Thursday, November 30, 2006

Listen to 'da 'pundit

A couple of days ago, I posted on the possibility of the first Muslim representative in the House being sworn in on the Koran rather than the Bible.  Instapundit has some thought on this as well:

I'M WATCHING EUGENE VOLOKH AND DENNIS PRAGER on this topic -- of which I was only vaguely aware -- of whether newly-elected Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison should take his oath of office on a Bible or on the Koran. Volokh seems to have the better of this argument by a huge margin. In fact, I think that Prager's argument that oaths must be on the Bible is absolutely nonsensical. But weirdly Paula Zahn keeps cutting Eugene off. I'm sorry, but Prager's reference to "the American Bible" as the root of the Constitution is ridiculous. What's "the American Bible?" And whatever happened to that bit from the Constitution about "no religious test"?

I think he makes a good point.  Again, I'd like to have incoming officials be sworn in on the Bible, but if they're non-believers, then they should be given the option to be sworn in using the Constitution.  Maybe that's just me?

Our courts have time (and money) for this?

For crying out loud!  Amidst all the immigration reform talks of the past few months, there was much discussion of the impracticality of trying every illegal alien that was caught through our court system.  There seemed to be general agreement that there was time nor money sufficient enough for such an approach.  Yet our courts have enough time to hear this case brought to our attention via the Drudge Report:

Guacamole lawsuit: Where's the avocado?
The Associated Press
Posted November 30 2006, 8:24 AM EST

LOS ANGELES -- Wholly guacamole?

That's the issue in a fraud lawsuit filed Wednesday against Kraft Foods, Inc., by a Los Angeles woman who claims the company's avocado dip doesn't qualify as guacamole.

"It just didn't taste avocadoey," said Brenda Lifsey, who used Kraft Dips Guacamole in a three-layer dip last year. "I looked at the ingredients and found there was almost no avocado in it."

She is seeking unspecified damages and a Superior Court order barring Kraft from calling its dip guacamole. Her suit seeks class-action status.

The Kraft product contains modified food starch, coconut and soybean oils, corn syrup and food coloring. It is less than 2 percent avocado, which in traditional recipes is the main ingredient of the Mexican dish.

The government doesn't have any requirements on how much avocado a product must contain to be labeled guacamole, said Michael Herndon, a spokesman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft said it had not seen the lawsuit but believed it was not deceiving anyone.

"We think customers understand that it isn't made from avocado," Claire Regan, Kraft Foods' vice president of corporate affairs, told the Los Angeles Times. "All of the ingredients are listed on the label for consumers to reference."

However, the company will relabel the product to make it clearer that the dip is guacamole-flavored, Regan said.

We can only hope this vicious guacamole-like product will be removed from shelves immediately. 

I had intended to post on this report from Wizbang that a woman was allegedly raped by a man who she met via an online dating site, but this was just too good to not post.  What is wrong with people.  Idiots.


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Tryin' 'er out


I just downloaded the Windows Live Writer blogging software, so I figured I'd give it a quick try.

Exams and essays will be hindering my ability to post for the remainder of the day, but I will try to be back at some point this evening or tomorrow morning with an update. 

*so it appears that this beast works quite well, including a fully functional Technorati tag component.  Nice.  Very nice.  For anybody who has used Windows Live Writer and has some tips, feel free to leave a comment!

The real trick I've had with programs in the past has been block quoting, so let us see how block quoting works, using a portion of an essay I recently wrote:


The significant role of emotions in literature extended also to Romantic music through the works of such musical giants as Ludwig van Beethoven and Joseph Haydn. Even today, music allows composer, performer and audience alike to allow individual emotions and insights to find meaning in each note, chord and movement, enabling us to, “pierce the innermost mystery of the universe.”[1] It should be of no surprise that Romantics would be drawn to the power of music which has the ability to, “convey an infinite range of impressions, feelings and thoughts [making it] the ideal art of Romanticism.”[2]

Wow, it even includes a footnote editor!!  So far so good...

[1] J.L. Talmon, Romanticism and Revolt: Europe 1815-1848 (Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., 1967), 147.

[2] Talmon, 146.


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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A complicated issue

This is bound to get the ACLU all upset. Sister Toldjah covers the new Dennis Prager column discussing the possibility of using the Koran to swear in freshman representative Keith Ellison (D-MN). Here's his column as posted on Sister Toldjah:

Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” the Nazis’ bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison’s right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?

Of course, Ellison’s defenders argue that Ellison is merely being honest; since he believes in the Koran and not in the Bible, he should be allowed, even encouraged, to put his hand on the book he believes in. But for all of American history, Jews elected to public office have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they do not believe in the New Testament, and the many secular elected officials have not believed in the Old Testament either. Yet those secular officials did not demand to take their oaths of office on, say, the collected works of Voltaire or on a volume of New York Times editorials, writings far more significant to some liberal members of Congress than the Bible. Nor has one Mormon official demanded to put his hand on the Book of Mormon. And it is hard to imagine a scientologist being allowed to take his oath of office on a copy of “Dianetics” by L. Ron Hubbard.

So why are we allowing Keith Ellison to do what no other member of Congress has ever done — choose his own most revered book for his oath?

The answer is obvious — Ellison is a Muslim. And whoever decides these matters, not to mention virtually every editorial page in America, is not going to offend a Muslim. In fact, many of these people argue it will be a good thing because Muslims around the world will see what an open society America is and how much Americans honor Muslims and the Koran.

