Incessant Rant
The Incessant Rant Home Page

Welcome to The INCESSANT RANT. On our worst day this site will embody .00000001% of the world’s opinion. Considering the world population increases by three every second, I'm going to have to persuade just under 260,000 people to agree with me daily if only to break even. I'm screwed...


The Incessant Rant Home Page

My Photo
Name:
Location: Connecticut, United States

I'm a Conservative Troglodyte who puts more emphasis on common sense rather than political parties.

E-Mail Me

The Incessant Rant Home Page

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A True Bi-Partisan Act...

One of the most Conservative legislators and one of the most Liberal legislators in the New York State Legislature fired a warning shot across the bows of the established leadership within the two Chambers today.

Upset with the system giving some lawmakers two to three times the budget and staff of others, the inability to bring Bills to the floor unless blessed by the "permanent political fixtures," and a recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law showing New York's legislative process excludes rank-and-file lawmakers and the public from the process, putting too much power in the hands of legislative leaders; Republican Thomas J. Kirwan of Newburg and Democrat Liz Krueger of Manhattan threatened to file suit over the issues.

Essentially, they've given the 'powers that be' until January 18th to take their warning seriously. If they are ignored, the Writ of Summons will be filed bringing even more embarrassment to the "most dysfunctional Legislature" in America. Considering that New York State has a string of 20 consecutive years without approving a budget on time, perhaps this is a valid effort.

The courtesy copy of the suit focuses on the following:

Press & Sun-Bulletin

 Give rank-and-file members more power to bring a bill to the floor for a vote -- currently, house leaders control the flow of legislation. Minority legislators (Republicans in the Assembly, Democrats in the Senate) in practice can get only parochial bills passed, such as extending a local sales tax.

 End a governor's ability to allow immediate votes by waiving the three-day waiting period between when a bill is printed and when it is voted on. Especially with the state budget, the recent practice has been for the governor to waive the waiting period, though most lawmakers haven't had time to read through the bills.

 Force lawmakers to be present to cast votes. Currently, lawmakers can swipe an ID card when they arrive at the chamber and be recorded as voting "yes" on every measure regardless of whether they are actually there.

Circumventing seniority in this fashion is worth a glance. While term limits will, likely, never materialize, the equal representation lawsuit threat just may provide more authority to newly elected lawmakers. Should this be taken seriously in NY...the next question would be whether someone has the ambition to do the same in Washington DC. Don't be surprised if some innovative partisan hack sees this as a path to challenge the Republican majority in both Houses of Congress.

The challenge to the State houses over 'seniority blocking' and actual application of 'majority blocking' are really apples and oranges. Just, don't be surprised if the DNC doesn't see it that way.

More information right here…

New York legislators sue for fair treatment
(Power, resources for minority party at issue)
Press & Sun-Bulletin
BY YANCEY ROY
Albany Bureau

|

Getting paid to go to school...

A couple weeks ago I latched onto an interesting discussion over at Joanne Jacobs’ site. The topic “du jour was”, of course, education related as that is the forte of the site owner.

Specifically, there was discourse relative to 24 New York City schools experimenting with the concept of paying a student to perform. As was pointed out, there really isn’t too much research in the field. There seemed to be a lot of interest with opinions all over the spectrum as to whether it was a good idea or not. In that particular program, a successful economist, Roland Fryer (Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows) was leading the charge. The program appears to be focusing on minority students. It’s still too early to evaluate whether the program is successful in improving the participation and performance of the student. Obviously, there were different views as to the merit of such an exercise. Everything from the Equal Protection Act application to opposition from the teacher’s unions including a similar program in on the Left Coast that appeared to be a success. The dialogue was lively and enlightening.

I’m not sure where I fell in the group. On the surface it seems like a novel approach to gaining the lost interest of students. Yet, something didn’t sit right. Perhaps that has something to do with my coming from a family that has more teachers and principals in it than some of the more rural school districts en total.

Today I stumbled across an article in the Detroit Free Press dealing with a similar concept. Yet, this one takes the process just a bit further. And, to me, the steps they take makes the program that much more meritorious.




Schoolkids on payroll for learning
BY PEGGY WALSH-SARNECKI
FREE PRESS EDUCATION WRITER
November 29, 2004


David Snyder's paycheck was $18 last week. He's saving his money. He wants to buy an Ugly Wuggly, a rubbery toy lizard that students use as a pencil holder.

He is 8.

But how does an 8-year-old earn a paycheck?

Schoolwork.

Being paid for schoolwork is part of the third-grade curriculum at Beverly Elementary, in the Birmingham school district. Students earn "Beverly Bucks" for homework, tests and class work, with a bonus thrown in for good quality.

At the end of the week, they can take a paycheck home for endorsement. Then the student can cash the check for Beverly Bucks and shop in the class store.

(snip)

I’ll have to admit that up to this part in the article I, sort of, had to cringe. An 8 year old bringing home the bacon didn’t sound too appealing in reference to the actual goal of gaining improvements in participation and performance. However, as I read on I realized that this program includes an education and discipline application in finances. When you consider the outright abuse of Credit in this plastic Country of ours, it’s not that bad of an idea to include a bit of a lesson in Capitalism as an aside to classroom learning.





David's paycheck was a little light because of the shortened holiday workweek. Paychecks usually run from $30 to $80, said teacher Christine Knoper.

The paycheck curriculum is part economics, part math and a very big part incentive.
"Their work has really improved," Knoper said. "When I come to work, I get paid for it. We've really just likened it to the real world."

After the Christmas break, Knoper said the paycheck curriculum will be ramped up a notch when the kids start paying taxes on the hallways (a form of road tax) and playgrounds.

Students can lose money, too.

"If I accidentally hit somebody, I have to lose $4 or $5," said Shane Holmes, 8, suggesting that losing that much money was horrifying.

Another life lesson taught by the paychecks is dealing with disappointment. Across the hall, one student was almost in tears. The radio pens sold out before he could get one. Even at $100, the pens were extremely desirable items and teacher Kim O'Rourke promised to look for more of them.


(snip)

What’s interesting here is that there is real world application. While I’m not a big proponent of introducing taxes to a third grader, you have to consider that the program gives the student an investment in the school. 8 year olds can be pretty territorial. They will not be kind to someone who vandalizes that portion of the building in which they are forced to invest a segment of their “earnings.” The whole notion of “my school” takes on an entirely new meaning. Maybe that’s not such a bad idea afterall.

There is, also, the use of penalties and repercussions for performing on a sub par level, both academically and behaviorally. That’s no different from what happens outside the school yard. The current system is too interested in the “certificate of participation” and not the acquisition of goals. Winning is not a bad thing. Succeeding is not harmful. Too often, students are shielded from the necessity of flexibility and the efforts required for achievements that accompany decision making. There are disappointments in life. Learning how to deal with that truth in a constructive environment can produce a better rounded individual. At least that’s my opinion.



The store items are partly paid for out of parent donations and class funds. The teachers also kick in a little money.

At one point, Knoper's students were selling items to each other, sending a mini-black market into full swing. Then the third-graders started to see the downside of the black market and voted to outlaw it, Knoper said. They've also learned -- like many adults -- that sharing money and loaning money among friends are bad ideas.


(snip)

The funding process appears to be a good one. The parents and teachers are both invested in the results. It could be considered an incentive on their behalf as well. If this were funded through Government funds there would be a risk of violating the Equal Protection Act should this be the only class applying the program. The privatization avoids this potential issue.

And, oh those wily third graders setting up their own black market to move some hot Ugly Wugglys. On the surface it was to be expected. However, it was, also, a great lesson in free enterprise. Finally, it was an extremely beneficial example of the necessity of rules and regulations applied to the free enterprise market so as to provide an fair marketplace. So help me, I can just picture those 8 year olds expressing their own unique personalities as these options expose themselves. Even at such a young age, you can always pick out wheeler dealer types.



"I go back and forth with it," said David Snyder's mother, Karen. She doesn't give allowances for helping around the house, believing that work comes with being part of the family. But she said the paychecks have motivated David.

"I don't see it hurting him at all," Karen Snyder said. "He likes getting the math done, which is great, the handwriting done. We're all motivated because we want rewards. And I like that David is saving up for something, instead of just blowing everything he's got. That's good money management strategy."

