December 30, 2006
Many years ago, when I was still employed in the "newspaper bidness", I was invited to attend an off site brain storming session to discuss ways to improve our paper. The director of the classified department suggested that they include an automotive "how to" article on the front page of the weekly auto section.
Our managing editor became visually outraged that the classified department would even suggest adding any sort of editorial content to the paper. The journalistic elitism was palpable as he made clear that no one would broach the barrier between the members of the Fourth Estate and us mere mortals.
Not that the classified director was not capable of pulling some filler piece off of the wire and pasting it on the page, but rather he had violated editorial's role as gatekeeper of the news and the power that the position holds.
It is the uncontrollable loss of power that the new media brings that causes people like Rago to lash out. Coupled with the resulting plunge in circulation and revenues we see an industry in a real quandary.
Newspapers Death Spiral
December 25, 2006
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see--I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
December 21, 2006
As the following story illustrates we are also much more in tune with the meaning of Christmas, illustrated by 0ur gift wrapping techniques.
Gift wrapping tips for men.
This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Three Wise Men; Gaspar, Balthazar and Herb, went to see the baby Jesus and, according to the Book of Matthew, "presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. "These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper.
If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: "And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throw it away, but Mary said unto him, ‘Hold it! That is nice paper! Save it for next year!' And Joseph did roll his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the frankincense."
But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:
1. They were wise. And...
2. They were men.
Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off. This is not just my opinion: This is a scientific fact based on a statistical survey of two guys I know. One is Rob, who said the only time he ever wraps a gift is "if it's such a poor gift that I don't want to be there when the person opens it."The other is Gene, who told me he does wrap gifts, but as a matter of principle never takes more than 15 seconds per gift. "No one ever had to wonder which presents daddy wrapped at Christmas," Gene said. "They were the ones that looked like enormous spitballs."
I also wrap gifts, but because of some defect in my motor skills, I can never completely wrap them. I can take a gift the size of a deck of Cards and put it in the exact center of a piece of wrapping paper the size of a regulation volleyball court, but when I am done folding and taping, you can still see a sector of the gift peeking out. (Sometimes I camouflage this sector with a marking pen.)
On the other hand, if you give my wife a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, she can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. My wife, like many women, actually likes wrapping things. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she wraps the batteries separately, which to me is very close to being a symptom of mental illness. If it were possible, my wife would wrap each individual volt. My point is that gift-wrapping is one of those skills like having babies that come more naturally to women than to men.
That is why today I am presenting: GIFT-WRAPPING TIPS FOR MEN
Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped. If, when the recipient opens the gift, neither one of you recognizes it, you can claim that it's myrrh.
If you're giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper! Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning. YOUR WIFE: Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree? YOU: It's a gift! See? It has a bow! YOUR WIFE (peering into the trash bag): It's a leaf blower.YOU: I also got you some myrrh.
In conclusion, remember that the important thing is not what you give, or how you wrap it. The important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt.
Male Author Unknown~ I think he got killed.
Thanks once again to my favorite sister in law for this wonderful piece of Christmas cheer.
December 19, 2006
Gibson's use of the native language was unique and the subtitles surprisingly limited, letting the action tell the story.
As for Oscar quality, it was every bit as good as "Braveheart" in realism and story line although at one point the story turned into a long predictable chase scene.
The choice of the title was not revealed until the final scene and it was my astute wife that had to point out to me the symbolism in the ending. She also commented that the suspense kept her riveted and squeezing my leg for the whole two hours.
We would both give it a big thumbs up.
Now a movie rant: If there is one thing I detest it is the feeling that I have been screwed without a kiss, and that is one reason that we ( and I can assume from the sparse crowd in the theatre.) don't bother to go to the movies on a regular basis.
First is the prices at the concession. $15.00 for a couple popcorns and two sodas. OK so I'm becoming tight in my old age but when they get done investigating Exxon for price gouging they need to come down on the popcorn stands.
