Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Thanks to all (few) who read this blog on a regular, semi-regular or seldom basis. It is safe to say that 2006 was an interesting year, and 2007 is setting up to be much of the same.

Personally, I was blessed with good health, success and happiness throughout 2006, and I hope you were too.

At any rate, here's to you and a prosperous, happy and safe 2007 for all. Best wishes and may God bless...

Saturday, December 30, 2006


There is some unposted business left to be discussed before the week ends in approximately 45 minutes. Two recipes, a quick overview of my first day as a Mac user and finally my Christmas roundup.

We shall start with the Mac. As noted this afternoon, the new MacBook Black came this after noon via FedEx. Extremely quick shipping considering I ordered it at 8pm on Thursday night. I expected it to be calendar refill I ordered for my planner or some of the text books I ordered earlier in the week, but to my (pleasant) surprise, it was my Christmas gift to myself.

Just like PC, the initial power-up required some housekeeping chores. User accounts, default settings etc. etc. had to be attended to first and foremost. I had been worried prior to my purchase that the MacBook would not interface correctly with the Windows Wireless home network we have here at the house. Blog posts and other ineternet stories suggested that connection *could* be made, but that it would be a difficult process. Wrong. An available network list came up, i clicked it and provided the password, and bam, I'm connected. It was that easy.

Next I set to task attempting to find a way to transfer my emails from the PC. After reading several highly technical articles, I stumbled on one which advocated converting from Outlook to Eudora for Windows, then transferring the files which would work with Mac's pre-loaded, integrated mail client. The address book transfered just fine; no such luck with the email. After several unsuccessful attempts which resulted in all the emails appearing in the box, but having no text associated with them, I went back to the PC and opted to save the very vital emails as text files and swap them to the Mac that way. I'll be holding on to the PC for a while anyway, as I still need it for our home business until we get a Mac friendly version of QuickBooks.

I've spent the rest of the afternoon and evening just playing around. I've been able to communicate from my computer to my cell phone via Mac's built in Bluetooth technology. Unfortunately, I can send data to the phone, but have yet to work out the kinks as to how to go from phone to Mac. The iPhoto software is pretty interesting, too. It's straight forward and much more functional and user friendly than anything I ever used on PC. Acquiring images from my Cannon PowerShot A75 was also a cinch. The iWeb feature seems to be a quick easy way to build websites and even features software to build a blog. Sounds like fun. I might have to check into leaving blogger and finding my own domain. Any suggestions?

I opted to download Firefox over the Safari internet browser provided by Mac. My old Newsgator client was not Mac friendly, so I switched to one called Shrook. So far so good in that department as well. Overall, I must say that I am quite pleased with the switch. We'll see when I get back to school and the Mac gets put through the vigor of day to day usage. I have to say that I'm even a bit ashamed of my unwillingness to have explored this option earlier, but I will also admit up front that I am NOT one of these hardcore Mac only types that laughs at folks who use a PC platform. So that is that...

Next up: Recipe time.

For our Christmas celebration, I cooked for the girlfriend. She came over, we ate and exchanged gifts. I made Chicken Francois from the Healthy Eating Cookbook. It was delicious. The chicken was pounded to about 1/4" thick, then coated lightly in flour, then dipped in a mixture of egg substitute, cheese, salt, pepper and a few other odds and ends, then lightly fried in olive oil. To round out the meal, I served risotto and steamed brocoli.

After the meal, we headed to a nearby town to see The Nativity which was quite a lovely movie. The writers really did an effective job of capturing the majesty of teh event as best could be expected. Furthermore, the interwoven humor provided by the Magaii was very enjoyable.

Christmas treated me well. Clothes were the big-ticket items for me this year. I received no shortage of sweaters and winter clothes, which were appreciated as my wardrobe needed to be boosted a little bit. A new leather jacket headlined the gifts from the parents, which also included the DVD of Les Miserables performed by the so called dream cast. Watching it again gave me cold chills, and Valjean's confrontation with Javear made every hair on my neck stand at attention. Rounding out the gift giving was a new leather planner (which was highly needed) and a mug which reads: "I'm a scary conservative with a hidden agenda..."

Christmas went off without a hitch. Considering that various members of my family (on both sides) have had health issues (from kidney stones, to liver transplants) it was good just to be with the family. We even had a new baby on my dad's side. While I don't have any pictures of the big Christmas meal, I assure you all that it was delicious and beautiful.

Last night, everybody was in a sort of "no need for a 'big dinner'" mood, so I put my parents new Cuisinart Griddler to work making panninis. They were delicious: Capricola, baked ham, prosciutto, tomato-garlic pesto, pepper-jack cheese, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion and semolina bread come together to form the "perfect panini." Here, the mega-sandwhich is enjoyed with toasted butternut squash (I had some raw left over from Christmas eve dinner) and one of my first (and favorite) legally-enjoyed alcoholic beverages since celebrating my 21st on Tuesday: The Hornsby Hard Cider. Yum.

So this has been a long entry about much of nothing. For those who read all the way to the bottom, I apologize for being length and for any hunger pain that reading or seeing about these two meals may have caused.

Just in

Received the new MacBook this morning (quick shipping, eh?). So far so good. Obviously I'm still on a learning curve. It'll take a while to get used to the small screen and the new OS after all those years of windows. At this point I'm trying to import my email from my PC to the new MacBook. I've tried a couple of things, but with no luck (my address book has transfered just fine, but the actual email messages haven't come over as easily...) I'll keep everyone posted as I make the switch...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Time for a change?

**Update: Scroll Down

Apparently so...

