The Therapy Sessions
Monday, December 29, 2003
Poor Choice Of Words
Or maybe it is an apt choice of words:
NEW YORK — Michael Jackson (search) says he was manhandled by authorities when arrested last month on child molestation charges -- and suffered a dislocated shoulder from the way he was handcuffed.
My Thoughts Exactly
I hope it wasn't photoshopped:
(Thanks to Tim Blair)
UPDATE:It wasn't faked! The Post covers the story here:
Either way, giddy rival campaigns see a metaphor. The image could be the most damaging since Kerry was captured nibbling at a cheese steak in Philadelphia after requesting Swiss cheese.
I've generally thought that Kerry suffers from a disease that seems to afflict Democrats in high numbers: Opinionpollitis - saying anything that seems popular only to be trapped by your words when public opinion sways.
You can love George W. Bush or hate him. You can think he is an evil strategist or a bumbling idiot or both (somehow). But when Bush says we will stay in Iraq until the job is complete, he means it. That's principle, and in a leader it is vitally important - particularly when it comes to national security. When he says he plans to cut taxes or ignore dumb ideas from France, he is serious.
Unfortunately, when it comes to government spending, his principles are just wrong.
But since when were Democrats known for cutting government spending?
He has taken their key issue (vote for me and I'll send you money from the treasury!) and made it his own.
Too bad it's such a shitty issue.
Sunday, December 28, 2003
I found the cure to anti-Americanism: Come to Poland.
After two years of traveling almost exclusively to Western Europe and the Middle East, Poland feels like a geopolitical spa. I visited here for just three days and got two years of anti-American bruises massaged out of me. Get this: people here actually tell you they like America — without whispering. What has gotten into these people? Have all their subscriptions to Le Monde Diplomatique expired? Haven't they gotten the word from Berlin and Paris? No, they haven't. In fact, Poland is the antidote to European anti-Americanism. Poland is to France what Advil is to a pain in the neck. Or as Michael Mandelbaum, the Johns Hopkins foreign affairs specialist, remarked after visiting Poland: "Poland is the most pro-American country in the world — including the United States."
What's this all about? It starts with history and geography. There's nothing like living between Germany and Russia — which at different times have trampled Poland off the map — to make Poles the biggest advocates of a permanent U.S. military presence in Europe. Said Ewa Swiderska, 25, a Warsaw University student: "We are the small kid in school who is really happy to have the big guy be his friend — it's a nice feeling."
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
The Implications Of Libya
Here's Javier Solana, talking about Libya giving up its WMD programs:
"It clearly proves that diplomacy can win over proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons," added Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy representative.
Clearly. Or it at least it was clear to me, until I heard Gadhafi's take on things:
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, in an exclusive interview with CNN, acknowledged Monday that the war in Iraq may have played a role in his decision to dismantle his country's weapons of mass destruction programs.
And poor France:
France mixed its praise of British and American diplomacy with an appeal for Tripoli to rapidly conclude negotiations on compensation for the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner over Niger that killed 170 people.
Diplomacy is useless unless it is backed by a clear willingness to use force. Bismarck said it best: war is diplomacy by other means.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan (search) has a message for those who have the impression that he and the world body are slanted against U.S. interests — "I'm not anti-American."
Annan, in an exclusive interview with Fox News, called that characterization unfair and unfortunate.
He still doesn't get it.
It doesn't matter if Annan is anti-American, pro-American or the Easter Bunny.
He is irrelevant.
The UN - the world body that at the very least was supposed to provide a semblance of security in dangerous world - had an opportunity with Iraq. It looked at a murderous tyrant -guilty of killing millions, threatening the stability of a key region, manufacturing frightening weaponry, and thumbing his nose at the world - and it blinked.
It did more than blink. The UN said, in effect, Saddam Hussein is fine with us.
Well, it wasn't fine with the US voter.
And it was US support that gave the UN ANY degree of legitimacy.
The UN will still have a role, but as the arbriter of international disputes, they are through.
Bye bye, UN, you bunch petty tyrants and thieves. Turn the lights off after you get done screaming about the wicked Jews.
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Be Nice To The Tyrant!
The BBC outdoes itself: Be polite to Mr Saddam
BARMY BBC bosses have banned reporters from calling tyrant Saddam Hussein a former dictator.
Instead, staff must refer to the barbaric mass murderer as “the deposed former President”.
