People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

When Power Corrupts

Noun: megalomania
1. A psychological state characterized by delusions of grandeur

You focused so much on macaca and related idiocy, and you went into the voting booth with only one impetus - a need to vote against the incumbent, that you never took the time to get to know who the alternative - the man you've now elected - actually is. His character, or lack thereof, is now being revealed:

Already Too Busy for Civility
By George F. Will, The Washington Post

That was certainly swift. Washington has a way of quickly acculturating people, especially those who are most susceptible to derangement by the derivative dignity of office. But Jim Webb, Democratic senator-elect from Virginia, has become a pompous poseur and an abuser of the English language before actually becoming a senator.

Wednesday's Post reported that at a White House reception for newly elected members of Congress, Webb "tried to avoid President Bush," refusing to pass through the reception line or have his picture taken with the president.

Webb certainly has conveyed what he is: a boor. Never mind the patent disrespect for the presidency. Webb's more gross offense was calculated rudeness toward another human being -- one who, disregarding many hard things Webb had said about him during the campaign, asked a civil and caring question, as one parent to another. When -- if ever -- Webb grows weary of admiring his new grandeur as a "leader" who carefully calibrates the "symbolic things" he does to convey messages, he might consider this: In a republic, people decline to be led by leaders who are insufferably full of themselves. (link) [my emphasis]

You're asking yourself about now: What have I done?

You're a day late, pal. You voted for him. You live with him.

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

You're On Your Own Now

The foreign affairs secret nobody wants to talk about involves our abandoning Taiwan to its fate should the Chinese decide to invade. Despite the many resolutions over the years that declare our undying support for the small island nation - the last holdout of Sun Yat-sen's Kuomintang - there's no way in heaven we'll go to war with China over it. The Taiwanese are doomed. And they probably know it.

But I never thought we would get to this point:
Iran's nuclear ambitions seen similar to Holocaust
By Abraham Rabinovich, The Washington Times

Jerusalem -- Iran's reported drive to make an atomic bomb has become an existential threat to Israel that some Israelis are likening to the Holocaust -- especially with the United States appearing to back away from confrontation with Tehran.

The alarmists include Aharon Appelfeld, a leading Israeli author who as a child survived the Nazi killing of 6 million Jews.

"For the first time since I'm in the country, I feel that we face a real existential danger," Mr. Appelfeld said. (link)
There are a lot of people out there who think there is no relationship between what happens in the streets of Baghdad and the streets of Tel Aviv. They're soon to get an eye-opening lesson.

As for the Israeli people: Sorry. You're on your own now. May God have mercy.

This Is Incredible

Henry Ford must be rolling over in his grave:
Ford's buyouts cut staff by half
By Sean Lengell, The Washington Times

The Ford Motor Co. has succeeded in trimming its hourly work force by almost half, as 38,000 of its U.S. employees have accepted buyout packages to leave the company or take early retirement.

Ford said yesterday the number includes about 30,000 buyouts during the open enrollment period that concluded Monday, plus an additional 8,000 employees who took deals offered at several plants earlier this year.

The buyouts will reduce Ford's unionized work force, which totaled 83,000 at the start of the year, by almost 46 percent. (link)
There's a lesson for all businessmen and women to be learned here: At that moment when you think you're on top of the world ... kick it into high gear or watch your world come crashing down on top of you.

Well, It Fits

I read this Associated Press headline and immediately thought: What has Senator-elect Jim Webb done now?
It turns out though that the story is about a different nut:
November 30, 2006 -- East St. Louis, Ill. - A mental patient has pleaded guilty to threatening to castrate President Bush.

Arafat Nijmeh, 27, a Palestinian and a U.S. citizen, was sentenced Tuesday to seven months in prison, then released after being credited with time served.

Nijmeh told health workers March 18 he wanted to castrate Bush. He told Secret Service agents his threat was "not too harsh, considering what he has done to my country." (
Guilty of threatening to castrate the president. At least Webb only threatened to punch him. There is a distinction here ...

Thanks For The Memories ...

I had almost forgotten about those heady days when Bill Clinton was leading our nation to greatness:
Drunken DeVito's 'Numb' & Dumb Act
By Michael Starr, The New York Post

November 30, 2006 -- An admittedly sloshed Danny DeVito staggered onto "The View" yesterday - cracking jokes about having sex with his wife in the White House and getting bleeped on the live show after calling President Bush "numb nuts." (link)
Just to refresh your memory, DeVito is a Clinton devotee. It wasn't made clear where exactly in the White House he was having sex or if either Clinton was involved but it doesn't take a Ben Tribbett to imagine what went on ...

To think, we are on a glidepath to having this bunch fornicating in every room in The Peoples' House come 2008. I can't wait.

That's The Best You Could Come Up With?

I tossed my morning coffee when I read Ben Tribbett's silly explanation (he "got a tip") for Jim Webb's deplorably impolitic behavior during a White House ceremony the other day. He claims in part:
As President Bush is well aware, a couple of weeks before this dinner the tank riding next to Jimmy's in Iraq was under fire and three marines died.

My sources are telling me (sic) that the way President Bush approached Webb with his tone, it appeared he was asking the question of how Jimmy was doing in a mocking manner ...
Ben. Ben. Ben. You had a whole day to dream up an explanation and this is the best you could do? Call me next time, man. I could help you. I think the angle should have had to do with ...
... a sudden 'Nam flashback; a post traumatic stress relapse that suddenly flung Webb back into the jungles of the Mekong Delta; a night mission gone terribly, terribly wrong; chinks to the right of him, slopes to the left of him; rocket propelled grenades landing close by, too close; comrades going down; low on ammunition; his arm bleeding profusely; no way out; Mother, dear Mother ...
A more readable excuse, yes? Call me.

Iraq Panel Adopts Murtha Strategy

It's not going to be a retreat. And we aren't going to call it a redeployment. It's going to be a pullback.


No word yet on whether Okinawa is going to be our destination but you can bet, if we sustain any casualties wherever we are about to run to and hide in, Okinawa here we come:

Iraq Panel to Recommend Pullback of Combat Troops
By David E. Sanger and David S. Cloud, The New York Times

Washington, Nov. 29 — The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal, according to people familiar with the panel’s deliberations.