I've been computer shopping for a couple of months now.  No hurry, but the realization that my trusty Dell 8600 isn't going to last forever finally struck me and has been perpetuated by the consistent freezing up, sporadic shutting down and general decreased functionality of the formerly 'ole reliable.'  The prospects of purchasing a new Dell were slim due to several difficult bouts with somebody in a far away land who pretends to speak English and works for Dell tech support.  They were lessened even further when my mothers dell (less than 2 years old at the time) simply stopped working just a few days after it's warranty expired.

So I began looking around with Dell in the back of my mind.  By many accounts, the Sony Vaio reigns supreme in the PC world, but with a very high starting price and the simple fact that whether it's in a Dell or a Sony case it's still a Windows based machine (and it was not the Dell case that was freezing up now was it...) I decided to explore the world of Mac.

Now for the past couple of years I've given one of my long time friends a very hard time about being a Mac-fanatic.  Mostly it's just be being a pain in the ass, but part of it was a general dislike Mac.  As one of the blogs I read during my investigation admitted, "Sadly, I was simply afraid of what I did not know."  As my investigation became more serious, I emailed said friend with a list of questions.  She--upon getting over the initial shock--was quite helpful to me.

Anyway, to make an already long story short, I, like Glenn Reynold's, just ordered a Mac after years of swearing by the trusty ole PC.  To be specific, I ordered a MacBook 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Black. 

Here's a little breakdown on why I decided to switch:

  • I have yet to read an entry via the blogs OR professionally owned/operated technology websites that has anything but praise over security.  While I have always been lucky in staying clear of viruses, they've been a long time worry for me.
  • Most of what I read swears by the speed of the Mac, especially for booting up.
  • I have tried and tried to master image and music editing (more image than music) via PC.  Again, blogs and other sites that I read had nothing but praise for the ease of such editing via mac.
  • Mac's incorporation of the Intel chip.
  • Something different.  As bad a reason as that may sound, the same old windows was getting a little old.

At any rate, for better or worse there is a black MacBook on it's way.  I shall be back with my first impressions sometime between Tuesday and Friday of next week...

 ** Update:  It looks like I may have made the right choice in opting for Mac over Vista:

[Microsoft] on Friday confirmed the vulnerabilities, which were first reported by independent third parties, but pointed out that no malicious programmes taking advantage of the flaws had yet appeared.

The flaw allows a user with standard system privileges to gain wider access to system tools and settings without the approval of a network administrator. This potentially disables a key security feature of Vista but attackers would first need to gain access to a computer through some other means before exploiting the vulnerability. A vulnerability in the new web browser Internet Explorer 7 was reported at the same time.

Oh my...

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford


Obviously at the ripe-old age of 21 I don't remember anything about Gerald Ford or his presidency. But I do remember this:

Yes, I'm talking about Dana Carvey's hilarious sketch as Tom Brokaw attempting to cover each and every possible news story before going on vacation.

Hats of to the man credited with healing the nation after Nixon's mess.

* For a little more substance, try Tigerhawk's coverage...

Remember Rome

From The Boston Globe:

The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks -- including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer -- according to Pentagon officials.


With severe manpower strains because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and a mandate to expand the overall size of the military -- the Pentagon is under pressure to consider a variety of proposals involving foreign recruits, according to a military affairs analyst.

"It works as a military idea and it works in the context of American immigration," said Thomas Donnelly , a military scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington and a leading proponent of recruiting more foreigners to serve in the military.


Both President Bush and Robert M. Gates, his new defense secretary, have acknowledged that the total size of the military must be expanded to help alleviate the strain on ground troops, many of whom have been deployed repeatedly in combat theaters.


O'Hanlon and others noted that the country has relied before on sizable numbers of noncitizens to serve in the military -- in the Revolutionary War, for example, German and French soldiers served alongside the colonists, and locals were recruited into US ranks to fight insurgents in the Philippines

But it would take years and billions of dollars to recruit, train, and equip the 30,000 troops and 5,000 Marines the Pentagon says it needs. And military recruiters, fighting the perception that signing up means a ticket to Baghdad, have had to rely on financial incentives and lower standards to meet their quotas.

That has led Pentagon officials to consider casting a wider net for noncitizens who are already here, said Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Hilferty , an Army spokesman.


"It is not without historical precedent," said Donnelly, author of a recent book titled "The Army We Need," which advocates for a larger military.

Still, to some military officials and civil rights groups, relying on large number of foreigners to serve in the military is offensive.

The Hispanic rights advocacy group National Council of La Raza has said the plan sends the wrong message that Americans themselves are not willing to sacrifice to defend their country. Officials have also raised concerns that immigrants would be disproportionately sent to the front lines as "cannon fodder" in any conflict.

I think there are couple of points on this storyworth exploring.  It should be noted first and foremost, however, that if military leadership, the new SecDef and the President are all suggesting that we need to increase the overall number of troops, then we probably need to increase the overall number of troops.  Of course, such an observation will undoubtedly be exploited for political gain by those who oppose the Iraq war and the broader war on terror.  They will certainly say that if Bush had not put us into these wars then we wouldn't be short on troops.  Of course, what good is a giant army if we never use it?

Secondly, I think it is safe to say that when we say the army is considering using "non-citizens" we actually mean it is considering using an increased number of non-citizen Hispanic folk, right?  Probably so, but for the National Council of La raza to fear that immigrants would be "cannon fodder" is outrageous.  Do such troops (those used only for cannon fodder) even exist anymore?  This is 2006, not 1915.

