Friday, June 30, 2006
Family of Missing Honeymooner (finally) Files Suit; Bride Settles Separately
Now that the family of George Smith -- the missing honeymooner whose trip on Brilliance of the Seas last summer ended in tragedy -- has finally filed the lawsuit it's been threatening against Royal Caribbean for what seems like eons, get ready for a new spate of stories on the subject.
According to media reports, the Smith family, which has been oddly hostile to their daughter-in-law through the whole process, is filing the lawsuit because of emotional distress resulting from Royal Caribbean's "shocking" and "atrocious" behavior. They also allege that Royal Caribbean contaminated the crime scene.
I think both the widow and the family should be ashamed of themselves. First, why is it the fault of Royal Caribbean that a drunken husband, angry at his wife, either falls off or is pushed off the boat in the middle of the night? Tell me how is the boat responsible for that?
Then tell me how in the process of investigating and defending itself, Royal Caribbean caused emotional distresss for the family? Their emotional distress probably stems from the knowledge that their daughter-in-law probably whacked that guy in the head with something and then pushed him over the railing. All that "emotional distress" is nothing but a bunch of jury-tested, legal terminology guaranteed to reap the biggest reward, that some trial lawyer told them to say. And how does a pile of money that you didn't earn help you get over the loss of your son?
And Royal settled with the daughter because it's probably cheaper than defending in court. That's why we need in this country, a loser pays civil legal system. It would greatly deter lawyers from encouraging people to sue the you-know-what out of each other. As it stands now there is no penalty for bringing and then losing firvilous law suits. A guy can sue left and right without penalty until he finally gets a jury or judge stupid enough to award them something. If the loser had to pay all court costs and the defendants legal costs, you would see the number of ridiculous law suits clogging up the courts reduced by 90% I would be willing to bet.
Infliction of emotional distress...gimme a break!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
BAGHDAD (AP) — Eleven Sunni insurgent groups have offered an immediate halt to all attacks — including those on American troops — if the United States agrees to withdraw foreign forces from Iraq in two years, insurgent and government officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Al-Maliki, in televised remarks Wednesday, did not issue an outright rejection of the timetable demand. But he said it was unrealistic, because he could not be certain when the Iraqi army and police would be strong enough to make a foreign presence unnecessary for Iraq's security.
In Washington, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that President Bush's "view has been and remains that a timetable is not something that is useful. It is a signal to the enemies that all you have to do is just wait and it's yours. "The goal is not to trade something off for something else to make somebody happy, the goal is to succeed," he said.
In addition to the withdrawal timetable, the Iraqi insurgents have demanded:
• An end to U.S. and Iraqi military operations against insurgent forces.
• Compensation for Iraqis killed by U.S. and government forces and reimbursement for property damage.
• An end to the ban on army officers from Saddam's regime in the Iraqi military.
• An end to the government ban on former members of the Baath Party — which ruled the country under Saddam.
• The release of insurgent detainees.
First of all, rag-tag bands of smelly guerilla fighters do not make demands of the U.S. military. Over time, if we wish to do so, we will hunt down and kill all insurgents who disrupt the blossoming democracy in Iraq. That being said, I don't think the American people will ever wish to do so. It's too expensive in terms of lives and materiel. I know the U.S. withdrawl timetable is dynamic, depending on the capabilities of the Iraqi police force and military, but we have to leave sooner or later and the American people are starting to sound like they would prefer sooner...much sooner.
Obviously we will reject the two year withdrawl date, however, if the insurgents stop indiscriminately killing people, both military and civilian, with IED's, sniper fire, beheadings, suicide bombings, and ambushes, the U.S. military would stop killing insurgents. If they stop the killing, the insurgents will cease to become insurgents and will become citizens again. The problem is a lot of these insurgents are not Iraqi. They are from neighboring countries who've come to make war against the Great Satan.
The U.S. is not going to offer repairations for death and destruction. Saddam brought us here...it's his problem. The U.S. military is good at only two things...killing people and breaking things. They are not particularly interested in compensation for damaged property or loss of life....that's what they do.
The last three demands really are the business of the newe Iraqi government...not ours. Those demands should be made as part of the process of democratic politics. If the people want it, they can vote for it and make it happen.
I doubt we will take seriously any of the demands of people who are shooting at us, but a cease fire would be nice for the guys on the ground over there and their families back home. And if it led to some sort of pull-out in the near future, so much the better. With mid-term elections around the corner, popularity for an indefinite occupation of Iraq ebbing with the American people, coallition allies like Japan going home--or at least getting increasing pressure from voters back home to leave Iraq, and the American body count continuing to rise without much perceived progress lately, Bush might just be tempted to consider a conditional cease-fire based on no more attacks on U.S. troops or Iraqi civilians. I don't think I would have a problem with that.
Besides the obvious benefits of far fewer American casualties to report, it would give the Iraqi military and police force breathing room to strengthen and come on-line to provide for their own security, it would show the American people that there is light at the end of the tunnel for this adventure, and it would give the Iraqi people, as well as the citizens of the allied countries the confidence that their sacrifice was worth it. What better way, besides defending your own country, to use the military than to liberate a people from the grip of a ruthless, murdering dictator and establish for them a functioning republic based on the rule of law and fundamental human rights and freedoms?
Would you buy a used car from either one of these guys? What's that you say...No? Well there's probably a good reason...
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Former Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy were convicted Thursday in a bribery scheme that derailed Siegelman's campaign to retake his former office.
Scrushy, who once ran the Birmingham-based rehabilitation chain, was accused of arranging $500,000 in donations to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for a seat on a state hospital regulatory board.
The most serious of the charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Scrushy remains a defendant in major civil cases involving allegations of a $2.7 billion accounting scam at the rehabilitation chain he once ran.
Well, well...score one for justice. When the CEO of a major hospital gets a seat on the state hospital oversight board...something is amiss. Who do we think we are here in Alabama...Louisiana?
Srushy's wife is dancing a jig tonight. Soon she'll have it all to herself...the city house, the lake house, and the beach house, the boats, the off-shore account access, the blinged-out Escalade...and nobody to have to share it with. I guess getting pregnant during this trial, to tug at the heart strings of the jury, wasn't an option like it was for the first trial.
I'll bet the new Board at HealthSouth is glad to finally be on the road to putting this guy behind them so they can get back to the business of making money for the stockholders...legally.
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.
President Bush commented to reporters, ÂTo the extent that there is latitude to work with the Congress to determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give people their day in court, we will do so,Â he said. ÂThe American people need to know that the ruling, as I understand it, wonÂt cause killers to be put out on the street.Â
In his majority opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote, ÂIndeed, Congress has denied the president the legislative authority to create military commissions of the kind at issue here. Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessaryÂ.
Look, I'm all for detaining the guys who pose genuine threats to American personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there are 450 of them, some probably are not actual terrorists, though all are at least sympathizers, and just got caught up in the terrorists sweeps. The question then is, for how long can we keep these guys at Club Gitmo without dispatching their cases one way or another? It's not a humanitarian question for me, I couldn't care less about these radical Islamic vermin, for me it's a question of constitutionality and economics.