The report leaves unstated whether the 15 combat brigades that are the bulk of American fighting forces in Iraq would be brought home, or simply pulled back to bases in Iraq or in neighboring countries.

“I think everyone felt good about where we ended up,” one person involved in the
commission’s debates said after the group ended its meeting. “It is neither ‘cut and run’ nor ‘stay the course.’ ” (
It is neither victory nor an end to Islamist radicalism as well.

We already know what it isn't. It isn't "Let's kill all the sunsabitchas who plan on slaughtering our children and grandchildren in the streets of American cities." Instead it's a humiliating and ominous retreat from the battlefield where a dangerous foe gains strength in our signal of weakness.

Arm yourself. You'll get no help from this bunch when it comes to the protection of your loved ones. They're unleashing the beast pulling back.

And Then There Are The Democrats

The Democrats have finally come up with their own plan to win in Iraq. They want to appoint someone to do what hundreds of government employees who are currently stationed in Iraq are already doing:

Democratic Leaders Seek Special Iraq Envoy to Try to Stem the Violence
By Carl Hulse, The New York Times

Washington, Nov. 29 — Leading Senate Democrats called Wednesday for President Bush to appoint a special envoy to work with Iraqi leaders to bring increasing violence in Iraq under control.

“Violence in Iraq has reached critical levels, and the violence is not predominantly instigated by insurgents, but is taking place between Sunnis and Shia,” said Senator Harry Reid, who will become the majority leader, and four other top Senate Democrats in a letter sent to Mr. Bush. “It is our belief that coalition military action alone cannot end this violence.”

The lawmakers said in the letter that the special American envoy could follow up on issues raised between Mr. Bush and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq during their planned meeting on Thursday in Jordan. (link)

Expect Jesse Jackson to be called in any day now. Or Snoop Dog.

These are the guys who are calling the shots these days, folks. May God have mercy on us.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

You Elected 'Em

Charles Rangel is one of the most powerful and influential Democrats in Congress. We can learn much about them by listening to him. Knowing that, feel the love he has for our heroic men and women in uniform who have chosen, of their own free will and at great personal sacrifice, to protect his fat ass:
"I want to make it abundantly clear, if there's anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of employment benefits. And most of all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment. If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq." (link) [my emphasis]
In fact, they all had the option. And they opted to take up weaponry to protect the country they love, in spite of lowlife scum who suck up oxygen here and who disparage them at every turn.

Charles Rangel doesn't deserve them.

You Elected 'Em II

If Jim Webb were as mean-spirited toward the enemy as he is toward his president, we'd be winning the war on terror about now. It turns out, based upon his initial actions in Washington, your newly elected senator is going to make the perfect Democrat. In addition to being a pervert, he's rude and obnoxious:

In Following His Own Script, Webb May Test Senate's Limits
By Michael D. Shear, Washington Post Staff Writer

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House. (
The age of joyous bipartisanship has arrived. And you have unleashed it. You must be very proud ...

Update: Bearing Drift has his own analysis here. And NLS shows he has the same penchant for pettiness by laughing at the exchange between the nation's Commander-In-Chief and our august senator-elect. A distinguishing display by all.

Why We Need Constitutional Amendments

Judges can be so creative in their interpretations sometimes. Take for example a case involving Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans homeowners, their insurance companies, the meaning of the word "flood," and an intelligence-challenged federal judge:
Judge Upholds Policyholders’ Katrina Flood Claims
By Joseph B. Treaster, The New York Times

A federal judge offered a glimmer of hope to the tens of thousands of people whose homes and businesses in New Orleans were flooded in Hurricane Katrina, ruling that insurance companies should pay for the widespread water damage.

Judge Duval’s [Stanwood R. Duval Jr. of Federal District Court in New Orleans]decision centered on the distinction between flooding caused by high winds and heavy rains and flooding caused by human error. Much of the destruction in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 was a result of levee failures.

He said the language in the insurance policies on flood coverage was ambiguous because it did not “clearly exclude man-made” flood disasters. (link)
My guess is this "judge" was appointed by the president who famously asked what the meaning of the word "is" is. F-L-O-O-D doesn't necessarily mean flood. It could, if one expanded one's mind, have so many, many meanings.

We're at their mercy, folks. God help us all.

And He Ain't Alone

While we're on the subject of creative and intelligence-challenged judges, there's this:


November 29, 2006 -- Washington - The government discriminates against blind people by printing money that all looks and feels the same, a federal judge said yesterday in a ruling that could change the face of American currency.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson ordered the Treasury Department to come up with ways for the blind to tell bills apart. He said he wouldn't tell officials how to fix the problem, but he ordered them to begin working on it. (link)
Another Clinton appointee, no doubt.

Someone needs to tell these judges to stop it. It's no longer funny.

Someone Is Earning Her Money

The New York Post has the best headline writer on the planet. Every day you can expect to read something like this (in this morning's edition):
It's a story by Maureen Callahan about America's darlings - Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears.

There's no need to even read the article. The header says it all.

Now Get Back Out There And Pick That Cotton

You could feel the rolling resentment toward the Democratic party leadership building in Maryland this last election season. In the primary race for the open United States Senate seat there, the party apparatus lined up behind a weak nondescript bureaucrat - chosen strategically in part because he was white - and defeated a black contender in the race. As soon as the primary ended, party leadership turned to the huge (and powerful) black community and said: Now you're to vote for our candidate in the general election ... whose opponent happened to be another black guy, this one a Republican. Blacks there did as instructed, though with a rising level of resentment. The dull, nondesript, and white bureaucrat won handily.

Fast forward to yesterday. Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi had promised to pay back the loyalty of the party's black constituency by giving a primo committee leadership post to a black member of Congress. But that promise, like every other one made by this bunch, was made before the election, and is therefore today null and void. Now that they've won ... well, you know the story:

Pelosi Won’t Pick Tainted Lawmaker for Key Post
By Mark Mazzetti and Kate Zernike, The New York Times

Washington, Nov. 28 — Representative Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that she would not award the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee to Representative Alcee L. Hastings of Florida, who was a leading contender for the post.

The decision by Mrs. Pelosi, the incoming speaker, ended weeks of speculation ... (link)

Loyal black Democrats dutifully defeated Kweise Mfume ...

... and Ken Blackwell

... and Michael Steele

... and Lynne Swann

... and this is their thanks. When will they learn ...