Second is the twenty full minutes of commercials before the start of the show. I don't mind a few previews of upcoming attractions but if I wanted to see two ads for "Soprano" reruns I would stay home, watch TV, and pop my own damn popcorn. The trailer for Will Smith's latest movie was so long I'm sure I could write a review about it without actually ever seeing it. At one point they turned down the lights and as I settled in for the feature we got another trailer and when the movie did actually begin it took me a couple minutes to realize that the one I paid to see was running. I'm still waiting for the kiss.
Whew; Glad I got that one off my chest.
December 12, 2006
1600 Pennsyvania Blvd.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
I was struck by the following passage because it sounded very similar to a line in the 1960 inaugural address of JFK.
...it is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for the country in return.
Oliver Wendall Holmes
1) Who are the Sunnis and the Shiites?
They are the two main sects of Islam. And generally speaking, they’re not crazy about each other.
In the middle east its hard to tell the players with out a program.
King Salmon, Dean Barnett at Townhall breaks it down in this FAQ post.
December 09, 2006
Several months ago I had the opportunity to see the HBO documentary “Do You Believe In Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team,”
The film was interesting in that it did not simply trace the path of the US team, but it placed the events into the historical context of the United States in the 1970’s. Malaise had gripped the nation with the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate,and inflation. The Soviets had invaded Afghanistan and President Carter’s threat of a boycott of the Summer Olympics in Moscow took a further toll on the psyche of the nation. The movie showed how the young skaters and their battles on the ice became symbolic of the Cold War for a nation badly in need of a win.
It was the man behind the team that gave the US that victory that was also amazing.
Herb Brooks was chosen to coach the US team that year. In 1960 Brooks himself was on the Olympic team but was cut just days before the Olympics started. That was the last year that the US won Olympic Gold in hockey. The Russians had dominated the sport for the next four Olympics and Brooks was determined to end that streak.
He assembled a team of young collegiate skaters from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. He drove them hard, mentally and physically. Bringing in new players and threatening the teammembers with replacement until just before the games were to begin. What he did next was pure genius.
A week before the start of the Games in Lake Placid, New York, Brooks scheduled the team to play the Russian National team in Madison Square Garden. These were the men that had won four straight Olympics gold medals. The Russian Army Team that had beaten the US and Canadian pro teams. The team that Brooks touted to his skaters as the best team in the world. The team that could not be beaten. Needless to say, the kids on the US team were demolished.
With only a week to go for the start of the Olympic games Brooks began to change his tune about the Russians. They were old. They were slow. They were funny looking. When the two teams meet again the Russians are over confidant but the Americans are ready to play. At the final buzzer,with the US ahead 4-3 announcer Al Micheals declares "Do you believe in miracles?" and the chant U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A. lifted a nation.
I was reminded of this story when I read that Herb Brooks, who was killed in a car accident in his native Minnesota in 2003, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame November 13, 2006.
Here are the final two minutes of that game and the celebration that ensued. It is interesting to note that after the game was over Brooks can be seen walking back to the locker room alone. Leaving the ice to his kids that made the miracle happen.
December 08, 2006
Forwarded From: "Dr. Robert M. Gates"
December 7, 2006
To the Aggie Family:
The United States Senate yesterday voted to confirm me as the 22nd Secretary of Defense. I will be sworn in and take office on December 18th, and will resign as the 22nd President of Texas A&M that same day.
And so it is final. My last official act as President will be to preside at the commencement ceremonies on December 15-16.
You already know that I am leaving this incredible University reluctantly and with a heavy heart. By the same token, Aggies - more than anyone else - understand why I must do so.
Our University is in good hands and on an upward course. All the major initiatives - expanding the faculty, new undergraduate degree programs, greater diversity, more than half a billion dollars in new construction - 90% of it for academic facilities, and unprecedented involvement of faculty, staff and students in decision-making - are on track, taking us to new heights of academic excellence. It is now also evident that our athletic program is on track to reach a new level of national competitiveness.
As the end of my service as President draws near, please know that: for the rest of my life I will always be an Aggie. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, as long as I live I will bleed Maroon.
A final request to all in the Texas A&M family. Never forget who we are and where we came from. Never forget the Aggie Code of Honor. And never forget the obligations of duty and honor and country.
God bless all of you, God bless Texas A&M, and God bless America.
Gig 'em Aggies.
Until we meet again.
