Monday, August 30, 2004

So, what do the protestors think?

Major hat-tip to Betsy. The New York Sun conducted a survey of a bunch of the protestors (who took part in the United for Peace and Justice march) in NYC:

"Of those marching who were surveyed, 52% said they agreed with the statement that “America is overall a negative force in the world...

"67% said they agreed with the statement that “Iraqi attacks on American troops occupying Iraq are legitimate resistance...

"58% said they agreed with the claim that “a few neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle who have close ties to Israel’s Likud party manipulated America into going to war in Iraq.”

"62% said they opposed the American war in Afghanistan in 2001..."


Hat-tip to Prof. Bainbridge! Via the Wine Spectator, there are two vintners who have wine blogs: Brian Loring and Mia Klein. Learn first-hand about the fascinating process of growing & harvesting grapes and making & bottling wine. (I'm getting thirsy already.)

9/11 "Toy" - Part 2

Apparently, there's a second toy, similar in nature, that has Osama Bin Laden between the WTC Towers rather than an airplane. (Hat-tip LGF)

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Re: The Electoral College

The New York Times wants to end the Electoral College process and have the nation elect a president via direct popular vote. I will respond to this in detail later this week. Suffice it to say, this is a BAD idea. I'll explain later.

My Life as a House... (a personal reflection)

This coming September 6th will be the 10th anniversary of my arrival to California. I grew up and lived for most of my life in the Philadelphia-area. But, for various reasons, I had chosen to move 3000 miles away from family and friends to start a new path in my life. Family (and friendship) are very important to me, as it's the foundation of my life. It is because of them (not in spite of them) that I was able to take that trek across the country and set new roots in this beautiful state.

Two and a half years ago, my Mom passed away after battling 10+ years of kidney failure and thrice-weekly dialysis treatments. Her suffering in the last months of her life was both physically and spiritually excruciating. Our Dad, and us siblings, went through the most emotionally challenging yet spiritually charged period of our lives during the last days of her life. It left an indelible mark on all of us.

At Mom's funeral, us siblings had the opportunity to each give a eulogy. Below is a copy of my words - feeble as they were:

There was a movie which recently played in the theaters. Although it was not a very good film, it did have a very intriguing title. It was called “Life As A House.” I would like to describe for all of you here today our life as a house. Our life as a home.

This special house was built with the sturdiest of foundations: our Mom & our Dad - reinforced with their unconditional love for each other and their children; their loyalty and compassion; their strength and grace; the unending prayers, sacrifice and devotion; their instruction and understanding; as well as their deep abiding sense of family, and their faith.

On this firm foundation are five pillars - their children – adding to the strength of this family structure with more love and companionship. Sharing in our joyous experiences of life, and being pillars of support when times were hard.

The walls of this structure are our extended family – aunts, uncles, cousins, grandchildren, and others who’ve surrounded us with an over abundance of love, laughter, celebration and good times.

Our close friends are our windows and doorways to the rest of the world, through whose comradery we experience the vastness, variety and complexity of this world.

The roof of this house is composed of those close to us who’ve passed on to be with our Lord – including, now, Mom – who cover us, and protect us, and watch over us from heaven above.

And all of this has been built on the solid, steady rock of Jesus Christ, who is the ultimate example of perfect love, compassion, grace and sacrifice.

This is our life as a house – our life as a home.

There’s a verse in Psalm 23: “You anoint my head with oil.” I cannot count how many times, Mom, that you had anointed my head with you little jar of holy oil and prayed for me - especially over these last number of years when you would anoint my head whenever I was about to get on a plane back to the west coast, and praying daily (not just for me but for all of us) with this rosary which I had specially made for you when I moved to California. It is impossible for me to express how grateful I am for that, Mom.

The good Lord had anointed your head with oil to be the greatest wife and mother our home could ever have. Thank you, Lord, for this most blessed and precious gift.

I love you, Mom. And I miss you already.

And I still miss you deeply, Mom. Yet I take comfort in knowing that you are safely in the loving embrace of our Lord, free from pain, free of tears, and filled with unending love & joy.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Disturbing 9/11 "Toy" Pulled Off Shelves

This is a disturbing story (excerpted below):

Small toys showing an airplane flying into the World Trade Center were packed inside more than 14,000 bags of candy and sent to small groceries around the country before being recalled.

The toys came in an assortment purchased sight unseen from L&M Import in Miami and included the toys depicting the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the twin towers..." said Luis Pedron, Lisy's national sales manager. The invoice said the toy was a plastic swing set.

"I hate to blame the importer. He probably did not know what he was getting. He brings them in 40-foot containers. But whoever made it knew exactly what they were making," Pedron said.

There's a photo of the toy at the link, above.

Uh-oh... the proverbial (bleep) is about to hit the fan

American Spectator got hold of the downloadable copy of Kerry's 1971 book "The New Soldier" and delves into it's contents:

Though Kerry would later retrieve the medals he pretended to throw at the White House, he emphasized in The New Soldier that the Vietnam veteran should not be honored. Purple hearts and bronze stars mean nothing to the new soldier, for he knows they are just a sham: "We will not quickly join those who march on Veterans' Day waving small flags, calling to memory those thousands who died for the ‘greater glory of the United States.' We will not accept the rhetoric. We will not readily join the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars…We will not take solace from the creation of monuments or the naming of parks after a select few of the thousands of dead Americans and Vietnamese. We will not uphold traditions which decorously memorialize that which was base and grim."