France Is Crumbling

I've never understood why northeast elitists (think John Kerry) are so enthralled by all things French. Already having a reputation of being a society of cowards and reprobates, and of having a massive, seething, murdering, impoverished, disfranchised, uncontrollable Muslim underclass, the country is slowly sinking into anarchy as well:

Paris Soccer ‘Ultras’ at Center of Furor Over Fan’s Death
By Elaine Sciolino, The New York Times

Paris, Nov. 28 — They call themselves the ultras. They are the hardest of the hard-core soccer fans of France, the ones with the edgy reputations for being racist, right-wing, anti-Semitic and even violent.

For two decades, they have operated openly as fan associations without much interference from the police or soccer officials, who have claimed that they have limited authority to stop them. On Thursday night, a group of these ultra-right-wing supporters of the Paris St.-Germain team set off a chain of events that ended with one of their own being shot to death by a black policeman.

The trouble began outside the stadium, as is often the case, after the Paris team was defeated, 4-2. Dozens of Paris supporters pursued and cornered Yanniv Hazout, 25, a French fan who is Jewish.

“The crowd hurled insults — ‘dirty Jew,’ ‘dirty Negro’ and monkey cries — and raised Nazi salutes ..."

The episode has set off nationwide soul-searching and finger-pointing as the French government as well as soccer officials, analysts and fans have confronted the violence and hate that have poisoned the sport. (link)

It would indeed do the French well to search for their soul. Finally.

Showin' 'Em How It's Done

What is it about the words MERRY CHRISTMAS that the heads of Target Stores don't understand? Perhaps they could, and definitely should obtain a clear working definition and learn something about the USA at the same time from these guys:
Wal-Mart and Sam's Club Celebrate Long-Standing Salvation Army Partnership

Associates at more than 3,900 Wal-Mart stores, Sam's Clubs and Neighborhood Markets across the country today staffed the Red Kettles to celebrate the company's 20-plus year tradition of rolling out the red carpet for The Salvation Army's bellringers.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. chief executive officer Lee Scott led the kick-off of the "Bells Ringing Across America" celebration with a $1 million donation from the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club Foundation.

Additionally, the Wal- Mart and Sam's Club Foundation will contribute an extra $250,000 through the company's online Red Kettle, which is accessible from http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com. (link)
The holiday season. Bellringers. Donating to feed and clothe the poor. At a Wal-Mart near you.

This is shaping up to be a joyous Christmas.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Evidence of Media Deceit

The following article originally appeared in the Roanoke Times on Thursday, October 19, 2006.

Over their dead bodies
By Jerry Fuhrman

Deceit is probably too strong a word. It implies the intention to defraud. And, without evidence of intent, that might be a stretch. Laziness is part of it, though. Perhaps willful ignorance. Certainly sloppy journalism.

I'm reminded of the news account in July, accompanied by fantastic photos, of an ambulance that had been destroyed by an Israeli missile as it was being used to care for innocent Lebanese civilians in Cana. The photos clearly showed a gaping hole in the roof of the vehicle, centered in the large red cross that had been painted there to signify the fact that the vehicle was being used by non-combatants. Very damning stuff. And a complete fabrication.

It was only after the BBC, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and countless other organizations reported, in sober tones, the horrific circumstances of the incident that someone took the time to enlarge the photos and found that the metal around the hole in the roof of that ambulance was badly rusted, meaning the damage was clearly ancient. But the damage had been done, and the story was quickly forgotten as the news organizations involved moved on -- to another fabricated photo, this one of Beirut enveloped in billowing smoke. Shameful episodes both.

Which brings us to ABC News and its treatment of Southwest Virginia's very own 1173rd Transportation Company of the Virginia National Guard.

On July 27, ABC aired a report, and accompanied it with spectacular video, of an attack on a civilian convoy in the streets of a village near Balad, Iraq. The video, shot by the driver of one of the supply trucks in the convoy, clearly showed the line of vehicles coming under assault, followed close on by the disabling of one of the trucks, and the cold-blooded execution of one of the American civilians. Disturbingly, the video also seemed to show a 1173rd Humvee fleeing the scene of the fighting once the escort came under attack, leaving, as reported by the driver and by correspondent Brian Ross of ABC News, the civilians in the convoy to their fate.

In ABC's report, Ross asked the driver, Preston Wheeler, who narrated the video: "You were abandoned?" Wheeler's reply: "Yes, sir."

To many of us who watched the video at the time, it was clear that there was more to this story. In the first place, the video distinctly showed the Humvee that was reported to have abandoned the field to have, instead, simply moved forward with the lead trucks. And one was prompted to ask the obvious: If the driver was left alone to die, why wasn't he dead?

It was only after the broadcast of the incriminating account that the rest of the saga became known. It turned out that Wheeler's truck was being protected all along by other members of the 1173rd throughout the attack, men and women, America's finest, who heroically and selflessly risked their lives to save his.

What's most galling about this, beyond the gross misconceptions created by the report, are the excuses made afterward. In a feeble attempt to "provide the opportunity to respond," ABC noted in the report itself that the Army was "unaware of the incident" and could therefore "not comment."

When a far more factual account of the events that occurred emerged, ABC reacted with all too familiar weasel words: "The report accurately portrayed Wheeler's experience during the ambush." Other news outlets and editorial pages around the country repeated ABC's response and many tried to blame the military for the inaccuracies, writing that, had the Defense Department been more cooperative and less secretive, the full scope of the incident would have been revealed and there would have been a more balanced report provided.

Sure there would.

We often hear people on the left saying, rather incongruously, "We support the troops but not the war." We now have another glaring example showing how delusional -- or deceitful -- they are. ABC News attempted to destroy the reputations of soldiers who had risked their lives in mortal combat in order to, once again, denigrate our actions in Iraq. That is without question.

Here's to the 1173rd. No greater story of heroism and devotion to duty has ever, finally, been written.

You Want More Of The Same?

Nobody personifies the Republican party that went down to humiliating defeat in the recent election debacle better than does our Senator John Warner. He is a holdover from an era when countryclub types held sway and proved through their actions to be, when it comes right down to it, hard to distinguish from Democrats. The man has a record:

John Warner over the years has been accepting of certain tax increases (though not the sweeping increases that the Democrats have proposed). And not just on the federal level. He is on record as supporting a transportation tax increase here in Virginia.

