friend from high school in Hawaii, friends Martin Nesbitt and Greg Orme, and aide Eugene Kang.

Obama has sought to stay out of the public eye while here, opting for private meals at his vacation home or at a friend's house. Obama has no public schedule during his stay, although aides say he has been receiving national security briefings and speaking with transition officials.

Earlier in the day, Obama returned to a military gym where he has exercised every
morning except Christmas since beginning his vacation on Dec. 20.

Obama, his wife and daughters are due to return to Chicago on Jan. 1.
Woodward and Bernstein, eat your hearts out.

Deadbeat Blogger

I know, I know. I took a break, and a pretty long one. I was sick, so cut me some slack. Plus, HOLIDAYS!

It's been a busy week around the world, so let's get rolling with some bullet points:
  • Israel finally got tired of the Palestinian government (read: Hamas) lobbing rockets into Israeli towns. Israel is presently in process of dismantling the Hamas terror infrastructure. Predictably, the world -- having sanguinely tolerated the indiscriminant murder of Jews -- now screams bloody murder.
  • Relatedly -- and awesomely -- crazy, race-baiting, anti-semitic, Capitol-police-officer-assaulting former U.S. Representative from Georgia, and most recently Green Party candidate for president Cynthia McKinney gathered up a whole bunch of her crazy, Jew-hating friends and decided to hop on a cruise ship in Cyprus and attempted to run the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. With predictably hilarious results! Said McKinney's similarly Jew-unfriendly father: “Her mother did not want her to go . . . . But I think that certain people have missions in life and you can’t deter them.” You are correct, sir. You can't deter crazy.
  • Having gotten their man elected, some liberal journalists are beginning to discover what we've known all along.
  • Mazel Tov to Bristol Palin, who is now a mom. It's probably fortunate that the birth occurred after the election, otherwise we reasonably could have expected to find CNN reporters scraping poop out of the little guy's diapers and running it through a centrifuge, looking for evidence to confirm the rumors that would have been first reported on the front page of the New York Times to the effect that Bristol nourishes her baby with Budweiser and baby seals' blood.
  • Another tale of Utopian Health Care In Action.
  • You know, Caroline Kennedy, you know, wants to be the next um, you know, Senator from, um, you know, New York.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Puck's Late-Stage Pregnancy Wisdom, 2

When your feet are so swollen that merely glancing at your toes gets your mouth watering for a big fat Italian sausage sammich, see, that's just Mother Nature telling you to put your feet up and order in.

Obey.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Primary Reason Presents:

Mind-dissolving, hypnotic weirdness . . . here. If you dare.

Osama is getting ready for his next dialysis session and hoping Muhammed brings some of his famous fig cookies to next week's Ramadan party.

If you're not on Facebook, the title of this post means nothing to you. Move along.

Yet More Evidence . . .

. . . that human scientists understand perfectly everything there is to know about our planet, its systems, its relationship with the sun, and the effects of these interactions. So don't you dare question The Consensus.

Because if you do, it means you hate our planet.

UPDATE: Traitors!

New Global Warming Effects

In yesterday's post, I introduced you to two insidious effects of our planet's incredibly hot (and getting hotter all the time!) temperatures: HeatCold and HeatSnow.

Today, I'd like to add to the list. It's gotten so hot in Chicago, that the Windy City's experienced and capable winter-weather drivers are being literally begged by authorities not to drive, due to an onslaught of HeatIce and HeatSleet.
"We are literally at the point where we are pleading with the public to stay home," said IDOT spokeswoman Marisa Kollias. "The streets are like sheets of ice. It is a mixed storm; it's almost as if there are little ice pellets that are hitting my face when I stepped outside my house, and I will tell you, it's dangerous."

IDOT rarely tells motorists to stay in altogether. Kollias said it has been about two winters since they last did so.
Somewhere, a polar bear weeps.

Unfortunately, keeping motorists off the road is not an entirely effective solution. Global Warming is affecting mass transit, too:
For those who can take public transportation, Metra, the suburban rail agency, says it can accommodate extra crowds.

But frozen wires posed a problem on the Metra Electric Line. Metra shut down service south of Kensington on the line, and delays were reported all along the line.

A train had to be stopped in south suburban Matteson. About 4:45 a.m., Metra Electric District train No. 100 had to stop near Matteson because of weather conditions, according to Metra's Web site. The train was scheduled to arrive at Chicago's Millennium station at 5:32 a.m.

Metra said the train stopped because of frozen wires.
President-Elect Obama pledged to lower the oceans; perhaps he can melt HeatIce too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Global Warming Update

The dramatic, undeniable, human-caused, catastrophic soaring of the Earth's temperature continues apace. In fact, the planet is so hot (and getting hotter!) that the incredible hotness is heating up water vapor to such a high temperature that it's turning into . . . snow. In the desert. In Vegas.