Meanwhile, Human Events note the thoughts and feelings of Vietnam POWs:

"What they wanted to do was get us to make statements that they could use for propaganda, no matter what it took to get it" said [POW Tom Collins]. "They would torture us, some were even killed for it...For over seven years, their goal was to get propaganda out of me. And then I see somebody like John Kerry and the Vietnam Veterans [Against the War] giving them the same propaganda they want me to give them, free of charge, on American television."

(Hat-tip to Betsy Newmark)

UPDATE: The National Review has this disturbing bit of information regarding Kerry’s comments on the tragic suicide of Navy Admiral Mike Boorda in 1996 (who was being investigated for wearing unearned medals):

"Is it wrong? Yes, it is very wrong. Sufficient to question his leadership position? The answer is yes, which he clearly understood," said Sen. John Kerry, a Navy combat veteran who served in Vietnam.

Then you have this investigation by the Chicago Sun Times:

...the official records on Kerry's Web site only add to the confusion. The DD214 form, an official Defense Department document summarizing Kerry's military career posted on, includes a "Silver Star with combat V."

But according to a U.S. Navy spokesman, "Kerry's record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a 'combat V' to anyone for a Silver Star."

Naval regulations do not allow for the use of a "combat V" for the Silver Star, the third-highest decoration the Navy awards. None of the other services has ever granted a Silver Star "combat V," either.

(Hat-tip to Hugh Hewitt)

ANOTHER UPDATE: These are some excellent general summaries on the whole situation. Here and here. Then here and here. Finally here and here.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Coming Oct 17th - Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars

Don't know what Farscape is??? Shame on you! It's only the best science fiction TV program ever made. Four awesome seasons on the Sci-Fi Network. All episodes available on DVD for purchase (at places like BestBuys) or for rent (at places like blockBuster).

And the ALL NEW, 2-Part, 4-Hour Mini-Series is set to debut on the Sci-Fi Network: Sunday, October 17th

Want a preview of the Mini-Series??? Go here and see the new trailer!

(You can thank me later.)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Carter - as horrible out of office as he was while in office

Via PowerLine, FrontPage Magazine has an article on the now-obviously fraudulent election in Venezuela:

"The nub of the problem is this: While exit polls conducted by the very reliable American firm of Penn, Schoen, and Berland showed Chavez losing by a large margin (59 – 41), the official results put Chavez free and clear by a vote of 58 to 41 percent."

It goes on:

"There are widespread reports of irregularities and evidence of fraud, many of them ably recorded by Mary Anastasia O’Grady in the Wall Street Journal last week. Carter is untroubled by any of this, and declares that Chavez won 'fair and square.' The remarkable thing about Carter’s 'rebuttal' to his critics is that he does not offer any refutation of the criticisms."

Read the whole thing.

Meanwhile, back at the bank...

The British Business Telegraph has an article on the U.S. Treasury's investigation into the "UN Oil-for-Food" scandal:

"Two European banks were yesterday accused by the US Treasury Department of helping Saddam Hussein launder money stolen from the UN oil-for-food programme.

"American authorities aim to cut the Infobank of Belarus and First Merchant Bank of Cyprus out of the financial system by making mainstream institutions aware of the allegations.

"The Treasury Department dubbed the banks "primary money laundering concerns" for their failure to combat problems with the oil-for-food scheme."

Read the entire article here (Hat-tip to Instapundit)

Further connection between Kerry & a 527

Hugh Hewitt has a great post to the Washington Post article regarding connections between a top 527 and Kerry's campaign:

The Washington Post is trying to help with a "blockbuster" front-pager which breaks the story that great lawyers have many clients. This Dana Milbank and Tom Edsall piece unleashes the news a that Bush-Cheney lawyer is also the lawyer for the Swift Boat vets. That's the headline. Look at the third paragraph:

"[Ginsburg] said two prominent Democratic lawyers are doing the same thing. He said Robert Bauer, the top legal counsel for the Kerry campaign, also is the attorney for an independent group, America Coming Together, that has been mobilizing voters in support of Kerry. In addition, Ginsberg said, Joseph Sandler is a lawyer for both the Democratic National Committee and for the independent group, which has run advertisements attacking Bush."

How this can be a page one piece is mystifying, but when the news that the country's top campaign lawyers represent both candidates and 527s becomes news, you know the Kerry cheering section in the newsrooms have become desperate. Especially when the report headlines that a Bush lawyer is doing something and doesn't note that Kerry lawyers are doing the very same thing.

EC:EC FCA - Collateral

Went to see Tom Cruise’s “Collateral” the other day. A good film, but not great. It had it’s moments, but it loses itself due to several annoying improbabilities in the plot. There’s a scene in the Fever Night Club that just lasts way too long for the end result to believably occur. Some scenes were a bit too convenient, and the director & writer also dropped the ball in not really allowing the two main characters to further explore themselves. One thing filmmakers do get correct - almost no one rides the subway in L.A. (HAH!) For the popcorn excitement, I give it 3 wine bottles out of 5. ($6.00 for a matinee... YIKES!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

EC:WC FCA - House of Sand & Fog, People I Know

Vic, the East Coast Critic recently viewed the following two DVDs:

House of Sand and Fog - It was depressing with no redeeming value. You think initially that all the characters will find a way to meld but it doesn’t happen. It just gets darker and darker. I give it 1-1/2 bottles of wine out of 5.