The astonishing edict was seized on by MPs last night as more proof of a Left-wing bias inside the BBC against the Iraqi war.
So That's Why He Turned To A Life Of Crime
Texas drops Web list of prisoners' last meals
Last meals on Texas' death row never were haute cuisine, but for many Web browsers, they held a morbid fascination....
....Where viewers once could learn that Houston killer Richard Head Williams, executed last winter, dined on two chili cheese dogs, two cheeseburgers, two orders of onion rings, french fries, chocolate cake, apple pie, butter pecan ice cream, egg rolls, one peach and three Dr Peppers, they now will see more features on prison workers and programs presented in a lively, user-friendly format.
Now let's see...What would a 3rd grade sense of humor do to a boy with a name like Richard Head Williams? Richard Head.....hmmmm.
That poor man had a tortuous childhood. He was probably ready to be a murderer by the time he hit junior high...
Friday, December 19, 2003
Who Knew? Toothlessness In Appalachia?
Tooth study leaves few in Appalachia smiling
There was nothing for the older folk of Appalachia to smile about after the government released its latest study of toothlessness among the elderly, which found the region leading the nation in tooth-loss.
Kentucky and West Virginia have the highest percentage of older adults missing all their natural teeth according to data collected in 2002 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One Dumb Witch Doctor
What an idiot!
A traditional doctor in central Nigeria has been shot dead by a patient who was testing the potency of an anti-bullet charm the herbalist had prepared for him, police told AFP.
Ashi Terfa died when patient Umaa Akor fired a gun at his head two weeks ago in south-central Benue state, police spokesman Bode Fakeye said Wednesday.
"Akor went for an insurance against bullets and contacted Terfa to prepare it for him," he said.
"To confirm its efficacy, the herbalist tied the charm around his neck and insisted that Akor should fire a gun at him. The experiment proved fatal for the herbalist and his skull was shattered," he added. "He died immediately".
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Satellite Radio Rules
Satellite Radio Extends Its Orbit
RADIO is awesome, isn't it? It's free, it's on whenever you want it, and you can choose from among eight or 10 stations. About the only people who could possibly complain about it, in fact, are people who have to listen to it.
They'll tell you that the music you hear on the radio is mostly the same cloying pop junk, played over and over. That 20 minutes of every hour is ads, played over and over. And that as you drive, the signal comes and goes with the territory.
Two years ago, two companies - XM and Sirius - came up with the same solution: pay radio. Each went to the trouble of blasting private satellites into orbit. Each beams 100 channels of clean, static-proof digital sound down to XM and Sirius receivers in the cars and home stereos of monthly subscribers.
So why would people pay for radio, when they have a free alternative?
Because satellite radio is fantastic - a cultural source unlike any other. It's so addictive, the Sirius manual actually refers to its customers as "users."
My thoughts exactly. I love my XM!
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Albright's Knee Slapper
You just knew her rapier-like wit would get her in trouble someday:
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright insisted Wednesday that she was just kidding when she wondered aloud whether the Bush administration is holding Usama bin Laden captive, waiting to break him out at the best political moment.
The Perfect Last Minute Gift For The Insomniac On Your Christmas List
And it is sure to sell out fast! U.N. Launches CD-ROM for Fun, Education
The United Nations on Wednesday launched what it billed as a fun CD-ROM aimed at the "six to 96 age group" to spread knowledge of how the organization works.
The $10 disc, "Discover the U.N. and Have Fun" is to go on sale in U.N. bookshops and information centers around the globe.
Your tax dollars at work.
Dennis Kucinich, Financial Genius
From the Post:
Clark's net worth is far less than the assets of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who, with his wife, is worth an estimated $500 million. According to news accounts, the net worth of other Democratic candidates ranges from $13 million to $60 million for Sen. John Edwards (N.C.); $2.2 million to $5 million for former Vermont governor Howard Dean; and $2,000 to $32,000 for Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio).
The man must be a financial retard. Last I checked, the salary for a member of the House of Representatives was about $150,000 a year.
This is math problem: How shitty do you have to be in managing your finances on that income to be left with only $2000 - $32,000 in value at the end of the day?
I mean, he has to have bought something - anything! - that did not immediately lose all its value. This being Kucinich, it might not be a car (it would be fitting if he always took the train). But you can't blow $150,000 a year on hookers, booze and vegan food! (Can you?). Didn't he ever buy a house? Ever? Even in Ohio?