Robert M. Gates
Texas A&M University
December 07, 2006
Washington, D.C., December 11, 2006
After nine months of intensive deliberations, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group has finally released its long-awaited Iraq Study Group Report in which the prestigious think tank concludes: "The Iraq Study Group will offer $25 million to anyone who can come up with a viable solution to the Iraq quagmire because, frankly, we're stumped". President George W. Bush is said to be "real happy" about the findings...
..."It was my choice to go into Iraq three and a half years ago, and it's my job to start thinking about coming up with a plan for eventually getting us out of there," President Bush said at a White House Rose Garden press availability timed to coincide with the report's release. "And that's what Jimmy [James A. Baker III] and the Iraq Study Group have been doing."...
..."We're very proud of our report," James A. Baker III said, "in particular our cool logo. Do you see how it's part camel, part eagle, depending on where you focus your eyes? That required real artistry to create. Reminds me of those Magic Eye things I can never get to work right. Must be my myopia."
According to Mr. Baker III, the Iraq Study Group Report "really only took about a day to write. The other nine months – the 'gestation period' of the report, if you will – were for typing, logo design, and fine-tuning the recommendations until the midterms were safely over."
Entire story here.
Thanks to Avant News
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me,and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.,
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said
"Its really all right, I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed,
"That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son.
"Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.
Posted with a request by a service member to pass this along and to remember those that are holding the line during this Christmas season.
Thanks to Samizdata.net
Speed bird 206: "Top of the morning, Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of the active runway."
Ground: "Guten Morgen. You vill taxi to your gate."
The big British Airways 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop. Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by a moment, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now." Ground (with arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, haff you never flown to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes I have in 1944, but just to drop something off. I didn't actually stop."
December 05, 2006
As so often happens in history another man, not through great vision but driven by great events was thrust into the position of choosing between continuing the containment of an ideology that had been waging its own cold war on the west for 30 years or saying " Enough". Once again it was going to be expensive and perilous. There is nodoubt we have the power. The only question is do we have the will to see it through?
Victor David Hanson contrasts the two sides of the debate on the War on Terror. According to Hanson, a majority believe we have neither the power or the will.
Interview excerpts with Hugh Hewitt.
December 03, 2006
December 02, 2006
Charles Krauthammer has am interesting foreign policy primer here.
November 30, 2006
November 28, 2006
Daniel Pipes' Weblog
The 751 No-Go Zones of France
November 14, 2006
They go by the euphemistic term Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or Sensitive Urban Zones, with the even more antiseptic acronym ZUS, and there are 751 of them as of last count. They are convienently listed on one long webpage, complete with street demarcations and map delineations.
What are they? Those places in France that the French state does not control. They range from two zones in the medieval town of Carcassone to twelve in the heavily Muslim town of Marseilles, with hardly a town in France lacking in its ZUS. The ZUS came into existence in late 1996 and according to a 2004 estimate, nearly 5 million people live in them.
Comment: A more precise name for these zones would be Dar al-Islam, the place where Muslims rule. (November 14, 2006)
November 25, 2006
November 23, 2006
November 22, 2006
"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, 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. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth."
Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, 3 October 1863.
Since 1863, Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States.
November 21, 2006
When I was discharged from the Army in the 1970's we were in the midst of the malaise that had enveloped not only the military in the aftermath of Vietnam but the whole country as a result of Nixon, inflation, Carter, the Iranian hostage crisis, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. I would have said at the time that this once great nation and the people that fought two world wars for the sake of democracy and all that we stand for were no longer up to the task.
Then I look at the men and women that in the last five years have willingly fought and died so valiantly for those same principles and you can not help but be proud of them and the county that has produced them.
When my son returned home from a year of duty in Afghanistan I was thankful that he returned safely but at the same time proud of him and his dedication to a cause that most people can not understand. And like 75% of those that have served, he has re-enlisted. We owe them our thanks, support, praise, and admiration.
Take a few minutes to check out this tribute video. Who is this American Warrior.
In a similar vein I am also amazed at some of the touching and unselfish acts of kindness that some of these returning troops have encountered.