Warner is willing to dilute the 2nd amendment (but perhaps not gut our right to keep and bear arms completely as the Democrats are hell-bent to do). He voted for the Brady Bill and to close John McCain's mythical "gunshow loophole."

He supports affirmative action.

He supports the Democrats' pet project - the lavishly government-funded National Endowment for the Arts.

He is pro-abortion (though he's not as fervent and zealous about the killing of America's little children as are the Democrats).

Warner has a shameful history of intruding on the side of Democrats in certain election contests here in the state of Virginia, including those involving Mike Farris, a highly qualified candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 1993 who, it was rumored at the time, was too close to the religious right for Warner, and that of Oliver North, who apparently was too close to the American people, the overwhelming majority of which adored him at the time, in 1994. In both races, with Warner's help, Democrats won.

He supports an increase in the minimum wage (just not as high an increase as the Democrats have demanded).

He sides with the Democrats with regard to legislation to expand hate crime laws (an affront to libertarian ideals in themselves) to include sexual orientation.

He sides with the Democrats on embryonic stem cell research.

For this we should vote for a Democrat. Send up the right candidate, and I'm prepared to do just that.

I bring all this up for a reason:
Sen. John W. Warner hints at sixth term
By Carlos Santos, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

CHARLOTTESVILLE - Sen. John W. Warner is edging closer to seeking election to a sixth term in 2008, reiterating that experience in the Senate is needed with the nation at war. (link)
We should appreciate his experience. What we've experienced from this guy over the years has been betrayal, opposition, a willingness to throw us over the side to get along with his buds up in DC, and that dangerous patrician mindset that allows for Democrats to make outrageous demands and Republicans like Warner to be willing to always, always meet them halfway. And halfway. And halfway ...

You all want Democrat-lite? Vote for Warner again. And watch your national party, a once-proud conservative party, the party of Reagan, sink further into obscurity.

Not me. Not in this lifetime. I know we can do better than John Warner.

There'll Be No Christ In Christmas

It begins. The city of Chicago, run by Democrats since Christ was a teenager, has asked that Christmas not offend non-Christians:

'Nativity' Booted From Ill. Holiday Fair
By Don Babwin, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO (AP) -- A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film "The Nativity Story" might offend non-Christians. (link)
We certainly can't be offending non-Christians, a group comprising about 10% of America. No, the twits who run Chicago find it more acceptable to offend the 90% of America that still equates Christmas with Christ.

By the way, wasn't the homegrown Islamist al Qaeda terrorist who was convicted of attempting to blow up a commercial jetliner and kill hundreds of passengers from Chicago? Was anyone there offended by that? Have the city employees there have nothing better to do?

They Turn To The Super-Legislature

The American people have given a big yawn to Al Gore's global warming scare tactics. Congress has been even less interested. Notably, a Democratic-run Senate, at a time when the White House was in the hands of the Democratic party, was so put off by the notion that humans were causing the planet to warm and even more displeased by scientists' call for the radical remodeling of our way of life that it rejected out of hand Crazy Al's Kyoto global warming treaty and refused to even vote on it.

Well, that didn't stop the rabid left. They know where to turn when they need laws favorable to their side written. The courts:
Global Warming Goes to Court
New York Times editorial

A group of 12 states, including New York and Massachusetts, is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to properly do its job. These states, backed by environmental groups and scientists, say that the Clean Air Act requires the E.P.A. to impose limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by new cars. These gases are a major contributor to the “greenhouse effect” that is dangerously heating up the planet.

In a friend-of-the-court brief, climate scientists from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Stanford University and other respected institutions warn that “the scientific evidence of the risks, long time lags and irreversibility of climate change argue persuasively for prompt regulatory action.” The Supreme Court can strike an important blow in defense of the planet simply by ruling that the E.P.A. must start following the law. (link)
"The Supreme Court can strike an important blow in defense of the planet." It's come to that.

We've allowed it to come to that.

Monday, November 27, 2006

There Is No There There

Americans have an inexplicable - and annoying - habit of placing politicians on a pedestal for all the wrong reasons. Barak Obama, as an example, has skyrocketed to stardom in the last year and yet there isn't a soul out there who could tell you what his core beliefs are. Then there're those who have been livin' it for years:

Do we need another T.R.?
If John McCain gets his way, you'll have your faith in the country restored ... or else!
By Matt Welch, The Los Angeles Times

You can read 1,000 profiles of GOP presidential front-runner John McCain without encountering a single paragraph examining his core ideological philosophy. His career is filled with such distracting drama — torture at the Hanoi Hilton, noisy conversion to the campaign-finance-reform faith, political suicide on the Straight Talk Express — that by the time you're done with the highlights, and perhaps a few "maverick" anecdotes, time's up.

People are forever filling in the blanks with their own political fantasies. Third party candidate! John Kerry running mate! Far-right warmonger! Republican In Name Only! (link)

Having found, upon thorough investigation, that McCain believes, really, in nothing (which means, like Bill Clinton, he is capable at any given time of believing in anything), a troubling truth - one that I have pointed out over the years - engulfs Welch:
Sifting through McCain's four bestselling books and nearly three decades of work on Capitol Hill, a distinct approach toward governance begins to emerge. And it's one that the electorate ought to be particularly worried about right now. McCain, it turns out, wants to restore your faith in the U.S. government by any means necessary, even if that requires thousands of more military deaths, national service for civilians and federal micromanaging of innumerable private transactions. He'll kick down the doors of boardroom and bedroom, mixing Democrats' nanny-state regulations with the GOP's red-meat paternalism in a dangerous brew of government activism. And he's trying to accomplish this, in part, for reasons of self-realization.
It isn't quite accurate to say McCain believes in nothing. He, in fact, has an unflagging belief in government, and is willing to believe that government can solve all problems.

Which makes for a very dangerous proposition.

It's Baaaack.

The transportation crisis here in Virginia abated for a time (election season; who wants to actually talk about raising taxes while trying to get elected?) but apparently is a crisis once again. Odd how this comes and goes. Anyway, after having gone, it once again comes:
Gov. Kaine calls for more new, reliable sources of funding for transportation

Money flowing into the Virginia Department of Transportation is slowing down.