As I understand it, constitutionally, the President cannot order foreign militants captured on the battle-field to stand trial before a military tribunal without prior consent from Congress. Bush didn't have consent and so the trials cannot go forward unless he gets that permission. That fact brings us to the question of should he try to get consent like Lindsay Graham suggests he should, or should he keep them penned up at Gitmo indefinitely or should he send these guys back to Iraq or Afghanistan or whatever God-forsaken litter-box they came from?
The first option, getting consent from Congress, seems like a long-shot to me. With all the negative political pressure from liberals at home and allies abroad, how popular and therefore willing would Congress be to grant permission for military tribunals, if that means 450 separate circus trials covered by the liberal, Bush-hating press, who would be sympathetic to the jihadists. We would be treated nightly to tender, warm-hearted, personal profiles of each jihadist, as he took his turn before the tribunal defended by the ACLU of course, and his family weeping inconsolably in their cave in the Afghan hills. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to endure that for all the money in the Jersey Girls' bank accounts.
The second option, keeping them penned up at Gitmo indefinitely, seems to be too big of a political problem. I oppose this particular option for two reasons: first, as a taxpayer, I don't want to continue to fund their excellent standard of living in tropical paradise any more than I want to continue funding our military operations in Iraq for any longer than is absolutely necessary. Second, those guys have been there for over 4 years...either dispatch their cases, send them home, give them weekend furloughs in Dukakis' neighborhood, kill them...but do something. We can't torture them for information (a pity) so what purpose do they serve being supported by taxpayers very comfortably at Club Gitmo?
The third option, sending them home, is probably what will end up happening at some point. The problem with that is which ones will simply return to the battle-field to suicide-bomb Americans and Iraqi soldiers, and which ones were never really jihadists to begin with? Nobody knows, which brings us back to option #1.
There is no good answer for what to do with 450 suspected terrorists. I agree with many conservative bloggers that the President is somewhat limited, constitutionally, as to the keeping of military combatants in jail without a timetable for trying them. Bush can't just have the taxpayers fund their detention indefinitely. He needs to either fish or cut bait on this one.
Here's a possibility; start dropping hints to the press that finally, we have worn the detainees down and they are talking, that they are giving us information on Al-Qaeda, Bin-Laden, whatever, and when they finish cooperating, they'll be sent home. Then start shipping them back home a few at a time and making a very public showing of them getting off the C-130, happy and well-fed, carrying their souvenir Club Gitmo prayer rug, a Gideon's stamped copy of the Qaran, and a wad of money to help get them back on their feet. With any luck, they'll be shot by their own people for being traitors and caving in to the infidels. Repeat weekly until Gitmo is empty.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Israel kept up the pressure on Palestinian militants to release a captive Israeli soldier Wednesday, sending its warplanes to bomb a Hamas training camp after knocking out electricity and water supplies for most of the 1.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip. "We won't hesitate to carry out extreme action to bring Gilad back to his family," Olmert said. "All the military activity that started overnight will continue in the coming days." "We do not intend to occupy Gaza. We have one objective, and that is to bring Gilad home."
Let's see, you're out of water, electricity, and soon probably food, and the only route of escape, a bridge, was just blown up by your enemy, you've been trapped in yoiur own tiny plot of land like so many fenced pigs awaiting slaughter, and you're thirsty, dirty, hungry, and it's dark, but your government, such as it is, insists on keeping captive one Isreali soldier to use as a bargaining tool? Seems to me Israel isn't in the bargaining mood just now. It seems to be in the butt-kicking mood. I would not want to be a Palestinian trying to eek out a life in Gaza for lots of reasons but expecially not now. Olmert doesn't intend to occupy Gaza because there'll be nothing left to occupy but a large catbox if they don't give that kid back.
Then as if Israel didn't already have the upper hand they decided to play this card...
Isreali warplanes buzzed the summer residence of Syrian President Bashar Assad early Wednesday, military officials said, in a message aimed at pressuring the Syrian leader to win the release of a captured Israeli soldier.
If Assad didn't wet his bed when the F-16's buzzed his house, he has remarkable control because that would be scary. He probably should think about doing something to end this situation or his summer house might end up being on the business end of a 500lb, laser-guided, precision ordinance. The thought of that alone should focus his mind on the task at hand...exactly what the Israelis had in mind I'll bet.
Bans on public smoking already exist in varying degrees of severity, in every state now (most with which I don't have a quarrel), but the government has feared to tread inside the home, or even the privately owned vehicle, to restrict a person's right to suck the cancer stick. The anti-smoking Nazi's will absolutely salivate over this study and will push to further restrict legal activity by law abiding citizens in currently recognized areas of sanctuary from government intrusion...
WASHINGTON (AP) - Breathing any amount of someone else's tobacco smoke harms nonsmokers, the surgeon general declared Tuesday - a strong condemnation of secondhand smoke that is sure to fuel nationwide efforts to ban smoking in public.
"The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard," said U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona.
More than 126 million nonsmoking Americans are regularly exposed to smokers' fumes - what Carmona termed "involuntary smoking" - and tens of thousands die each year as a result, concludes the 670-page study. It cites "overwhelming scientific evidence" that secondhand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer and a list of other illnesses.
Look, the question here is where does the government's right to restrict individual behavior deemed harmful to others end, and the violation of the constitutional prohibition of unlawful search, the 6th amendment, begin? While there is no constitutional right to privacy, that line has always been at the doorstep of private residences. It would appear that the rabid anti-smoking crowd (those folks who actually want to ban all smoking, as opposed to the government anti-smoking goons, who merely want to seize as large a slice of tobacco profits as possible but not ban it...that would be killing the goose that laid the golden egg) emboldened by the pronouncement by the Surgeon General, will have the ammunition it needs, and the legislative support required, to push for bans on smoking in private cars, homes, yards, beaches, state parks, after sex in movies...pretty much everywhere.
Personally, I think people who inconsiderately smoke around children are loathsome, abominably rude, and thoughtless...especially in a closed house or for heaven's sake a closed car! Having said that, I might could be persuaded at some point, that regulating smoking in the car, based on the health impact it has on others, is a legitimate legislative and thus law enforcement function. After all, we regulate drinking and cell-phone and seat-belt usage in cars, what difference should it make if the negative health impact on others is immediate, as in a car crash from drunk driving, or long-term as from smoke exposure? On the other hand, one exposure to smoke will not induce cancer, but one exposure to drunk driving could certainly induce a far more sudden death. So the jury is still out for me on whether the intrusion of the government into the private lives of otherwise law-abiding citizens extends into the car where smoking is concerned. I'll wait to see how intrusive the law is...and then I'll condemn it. The big question is when will they write a law banning what you can do in your home?
I do believe that when the Surgeon General of the U.S. calls a press conference to announce that, the debate is over, the science is clear, a critical mass of anti-smoking support in Congress will soon be reached, such that legislation could be pushed through that regulates what people do in their homes...clearly not what the framers intended to be a legislative or law enforcement function. No matter what your personal opinion of smoking is, you have to look at the bigger constitutional picture which is, should the federal government be in the business of regulating otherwise legal behavior in the privacy of homes? If Congress wants to outlaw smoking altogether and shut down the tobacco companies, that's fine with me if they have the votes, but while it remains legal, no matter how personally objectionable, can the government prohibit it's practice in the private home? To all but the most rabid, anti-smoking zealots, the answer to that question should be NO.