Thirdly, comparing the use of immigrants today to the use of immigrants in the Revolutionary War is a bit unequivocal.  There were no American citizens at the onset of the American Revolution because there was no America.  Another point to consider here is that French nationalists were not fighting in the Revolution for the love of the fledgling democracy.  They were fighting for their own imperialist interests after being handedly defeated by the French in past North American conflicts.

Fourthly and finally am I the only one who remembers what happened to Rome?  Their apathy of the non-Roman troops towards the future of Rome ultimately led to its demise.  Do we really want to be protected by a group of individuals which we are unsure of where their loyalties lie?  Need we remember the Mexican flag waving celebrations of MEXICAN NATIONALISM which occurred in our cities just a few months earlier.  These individuals are not loyal to the United States.  They are loyal to their home countries, and that is not what we need or want in our Armed Forces.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

If it weren't for us...

From The Washington Post:

UNITED NATIONS -- Iran demanded Tuesday that the U.N. Security Council condemn what it said was Israel's clandestine development of nuclear weapons and "compel" it to place all its nuclear facilities under U.N. inspection.

If Israel refuses to comply, Iran said the council must take "resolute action" under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter which authorizes a range of measures from diplomatic and economic sanctions to military action.

Iran insists its own nuclear program is a purely peaceful effort to develop energy, but the United States and many European nations believe Tehran's real aim in enriching uranium is to produce nuclear weapons. The Security Council is currently debating a resolution that would impose sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend its enrichment program.

Now we've been fooling around with possible actions against Iran and it's so called "peaceful nuke program" (which, just as a reminder, it plans to sell to its neighbors) for far to long.  But we can bet with the utmost level of confidence that if it weren't for the US and our veto power, sanctions (if not worse) against Israel would be slapped down almost instantaneously.  What a different view the UN has of Israel now than sixty-ish years ago when it grantned legal status to seemingly lone sane Mid-Eastern states.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's all about me...

I'm a Lamborghini Murcielago!

You're not subtle, but you don't want to be. Fast, loud, and dramatic, you want people to notice you, and then get out of the way. In a world full of sheep, you're a raging bull.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Ok, so everything said in this paragraph is true.  I am fast loud and (sometimes) dramatic.  Yes, I'll admit it, I like people to tell me how much the love me and then move out of the way. Maybe it is all about me? Just kidding, of course :)

Oh, one other thing, while we're on the subject of me, I feel so compelled to brag that I received straight A's this semester.  Considering several of my classes were considerably harder than usual, I am very pleased with myself.  here was teh schedule I faced this semester:

  1. EDUC 370: Creating Learning Environments
  2. HIS 333: History of Modern Europe
  3. HIS 202: US History, 1867-Today
  4. EDUC 360: Educating Exceptional Children
  5. PSCY 406: Social Psychology
  6. PSCI 102: State and Local Government

Next semester is promising to be just as rough if not worse

  1. Two 400 level EDUC classes
  2. Two 300 level HIS classes (History of American Women and Sub-Saharan African History)
  3. One 400 level HIS class (History of Russia)
  4. One 300 level Geography class (World Economic Geography)

Just thought I'd share a little of that :)

EU Trade Chief gives France the 'what fer'

From Financial

The European Union’s trade commissioner will on Monday dismiss French proposals for a “green” tax on goods from countries that have not ratified the Kyoto treaty as not only a probable breach of trade rules but also “not good politics”.

Peter Mandelson says that the levy, aiming to cancel the competitive advantage of countries that are not cutting carbon emissions to fight global warming, would be “highly problematic under World Trade Organisation rules and almost impossible to implement in practice”.

But wait, there's more:

“Not participating in the Kyoto process is not illegal. Nor is it a subsidy under WTO rules,” Mr Mandelson will warn in a podcast speech to 50,000 subscribers. “How would we choose what goods to target? China has ratified Kyoto but has no Kyoto targets because of its developing country status. The US has not ratified but states like California have ambitious climate change policies.”

Above all, he says, it would undermine the international co-operation required to combat climate change.

Well, somebody from the EU is finally making sense.  Now if this fellow can just get the rest of his little buddies to wake up.

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Monday, December 18, 2006


From Breitbart:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, has sent an open letter to Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Snowe (R-Maine) in response to their recent open letter telling the CEO of ExxonMobil to cease funding climate-skeptic scientists. (

Lord Monckton, former policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, writes: "You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to senior elected and appointed government officials who disagree with your opinion."

In what The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail has called "an intemperate attempt to squelch debate with a hint of political consequences," Senators Rockefeller and Snowe released an open letter dated October 30 to ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, insisting he end Exxon's funding of a "climate change denial campaign." The Senators labeled scientists with whom they disagree as "deniers," a term usually directed at "Holocaust deniers." Some voices on the political left have called for the arrest and prosecution of skeptical scientists. The British Foreign Secretary has said skeptics should be treated like advocates of Islamic terror and must be denied access to the media.

Responds Lord Monckton, "Sceptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not, as you improperly suggest, the issue: they assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the  argument and they compel necessary corrections ... "

Lord Monckton's Churchillian reproof continues, "You acknowledge the effectiveness of the climate sceptics. In so doing, you pay a compliment to the courage of those free-thinking scientists who continue to research climate change independently despite the likelihood of refusal of publication in journals that have taken preconceived positions; the hate mail and vilification from ignorant environmentalists; and the threat of loss of tenure in institutions of learning which no longer make any pretence to uphold or cherish academic freedom."

Of Britain's Royal Society, a State-funded scientific body which, like the Senators, has publicly leaned on ExxonMobil, Lord Monckton said, "The Society's long-standing funding by taxpayers does not ensure any greater purity of motive or rigour of thought than industrial funding of scientists who dare to question whether 'climate changes will do any harm."