This argument appeals to all those who believe that one of the greatest goals of America is to be loved by the world, and especially by Muslims because then fewer Muslims will hate us (and therefore fewer will bomb us).

But these naive people do not appreciate that America will not change the attitude of a single American-hating Muslim by allowing Ellison to substitute the Koran for the Bible. In fact, the opposite is more likely:

Ellison’s doing so will embolden Islamic extremists and make new ones, as Islamists, rightly or wrongly, see the first sign of the realization of their greatest goal — the Islamicization of America.

This is a complicated issue, no? On the one hand, why would we feel more comfortable about any person--Muslim, Jew, Satanist or atheist--taking an oath with his/her hand on the Bible if this individual does not believe in the words that are held within it? They might as well take the oath with a hand on the garbage can.

On the other hand, I feel even less comfortable if a person takes the oath on a book whose contents I do not A) know B) agree with or C) fully understand. Mr. Prager posed the idea of a racist wanting to swear himself in on Mein Kampf. This is problematic because, though few of us have read it, most of us understand that this is not something we want our representatives swearing to uphold. A complicated issue indeed.

But have no fear, for I have a solution. If folks do not want to take their oath with a hand on the Bible, why not have use the Constitution? Just an idea...other thoughts?

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Monday, November 27, 2006

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Can't we just have movies?

Without political overtones? Apparently not. From Stones Cry Out:

Mocking Religion, Happy Feet is Not a Friendly Little Film

I can't remember coming out of movie theater more furious than I did this Thanksgiving holiday after watching the animated and PG-rated Happy Feet. With relatives visiting from around the country, how could we go wrong taking both kids and adults to a cute little penguin story with lots of singing and dancing, with warm and fuzzy animal themes?

I'm not a movie prude; we check out many kinds of movies. And I expect lost anything coming out of Hollywood, with any rating, to include something contrary to my values. I let most of it roll off my back. But with Happy Feet, I didn't expect my conservative Christian family to be assaulted with what we all recognized as a anti-Christian screed, with open mockery of traditional Christian preaching against values and lifestyles contrary to church teachings. It was abundantly clear that Happy Feet substituted homosexuality with dancing as the "different" lifestyle that was the unfair target of an Inquisition on ice. It was Dirty Dancing and Footloose all over again, but with the rhetoric and situation developed to make religious criticism of homosexuality counter to everything good and pleasing.

Did they think Christians wouldn’t notice? I suppose the creators just didn’t care. We had four families attending Happy Feet, with children of all ages. Independently, parents concluded during the film that they would walk out if it wouldn’t be a disruption to others in the large group of family members who had come to the movies together.

Clearly, we should have all left together.

The creators of Happy Feet should have taken less time mocking Christians and more time making sense out of the wild leaps at the end of the film, when the dancing penguin so impresses crowds in the aquarium that they release him back into the wild. And when the community of penguins gets happy feet, the commentators of the world decide its time to stop disrupting their food supply. (Of course the humans are to blame for all the animal woes; a long movie-making tradition that goes back to Bambi).

Wild leaps, even with happy feet.

For Christians who have not seen Happy Feet and are considering it as a friendly, family film—make another choice. This film is not good for children or families, and it is another Hollywood example of open mockery of Christian traditions.

Now I have not seen this film, and I have no plans to see it, nor did I have plans to see it before this scathing review. Still, I can't help but wonder if Mr. Jim is reading too much into the film? I somehow doubt it, though.

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Changes in change?

Apparently we Americans are about to see a change in our change. The new one dollar coin, set to be released in February '07, will relegate the phrase "In God We Trust" to the thin edge. From WND:
The new gold-colored dollar pieces, featuring images of U.S. presidents, will move the inscription from the face of the coin to the thin edge, along with the year and the previous national motto, "E Pluribus Unum," Latin for "Out of Many, One."

The official reason for the design change? To allow space for larger portraits of the presidents on the face and the Statue of Liberty on the reverse, according to the Mint.

The new coins will be the same size as the 1979 Susan B. Anthony and the 2000-2002 Sacajawea.

For the first time the coin will also say "$1" instead of "One Dollar."

Images of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison
are scheduled to appear on the coins in 2007, with a different president appearing every three months.

The series will honor four different presidents per year, in the order they served in office.

I don't like this one bit. I don't understand the need to change things like this. The relegation of "In God We Trust" at least makes sense--I mean, perhaps the nutso anti-God folks have taken over the treasury and are pushing to correct all the political uncorrectness that comes with trusting the Lord? But what about E Pluribus Unum? Who could that possibly be bothering, 'cuz I surely don't buy into the idea that the designers were simply trying to make more room for the Presidents' heads.

I'm not even sure why every few years we have this attempted return to the one dollar coin. Who cares? Ole George looks just fine on a wrinkly, tattered bill, doesn't he?

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In other news

The Shepherd Rams Football team has advanced to the Quarter finals. I was here Saturday for the game, and what a game it was. The Quarter finals will be hosted by Shepherd at Ram Stadium this Saturday. For anybody who cares, tickets are available at the Shepherd Bookstore.


A little something fun

A little something fun to get the week started. Via the Anchoress:

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

I don't know how accurate this thing really is dedicated reader? yes, I think so...literate good citizen? Yea, I'd like to think so. Book snob? For the most part, I don't really get into those so called "fad books," I don't read much fiction and I'm pretty picky about my non-fiction. But OCD bookworm? No. I don't think so. I like to read, but sometimes I just don't feel like it! And most of what I read is in the form of periodicals and online blogs.

