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Showing posts from April, 2006

When is a Czech not a Czech?

I grew up in a Czech- or, more precisely, a Bohemian- neighborhood. Prasky was the default lunchmeat of my childhood; kolachky was as much a staple of life as donuts, and smoked butt with rutabega was regularly encountered on the Waters family table. I doubt that my sister will ever let her husband forget the time he - Grace Lutheran's pastor at the time, newly arrived from Southern California by way of the St. Louis seminary- attended the reception which followed one of his first weddings, and instead of pouring pork gravy over his Bohemian dumpling, picked it up off his plate and buttered it!

Bohemian cooking is wonderful. Denise and I still make it a point when we get to Chicago to have dinner one night at Klaas's- a wonderful Bohemian restauraunt on Cermak Road (formerly 22nd Street; named after Tony Cermak, Chicago's assassinated anti-Capone Mayor back in the day). The restaurant, ironically, was one of Big Al's hangouts; a picture of him still adorns the wall in t…

Decency transcends politics on Sudan genocide- but not political correctness

When George W. Bush and George Clooney agree on an issue, there is a substantial likelihood that they're right.

They both agree that the genocide in the Sudan needs to stop.

In Darfur, at least- where (as Eric Phillips has pointed out) Muslim kills Muslim. But what of the ongoing genocide against Sudanese Christians?

Olmert says Ahmadinejad is a psychopath

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a psychopath and an anti-Semite.

Gee, Ehud. Just because a guy 's favorite subject is "wiping Israel off the face of the Earth," and he heads a government that likes to hang rape victims and uppity women, why would you think that?

HT: Drudge

I'm a little disappointed

The NFL's best defense probably didn't get any better yesterday.

Neither of the Bears' first two draft picks- both second-rounders, obtained by trading away their first-round picks- figures to start this year. Still, both can return kicks- a legitimate need- and may be able to make an impact in the future.

Danieal Manning and Devin Hester are both fast. They are both raw talents who will take a while to develop. When they do, they aren't likely to easily outrun by wide receivers. And they do add insurance for the future, even though it's at a position where, if the truth be told, the Bears aren't particularly in need of help.

Not that there are that many places where major upgrades are needed. It may be that Manning and Hester were simply the two best athletes available.

And with the free-agent signing of Ricky Manning, Jr., from the Carolina Panthers, the Bears now lead the NFL in defensive backs named Manning. Not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when …

Powell: I urged Dubyah to send more troops

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisior, and Secretary of State Colin Powell says that he told President Bush before the invasion that we would need more troops in Iraq than were sent.

Those advising the President on military matters at the time apparently disagreed. "They were anticipating a different kind of immediate aftermath of the fall of Baghdad," Mr. Powell explained. "It turned out to be not exactly as they had anticipated."

Iran blinks on inspections

A mixed night for the Sci-Fi Channel (possible spoilers!)

On Stargate SG-1, the Jaffa High Council has been replaced by a new government elected by the Jaffa people.

I suppose it's only a matter of time now before Madeline Albright and the Democrats start moaning how much better off they would be if they were still ruled by the System Lords.

Predictably, Battlestar Galactica was yet one more tedious parable on the benighted idiocy of traditional Christians. In this case, the cause celebre was the Sacrament of Abortion, whose virtue the more backward of the Colonial Fleet's inhabitants failed to recognize. I didn't bother to stick around for the ending, which I assume was characteristically unsubtle.

President Roslin has yet to replace President Bartlet as the TV character I'd most like to see impeached, despite the shortness of Bartlet's tenure. But the heavy-handed political messages and pointedly preachy Left Wing social philosophy of this series grows tiresome. A shame, too. It took a concept which the original series …

Just received another email from Mexico

Again, I have no idea of whether Alma Maria or the others are for real. But here is the email:

Robert Waters receive warm greetings from Guerrero Mexico!

Soy Alma Maria; vivo en Tecalpulco, tengo 24 años.
Tengo mis dos hijas Maricela y Agustina,

I am Alma Maria; I live in Tecalpulco, I am 24 years old.
I have my two daughters Maricela and Agustina.

Estoy muy orgullosa de ser parte de este grupo de mujeres trabajadoras,
con ellas he aprendido a valorar el trabajo que hago
y a sentirme orgullosa de lo que producimos.