By the afternoon, one plane to Denver had been delayed several hours. United personnel kept asking for volunteers to give up their seats and take another flight. They weren't getting many takers. Finally, a United spokeswoman got on the PA and said this, "Folks. As you can see, there are a lot of soldiers in the waiting area. They only have 14 days of leave and we're trying to get them where they need to go without spending any more time in an airport then they have to. We sold them all tickets, knowing we would oversell the flight. If we can, we want to get them all on this flight. We want all the soldiers to know that we respect what you're doing, we are here for you and we love you."
At that, the entire terminal of cranky, tired, travel-weary people, a cross-section of America, broke into sustained and heartfelt applause. The soldiers looked surprised and very modest. Most of them just looked at their boots. Many of us were wiping away tears.
And, yes, people lined up to take the later flight and all the soldiers went to Denver on that flight.
"Just as I was began to tell the ticket agent that we were trying to get these soldiers on an earlier flight, the gentleman interrupted and asked, 'First class?' I said no, they're flying coach. He replied, 'I will pay to fly them first class!'"
Out of the four soldiers, the generous gentleman paid for three to fly home (to North Dakota and South Dakota) first class. He would have paid for all four, but the fourth soldier was connecting to an Airlink flight and first class was not available.
Dallas: Gifts To Soldiers Reap Many Returns
Las Vegas: Read the whole thing. This young man exemplifies the caliber of the military personnel we have today. The part that I thought was also amazing, "After the long flight from Germany, one Green Beret awoke after the plane landed and found a note on his chest from a civilian seatmate. "The drinks are on me," it said. It contained $500.
If anyone comes across any similar examples I would like to post them. S
November 17, 2006
Last week we went to The Amazing Jonathan show at the Sahara in Las Vegas and laughed our butts off. Great show. Check it out.
November 16, 2006
November 15, 2006
1. In the Iowa governors race Chet Culver was swept into office on the crest of the perfect storm that lifted the dems to victory. It remains to be seen if he is as I said not quite ready for prime time and if he can find a way to pay for his "Plan".
2. As I was scrolling through the touch screen at the local precinct it was troubling to see how many legislators ran unopposed. I know that Wally Horn has been in office for over 30 years and may be unbeatable but surely someone could make him work for his job.
3. Richard Nixon in a speech after his election in 1968 said his victory was the result of the Silent Majority. The Silent Majority are ones who the media now lump into the independent category but are actually those that generally support conservative positions and are concerned about the social ramifications of the Progressives. Just as they helped Nixon in 68 and Bush in 04 their discontent with the handling of so many common sense issues also turned the tide for the dems this year. I know I had a hard time checking the straight ticket square this time but with what we face today my conscience would rather hang with the loosers.
4. Like Nixon in 68 who claimed he had a plan to get us out of Vietnam, or Roosevelt that claimed he had a plan for the Depression, the democrats claimed to have a plan for Iraq. Empty claims got them all elected but it will take more than raising the minimum wage and another Hillary health care scare to get them re-elected in 2008. Lets hope that they understand that this is not the 60's and Iraq is not Vietman.
November 07, 2006
This Texas Virtual Neighborhood Watch has posted cameras at various locations across the Tex Mex frontier so that you can report suspicious activity to the proper authorities. For Example:
Drug exchanges are known to take place in this public parking lot. Cars that are parked for prolonged periods should be reported.
My guess is, that if you turned camera one around you would see this.
This is not a virtual fence, this is virtual idiocy and should be reported. Way to go Texas!
That night it was hanging out on the strip, a little gambling, a lot of beer and to top it off the wife got half of the people in the Harrahs Casino to sing me Happy Birthday. You have to love a place that hands out free beer and they dont care if you take it with you out on the street.
October 31, 2006
October 30, 2006
Listed below are a few of the endorsements for Iowa governor from papers scattered across the Hawkeye state. In the interest of time they were pulled from the websites of the two candidates. I would like to note however, that the Nussle endorsements come primarily from the small Iowa based news organizations while Culver has attracted the nod of the large national corporations of Gannett and Lee.
For Jim Nussle
Cedar Rapids Gazette............Gazette Communications/Cedar Rapids Ia.