Here's another one:

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
North Central
The South
The Northeast
The Inland North
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

I have a good accent for radio or TV! I'm not surprised about this one. I think it's a product of living in this particular area of WV. I'm too far north to get the Southern accent, but too far south to get the Northern accent and so I have some combination thereof.

Anyway, I'll try to post regularly over the next two weeks, but as the semester winds down, the intensity winds up and so I'll be very busy with tests, last minute assignments and a few end of the year essays.

Back with more later this morning...


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving and squirrel stew

Well here it is...Thanksgiving 2006. It still doesn't seem like it could possibly be Thanksgiving Day, although I know it is because it's 9:58, the house smells like deviled eggs and I've already made a pot of green beans.

At any rate, there is a lot to be thankful for this year. So here's to my family, friends, and my girlfriend. I'm also thankful for American soldiers who are protecting our freedom and this country, for God, for the Constitution and for the turkey and pumpkin pie I'm going to devour in just a couple of hours.

For a special Thanksgiving treat, here's the Swedish Chef preparing some delicious squirrel stew. Yum.

Be safe and have a happy Thanksgiving Day.


A little History

I thought it might be worth while to take a quick look at this history of Thanksgiving according to Wikpedia:

In the United States, certain kinds of food are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals. First and foremost, turkey is usually the featured item on any Thanksgiving feast table (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as “Turkey Day”). Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, Indian corn, other fall vegetables, and pumpkin pie are also commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner.

On Thanksgiving Day, families and friends usually gather for a large meal or dinner. This results in Thanksgiving holiday weekend being one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

In New York City, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is held annually every Thanksgiving Day in Midtown Manhattan. The parade features parade floats with specific themes, scenes from Broadway plays, large balloons of cartoon characters and TV personalities, and high school marching bands. The float that traditionally ends the Macy's Parade is the Santa Claus float. This float is a sign that the Christmas season has begun.


The American winter holiday season (generally the Christmas shopping season in the U.S.) traditionally begins when Thanksgiving ends, on "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving); this tradition has held forth since at least the 1930s.


American football is often a major part of Thanksgiving celebrations in the U.S.


The first official Thanksgiving was held in the Virginia Colony on December 4, 1619 near the current site of Berkeley Plantation, where celebrations are still held each year in November.[1]

The Pilgrims were particularly thankful to Squanto, the Indian who taught them how to catch eel, grow corn and who served as an interpreter for them (Squanto had learned English on a previous trip to Europe). Without Squanto's help the Pilgrims might not have survived in the new world. The Pilgrims set apart a day to celebrate at Plymouth immediately after their first harvest, in 1621. At the time, this was not regarded as a Thanksgiving observance; harvest festivals were existing parts of English and Wampanoag tradition alike. Several American colonists have personal accounts of the 1621 feast in Massachusetts:


During the American Revolutionary War the Continental Congress appointed one or more thanksgiving days each year, except in 1777, each time recommending to the executives of the various states the observance of these days in their states.

George Washington, leader of the revolutionary forces in the American Revolutionary War, proclaimed a Thanksgiving in December 1777 as a victory celebration honoring the defeat of the British at Saratoga. The Continental Congress proclaimed annual December Thanksgivings from 1777 to 1783, except in 1782.

George Washington again proclaimed Thanksgivings, as President, in 1789 and 1795.


In the middle of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, prompted by a series of editorials written by Sarah Josepha Hale, proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863.


In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be the next-to-last Thursday of November rather than the last. With the country still in the midst of The Great Depression, Roosevelt thought this would give merchants a longer period to sell goods before Christmas. Increasing profits and spending during this period, Roosevelt hoped, would aid bringing the country out of the Depression. At the time, it was considered inappropriate to advertise goods for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. However, Roosevelt's declaration was not mandatory; twenty-three states went along with this recommendation, and 22 did not. Other states, like Texas, could not decide and took both weeks as government holidays. Roosevelt persisted in 1940 to celebrate his "Franksgiving," as it was termed. The U.S. Congress in 1941 split the difference and established that the Thanksgiving would occur annually on the fourth Thursday of November, which was sometimes the
last Thursday and sometimes the next to last. On November 26 that year President Roosevelt signed this bill into U.S. law.

President Truman receiving a Thanksgiving turkey from members of the Poultry and Egg National Board and other representatives of the turkey industry, outside the White House. Since 1947, or possibly earlier, the National Turkey Federation has presented the President of the United States with one live turkey and two dressed turkeys. The live turkey is pardoned and lives out the rest of its days on a peaceful farm. While it is commonly held that this tradition began with Harry Truman in 1947, the Truman Library has been unable to find any evidence for this. Still others claim that that the tradition dates back to Abraham Lincoln pardoning his son's pet turkey.[2] Both stories have been quoted in more recent presidential speeches.
In more recent years, two turkeys have been pardoned, in case the original turkey becomes unavailable for presidential pardoning. Since 2003 the public has been invited to vote for the two turkeys' names. In 2006, they were named Flyer and Fryer. In 2005, they were named Marshmallow and Yam (who went on to live at Disneyland); 2004's turkeys were named Biscuit and Gravy; in 2003, Stars and Stripes.

So there is a little history on the most delicious day of the year. But there is one more thing I'd like to note. Lincoln, who is sometimes credited as the individual who established the traditional Thanksgiving menu when he proclaimed it the Thanksgiving dinner for Union troops during the Civil War, issued a proclamation The entire proclomation can be seen here. Here are clips:

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.