(snip)

I think that's the idea. You can read the rest of the article HERE...

|

Monday, November 29, 2004

Al-Banna stabbed foreigners to “Get closer to God”


Al-Banna stabbed foreigners to “Get closer to God”
by Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Yemen Times
November 29, 2004


THE trial of Mohammed Jaber al-Banna, accused of stabbing three foreign citizens in Sana’a during the war on Iraq, started Saturday in a Sana’a appeal court.

The prosecution has accused al-Banna of attempting to kill a Dutch, a German and an Austrian citizen, using a dagger. The prosecution showed the court the seized materials which included a dagger, hand grenade as well as a computer.

The defendant said he carried out the crime “to get closer to God.”

He also said he received a support of $60,000 from a “benevolent” without disclosing his identity when he was in Britain with his father.

(snip)

There it is in black and white.

There it is as presented in a news story served up by an anti-American journalist and media outlet. There it is for the entire world to see. An “alleged” terrorist is forthright in his statement that the motivation behind stabbing a Dutchman, a German, and an Austrian was in the name of the “Religion of Peace.” He did it to “to get closer to God.”

There it is.

Personally, I prefer (maybe out of naïveté) to approach Islam in the same fashion Jonah Goldberg does. He published an excellent piece back in December of 2002 that addresses the very concept. The most poignant comment was this:


From:
National Review
December 4, 2002 4:10 p.m
.Religion of Peace?
“Prove it.”


Look:…I take law-abiding, tolerant, and peaceful Muslims at their word when they say to me that they believe Islam means peace. Further, I take them at their word that they live by that interpretation. But the fact remains that other Muslims surely believe that Islam means death. Death to Christians, Jews, and Hindus; death to unbelievers, heretics, blasphemers, adulterers, and plenty of other categories of human being. And guess what, it's those Muslims who are killing us. And guess what else? Those other, peace-loving, Muslims aren't doing enough about it….

(snip)

Me?

I do take individuals one at a time based on their actions. But, let’s be clear. Those individual Muslims who sit on the sidelines and allow comments such as the ones presented by Mohammed Jaber al-Banna to fester without condemnation do nothing to convince me that they disagree with the actions or the beliefs of this terrorist.

Let’s change the venue and the message for a second. Suppose an American (removing religion from the mix) murders a Russian and proceeds to make the statement that “all good Americans” should eliminate Russians in an attempt to become better Americans.

How do you suppose our State Department would respond to such a comment? What would be the overall response of the American public in general? It would not be silence.

In the same piece mentioned above, Jonah Goldberg gives a better example closer to the basis of this post. Irv Rubin, a Jew, was indicted for allegedly planning to bomb a California mosque and an Arab-America congressman's office. He played himself off as a warrior acting in the best interests of Israel. However, many Jews saw him for what he really was; a terrorist. The American media crucified this extremist terrorist. Goldberg put it this way:


(National Review)

Oh, and speaking of denouncing fellow Jews, I've done it plenty of times. For example, when Irv Rubin of the JDL was arrested for plotting a terrorist attack I denounced him in the strongest possible terms, as did pretty much every prominent Jewish figure in America within 48 hours. (See Jeff Jacoby's excellent column from December 20, 2001. You need to scroll down.)

(snip)

The clock is ticking on the comments of Mohammed Jaber al-Banna. After a short time it will be too late to provide a credible response of indignation. This is a primary example of where "you're either with us or against us" is a valid sentiment.

CAIR?... The Arab League?... AHRC?... Mohammed Al-Qadhi?... Palestine?... Syria?... Bueller?

Anyone?

|

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Pour chaque action il y a une réaction égale et opposée


Ivory Coast in legal swipe at France
From correspondents in Brussels
The Herald Sun (Australia)
29nov04


IVORY Coast would take France to the world court for violating bilateral defence accords after French forces destroyed Ivorian military aircraft, a lawyer for the Ivorians said today.

Meanwhile, French Defence Minister Alliot Michele-Marie acknowledged French troops might have been responsible for some Ivorian casualties during demonstrations earlier this month, having earlier said the deaths and injuries had been caused by clashes between demonstrators and local police.

Patricia Hamza, a lawyer working with an Ivory Coast presidential mission in Brussels, said a suit against France would be lodged with the International Court of Justice, the UN's highest legal body, in The Hague.
(snip)


Yes, for every action (France joining 130 other countries in signing the 1998 Rome Treaty on the International Criminal Court) there is an equal and opposite reaction (having the Ivorians take France to International Criminal Court over two planes that comprised their Air Force). Actually, there is probably more of a case related to their crowd control protocol.

President Clinton signed the same Treaty in the eleventh hour back in 2000. President Bush, wisely, erased the endorsement promptly upon entering office the same year. Thank your lucky stars that the anti-American proponents of the ICC can’t pass judicial rendering on our soldiers. The Docket would be deluged with myriad examples of frivolity and political grand standing.

But alas we are still a sovereign nation and the perverted yammering of “one world justice” is still pushed beyond our borders…Best of luck to the "Croissant Crew." If it’s possible, may their soldiers receive fair judgment.

Vive la .

|

'Filing Mills' on ADA issues...


Over at Overlawyered.com there is an interesting post concerning American Disabilities Act litigation.

Here's the jist:
"By suing. we are in the driver's seat. ..."


I read this post on the ADA "filing mills" with interest as linked to by Overlawyered.com. There are many such organizations set up by the plaintiff bar, and most use skewed examples to tout their worth to the general public. Fred Shotz is no exception. I believe clarification is necessary relative to his primary example on why suing is the proper course of action.

Shotz (an ADA consultant for over a decade, and a plaintiff in a substantial number of ADA lawsuits) wrote:


A man in California sued a city for access violations. He didn't have an attorney; he did it pro se, which means "without an attorney." The city's attorney negotiated a settlement with the man.

After the settlement was signed and damages were paid, the man discovered that in the settlement agreement he signed, he waived his right to ever sue this city again -- for any ADA violations or violations of California law.

How could this have happened? He was simply out-maneuvered by a skilled lawyer. He got one thing fixed, and he received some damages -- but this city can now ignore him for the rest of his life.


As this is a California case, the California Fair Claims Practices Act applies. And, as a result this specific portion of the Act applies:


Policy Provision Disclosure Requirements

3. Prohibited Claims Handling Conduct

b. Generally Prohibited Acts

iv.
Requesting an unrepresented claimant to sign a release which is broader in scope than the subject of the claim for which payment is being made unless the effect of the release is both disclosed and fully explained to the claimant in writing, however, a waiver of the provisions of California Civil Code section 1542 (release includes claim not then known) is permitted if disclosed and explained;20


As you can see, the plaintiff has recourse if the release was not explained to him in full. The California Court will find in favor of the plaintiff on this issue if there is the least chance that a Defense Counsel might have taken advantage of his good nature. In addition, such an action could lead to a rather expensive Bad Faith claim against the Defense and their client(s).

Simply put, there is a better way to handle ADA issues...and it isn't to sue everything that moves. A better course of action would include instituting a pre-litigation process that keeps attorneys out of the mix. Keep in mind that Commercial Liability Coverage excludes these type claims on a number of levels (i.e. Purposeful violation of another party's right; Lack of an actual claim; Lack of an actual injury or property damage)...so the actual claim falls to the risk itself.

The money to defend or fix the alleged problem comes out of their pocket.
A smarter way of handling ADA challenges would be to set up non-profit organizations un-attached to the plaintiff's bar that would provide a "warning shot" to the risk prior to any suit being filed. The "warning shot" would include a valid evaluation of the violations by a qualified civil engineer with coordination of a qualified building inspector for that municipality. That way, there is confirmation of a violation by an expert and the entity that licenses the business. In other words, there is no wiggle room, and the business is made aware that they can, either, comply or receive the loss of their license/permit to do business in that municipality.

The plaintiff bar is an unnecessary participant in this process. They justify their participation by indicating that they donate to non-profits that pursue ADA enforcement. They claim that they are in the driver’s seat when they sue. Of course they are. However, the municipality would be in the driver’s seat without the inclusion of the cost for expert witnesses (since the building inspector is to be qualified to recognize violations of the current code). And, the building inspector’s salary is already worked into the budget of the municipality. Violations producing Statute imposed fines will accomodate additional staff.

In short, the offender can comply with the law or lose their ability to do business.