To the Senators' comparison of ExxonMobil's funding of climate sceptics with tobacco-industry funding of research denying the link between smoking and lung cancer, Lord Monckton counters, "Your comparison of Exxon's funding of sceptical scientists and groups with the former antics of the tobacco industry is unjustifiable and unworthy of any credible elected representatives. Either withdraw that monstrous comparison forthwith, or resign so as not to pollute the office you hold."

Concludes Lord Monckton, "I challenge you to withdraw or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds, rooted firmly in the peer- reviewed scientific literature, to question what you would have us believe is the unanimous agreement of scientists worldwide that global warming will lead to what you excitedly but unjustifiably call disastrous and calamitous consequences."

Well, he does make a valid point, doesn't he.  I mean, debate can only result in a more solid answer, right?  Right.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006


From Breitbart:

Iran's president said Saturday his country was ready to transfer nuclear technology to neighboring countries, Kuwaiti television reported, a week after Arab states on the Persian Gulf announced plans to consider a joint nuclear program.

The television said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a top Kuwaiti envoy he welcomed the decision by the Islamic republic's Arab neighbors to pursue peaceful nuclear technology.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to transfer to regional states its valuable experience and achievements in the field of peaceful nuclear technology as a clean energy source and as a replacement for oil," the state quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Mohammed Zefollah Shirar, a top adviser to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Such a technological transfer would be legal as long as it is between signatory states to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and as long as the International Atomic Energy Agency that monitors the treaty was informed of the transfer.

Iran is at odds with the United States and its European allies, who accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed solely at the peaceful production of nuclear energy.

What else can be said? 

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Yes it's the same old song

John Edwards "intends to enter the race" for the 2008 Presidential nomination. Oh joy.  From Breitbart:

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards intends to enter the 2008 race for the White House, two Democratic officials said Saturday.

Edwards, who represented North Carolina in the Senate for six years, plans to make the campaign announcement late this month from the New Orleans neighborhood hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina last year and slow to recover from the storm.


As Edwards enters the crowded field, the Lower Ninth Ward provides a stark backdrop to highlight his signature issue _ that economic inequality means that the country is divided into "two Americas."

Edwards also plans to travel from New Orleans through the four early presidential nominating states _ Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina _ as part of an announcement tour between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Among Democrats, Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois are drawing the most attention almost two years before the actual vote.

Edwards, however, is in a strong position as the leading candidate in Iowa. He was a top fundraiser in the race for the nomination in 2004 before he became Democratic Sen. John Kerry's running mate.

A poll of Iowa Democrats that was published Thursday in the Des Moines Register showed Edwards with 36 percent support, more than Clinton's 16 percent and Obama's 13 percent combined.

Edwards' campaign plans include an aggressive fundraising effort to prove that he belongs in the top tier of contenders. Because he currently does not hold federal office, Edwards does not have a war chest like some of his rivals. In fact, he has several hundred thousands of dollars of debt from his 2004 presidential campaign.

Does this mean we have to listen to that same old "we have two Americas" (the one John Edwards and his '04 running mate John Kerry live in and the one the rest of us live in) song and dance again?  Oh happy day.  I just didn't get enough from him two years ago...



The semester (and finals) are finally over.  This means I am officially half way through my third year at Shepherd. 

With finals and preparations to move back home, I was left with little time to blog last week.  When coupled with a general lack of noteworthy stories, laziness little drive to post settled in.  I hadn't even skimmed the trusty ole newsreader since Thursday.  Rather than the usual week-in-review funny, here's just a little fun activity via The Anchoress.  Apparently I am a snowman.

You Are a Snowman
Friendly and fun, you enjoy bringing holiday cheer to everyone you know!
Now, the last two weeks in review:

With break being upon me and such, I don't know how much I'll actually up date for the next few (3.5) weeks.  We'll see.  It may be often, then again, it may not be.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why is it ok for her, but not for him?

In her apology for her supposedly culturally insensitive remarks made recently regarding Chinese news reports, Rosie O'Donnell did more to infuriate me  than she ever has in the past.  She said, and I quote as closely as possible, that after having said "ching-chong" repeatedly in describing what a Chinese newscast might sound like she though, "so what, on you go, I do many accents...this apparently was very offensive...apparently ching-chong unbeknownst to me is a very offensive word to make fun or mock...any Asian accent. [It is] very offense...some people have told me it's as bad as the 'N' word.  It was never intent to mock any[one]...I'm also going to give you fair warning there's a good chance I'll do it again...The audience laughed, [so] it's a little bit funny."

Ok, so what, right?  Wrong.  Why does that work for her?  Is that an acceptable apology?  I don't think so.  I few months ago during then senate candidate George Allen's macaca incident, he was not afforded the luxury of simply apologizing and having it all go away, was he?  No.  I personally did not know "macaca" was a racially charged term, and I suspect the senator didn't realize this either. But rather than simply saying, "it was unbeknownst to him" as Rosie has claimed and then moving on, a big deal was made of it.

To me, this is not even the worst part, though.  The worst part is that Rosie is one of the champions of the left, a true pillar of political correctness.  She is so politically correct, in fact, that she caused the whole big stink over Kelly Ripa's so called anti-gay comments when she told Clay Aiken not to put his hand on her mouth because she, 'didn't know where it had been,' but she follows her apology with a disclaimer that she is probably going to do it again even though she now has a full understanding of the fact that such mocking is hurtful to Asians? 

