Incessant Rant
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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...


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Location: Connecticut, United States

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

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Long Live Expedia...and Capt. Morgan's


Well, here's the background. In the last year I have participated in somewhere in the realm of 50 Civil Trials, 4 Catastrophe event oversights, and 35+ audits/diligence evaluations. I've racked up more frequent flyer miles and rewards points than humans should be allowed to have. That's just the surface.
So, as CPAC started up this past week I was all set to take a couple days and attend once again. The thing is...I much rather hang in The Keys sipping rum laden concoctions and spending most of the day motivating myself to do a little diving. Expedia is, quite simply, one of our generation's greatest inventions. Booked and confirmed in less than 10 minutes...

CPAC came in a distant 2nd. So I wasted a couple bills on tickets and such. It's worth it. I'll be AWOL for the next week, and may return sometime next weekend provided I don't stumble across a low overhead highly profitable opportunity.

Incidentally, there's a pretty good chance you can catch me on webcam at the Hog's Breath at some point during the week. I'll be the tall guy slumped and slurring with a stupid grin and a satiated spirit.
Cheers,
IR

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

On Vacation without Computation...

On vacation...hiatus...break...whatever...

Unless someone steals my passwords and decides to comment, this space on the net will be inactive for about a week.

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Sunday, February 13, 2005

Valentine to the Troops...and theirs...



Here's a bit of a video Valentine to the Troops and those that they hold close. The theme is pretty simple. Distance can be overcome by one's mind and dreams.

This one is set to "Here Without You" by 3 Doors Down.

The reduced (lesser quality) video is available through this link. It comes in just over 4 megs.

The non-reduced version can be seen through this link. If you've got the goods, go for it. It's a volumious 23 megs.

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Saturday, February 12, 2005

"By God, that woman wears pants"

Watching those card carrying members of the agenda driven media try to hang an albatross around the neck of Lt. General James N. Mattis is reminiscent of a departed great uncle of mine.

The Lt. General, you will recall was the Marine who let go of this little gem.

"Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling."


Followed by a nice healthy helping of:

"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

My great uncle was a coal miner his entire life. Much of his quality years were spent in less than ideal conditions, with less than perfect health consequences. It took a certain sort of determination and roughness to persevere. He was deaf as a door stop, and had a touch of black lung disease most of his 99 years. So, when he was in a public place that might not appreciate the full decibel brunt of his enhanced conversation he could have cared less. Great Uncle George used his “portable Walkman” voice out of necessity, not out of rudeness. Although, I believe his exact words in one flagrant conversation included the exclamation that “hearing aids were for old ladies and safe crackers.” I might have toned down his comments a tad. The man had a tendency to use expletives as adjectives.

He’d get some glances of disapproval when his voice carried across the parking lot, through the movie theater, or on the airliner. He saw the looks, and to be perfectly blunt in his own true essence, he didn’t give a good shit. He was plain spoken, loved a good joke, and didn’t mind reminding folks that life is a colorful experience that is best served sans earth tones.

He would have been on the phone to me the minute he read about the comments that came out of Lt. Gen. Mattis’ mouth. He would have been looking for some way to send the “jarhead” a case of the hometown brew from the Yuengling Brewery on Pottsville’s hillside. Nothing said “well done” like a case of Black and Tan in Great uncle George’s book. And, you had to do something he deemed worthy of recognition. That was no easy task.

My great uncle would have used one of his trademark lines had he been around to hear Lt. Gen. Mattis speak his mind.

“Now there’s a man who knows his God Damned job.”

Rough edges? Sure. But, Great Uncle George was one of the most decent men I’ve known. He didn’t have time for what he called “egg shell walkers.” He pulled me aside out of the blue one time at a relative’s birthday party and told me he had some advice for me. He’d had a couple beverages by that time, so I knew in advance that there wouldn’t be much of a buffer zone filtering out the crux. I’ll admit it now. I was his favorite nephew. So, by default, I was his well intentioned depository for aged wisdom.

Hand on my shoulder he looked me straight in the eye and gave it to me straight.

“If you say it…and you mean it…then damn it, make sure you sign your God Damned name to it.”