I am very proud to be part of this group of working women
with them I have learned to appreciate the work I do
and to feel proud of what we produce.

No es facil produciendo artesanias,
sin embargo, he aprendido que podremos lograr exito si persistimos
y trabajamos duro y realmente creo que asi sera.

It is not easy producing handcrafts,
however, I have learned that we will succeed if we persist
and work hard and I really believe this to be true.

Please CLOSE THE BORDER to Illegal Migrati…

NCAA stands by idiotic rule on Indian nicknames

Hopefully, Illinois, Bradley, William and Mary and North Dakota will go to court.

Or else help found a new organization for the governance of athletic programs for sane universities.

The NCAA has taken political correctness far beyond the boundaries which political correctness can be allowed, in even a vaguely rational society, to go.

How to win friends and influence people, part V

ROTFL!, part deux

The really sad thing is that the American media probably take the assertions of this al Quaeda propaganda tape at face value.

I'd say the assertion of the U.S. government about it pretty much goes without saying.

How to win friends and influence people IV

The Mexican Congress has OK'd a bill legalizing the possession of small quantities of marijuana, ecstacy, cocaine and heroin for personal use.

President Vincente Fox has indicated that he will sign the bill- and just like that, the moral argument for immigration reform has gone by the boards. Can you say quarantine?

The implications for the war on drugs are staggering. Instantly, illegal immigration becomes a secondary concern: if the border with Mexico isn't shut down tighter than a drum, it will be the source of a deluge of illegal drugs coming into the United States from Columbia and elsewhere in South America that will make the current flow look like a trickle.

This is one not-unsympathetic observer of the plight of illegal immigrants whose position is hardening by the second. And the irony is that over and over and over- through the rhetoric about Aztlan and reconquista, to the massive demonstrations articulating those very off-putting arguments, to the emphasis on legal sta…

How to win friends and influence people III

May 1, 2005: the day any sort of immigration reform will become utterly, absolutely, and irredeemably impossible, probably for at least a generation.

This is simply not a situation in which demanding is going to work- and the backlash is going to be devastating.

HT: Drudge

Amnesty International, Yahoo and China

Here's what Amnesty International has to say about Yahoo and the imprisonment of dissident Shi Tao.

And here's an open letter to the Yahoo honchos. Amnesty International urges that it be sent to them by as many people as possible:

Dear Jerry Yang and David Filo,

I am writing to you to express my deep concern over recent allegations that your company has assisted authorities in China in events which led to the imprisonment of Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist. On April 27, 2005, Shi Tao received a ten-year prison term for sending information about a Communist Party decision through his Yahoo email account to a website based in the United States. Amnesty International considers him a Prisoner of Conscience, as he was imprisoned for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and opinion.

I am alarmed that in the pursuit of new and lucrative markets, your company is contributing to human rights violations. Yahoo should urgently give consideration to the human rights implica…

Chinese man faces 15 years in prison for advocating freedom on the Internet

And apparently Yahoo didn't even have to rat this particular dissident out.

There's a certain seemingly full-time pro-PRC spammer of blogswho- judging by past performance- probably thinks that he has it coming, too. Unless it's only people who don't permit the Chinese government to dictate to them in religious matters he thinks it's OK for them to throw into jail.

How about it, Bejing Bobby? Go ahead. As long as it's responsive to the subject matter, I'll be glad to post any comment you have on the matter.

Once.

HT: Drudge

Earth to Europe!

Two members of that "Axis of Evil" President Bush was so widely criticized for mentioning a couple of years ago have just given Europe cause to sit up and take notice.

Iran has just received its first shipment of North Korean missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to Europe.

Iran already has missiles capable of hitting Israel.

Both Iran and North Korea, of course, are renegade states are seeking to become nuclear powers- and both have, shall we say, somewhat erratic leadership.

Nice try, Hu

Doesn't make a lot of sense

Let's see.

According to this article- and other sources, including the sense I'm getting from the comments on this blog, social conservatives are upset with President Bush and the Republican Party because :

1) spending is out of control (a bad thing, I grant- but a primarily economic issue, and one largely driven by security concerns and the war in Iraq, which most of them support);

2) the President and many conservative leaders tried, but failed, to save Terri Schaivo- and by misreporting the case and distorting its facts, the media made Bush, the Republicans, and social conservatives look bad;

3) the President and the Republicans have failed to push doomed attempts to amend the Constitution to prohibit abortion and same-sex marriage;

4) Pat Robertson is a loose cannon, who brings not only "Evangelicalism" but social conservatism into disrepute on a regular basis; and

5) some few Republicans- who almost by definition are retiring from public life and sometimes going to ja…

Maybe the judge thinks that's why they call it "practice?"