Perhaps the most unreasonable part about the whole thing was the structure of the apology.  Like Mike Richard's apology on Letterman, Rosie's was met with laughter and hilarity.  To me such behavior takes away all aspects of sincerity.

Outrageous.  Simply outrageous.

Well it sounds good

But what will actually be done remains to be seen.  From

Ban Ki-moon of South Korea, who was sworn in as the next UN chief, described the tragedy in Sudan's Darfur region as "unacceptable" and pledged to be personally engaged in efforts to end the bloodshed there.

"The suffering of the people of Darfur is simply unacceptable," the 62-year-old former foreign minister told his first press conference since he took the oath office earlier Thursday to succeed Kofi Annan on January 1.

Ban said he planned to "make himself directly and personally engaged" in the search for a Darfur settlement.

He said he would consult with outgoing UN chief Kofi Annan who has been leading efforts to persuade Khartoum to accept the deployment of a robust UN force to takeover peacekeeping from ill-equipped African Union troops in Darfur.

Reiterating that there was "no military solution" to the crisis, Ban said the United Nations needed to work closely with the AU, the Sudanese government and other stakeholders to address all aspects of the issue.

The United Nations estimates that some 200,000 people have died and more than two million have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict between Khartoum and local rebels in Darfur began in 2003.

I can't understand this idea of "persuad[ing] Khartoum to accept the deployment of a robust UN force..."  If the UN is the supreme international body, then do what needs to be done.  The police officer does not ask the criminal to search his car.  He does it.  And so it should be with the United Nations.  I hope Mr. Ki-moon has the--for lack of a more appropriate term--stones to take care of business.  But I doubt it.


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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why wouldn't we believe that?

From The Washington Post:

Two-thirds [66% for those with mathematics deficiencies] of Americans believe that the FBI and other federal agencies are intruding on privacy rights as part of terrorism investigations, but they remain divided over whether such tactics are justified, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released yesterday.

The poll also showed that 52 percent of respondents favor congressional hearings on how the Bush administration has handled surveillance, detainees and other terrorism-related issues, compared with 45 percent who are opposed. That question was posed to half of the poll's 1,005-person random sample.

Overall, the poll -- which includes questions that have been asked since 2002 and 2003 -- showed a continued skepticism about whether the government is adequately protecting privacy rights as it conducts terrorism-related investigations.

Compared with June 2002, for example, almost twice as many respondents say the need to respect privacy outranks the need to investigate terrorist threats. That shift was first evident in polling conducted in January 2006.

That sentiment is still a minority view, however: Nearly two-thirds rank investigating threats as more important than guarding against intrusions on personal privacy, down from 79 percent in 2002.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert who is a professor in Georgetown University's Security Studies Program, said the poll results could spell trouble for the FBI and other government agencies as they continue to seek support for expanded anti-terrorism powers granted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"I don't think you can view these polling results in isolation from an overall phenomenon, which is that people are more skeptical of the government's conduct of the war on terrorism," Hoffman said.

Sixty-six percent of those questioned said that the FBI and other agencies are "intruding on some Americans' privacy rights" in terrorism investigations, up from 58 percent in September 2003. Thirty percent think the government is not intruding on privacy.

Support for intrusive tactics has dropped even more significantly during that time. A bare majority, 51 percent, feel the tactics are justified, down from 63 percent three years ago.

Why wouldn't we think this?  I mean, when that is what we hear day in and day out.  The eavesdropping program, which listens in on international calls, is continuously called "domestic spying" by both democrats and those in the MSM.  When something is repeated often enough, people tend to believe it, so this shouldn't really shock any of us...


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Monday, December 11, 2006

Oh yea, that's why...

Sometimes it is nice to be reminded of why I support certain things, such as members of the Bush Administration.  I don't typically have the opportunity to watch Tony Snow's press conferences, but today was the exception, and what an exception it was.

Q Republican Senator Smith is challenging the strategy. What he basically said yesterday, as well, was, when you do the same thing over and over again without a clear strategy for victory, that is dereliction, that is deeply immoral. Such is the dispute. He's saying what the President is doing is immoral.

MR. SNOW: Well, then we disagree.

Q Tony, first of all, the --

Q You're just going to blow it off? A Republican senator is saying the President's policy may be criminal and it's immoral, and you're just saying, we just disagree?

MR. SNOW: And what would you like me to say? Should I do duels at 10 paces?

Q Don't you think you should answer for that? You're saying -- you've said from this podium over and over that the strategy is a victory, right? And you have a Republican senator is saying there is no clear strategy, that you don't have a strategy.

MR. SNOW: Well, let's let Senator Smith hear what the President has to say. We understand that this is a time where politics are emotional in the wake of an election. And you know what? Senator Smith is entitled to his opinion. But I'm not sure exactly what you would like --

and again the reporter interrupts.  I thoroughly enjoy watching Tony Snow lay it out for those journalists, but the lack of respect they show him disturbs me.  They treat him like an intellectual inferior who is directly responsible to the White House Press Corps, like they are his supervisors.  It just bothers me.

More from Snow:

Q Two questions, Tony. The Washington Post reports that yesterday in New Hampshire, Senator Barack Obama was trailed by what they termed "a huge media hoard" of more than 100. And presuming that Senator Obama's remarkable impact has not struck you speechless, Tony, does --

MR. SNOW: Les, you're clearing the room. Hurry this up. (Laughter.)

Q -- does the President, as the head of the GOP, believe that Senator Hillary Clinton is seriously concerned about this Barack boom? Or does he think it's more of a --

MR. SNOW: Did you just ask me what the President -- the Republican President thinks about internal Democratic politics?