The other movie (with Al Pacino) was People I Know. It was pointless and depressing, as well. [I also give it] 1-1/2 bottles of wine.

The worst thing about these movies was that I watched them back to back. And it was miserable outside with overcast skies and torrential rain. Boy, talk about wanting to take the jump yourself. (phew) I don’t mind a dark movie, but I want to have something to hang onto in the end. HOPE! In any form. If you’re showing me sh*t flushing down a toilet, then I want to believe that it will help grow trees or feed microorganisms somewhere on the planet. I just don’t want to watch someone void for the “art” of it.

I, the WCC, have only seen House of Sand & Fog. It’s very depressing (almost in a Nick Cage's “Leaving Las Vegas” sort of way). I did find it an intriguing character study, though I had absolutely no sympathy for Jennifer Connelly’s character at all. But, there’s one line she gives (either in the movie, or in one of the outtakes on the DVD) that just sums her character up perfectly. Her cop friend says, “You’re a very complicated person.” And she responds, “I’m actually a very simple person. I just make things very complicated.” The character study lets me be a bit more forgiving. I give it 2-1/2 wine bottles out of 5. Just don't expect to come away feeling cheerful.

Defining the word "Propaganda"

California Republic has an interesting post which defines the word "propaganda."

"In the broadest sense propaganda is information that serves a particular agenda, which could be true or false. If true, it may be one-sided and fail to paint a complete picture. In Latin, propaganda means "propagating." In the narrower and more common use, the term refers to deliberately false or misleading deceptive information that supports a political cause or the interests of those in power in any institution.

"A propagandist seeks to change the way people understand an issue or a situation for the purpose of changing their actions and expectations in ways that are desirable to the propagandist. It includes censorship in which the same purpose is achieved, not by filling people's minds with false information, but by preventing people from knowing true information.

"What sets propaganda apart from other forms of advocacy is the willingness of the propagandist to change people's understanding through deception and confusion, rather than persuasion and understanding."

Nothin' like posts that make you think!

Uh-oh... is it "Stick a fork in him" time?

Captain Ed posts a quote from Major Garrett at Fox News:

"And questions keep coming. For example, Kerry received a Purple Heart for wounds suffered on December 2nd, 1968. But an entry in Kerry's own journal written nine days later, he writes that, quote, he and his crew hadn't been shot at yet, unquote. Kerry's campaign has said it is possible his first Purple Heart was awarded for an unintentionally self-inflicted wound."

Uh-oh... is it "Stick a fork in him" time?

Meanwhile, A Large Regular lists Kerry's "Month-o-Missteps" (actually, only 3 weeks worth).

527s & The Kerry Connection

CNN reported in April that Kerry hired's "On-Line Chief":

"John Kerry has hired an Internet-savvy Democrat to run his presidential campaign's online communications, a move that raises new questions about the link between his campaign and the independent groups that run TV ads on his behalf.

"Zach Exley, the director of special projects for the MoveOn PAC, is going to the Kerry campaign to become its director of online communications and organization. Exley also worked during the Democratic presidential primary for Howard Dean, helping Dean set up his web-based organization.

"Since Kerry became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in early March, the MoveOn PAC has spent more than $2.5 million on TV ads that attack President Bush. [They have] spent roughly $17 million on ads since it started running its "misleader" campaign against Bush last year."

There's even more 527 connections here.

Let's take a look at the Kerry Connections, shall we?

Meanwhile, it's been reported that "[The Ruckus Society] an anarchist group [is] planning disruptions at next week's Republican National Convention in New York gets funding from a Ted Turner foundation as well as a foundation chaired by Teresa Heinz Kerry [via the Tides Foundation]."

You'll find the detailed breakdown of The Ruckus Society here and here. And then over here you'll find that the Howard Heinz Endowment has donated over $6 million to The Tides Foundation (a Teresa favorite) between 1995-2001.

And, through all this, President Bush has the highest campaign finance disclosure rate (at 93%). Yet, Kerry (with the exception of Wesley Clark) has the lowest rate of campaign finance disclosure rate (76%). See the comprehensive breakdown here.

UPDATE: Must do a Hat-Tip to Jay Caruso, Q&O, and Blogs For Bush.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Finally, have a daily chuckle...

The Day By Day cartoon.

It makes me smile almost as much as Zits, Dilbert, Rose Is Rose, For Better Or Worse. (Oh, where have you gone "Calvin & Hobbes" and "Bloom County"?)

Blogs: The "Must Reads" List (Non-Catholic Blogs & Resources)

Here are a few non-Catholic blogs and resources that are always a great read:

Joshua Claybourn - currently on hiatus due to the recent passing of his mother.

Evangelical Outpost - reflections on culture, politics, and religion from an evangelical worldview.

Focus On The Family - Dr. James Dobson. 'Nough said!

Mark D. Roberts - a Presbyterian pastor, author, and speaker. His long posts really make you think and reflect.