In June of 2001, Carl Longnecker, a suburban Chicago man, was rushed to Loyola Hospital in the middle of the night after being told that a suitable heart had been found for the transplant he needed.

Longnecker was prepped for surgery and wheeled into the operating room. He was anesthetized, and surgeons opened his chest. They removed his heart, and discarded it.

Only then did they take a look at the donor heart- and discovered that it was badly diseased as a result of hypertension and from years of drug use. Since Longnecker's own heart was gone, the doctors had no choice but to implant the diseased heart in its place. Longnecker never woke up.

In December, a Cook County jury awarded a $2.7 million judgment against Loyola Hospital to Longnecker's family. Yesterday, Judge Irwin Solganick reversed the verdict and ruled for the hospital.

"The last chapter in this case has not been written," says Thomas Leahy, attorney for the Longnecker family.

Let's hope not.

A grand old idol?

Great discussion over at The Burr in the Burgh on one of my personal pet peeves: flags, national and otherwise, in the chancel- or even in the sanctuary, for that matter- of a church.

The origin of the custom of displaying the American flag in the front of the sanctuary of at least Lutheran churches is an interesting one. During the First World War, American Lutherans- being predominently German in ethnicity, and to a significant degree even German speaking- started displaying the flag there to demonstrate that their loyalty was to the United States, and not to the Kaiser, This was no obvious point, given that everybody was singing and praying, and the guy in the black robe and the funny, tabbed collar was preaching, auf Deutsch!

Ironically, in Germany- as in just about every other country on Earth- the display of a national flag in the sanctuary (and especially in the chancel) of a church was unheard of, and would have been seen as highly inappropriate. The citizenship which has signi…

Hillary is a non-starter

Despite the current Democratic euphoria about the party's prospects in November's mid-term elections, there are ominous signs for the future in this interesting poll of Democrats about the 2008 Presidential election.

Among its findings: Hillary Clinton is their overwhelming favorite to emerge as their party's nominee. Thirty-eight percent say that Sen. Clinton is their first choice; Sen. John Kerry, in second place, is favored by only fourteen percent

But because they realize how polarizing a figure she is, only twelve percent believe that Hillary can win in November!

Sen. John McCain is viewed favorably by fifty-five percent of Democrats- a higher favorable rating than they give many of their own party leaders and potential candidates for the White House!

All in all, this tends to support the conclusion I reached long ago, and have expressed many times in this blog: given her high negative ratings, and the relatively small percentage of the American electorate who say th…

Four Dems sentenced for 2004 Gestapo tactics in Milwaukee

Ever since they were stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court from stealing Florida and the presidency in 2000, Democrats have been charging Republicans of working to suppress voter turnout in minority areas and other Democratic-leaning venues. Trouble is, they keep coming up short in the proof department. In fact, it's interesting that the only documented instance of voter intimidation in Florida in 2000 was when Democratic goons actually forced the closure of a Miami polling place in a heavily Haitian, Republican-leaning precinct!

And unlike the largely mythical events whined about by Democratic sore losers in the last two Presidential elections, disturbing instances of Gestapo-like Democratic tactics against Republican voters and campaign operations were both numerous and well-documented, especially in the 2004 campaign.

But at last, one such instance is being addressed. Four Democratic workers are going to jail for their Brown Shirt tactics against Republican election day operations i…

Simply the most barbaric regime on Earth

Sometimes the marketplace is something less than benign.

St. Thomas Aquinas observed that cruelty to animals is often a moral precursor to cruelty to human beings. Psychologists have long noted the same point in studying the lives of serial killers and other psychopaths.

But what can you say about a regime like that of the People's Republic of China, whose systematic and soulless brutality extends to both?

It's good to see that my former congressman, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), is doing something to justify his paycheck. But more needs to be done to combat the economic complicity of American companies in China's barbarism. Wal-Mart needs to join Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google on the list of morally reprehensible corporations whose complicity with Chinese cruelty and tyranny raises serious moral questions for those of us who do business with them.