Q Yes, as the head of the GOP.

MR. SNOW: Again, the President, I think -- as I've tried to make clear, the President is worried about matters of global war and peace, and he'll allow the Democrats to conduct their own primary process when that process does, in fact, begin in earnest.

The bigger question was why would a reporter ask Tony about what Bush things about what Clinton thinks about Obama.  Who cares anyway?

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If the UN says it... must be right, right?  Well anyway, I missed posting last week, but I just didn't have much time AND, to make it worse, when I did have time (Thursday and Friday) this DAMN campus internet was down.

And now, the news!  The UN is saying warnings about human impact on global warming may just be hot air. From the Daily Telegraph via Sister Toldjah:

Mankind has had less effect on global warming than previously supposed, a United Nations report on climate change will claim next year.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there can be little doubt that humans are responsible for warming the planet, but the organisation has reduced its overall estimate of this effect by 25 per cent.

In a final draft of its fourth assessment report, to be published in February, the panel reports that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has accelerated in the past five years. It also predicts that temperatures will rise by up to 4.5 C during the next 100 years, bringing more frequent heat waves and storms.

The panel, however, has lowered predictions of how much sea levels will rise in comparison with its last report in 2001.


It also says that the overall human effect on global warming since the industrial revolution is less than had been thought, due to the unexpected levels of cooling caused by aerosol sprays, which reflect heat from the sun.

Large amounts of heat have been absorbed by the oceans, masking the warming effect.

Prof Rick Battarbee, the director of the Environmental Change Research Centre at University College London, warned these masking effects had helped to delay global warming but would lead to larger changes in the future.

He said: "The oceans have been acting like giant storage heaters by trapping heat and carbon dioxide. They might be bit of a time-bomb as they have been masking the real effects of the carbon dioxide we have been releasing into the atmosphere.

"People are very worried about what will happen in 2030 to 2050, as we think that at that point the oceans will no longer be able to absorb the carbon dioxide being emitted. It will be a tipping point and that is why it is now critical to act to counter any acceleration that will occur when this happens."

So now the problem is being hidden by the devious oceans.  Those damn oceans are conspiring against us.  Time bomb oceans.  Good God.

What I want to know is if Bush--who has maintained all along that the jury is till out on human impact--will get any apologies considering 'new science' supposedly contributed to the adjusted report.  It also makes me wonder if even NEWER science will again reduce the "impact of humans."

The first apology should come from the NASA scientist who said Bush was "controlling the flow of information" back in '04. No, no, I doubt that will happen. Whatever.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Just for the fun of it

The blogs have been quiet today, and I haven't really been sparked by anything to write something of substance.  And so instead I will have a little fun via this activity provided by The Anchoress:

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Coffee or sweet tea (the anytime beverage)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wraps. Always has, always will.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Well that changes from time to time.  When I was little, it was colored lights on the tree, white lights on the house.  Now it's white lights on the tree, colored lights on the house.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? We haven't in a long time.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Well it used to be the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year school has prevented me from helping decorate.  I think my parents are almost done...

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?  Sweet taters and/or's hard to decide. 

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: There are some good ones.  One would be the time mom bought--oops, i mean santa brought--a new Rangers jersey (white Brian Leetch jersey which I still have) and wrapped it in a boot box.  I thought i'd gotten boots (exciting) so I didn't open the box.  Mom had to keep probing me to "try the boots on." Finally I gave up and said ,"OK." The jersey was way better than boots...

Cooking with my Grandma on Dad's side and doing dishes with my grandma on mom's side are also good memories.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't know.  I don't remember ever believing to be honest.  I always hated going to 'sit on santa's lap' at the mall, though. 

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? I'm almost ashamed to admit that we always open our gifts on Christmas Eve. It was always easier that way when i was little because we did a lot of visiting on Christmas Eve.  Before we left, Mom would send us to the car and she'd set out all the presents so that when we got back it was like Santa had already come.  Then we could sleep in (or get up early to play) on Christmas day.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Lights and ornaments, garlands (not that tacky ice crap either), beads and a star on top. There is, however, some debate about Christmas tree decorations at my house.  When I was little, mom would string cranberries and popcorn and I always liked that, but it was a lot of work and, to be honest, nobody ever helped her.  Also, I like an Angel on top, but mom voted the angel out a couple years back.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it.  The smell. The feel. The sound.  The look.  The feeling of knowing I get to sleep in because school is canceled.  Oh how wonderful.

12. Can you ice skate? Yup.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Received?  Probably the jersey I talked about above.  Also my Darth Vader mask that i got when I was little.  And last year Courtney did a great job.  She surprised me the most with an updated Rangers jersey (Which i love).  Given?  Either these fancy snowglobes I got all my friends a couple years back OR a painting I bought my grandmother last year.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Too many good ones to pick just one.  Heather's Christmas parties are great.  Cooking for Courtney at Christmas time is always fun. Coffee and pie after Christmas dinner while listening to the family talk and tell stories.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
My Aunt Kristy's punchbowl cake had reigned supreme, and holds that rank for Christmas.  However, my aunt Debra made a pretty mean pumpkin cheesecake this year...

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas eve at my grandmothers.  Cheese ball, soup and sweet tea.  Presents and Kristy's mouth?  What more can you ask for?

17. What tops your tree? See the above tree decorating section.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Well there are benefits to both.  If I bought a particularly thoughtful or brilliant gift, then it's fun to watch the other person open it. 

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

20. Candy canes: the first one of the year is good, but then you have about a trillion of them and they lie around and get nasty.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?
The Christmas Story.  However, I have to admit that I do have a special little place in my heart for Jingle All The Way and Elf.