A comparably visceral issue is prayer in public schools. Those of us who pray are more than likely tempted to say, "It doesn't bother me to have Christianity taught in the public schools, so I don't care if it makes uncomfortable, the children of atheists, agnostics, Druids, Wiccans, or liberals, all who have demonstrated that they find the public acknowledgement of God objectionable". The bigger question is however, "do I want the federal government assuming the responsibility of indoctrinating my child in religion"? Look at what a miserable, trainwreck of a disaster it has made of education...why would I want it teaching my kid religion? If you allow Christian-based prayer, constitutionally, you must allow Muslim kids to pray to Mecca five times a day, Wiccan kids to cast spells with eyes of newts and toes of frogs, Druid kids to dress up like a Stevie Nicks video and chant praise to Gaia, and liberal kids to call the ACLU to complain about it all. The point is that non-smokers and Christians would not be bothered by in-home anti-smoking laws or Christian prayer in public schools, but is either the function of the federal government?
I would not want the government teaching my kid it's version of religion any more than I would want it telling me what I could or could not do in my home. It's better for the government to stay out of the religion business and out of the regulating legal, personal behavior business.
H.L. Mencken said, "The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it".
This big press conference on smoking was only yesterday but you can bet there's already legislation in the works. So be aware and vigilant, this time it'll be the smokers' homes, but next time, it may be your home for serving unhealthy hot-dogs to your kids. The first intrusion based on the pretense of the public good is the hard one, it'll be much easier next time.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Customs officers in Sydney have intercepted an Australian woman who swallowed 320 condoms full of heroin in an attempt to smuggle the drug into the country.
The 25-year-old Australian was stopped as she came off a flight from Singapore last Sunday, June 18, on suspicion that she was concealing drugs internally.
The woman has been in hospital under medical supervision while the condoms, containing approximately 300 grams of heroin, passed from her system.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of $825,000 and/or life imprisonment.
What could possibly possess a person to act as a drug mule for a heroin dealer by swallowing 300 grams of heroin...I mean besides the obvoius...her being an addict? What would happen if even one of the 320 condoms broke and she absorbed almost a gram of straight heroin into her system at once? Would that not kill you? It's unbelievable to me what some people are capable of attempting.
So I guess there are openings down-under for ambitious, creative drug mules...perhaps Cedric could emmigrate there and find work since America has disappointed him so.
Monday, June 26, 2006
As pathologically nutty as he is, even Kim Jong Il isn't stupid enough to attack the United States with an armed missile of any kind, much less a nuclear-tipped missile. Within about 30 minutes, North Korea would resemble the surface of Mars--except with deeper craters.
Actually there's a note attached to the tip of the missile which reads "CATS AND DOGS ALL GONE--SEND FOOD--NOW!!!"
Seriously, I don't think there's anything to worry about with this missile they have. There's absolutely nothing to be gained by attacking the U.S.--you can ask Osama if you can find the dark, damp, creepy cave he's been hiding in for years. There is, however, lots to be gained by threatening to attack the U.S. We should just go ahead and give this cretin what he wants (attention and food) so he'll go away for another year or two. We'll end up doing that in the long run anyway, and we don't exactly have the time for his gamesmanship right now.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A large elm tree fell on the White House grounds overnight, partially blocking a roadway after a weekend of heavy rains soaked the Mid-Atlantic region.
In other late-breaking news from the nation's capital, leaves were raked and bagged in the rose garden, there was a shift-change at the guard shack, and three squirrels were seen loitering on a tree branch near the East Wing.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
If you're as interested in world affairs as you claim to be, then you should certainly be doing your homework about this 'war'. For a lieutenant to actually refuse to go to Iraq because he believes he can not blindly participate in an illegal (yes, that's right - this is no war, not called out by an Act of Congress, but a pre-emptive strike enforced by the president who wanted to make a name for himself to stake out the world's oil supply, which would more likely be called an invasion) aggression, which does in fact undermine who we are as a nation, only shows that Lt. Watada is indeed a person of integrity and conviction. I support him 100 percent. When all is said and done, many years down the road, you will be looking at this situation with an entirely new perspective, hopefully, because you will begin to understand what invading Iraq has really done not only for this country, but for the world as well, and it is not encouraging, nor will the outcomes be positive. You must look at the big picture and refuse to follow blindly when there is far too much to lose by believing everything you hear from totally biased sources. By the way, are you or have you ever been in the armed forces? If not, then perhaps you should go to Iraq, and see things first hand, You just might change your mind about everything you think you believe in.
Sun Jun 25, 03:02:08 PM CDT
OK, there's a lot to address here but first let me begin with the legality of the war. Set aside for a minute the fact that presidents for years have been wrestling with Congress regarding the War Powers Act--without resolution, and that there are as many legal opinions concerning the use of the WPA as there are constitutional scholars to offer them. I found this during some research today on Wikipedia...
"Although the constitutionality of the WPA has never been tested, it has been followed, most notably during the Grenada Conflict, the Panamanian Conflict, the Somalia Conflict, the First Gulf War, and the Second Gulf War. In each case, the President asserted the constitutional authority to commit troops without the necessity of Congressional approval, but in each case the President received Congressional authorization that satisfied the provisions of the War Powers Act."
That being said, I will concede that there is room for interpretation regarding when is it necessary, and when it's not, for the Chief Executive to use the WPA, but it is primarily a partisan political matter as to which side one comes down on, and valid arguments can be made supporting either position. That pretty much settles the question of legality. Let me address the other points made by the reader...
The wild-eyed assumption that Bush wanted to stake out the world's oil supply is ignorant at best, and just plain idiotic at worst. If Republican war-mongers wanted oil, we would have kept Kuwait's oil when we went there in 1991...and we would have kept the Iraqi oil fields for ourselves instead of turning them over to Saddam after we put the fires out...that he ordered set.
(Blogger's side note...) If the price of oil ever hits the point where it is prohibitive and the American economy crashes to a halt, believe me, every person in America will clamor for the government to do whatever is necessary to secure an affordable supply of oil...even if it means taking it from somebody...in order to return our way of life to how it was. It's easy to say oil is not worth going to war over when gas is affordable, but what happens when the market shelves are empty, unemployment is at 70%, there is no affordable transportation, gas is $20 a gallon, and your children are hungry? What then? I'll tell you what...you'll say oil is precious...and it's worth fighting for. You'll say to our government, "I don't care how you get it...just get it!"
Why go into Iraq? That's easy. The list is long and well-reasoned: Saddam killed thousands of Kurds with poisonous gas (WMD) attacks, financial support of terrorism across middle-east, rewarded families of suicide bombers who slaughtered innocent women and children, rooms dedicated to systematic rape and torture of women and children, ignored 17 different U.N. resolutions dating back to the first Gulf War (these resolutions threatened military consequences if they were unheeded), maintained stockpiles of WMD (verified this week), Al Qaeda officials frequently visited Iraq, etc. There are many other atrocities but that short list suffices. The question of what invading Iraq and deposing Saddam does for our country, and others, is simple: it demonstrates that we will go to any length to stamp out terrorist breeding swamps, which threaten peaceful democracies world-wide, no matter where they hide. If you support terrorism, it's open season on you. The terrorists and terrorist-supporting states are ideologues. They don't respect or understand diplomacy. They are hell-bent on the conversion or destruction of all things not Muslim. Because they can't be reasoned with, we must stop them before they attack us again, and it's better to do it on their land than on ours.