Jack Hayford - an inspiring Four-Square pastor, speaker, author. In my humble opinion, probably one of the only preachers on the TBN who's worthwhile (maybe... maybe... you can also add Dr. D. James Kennedy and Pastor Charles Stanley).

First Things - published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.

Touchstone Magazine - Touchstone is a Christian journal, conservative in doctrine and eclectic in content, with editors and readers from each of the three great divisions of Christendom — Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox. The mission of the journal and its publisher, the Fellowship of St. James, is to provide a place where Christians of various backgrounds can speak with one another on the basis of shared belief in the fundamental doctrines of the faith as revealed in Holy Scripture and summarized in the ancient creeds of the Church.

They also have a nice Comments section.

Blogs: The "Must Reads" List (Catholic Blogs & Resources)

So you’re looking for some great Catholic blogs and Catholic Resources? Look no further!

Mark Shea – regularly applying the faith to daily issues.

Blogs for Lovers – Gerard Serafin is always plucking nuggets from the Saints and from Church History. His other site, Praise of Glory, is dense with information.

Dappled Things
– Fr. Jim Tucker ruminates here.

Elliot Bougis – going through his Catholic conversion here. He also sits in for Mark Shea when Mark is busy with projects.

Insight Scoop – the daily blog for Ingatius Press (great books can be found there).

Envoy Magazine – a great Catholic Apologetics resource (Patrick Madrid is Editor-in-Chief, and the incomparable Scott Hahn regularly contributes).

Looking for great resource information? Then check these four key sites: – everything you could ever ask for regarding the Catholic faith. On-line Catholic Encyclopedia, Bible, Church History, Doctorine, Catechism, Canon Law, etc...

Catholic Answers – self-explanatory.

Catholic Pages – when you just can’t get enough.

Catholic Exchange – by the time you finish with these four sites you should have enough to put you into a contemplative mode.

Looking for great books?

May I suggest anything by Scott Hahn (especially his “Rome Sweet Home”)

Also, Patrick Madrid (especially his “Pope Fiction” as well as his “Surprised by Truth” series)

Mark Shea (particularly his “Making Sense Out of Scripture”)

And, Kenneth Whitehead’s “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic”

Finally, anything and everything by G.K Chesterton (the Apostle of Common Sense) and C.S. Lewis (a very “catholic” protestant).

Blogs: The "Must Reads" List (War on Terror/Military)

Okay... so you want a one-stop shop list of blogs that regularly cover the War on Terror, Afghanistan, Iraq, Terrorism, the Military and National Security?

The Command Post - this place will just make your head spin. The word "comprehensive" just doesn't cover what this site does for you.

Little Green Footballs - on their own, they give Command Post a run for their money.

The Belmont Club - the one or two daily posts at this site forces you to think deeply.

Black Five - want a member of the military's point of view? Go here.

Mudville Gazette - is another one similar to Black Five.

MilBlogs - within Mudville Gazette is a listing of "milblogs" - blogs by other members of the military, many of which are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Blogs: The "Must Reads" List (2nd Tier)

Here are a few blogs that I consider my 2nd Tier Must Reads:

Michelle Malkin - She covers a lot of issues, but her main focus is on the war on terror.

Mark Steyn - political commentator extraordinaire.

James Lileks - his daily "bleats" are ruminations that are quirky, off-beat, yet strangely dead-on-target.

Roger L. Simon - mystery novelist and news commentator.

LaShawn Barber - a female, black conservative out of Philadelphia (my home town). (You go girl!)

Blogs: The "Must Reads" List (Top Tier)

I will be posting several lists of blogs and websites that I consider necessary for you to read on a regular basis. I will be grouping the lists in various categories: Must Read (Top Tier), Must Read (2nd Tier), War on Terror/Military, Faith-Based (Catholic & Non-Catholic), etc.

The following blogs are what I consider the Top Tier "Must Read" blogs - blogs that should be read on a daily basis. The first four I affectionately call "The Four Blogmen of the Apoplectic":

Hugh Hewitt - Hugh is long-time political commentator, lawyer/law professor and a television/radio/print journalist. Based in California, I consider him the Dean of the Blogosphere. He has inspired many.

Captain's Quarters - Ed Morrissey & "Whiskey." These guys are tough and unrelenting in their dogged determination to get to the truth of matters at hand.

PowerLine - John Hinderaker, Scott W. Johnson, and Paul Mirengoff (all lawyers, and astute political commentators).

Instapundit - Glenn Reynolds is another lawyer/law professor and political/news commentator.

ALL of the guys are sticklers for accuracy.

Betsy Newmark - She is amazing. She just scours the internet and links to tons and tons of relevant news articles and commentaries, making it easy for you to track down and find something that you may have missed.

As Hugh has recently stated on his blog site:

"It takes a great deal more intelligence and discipline to be [a lawyer/law professor] than to be [a television/radio/print journalist], which is why the former usually pays a lot more than the latter. It is no surprise to me, then, when lawyers/law professors like those at Powerline and Instapundit prove to be far more adept at exposing the "Christmas-in-Cambodia" lie and other Kerry absurdities than old-school journalists. The big advantage is in research skills, of course, and in an eye for inconsistencies which make or break cases and arguments. Lawyers turned amateur journalists are going to be much better at it than time-serving scribblers, and even non-lawyer bloggers with superior research skills --think Captain Ed, Tom McGuire and Polipundit-- are going to run rings around "pros" who aren't in a hurry to bring down their favored candidate. They will be assisted in their effort by the full-time labors of "new media" pros like Jim Geraghty and John McIntyre. The only difference between professional and amateur journalists is that the former get paid to practice their trade. As with athletes, the purer effort comes with the amateurs, though some of the pros keep their ideals front and center.