22. What do you leave for Santa? Cookies and milk.  But he probably really needs a Pepcid AC and a class of water.


Feel free to copy this into the comments section and fill it out yourself...

Monday, December 04, 2006

McCain's thoughts on the Baker-Hamilton Commission?

From The Evening Bulletin via Instapundit:

"Well in war, my dear friends, there is no such thing as compromise; you either win or you lose," McCain said.

The rest of the article is about the potential presidential bid, his Vietnam experience (which, I'm sorry to say and I certainly mean no disrespect for his service, but I'm always reminded of the SNL sketch where McCain is talking about his service in Vietnam and then President-to-be Bush (Will Ferrell) fesicously says, "What a second, you were in Vietnam, well I hadn't heard") and his general thoughts on the Iraq war.

I don't agree with a lot of what McCain says, but he certainly sums the truth up quite poignantly here, doesn't he?  Well said, Johnny Boy.

But I can't help but wonder if his statement extends to pending wars, such as the one with Iran or North Korea if we don't stop them now?  What about wars of will, again as seen in the conflict between what we want--no nukes for Iran or Korea--and what they want--the ability to wipe us off the face of the Earth? He's using that maverick talk that got Duby in trouble, isn't he?  Does that equate to "you're either with us or against us?"  Guess not.


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Couple of things

*Update: Scroll Down

First of all, Sissy does a fine job of summing up the impending Baker Commission report.  Let's hope Bush remains stubborn.

Secondly, I just heard of FoxNews that John "Mustache-Man" Bolton is requesting not to be renominated at the close of his recess appointment to the United Nations.  He seems to be facing the unfortunate reality that the Democrats were going to block him whether in committee or on the floor.  That's a damn shame.  I don't know that there is any body better skilled to clean up that crap-hole that is the United Nations.  It will be interesting to see how this pans out...

Not links at the moment.


Link via Drudge to Breitbart's coverage:

Perino said that among Bolton's accomplishments, he assembled coalitions addressing North Korea's nuclear activity, Iran's uranium enrichment and reprocessing work and the horrific violence in Darfur. She said he also made reform at the United Nations a top issue because the United States is searching for a more "credible" and more "effective."

"Ambassador Bolton served his country with distinction and he achieve a great deal at the United Nations," Perino said.

"Despite the support of a strong bipartisan majority of senators, Ambassdor Bolton's confirmation was blocked by a Democratic filibuster, and this is a clear example of the breakdown in the Senate confirmation process," she said. "Nominees deserve the opportunity for a clean up or down vote. Ambassador Bolton was never given that opportunity."

Perino said Bush had reluctantly accepted Bolton's decision to leave when his current appointment expired.

Bill Kristol points out on Fox News with E.D. Hill that Bolton has never been voted on, period.  He blames Bush for not fighting for John Bolton even though Bolton has been a loyal workhorse for Bush. 

Kristol also points out that Bolton was able to push much of his agenda through.  He worries that this "sends the signal" that tough guys who stand up for American principles first have no place in the Administration. 

Curious indeed.  Kristol further wonders if (and if not, then why not) Bush could possibly nominate Bolton for Deputy Secretary of State? 

With the speculation that Bush was a bit of an ass in his dismissal of Rumsfeld, I can't help but wonder just what is going on?  Turning his back on Rumy, and now the speculation that he is turning his back on Bolton.  Where's the Bush I voted for in '04?

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas list

Every year my grandmother is the first to hassle me about a "Christmas list," which I have never been fond of making.  In fact, I think I've actually only made a Christmas list once or twice my entire life.  This year, my mother, grandmother, girlfriend, friends and just about everybody else has asked me, "Just what do you want for Christmas?"  I reply very simply, "I don't know."

And the truth is, I don't.  Oh there are big-ticket items--like a new computer, this ole Dell Inspiron 8600 just doesn't run like she did three and one half years ago when I got her--but that's unnecessary and, truly, unrealistic.  Besides that, I'm so picky about big-ticket items that it is typically best if I'm left to take care of those myself.  But the small stuff that most lists are made of--books, CD's, DVD's, etc--just doesn't really interest me.  I have a stack of books that I want to read, but never seem to find the time to in the midst of all my reading for school.  Music is hard for people to buy for me, because I have a sort of strange taste and I'm quite picky with that as well.  I don't really watch movies all that much--if I've seen it once, chances are I don't need nor want to see it again.  And nobody wants to buy me clothes, partially because I have the tastes of a 62 year old man.  So I thought it might be interesting to ask what other people, regardless of age or sex, are asking/desiring for this Christmas.  Please, by all means, leave me a little note and tell me.


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What a noble idea

From John J. Miller via Instapundit:

Nancy Pelosi keeps bragging about the Democrats' first 100 hours. How about a GOP Congress that has a final 100 hours that reminds voters about what Republicans stand for? It could be small-bore stuff: the Colombia and Peru free-trade agreements, the Chris Smith bill on fetal pain, maybe something on taxes. Anything but this loser talk about "shelf life" and "we're tired."

Wow.  Is this a statement that is actually advocating that Congress accomplish something?  What a noble idea.


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Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Christmas spirit

Finally.  It feels like Christmas time is coming.  With the weather pattern we'd been in for the past week or so (65+ all week), it's been hard for me to get into the spirit.

After the game today,  Courtney and I headed in to Hagerstown for a little dinner and some shopping.  The mall was packed.  I mean packed.  But we still finished a little.