However, this shotgun suing process does nothing more than add an unnecessary party to the mix. The plaintiff's bar would have you believe that they are acting in the best interest of the plaintiff. The facts would indicate that they are acting in their own best interest by seeking the same result in a more expensive manner; A manner that provides them a piece of the, already, spoken for pie.

|

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Salute...'Devil's Brigade'



WWII legend Eschenburg dies
By CAROLYNN BRIGHT - Ind Rec Staff Writer
11/27/04


One of the few remaining members of the First Special Service Force, or the Devil's Brigade, died Friday at the age of 88.

"He never stopped being a soldier," said Montana Military Museum Director Ray Read, of retired Brigadier General Emil Eschenburg after hearing the news of his friend's death.

That's only to be expected considering the duration and distinction of his military career.

The Michigan farm boy attended Michigan State University, graduated with honors and promptly began his military service as a second lieutenant. Upon the formation of the Devil's Brigade — a joint U.S./Canadian fighting unit — in July 1942, Eschenburg went to fight under the command of West Point graduate Lt. Col Robert Frederick.

The group was trained to infiltrate Nazi-held Norway and take out hydroelectric plants, but wound up fighting in Kiska in the Aleutian Islands in August 1943 and in Italy in December of that year.

The unit became legendary at Anzio, Italy, in 1944, where the Germans dubbed the force "The Black Devils" due to the force's ability to wage war under cover of night.
It was during his service in the Devil's Brigade that Eschenburg rose to the rank of brigadier general.

There are now six members of the Devil's Brigade living in the Helena area, a member of the First Special Service Force Association and Eschenburg friend Herb Goodwin said Friday. Three are originally from the U.S., and three were native Canadians. The local chapter of the association still meets once a month and recently held its 58th reunion.

In addition to his time with the Devil's Brigade, Eschenburg was assistant commander of the 101st Airborne Division in the early days of Vietnam and later a commanding general.

During his decades of U.S. Army infantry service, Eschenburg received 115 decorations, including the Purple Heart. He retired in 1970.

Among 77 citations for valor are four distinguished flying crosses and four silver stars.

Read emphasized that Eschenburg remained extremely active in the military community following his retirement.

He said Eschenburg was a fixture at military gatherings, was active in the establishment of the Montana Military Museum and, most recently, was instrumental in the development of the Purple Heart monument dedicated this fall at Fort Harrison.

In addition to his military affiliations, Eschenburg worked for several years as a Helena Realtor, belonged to the local and state chambers of commerce and served as a trustee for the Helena YMCA.

Read said Eschenburg was tireless in his pursuits, and it was only his recent illness that slowed him down.

"As soon as he would be well enough, he would be up and going again," Read said, adding that Eschenburg's friends hoped that would be the case this last time that he took ill.

Services for Eschenburg will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 29 at the First Lutheran Church, 2231 E. Broadway. Military graveside honors will be conducted from the Montana Army National Guard with interment at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison.

Hagler-Anderson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


Deserves repeating:

"Among 77 citations for valor are four distinguished flying crosses and four silver stars."

|

A moment of weakness...

Okay, in a moment of weakness I might have done something considered, both, juvenile and vindictive. I'm sure you are familiar with the SorryEverybody.com characters. Disgruntled folks acting out via photos apologizing to the rest of the world for election results. Well, I sent one in.

Huh? What?

You heard me. I sent one in back in the beginning of November. There's a twist, however. See if you can tell what it is. The first one with the correct answer in the below comments section gets linked to the my site in the blogroll with no reciprocation necessary. If you're already linked I'll give you a dollar the next time I see you.

Here's the link to my contribution...(there are two separate items to spot...but one will suffice)

|

Friday, November 26, 2004

'KNOCK it OFF'


COUNTERFEITING COSTS
City loses billions in sales taxes

Editor
November 26, 2004
New York Newsday

Many local shoppers know what they're getting when they buy a designer handbag or compact disc for a fraction of the typical cost: a knockoff. It's too bad that New York City gets stiffed in the process to the tune of more than $1 billion annually in lost sales tax revenue. The city is strapped for cash, so the comptroller's recommendations for stemming the losses are a good place to renew the fight against counterfeiters.

William Thompson estimates that $23 billion worth of counterfeit goods were sold in New York last year. First of all, it's illegal. He points out that bootleggers are a priority for local law enforcement, but that they are nimble and often elusive adversaries. It doesn't help when their customers are willing participants in the crime, whether on the street or in offices.

That's why the comptroller suggests efforts to increase public awareness and education, especially for the benefit of people who really believe that a genuine Coach bag can cost less than $50. Thompson also called for the creation of an industry task force and more resources for enforcement from state and federal governments. Contrary to the perception, this is hardly a victimless crime. Just ask the residents who depend, for example, on inadequately funded schools.


Want a glance into the mind of the Liberal mentality? It's right here in front of you. New York Newsday trades off with the New York Times for the title periodially. With this entry , advantage NewsDay.

Only a Leftist could take an obvious crime and, somehow make the focus of the article the inability of New York City to siphon tax dollars as a result. In other words, the editor's view is not about those individuals who come to the city and are ripped off by a retail store that misrepresents their products as designer wares when they are knockoffs. Newsday doesn't focus on the various designers who have their product ripped off in violation of patent or trademark.

No, the editor of the New York Newsday thinks the real travesty is that the City of New York, and the State of New York don't get to dip into the accompanying sales taxes that would be significantly higher if the real items were being purchased, and not the less expensive knockoff.

Of the $23 Billion in knockoff goods highlighted in the article, there is an estimated $1 Billion in lost taxes. This translates to over 100% of the 4.25% sales tax applied to the $23 Billion. We know those are faulty numbers because a significant number of low scale boutiques do, indeed, sell knockoffs. They do it in broad daylight. And, they attach sales tax to those purchases. These are revenues that the City and State wouldn't see but for the fraud of retailers.

Travesty? Not really. Anyone who snoozed through an Economics 101 class can tell you about demographics. Those folks only willing to shell out $50 on a knockoff Fendi Selleria Sport bag are not going to be in the same consumer tier of those who want the real thing for $2,400.00. And, those who can afford the real thing aren't going to purchase a knockoff. Somewhere in between are those individuals who might do one or the other. However, from a purely economical perspective, the existence of knockoffs in New York City retail stores increases the consumer base, and then expands the resulting revenue base. New York City, and New York State set their tax rates based on sales. So, actually, knockoffs increase the perverted tax coffers of both government entities.

Ethically? Well, that's a different story. The retail stores are breaking the law on a number of different levels and statutes. Consumers who know they are buying knockoffs, arguably, are breaking the law as well. Those derelicts selling fake Rolex Watches in Battery Park are breaking about 8 separate laws. They should all face the force of the law in all capacities.

Despite our Liberal editor's claim that the New York Public School System suffers as a result of retailers selling knockoffs....that's just not the case. The editor is going to have to look somewhere else to place the blame...for example how about wasting money on diversity programs, sensetivity issues, and materials that don't touch on those "outdated" concepts of reading, writing, and arithmetic? The NYC Comptroller wants more resources "for the creation of an industry task force and more resources for enforcement from state and federal governments." Cha-Ching...It's called justifying the annual NYC law enforcement budget.

Perhaps the editor is a product of the New York Public School System. In that case I suppose we should let him off the hook...

|

Professor Partisan...

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will add to his duties as governor by teaching an honors class at the University of New Mexico beginning next spring called: 'How New Mexico Government Works. The key players and the key issues.' (Pool/Reuters)

Rumor has it that the class will focus on two curricula.

Loyalty: A case study in acting as the greaser when your boss wishes to keep a certain oral princess in a blue dress quiet. Sometimes a UN Ambassador is obligated to make in person visits to her condominium on behalf of his superior. This is known in Government as saluting someone else’s flagpole.

Integrity: A case study in improper management skills. Students will be enlightened on the intricacies of losing nuclear secrets to foreign Communist governments while simultaneously holding the key position of overseeing the US Energy Policy when one did not exist.

Students will be encouraged to contribute to the classroom donation jar which will be located just inside the main entrance to Pascal Auditorium. They are to ignore the “Hillary 2008” signs as they are not related to the course. However, non-registered voters enrolled in the class are asked to meet with Marc McDaniels, Governor Richardson’s aid, just prior to the first seminar. Personal identification is not required.