A rare winter storm swept through Southern Nevada Wednesday, dumping the most snow on the valley in nearly three decades, grounding flights at the airport, forcing the closure of major highways and closing schools for today.

"This is the most snow we've had in Las Vegas in almost 30 years," said Chris Stachelski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It's a significant historical event."

At 9:50 p.m. Wednesday, the weather service measured a record-breaking 3.6 inches of snow at its office location southwest of McCarran International Airport. It was the highest snow accumulation recorded in the month of December in Las Vegas since the start of official records in 1937. The previous record was 2 inches of snow, which fell on Dec. 15, 1967.

The weather service dubbed the storm as "the eighth greatest snowstorm ever in
official Las Vegas weather records for any month."
Because of the heat. I think we should begin to refer to snow caused by Global Warming as HeatSnow. And extreme cold temperatures caused by Global Warming should be called HeatCold. It's important to remain rhetorically consistent with The Consensus.

UPDATE: Thanks to the oven that is our planet, Southern California is also experiencing HeatCold and HeatSnow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Obama: "Person of the Year"

Time has named Barack Obama it's "Person of the Year" for 2008. This is not surprising, and it's obviously appropriate.

It struck me as a little strange, though, that Time also named Obama "Person of the Year" for 2009-2032.

Bad Idea Jeans

Drew Peterson, 54, is still a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his 23-year-old wife -- his fourth wife -- Stacy. His third wife, Kathleen Savio, died in a bathtub under suspicious circumstances in 2004. His first two wives left him for infidelity in 1980 and 1992, respectively.

But you know what they say . . . fifth time's the charm. Peterson is reportedly now engaged to another 23-year-old woman.

One potential snag . . . Stacy has never been found. So technically, they're still married. (Drew, that's what you get for hiding the body too well.)

The as-yet unidentified bride-to-be is reportedly practicing NEVER MAKING DREW ANGRY.

Wherein A Robust and Independent Media Exerts The Power of the Press to Doggedly Hold President-Elect Obama to Account

OBAMA: John McCormick?

McCORMICK: Thank you, Mr. President-Elect. First of all, given the situation here in Illinois, do you favor or oppose a special election to fill your -- your vacancy, and secondly, you told us at your first press conference after the election that you were going to take a very hands-off approach to filling that spot. Over the weekend, The Tribune reported that Rahm Emanuel, your incoming chief of staff, had presented a list of potential names...

OBAMA: John, let me -- let me -- let me just cut you off, because I don't want you to waste your question. As I indicated yesterday, we've done a full review of this. The -- the facts are going to be released next week. It would be inappropriate for me to comment, because the -- the -- for example, the -- the story that you just talked about in your own paper, I haven't confirmed that it was accurate, and I don't want to get into the details at this point. So do you have another question?

McCORMICK: There's no conflict between what you said was your hands-off approach and the possibility that --

OBAMA: John --

McCORMICK: – aides presented somebody --

OBAMA: John. I said -- The U.S. attorney's office specifically asked us not to release this until next week.

McCORMICK: What about on a special election? Given the kind of chaos here in Illinois?

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: You know, I've said that I don't think the governor can serve effectively in his office. I'm going to let the state legislature make a determination in terms of how they want to proceed.

McCORMICK: Do you or [Secretary of Education-designate Arne] Duncan have a better jump shot?

*GROUP HUG*

[scene]

2008's Worst Parents (Non-Violent Category), Nominee #1

Heath and Deborah Campbell, who are angry that the local supermarket wouldn't put their son's full name -- Adolf Hitler Campbell -- on a birthday cake. And even worse: when the local news published their tale of woe, people responded saying negative things about their son's name! Gosh, who would have thought? I mean, where the heck is that even coming from?

Full story here.

I'm trying to think of something clever to say, but I'm just agog at the idiocy of these people. I'm all for avoiding ultrapopular names, but come on! If you, Herr and Frau Campbell, like the moniker "Adolf Hitler" so much, then change your own goddamn names and bear that burden yourselves. Don't do that to a child. That's just downright cruel.

And how about this bit of trivia? It turns out the Campbells live pretty close to where I grew up in rural New Jersey. I assure you, however, that I don't know them or their other kids: JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell or Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell. My dad being Jewish and all, I suspect we may have been unwelcome in their home. But that's just a guess.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Misdiagnosis

AP reporters and photographers are on strike because their demand for (among other things) a 10 percent raise hasn't been met.

Says their union rep: "Staffers recognize the tough times, but they also understand that quality journalism at AP means attracting and retaining the best employees."

Actually, "quality journalism at AP" would be better served by dumping the current staff and starting from scratch.

(But I don't think the union would go for it.)