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...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, tranquillity and Union.

A beautiful reminder of what we need to do at this time of year from one of our greatest presidents.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Does it mean we should never trust them with anything important?

Via Common Sense and Wonder:

Democratic political strategist Pat Caddell is one angry man. His is not the anger, however, of a typical partisan, seething at his opponents and gloating in their defeat on November 7th. Rather, Mr. Caddell is furious with the Republican leadership for allowing his party to win both houses of Congress at what he rightly sees is a desperate moment in our nation’s history. President Bush and what is left of the GOP on Capitol Hill and around the country would do well to heed this skilled operative’s critique — and the insights it provides for the way ahead in such a dangerous time of war.

On Sunday, before a capacity crowd at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Restoration Weekend in Palm Beach, Florida, the former advisor to George McGovern and Jimmy Carter depicted the election as one the Republicans lost more
than the Democrats won. Above all else, the GOP failed to run on the issue that resonated most effectively, not only with their own base but with independent voters and even some Democrats: the grave nature of the conflict we are in, and
the extent to which the Democratic Party and its senior officials cannot be trusted to manage it.Far from making this case forcefully, consistently and at every level of the 2006 campaign, the Republicans allowed their opponents politically to define the “war” strictly in terms of Iraq. Such a dumbing-down of the subject — largely ignoring the global threat posed to the entire Free World by Islamofascists and their enablers — had several undesirable effects.


Mr. Caddell noted that Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s victory emonstrates it did not have to be this way. Despite his loss in the Democratic primary, the Connecticut senator ran as an independent on a platform that unapologetically rejected cutting-and-running from Iraq. He offered his constituents a well-reasoned, and accurate, assessment of the larger war we are in and the implications for it of our loss of Iraq. As Mr. Caddell sees it, the failure of too many Republican Party leaders and candidates to do as Joe Lieberman did and “put the country first” out of a belief that “they could rely on getting out the vote and the hell with the issues” has led to our present pass.The longtime Democratic operative’s rage is particularly intense because he knows the sort of people to whom our future security is now being entrusted. He expressed deep concern that Nancy Pelosi would be, as Speaker of the House, two heartbeats away from the presidency, saying she is someone who is no more prepared to be Commander-in-Chief than he would be to serve as an astronaut on a lunar mission.


Now I have a couple of issues with this. First of all, if Mr. Caddell is to be seen as sincere, then what does this mean for the Democratic Party? It sounds to me that Caddell is saying--quite clearly--that the Dems cannot be trusted on the single most important issue of my life time--preserving the free world by defeating terrorism. If they can't be trusted on the important issues, then A) why vote them into office B) why trust them with any issue and C) why even bother allowing the party to continue to exist if it is so useless?

My second issue is the belief that the R's didn't do just what Caddell is arguing--they framed the election around the war on terror. They--we--framed it as a vote for cutting-and-running or staying the course. And the voters apparently didn't want to 'stay the course' so they changed it by handing the Congress over to the Democrats. How can anyone argue otherwise?

Finally, and this is going to shock some people, fear that Nancy Pelosi is not Presidential material though she is just "two heart beats" away from the job is not reason enough to NOT support the Democrats. Now I don't care for Pelosi and she certainly wouldn't be my choice, but does anyone believe that Dennis "I looked into the scandal and it wasn't a big deal" Hastert would have been better suited to be President on a whim? I don't. I don't for one minue. I don't believe that a single member of the House of Representatives would be ready to take over the presidency tomorrow if they had to, regardless of parties.

Yet the biggest of this three issues seems, to me, to be why the Democrats continue to exist if they can't be trusted. I suppose we'll see A) if they can be trusted and if not then B) if they can continue to exist after these next two years.

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Monday, November 20, 2006


Last week was hellish...only posted once! Along with not posting, I also was unable to read a single blog all week. My newsreader is probably backlogged unbelievably, but I wouldn't know because I haven't checked...

One thing that happened last week which I'd like to make everyone aware of is that the town of home away from home...became the first municipality in West Virginia to sign on to the Kyoto Treaty. Here's the report:

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Shepherdstown has become the only municipality in coal-producing West Virginia to support a global greenhouse gas agreement. Town Council voted Tuesday to sign on to the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement, which asks state and federal governments to uphold the standards of the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges 35 industrial nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

‘‘We feel it’s very important to try and meet the Kyoto protocols,’’ Shepherdstown Councilman Frank Salzano said Thursday.

‘‘We have broad support among the community and the council.’’

The United States and Australia are the only major industrialized countries to reject the Kyoto Protocol. As of Wednesday, 330 mayors across the country had signed on to the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement.

The agreement commits local governments to meet or beat Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities through urban forest reforestation, land-use policies aimed at curbing sprawl and other initiatives. It also states that local governments will continue to urge state and federal legislators to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels is the biggest of the greenhouse gases. West Virginia is the second largest coal producing state in the nation.

What they are going to regulate--aside from possibly the city sewage plant--I dont' know. There is no industry in Shepherdstown. No coal. No oil. No manufactoring. Nothing--unless of course they're finally going to tell China Kitchen that the smell of Chinese food at 9a.m. is not a good thing.

This is a prime example of government wasting time and diverting attention from the issues (which, in Shepherdstown means UNIVERSITY PARKING). Good grief.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Even the toons are politicized nowadays...

As per the usual course of events on any given evening, I came back to my dorm last weekend to find 'Family Guy' on and my roomie and his girlfriend watching intently as if the show really mattered in the grand scheme of things. Now I'm not a fan of the show, but sometimes it does have a funny clip or two and I do on occasion find myself laughing. Not last week.