Funds generated from the gas and vehicle-sales-taxes have dropped for the fiscal year, two taxes that account for nearly half of all state money used for road improvements.

If snow removal or other costs are unexpectedly high this winter, money designated for construction projects will be cut. (link)
Gosh. And I thought Hurricane Katrina was bad. What are we going to do?

Why, raise taxes, silly:
Governor Tim Kaine calls this another example of why transportation needs new, reliable sources of funding.
Is this the same Governor Kaine who promised when he was running for office that he would raise taxes to fix our transportation problems? No. He ain't no fool. He made that promise the day after he got elected. And he seems downright proud of the subterfuge:
"The transportation funding challenges are not going to go away. They're not, if we hide from them for a year or two, they're not going to suddenly solve themselves. They're going to get harder and harder. That's why, right when I came to office, I said we've gotta deal with these."
"Right when I came to office." That's rich.

So what's to be done about this crisis?

There's only one answer. Ignore him. It's but a crisis of leadership and will pass.

Harnessing The Beast

Maybe now that the Republicans in Congress have come to the realization that they've been abandoned by much of their base, they'll go back to dancing with the ones what brung 'em. The preliminary signs are promising:
Better Late Than Never
Two Republicans take a stand against profligate spending.
John Fund, The Wall Street Journal

It's been years since federal agencies have screamed this loudly about fiscal discipline being imposed on them. GOP Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina have decided to take a stand against overspending by objecting to the nearly 10,000 earmarks, or member-sponsored pork projects, larded throughout the spending bills Congress is currently considering.

Overall federal spending has gone up by 49% since 2001, but you wouldn't know it from the anguished cries of those who regard ever-higher spending as some sort of birthright. A Congress Daily headline reads, "Agencies Say Long-Term CR Would Devastate Programs." The New York Times warns of "cuts in school breakfasts and shelter for the poor." Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican who became a symbol of earmark excess in 2005 when he championed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," laments that several "very important" projects in his state stalled. (link)
Ted Stevens and the New York Times being upset means we're making progress. When the Republicans actually start making cuts in federal programs - meaningful cuts - you'll know we're back on track.

Classic Liberalism

Yoko Ono, wife to slain Beatle John Lennon and one of the richest women on the planet, feels the pain of the suffering masses. So she has decided to donate her entire worldly wealth so as to alleviate their distress. Er, no. She's taken out an ad in the New York Times. Just as good:
Yoko Takes Times To Beg Your Pardon

November 27, 2006 -- Yoko Ono, widow of slain Beatle John Lennon, issued a plea for forgiveness to the world's suffering people in a full-page notice in yesterday's New York Times titled "Forgive us."

Directing her words to "people who have lost loved ones without cause," to "the soldiers of all countries and of all centuries," to civilians who were injured or killed and to "people who have been abused or tortured," Ono wrote, "Know that your loss is our loss . . . Know that the burden is ours," and pleaded, "Forgive us." (link)
Yoko Ono will win praise from her Upper West Side pals for this. She's done her part to ease world suffering. She bought an ad in the paper. And kept her $500 billion in t-bills and munies collecting primo interest.

You gotta love these people.

I Need A Cigarette

A study has been released that brings us the startling news that those quit-smoking ads you see occasionally on television are driving people to smoke:

When Don’t Smoke Means Do
New York Times editorial

Philip Morris has adopted the role of good citizen these days. Its Web site brims with information on the dangers of smoking, and it has mounted a campaign of television spots that urge parents, oh so earnestly, to warn their children against smoking. That follows an earlier $100 million campaign warning young people to “Think. Don’t Smoke,” analogous to the “just say no” admonitions against drugs.

New research shows that the ads aimed at youths had no discernible effect in discouraging smoking and that the ads currently aimed at parents may be counterproductive.

Just why the costly advertising campaigns produce no health benefits is a rich subject for exploration. (link)

Could it have anything to do with the fact that the ads are godawful? Could it have anything to do with the fact that shaming people into making a change in their habits is never going to work? And could the ads be any sillier?

They make me want to take up smoking.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Getting An Early Start

Its efforts paid off so handsomely for the Democratic party in 2006, the Washington Post has decided to begin the 2008 smear campaign a bit early:

Romney Leaving Mass. With Mixed Record
As Governor Eyes National Stage, He Faces Scrutiny of His Performance at Home
By David S. Broder, Washington Post Staff Writer

Boston -- He has been a successful venture capitalist and management consultant, and he saved the tainted 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from scandal. But it is his single term as Massachusetts governor that is Mitt Romney's chief credential in his bid for the Republican nomination for president.

He began his term four years ago on a high note, rescuing the state from an inherited budget deficit. But now, as he prepares to leave office and focus full time on his White House aspirations, his tenure is being viewed in a more mixed fashion. (
This (limp) effort at damaging Romney's presidential possibilities is so utterly transparent.

Expect Broder or one of the minions the Post has put on the case to come up with some utterance that Romney made in decades past (What? He mumbled what sounded like the "word" macaca in his sleep back in his freshman year in college? Hold the presses!)

Sad thing is, this reprehensible behavior will probably succeed.

Say It Ain't So

This is troubling news. Yankees are learning the secret to our good looks:
Kiss My Grits
By Andrea Strong, The New York Post

November 26, 2006 -- Ask a Southerner to name a few of their favorite foods, and grits will undoubtedly be in the top five. Pose the same question to a New Yorker, and chances are grits won't even be in the top 20. Lucky for us, that won't be the case for long: Thanks to a few artisan purveyors, chefs are finally lavishing grits with the glory they deserve. (
Of course, being northerners, they can't leave well enough alone:
At Cookshop, [chef Joel] Hough cooks the grits in onion and jalapeño, then adds a healthy dose of butter and cheese, topping them with sautéed bacon and wild sweet rock shrimp from Florida ($11).
Onions. Jalapeños. Cheese. Sautéed bacon and wild sweet rock shrimp. On grits, which God created with His own hands to be consumed with liberal quantities of salt.

I think we need to go up there and whip them ... again.

It Depends On What The Word 'War' Means

This is getting to be a popular - and tired - refrain:
U.S. Involved in Iraq Longer Than WWII
By Tom Raum, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The war in Iraq has now lasted longer than the U.S. involvement in the war that President Bush's father fought in, World War II. As of Sunday, the conflict in Iraq has raged for three years and just over eight months.