Great Uncle George would have liked the fact that Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis “signed” his God Damned name to it. Quite frankly, I think there are quite a few Marines who feel the same way.

That’s my take on the Lt. General’s comments. Kathleen Parker has her own take in the New Hampshire Union Leader. I like her view as well. Great uncle George might have offended her a bit in his take of her OpEd. However, she would have had to have known him to realize that his comments were a compliment and not a sexist attack. Great uncle George would have said, just a little louder than necessary…

By God, that woman wears pants.”

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Who done it?

There's and interesting piece in the Moscow Times today that takes a look at the possible suspects in the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko. Lot's of suspects, lots of theories…lots of boiled crayfish with a taste you can't quite place.
The focus seems to be around the security services of Ukraine and Russia. Also, there is a hint of a "mob" involvement, and , of course, business leaders with the most to lose financially.

The piece implies that Putin thinks that Yanukovych is directly involved.

Also, the poisoning was all over the news. However, less attention was paid to the attempted car bombing of Yushchenko. Apparently, on the eve of the runoff election the explosive laden vehicle was planted outside campaign headquarters.
" Two Russian citizens from the Moscow region were arrested in connection with the planned car bombing. Radio Liberty, citing police records, identified them as Mikhail Shugai, 35, and Marat Moskvitin, 33."

It's an astoundingly interesting read if cloak and dagger happens to be your bailiwick.


Probing the Plot to Poison Yushchenko
By Francesca Mereu
Staff Writer
Moscow Times
February 10, 2005


It was a clear September night when Yevhen Chervonenko left presidential hopeful Viktor Yushchenko healthy and in good spirits ahead of a secret meeting at a dacha near Kiev.

Chervonenko, at the time Yushchenko's head of security and now Ukraine's new transportation minister, said he usually went everywhere with Yushchenko and even tasted his food. But that night was an exception. Yushchenko was going to the dacha to dine with Ukrainian Security Service chief Ihor Smeshko and his deputy, Volodymyr Satsyuk.

"I was told that I was not required that night because the organizers wanted the meeting to be confidential," Chervonenko said in an interview.

Yushchenko's bodyguards also were not allowed to accompany him, he said. The only member of his team who went along was his campaign manager, David Zhvania. Yushchenko, who was already leading Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in the polls, had requested the Sept. 5 meeting to discuss the election campaign and death threats he had begun receiving in July. The men sat down for a meal of boiled crayfish, a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and corn and beer, followed by cold meats washed down with vodka and cognac.

The next day, Yushchenko fell seriously ill and his body was racked with pain, Chervonenko said. Slowly, a mask of bumps and cysts crept across his once-handsome face -- symptoms that he had ingested a dose of pure TCDD, the most hazardous dioxin, Vienna doctors later determined.
(continued)

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Fat Tuesday...Mardi Gras Mayhem



MARDI GRAS IN THE BIG EASY...



The final day of Mardi Gras is revving up. Enjoy the screen captures…or grab your own. You can hook into the Bourbon Street Cam via RealPlayer (with audio). Or, you can hook into the live photo refresh.

Heh…Live RealPlayer video on KaraokeCam from Mardi Gras (Cats Meow Bar)


True rubberneck entertainment...you can't look away. Sobriety would not help these folks...

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Monday, February 07, 2005

Davos Defeatists and the Democracy Dirge

I'm not too submerged in the controversial comments attributed to Eason Jordan related to "targeted journalists."

If he was foolish enough to make allegations without the proverbial qualifiers at the World Economic Summit in Davos, his day will come. There are a significant number of "pit bulls" out there with a good enough grip.
Accompanying the "pit bulls" you have the usual "poodles" saturating the issue in an effort to acquire links and blogroll entries. I suppose they serve the purpose of escalating the dispersion. However, most are adding nothing of value or substance. Such is the idiosyncrasy of the blogosphere.

I'm more concerned about the shallow defeatist attitude that transgressed in the "media" focused forums. If you took the time to review the summation of the events relative to the media you'd realize that the issues they chose to debate/discuss are a microcosm of their failings.