I sat down last Sunday night to write an entry on how disgusted I was at the anti-military themes expressed in the show. As I read back over what I was complaining about, I though perhaps I was just being petty, and so I never finished or posted the entry. Friday night I deleted it from my 'drafts' folder. This morning, though, I find that Michelle Malkin has finished what I started complete with videos on anti-military themes in the questionable Family Guy episode, was well as in the Simpsons. Go read it, watch the video and decide for thine selves...


Friday, November 10, 2006

God Bless Them

No Friday Funny today--though I'll file this post as such. Instead, I have a video saluting our veterans to post.

First, as always, the week in review:

Now the video. Thank God for all of our brave men and women who fight and die for the continuation of this country. Enjoy the video:

Good weekends for everybody! Be safe.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

This just in?

First of all, I did not know until late this afternoon that Rumy had, um, resigned? (Forced to resigned? Fired? Let go? Terminated?) While I am disappointed, the idea that Bush is throwing 'them dems' bone (which seems to me that that's all this is) is to be expected. I'll miss him and his no-nonsense ways which the dems so despised. (Let's stop and reflect for a moment, though, on the idea that such non-conventionalism was once celebrated in this country--Rummy was like a modern, right-wing, pro-military Walt Whitman. He was "the Republican's rude-tongue....).

Anyway, that's not the news story I just found about which I am quite thrilled. From NRO:

WASHINGTON (AP) Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., told fellow Republican lawmakers on Wednesday he does not intend to run for minority leader when Democrats take control of the House in January, officials said.

Good. Vote for change? Maybe that wasn't a call for a direction of this nation, but rather a change in direction of the Republican Party? Well, they'll get it. From The Hotline blog:

The Hotline has learned that Maj. Leader John Boehner plans to run for Min. Leader. A formal announcement is expected within the next few days. A source close to Boehner says that several dozen House Republican members have called to express their support.

John Boehner seems like a good guy. Let's hope he is...


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

For those who care...

Blogging from The Vent Pipe will be lighter than usual over the next week or so. The end of the term is quickly approaching and I have no less than four major projects/research papers to complete between now and next Friday. Three of them are partially completed, one of them has yet to be started. My two favorites are a project on "the effect of Romanticism on the development of Socialism in Europe," and a paper on the "atrocity that was Vietnam..." ok, so that's not the actual topic, but when that's all that has been discussed about that War, how else am I supposed to feel?

For anybody who reads, feel free to use this post as a sort of "open thread" to discuss election results, the War, hockey or even cheese making. Whatever comes to mind...


Our own new direction?

A caller on Bill Bennett's morning show just called in to discuss the loss of Northup(?) as a representative in her state (Arizona?). She stated that she believes this woman lost not because of her own deficiencies as a representative, but instead because of the sort of "referendum for change" directed at George W. Bush. How sad. She also, though, says that she predicts voters will watch very closely as the democrats take control of the agenda and direction of this country and that if they do not significantly revert the current direction, the house will see another flip-flop in '08...Bennett also noted that many of the democrats who won are not "San-Fran democrats,' but are instead more to the conservative side.

So what does that mean? Will these conservative democrats stand on their conservative values and work hard for the agenda that they have promised? Or will Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi club them over the head until they fall into the party line? I don't know. What I do know is that if the Republicans have to lose the senate, I'd rather it have gone to Harold Ford in Tennessee than to Ben Cardin in Maryland. I do know that I'm watching with great anticipation the race in Virginia, hoping and praying that Allen pulls through.

Anyway, I read this via Glenn Reynolds yesterday:

"What does it tell you about a political party if in a year of epic disaster for
their opponents the best they can hope for is a 51-49 majority in the Senate?"

I think the better question is not to attack the Democrats for not doing better, but to step back and ask ourselves why and how did we--the Republican party--lose seats in the Senate, the House and the Governorships during the middle of the most important war of my life (keep in mind I'm only 21), a soaring economy, a deficit that is 1/2 what it was projected to be at this point and with the Democratic leadership all looking like they should be thrown in an asylum. That's the question.

The Democrats have promised changed. How? Where? What are they going to change? Those are questions that I don't think voters really asked themselves. They're going to change an economy which is soaring? By rejected the Bush tax cuts when they come up for approval in '07? They're going to win the War on Terror? How? By creating a time table? If there weren't so much at stake, it would be fun to watch as the Democrats try to do better...but really, what options do they have.

Personally, I hope this comes as a wake up call to Republicans. I am not the sort of Reagan Republican that many are, and so I do not scream and cry when Bush spends out the wazoo, nor do I throw a tantrum when he adds government programs and/or initiatives and/or organizations. And so with that in mind, it is not a sort of resetting of the Republican party mindset to echo the old mentality that I am looking for. What I want to see is a loss of this sort of "Holier-than-though" mentality that some members of the Party have acquired. This should remind Republicans that at the end of the day, you (as a Senator or Representative) are accountable to the people.

Finally, I hope that the Republicans do not retain Denny Hastert in a leadership position. I am not recommending a replacement--though I should because we all know that The Vent Pipe is where all politicians turn for insight and ideas--but I truly hope that he is not retained. Considering the way he acted over the Jefferson scandal combined with his negligence regarding Foley, the Republicans will only be hurting themselves by keeping him. They need a new face and their own "new direction."

I guess we'll find out.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Will it all change?