Only the Vietnam War (eight years, five months), the Revolutionary War (six years, nine months), and the Civil War (four years), have engaged America longer. (link)
This is all true - if you don't know the history of the Second World War.

In fact, we had American troops stationed in Germany to quell Nazi insurrections - and we sustained hundreds of casualties doing it - long after VE Day, 1945.

In fact, our troops have never left. We have an American army stationed there to this day - all these 61 years later, (with perhaps different priorities today).

If there is a distinction to be made, it is in the fact that we are no longer experiencing American deaths in Germany. At least, not since 1986.

Not that the threat doesn't still exist.

So the war goes on. Here. There. Everywhere.

On The Bright Side ...

You need to look at it this way: Apartheid was bad. Citizens were cruelly separated on the basis of skin color and there is nothing worse. Not even this:
Crime Threatens S Africa 2010 World Cup - U.S. Envoy
By Reuters

Johannesburg (Reuters) - The new U.S. ambassador to South Africa said in an interview published on Sunday that few would travel to the 2010 World Cup in the country if crime continued at current levels.

South Africa is battling some of the highest rates of murder and rape in the world and opposition groups and the media have accused the government of failing to curb crime. (link)
The murderers and rapists are said to not discriminate on the basis of race. United Nations member-states are deliriously happy. As for those who have been raped or had loved ones murdered, well, you need to look on the bright side ...

It'll Be Better Now. The Dems Are In Charge.

This comes as a complete shock ...
As Power Shifts in New Congress, Pork May Linger
By David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times

Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, and many Democratic candidates have railed for months against wasteful “special interest earmarks” inserted into bills “in the dark of night.”

Meet the new cardinals, as the chairmen of the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees are known on Capitol Hill. Many have a lot in common with the Republicans they will succeed.

All have worked for years to climb to their posts, where the authority to grant earmarks puts them among the most powerful lawmakers in Congress. ... many have developed unusual bipartisan camaraderie while divvying up projects. By longstanding, informal agreement, the majority typically doles out about 60 percent of the money for earmarks and lets the minority pass out the rest. And they form a united front against limitations on the earmark process. (
For those of you in Southwest Virginia who think earmarks are a big-city problem or who don't understand the term, click here for an education.

More Shocking News!

Who would have ever thought ...
British Terror Trial Traces a Path to Militant Islam
By Elaine Sciolino and Stephen Grey, The New York Times

For eight months, the tale of the Operation Crevice Seven has been unfolding in a cramped, windowless courtroom in the Old Bailey in London.

On trial are seven men, ages 19 to 34, six of them with family roots in Pakistan. Arrested in 2004, they are charged with involvement in a criminal conspiracy to make explosives to commit murder, allegations that they all deny.

But investigators say the evidence reveals the workings of the kind of cell most feared by officials in Europe. Young Muslims, radicalized by local imams and trained at military camps in Pakistan with vague connections to Al Qaeda, plan an attack at home with help from outside terrorists. (link)
Many Americans want us to get out of Iraq - now! - so we can escape the terrorists who hate us so. The sad - and sobering - reality is, they are everywhere. The planet's mosques are full of them each day. And half of them want our children and grandchildren slaughtered in the streets. The other half cheer when it's successfully done.

You can run but where are you going to hide?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Move Those Trees. We're Looking For The Forest.

A group of Radford University students made a journey into deepest darkest West Virginia a few weeks ago and found something there that is, in the words of a pair of them who lived to tell the tale, "awful." Make that "indescribable."

No, their detailed description wasn't of the rampant poverty that exists in much of the area they visited - Boone County, north of Logan, south of Charleston (where one of every five people lives below the poverty line and the average per capita income, according to the last census, is $14,453; about what it costs to attend party-hardy Radford for a year, and about equal to the annual cost of per capita alcohol and marijuana consumption). Nor of the many, and growing number of abandoned homes and businesses in the county (unlike most of America, Boone County, West Virginia experienced a decline in its population between 1990 and 2000 as a horde of people moved out to find work). Nor of the woeful problems that exist there with broken health care delivery systems, inadequate schools, or the rise in criminal activity.

No, the troubling circumstance these students drove three hours to find was ... commerce:

The Green Team attempts to move mountains in the coal mines of West Virginia
by Ashlee Cossaboon and Hilary Smith, The Radford Tartan

Mountaintop removal is quickly becoming the most devastating force ever to hit the Appalachian Mountains. Members of Radford University's Green Team traveled to West Virginia Nov. 12 as part of Mountain Justice Summer's Southeast Youth and Student Mountaintop Removal Convergence this past weekend to get a firsthand look at how the mountain environment is quickly crumbling away.

"Mountaintop removal is awful to hear about, but to go and witness the impact firsthand is indescribable," said RU senior Lauren Storie.

Mountaintop removal is causing the citizens of affected areas to leave the only place they have ever known as home. (link)
Now there's a creative way of explaining West Virginia's decline in population. I'll bet these students are putting their heads together as I write this to come up with an explanation for the state's dismal decades-long economic performance and bleak outlook as well. You can be sure it will have something to do with mountaintop removal mining and the minimum wage. And global warming.

No word on whether Ashlee and Hilary made it back to campus in time for Quadfest.

The Boycott Continues

Entering the third season of our boycott of Target Stores, an action that was originally taken because the retail giant banned Salvation Army bell-ringers from soliciting donations for the poor at its entranceways, it's obvious the mental giants who run the company still haven't gotten the message:
Holidays Get Surreal At Target
Boontje Supplants Santa With 'A Magical World'
By Linda Hales, Washington Post Staff Writer

When modernist designer Tord Boontje set out to remake Target, he trained the store's trademark bull's-eye on the back of one man.


For the holidays, Boontje gave Claus the heave-ho-ho.

"I wanted to get rid of the old cliches," Boontje, the 38-year-old Dutch-born product designer, says by phone from his studio in Bourg-Argental, France. "This is a much more contemporary way, a fresh look." (link)
Target is ridding our society of its old cliches.

You won't find Christ there at Christmastime. He is, to them, an old cliche.
As is giving to the poor.
And now Santa.