As for Lt. Watada, why did he stick around, enjoying the benefits of officer rank, when he was personally conflicted about the legality of the invasion since 2003? If Lt. Watada had any honor, he would have immediately resigned is commission in 2003 and returned to civilian life where he belongs. Or maybe it's just that he fancies himself a political activist, wanted to make a public statement, and waited until his deployment orders came to state his opposition to the war. The active military is apolitical...there is no room in the chain of command for individualistic enlistees who choose which orders to follow based on esoteric, political nuance.
The last issue is about me personally. I am retired USAF National Guard. I have never seen combat, but greatly admire those who have. I don't believe that going to Iraq would change my opinion of the war, or cause my support to waver one bit. Why would it? As for my information gathering, I research dozens of sources every day...some conservative and some liberal in their editorial styles. Obviously I am conservative, but I try to get all points of view before taking a stand on an issue as complex as this one. I look forward to hashing this out with you again.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
STUTTGART (Reuters) - Riot police detained around 200 England soccer supporters on Saturday after they clashed with German fans, throwing bottles and chairs and trading punches in a square in the center of Stuttgart.
Tens of thousands of English and German fans had gathered in the central area, many drinking throughout the day, to watch Germany's 2-0 second-round World Cup win over Sweden on big screen TVs.
England fans were in the city for Sunday's second-round match against Ecuador and trouble broke out shortly after the end of Saturday's German game.
Some 200 fans on both sides threw bottles and chairs before riot police moved into the area to separate them.
To say that European soccer is a civilized sport is like saying that Islam is the religion of peace.
We don't need riots over soccer in America...we riot over NBA championships, cancelled rap concerts, and hurricanes.
Seriously for a minute, what is it about soccer hooligans that make them have to fight somebody whenever they get drunk. I mean there have always been tiny slivers of the drinking population who get mean and violent when they drink but there are like thousands of them...it's part of their culture. Is it a phenomenon similar to our gang culture here in America?
Whatever it is...these guys are stupid!
Friday, June 23, 2006
TOKYO - Hitachi Ltd. and General Electric have been tapped to build two nuclear reactors in the U.S. in a $5.2 billion project that underlines how soaring oil prices are boosting global interest in nuclear power.
There are 100 nuclear power plants scattered across 31 states, but an order has not been placed for a new reactor since 1973. The United States now gets about 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors.
It's about time we moved foeward on nuclear power development in this country. France, for heaven's sake, is whipping us in nuclear power technology developlment, because they don't pay attention to their smeely-hippie, back-to-nature types who've stymied that industry here. It isn't that the Birkenstocks and granola crowd is afraid of spoiling nature with a meltdown, nor is it that they hate the idea of emissions pollution from the reactors(they don't realize that it's mostly steam). What they hate is any kind of development or industry which advances mankind's standard of living or makes life more comfortable to live. These are the same unemployable degenerates who torch SUV dealerships, burn down housing developments, spike trees so loggers can't cut them down safely, and violently protest anytime or anywhere there's an international economic summit.
They hate the human race as part of their druidical worship of mother nature. Their self-loathing and guilt compels them oppose anything that represents human-based, industrial or economic development. To them, nuclear power represents the ultimate symbol of man's reckless disregard for the environment, so it must be resisted, with violence if necessary.
I applaud President Bush for kick-starting the nuclear power industry in this country after 33 years of slumber. Anything that reduces our dependence on Arab petroleum is OK with me.
In 30 years when we provide for all our own energy needs, what will we care if the radical Muslim countries want to take over the moderate Muslim countries? Let China, India, and what's left of Europe, if they aren't already Muslim by then, deal with the middle east.
The U.S. won't have a strategic dog in that particular fight anymore thanks in part to nuclear power.
Ex-Iraqi leader refuses one meal to protest his lawyer's slaying by gunmen
The former Iraqi leader had refused lunch on Thursday in protest at the killing of one of his lawyers by gunmen, but the spokesman said he ate his evening meal.
Former Saddam aides being held in the same prison had refused to eat three meals since Wednesday evening but ended their fast with the ex-president.
“They all took their dinner meal,” the spokesman told Reuters.
Officials didn't seem too worried about Saddam's health during this brief hunger strike since in the past, the homicidal dictator has also threatened to hold his breath until he dies, run away and never come home, and tell if he didn't get his way.
The nerve of this guy...
US army officer refuses deployment to Iraq
A young US army officer could face court martial after refusing to obey orders to prepare for deployment to Iraq, claiming the war is illegal, his supporters said.
Lieutenant Ehren Watada, 28, was confined to his base of Fort Lewis, in the northwest state of Washington, and restricted from communications with anyone outside but his lawyer, according to people in Watada's support committee.
They said he was the first US military officer to refuse orders to go to Iraq.
Watada's mother Carolyn Ho called his refusal an "act of patriotism."
"As an officer, he believes it is his duty to disobey illegal orders," she told AFP, adding that they had argued over his decision and that he was influenced by questions about the US government's reasons for invading Iraq.
Absolutely he should face court-martial. What was he thinking when he enlisted? Anybody who enlisted in any branch of the service since the first Gulf war (1991) has got to expect to be deployed into combat at some point.
While it's true that members of the military do not have to follow illegal orders, it's beyond ridiculous for him to use that excuse to get out of combat service.
He should have resigned his commission long ago and become a smelly-hippie civilian if he felt the war was illegal.
Celebs to Join Cindy Sheehan in Hunger Strike
(CNSNews.com) - Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan announced Wednesday that she plans to begin an "open-ended hunger strike" on July 4 to urge the Bush administration to bring troops home from Iraq.
In her latest statement, Sheehan wrote that celebrities like singer Willie Nelson, actor Danny Glover and comedian Dick Gregory will show their support for her by joining in a one-day fast. She urged her supporters to do the same.
Seriously, did any hunger strike, at any time in history, ever achieve the desired policy change? I'm with John Hawkins over at RightWingNews...go hunger!
Thursday, June 22, 2006
What is this, The Variety Hour Starring Katie Couric? The news is what ever happened in the world that day...not what people are interested in.
How about a fair and balanced, unbiased account of events, instead of the leftist spin she's been putting on it for the last 20 years...for starters?
Let me guess, Berkeley, San Francisco, and the upper East side of Manhattan will qualify as representative of American cities.
What the people don't understand is that Katie Couric doesn't have any creative control over the news as CBS. She's a perky news reader with stiletto heels and short skirts...just like all female news readers on all the networks. There's nothing wrong with that if that's what gets people to tune in but don't act like she's running for office or doing something serious and will be responsive to viewers. She simply reads whatever left-slanted tripe the producer puts up on the teleprompter, just like he did for Rather. This is just a publicity stunt thinly veiled as a listening tour, nothing more.
The meetings will not be filmed and reporters won't be allowed in to cover them.
See, this serves two purposes: first, like Hillary's phony listening tour, it makes Katie appear genuinely interested in hearing what people want and not interested in publicity. Second, the absence of reporters or cameras gives CBS plausible deniability when tour attendees come out telling about how they demanded from Katie, an end to politically biased news coverage. All CBS has to do is say "prove it", and go about slanting the news as usual.
All this ado over Katie Couric is pure celebrity obsession. She's a news reader...a highly paid one...but still just a news reader.
Angelina Jolie says the U.S. government has "strange" priorities when it comes to spending money on war rather than on AIDS or refugees.