Jordan's notorious comments emerged out of a forum entitled "Will Democracy Survive the Media?" The very topic suggests that the media may or may not have the ability to overturn a concept of government representative of the people. The topic implies that the media pulls the strings, and the viewers dance. And, in the summary provided by the World Economic Forum, the answer to the question suggested in the forum's title in as resounding "no"; Democracy cannot survive the media.

Guess again my elitist friends.

Moderator David Gergen started off the discussion by making the assertion that the public is trivializing the press and becoming disengaged. For some reason, he takes that "apple", and comes up with the "orange" that as a result, the public will be less inclined to vote. He, further, stated that corporate owned media has evolved into a selective news service that won't cover certain parts of the world due to cost.

Congressman Barney Frank supported this view and stated, "Essentially there's less news." He went onto say that, "Reporters used to come to the city hall and that is a thing of the past. The biggest change is in the corporate ownership. People used to put out newspapers because they wanted to be journalists. Nobody is doing that these days; they do it because they want to make money. Papers are in a circulation race."

What's fascinating about this shared view is the total ignorance to the reason for a disengaging audience. While the media and politically influential are willing to concede a loss of focus from the various targeted demographics, they are unwilling to understand the motivation. They are disinclined to, even, make it a part of the discussion.

They can't understand that the public's trivializing of the media is direct and concrete evidence that Democracy is, indeed, surviving the media. The public has collectively decided that the media can't be trusted to provide a non-biased point of view. A majority of such media outlets have so abused their forum that the public has resorted to seeking an alternative in an effort to sort out factual information from source opinion.

Will Democracy survive the media? Hell, it already has. The main stream media is still convinced that this is a question yet to be answered. The simple fact of the matter is that technology and a human thirst for truth has rendered the question irrelevant. The answer has been a resounding "yes." The media, on the other hand, has not survived intact.

The public is in a Renaissance of sorts. Disgusted with the continued abuse of the media's implied trust, the public has, not remarkably, moved beyond the obstacle of limited sources. At first, it was the increased focus turned toward alternative news outlets. The creation of these outlets provided the ability to compare and contrast "hard news." What became apparent was editorializing over reporting, or withholding details so as to promote an agenda. As the alternative news market grew, so did the distrust of the main stream media. As the public started to become disengaged from the CNN's and the CBS's, they're interest percolated with vigor for the FoxNews', and the Town Hall's. So, in all honesty, the public has not disengaged itself from the media. They have, wisely, sought out a basis from which to filter out the tripe and formulate informed opinions.

Eason Jordan, also, uses the "corporate owned" competitors as his excuse for a dwindling viewership. Quite frankly, it's astounding that someone in such a prestigious and important position can fail to understand his actual competitor(s). In a separate forum (We're News, They're Propaganda 22.01.2004) Jordan explained in a simple sentence why CNN's ratings continue to plummet. He said he finds "objectivity and impartiality to be outdated, tired terms."

A news outlet that finds objectivity and impartiality to be outdated and tired is not a "news outlet." They become an opinion editorial functionary. They end up serving as a proxy group for an ideological assembly. In a Democracy, there is usually more than one ideological position. As a result of the obvious transference within the "news" reported by CNN, and overseen by an executive who suggests objectivity to be outdated, it is no wonder that the public has chosen to disengage. What magnifies this truism is the fact that the chosen proxy ideology of CNN (Jordan's charge) is, in fact, a minority held position.

When Congressman Frank states that people don't want to be journalists, but want to make money, he misses a full medium in his conclusion. He is missing the layman reporter. He is ignoring those that he claims to represent. From that collective evolves the most complete, knowledgeable, and diverse reporting base available. He fails to recognize that the public is more genuine, scrutinizing, and accountable than any media outlet. He discounts the opinion and fact collecting abilities his own constituency. Congressman Frank, and the rest of the Davos debutantes fail to understand that the public is an entity onto itself with resources far exceeding anything found on your satellite dish.

When Senator Daschle challenged vote monitoring in the eleventh hour of the last election, the public was not forced to rely on the reporting of the left leaning Associated Press. Instead, they had the opportunity to view a real time update from inside the courtroom delivered by the Daschle v. Thune blog. Granted, this blog had ties to the Thune campaign. However, the Associated Press failed to identify the witnesses presented by Daschle as having ties to Howard Dean. And, even if both entities held solid ideological positions, the fact remains that there was an alternative opinion from which to contrast and compare. This new ability allowed for the thinking public to make an informed opinion, as opposed to a forced opinion of indifference force fed by a monopolizing reporting entity.