"The late Michael Kelly, who would appear on my radio program every Wednesday before he left on his last assignment to Iraq, rejected the idea of journalism as a profession, as there was no licensing body. The child of journalists and among the most respected journalists of our age, Kelly often described journalism a "craft" to me, one in which there were both excellent and terrible practioners."

NOTE: With the exception of Betsy, the above blogs have been recently doing heavy investigations into the growing story about "Kerry in Cambodia." If you're interested in getting that story in context, I suggest that you go into the archives of each of these blogs (to late July would be sufficient) and then read forward from there. Tom McGwire's Just One Minute blog is another that is tackling this issue.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Al Qaida's Latin American Connection (surprise-surprise)

From the AP Wire:

"Governments throughout Mexico and Central America are on alert as evidence grows that al-Qaida members are traveling in the region and looking for recruits to carry out attacks in Latin America — the potential last frontier for international terrorism."

Read the whole article here.

This is why securing our borders, especially our southern border - is so important.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Is the War on Terror WWIV?

Is the "War on Terror" our "World War 4" (#3 being the Cold War)? The Belmont Club strikes again with this article.

Putting the Catholic Church Abuse Scandal in Perspective...

There's a wonderfully comprehensive, though-provoking 2-part article at First Things regarding the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Rather than pasting excepts in here, just read the whole thing yourself. You'll find Part I here. And Part II is here.

Putting 527s in Perspective...

Hat-tip to BlogsForBush. Here's the Top Five 527 organizations, we find:

#1: The Joint Victory Campaign. The sole purpose of this organization is to raise funds for the number two ranked Media Fund and number three ranked America Coming Together. Both organizations are dedicated to defeating George Bush. This organization sports no less than thirty-three individuals who have given more money than Bob Perry, twelve who have given at least one million dollars, with the largest contributor shelling out $7.75 million. George Soros has given more than $4.5 million to this organization.

#2: The Media Fund. This "Anybody but Bush" group has put together and paid for multiple TV ads that play in the battle-ground states. They are funded to the tune of over $28 million, almost half of which comes from the number one ranked Joint Victory Campaign. More than $5.5 million has come from employee unions.

#3: America Coming Together. Also against Bush, also helped by the Joint Victory Campaign, also a baby of George Soros ($5 million) and Peter Lewis (almost $3 million).

#4 & #5: The Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State/County/Municiple Employees. More than $16 and $13 million respectively. Both are unions and hence partisan Democratic fronts.

Those are just the first five of the Top-50. More staggering is when we step back and look at the forest, not the trees. Of the Top-50 527 organizations:

* Forty one (84%) are supported by Democrats and push Democrat causes.

* Only five are supported by Republicans and push Republican causes.

* Four are issue or industry oriented (like Peter Lewis' Marijuana Policy Project).

* The Democrat funding totals $176 million compared to the Republican total of $10.8 million.

Details of the Top 49 527s are here.

Then, thanks to LGF, here's the comparison of Swift Boat Vets for Truth vs.

Nothin' New Today... but...

Sorry for the "thin" week of posts. I'm in the process of compiling a few good posts in the near future. Keep comin' back. Thanx!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Terrorists, the NYC/DC Emergency Services, and the Mexican Border

Malkin has two updates. One brings to light the year-long hunt for Adnan G. El Shukrijumah who has a $5 million price on his head and who's been sniffing around the Mexican border. The other update is on the case of at least four instances of individuals who've been sniffing around ambulances and firetrucks in the NYC & Washington DC areas.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

On The Right To Be Critical

That's not "right" as in right versus left, or right versus wrong. I'm talking about the rights of someone to be critical. I'm talking about this bogus notion that "only someone who's served in Vietnam" is allowed to be critical of someone else's service in that same war.

Does this mean that only a doctor who's schizophrenic is qualified to diagnose and treat a mental patient? After all, who better to know what a patient is going through than someone who's experienced the same medical condition?

Does this mean that only actors and directors can be critical about their films because only they were involved in the process of making the film? After all, what do you know about the creative process in the visual arts?

Obviously, this is all BS. You and I have just as much a right to be critical of someone else, and vice versa. We can make valid claims, ask tough questions, release documents, uncover facts, and rebuff false accusations. We don't have to be a member of an exclusive club in order to be qualified to question someone who's running for leader of the free world.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Syrian Connection

The Washington Times has a report about the possibility that Iraqi WMDs may be in Syria (as I and many others had suspected):

"Saddam Hussein periodically removed guards on the Syrian border and replaced them with his own intelligence agents who supervised the movement of banned materials between the two countries, U.S. investigators have discovered."

It continues:

"Two defense sources told The Washington Times that the ISG has interviewed Iraqis who told of Saddam's system of dispatching his trusted Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) to the border, where they would send border inspectors away.

"The shift was followed by the movement of trucks in and out of Syria suspected of carrying materials banned by U.N. sanctions. Once the shipments were made, the agents would leave and the regular border guards would resume their posts."