"Our priorities are quite strange," the 31-year-old actress said in an interview that aired Tuesday night on CNN.
Our spending priorities aren't half as strange as watching her french-kissing her brother on the red carpet at the Academy Awards a few years ago. Or how about the vial of Billy Bob Thornton's blood she used to wear as a necklace? Eeeeew!!!
Jolie said spending money on war rather than "dealing with situations that could end up in conflict if left unassisted" could prove costly in the end."We're missing a lot of opportunities (to do) a lot of good that America used to do and has a history of doing," said Jolie, who is a goodwill ambassador for the U.N.'s refugee agency.
"dealing with situations (AIDS) that could end up in conflict if left unassisted"...what in the world does that mean? It's as if she misread some U.N. pamphlet on AIDS and then misquoted it as well.
AIDS is very simple to avoid...don't take drugs or have unprotected sex, or better yet...abstain altogether. As for the African children who have AIDS, I'll be willing to bet that no country gives more taxpayer money, provides more doctors, donates more medical supplies, and provides free drug treatment than the U.S. does to the victims of AIDS in underdeveloped countries.
Sure the war on terror is costly, but what's the alternative? Being nice to radical Muslims, and trying to treat the African AIDS epidemic, won't get them to stop trying to kill us. If we don't fight terrorism at it's roots (with war), we will be doomed to suffer dozens of 9/11's in the future.
If Angelina really wanted to do something to help prevent AIDS in children, she should start by doing something to overthrow the corrupt leaders of the nations who have stolen the country's wealth for their own. Doing something to foster free-enterprise, capitolist economies so that the financial boats of every citizen rises with the national economic tide. Doing something to end the reign's of terror foisted upon the people by tribal warfare and ruthless dictatorships.
Perhaps she should rethink spending hundreds of thousands in a posh Namibian resort avoiding the press, while trying to make Americans (the most generous people on Earth) feel guilty for not doing enough to prevent a disease which has many other preventions besides money.
Just shut-up and act!
Witnessing the impact of global warming in your life?
ABC News wants to hear from you. We're currently producing a report on the increasing changes in our physical environment, and are looking for interesting examples of people coping with the differences in their daily lives. Has your life been directly affected by global warming?
We want to hear and see your stories. Have you noticed changes in your own backyard or hometown? The differences can be large or small — altered blooming schedules, unusual animals that have arrived in your community, higher water levels encroaching on your property.
The liberal main-stream-media, desperately clinging to Al Gore's stupid notion that global warming is the gravest threat to man...ever, can't find any reliable science to support it. So rather then admit that the jury is still out on the cause(s) of global warming, they are recruiting members of the general public to find evidence of man-made global warming.
Who do they think will respond but nutty Gaia-worshiping, enviro-druids who can find evindence of global warming in their refrigerators? Of course they can produce a tale of fewer spotted newts living in the mud-puddle (sorry, protected wetland) in their backyards.
Here's what's going on...as we always see with liberals when they want to create hysteria and sympathy over one of their nutty causes...they attempt to put a pitiful, weeping victim's face on the imagined impending tragedy so that people will empathise and not oppose the legislation, ostensibly designed to prevent another one.
They used Cindy Sheehan and the Jersey Girls as the sobbing, hysterical faces of the argument to pull out of Iraq. They use the most pitiful, unmarried mother of 7 they could find as the face of the argument for universal access to day-care and raising the minimum wage. They used Max Cleland (wheelchair-bound amputee) as the sympathetic face of the argument against the war in Iraq. They used Sarah Brady as the weeping face of the argument in favor of sweeping, federal gun-control legislation. The list goes on and on because it is plan A in the liberal/Democratic Handbook-for-Deceiving-the-American-People: Putting a tragic figure on the face of all political arguments makes Americans feel guilty about opposing the argument. Acquiring video of sobbing widows, orphaned, shoeless children, greiving loved-ones, or resolute survivors of whatever the tragedy, no matter how tangential to the politics, is always a plus when trying to play on the sympathies of Americans in order to achieve a political goal.
The funny thing is ABC isn't even being sly about their deceit. They're very publically soliciting unscientific, amateur accounts of evidence of a highly scientific phenomenon...a phenomenon so scientifically difficult to grasp, that even highly trained scientists don't understand, much less agree on, it's causes.
You watch, ABC will air a "News Special" next month about global warming, featuring at least one crying, sympathetic female. (crying men don't appeal to the liberal's target demographic apparently, because you never see that, unless that is, the male happens to be a Democrat who got caught being gay or being under the influence while holding public office, then public male-sobbing can be beneficial to the advancment of gay-rights or treatment-rather-than-punishment-for-drug-use legislation).
Not once do you hear about the natural temperature cycles through which the Earth moves. I've heard that we are at the warmest the Earth has been in 400 years, the warmest in 1000 years, the warmest in millenia. How do they know that? And more importantly, does the fact that the Earth was this warm 400 years ago not make the argument that we are simply in a warming cycle? There is ample proof of a 200 year long mini-ice age that occurred in the 1400's-1600's. How does that fit into Al Gore's hysterics today? The answer is...it doesn't...Al Gore is a raving lunatic desperate for relevance. And ABC is encouraging him with this Jerry Springer-style solicitation for global warming horror stories.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
LOS ANGELES (AP) - New earthquake research confirms the southern end of the San Andreas fault near Los Angeles is overdue for a Big One. The lower section of the fault has not produced a major earthquake in more than three centuries.
The new study, which analyzed 20 years of data and is considered one of the most detailed analyses yet, found that stress has been building up since then, and that the fault could rupture at any moment.
"The southern section of the fault is fully loaded for the next big event," said geophysicist Yuri Fialko of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.
If you do not live in SoCal, it might be an opportune time to invest in property on the eastern edge of the San Andreas fault.....future beach front baby!!!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Apparently, the pathological lunatic Kim Jong Il is prepared to incur the wrath of the most devastatingly powerful military in the history of the world.
Surely he won't even fly an ICBM over Japan (as he did 8 years ago), much less direct one in the general direction of the U.S., it's territories in the Pacific, or it's assets (ships) in that area of the Pacific Ocean.
I'm unfamiliar with diplomatic jargon but from what I've read, the term "provocative" is pretty strong and will illicit some action (though probably not direct military action) on the part of the U.S., if our sovereign territory or that of our allies is threatened...even if the fruitcake Jong Il says it's just a test.
If anybody out there has a good grasp for this situation and can shed some light on what might happen, if anything, I'd appreciate hearing your take.
TOKYO (AP) - Japan ordered the withdrawal of its ground troops from Iraq on Tuesday, declaring the humanitarian mission a success and ending a groundbreaking dispatch that tested the limits of its pacifist postwar constitution.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said the 600 non-combat troops - deployed in early 2004 - had helped rebuild infrastructure in the area where they were based, and he pledged further aid to Iraqi reconstruction.
The withdrawal was decided in consultation with the United States and other allies, Koizumi said. Defense chief Fukushiro Nukaga told reporters earlier in the day that the pullout would take "several dozen days."
I applaud the Japanese for standing alongside the coalition forces in the war on terror. They contributed in every way their constitution allowed them to. Certainly Japan deserves our continued friendship and protection as crazed madman Kim Jong Il in North Korea stirs up trouble in the western Pacific.