I'm looking forward to my fourth year of shopping everywhere else but Target.

Saved From Computer-Rage

Wal-Mart (where I gave generously to a cheery Salvation Army bell-ringer who wished me a warm cliche-riddled Merry Chirstmas with a broad smile the other day) has an interesting promotion going this week, beginning yesterday. They are offering some super prices in a flyer that was delivered via US Postal Service to my house on an array of wonderful products, including a giant 22" flat-screen computer monitor that would look great here on my desk. The twist in this promotion is in that, in order to take advantage of the special pricing, all purchases have to be made on-line through Walmart.com.

I was prepared to jump on the opportunity but now ... well, now I'm not so sure:
Black Friday stalls Wal-Mart site
Associated Press

New York -- High traffic disrupted Wal-Mart Stores' Web site for much of Friday.

Wal-Mart's early-season discounts, especially for large-screen TVs, drove the traffic.

Keynote Systems, which monitors leading Web sites, said it began detecting problems about 4:30 a.m. Throughout the morning, visitors could access portions of the site but generally ran into difficulty before completing purchases. (link)
Just as I don't ever wait in line at a restaurant longer than 15 minutes anymore (I don't have that many years left and every moment is precious; and it's food for God's sake, not a heart transplant), I refuse to sit in front of my computer and watch a cursor hourglass flutter ... and flutter ... and flutter.

Of course, since I get up at 4 am every day, I might ...

The Road Is Paved With Good Intentions

God love him. Mitt Romney, current governor of the state of Massachusetts and future president of the United States means well. He simply wants the legislators there to do their jobs and execute the will of the people; something they, like the cowards they are, so far have been unwilling to do.

But rather than take his case to those same people and have them throw the bums out, Romney approaches the courts, hat in hand like a supplicant to a superior branch of the government:
Massachusetts Governor Sues to Compel Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Amendment
By Katie Zezima, The New York Times

Boston, Nov. 24 — Gov. Mitt Romney filed a lawsuit Friday asking the state’s highest court to order the legislature to vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage or to place it on the 2008 ballot if lawmakers do not take up the provision.

The legislature voted 109 to 87 on Nov. 9 to recess a constitutional convention before the measure was taken up, which appeared to kill it. (link)
It was this same court, you may remember, that created this whole mess in the first place when a small handful of rabidly liberal judges there bypassed the other two branches of government and wrote into law a provision allowing for - no, mandating - gay marriage.

Mitt Romney has good intentions. But he also has a pathetic misunderstanding of representative democracy and his role in it.

Ah, The Joys Of Christmas

When we were children, we waited with eager anticipation for Santa to come down the chimney and bring us lots and lots of Christmas cheer. Train sets. Barbie dolls. GI Joe. These many years later, nothing has changed. The excitement still consumes us. The expectation. Today, much like then, we eagerly await the opportunity ... to beat the living hell out of each other the moment the Christmas shopping season begins:
Attention, Holiday Shoppers: We Have Fisticuffs in Aisle 2
By Michael Barbaro, The New York Times

Perhaps it should be renamed Black-and-Blue Friday.

For decades, the day after Thanksgiving has been called simply Black Friday, because it is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, when retailers supposedly move into the black, or start turning a profit.

But bargain hunters competing for scarce quantities of “doorbuster” discounts have given this day an increasingly sharp-elbowed, close-fisted and purse-swinging edge.

Shortly after midnight yesterday, an estimated 15,000 shoppers pushed and shoved their way into the Fashion Place mall in Murray, Utah. Police soon joined them, responding to reports of nine skirmishes.

Once inside, shoppers ransacked stores, overturning piles of clothes as they looked for bargains. A retailer’s dream — too many customers! — quickly turned into a nightmare ... (link)
This is perfectly understandable ... if you've ever held a Tickle Me Elmo in your arms. You too would want to disfigure little old grannies waiting in line at the Wal-Mart just to get your hands on one of the fuzzy little bundles of wonder. He is to kill for.

I can't remember though why Elmo didn't interest me the other 364 days of the year. But it doesn't matter now. Get out of my way, you old hag! And let go of that iPod! It's Christmas and tis the season for me to rip your freaking lungs out!

Friday, November 24, 2006

On Corporations & 'Social Responsibility'

I was probably viewed as a pariah by many in graduate school (1998 to 2000). Corporate responsibility toward protecting the environment and bringing about world peace and ending global hunger and preventing AIDS was all the rage at the time, and here I was arguing in class that corporate heads had absolutely no obligation (inside the four walls) to participate in any of these then-trendy social movements. Their only responsibility was to maximizing shareholder equity through low prices, lower costs, efficiencies of production, product quality, customer satisfaction, etc. Shareholders, reaping the rewards from such sound and effectual corporate governance, could then plow their capital gains and dividends (if such were paid out) into whatever goofy fly-by-night crusades they deemed appropriate. Global warming comes to mind.

It turns out I was - I am - in good company:
Milton Friedman Was Right
"Corporate social responsibility" is bunk.
By Henry G. Manne, Writing in the Wall Street Journal

Milton Friedman famously declared that the sole business of the managers of a publicly held corporation was to maximize the value of its outstanding shares. Any effort to use corporate resources for purely altruistic purposes he equated to socialism.

The illusion of great and threatening power, the superficial attractiveness of the notion, and the frequent repetition of the mantra of corporate social responsibility have made this fallacy a part of the modern corporate zeitgeist. Like the citizens who were afraid to tell the emperor that he was naked, no responsible business official would dare contradict the notion publicly for fear of financial ruin, even though the practice continues to cost shareholders and society enormous amounts. This is especially so in large-scale retail businesses like Wal-Mart or Coca-Cola or BP that are highly vulnerable to organized public criticism. Our laws against extortion do not function effectively when it comes to corporations. And so to some extent these private entities have indeed, via the social responsibility notion, been converted into crypto-public enterprises that are the essence of socialism. Milton Friedman was right again. (link)
The most recent and glaring example of corporate irresponsibility? Click here.