Washington Times Blurb here states that Gov. Richardson, a Democrat who served in the Cabinet of President Clinton, approached the university about the class, Reuters news agency reports. It is planned for 100 students, but may expand, depending on demand, said Rosalie Otero, who directs the university's honors program.

|

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A Genuine Thanksgiving



I’ve never been one prone to sentiment. Given the choice between a chick flick or a good cigar laden game of poker, my attributes and personal preferences play towards a two dimensional Royal Court. The same holds true for various holidays.

Thanksgiving, however, has taken on a more significant hierarchy in the holiday list over the last couple of years. What distinguishes Thanksgiving from other holidays is the selflessness that it promotes. For me, that wasn’t always the case. It used to be a generic social occurrence that leaned more towards culinary delights than it did poignant purpose. Thanksgiving could always be defined as a precursor to the holiday season. It was the starting line in a race towards the New Year.

Not any more.

The historical side of Thanksgiving creates visions of the Mayflower sailing south along the New England coast as it finishes an arduous journey beyond the grasp of Old European religious persecution. But, even the historical meeting between indigenous Massachusetts and ilk of Miles Standish is not what occupies my mind these days.

Not even close.

Today my mind is on our soldiers. Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, even the Coast Guard. I think of those intelligence operatives, desk jockeys, and law enforcement officials working through the holiday. I can’t move beyond the families with those empty chairs at their victual laden dining room tables. Some of those chairs never to be filled again. These are the folks that I am most thankful to these days. It is they who occupy my thoughts.

I’m thinking about those men and women in Afghanistan, Iraq, stationed across the world, and at sea mixing up care packages in coffee cans; maybe having the luxury of a hot plate and a skillet to heat up their special fare; possibly scoring a lump of butter from one of the company cooks. I’m pondering their thoughts, their imaginings; their gift to our country and the country of their hosts this Thanksgiving. If ever there was a time to be truly thankful for something or someone, it is the present. These men and women don’t question their role. They just do it. They don’t seek my accolades, just my support. Being thankful for their sacrifices and service provides something to them stronger than the distances that exist between their families and them…appreciation. Appreciation doesn’t cost you anything. However, it pays beyond expectations.

You don’t have to agree with the mission to honor those men and women who deliver the message. It helps, but you don’t have to because the ones you honor in the armed forces have bestowed that privilege upon you.

How could you not be thankful for that?

So, this year, just as last year, I see Thanksgiving in a different light. The holiday is not about me and what I’m thankful for. Instead, Thanksgiving is about what our Country is thankful for. It is about sacrifice, long distances, little signs of home, and selfless duty to assure that next year around this time 25 Million Iraqis and 28 Million Afghanis will have just cause to thank these fine men and women as we do in the act and the accomplishment of their mission(s). We are thankful that there are those who put the security of their country and its Constitutional ideals ahead of their own self interest. Maybe we have become a bit rote in our preface of “Happy” before Thanksgiving. It seems to steal the graciousness and depth of the thought.

Many have given more than could ever be asked. Perhaps they can’t hear me now, but I’ll say it (and mean it) just the same.

Thank You,
IR

|

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

6,000 and counting...


Members of the new Iraqi army carrying Iraqi flags at the Al-Nuimiyah base in Kut, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 24,2004, during a graduation ceremony for a new Iraqi army battalion. Some 6,000 Iraqi Army troops, the first batch of quick-reaction forces, graduated Wednesday from this southern military base, a military spokesman said. (AP Photo/Ali Abbas/pool)

|

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Knee-jerk judgments

I've taken an information gathering position on the Fallujah Marine shooting as reported by NBC journalist, Kevin Sites. Granted, it's easy to see who falls where on the political end of the analysis. And more aptly, it's disturbing to see the reactionary opinions based on mere conjecture and agenda driven supposition. Most of OpEd pieces I've read missed the deeper issue at hand.

There were the "fog of war" proponents, the "baby killer" ingrates, the "consider the climate" backers, the "look what happened yesterday" pundits etc. What all of these pieces failed to address were the pitfalls of "International Law" and how the exploitation of that concept dipped in a steep helping of anti-Americanism works to create a political theme to what should only be an incident investigated for proper or improper restraint by the appropriate parties. This is not an issue to be evaluated between the sports page and the movie listings of daily circulations hawks. The war on terror (and the war against the war on terror) ends up being fought as propoganda positions by noodle heads with a whole shed full of axes to grind. We all deserve better than that. The Marine in question deserves multitudes more than that.

From Down Under comes an OpEd from one of my new favorites, Janet Albrechtsen. As it turns out, I don't have to comment on this event. Dr. Albrechtsen hits it out of the park and across the parking lot. Being a pig headed product of free thought I rarely find (or will admit to) someone who reflects my opinion exactly. Damn if this fine writer didn't shoot down that theory...I only posted the portion that I found most poignant...But don't miss the rest. It's worth it.



Knee-jerk judgments
November 24, 2004
by Janet Albrechtsen


(Snip)
More grotesque is the claim by former diplomat and academic Tony Kevin in The Sydney Morning Herald on the day the battle began that this US-led attack was a war crime -- and for having soldiers in Iraq, Australia was morally complicit in these war crimes. "This will be no neat, surgical strike," Kevin wrote. "To get the measure of this, think of the Warsaw rising in 1944, or the Russian army's destruction of the Chechen capital, Grozny." (snip)

(snip) Only those unconcerned with facts and blinded by political motivations, by a knee-jerk anti-Americanism, could mention Warsaw in 1944 in the same breath as Fallujah in 2004. The same can be said of Kevin's comparisons with Grozny, a town reduced to rubble by months of bombing by the Russians in 1999.

These hysterical claims suggest that international law is too easily exploited by political mischief-makers. That is why the US refuses to recognise the new International Criminal Court, vested with power over war crimes.
When firepower is required, we look to the US for help. Yet such is the anti-American sentiment, US soldiers are more often labelled war criminals than government-sponsored butchers in Darfur, Sudan.

Even more problematic, some laws of war are simply dangerous in the current climate of terrorism. The original Geneva Conventions sought to govern future wars between nation states that agreed to the laws of war. But increasingly the new battlefield involves a moral, ethical and legal asymmetry between regular soldiers who abide by the laws of war and terrorists who have no constraints.

International law has failed to confront this dilemma. Third World states pushed for the 1977 Protocol, which augments the Geneva Conventions, to enable them to internationalise certain wars. It allows some civil wars to be deemed wars of national liberation and irregular fighters posing as civilians in these wars can be classified as combatants and, when captured, as POWs, making them immune from prosecution for what would otherwise be terrorist acts.

The US rejected the Protocol, pointing out that not every addition to international law is a noble sign of progress. In his advice to the US Senate on January 29, 1987, president Ronald Reagan said: "We must not, and need not, give recognition and protection to terrorist groups as a price for progress in humanitarian law." A wise decision then, it is even wiser now.

Increasingly, international law is becoming the last refuge of scoundrels as non-state terrorists claim the rights conferred by various instruments but reject the concomitant obligations. (snip)

Janet Albrechtsen writes a weekly column for The Australian. After receiving her law degree from the University of Adelaide, she moved to Sydney and worked as a commercial lawyer. She has a doctorate in law from the University of Sydney Law School and has taught as an academic. She is roundly disliked by judicial activists, the human rights industry, old-style feminists and assorted rent-seekers. None of that troubles her.
You can contact Janet Albrechtsen by email at:
janeta@bigpond.net.au

|

Law.com Blog Network



For the last couple of years, the first thing waiting for me each morning in my work e-mail bin has been the daily Law.com briefing for the day. They have always had a well-rounded and informative web site that updates daily with timely feedback on recent Decisions and legal trends.

Well, recently, they've taken it a step further and added a Blog of their own. Participating in the content and comment will be a collection of Lawyer authored Blogs across the web:


- The Volokh Conspiracy by Eugene Volokh and 14 other co-authors

- May it please Court by J. Craig Williams

- I/P Updates by William Heinze

- MyShingle.com by Carolyn Elefant

- The [non]billable hour by Matthew W. Homann

- Jottings by an Employer's Lawyer by Michael W. Fox

- Crime & Federalism by Michael Cernovich

It looks like a good one to bookmark.

|

Monday, November 22, 2004

Middle East Stoners...