Soiux City Journal.........................Lee Enterprises/ Davenport Ia.
Dubuque Herald Telegraph.........Woodward Publications/ Dubuque Ia.
Fort Dodge Messenger.................Independent/ Fort Dodge Ia.
Esterville Daily News...................-------------/ Esterville Ia.
For Chet Culver
DesMoines Register......................Gannett Corp./ McClain, VA.
Mason City Globe Gazette...........Lee Enterprises/Davenport Ia.
Quad City Times...........................Lee Enterprises/ Davenport Ia.
Iowa City Press Citizen................Gannett Corp/ McClain Va.
NAA listing of US publications and corporations HERE
October 28, 2006
Ask The Aussie Imam
Islamic Advice from Imam Yahu al-Zirius Spiritual Leader, Fostaz al-Vegimita MosqueLakembabongabinga, Sydney, NSW
Check it out.
For those unfamiliar with the Touchplay controversy, here is a quick Touchplay primer.
Gambling interests convinced that legislature that they had an electronic equivalent to the scratch-off games that are found in stores throughout the state. The legislature approved the use of the machines and private interests invested in these machines that went into bars, convenience stores, and the like. For the investors they had hit the motherlode, the equivalent of printing money.
For the person like me standing in line at the local Handimart for 10 minutes with a half rack of beer and a bag of chips, while candidates for gamblers anonymous haggled with the clerk for their winnings and bells were ringing like the Vegas Strip, the machines were a major nuisance.
The legislature decided that the machines were basically slot machines and they pulled the permits from the operators. Peace returned to the beer shop, but there was hell to pay in DesMoines as the operators were left holding the bag on their investments and threats of lawsuits filled the air. What raised my hackles. besides the delay in beer purchases, was the argument that thier buiness' could not now survive without Touchplay.
Which brings us back to the Nussle accusation. In the first debate when asked about their stance on Touchplay Nussle was emphatic that he thought they were inappropriate in spite of the loss of revenue that trickled in to state coffers. Culver's answer on the other hand was somewhat oblique. He said, "As governor I want to work to protect the interests of all business". The answer struck me as odd then and nefarious now.
The Des Moines Register has raised several questions about Culvers involvement with the Touchplay lobby.
By DAVID YEPSEN,
REGISTER POLITICAL COLUMNIST
October 26, 2006
Democrat Chet Culver's mishandling of the TouchPlay issue is bringing back some old questions:Is he smart enough to be a good governor? And do we want to restore TouchPlay gambling or pay off the businesses who lost money when the state shut down the machines?Those are just the sort of issues Culver doesn't need right before a close election. But they're out there, thanks to the way he's dealt with them.Here's his problem: During the Democratic primary campaign, Culver first said he wouldn't have signed a ban on TouchPlay gambling in Iowa. He said he was worried about the hit to state revenues - and to the merchants and bar owners who invested in the machines.Then, during the recent Brown-Black Forum, he wouldn't say whether it should be brought back. Later, he clearly told reporters the machines shouldn't be returned. But then we find out he and Democratic legislative leaders have accepted tens of thousands of dollars from TouchPlay gambling interests.So if they're not bringing back TouchPlay, what's up? Maybe the TouchPlay folks think they'll get a sweeter legal settlement out of Culver than Nussle.(After the governor and lawmakers shut down the devices earlier this year, the machine operators sued. They contend the state enticed them to buy these devices but then shafted them by shutting down such gambling. Depending on how the courts rule, it's quite possible the next governor and next Legislature will have to agree to pay some legal judgments.)Nussle said Tuesday: "Let me be clear. As governor, I will not cut a deal on an out-of-court settlement with TouchPlay special interests and further put Iowa taxpayers on the hook." But Culver spokeswoman Taylor West told The Associated Press: "That's an issue that's winding its way through the courts." Then later in the day she issued a statement from Culver: "Let me be clear: This is a settled matter. TouchPlay is not coming back in my administration, and I am opposed to an out-of-court settlement."Well, let me be clear (to borrow a phrase). Culver's cutting the tail off the dog an inch at a time here. He came off looking like he either didn't know what he wanted to do - which is bad - or was trying to cozy up to his big donors without being straight with the rest of us - which is worse.