And . . . a 10% raise? Really? In this economy? I think I'll just go into my boss's office and demand the same. (Actually, I won't. I'm not a member of a union, so I can't get away with being laughably unreasonable.)

Gary Sinise: Class Act



Very quietly and without fanfare, one of my favorite actors has become Hollywood's most fervent, sincere, and dedicated supporters of our troops overseas. And just a few days ago, the man some are calling "this generation's Bob Hope" was recognized by President Bush for his good works.

One step in conferring this worthy title on the award-winning actor, director and producer occurred last week when President Bush bestowed on him the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. Previous recipients include Henry "Hank" Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Colin L. Powell and Bob Dole.

While the White House ceremony flew under the radar of most of the media, most notably the entertainment press, word has trickled out to many of his countless admirers in and out of the military. And on the occasion of him receiving the award, they want America to take in their words of praise for, as Sharon Tyk in the USO of Illinois put it, this "gallant American patriot."

Michael Yon, a Special Forces vet and the pre-eminent war journalist of our time, communicated his admiration in a dispatch from Bahrain: "Gary is a true friend of the American soldier. He does not hesitate to travel into war zones to express his admiration and personal support for those who defend us. He visits wounded soldiers, some of whom I personally know. All love him.

"Soldiers from privates to generals admire Gary for his dedication to a cause greater than any of us. Gary's dedication went much further. He personally supported sending millions of dollars worth of school and clothing supplies to Iraqi children. I saw this effort with my own eyes. Gary Sinise is a Great American."

Even more refreshing, he does not toe the tired Hollywood line about "supporting the troops but not their mission":
"I have seen Iraqi kids climbing on our soldiers and hugging them and kissing them," Mr. Sinise said. "I have seen their smiling faces and their attempts to say 'I love you' in broken English. The folks I saw had hope in their eyes and gratitude in their hearts for what was done for them."

Our troops are equally grateful for his support, and many are quoted in this article about his humility, his sincerity, and his utter lack of pretension.
To get a sense of the scope of what Mr. Sinise means to soldiers like Spc. Hale, filmmaker and Army 82nd Airborne veteran Jonathan Flora followed him and his band to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2008. He recounts one time when he witnessed one of Mr. Sinise´s typical interactions with the troops.

"It was hot, Iraq hot when we stopped at a check point before entering an FOB (Forward Operating Base). Gary began speaking with a soldier through the window and soon we were all standing outside so he could have his picture taken with him and a few of his buddies. Soon there were at least fifty guys around him and he greets each one as he always does. This is an unscheduled stop and we are being urged to move on so as to be on time for his next stop, but Gary, still, meets with each one and gives them their time. Finally, we have to move on as he says good-bye to the last soldier.

"As we are about to get into the vehicle we hear the guys yelling and in the distance is one more soldier. He is dressed in full battle-rattle humping as fast as he can in this unbearable heat to get to Gary before he leaves. He had just been relieved from his point and heard that Gary Sinise had stopped by the check point, and he was determined not to miss him. Gary without hesitation stopped and waited and he greeted this young man as if he was the first man in line, full of enthusiasm and appreciation.

Why so dedicated, Mr. Sinise?
"When we did finally get into the vehicle I mentioned to Gary how I observe how he makes each and every man or woman feel special and appreciated, he paused in thought before answering, as he often does, and then says with a heavy heart, 'It's because we don't know what the next hour holds for them. As tired as I might get sometimes, and I do, it is nothing compared to what they go through day-after-day with the price they are so readily willing to pay.'"

I had known that Sinise had a band -- called, appropriately enough, "The Lt. Dan Band" -- and that he performed for the troops, but I had no idea he was so dedicated to this cause. Although I suspect that that is how he prefers it, I encourage you to read the whole thing, for a reminder of what it looks like to really support the troops.

Thank you, Gary Sinise.

Puck's Late-Stage Pregnancy Wisdom, I

There are a number of things about being 8 months pregnant that, however inconvenient or temporarily uncomfortable, are nevertheless sweet, charming, funny, or endearing.

Belly sweat, my dears, is not one of them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

AP: Cooling Trend = Rock-Solid Evidence of Global Warming

Referring to global warming as a "ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid," the AP does its best to carry the (ever-rising levels of) water of Al Gore and the global war--er, climate change crazies.
Since Clinton's inauguration, summer Arctic sea ice has lost the equivalent of Alaska, California and Texas. The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since Clinton's second inauguration. Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it.

You can almost feel the "reporter's" excitement, can't you? Sadly, many of this person's facts are more like, um, fiction.

- Since 1998, the earth has been cooling, not heating up.

- Summer Arctic sea ice may be in decline, but globally, sea ice levels are up. Yes. Up!

- The role of the sun, and sunspots, in Earthly temperatures is not to be discounted.

There are more, but my time is limited.