MIDDLE EAST STONERS...
Believe it or not 85% of the population of Yemen is stoned between the hours of 2pm and 6pm. It’s no big revelation. That’s just the estimated number of inhabitants that chew qat (Catha edulis) on a daily basis. Qat is a narcotic plant that produces a state of hyped euphoria to the chewer. The best way to describe it would be a cross between fifteen double espressos and a kick by a mule to your head.

It’s no big deal in Yemen. In fact, “Wherever you travel in the Yemeni highlands you see great fields and hillsides of small green trees in rows, watched over by small boys carrying sticks and AK-47s, and crouching men in centuries-old mud-brick watchtowers. The watchmen are not crouching to be sinister, but because they are chewing qat, and no one chews qat standing up.”

Of course, Yemen is working towards making TOY guns illegal. The AK-47’s, on the other hand, are quite stylish with the Yemeni youths.

A Yemeni Government study done just last year said about 90 percent of Yemeni male adults, 40 percent of female adults and 30 percent of children under 15 chewed qat regularly, either daily or weekly. Qat is, also, the “libation” of choice in Djibouti and Somalia on the Horn of Africa. In fact, you’ll find in the Somali (Black Hawk Down) de-briefing that many of those residents involved were high on Qat during that entire event. That’s not hard to believe considering most of the human debris propping up the Mogadishu warlords at the time did little else during the day.

In the enlightening words of Sameh Mukerker, a Yemeni living in Birmingham, England, “Qat-chewing Yemenis are proud to admit they are regular users. "I only chew it occasionally. But then, I have an occasion every day."

Oh, yeah, did I mention that Yemen Airways, one of the airlines that carry qat as cargo to London, said it typically carried around 400 kg ( 880 lb ) of the plant twice weekly from the Yemeni capital Sanaa. That's around 20 boxes full each time, but at Ramadan the airline carries three times that much in one flight.

That’s right. Qat is, also, legal in Great Britain, and many other European nations. It seems it followed the deluge of Yemeni Muslims that are increasingly inhabiting that part of the world.

Perhaps that's quite a bit of background to chew in order to set up the reason for this post. There is an interesting OpEd piece on Qat and its detriment to Yemen by the editor of the Yemen Times. He usually makes an effort to kick the US in the teeth on just about every piece. Yet, he continuously takes surprising positions on myriad topics. That's why I keep coming back for more. He, actually, made the suggestion during the 2004 US General Election that Muslim Americans should consider voting for a third party candidate. His reasoning was skewed, but at least after this piece, we know it wasn't Qat fortified. In fact, the Yemen Times is the only media outlet in Yemen that doesn't have a mafraj (Qat chewing room) on the premises.

Walid Al-Saqqaf has an interesting, and well thought out point of view here. So, take a gander.

|

Sunday, November 21, 2004

2004 Weblog Awards "Click Ed's Big Head..."


Wizbang has opened up nominations for the 2004 Weblog Awards and, apparently, anyone can enter. Nominate your favorites in the proper categories. Nominate your own. Nominate your friend's. Nominate some Tibetan Monk's Swimsuit Calendar Blog of the Enlightenment. It's for fun folks...so CLICK ED'S BIG HEAD and go to the nomination page to catch the details.



|

Smack Down...2nd term starts a little early

..The sound you just heard was the second term of the Bush administration setting the tone even before it begins. Much to the chagrin of Democrats Chris Van Hollen, Barbara Mukulski, and Labor Union leaders everywhere, the White House further clarified their intent to put federal jobs up for competition from private firms.

Van Hollen and Mukulski (as well as their campaign money trains, the Labor Unions) wanted more rules governing job competitions and the selection process. Bush made it clear that he would Veto the Bill if those conditions survived committee.

George Will was on top of this one back in early October when he said.

Another Democratic faction, organized labor, profits from coercive laws that make mandatory some of the $8 billion it collects in members' dues. Substantial sums flow into Democratic coffers. Furthermore, organized labor is, increasingly, government organized as an interest group — public employees unions. The growth of organized labor is in those unions, whose members tend to vote Democratic, for government growth.

Bush is pressing to put hundreds of thousands of federal jobs up for competition with the private sector. Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform says: "The people who cut the Pentagon lawn are government employees. Why?" People listed in the phone book will do it cheaper. How many of the 15 million state and local government jobs could be privatized, with how many billions of dollars in savings? (snip)

In short, the Federal Employees Union will not have the same captive projects that limited the competitive pool, and allowed them to drive up the bid prices. So it’s understandable when they make comments such as:

American Federation of Government Employees President John Gage said, "Bush administration officials have consistently opposed all attempts to make the privatization process more accountable to taxpayers and more fair to federal employees."

Cry me a Unionized river. Ahhhh, but the good guys have this to say:

Federal contractors were quick to praise Congress' action. "The American taxpayer is the big winner under this legislation," said Chris Jahn, president of the Contract Services Association. "By allowing President Bush's competitive sourcing initiative to move forward, Congress chose competition over complacency."

Oh yeah, one more thing…Labor Unions collected over $8 Billion in membership fees last year. Mucho dinero ended up in the DNC coffers. The DNC can’t be overly enthusiastic about this privatization. Come to think of it, they tend to be a skeptical about any privatization.

|

They're going to need a bigger boat...


Bernadette Malone of the New Hampshire Union Leader has a nice piece on the other front of Conservatism. While everyone on the Left is focussing on the South, and the so-called "Bible Belt," they're missing a totally new front...The elite blue-state universities...

I am delighted to report that on college campuses on both coasts (and of course in “flyover country”), there are student-run independent newspapers that are battling the America-hating political scientists, Marxist economics professors, deconstructionist English departments, feminazis, pot-smoking philosophers, Birkenstocked war protestors, and the whole migraine headache that is the Campus Left. These conservative student newspapers are veritable hatcheries for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy that helped get Bush reelected. (Snip)


She's not kidding...Personally, I've been advising local Conservative collegiate groups at various institutes of higher learning in my blue back yard. The growth of all three of those entities over the last year has been...how can I put this...enlightening. One thing I've noticed is that young adults are, not necessarily, impressionable at that age, but they do like to establish their own identity. Going against the usual college Liberal, lock-step mendacity is such a path. In addition, the concept of individualism in Conservatism is quite sexy in such a setting.

I'd go so far as to encourage all Conservatives to seek out these collegiate groups in your own back yard and...well...give them at best, some a$$i$tance...at least...some advice.

|

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Dirty Window to the World...


The International Herald Tribune (IHT) is the New York Times'(NYT) international voice. In other words, we get the NYT domestically while the rest of the world sees their IHT publication. While the IHT was originated with the ex-pat in mind, the simple fact of the matter is that the publication is popular among foreign citizenry. It’s always been interesting how close the two correspond when tacked to the proverbial wall.

While the “Gray Lady” has garnered a reputation for Leftist views (and deservedly so), its foreign mistress takes that bias one step beyond.

HoyStory posted a blurb yesterday that linked to a BBC piece relating to unbelievable abuses perpetrated by United Nations staff in the Congo.

In a statement released in Nairobi, Mr Annan said he had received a "detailed briefing... about the investigations which the UN initiated some time ago into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by both civilian and military peacekeeping personnel in the DRC".
We’re talking about blatant and violent sexual abuse to women and children as HoyStory pointed out. We’re talking about UN Peacekeeping employees, inclusive of civilian and military personnel. So far, the smoke screen has revealed French and Tunisian UN representatives committing the unspeakable. Most importantly, we are talking about atrocities that make Abu Ghraib pale in comparison.

Enough background…now the punch line. The IHT chose to leave this story out of their Saturday release. Keep in mind that the center of distribution for the Western European publication is Paris, France. Instead, today’s front page is devoted to scraggly looking Chilean derelicts with black bandanas covering their faces and hurling rocks while concurrently lambasting the US for attacking terrorists in Fallujah.
It’s easy to see why world opinion of the United States is wanting. The foreign press takes their cues from the NYT’s owned IHT. What they hear about the US is reflective of what their beacons of the “truth” want them to hear.

|

It ain't easy...