Entire article here
October 26, 2006
I meant the other Paris......
It is reported that the French have activated 50,000 security forces in anticipation of further bad behavior. Story Here
Meanwhile, the Iranian President in a threat to the EU stated;
We have advised the Europeans that the Americans are far away, but you are the neighbors of the nations in this region. We inform you that the nations are like an ocean that is welling up, and if a storm begins, the dimensions will not stay limited to Palestine, and you may get hurt. It is in your own interest to distance yourself from these criminals (Israel). . . . This is an ultimatum. (WSJ)
October 25, 2006
1. On missile defense of America — Democrats voted against it.
2. On the Patriot Act — Democrats voted against it.
3. On tapping foreign terrorists’ phone calls to the U.S. — Democrats voted against it.
4. On tracing terrorists’ money flow between foreign banks Democrats voted against it
5. On building a border wall to control illegal immigration and stop dope — dealers, terrorists and criminals — Democrats voted against it.
6. On interrogating captured terrorists — 194 Democrats just voted against it.
7. On telling the world (and our enemy) about a timetable for withdrawing from and deserting Iraq — this is Democrats’ retreat and defeat plan.
Read the entire list here .
And From Michael Medved a few more. Here
October 24, 2006
TELEGRAPH HERALD EDITORIAL Sunday, October 22, 2006
Congressman's record and leadership are preferred over Culver's promises.
Since 1991, Jim Nussle has served well as Iowa's 1st District representative in the U.S. House, and he would serve the entire state well as governor.
In the view of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board, Nussle is the better choice to succeed Gov. Tom Vilsack.
As Nussle gained experience, and as he and his fellow Republicans attained majority status in Congress, Nussle accepted greater responsibility in federal government. As chair of the House Budget Committee, he had to make countless decisions - difficult and controversial decisions that provide ample ammunition for political adversaries.
On the campaign trail, Nussle's Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Chet Culver, criticizes not only Nussle's votes and positions with which he disagrees but virtually any and all "sins" by President Bush or the entire Congress. Such is the nature of campaigns.
But it is convenient for Culver to take those shots because Culver does not have much record to defend. His current job is largely administrative, and he has not had to make the many tough decisions demanded of a congressman, a governor or a legislator during some of our nation's most trying times.
Voters will agree or disagree with Nussle on various issues. Even this editorial board does not see eye-to-eye with Nussle on everything. (For example, he opposes raising the cigarette tax, even though the current tax does not begin to cover the state's Medicaid costs for smoking-related diseases.)
Those debates are fair game. However, like it or not, compromise is how things get done in Washington. Jim Nussle, as one of 535 federal lawmakers, cannot be personally responsible for every decision made by Congress or the White House. He has had a hand in many things, certainly, but voters must decide how much credit or blame he bears. If, for example, Nussle is to blame for U.S. involvement in Iraq, he also should receive credit for the economic rebound the country has experienced since 9/11.
Meanwhile, Culver, with a short list of achievements and a long list of promises and programs, speaks enthusiastically of great things ahead for Iowa in a Culver administration. The editorial board endorses his positive outlook for the state, but it seems that too many of his initiatives come with hefty price tags. His agenda features little in the way of belt-tightening. The message seems to be, there is nothing Iowa can't accomplish - if we spend enough.
On the issue of higher education, for example, Nussle's plan would allow parents and students to budget for college by holding the line on tuition increases. Tuition hikes would be limited to the Higher Education Guaranteed Price Index, which has increased an average of 4 percent over the past five years.
Culver's plan to reduce costs would involve spending $25 million.
Nussle would also offer loans that would be forgiven at a rate of 15 percent for every year students remain in Iowa after graduation. That addresses two problems - education costs and young people leaving the state.
Culver suggests that students save a year of college tuition by taking college courses during their senior year of high school. That idea raises some concerns. Today's students must "grow up" too soon already. Do we really want to push them out of their high-school experiences ahead of time?
Nussle has strong leadership experience as House Budget Committee chairman. He is an effective communicator and has stayed in touch with the 1st District. Bringing his leadership home to Iowa would be the best choice for the state.
Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board: Jim Normandin (publisher), Brian Cooper, Ken Brown, Monty Gilles, Amy Gilligan and Sharon Welborn.
October 23, 2006
So why should we care what is going on in France of all places? Heaven knows the French have been less that supportive of the US the last few years.
It matters because; although the jury is still out on if the potential exists for it happening here, what happens there will still have repercussions on our options and the rest of the world. What hthe future holds for us here will be determined in large part in how the problem is handled there.
Will the French have the will to put down what amounts to an insurrection by a force that was initially invited into the country? History tells us they haven't been very successful in the past hundred years or so. Don’t think that our closest ally, Britain, is in a much better position. Concessions are already being made in an effort to placate in hopes of delaying the inevitable clash of civilizations in thier country.
The parrallel to what is already happening here, albeit with a different ethnic group, is food for thought.
October 19, 2006
Now it is Apple Computers that has blasphemed by using a cube . Story Here
Am I sensing a connection here?
As I wrote earlier, the tone of some of the stuff that comes out blogs like DailyKos is often crass and asinine. A short time ago I gained some insight into self-proclaimed king of the liberal blogging world, Markos Moulitsas, in a remark that he posted about at the tragic death of TV's Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin. He stated that he couldn't figure out why a person would put himself in such a dangerous position when he had children that were now fatherless. (This was also echoed by a couple of my professors at Tall Corn College).
Author Sherwood Anderson writes in his classic "Winesburg, Ohio", that if you want to be a writer instead of a run of the mill hack, you have to dream, you have to live, you have to have passion. You have to have the ability to understand a person and thier passions.
I have no doubt that Mr. Moulitas is a genuinely smart guy. According to his bio he has sheepskins stacked up like cordwood and he lists his occuption as writer, but without the ability to "dream" he will never fathom why a person would swim with sharks, climb a moutain, fly a plane, or any of the pastimes and professions that don't offer the comfort or safety of blogging and because of that it leaves the rest of his analysis and opinions looking hollow.
October 17, 2006
"You cannot blame the entire Republican party for this reason. The entire government of the United States, the Congress, the White House and increasingly the courts for the last six years has been in the total control not of the Republican party but of the most ideological, the most right wing, the most extreme sliver of the Republican Party."
October 12, 2006
October 09, 2006
Recently a routine police patrol parked outside a bar in Melcher, IOWA. After last call the officer noticed a man leaving the bar so intoxicated that he could barely walk. The man stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing. After what seemed an eternity in which he tried his keys on five different vehicles, the man managed to find his car and fall into it. He sat there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off.
Finally, he started the car, switched the wipers on and off--it was a fine, dry summer night--, flicked the blinkers on and of a couple of times, honked the horn and then switched on the lights. He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained still for a few more minutes as some more of the other patrons' vehicles left.
At last, when his was the only car left in the parking lot, he pulled out and drove slowly down the road. The police officer, having waited patiently all this time, now started up his patrol car, put on the flashing lights, promptly pulled the man over and administered a Breathalyzer test. To his amazement, the Breathalyzer indicated no evidence that the man had consumed any alcohol at all! Dumbfounded, the officer said, "I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the police station. This Breathalyzer equipment must be broken."
"I doubt it," said the truly proud IOWAN. "Tonight I'm the designated decoy."
As a Raider fan there was always a glimmer of hope that a return to the glory days was just around the corner. Not this year. We have become the Lions. The only pleasure to glean from this season, and I know I'm being vindictive, is the fact that flash in the pan coach Jon "Chucky" Gruden's carrer seems to be in parallel with the demise of the Raiders. The Bucs are also zip and four.
October 05, 2006
It was interesting that after the moderator said that there would not be an opening statement Nussle launched into what was not only an opening statement but a tear jerking moment of silence for 2 fallen soldiers. Made him look a little phony and a lot like a smart ass. Of course Culver couldn't let that slide and proceeded to do the same.
Nussle certainly has honed the political mannerisms after 16 years in Washington and is pretty good in the extemporaneous format.
Culver looked like he wasn't quite ready for prime time. He seemed to be a little sweaty, probably from all the fist shaking he used to emphasize, every, word, he, had, to, say. While it appeared the other hand was firmly planted in his left pocket with a couple of worry stones.