It concludes with this:

"The Iraq Survey Group, which periodically briefs senior officials and Congress, is due to deliver its next report in September. In addition to interviewing hundreds of Iraqis, the ISG has collected and cataloged millions of pages of documents, not all of which have been fully examined. Although Syria and Iraq competed for influence in the region, they shared the same Ba'athist socialist ideology and maintained close ties at certain government levels."

Read the whole article. (Hat-tip to PowerLine)

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Another one bites the dust (mid-life crisis, that is)

Evangelical Outpost has a hilarious post about his soon-coming mid-life crisis (he just turned 35). As a 40-year-old single guy, myself, I'm particularly intrigued by his "lessons" on the two genders and on music. (Hah!)

(Hat-tip to Infinite Monkeys)

When 2 pictures are worth 2000 words...

Boy, this just says it all. I'm getting shivers just thinkin' about the Carter years.(Hat-tip to Shot In The Dark, who also has another great pic that puts the Kerry campaign's "served with" comments in perspective.)

P.S. Continue to check in on Hugh Hewitt, Captain's Quarters, Power Line, Instapundit (you can find all of them via my link list to the right) and Just One Minute for the snowballing story regarding Kerry's military service.

P.P.S. Kerry was supposed to be on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopolous" this morning. (Ummmm...) Kerry never showed up. (uh-oh)

Saturday, August 14, 2004

It's Olympics Time!!!

/queue theme music/

Yes, it's that time of year. The Olympics. I get into it... well, some of it. Women's Swimming & Diving. Women's Soccer. And, of course, Women's Beach Volleyball (I'm sorry, but Holly McPeak has a body that just does not quit!). Some Track & Field events.

*sigh* I love the Olympics!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

A Subtle Shift to the Right by Hollywood?

What do these actors, musicians and entertainers all have in common?

Angie Harmon
Kelsey Grammer
Bruce Willis
John Rhys-Davies
Dennis Hopper
Lara Flynn Boyle
Ron Silver
Stephen Baldwin
Tony Sirico
Mark Basil Vafiades
Dennis Miller
Dale Davidson
The Rock
Freddie Prinze Jr.
Jason Priestley
Shannen Doherty
Bo Derek
Vincent Gallo

Kid Rock
Britney Spears
Jessica Simpson
Ted Nugent
Steve Tyler (Aerosmith)
Johnny Ramone (The Ramones)
Sammy Hagar
Ricky Martin
Jonny Lang
Dexter Freebish
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Gatlin Brothers
Wayne Newton
Blind Boys of Alabama
Lee Ann Womack
Sara Evans

They're all openly supporting Bush for President!

(You can probably also add about 90% of the C&W and CCM musicians.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch (D) to vote Bush!

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch (D) is supporting BUSH! The key quote:

"Now, for the first time in my life, I am going to vote for a Republican candidate for president, the incumbent, George W. Bush. I voted for Al Gore in 2000... With [Gore's] endorsement of Howard Dean in this year’s primary and his strident speeches calling President Bush a liar, Gore has certainly demonstrated that he has moved considerably to the left since his defeat.

Why have I endorsed George W. Bush when I don't agree with him on a single domestic issue? Because I believe the issue of international terrorism trumps all other issues. I don't believe the Democratic Party has the stomach and commitment to deliver on this issue.

I believe terrorism will be with us for many years to come. So long as Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd are considered major leaders of the Democratic Party, and so long as we have radical candidates like Howard Dean, whose radical-left supporters have been described by the press as "Deaniacs," the Democratic Party will be limited in its ability to serve the country well in times of crisis."
(Hat-tip to LGF)

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

... and speaking of meaninglessness...

A couple weeks ago at bible study (yes, Catholics do study the bible) we were discussing the up-coming Sunday readings. The first reading was from Ecclesiastes, in which it is stated that all things are vanity... meaningless... a chasing of the wind.

And it got me wondering about a specific "what if" type of question that you always hear. "What if... you found out that you only have 24 hours left to live? What would you do with those remaining hours of your life?"

It's a much more intriguing question than one might think. Would you:

A) Treat it as an opportunity to experience all of the phyical and material things (even the taboo) that you never had the chance to do up 'til then?

B) Travel to a place you've always wanted to visit, but never had the time or opportunity to get to before?

C) Apologizes to all those you have hurt or harmed in your past?

D) Continue with your normal day-to-day things, because you'd be doing the work that God had called you to do?

E) Spend the last day with loved ones?

F) Spend the day devoting yourself to contemplation, prayer and communion with God?

G) Helping the less fortunate, the injured, the sick?

H) Would you be like Job, spending the time in anger, resentment, disillusionment, self-pity?

I) Would you give away all of your possessions?

This is much more challenging than one would expect on the surface. Each possible response opens up a whole discussion in and of itself.

In the end, the "Scripture Insight" from my bible study booklet lays it out in clear and unmistakeable terms:

"We cannot know the mind of God. We cannot fathom the devine plan for the world. We can only trust that God seeks us as surely as we seek God. We must have faith that although the world is limited and imperfect, God is not. Our experience forces us to depend on God alone for happiness, treasure, life itself. Everything else is transient and illusory."