THAT'S WHY WE LOVE THESE GUYS...

|

Cops in uniform sway Jurors, lawyer says... ...(So do criminals...says I)


November 20, 2004
Cops in uniform sway jurors, lawyer says


By Toby Coleman
Staff writer

A few weeks ago, Pocahontas County lawyer Martin Saffer began campaigning to limit when police officers may don their uniforms before a jury.

He says it’s time to restrict the common practice because the badge and the outfit can unfairly boost the credibility of a police officer’s testimony in some jurors’ eyes.

“Let’s face it,” Saffer said, “what we wear is part of our civilization, it distinguishes us, it tells people who we are, what we are and what you are to think of us.”

Saffer believes judges should let police officers wear their uniforms on the witness stand only when it is relevant to the allegations.

Police officers should be able testify in uniform against a person accused of battery of a police officer, for instance, but not against a person accused of buying drugs in an undercover sting, he said.

So far, Saffer has not been able to convince his local judges to adopt his suggestions.

Both of his county’s circuit court judges, Jim Rowe and Frank Jolliffe, refused to tell police when they could wear their uniforms on the witness stand. Rowe said that it is “speculative” to say that a police uniform sways jurors any more than a haircut.

Saffer is up against a mountain of precedent and tradition in this fight. Although West Virginia has no rules on the subject, most of the states that have looked into it have decided that police can wear their uniforms on the stand.

Still, Saffer is considering taking the question to the state Supreme Court. (snip)
Rest of the story


Interesting issue...if only for the value of its hypocrisy. Step #1 in the criminal defense attorney playbook is to do a "make over" on their own client to assure the jury that he/she is a likeable and harmless little piece of lint.

Want an example?

|

Friday, November 19, 2004

Just a 'quickie' dealing with the FCC and Censorship



Personally, I will always have the opinion that nothing is too "risqué" for television, radio or publication. There is always a choice. For those worried about their children viewing something that they PERCEIVE to be objectionable...well then, I guess parenting is in order.

The FCC has no business censoring broadcasts. And, as morality is formed both in an ethics as well as an opinion forum...the only censorship should occur on an individual level.

Two things will adjust content...market share based on how an audience responds (TV, Radio, and Print are indeed businesses, not public welfare institutions) and the ideology of the business's ownership; the former more than the latter.

This is not "The Clockwork Orange." Folks are free to make their own choices. One such choice is the difficulty attributed to raising a minor, and the choice to take that plunge. When you force your own morality on others to benefit yourself you are dangerously close to that "It takes a village" crap...

|

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Exit Poll Head Honcho takes his Hack at the Bloggers...

USA TODAY takes their turn at slapping down the "Blogger Community." As expected, they fail to distinguish between those blogs that took a guarded approach to the early exit poll data, and those blogs that put the numbers out as gospel. Quite frankly, USA TODAY misses many valid issues that should have been the crux of their article. Perhaps they don't understand the internet "community." Or worse, perhaps they do.




EXIT POLL DATA WILL BE DELAYED
By Mark Memmott, USA TODAY
November 18, 2004


On future election days, news organizations that pay for surveys of voters leaving polling places won't see results until late afternoon or early evening.


They shouldn't see them at all. At least, they shouldn't reference them until after the election results are in the can. Exit polls, if they are to be done, should be for educational research, or if reflective of the result, supporting documentation. Exit polls sponsored by the media, for the media, and used prior to a result, is nothing short of attempting to create news with speculative, and inherently incomplete data. Purist journalists know better than this. The Exit polls will never be 100% accurate. Totals of the actual cast ballots is a certainty and not open for speculation (for the most part).

The purpose of a news service is to report the news. With every step into the realm of "speculation," a legitimate news service flirts with the field of Opinion Editorial. Such an exploit tempts an alleged non-bias entity with ideology and agenda driven news whether purposeful or not. Exit polls should serve a similar rationale to "pooling a jury" after a Court verdict so as to get a grasp on what was considered important in the jury's decision.

In reality, exit pools should go the way of Tom Daschle…into obscurity. Or, the results of such an effort should be to support an explanation of why the electorate voted as they did. The data has a post event purpose, not a predisposed prediction status.

USA TODAY (continued)

The goal is to avoid a repeat of what happened this Election Day, when leaked information from exit polls was posted by Internet commentators known as bloggers about 1 p.m. ET. That was just minutes after the data had been given to the five television networks that, along with the Associated Press, formed a consortium to pay for exit polls and count votes during major elections.


Clarification is in order on this issue. The intention of the statement is to imply that the bloggers made the mistake of releasing raw data. Yet, common sense would dictate that the individual(s) who released the data initially to the bloggers did so with some sort of motivation. Without knowing the source, determining the motivation is near impossible. There is no implication as to why the data was leaked to bloggers in the first place. Who leaked the data? And, for what the purpose the data was leaked? The blog, Power Line, particpated at the invitation of NBC in the election day coverage as did Joe Trippi and Ana Marie Cox (Wonkette). As documented on Power Line , both Trippi and Cox were given separate data of the early returns from different sources. Cox regurgitated the data, almost immediately, to her blog. Personally, I think she should have taken that elective course on using “qualifiers.” With accompanying comments such as “A NOTE ON EXITS/EARLY POLLING: We post these numbers because information wants to be free! Run, information! Run for your life!” it’s not much of a stretch that the “Haliburton is evil” crowd would not consider the legitimacy of the numbers since that’s what they wanted to hear.

A little later, Cox went so far as to provide this aside to a 415pm post, “A FURTHER NOTE ON EXITS/EARLY POLLING: Mystery Pollster has an excellent post on early numbers, as well as a vow to not post them himself. He's a bigger man than we are. He's as big a man as Mr. Wonkette who is a very big man and who is also anti-exit poll release. We only hope he doesn't pull a Shriver about this.”

While the one woman “slangfest” was posting these numbers that went against all conventional wisdom, without addressing their source, accuracy or integrity, Power Line was taking a very responsible approach. As early as 1:13pm, Power Line had this to say, “The Wonkette has posted some alleged exit polling that does look very good for Kerry; however, I have no idea where she got it, and I'm sitting next to her. Take it with a grain of salt. Or two.”

And then this, A reader who claims to have sources "close to the Bush campaign" says: I'm told that pollsters close to the Bush campaign think that Bush is up in Florida and New Hampshire, down in Wisconsin, even in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and "doing well" in Ohio. And they don't think that the exit-poll numbers on NRO about Ohio add up. Needless to say, I don't vouch for this any more than for the rumors I'm hearing from Democrats here. But until we get some hard news, rumors will have to do.” Notice the application of source information as well as a disclaimer on the legitimacy of the earlier numbers as well as the current ones.


USA TODAY (continued)

Sheldon Gawiser, chairman of the polling consortium's steering committee and NBC's director of elections, said Wednesday that in future elections, no data will be sent to the networks and AP until at least 4 p.m. ET. The "first wave" of data that bloggers posted this year, he said, was just too raw to be valuable to "people who don't know what they're dealing with."


Jimmy Connors had a great backhand. Andre Agassi still has an excellent backhand. Sheldon Gawiser, on the other hand, telegraphs where he is going to hit the ball. He takes a blatant swipe at the blogging community without mixing words. He refers to bloggers as individuals who do not know what to do with received information. And, as indicated above, there are certainly some bloggers that don’t understand how to deliver information in a fashion that quantifies its value. However, as Power Line demonstrated, there are others that certainly do. What the NBC’s director of elections fails to grasp is that a blog is not a hard news outlet. Blogs are about opinion. Even those blogs that merely take a news item and post a link or cut and paste an article usually have a flavor of news posted that reflects the owner’s ideology du jour. Network news outlets, on the other hand, are supposed to be non-denominational in their presentation of the news. Unfortunately, to often they are more interested in the presentation and less in the news.

More importantly, the solution presented by Gawiser is reflective of his intellect. He states that next time the “first wave” of data won’t be released until 4pm. One could get the impression that Gawiser would be good at giving a haircut. Take a little off…check out his work. Take a little more off….check it out again. Repeat until it looks ok.