I'm going to bed right now. It's 11:33 according to my computer. The FoxNews site has just declared a victory for the Dems--they've apparently taken the House. Hello Speaker Pelosi, good God.

I can't help but fear that I'm going to wake up in the morning to see missiles flying through the air as terrorists invade and force me to put a turban on my head and grow a beard I can't help but imagine waking up to see that all my money--the little bit I have--has been taxed away. I can't help but imagine waking up to read that George Bush and Dick Cheney have both been impeached and Nancy friggin' Pelosi is the new President of the United States of America. I know that's dramatic, but I just can't help feeling that way. How long will it take to see the results of a democratic take over? I suppose we'll find out.

As a side note, I saw Michael Barone a few minutes ago say that he predicts that the Allen/Webb race will be too close to call and will result in a recount which could take up to 36 days (not sure where that number came from) to declare. With the way things look now, that could mean that it will take 36 days to know who will control the senate. It's terrible isn't it? God help us if the GOP holds the senate through a court'll be another six years of the same bad jokes were heard about Bush being appointed by the judiciary. Good God.

And finally, thoughts and prayers and such for Michael Steele. It seems to close to call at this point. Let's go STEELE.

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Howard Dean... so damn annoying. He was just on FoxNews and said that if the Democrats win, "the first thing we're going to do is reach out to everybody unlike the Bush administration." Isn't that a contradictory statement? "We're going to reach out to everybody...oh, except Bush and everybody who supports him.

One unrelated note--Bob Byrd just became the single winningest sentator ever...I wanted him to lose. Damn.


Monday, November 06, 2006

I'm confused...

The New York Times called for the deferment of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's execution, saying Iraq had not received "full justice."

The newspaper, which is opposed to the death penalty, said Iraq not only needed to hold Saddam fully accountable for his atrocities but also to heal and educate the nation he "ruthlessly divided."

No real surprise here. But my issue isn't with the stance the NYT is taking, but rather the fact that it's taking a stance. How is a newspaper "against the death penalty?" I am opposed to this sort of thing. I am opposed to newspapers endorsing a candidate--whether Republican, Democrat or third party. What happened to the good ole days when the editorial page said, "the views expressed on these pages are strictly the opinions of the writers and do not reflect the opinions of the NYT (or whatever newspaper it happens to be)?" I just don't get it... How are we to feel that we're getting a straight story if the newspaper is already slanted in favor of one group or another. There are no reporters any more, only commentators and analysts.

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Governor Perry...telling it like it is?

From WND:

Texas incumbent Gov. Rick Perry says he agrees with the Christian belief that non-Christians will be condemned to hell, prompting a rival in this week's gubernatorial election to declare the Republican "doesn't think very differently from the Taliban."

Perry said in a report in the Dallas Morning News that he agreed with the Christian principle as stated by Cornerstone Church pastor John Hagee that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.

"If you live your life and don't confess your sins to God Almighty through the authority of Christ and his blood, I'm going to say this very plainly, you're going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket," Hagee said during a 90-minute service in San Antonio in which Perry was introduced to the megachurch's congregation.

Asked if he agreed with Hagee, Perry told the Dallas paper, " In my faith, that's what it says, and I'm a believer of that."

"I don't know that there's any human being that has the ability to interpret what God and his final decision-making is going to be," Perry said later. "That's what the faith says. I understand, and my caveat there is that an all-knowing God certainly transcends my personal ability to make that judgment black and white.


"He doesn't think very differently from the Taliban, does he?" Kinky Friedman, an independent candidate for governor, told the Morning News.

"Being obsessed with who's going to heaven and who's going to hell is kind of a pathetic waste of time," he said.

Another independent, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, disagreed with Perry,opting for a multi-path religious belief.

"There are many ways to heaven. We're all sinners, and we're all God's children," she told the Morning News.

Chris Bell, a Democrat, called himself a Christian, too. But he said God is the only one who came make such decisions.

"I'm a Christian," he told the paper. "Rick Perry certainly is entitled to his beliefs, but when you're in public office, you need to respect people of all faiths and denominations."

Perry said the acceptance of Christ is what his faith teaches, and he could not abandon that any more than anyone can pick which of the Ten Commandments to follow.

A couple of thoughts on this. As a side note, I think John Hagee is a great Pastor. I've been a 'fan' of him for a long time--since eighth grade actually, but that's not really the issue. The bigger issue is whether or not Perry was right in what he said, and from where I stand, he certainly was.

Christianity dictates that through Christ and Christ alone will we reach heaven. What was he supposed to say? Naturally he's gotten beaten up for this. But those who are attacking him have it all wrong.

Mr. Friedman clearly does not see the bigger picture if he thinks Perry's statements somehow equate him with the Taliban. Perry has his beliefs, but he, unlike Taliban leaders, is not advocating that Texas become a Christian-only state where all must follow Christian religious rules and regulations. He is not outlawing other religions, is he then?

As for Ms. Strayhorns comments--if one is a Christian, than that individual cannot advocate the sort of "multi-pathed" way to heaven that she speaks of. Christianity is clear on that--it is not through a cow, through Buddha or through Muhammad that we can reach heaven, but through Christ. That is just the way it is.

Kudos to Mr. Perry for sticking to his beliefs and not 'cutting and running' from a question that could potentially have political consequences.

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So here it is...

One of the historical arguments against abortions--particularly late term abortions--has been that such openness to terminating human life as late as the third trimester could lead to a call for termination of life immediately after birth. And here it is:

LONDON -- A leading British medical college has called on the health profession to consider euthanasia for seriously disabled newborns.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology has said that "active euthanasia" should be considered to spare parents the emotional and financial burdens of bringing up such children.