Of Mystery And Meaninglessness

Mark Shea, in quoting the great G. K. Chesterton, has made a wonderfully cogent and rational posit on the over-simplicity of atheism. Mark ends with this:

"You can be a Christian and have numerous questions and doubts and mysteries. That's why Scripture is packed with "How long, O Lord?" and "Eli, Eli lama sabachthani?" and "Why do the wicked prosper?". Scripture is capacious enough to have a book of Job, and all sort of anomalous features which stick out (like the ghost of Samuel or the parable of the Unjust Steward). It lives in a large and mysterious universe that is open to the possibility [that] we don't understand everything.

But the gleaming machine of Rationalism cannot afford doubts or mystery. It claims, by a supremely funny act of vaulting pride, to have figured the universe out and to know for absolute certain What is Going On. And the cocky swagger of its representatives only adds to the hilarity--and the pathos--of it."

Well stated, Mark... well stated!

Has Kerry's Ship Sprung A Leak?

The blogosphere has been ablaze with excellent research, investigation, analysis and commentary about John Kerry’s exploits while in Vietnam (including links to articles from Boston Herald in '79, AP in '92, US News & World Report in 2000, Washington Post in '03, the Douglas Brinkley biography of Kerry, the O'Neill book Unfit For Command, the US Senate Records from a Kerry speech in '86, the Michael Kranish/Boston Globe situation, as well as sworn affidavits, comments, and coutercomments from various Swift Boat Vets).

The mainstream media is starting to dip it’s toes into this investigation (begrudgingly, I'm sure). But, if you want to get caught up to speed with what’s going on, you have to link to these places (you'll have to dig back a bit for early stuff, but the most relevant posts are within the past few weeks):

Hugh Hewitt
Captain’s Quarters
Power Line
Just One Minute
Belmont Club
Roger L. Simon
Little Green Footballs
Mudville Gazette
Swift Vets
Winter Soldier
Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry

This whole issue is important for two reasons:

1) Kerry decided to make his 4-month tour of duty the centerpiece of his campaign.

2) Kerry, the ultra left, and the media have made President Bush’s four years in the TANG an issue, claiming he went AWOL and asking for all of his records (including dental records). What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Meanwhile, what should be (and, during the final two months of this election cycle, will be) the focus of this election will be Kerry’s Senate record. The Washington Times has an excellent, balanced, detailed analysis of his voting record (he’s a far-left Ted Kennedy liberal... surprise, surprise). Hat-tip to RWN.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Classic Doonesbury Cartoon Regarding Kerry

Mark Shea posts a classic Doonesbury cartoon regarding John Kerry (dated October 31, 1971). It just says it all, doesn't it?

It's official... Alan Keyes vs. Barack Obama in IL

It's official... Alan Keyes accepts the challenge, and will face Barack Obama for the open U.S. Senate seat in Illinois. This will be the race to watch this election cycle. The debates between these two will be fascinating, informative, and will draw sharp distinctions betweent not only the two candidates but also the two parties and their ideological bases.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Bias or Hypocrisy?

So... with the story breaking about the Swift Boat Veterans TV ad hitting the airwaves, and the book "Unfit for Command" soon to be released, one must ask these important questions:

1) If a veteran (just by virtue of being a veteran) is to be considered a hero above reproach and who's accounts of past military events are never to be questioned (such as Kerry's and McCain's)...... don't these Swift Boat veterans also deserve to be treated with the same honor and dignity, and have their own accounts be unquestioned?

2) If one says that because these Swift Boat vets are attacking Kerry, they are automatically discounted and discredited...... shouldn't Kerry also be discredited because of his repeated public statements (including testifying before congress) in which he attacked his fellow veterans in 'Nam?

3) If these events are ancient history that have no bearing on current political issues for this campaign...... shouldn't that also be the case for President Bush's National Guard service?

4) If not, then shouldn't this information be investigated at least as vigorously and as extensively as Bush's record (dental records, etc...)?

5) If this ad is the dirtiest of dirty political tricks...... do you feel the same way about the NAACP's ad against Bush in 2000 regarding the Texas dragging murder case? Or's ad comparing President Bush to Hitler? Or that blatantly manipulative and propagandist so-called documentary "Fahrenheit 911" by Michael Moore?

6) Shouldn't those people and their organizations also be verbally denounced, rejected and shunned by not just the media, but also by Kerry & Edwards, their campaign, the entire Democrat party... repeatedly?

7) What if these veterans are telling the truth (either in whole or in part)...... Shouldn't there be a proper investigation requiring full disclosure (including having Kerry release his military records) in order to determine the facts of the events in question (just as what was done with regard to President Bush's records)?

8) Wasn't the McCain-Feingold soft-money campaign finance reform bill supposed to clean-up and eliminate this type of third-party compaign ads? And why are most of these 527s funded from the left/liberal part of the political spectrum (most notably which is funded by ultra-liberal, multi-billionaire George Soros)?

9) George Soros? Aren't all billionaires "evil" conservatives?

Just some things to consider, especially since Kerry put his military service in the forefront at the DNC convention (remember the "reporting for duty" salute, etc.?), while continuing to dismiss the honorable service of National Guardsmen.

New Yorker Magazine's extensive expose on the Terror Network

This lengthy expose in New Yorker magazine is chilling and eye-opening. THIS IS A MUST READ!