However, if he took a practical approach he would realize that exit poll numbers were still horribly skewed at the late hour of 4pm. In fact, here is what it looked like on Wonkette at 441pm:
FL +4 Kerry
OH +5 Kerry
MI +4 Kerry
PA +16 Kerry
IA +2 Kerry
WI +5 Kerry
MN +15 Kerry


Again, this solicits the question of “why use the exit poll numbers for anything but support information after the actual election occurs?” The answer is simple. The networks and cable news shows are all competing to appear more intelligent and smarter than the other. They share in the information collected by a consortium to dish off to speculating talking heads. Most of the talking heads have their face plates so far up their own posteriors that their assessments only reflect a preconceived idea of the election. Yet, the election is, in fact, the only debutante at the dance. The election is the dance. The exit poll numbers are mere fodder for a parade of blow hard know it alls that should probably spend more time reviewing the comments on NRO’s Corner or Power Line.

Of course bloggers were going to discuss the data that was dropped, quite conveniently in their laps. But, the real issue here is that the forum in which the data is framed involuntarily defines its worth. Blogs are opinion. News Networks aren’t supposed to be opinion, but too often are. Gawiser has a hack’s backhand, and at 4pm during the next election he will still be hitting balls into the net.


USA TODAY (continued)

The data were supposed to be kept confidential and only used to help the networks plan their election night broadcasts. The early polls showed Sen. John Kerry leading President Bush in the race for the White House and in key states such as Florida and Ohio. By shortly after 3 p.m. ET, some television commentators were hinting that Kerry appeared likely to win.


As pointed out early by National Review Online’s “The Cornerthe numbers were skewed for reasons known and reasons unknown. The sampling was heavily weighed towards women. With only 5,000 pollsters in the field, the precincts covered, more than likely, were predominately urban. Both demographics played to the Democrats. So, more aptly, the data should have remained confidential…perhaps even after the election. Quite simply put, the consortium of news clients paid for a whole lot of nothing. Then, individuals, with access to that nothing passed it off so that nothing could be disseminated to the internet. Then, everyone was wading through tripe. Judging from how inaccurate the numbers were late in the day, I’d wager to guess that the exit poll numbers never acquired the status of inanity.


USA TODAY (continued)

After polls closed across the nation and real votes were counted, it became clear Kerry had lost the race. He got 48% of the vote nationally. Bush got 51%. Gawiser said the consortium is continuing to review how future exit polls can be made more accurate.


Simple questions deserve simple answers. Don’t release the data until after the election is certified. If the exit polls don’t support the election result, adjust the sampling strategy for the next one in two years. End of story.


USA TODAY (continued)


The networks had hoped to avoid any controversy involving exit polls. They were still stinging from what happened in 2000. Then, flawed exit polling in Florida contributed to the mistaken "calls" giving that key state to Vice President Gore and then to Bush.

This year, the leaking of the early exit poll data and the subtle use of it to hint at a possible Kerry victory caused the networks and the pollsters they hired to do the work some embarrassment.


And now, those responsible for the asinine demographic application are looking to distribute their failure to the blog community.


USA TODAY (continued)
The polling firms —Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International — and the networks said critics didn't understand that early day exit polling often produces results much different from final vote tallies. This year, some pollsters theorize, Kerry's supporters may have been more eager to get to their polling places early.

Mark Blumenthal, a pollster who caught attention this year for his Web site, mysterypollster.com, said the delayed release of the exit poll data means "better numbers" that will still be "leaked immediately."


Unfortunately.

|

4 More Years...on internet tax ban


Senate Bill 150 could reach a vote today. This Bill will extend the ban on internet taxes for another four years. The House had a similar Bill pass that banned such taxes (with the exclusion of internet telephone services) permanently. Why, exactly, would the Senate not vote for a permanent ban on these type taxes?

Keeping their options open I suppose.

This Bill, also, lets States that already tax dial-up and DSL do so for two to four years.

'A bill to make permanent the moratorium on taxes on Internet access and multiple and discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce imposed by the Internet Tax Freedom Act.'
Bill # S.150

Bill # S. 150 via Bill Tracker

UPDATE: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., today hailed passage of a Senate resolution, S. 150, the Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act.


|

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I guess I'm not very sporting...



You know that saying…”Don’t kick’em when they’re down”? That is probably pretty sound advice. Oh, but it would be so very easy.

The first rule of Machiavellian Hi-jinks is to make sure your mark is distracted; vulnerable if you will. When the target is agitated to the extent that they are reduced to desperate straw grasping, you know it’s time to dangle a fat juicy worm right in their line of sight.

What the hell am I getting at? I’m in touch. I know that is what you were thinking.

Well, I’m not really getting at anything specific. I’m just pointing out that the Left is on the run. They are frantically trying to show the best face in the twilight of a shellacking.

Let’s see. In the last couple of weeks the Washington Post purposely misrepresented a memo from Porter Goss in a pretext that can only be called comical. The common changing of the guard in the current administration (as is normal in any re-election) is being displayed as a betrayal. Every Leftist OpEd’r is trying their best to transform a minimal “Religious Right” into monster of capacious proportions. MSNBC spent some time floating tin-foil theories on non-existent Republican voter fraud. Leftist blogs not only ate up the crumbs of this inanity, they picked-up and ran with it right into a brick wall of truth. So hungry were they for something (anything) to lessen the blow of a clear defeat they resembled the marching band led down the dead end alley in Animal House. You can just imagine the marching band of leftists bouncing continuously off of what physical science refers to as a “solid” looking for a non-existent doorway.

The “Main Stream Media” has done their best to avoid discussion of the blatant dishonesty of the “non-partisan” but definitely Pro-Kerry 527’s and their attempted destruction of valid voter registration displayed in the voluminous worthless provisional ballots. Worldwide media sang praises and cast palm leaves in the direction of a certain dead Palestinian terrorist leader who is finally feeding the hungry for the first time in his life. Maggots and earthworms have quite the appetite you know.

Yes sir, the Left is in disarray. They are undefined. They are looking for that next rung of the ladder to lift the collective out of a self-dug fissure. I’m just saying now is the perfect time to kick the ladder out from under them. It’d be simple, but, probably not very sporting.

The President isn’t as conniving and underhanded as I am. I’d set them up. I’d dangle a worm, show them the light at the end of the tunnel…and seal both ends. I’d do it because of the fight and the filibusters looming ahead. I’d do it because if the Left could ever establish a commonality among themselves, they’d do it to us. I’d do it because, quite frankly, I’d enjoy it.

Say, where’s that bin Laden guy anyway?

|

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Now Yemen is getting Serious?



Yemen Society for Consumer’s Protection warns of toy guns

Journey into the realm of the surreal.

Long version: Yemen, if you have ever been there, is a virtual armory. Small firearms are sold openly in street bazaars. Estimates place about 50 Million such firearms within the tribal society. Of course, the UN did a survey back in 2003 and placed the total number of firearms at around 6 to 9 Million. However, in the very next sentence of their Geneva report they were quick to point out that the United States has a higher percentage of fire arms per citizen. Even the Yemen Interior Ministry estimates there are 60 million firearms in the hands of the country's 16 million people.

Short version: Yemen, one of the breeders of today's terrorists, has lots of freakin' guns.

So, today, the Yemen Society for Consumer’s Protection(YSCP) took a strong position on this "Wild West" in the "Middle East." They suggested in a strongly worded letter to the Interior Ministry that the increase of TOY guns is dangerous and becoming a problem. The letter specifically states "Children should not be allowed to have toy guns." There is no clarification as to whether these potentially deprived children should be allowed to have real guns.

The YSCP, also, wants to deprive their younsters of fireworks (also readily available on every street corner in Yemen). "The danger of firecrackers is that they make children more aggressive and eager for violence in attempt to imitate the elder people," according to those watchers of public safety.

Did you read that? "The danger of firecrackers is that they make children more aggressive and eager for violence in an attempt to imitate the elder people."

I suppose I could point out the obvious. I could describe in detail young master al-Rashid duct taping a collection of M-80s to his rope belt and giving a coronary to grandfather al-Rashid as he lounges under the canvas awning chewing his kat. But, that's provided grandfather al-Rashid wasn't revered posthumously years earlier for doing the same with Yemen's fashion contribution to the world, Semtex accessories.

Absolutely surreal.

|

Maple Leaf (s) in the Sandbox...(Canadians are Assisting in Iraq)



Did someone say that Canada was not active in the Iraq Coalition? Well, maybe clarification is in order. They have no active combat troops in Iraq. And, they have no active non-combat troops there officially. However, it might surprise you to learn that our neighbor to the north is making a contribution.