"A very disabled child can mean a disabled family," it says in a formal submission. "If life-shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision-making, even preventing some late abortions, as some parents would be more confident about continuing a pregnancy and taking a risk on outcome."

Morals aside, there are present at least a few problems in this short passage alone . Firstly, what is "very disabled?" Will that be a term defined by doctors at the time of birth? What if the disability is caused by the doctor during the birth? How much proof will a doctor have to provide to "prove" that the killed child had a 'qualifying disability?' Secondly, the 'informal submission' claims that this procedure will prevent late term abortions. If these children aren't going to be considered "aborted babies," then what do we call them? Beyond that, the argument in favor of abortion is often that the "fetus isn't a child, but a developing children, and since it is developing and therefore dependent on the mother's body to survive, it must be the mothers choice." If we are going to allow, to quote directly from the 'informal submission, "interventions to kill infants," where do we draw the line?

The call comes in the college's submission to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which is conducting an inquiry into the ethical issues raised by the policy of prolonging life in newborns. The submission states: "We would like the working party to think more radically about non-resuscitation, withdrawal of treatment decisions, the best-interests test and active euthanasia as they are ways of widening the management of options available to the sickest of newborns."

It is not officially calling for the introduction of active euthanasia, but wants it openly debated. The proposal has been supported by several leading geneticists and medical ethicists.

Joy Delhanty, a professor of human genetics at University College London, said: "I think it is morally wrong to strive to keep alive babies that are going to suffer many months or years of ill-health."

But John Wyatt, a consultant neonatalologist at University College London hospital, called the proposal "social engineering."

"Once you introduce the possibility of intentional killing into medical practice, you change the fundamental nature of medicine," he said.

This should not be a debate. It is utterly despicable that such horrific ideas should even be brought up for debate. Abortion has lead us to a complete and total devaluation of human life to the point where we now are debating whether or not it is morally OK to murder a child once he or she (the culture of abortion that I have grown up in has labelled babies as "it" as a generic term. I think this is probably an intentional attempt to paint the child as being less than human.) has been born. It is simply shocking and disgusting. How long before this debate leaves Great Britain and is taken up by our own Liberal "progressives?" God help us.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Early Voting

I just got back a few minutes ago from the Hampshire County Courthouse, where I took part in the new "No Excuse" early voting for the first time ever. I knew I wouldn't have time to drive back from school on Tuesday to vote (because our university isn't closed). I opted to use the old fashioned pen and paper ballot rather than the electronic voting. Also, I couldn't believe that the officials didn't ask for any identification at all. They asked my name, I told them, I signed a card, and cast my ballot. I won't reveal my votes, but I'm sure most people know :)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rangers win, week in review and weekend in preview

No Friday Funny today. I have a psych exam--a major psych exam--today and don't have time to go searching for something that is funny, even if I'm the only person who thinks so. Even though I'm going to go ahead and post this as I "Friday Funny", instead, I give you this:

The New York Rangers defeated the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night in overtime with a beautiful goal from Jaromir Jagr, otherwise known simply as "the damn man." Last night, they finally kept the score low (3-1) and pulled out a win over dominating San Jose. Let us hope that this is a turn around from what we've seen the last few weeks, and that NYR is about to begin dominating the league like they did last November.

Now the week in review:

I'll be finishing this exam this afternoon, but with three research projects due in the next two weeks, I don't know that my schedule will really be that much improved. This weekend I'll be attending the Berkeley County WV Eisenhower Dinner in Martinsburg, WV where Congresswoman Shelly Moore-Capito will be the keynote speaker. I'll post general impressions if I feel up to it.


Kerry. Oh, Kerry.

I was asked by one of the editor's over at the Picket to write up a quick 500-600 words on Kerry's idiocy (OK, it was actually put like this: "Would you be interested in writing a quick column on John Kerry's verbal mistake?"). Obviously the editor--like all but one of them--is very far left. Here's what I had to say, though the column will not appear in "the press" until next Tuesday or Wednesday:

It is hard to assess who has been the Republicans’ biggest friend this year, Howard Dean or John Kerry. One thing is for sure though, whenever one of these guys beings to speak, Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman can bank on it hurting the Democrats. The latest round of “open mouth, insert foot” comes courtesy of John Kerry. In his speech on October 31, 2006, John Kerry said, “You know, education, if you make the most if it, study hard and do your homework and make an effort to be smart, you do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” The remarks have been met with utter disdain from both sides of the political isle, yet Kerry refuses to acknowledge that he has done anything wrong. Instead, he opts to suggest that his verbal blunder was a “botched” joke about President Bush, rather than a blatant insult of our troops.

The idea that Kerry would challenge Mr. Bush’s intelligence is also humorous. If we are to believe that Kerry’s remarks were somehow a botched joke aimed at questioning the intelligence and/or success of President Bush, then it would be fair to assess this joke in one simple word: bad. For Kerry to call Bush unintelligent is in and of itself a joke when we consider that, according to a 2005 Boston Globe article, Bush’s academic record at Yale comes in just ahead of Kerry’s, though both of them were merely ‘C’ students. When we couple this with the fact that the ‘unintelligent’ and therefore ‘unsuccessful’ Bush defeated Kerry in the 2004 election, it seems safe to say that Kerry himself is the real joke.