Prior to this past general election, President Bush made a campaign stop in West Allis, Wisconsin where he announced to the crowd that President Clinton had been hospitalized for heart ailments. The Associated Press made issue of an ill behaved, booing response from the rally participants. However, the AP journalist, Scott Lindlaw (who had been singled out previously for his "cheap shots" at Bush by the Columbia Journalism Review), had concocted the story. Attendees and local television viewers/radio listeners immediately set to clarifying that it did not take place. Within hours of the AP filing the story, a retraction was issued. The alternative media in this circumstance amounted to many single individuals who just happen to hold computer accounts, blogs, and screen names to forums. Once again, the monopolizing of the news, and the enticement to shape it towards an agenda was railroaded by a public not willing to allow the media to derail democracy and accuracy.

Rathergate, while important in magnitude, by no means tells the whole story of the new medium. It is but one example in myriad examples. The fact that the blogosphere takes the main stream media to task on something as miniscule as "booing" should hearten anyone wary of an overbearing and ideological agenda driven press. Rathergate ended with the CBS getting caught trying to steal a "watermelon." The blogosphere, and it's worldwide beat of experts in every vocation and locale has gotten to the point to where the main stream media would be hard pressed to steal a single "grape." Congressman Frank fails to understand that each individual contributing, and consuming from that perspective is a journalist of sorts. They don't do it for the money. They do it better than those who do it professionally.


In the Davos circle jerk, the most prophetic, and worthy comments emerged from Abdullah Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan. How ironic is that? The newest members of the free world seem to grasp the concept of a free press better than those who have had over 200 years to abuse it. Abdullah noted, " The right of expression is now ensured for our citizens. We have 160 newspapers with only about 5 or 6 publicly supported," he said. "During the election there were debates going on that nobody would have believed possible a few years ago."

I don't think the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan would be willing to concede that the media will kill Democracy. No, the only ones willing to make that concession are those who have perverted a trusted position with ideology and minority agenda.

Their vanity in such a conclusion is only out distanced by their ignorance to what has revolutionized around them in the blogosphere.

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This Kid can Fly...


Yup, there was that Super Bowl thing.

However, Sunday had some real sports history from the “Holy crap” department taking place across the Ocean. The gentleman sporting the red, white & blue while simultaneously ripping every other country on the planet hails from the “windy city.”

Chicago native, Shani Davis, brought home the gold at the World All-around Speed Skating Championships in Moscow, Russia. Fellow American and last year’s World Champion, Chad Hedrick, pulled a close second, less than two tenths of a point off the pace. Incidentally, the US swept the top four spots in the 1,500 meter event. No country has accomplished that since the Soviet Union pulled it off in 1956.

Shani Davis is a name that might not be common place today. However, he’s got “Wheaties Box” written all over him.

Cathy Breitenbucher did a special for the Chicago Tribune back in January on Davis. As she put it:

No American man has participated in more than four Olympic speedskating events since Eric Heiden's historic five-gold Games in 1980.

No one has tried to skate both long-track and short-track events since short-track joined the Olympic schedule in 1988.

No African American has competed in an Olympic long-track event.

Davis has all the potential to bring home the gold in great capacity at the 2006 Turin Olympic Games. Sunday, he showed just what an amazing talent he is. When asked to explain why he subjects himself to such a punishing sport with an added bit of pain of competing in both long and short-track his answer is simple and to the point.

"I'm doing this because I've been doing it since I was 6 years old, and I'm good at it.”

Damn right he’s good at it. Today, his accomplishments and victory for the USA were in the shadow of the Super Bowl. Something tells me that isn’t going to be the norm in the future. This kid can fly.

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Religious & Moral Connecticut?

I keep hearing about the “Religious Right” and how those southern, red-neck, yahoo, Bible thumpers hi-jacked this past Presidential election.