The timing of this laughable piece of garbage could not be more suspect, coming as it does on the heels of a report wherein 650 preeminent scientists, many of them Nobel prize winners, one-time UN/IPCC committee members, and former global warming believers, announced that they think that the so-called global warming "crisis" is nonense. There is nary a word in this AP piece about the 650 scientists, sunspots, current cooling trends, historical warming and cooling periods, or the fact that temperatures on other planets are likewise in flux (and not due to us!).

This is nothing less than a propaganda piece -- a collection of lies and half-truths, with certain critical facts omitted -- the likes of which you'd expect from Pravda. I know at this point, nothing I read or hear in the media should surprise me, but I can't help it. I expect more from the people who are supposed to educate us.

You can read the whole AP "article" here. But I warn you: to do so is to put your brain cells at extreme risk. To paraphrase the principal in Billy Madison, "What the AP writes here is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever seen. At no point does this rambling, incoherent article even come close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who reads it will be dumber for having looked at it. ... May God have mercy on the AP's soul."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Half-Measures

I'm somewhat heartened by the report (if true) that the Obama administration is prepared to assert a formal policy of nuclear deterrence on behalf of Israel.

But it's still too little:
Granting Israel a nuclear guarantee essentially suggests the U.S. is willing to come to terms with a nuclear Iran. For its part, Israel opposes any such development and similar opposition was voiced by officials in the outgoing Bush administration.

"What is the significance of such guarantee when it comes from those who hesitated to deal with a non-nuclear Iran?" asked a senior Israeli security source. "What kind of credibility would this [guarantee have] when Iran is nuclear-capable?" The same source noted that the fact that there is talk about the possibility of a nuclear Iran undermines efforts to prevent Tehran from acquiring such arms.

Precisely. When the nuclear adversary believes (1) that it has a Holy Mandate to destroy Jews and (2) that dying in the course of fulfilling that cause is honorable and promises eternal rewards, somehow promising to kill them after they've already killed the Jews seems . . . insufficient.

But, hey, I'm sure our silver-tongued president-elect can talk the Islamists out of their religious convictions.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Jonah Says

Jonah Goldberg finds something refreshing in the corruption of the Illinois governor (see previous post for details). I find something refreshing in Jonah's take:
The word "evil" has been used twice today in the Corner to describe Blago's crimes. I'm not really disputing the use of the word. But that's not really the word that comes to my mind. Evil is too dark, too serious, too smart for what we're talking about. I agree with Kathryn that there's something almost wholesome or nostalgic about Blogo's criminal misdeeds. He wasn't found opening an umbrella in parts of his anatomy for money on the internet, or giving cash to terrorists who were going to have Santas wear suicide-padding at department stores around the country. He didn't check interns for a hernia without permission or spy for the Norks. He's just a crook. A good, old-fashioned, crook. I know I'm supposed to be outraged, and in a certain sense I am. If he's guilty of all that's alleged, I hope they throw him in the stoney lonesome until the Chicago Cubs win the World Series or 2025, whichever comes second. But in another sense, this is just plain enjoyable. It's like when you watch "Cops" and the idiot burglar tries to hide beside a tree in the dark, even though he's wearing light-up sneakers. It's like when Dan Rather dares the world to prove he's a clueless ass-clown. It's just good stuff. There's no tragedy here. No wasted potential. No undeserving victims. No profound and complicated symbolic issues (I somewhat doubt the Serbian-American lobby is going to cry racism). This is the sort of criminality we want the Feds to find, particularly in Chicago. Everyone gets what they deserve — at least so far — and all of the guilty parties are all the more deserving of punishment because they don't quite understand what the big deal is. I love it.

More please.

(At The Corner)

PUCK ADDS: I'm with the esteemed Mr. Goldberg. This is just frickin' delicious.

Ah, Chicago Politics!

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been taken into federal custody after trying to sell the Senate seat recently vacated by Barack Obama.

Cue puzzled self-delusion:
Robert Grant, in charge of the FBI office in Chicago, added: “Many, including myself, thought that the recent conviction of a former governor would usher in a new era of honesty and reform in Illinois politics. Clearly, the charges announced today reveal that the office of the Governor has become nothing more than a vehicle for self-enrichment, unrestricted by party affiliation and taking Illinois politics to a new low.”
I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that a Chicago politician would stoop to such naked corruption.

Among the personal benefits he attempted to obtain in exchange for the Senate seat:
  • A substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.
  • Placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year.
  • Promises of campaign funds — including cash up front.
  • A cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.
That's just a taste, mind you.
"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement.
Staggering corruption? By Chicago Democrats? The mind reels.

UPDATE: Uh oh! Looks like the federal investigation's scope includes the Rezko-Obama land deal that the media succeeded in burying until the election was over!