For fairly obvious reasons, the Republican Party has sharply criticized Kerry for both his statements and his refusal to apologize. Arizona Republican Senator John McCain demanded an apology from Kerry, “Senator Kerry owes an apology to the many thousands of Americans serving in Iraq, who answered their country’s call because they are patriots and not because of any deficiencies in their education.” President Bush echoed McCain’s sentiments, adding, “The men and women who serve in our all-volunteer Armed Forces are plenty smart and are serving because they are patriots -- and Senator Kerry owes them an apology.” While both McCain and Bush certainly are justified in their indignation, it is difficult for me to believe that even John Kerry, of whom I am certainly no friend, would purposely criticize the soldiers just days before a midterm election in such a public manner. However, I must say that I cannot completely rule out the possibility that Kerry committed a Freudian slip, revealing to the public what he truly thinks about our men and women in the armed service.

It has been touted that the Republicans’ are attempting to politicize Kerry’s statement in order to “avoid discussion of the issues.” Aside from the fact that criticism of the troops is itself an issue, we must ask what, then, is the motivation behind Kerry’s fellow Democrats criticizing his statements?" Montana’s Democratic candidate John Tester criticized Kerry’s remarks as, “were poorly worded and just plain stupid." He, along with candidates in Pennsylvania and in Iowa have dropped Kerry from their list of campaign speakers.

Whether the last in a string of “2006 October Surprises” will have any impact at the polls on November 7th won’t truly be seen until next week, it has reiterated the importance of the election. It has highlighted the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Where Republicans are clearly on the side of the United States Armed Forces, the Democrats and their failed 2004 candidate are “questionable at best.”

Feel free to leave feedback on this story.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Why the Republicans will hold the Senate...and the House

My Picket column was published yestarday, which means I can now feel ok about posting it here:

Disgruntled GOP voters are threatening harsh action against the Republican Party which they believe has failed to represent them accurately in the twelve years since Newt Gingrich’s triumphant seizure of the United States Congress in 1994. They have fallen prey to what Washington Times writer Tony Blankley calls a “false syllogism.” They say, “1) Something must be done; 2) not voting is something; therefore, 3) I will not vote.” He says this is as stupid as if, “When offered by a car dealer 25 percent off on a car, [one] insists on paying the full factory recommended retail sticker price -- because he is damned if he will accept 25 percent when he deserves 30 percent off.”

Examination of the voter displeasure with the incumbent party can be focused on two specific items: the reason or cause of such disgruntlement, and the potential impact this “voter revenge” could have at the polls on November 7, 2006. First, we shall examine the source of unhappiness: Certainly, voters have a valid and understandable source for disproval when we consider the recent happenings in what the “main-stream media” has so affectionately dubbed ‘Foley-gate.’ Record spending (even if the deficit has been cut in half three years ahead of Bush’s schedule—something the media has paid virtually no attention to) also can be cited as a trouble spot. Despite calls for a comprehensive strategy to deal with the American immigration crisis—and make no mistake, it is a crisis—the Republican controlled Congress has a nearly non-existent immigration policy which adds to the anger. When we couple all of this with the belief that progress in Iraq is being bogged down, who can blame the average conservative voter for being less than enthused about sending the Republicans back to Congress?

So what we have here is a vague and generalized disapproval of the decisions made in Congress. Republicans are certainly not perfect, but conservative voters must consider the alternative? If they—we—are angry with GOP members in the House and Senate, we certainly should let our voices be heard, but to think that we’d be happier with the decisions made in a Congress controlled by the Democrats (with Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House, third in line for the Presidency) is asinine. Rush Limbaugh has dubbed conservatives who believe that we should simply abstain from voting because we are angry as “cut and run conservatives.” He notes, “sit this one out if you’re unhappy with anything the President, House or Senate has done… show your patriotism by teaching them all a lesson….wait until you like everything Republicans do before you ever vote again.” Any conservative who acts in such a manner is exactly what Limbaugh has dubbed them: cut and run.

The real impact of this behavior will be seen on Decision Day 2006, when all truly patriotic Americans will head to the polls to cast their judgment on the Republican majority. Polls seem to indicate a slight lead for Democratic candidates in tight races, giving them a slight edge in predictions for the House. By most accounts, the Senate will remain in control of a slim majority of Republicans. These polls have led the majority of the main-stream media to declare victory for the Democrats and to say that such a victory is indicative of frustration throughout America at “corrupt Republicans.” Not all predictions are tilted in the Democrats’ favor, though. Barron’s Online Magazine says polls have it wrong. Based on race-by-race examination of campaign contributions, the report suggests that Republicans will maintain control of the House by one to eight seats and of the Senate by two to five seats. Examining campaign contributions, the report suggests, is the best way to examine grassroots support. The report accurately predicted Republican gains in 2002 and 2004. According to other statistics cited in the report, the candidate with the biggest campaign war-chest has one 98% of the elections in recent years.

The media has been quick to label this election a victory for the Democrats based on the widely held belief that the angry conservative base will abstain from voting. To believe that conservative electorate will fall victim to Blankley’s “false syllogism” is to assume that Republicans are stupid, but Republican voters aren’t stupid, and they won’t fall victim to such a fallacy. The conservative base will go to the polls on November 7. Conservatives, unlike some others, understand that there is too much at stake to risk allowing Nancy Pelosi to become Speaker of the House. Conservatives understand that, though they might not like every choice Republicans make, these choices are better than the alternative—or lack there of—offered by Democrats. It is because of this knowledge that the Republicans will maintain control of the United States Congress and will be poised to retain the Presidency in 2008.