I'm already considering closing down the four e-mail groups, with a total of over a thousand members, I run at Yahoo, and canceling …

Lutheran Carnival XXII

Lutheran Carnival XXII is up and ready for perusal at Ask the Pastor.

Secret Iranian atom bomb plant already in place

Ad fontes!- because ipse dixit is still a fallacy

Nor is silliness the exclusive preserve of the Left.

Perusing "progressive" blogs (those on the Left which are ashamed to call themselves "liberal"), I gather that the term of choice is "wingnut." This is said to be short for "right-wing nut." Though why it wouldn't work just as well as "left-wing nut," I don't pretend to understand.

Anyway, whatever the term is, it would be harsh to use it of Bruce Bartlett, the author of this- well- strange piece, which suggests that George W. Bush isn't truly a conservative because he isn't a Roman Catholic.

Yes, that's what I said.

Bartlett cites the bizarre premise of Dartmoth English professor Jeffrey Hart, a former National Review editor who argues that since Mr. Bush as an "Evangelical" (a breed of Protestant cat for which- as regular readers of this blog will doubtless be well aware- I have little use), the President is therefore isolated from a traditional co…

Good grief!

I haven't heard the term "nuclear madness!!!" since the silly days during the Reagan administration when the moonbats were trying to convince everybody that Republicans thought that thermonuclear war might be a good idea!

Now they're trying to convince everybody that Dubya is seriously considering a tactical nuclear strike against Iran- because they themselves suggested it, and because the President- wisely- has declined to rule out any of his "options" in trying to deal with a fanatical regime not given to restraint or common sense!

In reality, of course, President Bush is no more considering a nuclear strike against Iran than he is considering skinny dipping in the Tidal Basin at high noon! But there is no bizarre accusation too macabre for the lunatic Left.

Nothing new about that, of course. We learned it all too well during the "madness!!!" of the 'Eighties!

No lie is too absurd, and no slander too vile, for the opponents of this President. B…

Maybe America isn't washed up after all

Here is an optimistic view from Britain of America's future in the coming economic war with our Twenty-First Century geopolitical rival: China.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Reid's untenable position

Could Harry Reid be the second consecutive Democratic Senate leader to be given the boot by the voters back home?

He has four years left on his term. But in conservative Nevada, Reid's emergence as a spokesman for the national agenda of a party far to the Left of his constituency has already raised questions about his future.

HT: Drudge

How to win friends and influence people, part II

The Iranians are promising to share their nuclear technology, presumably with other lunatic Islamofascist states.

Like, the world is going to let this happen? And this is the way the Iranians behave when trying to reassure the world about their nuclear program?

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has said bluntly that the Iranian nuclear program is the greatest threat the Jewish people have faced since Hitler.

And he's right. More than that, it puts the world closer to nuclear war than it's been since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

HT: Drudge

Time for Dubyah to lead at home, too

One of the greatest advantages President Bush has had in the last six years is that he's effectively governed without an opposition.

The article 'an' is the key word in that sentence. Obviously there is opposition, i.e., people opposed to both the President and to his policies. In fact, he and his predecessor, Bill Clinton, have each been opposed more vehemently than all but a handful of the Chief Executives in our history.

But each has lacked an opposition- that is, a thoughtful, carefully articulated alternative agenda for the nation from the opposing party. Such a thing is built into the parliamentary system that operates, say, in Britain or Canada or Australia. There, the largest party in Parliament other than the governing party is actually known as "The Opposition," and has a carefully constructed role to play in the governance of the nation.

Each cabinet minister has a designated opposite number on the other side of the hall, who presumably would take his por…

Just thought I'd mention it

I have no idea whether this webpage is for real. I have my doubts, frankly. Illegal immigration is obviously a hot topic, and one about which I have conflicting feelings. I do not begrudge people in Mexico a better life, but I do have strong concerns about the national security issues posed by our porous borders, the disrespect for our laws involved, and the overtaxing of our social welfare system- a system we all have to pay for, and maintain for the benefit of people who are here legitimately.

The webpage strikes me as suspicious- though it does not seem at all unreasonable that the problem it presents should be all too real. It just seems to me unlikely that family artisans, however proud, could maintain an industry large enough and profitable enough to provide an alternative to the trip over the Rio Grande. It just seems too good to be true.

Solutions have to be found for these poor people- solutions which respect our laws and our national security, and which don't end up penali…

We can come from behind, even without Lee!