Bullocks!! Connecticut, comparatively, is one of the most religious states in the Republic. Take the Super Bowl as an example.
While most of the rest of the country runs out late morning to grab their beer and varying adult libations for the game, Nutmeggers have to run out the night before. That’s right; we still have Blue laws on our books. There are no alcohol sales (with a few minor exceptions) on Sundays in Connecticut. During the week, we actually close down retail alcohol sales at 8PM. How’s that for religious intrusiveness?

Southern states such as Georgia and Virginia used to follow these archaic, yet divine, laws from above. However, those red-neck southern boys realized that this is the 21st century and have reached a higher plateau of sophistication. They erased them from the books. Connecticut, on the other hand, not only honors these religious binders, we invented them.

“Blue Law” originates from an anonymous pamphlet published back in 1762 titled “The Real Advantages Which Ministers and People May Enjoy, Especially in the Colonies, by Conforming to the Church of England.” The laws were, eventually, listed in another publication of 1782 titled “A General History of Connecticut.” The original version of these laws was to regulate public morality. They were, further, embellished by Anglican Samuel Peters who was ticked off because he got exiled from Connecticut for showing such allegiance to the British Crown.

As a result he exploited the Blue Laws in his writings from London to the extent of claiming regulated hair length, relationships, no running on the Sabbath, no walking in the garden on the Sabbath, and so on. Punishments for breaking these laws included excommunication, confiscation of property, fines, banishment, whipping, cutting off of the ears, burning of the tongue, or death.

Really? Not really.

Peters, as noted above, enjoyed showing Connecticut in a negative light. Also, he was a budding writer who wanted to be noticed. As they say in the main stream media these days, “if it bleeds it leads.” Little has changed. This becomes clearer when you add some of Peters’ other claims to the mix. According to the good Reverend, the Connecticut River flowed so fast in places that it could carry a crowbar downstream. He also described a procession of frogs, four miles in length that once descended upon the town of Windham. Not likely.

No one knows for sure why these religion dripping laws are called “Blue.” There are many assumptions. However, nothing concrete has come to light. The origin of the concept, however, has been nailed down. They are the work of the Connecticut based Puritans. Their simple, plain, and strict religious approach to life took root in the 1700’s and some of those original restrictions still hold water. At least, they still hold water in Connecticut, one of the most religious and morals forcing states in the country.

It’d be nice to be down south where they don’t let the church run your life and screw up your Super Bowl plans.

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Saturday, February 05, 2005

Grin & 'Bear' it...

The Vermon Teddy Bear Company recently agreed to remove the “Crazy for You” bear off their shelves. Apparently, it was just a bit too offensive for the Vermont chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and three other groups of similar focus.

The bear was the usual VTBC’s play on words and was produced as a standard teddy bear wearing a straight jacket. It was set for the Valentine’s Day rush when the politically correct brigade jumped into the fray. Such is life I suppose. The VTBC needs to keep a positive image to maximize sales. So, now it’s gone.

However, as Valentine’s Day approaches, might I suggest a expedited effort by the VTBC to produce the following?

The “Teddy Bear Kennedy" comes from our new ‘drunks and dullards’ collection. Our limited edition release has a computer chip that allows ‘Teddy’ to talk to you. But, listen carefully. He slurs, and keep him away from the bathtub…


Uh oh, it’s the “Barbara Boxer Bear." Also, in limited edition, BBB (as we call her) has a computer chip as well. She spouts and pouts, but not for long. Watch the metamorphosis into a victim when the elephant enters the room (sold separately). BBB debuts the new ‘Unconscionable Idiot’ collection.


For the serious collector we have the “Arafat Bear.” Yassie, as we like to call him doesn’t talk, but boy, does he smell. As a new entry into our classic ‘Digg’n in the Dirt’ collection , we honor Yassie’s new endeavor to feed the hungry. After all, worms and maggots build up a voluminous appetite.


Hot Dog!!! It’s our new release, the “Kerry Bear,” and he’s reporting for duty. This limited edition comes with a pair of flip flops and our state of the art computer chip. He’ll talk, but we have no idea what he’ll say. Neither does he. This one comes from our ‘Career Dissipation’ collection. Grab one now, he won’t be around next year.