Currently, you will find twenty (20) senior law enforcement officials training Iraqi recruits in Jordan. They are working in an advisory capacity in an effort to increase the Iraqi police force to a 32,000 person roster. The position is part of a cooperative effort between Foreign Affairs Canada and CIDA (The Canadian International Development Agency).

Maybe the extent of the Canadian involvement is minimal compared to what it could be. However, eventually, the fruits of their involvement could hold voluminous importance. It’s one thing to gain the peace. It’s quite another to keep it. Having a presence within Iraq that looks to, actually, protect and serve their constituency is admirable in any capacity. Canada’s contribution to such a goal may be smaller than is necessary. But, it is appreciated none the less.

Ron van Straalen of the Napanee OPP detachment is one such Canadian, and he’s headed to the Middle East with his chin up and an attitude that seems to have eluded most of Ottawa. It feels pretty damn good to say the following.

"Thank you Canada!"
&
Good on you Inspector.
Inspector Ron van Straalen. Starting in January Van Straalen will be the senior police advisor reporting to Falah Al-Nakib, the Ministry of the Interior of the transitional government of Iraq. It’s initially a six-month placement, with an option for three more months.
The Kingston Whig-Standard --Napanee police officer deployed to Baghdad --Aimee Pianosi--Local News -


|

Monday, November 15, 2004

Thanks to The American Thinker



I've been a faithful reader of The American Thinker for quite a while, and decided to send something into the editor (Thomas Lifson) on a whim. They, always, have some excellent pieces dealing with all things American...except maybe today. That would be my fault since my piece is running.

It's an OpEd commenting on the Liberal inclination to obligate others to solve their problems regardless of the simplicity of the issue. Motivated by the recent plethora of "Post-election Selection Trauma" sufferers and how that ties into the philosophy counter to rugged individualism, I whipped up a connection that I call "Socialism of the Individual."

The piece is called "Someone Please Tie My Shoes..." and was posted here on the Incessant Rant this Saturday.

Thanks to The American Thinker for making me feel important...

|

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Carville...



James Carville smacking an egg on his head on Meet the Press this morning was funny, but not the funniest thing from the show. I thought this comment was hilarious...

Russert: "Do you think President Bush has a mandate?"

Carville: "The only politician, right now, with a mandate is
McGreevey."

Mary Matlin (also on the panel) covered her face with her hands and just shook her head...Vintage Carville. I can't help but like the guy.

|

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Rant: Someone Please Tie My Shoes...


(as published at The American Thinker)

Holding a solid Conservative view on the world certainly infringes on the ability to be congenial. I can’t help but approach the multitude of decisions and obligations presented in everyday life from a deductive point of view. It’s a simple remedy really. Recognize a difficulty. Identify the problem. Assess your options. Address the problem. There is no reason, in most cases, to seek counsel or solutions from an outside source. Life is an ongoing conveyer belt of such scenarios. The self-sufficient among us recognize these challenges and face them in stride.

If the water is too cold in the shower, we turn the nozzle a bit. If we have a couple beers in a local Tavern and start singing to our friends we apologize and cut back on the libations. If the cheese on our pizza is too hot to eat, we wait until it cools a little. These are all examples of simple reasoning. However, “simple” is a relative term.

It’s that “personal responsibility” thing; a cliché of a phrase, certainly. Yet, like most things very familiar, the true meaning gets lost in the mundane. And, as those setting policy continuously barrage the public with legislation and laws aimed at protecting their constituency, what they are really doing is numbing society to the necessity of using their collective brains. What’s worse is that we let them.

PepsiCo, owner of Pizza Hut, receives numerous lawsuits every year when someone burns the roof of their mouth on a hot slice. I used to be involved in such cases, and one thing became clear on every single case. The plaintiff in such Action was completely convinced that they had no culpability in the act. You can’t help but bask in wonder at such a position. Of course, with every law suit there is always a lawyer explaining to their client that they were wronged. That’s no excuse. These folks have, absolutely, no ability to accept that they hold any responsibility for anything. The very concept of personal responsibility and self-sufficiency does not only manifest itself in our legal system. It’s everywhere.

Following the recent General Election there were a multitude of disappointed Americans. Their candidate lost. The most reasonable among them would take such a result in step. Perhaps they would vent a little. Maybe a pledge to redouble their efforts or analyze their failings would be in order. But, who are these namby-pamby simpletons who are running to the Doctor to solve their internal strife?

That very attitude and internal weakness is one of the primary quandaries that seem to be breeding within the Liberal mentality. If there is a predicament, someone else will solve it for them. If not everyone has healthcare, the Government will fix it. If I can’t afford to support a family, I will have one anyway, and support it through “entitlements yet to be received.” If I can’t get into a school based on my grades and performance, I will take advantage of the color of my skin despite my pleas to be evaluated on the “content of my character,” and not genetic melatonin.

Somewhere along the way the concept of fighting one’s own battles has given way to what could be referred to Socialism of the Individual. Instead of tapping the strength and ingenuity held by the individual, these sorry saps are satisfied in seeking the community bail out. In reality, the individual takes on a microcosm view of a Socialistic ideology. This state of mind, unfortunately, bears fruit. These are the same people that champion the court of international opinion. They end up being more concerned with what the European Union has to say on foreign policy than what their own mind is telling them. Simply put, they have no confidence in their own opinions. They have insufficient self-esteem in forming a resolute judgment. And, now, they are copping out on the most basic of everyday, run of the mill emotions and are looking to be coddled to overcome simplistic inanity.

Call it what you will. Post-election Selection Trauma (PEST) or Post Election Selection Depression (PESD) is, quite frankly, a joke. It’s embarrassing that there are individuals out there who willingly grasp on to such a self-proclaimed fragility. Rob Gordon, Executive Director of the American Health Association, describes this malarkey as a short term affliction. However, in his opinion, “PESD is like any other mental health disorder which essentially, left without treatment can lead to catastrophic consequences.”

Bull hockey. PESD, which is not worthy of a classification, is nothing more than a display of prima donnas. These are individuals who have conditioned themselves to ignore veracity. Instead of bucking up and accepting this thing called life, they convince themselves that, once again, someone else is needed to solve their problems for them. Socialism of the Individual if you will.

We should place shame on the medical community for dignifying such idiocy with legitimate discourse. Treatment for such absurdity should last as long as it would take the "stricken" to read the sign on the door; “If you are here about the election…grow the hell up and eat some ice cream or something.”

The list of “symptoms” attributed to PESD or PEST are listed as follows:

• Feelings of withdrawal
• Feelings of isolation
• Emotional anger and bitterness
• Loss of appetite
• Sleeplessness
• Nightmares
• Pervasive moodiness, including endless sulking

Tell me in all honesty that these “symptoms” don’t read like those associated with Yankee fans last month. Personally, being a Phillies fan, I have been dealing with these “symptoms” most of my adult life. However, I don’t need to go to a psychiatrist to learn that the team needs better hitting and more consistent pitching. And, I don’t need someone with a medical degree to tell me how to deal with it. Then again, I’m not a Liberal. I have a rugged individualism that allows me a few curse words at the Sports Section, and the ability to put reality in perspective.

What’s really depressing, and worthy of serious concern is ability of the Courts to transpose the simplest of problems into legislation and bad law. For example, an individual in New Jersey can, actually, file a dram shop claim on his own behalf. In other words, a person can have too much to drink at a bar, injure himself, and then blame the bar for over-serving him. In Florida, a bar/restaurant, can be held responsible for serving an alcoholic. How the Florida establishment is supposed to know of this “confidential medical condition” is beyond anyone’s grasp. In New York, you can’t join the parents into a law suit as a third party defendant for failure to supervise the activities of their own minor child, because, according to New York case law the parents have no responsibilities in that regard. These are just a sampling of how our Courts, and the people who drive this legislation are satisfied to place blame on anyone as long as that “anyone” isn’t the individual holding the smoking gun.

This mindset plays into the helpless traipsing to Dr. Feelgood over an undesired election result. This frame of mind, also, plays into the inability to use that God given intellect that many seem to be saving for a rainy day. Instead of learning from the detrimental, there are way too many people wondering who is going to tie their shoes for them.

Whether it is for money, perceived legitimacy, or political gain, there are too many takers out there willing to tie them, rather than giving these sorry sacks a kick in their complacency.

|
The Incessant Rant Home Page
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com
The misguided