Quite a win tonight!

Though "Z" still isn't himself, and I wasn't crazy about the first eight innings, it counts all the same.

Yes, they'll probably stop booing Jacque Jones for a game or two. Hopefully he'll give Cub fans more to cheer about from now on. Better, though, they should cheer him down here in Des Moines, and bring up Felix Pie to play right at Wrigley

Right.

Former Clinton Administration intelligence aide and fired CIA agent Mary McCarthy is denying that she is the source of a leak of classified information about CIA detention facilities in Europe and elsewhere.

She failed a polygraph on the matter before being dismissed.

She surely deserves the opportunity to make her case before a jury of her peers.

Scenes from a silent tube

Stopped by TGIFriday's for a coupla Guinnii this afternoon. The TV was tuned to CNN, soto voce.

Highlights (or lowlights): Email poll on "what you would do to turn things around for the White House" (open invitation for any moonbat with a wisecrack to make); Lou Dobbs referring to "President Bush's so-called immigration reform bill;" horrific data from April, the month in which we "lost more soldiers in Iraq than in any month since January!" (has there ever been a war in America's history in which casualties have either been so light, or so lovingly dwelt upon on an almost individual basis by the media?).

A session (to be fair, including rebuttal by Bill Bennett) on why it's OK for serving CIA officers to betray their oaths and reveal classified information to the media, since every administration leaks information intentionally on occasion.

That and a long period spent dwelling on the President's current low approval rating (I wonder w…

George W. Bush and the next thousand days

His popularity in decline, and his enemies- driven into a frenzy by the ineffectual spleen and frustrated hatred of six long years- at last sensing blood in the water, George Walker Bush's last thousand days in the White House were viewed quite differently by two very different men this past week.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s pre-JFK reputation as a distinguished historian will not, I hope, be too much diminished by his latter-day incarnation as a Democratic shill. Even so, it might be better for his reputation for logic and objectivity if he stopped writing about living people.

It is a poor historian indeed who tsks-tsks at a "preventive war" waged to enforce the most basic of the armistice conditions which ended a previous war (Saddam Hussein to destroy those WMD's within ninety days under UN supervision), against a foe who subsequently committed an act of war against the United States by conspiring to assassinate its president (George H.W. Bush). Like Mr. Bush…

Bully!

Bull Moose Republicans quotes Teddy Roosevelt- a hero of mine- to quite cogent effect on the subject of immigration.

The gist: the immigrant is one of our most precious resources for the future, and if he legally enters the country and becomes wholeheartedly and unqualifiedly an American- no dual national identities allowed- he should cherished as such, be welcomed with open arms, and be treated exactly like any other American.

But not otherwise.


Photo: Free Stock Photos

Sleeping on the job?

ABC News is having a field day with photos suggesting that Vice President Cheney fell asleep during the visit of Chinese President Hu.

Of course, the pictures make it appear that Secretary of State Condi Rice must have been napping, too. Both say they were looking at notes. Whether the pictures are newsworthy or probative, I leave to the reader.

Of course, I don't recall ABC being quite as amused by the incident depicted above, and discussed here. That's radical Clinton Supreme Court appointee Ruth Bader Ginsberg catching forty winks- and there is no room for doubt about neither what she's doing, nor why ABC didn't give this incident as much coverage as the Vice President's alleged nap.

HT: Drudge

Iraqi government logjam broken

Now we'll wait and see whether the Sunni minority plays it smart and takes its rightful place in a national unity government- and whether the American media will deign to acknowledge the fact if they do.

Oh, and incidentally...

Mary O'Neil McCarthy, the CIA officer fired for blabbing national secrets to the Washington Post, was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs in the Clinton Administration.

Note the care taken by another notoriously partisan Democratic newspaper- The New York Times- to mention her brief service as a temporary holdover under the Bush Administration in this article, a rather dishonest piece of jounalistic spin reminiscent of the media's widespread attempt to portray Clinton appointee and anti-Bush grandstander Richard Clarke as a "Bush insider" on the basis of a similar, short-term service when he gave his rather sensationally partisan testimony to the 9/11 Commission.

Note, too, how that article manages to present the dismissal of a serving CIA officer for betrayal of her oath in deliberately revealing classified information not as something that would go without saying under any administration of either party , but rather as e…