SHANGHAI, China (AP) - China plans a manned lunar mission by 2024 that will include a walk on the moon's surface, a top Chinese scientist was quoted as saying in a Hong Kong newspaper.
And for their next, but slightly less ambitious, demonstration of world-class technological acumen, by 2026 China plans to invent the wheel.
Monday, June 19, 2006
NewsMax.com WiresMonday, June 19, 2006
NEW ORLEANS -- Mayor Ray Nagin asked the governor Monday to send National Guard troops to patrol his city after a violent weekend in which five teenagers were shot to death and a man was fatally stabbed in argument over beer.
Nagin asked the governor to send up to 300 National Guard troops and 60 state police officers to patrol the city.
"We're looking forward to the day when ... this city returns to being one of the safest cities in America," Nagin said.
It's business as usual in more ways than one in New Orleans. First, of course, who couldn't have predicted that when thugs, criminals, gangs, and delinquents move back home after extended vacations, care of the American taxpayers, they would continue the lifestyles they enjoyed before their sabbaticals to Houston? And second, who also couldn't have predicted that at the first sign of trouble, Ray Nagin would ask for help because he clearly can't handle things as Mayor?
Five punks shoot and stab each other over beer, and for this martial law is required? You see five punks get stabbed or shot over beer at your average World Cup soccer match. Where is the N.O.P.D.? Or did they all get fired for dereliction-of-duty during Katrina?
The American military is such a blunt instrument for violent-conflict resolution, much too Neanderthal and unsophisticated for liberals to appreciate when it's used by a conservative President to police other parts of the world, but who do they call when the violence is close to home and the gun is pointed at them?
And where is Kanye West whining about the National Guard coming down to "shoot us" [black people]?
And who is Ray Nagin kidding, with that safest city in America crack, besides himself and the federal bureaucrats who are about to write him a huge rebuilding check? New Orleans was never one of the safest cities in America. It's always been plagued with murders and other drug related crime. That's the kind of city you end up with when you encourage a critical mass of entitlement-minded, but otherwise potentially productive, citizens to become dependent on government for their survival. You get a permanent underclass of non-producing, consumers-of-resources who have no desire or reason to become productive taxpayers. That entitlement mentality and the cultural idolization of the thug lifestyle provide for them the means by which they can have the things they want...identity, self-respect, relevance, and a blinged out Escalade with spinning rims...but without the usual hard work required by the rest of us to get them.
Sure the National Guard can patrol the city streets and temporarily keep the thugs at bay, but what happens when the Army goes home? It's economics that will build a new-and-improved New Orleans. Take away the taxpayer-funded safety net from under the able-bodied youth and let them sink or swim.
I'm sure the entrepreneurial Mexicans who are purchasing and refurbishing all the housing property will be glad to hire them on as day laborers.
Let's do a poll. The questions come in groups of five apparently picked at random from a larger sample by a computer. Answer 25 questions and then post your percentage or fraction correct...
OK. I just took the test...out of 25 questions, I answered 25/25. I admit that on 5 of the questions I had to use process of elimination to narrow my guess down to one of two answers and got lucky, but even if I had missed those 5, my percentage would have been 80 or 20/25.
If you didn't pay attention in history class and never watch the national news you probably won't be able to pass (70%). If you make less than 50%, you should probably emmigrate immediately to Mexico where they have jobs from which uneducated Mexicans, who probably know more than you do about America, are trying to escape.
Good luck, Ed
Saturday, June 17, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) - A grand jury declined Friday to indict Rep. Cynthia McKinney in connection with a confrontation in which she admitted hitting a police officer who tried to stop her from entering a House office building.
The encounter began when McKinney, D-Ga., tried to enter a House office building without walking through a metal detector or wearing the lapel pin that identifies members of Congress. McKenna did not recognize her as a member of Congress and asked her three times to stop. When she ignored him, he tried to stop her. McKinney then hit him.
What do you think would have happened if a white, Republican male had hit a cop?
He would have received a nightstick and flashlight beating...and he would have deserved it.
These guys/gals(elected officials) believe their own sense of self importance and are so used to the trappings of power that they truly believe that the law does not apply to them and walk around like everybody in the world knows who they are and should give them due respect.
That reason alone is grounds for term limits in my opinion.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Ahmadinejad of Iran is pretty loony-tunes, and if it weren't for this fruit-cake Kim Jong-Il, he'd be the world's #1 psychotic. I know we're pretty pre-occupied with Iraq and Iran right now but we had better check our "6" and see what North Korea is up to...
WASHINGTON (AP) - North Korea is accelerating preparations for testing a missile that has the potential to strike the United States, a U.S. government official said Friday. A test of the Taepodong-2 long-range missile may be imminent, the official said.
Kim Jong-Il reminds me a little of Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now...living in his own alternative reality, having absolute dominion over the lives and deaths of his worshipful subjects, and not really knowing what the outside world is capable of doing to him if he strays too far.
His kookiness aside...if it's true, as Japan claims, that this Taepodong-2 missile is capable of reaching the U.S., and they're testing it, we had better show some intimidating force so he's not tempted to take a shot at our backside, while we're looking toward the middle-east, just to see what happens.
The six-nation talks have broken down for the umpteenth time and who really knows what this crazy idiot is capable of trying? North Korea is a totally closed society and nobody really knows what's going on there except for the occasional threats that come from their high-ranking military officials, which are scary enough.
But more than likely, what is probably the case is he's tired of our not paying him any attention of late and he want's to be the focus of the world's trepidation again. He probably want's some more aid from us to pay him not to develop this new long-range weapon. Bush and Rice will more than likely cave, just like Clinton did in the 90's, and this nut-case will go right on developing whatever weapon he thinks will win for his country the most in aid from America, the next time he employs this extortion racket. He probably is thinking, "Heck, why not extort money from America...it's working for Ahmadinejad?"
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I had no idea we were developing a new generation of thermo-nuclear warheads, capable of wiping human-kind from the planet entirely....cool!
LOS ANGELES --AP-- The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the San Francisco Bay area and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico are competing to design the nation's first new nuclear bomb in two decades.
Congress approved the new bomb, known as the reliable replacement warhead, with bipartisan support in 2005 as part of a defense spending bill. The weapon would, by law, have the same explosive power as existing warheads.
While I agree that we should have reliable weapons in our arsenal as a deterrent, it's kind of difficult, diplomatically and politically, to insist that North Korea, Iran and others abandon their nuclear ambitions while we update ours.
I know what you're thinking, "Ed, why are you drawing a moral equivalance between the U.S. and two of the three members of the axis of evil?" There's no moral equivalance in my take: the U.S. is good, and those other guys are evil...there's a big difference between us. We would only use our weapons defensively, or at worst pre-emptorily against a clear and present danger, but North Korea and Iran very well might use theirs offensively. That's the difference between the good guys and the bad guys when you're talking about nuclear weapons possession. I'm just making the diplomatic argument, that when we are in the middle of delicate negotiations with the Iranian madman to abandon his country's nuclear weapons program, we might want to downplay building ours up.
Trivia quiz: Who can name the movie, the character's name, and the 'game' referred to in the title of this post?