Nothing to see here; move along.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Bailout Fatigue

So now it appears that, having bailed out the greedy jackasses who took out loans for homes they couldn't afford, idiot banks that gave these greedy jackasses the loans, and various other entities that bought the idiot banks' loans to said greedy jackasses, Congress is now prepared to bail out the so-called "Big Three" auto companies. And of course, the gub'mint will get a piece of the action from now on -- and advise these companies on how to build a better car.

Because the government is, like, SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO totally awesome at everything else it gets its grubby little hands in.

Meanwhile, those morons among us who've been diligently paying off their cars, mortgages, student loans and other outstanding debts will get a big fat lump of coal in our stockings. And maybe some Vaseline under the tree. If we're lucky.

Fa la la.

Kudos, Canines.

If you want to know why I am a dog lover-- despite the perpetual shedding; the all-too-frequent (and costly) trips to the vet because the dog ate a lightbulb, couch, or other non-edible and is now bleeding/vomiting/engaged in constant diarrhea; the occasional run-ins with skunks; the unpleasantness associated with traipsing up and down the street in the driving rain, biting cold, and searing heat, picking up poop all the while; and the general pain in the ass that my two oversized dogs impose on my life -- look no further than this. Or this.

I'm not saying all cats are bad, mind you. It so happens that I owned a very cool cat when I was a kid. But I have it on good authority that the victim dog in Chile was hit by none other than Toonces, who, after getting a three-year old Virginia boy lost in the woods in the bitter cold, decided he needed to make a quick international getaway, and seriously, if that dog didn't know better than not to cross a busy highway, it's not my fault. Right, Toonces?

Monday Morning Doggerel

There's snow everywhere
but I shouldn't despair
when the Steelers can tear
up the Cowboys

Plus, I'm not this guy.

Friday, December 05, 2008

I Will Not Blog About OJ's Sentencing

I will not do it.

PUCK ADDS: It's all part of Juice's secret plan to find the real killer. He's going undercover!

He F***ed With The Wrong Judge

Be warned: Judge Robert Ruehlman doesn't like to hear naughty language in his courtroom"
Michael Brautigam was before Ruehlman representing himself in a contentious civil suit he had filed against his North Avondale condo association and other condo owners in the building who are represented by Cincinnati attorney Peter Koenig.

Brautigam asked Ruehlman for more time to file documents. Ruehlman gave it to him.

As Koenig and Brautigam turned to walk away from the judge, Brautigam called Koenig "a (bleeping) liar."

"He used the famous F-word," Koenig said. "(Ruehlman) asked Mr. Brautigam if he said that."

Brautigam admitted he had and had directed it at Koenig. Ruehlman cited Brautigam for contempt and sent him to jail for six months.

Turns out the judge left himself little choice, since he'd sentenced a gang member to six months for the same offense just a day earlier.

Sucks to be Brautigam. Of course, those of us who spend time in court on a regular basis know that dropping F-bombs in front of the judge is a really, really bad idea.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Jerk Store Called . . .

Massachusetts State Trooper Michael Galluccio is in for a big dose of Bad Karma.
All too often, the congested roads of Greater Boston conspire with the vagaries of childbirth to leave a mother-to-be in a car on the roadside at one of life's most critical moments. A hard-bitten state trooper shows up and morphs into a highway midwife, clearing the newborn's nose and mouth, cutting the cord, and sometimes even saving a life.

This is not one of those stories.

Jennifer Davis was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Nov. 18, her contractions just 3 minutes apart. Her husband, John, was trying to appear calm for his wife's sake, driving in the breakdown lane of Route 2. They pulled up behind a state trooper to ask whether they could continue using the lane to reach the next exit, near Alewife Station.

Not only did the trooper say no, he gave them a $100 citation for driving in the breakdown lane, made them wait for their citation while he finished writing someone else's ticket, and even seemed to ask for proof of pregnancy, Jennifer Davis said.

"He said, 'What's under your jacket?' I said, 'My belly,' " Davis said. "He waited and gestured with his head like, 'OK, let's see it.' He waited for me to unzip my jacket. I mean, it was so clear that I was pregnant."
Jack. Ass. Just wanted to make sure this clown's name gets a little more exposure.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Got Bilk?

The Big Three U.S. auto manufacturers presently are engaged in grabbing the Congressional teat and trying to squeeze out more than $30 billion in bail-out funding to rapidly digest and flush down the toilet of a failed business plan (or, to keep the metaphor consistent, into their failed-business-plan diapers).

The NY Times reports this afternoon that the United Automobile Workers union is graciously offering concessions in an effort to convince Congress to provide the sought-after sustenance.

Big surprise. Money for nothing? That’s the UAW’s spec-i-al-i-ty.