Talk about a furry mass of folds and flab. Here’s our new entry into the ‘I sit on my brain’ collection. The “Michael Moore Bear” is a wad of stuffing and a marvel in fluffing. This limited edition holds a computer chip and an unbelievable appetite for junk food and fallacies. So, don’t tell any lies to your new found friend. He’ll use them in his next movie.


“Bear Clinton” is one of our new best sellers. Featuring removable pants and an uncontrollable libido, this little rascal fills out our ‘Gutter trash’ collection. We don’t recommend the big “Bear” for anyone under 18…and keep him away from the dolls.

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Friday, February 04, 2005

"One step closer...and the rabbit gets it"

Hunger strikes are amusing.

Maybe that's a callous statement to some folks. To me, they're entertaining. I am reminded of an old Bugs Bunny cartoon where the pugnacious hare is about to be overcome by his adversary. At the last second, Bugs pulls out a gun, holds it to his own head, and exclaims in desperation:

"One step closer and the rabbit gets it."
Five (5) Connecticut Death Row inmates are, currently, on a hunger strike in an attempt to bring attention to the belief that "isolation of living on death row is endangering their mental health."

Forgive me if I'm not overly enthusiastic about picking up their cause. In fact, someone who has committed such an egregious murder or capital offense that would lead to "Death Row" isn't 100% in possession of their marbles in the first place. Apparently, this "death row syndrome" is a theory that "solitary isolation can cause mental health problems and suicidal tendencies."

It breaks my heart to know that cold-blooded murderers are "suffering." Well, not really. In fact, I think the absolute best thing that could happen is that a murderer come full circle, recognize his/her failings, show true remorse for his/her actions, and convince everyone without doubt that they are truly rehabilitated. Then, I'd like to see them meet "Old Sparky" anyway. The more aware they are of the absolute value of life when theirs is snuffed out the better. The more regret they feel as the needle sinks in, the better. The moment they realize second chances are for carnival games, and high school dating, the better. Call me a sadist. Call me a heathen. Not a problem, I wear the badge with pride and prejudice.

Last week, Death Row inmate Michael Ross played the Appellate Court like a virtuoso when his number appeared to be coming up. He's had his date with the devil postponed more than a "Gun N Roses" concert of late. One of the allegations used to promote the Stay on the execution of Ross was, indeed, "death row syndrome." The premise was that "continued solitary confinement and living conditions contributed to Ross's decision to accept his death penalty."

However, follow me on the logic bus just for a sec. Five (5) of the seven (7) inmates on death row in Connecticut are concerned about their mental health as a result of solitary confinement. In order to address this health concern head on, they decide to stop accepting meals. Therefore, in order to protest a institutional decline in perceived mental health they are willing to apply a self-inflicted decline of their own physical health. Incidentally, two (2) of the inmates have declined to participate because they are diabetic. They did not want to "risk their lives" but support the effort.

Ironic, moronic, and sardonic redundancy if you ask me. Then again, I'm all for providing drinking water to cold-blooded murderers only if it rains the night before.

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Sunny Reaganite message greets a freed people

Well, Janet Albrechtsen has done it again. In her weekly installment for The Australian, she conjured up the “Gipper” and has me wishing that The New York Times would consider filling the William Safire void with a savvy Australian who wields an enlightened, yet deadly, pen.

I first stumbled across one of her columns just over two months ago. It was a great piece that I wish had filtered out of my pointy little head, for it reflected my very thoughts on outdated and exploited international law.
This latest column by Dr. Albrechtsen points out that it is not the focus of the coalition leaders to study the “flea.” They are more correctly interested in the “well being of the dog.” The journalists are enthralled by the moment, while a successful leader judges success by the bigger, more enduring picture. Dr. Albreshtsen is not graced with the countenance of various Democrat whiners of the United States on a regular basis. However, Australia has her own naysayer contingencies. In my opinion, many of these adversaries to the big picture, grab onto the “minutiae” provided it supports an emotional or tactical opposition, not to a substantive issue, but to a dislike of the other side of the aisle.

You’d be remiss to not take in this whole article; and Ronald Reagan’s theory of the Cold War. They’re both gems.