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
A survivor of Hurricane Katrina holds a debit card from FEMA outside the Reliant Center in Houston in this Sept. 9, 2005 file photo. The government doled out as much as $1.4 billion in bogus assistance to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, getting hoodwinked to pay for season football tickets. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Just like Boortz said, Katrina and Rita were probably the best things that ever happend to most of these people. The government gave them tons of free money (free to them) no questions asked, they lived in free, air-conditioned motel rooms with maid service, they ate free for months, they received free clothes, medical care, and job placement services for the few who desired it. For those 6-9 months, they lived like kings compared to the lifestyles they made for themselves in N.O...some still are dragging out every last dollar of charity they can from the generous American people.
Now we find out that 1.4 billion with a "B", dollars were stolen from tax-payers by these refugees who, we were told by distrought celebrities and weeping media, were deserving of our pity and our charity.
1.4 billion didn't just go to a few bad apples either, as the MSM will try to lead you to believe. That money was dispersed to hundreds of thousands of lying theives who knew they were stealing from their fellow citizens every time they did it. What did the government expect from people who live their entire lives as parasites on the economy, criminal miscreants, and consumers of other peoples' wealth?
This hurricane season, when the big one hits, sadly I predict, there will be far fewer charitable Americans willing to give of themselves, their homes, and their fortunes to subsidize trips to Hooters, sex-change operations, and booze binges by ingrates who prey on the kindness of others.
It's really pathetic that FEMA allowed the selfless generosity of the American tax-payer to be taken advantage of. It's that generosity that makes America the great country that it is.
I can't stop laughing at this...
Heavily armed Afghan National Police officers are seen on patrol west of Kandahar on Monday
Seriously, four sockless yokels in the back of a Toyota who look like they're on a beer-run and snipe-hunt after a day at the camel races; and this passes for "heavily armed National Police officers" in Afghanistan?
No wonder the Taliban might find a foothold there again. This picture and caption alone illustrate the precariousness of the government's grip on political control and stability in Afghanistan. It's not a good sign when one's own law-enforcement vehicle can be described as "cute".
That truck must be sitting still because otherwise that guy with his foot on the back right tire would be dragged under the vehicle to die a particularly embarassing death.
"No paradise for you al-Rahib...dying stupidly does not earn one very many virgins"
I stumbled across this interesting tidbit today...
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) - Officials are looking to capture some of Lake Tahoe's biggest polluters: Canada geese.
A sewage spill at the lake last summer "is nothing compared to what's happening with these geese," said Jack Spencer, a federal Department of Agriculture wildlife biologist.
Spencer said the bottom of Lake Tahoe is covered by up to two inches of goose feces in some areas. A 10-pound Canada goose can produce four pounds of nitrate- and phosphate-rich feces every day it waddles across the beaches, lawns and golf courses of Tahoe.
Well that's a mighty fine conundrum for a wacky environmentalist to consider: nature polluting the crap out of itself...no pun intended.
It's not the human picnickers, nor new development construction runoff, nor the farm fertilizer runoff, nor the recreational boat traffic, nor, it appears, even the occasional accidental raw sewage spill that is polluting Lake Tahoe. (These are the usual suspects when anti-development environmentalists get their hemp shorts in a wad over something or other getting polluted) No, it is simply nature herself doing whatever it is that nature does.
Now, it'll be fun watching the petchouli oil and Birkenstocks crowd choosing between a protected species and the protected lake which they inhabit. If they protest rounding up the geese, then they are sacrificing the lake. If they take the side of preserving the lake, they are guilty of disrupting the geese habitat.
Why, what's a smelly-hippie, Gaia-worshiping, enviro-zealot to do?
Who's the villain in this scenario anyway? The geese? They're just doing what Canadian geese do, and humans have no business disrupting them while they do it. We must learn to peacefully coexist with nature without disrupting or spoiling her. The finger-wagging, tree-huggers would tell us exactly that if the geese were destroying a golf course, somebody's back yard, or a Wal-Mart parking lot.
I wonder if just for a second the greenies have stopped to consider the possibility that perhaps Canadian geese have been, how can I say this delicately, "distributing" four pounds of feces each, daily, into North American bodies of water since before Abe Vagoda was born. And it's only recently that people have discovered what's been going on for thousands of years. All that goose poop might just be part of the delicately balanced ecosystem of Lake Tahoe...you know...circle of life and all that.
I just love when liberals get caught in their own web of radicalism and political correctness.
Tony Snow was by far the best pick for Press Secretary and I'm a huge fan, but he really should rethink letting this picture get out...it's reminiscent of Michael Dukakis in that tank picture. It was the jump-the-shark moment for his '84 presidential campaign. Nobody ever took him seriously as a candidate after that.
Good thing Tony isn't running for anything.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I grabbed this from the Philadelphia Enquirer...
One of South Philadelphia's biggest names in cheesesteaks is in a bit of a legal pickle for a lunch-line political statement against immigrants who don't speak English.
The city's Commission on Human Relations yesterday filed a discrimination complaint against Geno's Steaks over signs that read: "This is AMERICA ... WHEN ORDERING SPEAK ENGLISH."
The Commission on Human Relations said it would insist on removal of a "Speak English" sign at the cheesesteak shop.
First of all, the sign doesn't specifically single out immigrants...it's aimed at anybody who comes in and orders in a language other than English. The goober who wrote this article made an assumption based on his own opinions of the current issues swirling around illegal immigration. To the typical, pointy-headed liberal, if you are pro-business--you are anti-environment, if you are pro-marriage--then you are a homophobe, if you dislike rap music--then you are a bigot. Likewise, anybody who is pro-English language is automatically villified as being anti-immigrant.
Secondly, the first amendment guarantees owner Joey Vento's right to put up a sign in his establishment that says anything he wants as long as it isn't overtly defamatory or profane, doesn't incite rioting or violence, or, apparently, isn't in disagreement with liberal's open-borders world view.
Lastly, when you go to France or any other non-English speaking country for that matter, they don't provide Americans with English menus, maps, road signs, magazines, or anything. You either learn to order in that language or you point stupidly and eat whatever they bring you and hope they didn't spit in it. Maybe Geno's has so much lunch business, Joey and his employees don't have time to try to figure out what somebody wants for lunch who can't read the menu.
Having said that, if people are put off by Geno's Speak English sign, they will stop eating there, and he will see the wisdom of taking it down. Otherwise it's his restaurant and his business to run, whether or not it conforms to liberal's thin-skinned concept of tolerance.
The Commission on Human Relations can go dunk their pointy-heads.
Second, apparently the employment contracts that professional football players sign are not specifically prohibitive of motorcycles. The lawyers shrewdly broadened the wreckless behavior clauses to encompass any activity which might endanger one's ability to perform his job on the field.
That being said, despite the lack of a helmet law in Pennsylvania, Roethlisberger remains an idiot in my book for even thinking of riding a motorcycle without a helmet. I heard on Rush today that his bike is/was the fastest production bike currently available. That's exactly what a bullet-roof 24 year old, NFL quarterback needs...unbelievable!
Monday, June 12, 2006
There is a movement afoot by the American Medical Assoc. to tax soda beverages. Ostensibly it's designed to combat obesity in America. I believe the doctors have the best intentions since they won't see any money from this, but don't be fooled for a second into thinking that the legislators promoting this "health tax", care one bit about your fat kid, or care that Americans are among the fattest people on Earth, or even care that a tax on sodas would actually decrease consumption...it definitely would if you believe the relationship between price and demand. This is nothing more than a money grab by legislators disguised as a tax "for the common good"...how I loathe that fake sentiment..."for the common good". Legislators always tell you that a tax is for your own good...right before they reach into your wallet.