But I shouldn’t be too judgmental. The UAW isn’t offering nothing, exactly. In fact, it’s almost, on the surface, if you don’t ask too many questions about the details, giving a reasonable impression of offering something.

UAW president Ron Gettelfinger has graciously offered to suspend – not eliminate, mind you, just suspend – the “job banks” created in the 1980s to which thousands of laid-off workers report each day to drink coffee, watch television, and hone their crossword-puzzle-solving skills . . . with full pay and benefits. The job banks were a concession wrung out of management by the unions to permit – gasp – implementation of new technology. In other words, the union only agreed to permit the introduction of increased efficiency by negating it with a brand-new, counterveiling inefficiency.

Not that the UAW is defensive about it or anything:

“The jobs bank has become a sound bite that people use to beat us up,” Mr. Gettelfinger said, who will join the auto executives at Congressional hearings starting Thursday. “It’s become a lightning rod that takes away the focus from what the real issue is, and the real issue is the backbone of America.”

Got that? The real issue in the auto makers’ economic collapse isn’t . . . you know, economics. It’s Backbone! The Backbone of America! Which must stay strong.

Hence the bleating for mother’s milk on Capitol Hill, I suppose.

Congress should not bail these jokers out, period. Chapter 11 was written for a reason. When management and labor spend decades propping up an enterprise that accomplishes nothing but enriching people with remuneration they could not possibly earn in a true market, management and labor should not be rewarded with additional taxpayer money to squander in the same way.

Rather, they should be sent away from the table. Without supper.

The NASCARization of Calculus?

When I saw this headline, I thought, What a petty schmuck.

Cash-strapped teacher sells ads on tests

Then I read the article. This is a teacher who routinely turns out students who score at the highest levels on Advanced Placement exams (wich are worth college credit). And the school in which he teaches limited him to about 300 bucks in copying expenses for an entire academic year. So he got creative, and even vetted the idea with his students' parents (who actually place the majority of the ads) before implementing this sly little scheme.

So now I don't think he's a schmuck anymore. In fact, I wish we had more teachers like him.

Facts Enough To Make A Hardened Feminist Throw Herself To The Floor And Kick And Scream And Hold her Breath UNTIL YOU TAKE IT BACK YOU BIG MEANIE!!!

In 2005, Harvard President Larry Summers addressed a conference of academics and, expressly seeking to stir up some controversial debate, posited the possibility that innate differences in brain physiology or chemistry might explain, at least in part, statistically significant differences in the performance of men and women at the extreme ends of the spectrum in hard sciences and mathematics.

He didn't suggest that women are inferior, or less diligent, or individually less capable of success. Simply that if you look at whole populations, and observe the undeniable difference in the spacing of men and women on a performance curve in certain fields, perhaps one should not overlook study of possible differences in hardware, given the measurable gaps in the highest and lowest percentiles.

In some respects, after all, physical differences between the sexes are obvious. Why foreclose the possibilities that those differences extend beyond the physical appendages of procreation?

Most readers of this blog will recall what followed: Pandemonium.

Feminist academics at the tops of their fields -- you know, the sort of women who are above the socialized vulnerability and hyper-emotionality often attributed by patriarchic misogynists to the "weaker sex" -- suddenly (in Jonah Goldberg's words), "got a touch of the vapors." Said MIT biology professor Nancy Hopkins, "I felt like I was going to be sick . . . My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow . . . . I was extremely upset."

Summers was forced into an endless and unseemly kabuki dance of groveling apologetics, which in the end could not suffice anyway to extinguish the flames of rage his suggestion had stoked among mainstream feminist (and otherwise political-correctness-obsessed) academics. He was banished from the Harvard presidency.

At the time, one (lonely) feminist commentator, Ruth Marcus, gently queried whether the offense taken was justified given the facts available:
Is it so heretical, though, so irredeemably oafish, to consider whether gender differences also play some role? As the daughter of two scientists and the mother of two daughters, I think not. After all, scientists are reporting day by day about their breakthroughs in understanding the genetic basis of diseases or personality traits.

Brain studies of men and women show that the two genders use different parts of their brain to process language. (Men tend to be left-siders, women both-lobers.)

Summers drew fire for relating the story of how he bought a set of trucks for his daughter, only to find her naming them "Daddy Truck" and "Baby Truck." A clumsy and ill-advised anecdote perhaps, but one that resonated with legions of would-be gender-neutral parents of girls. I, for one, have a basement full of Brio train tracks, as pristine as they were pricey. We use the train table to fold our laundry.

Biology may not be destiny, but as we Brio-buyers and truck-swaddlers have discovered, its effects also can't be discounted.