NW#327 Follow-Up...

Malkin has another follow-up (Part 15) to the NW Flight #327 story. A promoter of Middle Eastern musicians relays information that not all musicians from that region of the world are as clean and pure as the wind-driven snow.

: Annie Jacobsen (from Women's Wall Street) has an update to her investigation - a first-person accounting of the events on NW Flight #327 and it's aftermath. Her story (in sequence) is here: one, two, three and four.

If you want to also track and read Michelle Malkin's commentary and investigation, check my July Archives - the entries/links start on July 19th.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

"I'm King of the World!"

I'm desperately trying to find a news or blog story with a pic that caught another Kerry gaffe yesterday. I saw it on the TV news last night. John Kerry was on a boat somewhere. He went to the bow of the boat, and with a stupid grin on his face he spread out his arms a la Leonardo DiCaprio while the wind blew around his infamous head of hair.

Two points:

1) That scene in the movie "Titanic" is where DiCapro's character yells out "I'm king of the world!" (Not exactly the type of sentiment I'm looking for in a President),

2) The Titanic was a doomed ship that sunk due to it's own weight, it's poor design plans, and it's captain's reckless navigation. (Says it all, doesn't it?)

UPDATE#1: (Oh, it just gets better and better.) Apparently, the John/Johns didn't leave much of an impression with Greenberg, PA, lawyer Abby DeBlassio. The presidential wannabees, with a media horde in tow, crowded into her offices for 90 minutes to escape the pouring rain. Not only didn't they say "thank you" to her, they never even bothered to meet her. (Hat-tip to Betsy's Page)

UPDATE#2: (...and better and better...) John Kerry stated on the stump that they were about to go "find some baby backs over there at Speed Queen Bar-B-Q and a double-dip vanilla at Leon's... And if I don't get there, I'm in trouble." Problem is, he never showed up at either place! Oh, and they sell spare ribs at Speed Queen, not baby backs. (Hat-tip to Powerline)

P.S. It shouldn't be this much fun for conservatives, really!

Keyes to the Windy City?

Word is out that the Illinois Republican Party is down to two potential candidates to square off against Democrat up-start Barack Obama for the U.S. Senate seat after Jack Ryan stepped down from the Republican ticket. And one of those potential candidates is Alan Keyes. HAH! I'm not much for carpetbagger politicans (e.g., Hillary in NY), but it'd be well worth it just to see Alan verbally spank Mr. Obama in the debates.

UPDATE: The Illinois State Republican Party officially asked Alan Keyes to be their US Senate candidate. Keyes says that it'll take him a few days to seriously consider the offer. Oh, this should be fun if he accepts.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Depth & Breadth of the Global Terror Network.

Hugh Hewitt quotes the chilling article in the New Yorker magazine which examines with unnerving detail the depth and breadth of the global terror network. Meanwhile, 13 suspected terrorists are captured in London. The Indepundit has further information about not only the capture of these 13, but also information about two more captured in Pakistan.

This is not a situation where once we kill or capture Osama Bin Ladin we can then just dust off our hands and smuggly claim victory. This is going to be a long and difficult struggle, requiring many years of dogged determination by the U.S. leadership. And I trust the current administration with leadership on this front far more than I do the John/John jokers who "have a plan" but don't want to tell anybody about it.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

A Negative Bounce? That's A First! (with a touch of orange)

Newsweek tried to float a poll that showed the John/John ticket getting a 4-point bounce, post DNC Convention. First off... 6-points is average. An 8- to 10-point bounce was expected. The Newsweek poll's 4-point bounce is "the smallest in the history of the NEWSWEEK poll." (Hat-tip to Captains Quarters & Powerline)

But wait... there's more. This poll isn't based on likely voters, nor registered voters, nor even eligible voters. It's based on the amorphously lame "adults." Plus, the sample breakdown is: 38.5% Democrats, 31.5% Independents, and 30% Republicans. Uhhhh.... I don't think so.

Yet, the new USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll shows that Kerry lost ground! Bush gained in a 5-point swing in a poll that's based on likely voters. So, that's not a 4-point bounce for Kerry, but a 5-point bounce for Bush! Add to this, the lame comment by Kerry that he wants Bin Ladin tried in court. His flimsy ship is sinking fast, and the swing voters are strapping on their life preservers and abandoning ship.

Meanwhile, the John/John ticket decided to have a "lite lunch" by stopping into a Wendy's. Kerry goes up to four Marines who happened to be eating there, and well... you can read the results of that exchange here.

Not only does Kerry not impress these fine soldiers, it now appears that the French Party candidates' "lite lunch" might only have been a cheap photo op (surprise-surprise). The bus was already filled with a $4000 gourmet spread that included "shrimp vandallo, grilled diver sea scallops, prosciutto, wrapped stuffed chicken, and steak salad."

It just speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Oh, and the Security Alert system went up a notch to Orange today for the financial districts of NYC, North Jersey and Washington DC. Read more here. As Kerry stated at the Convention in his Thursday night acceptance speech, "Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response." (Ummmmm... no thanks, John. I'll stick with the current Oval Office resident who's consistently been taking sober, sustained and calculated actions against our mortal enemies, rather than taking your instantaneous, reflexive, reactive, after-another-attack stance. I feel much safer that way.)