The first question you have to ask when legislators wage a new tax is where will the money go. All you have to do is follow the money trail. The representatives in Congress are insatiable when it comes to seizing and spending your money. They can never get enough and will never repeal taxes once levied. They will use the money to finance votes for their own re-election because after all, incumbents are in the business of getting re-elected.
Just like with cigarettes, legislators don't want you to stop drinking soda any more than they want you to stop smoking...if you did, the tax revenues would dry up and they would have nothing with which to purchase re-election votes.
Here's a novel idea...let the people decide what is good for them. As obesity climbs up the list of causes of death and disease, insurance companies will raise rates on fat guys...they already do in a lot of cases. This market dynamic will compel fat guys to loose weight in order to save money, or they will pay lots more for insurance than the rest of us. Contrary to liberal thought, insurance companies are not in the business of insuring folks...they are in the business of making money. If actuarial tables tell them that fat guys cost them twice as much money as the non-fat, they should be allowed to charge fat guys however much in premiums it takes to cover their increased health-care costs.
"But Ed", you ask, "what if fat guys decide that their self-indulgent lifestyle is more important to them than saving insurance-premium money and they end up costing the regular citizen more money in health-care costs because they are prone to so many more diseases and health calamities, but have the same coverage as the rest of us? Shouldn't we do for them what they are unwilling to do for themselves (by taxing unhealthy consumption to pay for their additional drain on the system)...not necessarily in their best interest...but in the interest of lowering health costs for the rest of us?"
A well-constructed argument indeed...not bad for a casual blog reader.
Here's the thing however, the AMA (and legislators because they are the only ones who can raise revenue by taxation) intend to, in effect, tax obesity by punishing that which is supposed to cause it. It's the insurance companies who must bear the burdon of additional costs to treat the obese, so shouldn't they be the ones who collect the extra revenue from fat people in the form of higher premiums? The problem is that Congress cannot raise money for itself if insurance companies raise premiums for the obese, so it grabs a share of soda company revenue by claiming that it's taxing soda consumption for the public good.
The sad history in America of government regulation of individual behavior by taxation is long and distinguished...alcohol, tobacco, gasoline, sales, travel, food, you name it...if it can be consumed, it can and will be taxed.
You see, taxation to regulate individual behavior is liberal dogma. To the delight of the liberal, two birds are killed with a single tax stone: first and foremost is the money that comes to the legislator to spend "for the common good" as a result of the new tax; second, and more satisfying to the liberal, is the effect of pressuring people to live their lives as he sees fit. To liberals, they are enlightened and superior in every way to regular Americans, and only they know what is best for us. We are generally incapable of making the "correct" purchasing and consumption decisions for ourselves. This point (Americans forcing other Americans to live their lives a certain way by punishing behavior) is the crux of what is wrong with taxing soda, or fast food, or twinkies, or whatever otherwise legal behavior liberals decide is bad for us. The only exception to that is in the case of indigent individuals who clamor for taxpayers' money in the form of public assistance...but that's for another blogpost.
Americans are already, by far, the most generous people in Earth. We don't mind paying extra to help those that are truly needy, or are sick, or injured, or otherwise incapacitated through no fault of their own. What is wrong is forcing American taxpayers to subsidize bad individual decision making and behavior by punishing what is perfectly legal behavior for everbody else.
If you want to get fast-food, sweets, and sodas out of the schools, fine with me. If you want to get celebrities to do PSA's endorsing healthy eating and exercise lifestyles, fine with me. What is not fine with me is punishing legal product consumption through taxation under the guise of the public good. If I want a Coke, I should be able to purchase one at a price decided upon by the manufacturer, not the government. If a fat guy wants to drink Cokes, even though they're making him fat, that's between him and his insurance carrier. I shouldn't have to pay for his lack of self control, and he should have to pay the costs of his obesity to his insurance company, not the federal government.
I'll bet Ted Kennedy is the first one to vote in favor of the soda tax when it's introduced. You'd think that a guy whose belt size is like 64 would be embarassed to presume to tell other Americans what' s good for their health.
PITTSBURGH –Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who last season became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to a Super Bowl title, was badly injured in a motorcycle crash Monday morning and set for surgery.
Roethlisberger lost most of his teeth, fractured his left sinus cavity bone, suffered a nine-inch laceration to the back of his head and a broken jaw, and severely injured both of his knees when he hit the ground, police said. A plastic surgeon has been summoned.
Seriously...a plastic surgeon? The plastic surgeon will have to take a number behind the maxillofacial surgeon, the orthopedic surgeon, the cranio-facial surgeon, and the oral surgeon.
How completely stupid can this guy be? I'll bet any amount of money that every skill player in the NFL, particularly QB's, have "no motorcycles" clauses in their employment contracts. I read somewhere today that Roethlisberger wasn't even wearing a helmet while riding through Pittsburgh traffic...because, get this...he doesn't like them. What kind of example is, "helmets aren't cool", for kids? He ran into a car, flipped over his handle-bars, and crashed head-first into the windshield.
I'm going on record right now in saying I have absolutely no pity whatsoever for this cretin or any other dumb jock who has way more money than brains. I'm not going to say he deserved to get hurt, but he certainly got what any 10 year old could have predicted, for being one of the stupidest people to have made it to 24 having not already accidently killed himself. It's just a good thing nobody else got hurt.
If he doesn't make a full and complete recovery, the Steelers should demand every penny of his signing bonus be returned and his contract permanently voided. Think of how many people this idiot let down by simply being stupid...
Here's a short list:
1. Steeler fans who've paid good money for regular and season tickets for the promise of seeing Roethlisberger lead the team for another season
2. Steeler owners who've paid him a king's ransom to lead their team
3. Steeler coaching staff who've molded the entire offense to suit his strengths as a QB
4. Steeler teammates who depend on him to be the leader to try to repeat
5. Impressionable kids who think he's cool because he's a NFL champion quarterback
6. His family who'll now have to put up with his sitting around the house complaining bitterly the rest of his life because his career was cut prematurely short
It boggles the mind to think there are still people who don't recognize the overwhelming necessity to wear a helmet every single time you ride...anything...at any speed.
The NFL should make an example of this guy and demand that he do 10,000...no...1million hours of helmet awarness seminars for kids. I know what you're thinking..."But Ed, you always harp about letting the free market determine individual behavior. Why is this any different? Shouldn't Ben be free to ride motorcycles in big-city traffic without a helmet if he wants to?"
It's different because he signed an employment contract with the Steeler organization which stipulates "no motorcycles". If he decides to void the contract by riding a motorcycle anyway and he gets hurt, then because of his own stupidity, he deserves to lose his ability to earn a living playing football. Likewise, if by some slip-up, the organization didn't require him to sign one, then the Steelers org. got exactly what it deserved for it's stupidity.
And that's the free labor market at work. Labor markets aren't separate from personal behaviors. Practically every employer has personal behavior criteria that it demands in return for employment...no drugs is the big one. When a company has millions invested in an employee, it can make other demands as well..."no wreckless behavior which would endanger your ability to work", for instance.
I think training camp for the NFL starts in like August. If those injuries in the article above are correct, he won't play at all this year, if ever again.