Sunny Reaganite message greets a freed people
02feb05


LAST year Peter Robinson, a former speechwriter to Ronald Reagan, recounted a conversation in 1977 between Reagan and Richard Allen, who would become Reagan's first national security adviser. Reagan asked if Allen would like to hear his theory of the Cold War.

"Some people think I'm simplistic," Reagan said, "but there's a difference between being simplistic and being simple. My theory of the Cold War is that we win and they lose. What do you think about that?"
(continued)

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Welcome Home !!!


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Known by the company you keep...


Rice Says U.S. Involvement Not Needed in EU-Iran Drive
Thu. 3 Feb 2005
Reuters


LONDON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday there was no need for U.S. involvement in European attempts to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program.
Her comments were likely to disappoint Europeans who would like the United States to throw greater weight behind its efforts to persuade Iran to give up nuclear activities in return for political and economic incentives.

"The Iranians know what they need to do. It's not the absence of anybody's involvement that is keeping the Iranians from knowing what they need to do," Rice told reporters en route to London for her first foreign trip as secretary of state.

"They need to live up to their obligations, they need to agree to verification inspection, they need to stop trying to hide activities under cover of civilian nuclear power."
(continued)

Beautiful (and I mean that with all sincerity).

The European Union is a lame duck in these “alleged negotiations.” Their inability to master the art of carrying Teddy Roosevelt’s “big stick” has rendered the EU impotent in any substantive efforts. The thought that discourse with Iran would lead to rational decision making for the “greater good” is naïve. More specifically, the EU has convinced itself that they are the voice of cerebral righteousness. They can’t understand when others don’t just abandon their own positions in favor of theirs. As a result, they never have a contingency in the event that words and letters just don’t get it done.

Any consideration by the United States to add their name to a list of Europe’s cabal would, immediately, render the US flaccid. Rather, it would appear as if President Bush is more content to give the appearance of “loose cannon” so that Iran is forced to fight back with the only ability they possess; strongly worded, over the top, boasts in their own State controlled media.

Just this week, the foreign branches of Halliburton and General Electric announced that they will take on no new contracts in Iran. These are two of the larger employers in that country. This will, further, destroy an, already, dismal domestic economy that hinges on 14+ inflation rates, 30% increases in basic commodities, and an almost, non-existent medical service industry. As the conditions worsen (and they will), those in desperate need will be emboldened. They will organize.

Additionally, the US has increased the rhetoric in support of the Iranian people taking matters into their own hands. Perhaps “rhetoric” is not the proper term. So far, the current administration has thrown few empty promises that weren’t backed up with actions. And, that is one of the primary differences between the US and the EU.

We carry a gargantuan stick. It’s parked just south of Iran’s border. However, there are 70 Million smaller sticks in country that are likely to carry a much more potent wallop.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

RSVP


"And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you."

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How to Snare a Rabbit...

Tonight's State of the Union address was instructional. I learned how to snare a rabbit.

First you throw out a little bait. For example, if your prey is known to hold certain proclivities that are obvious and transparent, you want to use that as an advantage. It makes your fare more predictable, and hence, easier to snare.
So, throw them a little bait. Such as:

“The system (Social Security), however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy. And so we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security. “
Ah yes, the “rabbit” responds just like you expected. The nose rises up, the ears shoot back, and a dramatic sense of agitation is portrayed. It’s not just body language. No, this “rabbit” verbally reacts with overt disdain. This is working better than expected.

We got’em now. They’ll never see it coming. They’re way too upset and focused on the bait. By God that rabbit looks like it wants to rip the cover off that bait. It’s instinctual. The rabbit is getting wound up, and any second now it’s going to pounce.

But wait. What’s all this then? The bait is…is…This can’t be! The damn bait is another damn rabbit.

“Some have suggested limiting benefits for wealthy retirees. Former Congressman Tim Penny has raised the possibility of indexing benefits to prices rather than wages.

During the 1990s, my predecessor, President Clinton, spoke of increasing the retirement age. Former Senator John Breaux suggested discouraging early collection of Social Security benefits. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended changing the way benefits are calculated.

All these ideas are on the table. I know that none of these reforms would be easy. But we have to move ahead with courage and honesty, because our children's retirement security is more important than partisan politics. I will work with members of Congress to find the most effective combination of reforms.