Jim tried to project vision and Chet kept stressing "I have a plan" so often I thought he was about to bust out with a "I have a dream" momentm plus I am aways leary of anyone that stresses they want us "to move us forward", one of the more empty phrases in the campaign rhetorical tool box.
So with more campaign retoric and not much of substance I guess this debate exercise boils down to who looks more statesmanlike. I'll have to give round one to Nussle.
October 04, 2006
Great minds throughout the ages, scientists, philosophers, and theologians have all struggled to answer the question "What is the meaning of life?" It seems an impossible task to find an answer to a term such as "meaning" which is in this case is itself ambiguous. Some philosophers contend that the questioned can?t be answered at all believing that life itself has no meaning, rather it is what is in a persons life, the events or possessions, that have a meaning only to that person. So in a sense this search for a meaning is a question of measuring a fullness of a life.
At some point in everyone's life there is a questioning of purpose. I went through this process several years ago. I stopped and asked myself where I have been and where did I want to be. Fortunately this didn?t lead to a crisis that drives some to a new Corvette and a twenty-year old girl friend.
I discovered that my life was defined by where I lived and the things I did. A life of seeking love, or freedom or adventure, sure that each would bring the happiness or pleasure that I sought. Some would say it would appear to be the life of a person that is wild and free, but as I could attest it is a selfish life. Robert Service reflected on this type of individual in his poem "The Men That Don't Fit In". In part it reads:
During this time of self-evaluation, one of the best bits of advice I ever heard was that if you want success in business or in life, you should start at the end. Your end! Picture who would be at your funeral. For a person that is focused only on self the picture would surely be a lonely end. If on the other hand you can picture a room filled to capacity, and if you use friends and family as the gauge of your success, then at the end you could say, it truly was a wonderful life.
There's a race of men that don't fit in,A race that can't stay still;So they break the hearts of kith and kin,And they roam the world at will.They range the field and they rove the flood,And they climb the mountain's crest;Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,And they don't know how to rest.If they just went straight they might go far;They are strong and brave and true;But they're always tired of the things that are,And they want the strange and new.They say: "Could I find my proper groove,What a deep mark I would make!"So they chop and change, and each fresh move Is only a fresh mistake.
October 03, 2006
Thanks to Mr. Savage for bringng this to my attention.
September 28, 2006
Are the French youth sitting out this years festivities? Time will tell.
September 26, 2006
This is not the first time Clinton has went on a eye bulging, finger pointing tear. Who can forget that woman Miss Lewinsky. Then there is this Peter Jennings interview.
September 25, 2006
September 17, 2006
Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.
Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
Chuck Norris doesn?t wear a watch, HE decides what time it is.
Chuck Norris does not get frostbite. Chuck Norris bites frost
Hundreds More Here And Here
Last years hurricane season highlighted just how vulnerable, insulated and dependant we have become. It also illustrated how close we are to anarchy without the strong arm of society to hold it all together. As Thomas Hobbs noted without the power of a strong government life would become "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
We all need to ask ourselves, what if? Slate has a series of articles addressing a variety of sceneios with links to some helpful sites. At the least it should get you to thinking what if? Being prepared is not paranoid it is practical.
I spent two Alaska winters living in a cabin eight miles from the main highway with wood heat and no running water. "What do you do when you get snowed in my sister asks. Don't know never been "snowed in" I reply. To a great extent survival is a state of mind.
I get a kick out of the news stories of flatlanders emptying store shelves because it might snow.
I am curious as to when ice became a staple of disaster relief. The logistics involved in supplying ice must be mind boggeling. During any emergency having cold beer on hand is a definite plus, but lets be realistic, the shit melts! Ice is not a necessity! Food and water are necessities!
During Katrina people were on TV complaining because they were given MRE's to eat. I'm sure they would prefer the filet mignon but come on it's a disaster, let's suck it up a bit folks!
The other day the wife sends me to the store for milk and bread and I come home with $120 dollars worth of Spam and soup. Just stocking up I say. Then I get "the look." Deep down, she knows I'm right.