One thing, though, that always bothers me at Christmas time is the way people can behave.  As Court said, "Christmas is supposed to bring out the best in people, but sometimes it brings out the worst, too."  How true that is.  I get so sick listening to parents scream at their children for every little thing.  Learn to ignore, people, it'll help all parties involved--the children, the parents and more importantly the people who have to listen to the whole thing unfold.


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Post Playoff Depression

Rams just dropped the game 24-21 at Ram stadium.  Don't know what we'll do with our Saturdays now, but I suppose we'll manage...

Abortion issues

From WND:

The Christian Medical Association is urging passage of a federal bill to inform women considering an abortion of potential pain their babies can experience after 20 weeks of development.

"One thing both sides of this issue should be able to agree upon is that women should be fully informed about the medical science concerning their developing babies," said Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the 17,000-member association.

The House is expected to vote on the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, H.R. 6099, next week.

Stevens said the scientific findings in the measure are "clear and compelling."

"Women deserve to know exactly what an abortion involves for their baby," he said. "Imagine the heartbreak a woman would experience after being led to believe that her 22-week developing baby is simply a 'blob of tissue' only to learn after an abortion that her baby likely experienced excruciating pain. This bill sets the record straight and makes sure women are provided with the facts."

The bill's findings – reflecting testimony by scientific experts, including Drs. Kanwdfbet S. Anand and Jeanne Wright – note that at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, an unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain.

"There is substantial evidence that by 20 weeks after fertilization, unborn children draw away from certain stimuli in a manner which in an infant or an adult would be interpreted as a response to pain," a draft of the bill states.

Anesthesia, the experts point out, routinely is administered to unborn children who have developed 20 weeks or more after fertilization and undergo prenatal surgery.

"There is substantial evidence that the abortion methods most commonly used 20 weeks or more after fertilization cause substantial pain to an unborn child, whether by dismemberment, poisoning, penetrating or crushing the skull, or other methods," the bill states.

Dr. Gene Rudd, an obstetrician with the CMA, noted the bill cites laws protecting animals from inhumane treatment, while a developing human has no such protections.

"What does this say about our blindness to the humanity of our developing babies?" he asked.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., issued a statement yesterday in support of the bill, saying he intends to "seek unanimous consent that the Senate take up and pass this critical piece of legislation."

Brownback is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights.

This entire debate is disturbing to me.  We'll see if the House actually passes this.  I'm skeptical

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Here one day...

...gone the next. The weather has been awful today. Some rain (downpouring when it comes), lots of wind and it has been hot, making it hard to feel 'in the Christmas spirit.'

Mom sent me an email with a picture from home. Apparently--well, it will be apparent when I put the image up--the wind was strong enough back home to completely knock down our Maple tree in the front yard. What a shame.

I always liked that tree, even though it didn't get many leaves. I'm quite convinced it was the woodpeckers--blood things--not the wind that ultimately should be held responsible for the herbicide that took place here.

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The ACLU Christmas?

From WND:

Campus activists plan to display an "ACLU Nativity Scene" at the University of Texas in response to the civil liberties group's "extreme" campaign to remove Christmas from the public sphere.

"We've got Gary and Joseph instead of Mary and Joseph in order to symbolize ACLU support for homosexual marriage, and of course there isn't a Jesus in the manger," said Tony McDonald, chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas branch on the Austin campus.


The three Wise Men in the display are Lenin, Marx and Stalin, McDonald said, because ACLU founder Roger Baldwin was a backer of Soviet-style communism.

As director of the ACLU in 1934, Baldwin wrote an article entitled "Freedom in the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R." in which he said "the Soviet Union has already created liberties far greater than exist elsewhere in the world."

"The whole scene is a tongue-in-cheek way of showing the many ways that the ACLU and the far left are out of touch with the values of mainstream America," McDonald said in a statement.

The scene will also have a "terrorist shepherd" and an angel with Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi's face, using a photograph of the soon-to-be speaker of the House from San Francisco

"The ACLU and other left-wing extremist groups are working diligently to destroy Americans' rights to the free expression of religion," said the Young Conservatives' Executive Director Joseph Wyly.

Wyly pointed to the city of Chicago's decision this week to ban advertisements for "The Nativity Story" movie from a local Christmas festival, fearing they might offend non-Christians.

"It's just more evidence that there is a war on Christmas being waged by the far-left in this country," he said.

Hmm. At first I was very disturbed by this, then I chuckled, now I'm just not sure.  It's kind of humorous, and fairly telling, but I just don't know--isn't desecrating the Nativity still desecrating the Nativity, even when it's done to make a point about, well, desecrating the Nativity?


'Lil Brother gets it right

My (soon to be) fourteen year old brother started a blog a couple months-or-so ago.  He doesn't post too much other than his daily life, but occasionally he'll do a universally interesting post.  Here's a clip of one from yesterday:

Speaking of Christmas and Christianity do you no how well the ACLU likes us? To answer this question let us take a quick trip to the western USA. IN the Desert there is a lonely cross that sits upon a mountain top looking over the dry valley below. This cross was built as a reminder of the first people who crossed the harsh desert with little more that the clothes on their back and their faith. SO what does the ACLU do to this monument? They build a giant plywood box and through over this lonely cross, so all you can see is he base of it. But wait there's more! Not only have they desecrated this monument but they are trying to keep the Nativity Story's trailer from running in a Boston movie marketwhich is supporting the true meaning of Christmas. Hmmmm, does Christ have nothing to do with Christmas. Or is this new commercial "X-mas" of fake pink trees, Santa's on the slim fast diet,and selfish people only worried about themselves, taking over our holidays.

Kind of hits the nail on the head, no?  Well written and quite straight forward. No mixed messages here!