I will listen to anyone who has a good idea to offer. We must, however, be guided by some basic principles. We must make Social Security permanently sound, not leave that task for another day. We must not jeopardize our economic strength by increasing payroll taxes.”

Tim Penny, Bill Clinton, John Breaux, and Patrick Moynihan are/were all Democrats. President Bush took the wind out of the sails of the most charged issue within his State of the Union Address by throwing the Democrats a “lettuce hand grenade.” Each of these politicians dwell on the other side of the aisle. Each of these politicians has suggested the very same warnings of the future of Social Security that President Bush made when he stated that SS is “headed towards bankruptcy.” This was a buzz word for the Democratic Party to make some noise of negativity…in the middle of a State of the Union address.

It took ten paragraphs and a tennis match of partisan displays of being before President Bush showed the hypocrisy of those Democrats determined to take their political leanings to a hallowed venue. When he used Democrats (alive and dead, respected and partisan in their own right) as his examples…his only examples of varying ideas on a problem that requires attention, he snared his rabbit.

They sat patiently, and patently through the remainder of the speech wishing they had stayed buried in their nice warm hole.

And it wasn’t over yet. Once you have snared your rabbit, there is the unpleasant task of skinning the critter. President Bush had a very sharp and dutiful knife for just such an occasion. Want to see it?

"Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to federal employees, because you already have something similar, called the Thrift Savings Plan, which lets workers deposit a portion of their paychecks into any of five different broadly based investment funds.

It is time to extend the same security, and choice, and ownership to young Americans. Our second great responsibility to our children and grandchildren is to honor and to pass along the values that sustain a free society. So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith, and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them."
Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy your Hasenpfeffer. It was caught, prepared, and served by a master this evening. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert. There’s plenty.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Perfect World Policeman

I still have to chuckle to myself when I recall the out and out adversarial flare between the Eastern bloc and the United States back in the 70's and 80's. I don't recall the same atmosphere in the 60's only because of my focus back then was Freeze Pops, and cartoons.

So, when I see a piece like the one excerpted below printed in prominence by an independent defense analyst based in Moscow I gain that sly grin again. Seeing it as a feature in the Moscow Times seems surreal.

Pavel Felgenhauer takes a stab at world events in this OpEd that, in my opinion, finds the target. He makes reference to "A Perfect World Policeman" which doubles as the byline to his thoughts. As I started to read, it was my assumption that he was referring the United States in whole.

He wasn't.

Instead, Felgenhauer pays homage to the real "policeman;" the United States Military. He totes the flexibility, the might, the leadership, the training, and the morale. And, most importantly, he regards their endeavors with admiration to the extent that he states:


"The U.S. military is the only hope left today that nuclear weapons united with ballistic missiles will not eventually fall into the hands of the likes of Hussein."

How can that not bring a smile to the face of any American Serviceman/Servicewoman? How can that not invoke the least bit of pride in those at home who support their undertakings? Our most prevalent antagonist over a period of 40 some years spent that entire time being force-fed the opinion of the State. Their efforts demonized the United States in the minds of their audience.

It's 16 years later and, now, the most widely read newspaper in the center of the ex-Communist bastion of propaganda has a free opinion piece looking to the United States military to bring'r home.

I just have to chuckle. Upstairs, Ronald Wilson Reagan is probably chuckling too. Then again, when was he not?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
A Perfect World Policeman
By Pavel Felgenhauer
Moscow Times


Millions of Iraqis lined up to vote in the country's first multiparty elections this Sunday. The American-led invasion in 2003, which was opposed by Russia and several European countries, in less than two years has been followed by the first genuine step towards democracy in Iraq.

If the antiwar protests and the antiwar coalition in the United Nations had managed to stop the invasion, Saddam Hussein would still be in power today. UN bureaucrats and government officials from the antiwar nations would have continued to collect hefty bribes under the oil-for-food program.

However, the will and determination of U.S. President George W. Bush prevailed, and today we live in a very different world. Neither Bush nor his advisers contemplated fully the consequences of going into Iraq. Military might and firm political will was combined with inadequate intelligence, yet the combination produced a decision that has nevertheless positively affected the lives of millions of people.
(continued

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