Many of the same people denouncing Summers, I'd venture, believe fervently that homosexuality, for example, is a matter of biology rather than of choice or childhood experience. Many would demand that medical studies be structured to consider differences between men and women in metabolizing drugs, say, or responding to a particular disease. And many who find Summers's remarks offensive seem perfectly happy to trumpet the supposed attributes that women bring to the workplace -- that they are more intuitive, or more empathetic or some such. If that is so -- and I've always rather cringed at such assertions -- why is it impermissible to suggest that there might be some downside differences as well?

Summers (even in his earlier, unexpurgated form) wasn't saying that no individual woman could be a stellar scientist, or mathematician, or engineer, only that overall one gender might be more inclined in that direction than the other. Indeed, if that did prove to be the case, it would be all the more important for educators at every level to nurture and encourage girls and women with scientific promise, and it would make those who achieve at the highest levels all the more valuable in a modern university, or any modern workforce conscious of the cost of gender disparities.

The Summers storm might have been easy to forecast. But it says less, in the end, about the Harvard president than it does about the unwillingness of the modern academy to tolerate the kind of freewheeling inquiry that academics and intellectuals above all ought to prize rather than revile.
At that time Marcus's voice of reason fell on deaf ears. But in today's Washington Post, she's singing a similar melody -- and with a fuller accompanying score, namely a study published in the magazine Science in July 2008:
A group of researchers (all women, as it happened) looked at annual math assessments required by the No Child Left Behind law from 10 representative states that supplied details about gender and ethnicity, a total of 7 million students.

Their study, published in the July 25 issue of Science, found no differences between girls and boys in average performance -- not even, as earlier studies had found, once they entered high school. The gap between girls and boys on math SATs, they said,
could be explained by the fact that more girls than boys go to college and therefore take these tests.

But, echoing Summers's point, there was small yet significant variance between the genders -- the degree to which the scores of girls or boys differed from the average. At the very highest level, the 99.9th percentile, the difference meant 2.15 males for every female. This difference was large enough that, in an occupation requiring math skills at that level, the job ranks could be expected to be filled 68 percent by men, 32 percent by women -- enough to explain, as Summers suggested, part of the gender gap.

* * * *

In performance on a standardized math, science and reading test given to 15- and 16-year-olds in 40 countries, girls in every country performed far better than boys in reading. Conversely, boys in all but three countries did better, but by not nearly as much, in math. In all but three countries -- Britain, Thailand and Iceland -- more boys than girls scored in the 99th percentile in math.
Huh. Sounds like maybe this is something worth studying further. But we know from the example that was so energetically made of Summers what fate awaits any mainstream academic who would propose publicly to make an honest investigation of it. Marcus draws the right intermediate conclusion:
Summers was boneheaded to say what he said, in the way that he said it and considering the job that he held. But he probably had a legitimate point -- and the continuing uproar says more about the triumph of political correctness than about Summers's supposed sexism.
A triumph that is unlikely to be reversed anytime soon.

Query what other legitimate objects of scientific inquiry are smothered by politically correct gatekeepers, even as billions of dollars in funding for every imagineable pet emotional grievance and variant of the global-warming-threatens-dandelions strain of "science" mahogany-lines the offices of tenured professors from sea to (rising? really?) sea.

The Great American Statesman

The brand-new (and way-over-budget) Capitol Visitor Center opened to the public this week in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seized the occasion to let the world know how relieved he is to divert constituents (who ordinarly would tour the Capitol Building itself) to the CVC:
My staff tells me not to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway . . . . In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it's true . . . . We have many bathrooms here, as you can see . . . . Souvenirs are available.
This interview is typical of Senator Reid's unique ability to focus on petty, insignificant details in the course of demonstrating himself to be a tactless boob.

Good job, Nevada voters.

PUCK ADDS: The man's a marvel. How does someone so obviously lacking in basic social skills become Senate Majority Leader?

The Image I Cannot Get Out of My Head

is this:



The heartbreaking photo of Moshe Holtzberg, a tiny little boy -- the same age as my own daughter -- who survived last week's terrorist attack in Bombay, screaming for his parents, who were tortured and murdered right in front of him, and whose blood he was drenched in when he was found. The full story, along with some very unsettling photos, is here.

In a land where Jews are a practical and political non-entity, why did the terrorists designate their community center a target? There can only be one reason, and Dennis Prager at Townhall nails it:

If one assumes that the terrorists primary goals were to destabilize India, weaken growing Indian-Pakistani cooperation in fighting terrorism, and greatly increase Indian-Pakistani tension, hopefully to the point of military war between the two countries, every one of the targets made strategic sense. Slaughtering as many people as possible in Indias major economic center, including as many foreign tourists as possible at Mumbais finest hotels, also made sense.

But one target seemed to make little sense. In fact, until the attack was over people were uncertain whether the terrorists attack on the Jewish center known as the Chabad House was part of the original plan or chosen spontaneously. Only when the lone terrorist who was captured told his interrogators that the Chabad House was planned a year earlier was it indisputable that killing the Rabbi, his wife, their children and any other Jews present was part of the plan.