9/10 Mindset

A whole host of terrorist attacks on American interests over a period of recent decades did nothing to awaken the citizenry - and our political leadership - to the fact that we are not safe simply because an ocean separates us from those who hate us and want us all dead. The posterboy for that era of blind naivete, Bill Clinton, dealt with the attack on Khobar Towers and the bombings of our embassies in Africa and the first attack on the World Trade Center and the killing of 17 sailors aboard the USS Cole by playing hide-the-cigar with Monica Lewinski. Oh, and he blew up a tent in Afghanistan. Oh, and he left office a very popular president. A commanding statesman.

It took 9/11 to shock Americans into understanding just how vulnerable we actually are.

Well, most Americans. Some have gone back to believing the problem to be, in fact, "over there":
The Politics of Murder
By David Ignatius, The Washington Post

The people of the Middle East are destroying themselves, literally and figuratively, with the politics of assassination. So many things are going right in the modern world -- until we reach the boundaries of the Middle East, where the gunmen hide in wait.

The idea that America is going to save the Arab world from itself is seductive, but it's wrong. We have watched in Iraq an excruciating demonstration of our inability to stop the killers. We aren't tough enough for it or smart enough -- and in the end it isn't our problem. (link)
As of last count, 1,150 men, women, and children are still missing from the last incident - in New York City - on September 11, 2001 - that, "in the end, wasn't our problem."

Now They're Using Grannies

I wonder why those who cry out the loudest for jihad in the Arab world don't strap a bomb to their waists and send themselves to hell? Instead of little old ladies:
Grandmother Blows Self Up in Gaza Suicide Blast
By Steven Erlanger, The New York Times

Jerusalem, Nov. 23 — In the first suicide bombing claimed by Hamas in nearly two years, a grandmother blew herself up on Thursday near Israeli soldiers operating inside Gaza, near the town of Beit Lahiya.

The soldiers threw a stun grenade toward the woman, who the Israeli authorities said had been acting in a suspicious manner, and she detonated her explosive belt, killing herself. Two soldiers were slightly wounded. (link)
The Muslim world rejoices over her death. And our new leadership in Washington wants to sit down and negotiate.

The've all gone mad.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thought For The Day

Why is it, those with the least are thankful the most?

Give Thanks To Those Who Made It Happen

Norman Rockwell captured the essence of that miracle that is America in this marvelous painting completed in 1943.

There is so much for which we should give thanks.

No Greater Authority

Regarding the separation of church and state myth, it would do us well to understand how Thanksgiving Day came about:

"I invite my fellow citizens to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent father who dwelleth in the heavens." - Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863

A day set aside by our government to give thanks to God.

Let's Think This Through

Now I know there is a distinction to be made between what is being proposed in Arizona and what occurred down in Appalachia, Virginia, but is there a difference?

Luck runs out for 'Boss Hogg of Appalachia'
By Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times

A former Virginia mayor, known as "the Boss Hogg of Appalachia," is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to more than 200 charges stemming from a scheme that included wooing voters with pork rinds, cigarettes and beer. (link)

Pork rinds may not provide the incentive to turn out and vote that a million dollars do but neither did my astronomically slender chance of unseating our feckless and woefully inconsequential congressman.

If I'm going to waste my time, I say: Break Out The Bud!

It Will Work Itself Out

Unlike many Americans, I don't get worked up over the "English as our official language" issue. Here's why:
Hispanics adopt holiday customs
Like Americans, many will eat turkey; others prefer chicken, pork
By Juan Antonio Lizama, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Latino immigrants quickly become familiar with the Thanksgiving tradition in the U.S., but many don't adapt easily to the traditional food. (link)
Getting past the turkey-as-godawful-meal issue, we have been inundated in recent years with Hispanic immigrants (legal and illegal) and there are pockets in many cities where Spanish is the language of choice. But just as was the case with my father, who spoke only German when he was young - in a region in northern Wisconsin that was comprised mostly of recent immigrants from das Vaterland - these people will assimilate.

Or they will clean public toilets forever. That's how it always works out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

You Make My Hair Fall Out

I was intrigued by the first sentence in a Galax Gazette editorial (truth be known, I was intrigued that the Galax Gazette had an opinion for a change):
Uphold the law

Perhaps proponents of a spoken prayer at Carroll County Intermediate School Nov. 10 should mediate on their stance. (
Actually intrigued isn't the right word. I was puzzled. They should "mediate on their stance?" How does one do that?

Then it came to me. I think the author meant to type the word meditate.

Then I read the rest of the editorial regarding prayer in school and the mythical (but temporarily law-of-the-land) separation of church and state, and quickly realized how wrong the whole damn editorial is.

Or maybe it's just me. Let me mediate on the matter for a while ...

To Hell In a Handbasket

See? The Democrats haven't even taken charge yet, and the country is slipping into the throes of Depression:
Weekly Jobless Claims Climb by 12,000
By Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Considerably more newly laid-off workers signed up for unemployment benefits last week, although the figures suggest the job market remains stable even as a housing slump afflicts the economy.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that new applications filed for the work week ending Nov. 18, rose by a seasonally adjusted 12,000 to 321,000. The increase was bigger than many economists were expecting. (link)
It's all the Democrats' fault!

I learned this technique from all those lefty bloggers out there (some of whom were paid handsomely for their efforts) during the runup to the recent election. It's kinda fun, to be honest with you.

The Black Plague! They did it! Katrina! Global Warming!

Quote Of The Day

You can't make this stuff up:
"McCain Says U.S. Troops Dying for 'Failed Policy' in Iraq"--headline, Bloomberg, Nov. 19

"McCain Says More Troops Needed in Iraq"--headline,
Associated Press, Nov. 19

James Taranto, Best of the Web Today, November 21, 2006 (link)
That about says it all.

Remove His Kidneys

If found guilty, this guy deserves the pain of amputation without anesthetic:

Ex-official accused of defrauding charity
Kidney Foundation office had hired man before discovering previous embezzling conviction
By Mark Bowes, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

The former accounting director for the National Kidney Foundation of the Virginias was charged yesterday with embezzling about $175,000 from the charity over six years.

Robert B. Graves Jr., 54, was arrested at his Patterson Avenue home about 7 a.m. He was served with 12 felony embezzlement indictments returned Nov. 9 by a Richmond-area multijurisdictional grand jury. (link)
Did you catch that part about a background check revealing that he had once before been convicted of ... embezzlement?

Am I the only one wondering why the routine check wasn't done before the $175,000 was (allegedly) ripped off? Before the felon was hired?

Way to go HR department.