The question is why?

Why would a terrorist group of Islamists from Pakistan whose primary goal is to have Pakistan gain control of the third of Kashmir that belongs to India and therefore aimed to destabilize Indias major city devote so much of its efforts -- 20 percent of its force of 10 gunmen whose stated goal was to kill 5,000 -- to killing a rabbi and any Jews with him?

The question echoes one from World War II: Why did Hitler devote so much time, money, and manpower in order to murder every Jewish man, woman, and child in every country the Nazis occupied? Why did Hitler -- as documented by the late historian Lucy Dawidowicz in her aptly named book The War against the Jews -- weaken the Nazi war effort by diverting money, troops, and military vehicles from fighting the Allies to rounding up Jews and shipping them to death camps?

From the perspective of political scientists, historians, and contemporary journalists, the answer to these questions is not rational. But the non-rationality of an answer is not synonymous with its non-validity.

For the Islamists, as for the Nazis, the destruction of the Jews -- and since 1948, the Jewish state -- is central to their worldview.


Emphasis mine.

If "Never again" is to have any meaning, the idiots in this world who continue to wring their hands and whinge about how American foreign policy drives Muslims to this sort of thing, need to pluck their heads from their posteriors and take up the fight.

Or there will be many, many more Moshes.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Liberal Fascism Update

This is precisely the sort of thing Jonah Goldberg is talking about when he describes what the soft fascism of the Left looks like:
KENNETH CITY — Council members caved in to demands from an angry crowd and delayed approving a neatness ordinance until officials explain every word of the 26-page document to Kenneth City residents.

In what was estimated to be the largest crowd to ever attend a Kenneth City Council meeting, an outraged group of residents railed at the proposal that would regulate the upkeep of both the exterior and interior of all property in the town.

The proposal basically sets standards for upkeep and appearance and gives town officials the right to enter homes. If the owner refuses to allow the official to enter, the town can go to a judge for an "administrative search warrant" to allow access to the interior of buildings. Violations would cost up to $250 a day.

Angry residents likened the proposal to rules created by Communist or Nazi dictatorships. One person said the result would be to create a network of spies to snitch on neighbors to council members and other town officials. Someone suggested the town should change its name from Kenneth City to "Petty City."
(via Jonah himself at The Corner)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Making Steeler History

Yesterday, my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers abused the hated, cheating New England Patriots in abysmal weather conditions for 60 minutes en route to an uncharacteristically lopsided, 33-10 victory. Standing out in an all-around-impressive team performance were the Steelers' defense in general, and (until recently, relatively unknown) outside linebacker James "Silverback" Harrison.

Harrison (who was never drafted and who was cut by the Steelers and Ravens from consecutive training camps before signing on for good in 2004 to replace an injured Clark Haggans) has emerged as the most dominant linebacker in the NFL. It's difficult to stand out when your defense is as packed with talent as the Steelers' is (especially when you have perennial Pro Bowlers like Troy Polamalu and Casey Hampton on the field), but he's doing it.

And then some.

Even though the defense has been so terrific this year, I was, frankly, stunned to learn that after last night's game, Harrison and fellow outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley are the most productive pass-rushing linebacker duo in the team's long history: Harrison's two sacks upped his season total to 14. Coupled with Woodley's 11.5, the two surpassed the 24 registered by outside linebackers Kevin Greene (14) and Greg Lloyd in 1994 and equaled by outside linebackers Jason Gildon (13.5) and Joey Porter in 2000. Considering the other great linebackers who've worn the Black and Gold over the decades (Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Andy Russell, LeVon Kirkland, and Chad Brown, to name a few) -- not to mention the terrific inside linebackers, Lawrence Timmons and James Farrior who share the field and the pass-rushing duties -- this is an amazing feat . . . made more amazing still because there are still four games left in the regular season to up the record total.

Keep an eye on #92 James Harrison. If he stays healthy, he's going to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. After not having even been drafted out of Kent State, OH.

Irony Alert

Power Line highlights today an article from Breitbart covering the Bombay premiere of "The President Is Coming," a comedy about six 20-somethings vying to win the right to shake hands with President Bush. The Bollywood film's star, Imran Khan (an Indian Muslim), showed up for the premiere wearing the t-shirt pictured below:

The premiere was held at the same moment that, a few blocks away, Muslim terrorists began a three-day massacre of hundreds of innocent Indians and international travelers.
Quoth Power Line:
"The real question," Breitbart writes, "is when the people who make the world's most popular form of entertainment finally accept the truth: that the Islamist threat is real, growing and won't go away when George W. Bush leaves the White House in January." It's a question that extends well beyond Bollywood and Hollywood.

Don't hold your breath.