This guy doesn't have two nickels to rub together and he wants to manage the federal budget!
Maybe it has something to do with all those ex-wives....
Monday, December 15, 2003
Successfully Stopping Santa
What a bunch of killjoys the ACLU is!
The ACLU has successfully stopped Santa from visiting public schools in Baldwin, Kan., because his presence constitutes illegal proselytizing by the school, reports the Baldwin City Signal.
After receiving a letter of complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union, the school board there voted to put a stop to the nefarious activities and said it will re-examine how it treats all religious holidays in the schools.
The ACLU complained that in a visit to an elementary school last year, Santa gave out candy canes and asked the kids why Christmas is celebrated. The kids had the nerve to pop up and answer Jesus’ birthday.
Throw those kids in the slammer and teach them some tolerance!
Saddam denies WMD! CNN says. Well, that settles it! He never had 'em. But CNN doesn't say that this tidbit was nestled in with several other obvious falsehoods:
The men then asked Mr. Hussein about events in his nearly 35 years in power that officials in the United States and elsewhere cite in accusing the former ruler. They cited these examples:
Asked about the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in the northern Iraqi town of Halabja in 1988, in which an estimated 5,000 people were killed, Mr. Hussein said, according to his visitors, that this was the work of Iran, at war with Iraq at the time.
Asked about the mass graves of tens of thousands of Iraqis uncovered since Mr. Hussein was toppled from power in the American-led offensive this spring, Mr. Rubaie said Mr. Hussein answered: "Ask their relatives. They were thieves, and they ran away from the battlefields with Iran and from the battlefields of Kuwait."
Asked why he invaded Kuwait in 1990, provoking the American-led assault on Iraq the next year, he said Kuwait was rightfully a part of Iraq.
Just Keep Telling Yourself That!
The Inquirer keeps repeating falsehoods, if only to assure itself that it was right:
President Bush justified his decision to topple Hussein by accusing the dictator of continuing banned programs to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and of cooperating with al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.
No evidence has been found substantiating those allegations, fueling accusations that Bush and his top aides exaggerated the threat from Hussein to bolster public support for the war.
No evidence has been found? The Kay Report showed that the WMD programs were still there, and were being concealed from the world. No stockpiles were found, of course, but the scientists, the labs and the documentation could have begun producing them the minute sanctions against Iraq had been lifted. This was Saddam's hope (and it was also France's desire).
And the Inquirer's own news staff reported on the leaked Senate Intelligence Committee Memo (which is now archived and lost to the world, but here is the same story), which detailed Saddam's connections to Al Qaeda.
And then there's this:
Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist.
Details of Atta's visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
But there's NO EVIDENCE! NO EVIDENCE!
Sunday, December 14, 2003
All I Want for Christmas is my two front - nah! I'll take this: U.S. believes Saddam captured.
Friday, December 12, 2003
Hard Boozing Aussies
A leading Australian politician apparently stole a number of bottles of wine, imbibed their contents, and then assailed a fellow senator, calling her a "f--ing bitch" in parliament. Hand-wringing Aussies have subsequently re-examined their country's leaders' fondness for a drink or two. I liked this story:
In a recent book, journalist Mungo MacCallum recounted a trip the then prime minister, [John Gorton] took to Melbourne in a VIP aircraft after a hard day in Parliament.
"He chose to unwind with a few drinks on the plane, some pre-dinner cocktails at the Sheraton, some wines, a port or two and the odd palate cleanser before being wheeled back to Tullamarine for the flight back to Canberra.
"He decided on a little nap, but on waking with the engines thrumming in his ears was so queasy he threw up in the aisle. A stewardess arrived to clean up the mess and Gorton turned on the legendary charm: 'Well, my dear,' he grinned, 'I suppose you're surprised that an old RAAF man like me can still get airsick?' But for once he was out done; the stewardess replied cheerfully: 'I am actually, Prime Minister, because the plane hasn't taken off yet."
(Thanks to Andrew Sullivan)
The Inquirer Soils Itself Again
The Geneva Accords: A worthy wager, not an act of treason
How would the Inquirer feel about a peace treaty between the US and Al Qaeda, negotiated by Dennis Kucinich and Crown Prince Abdullah?
I'm scared to imagine the Inquirer's reaction to such a thing. I would hope they would say that a nation's representatives should be elected by the nation they represent.
The Inquirer loves to hear the Palestinian promises, allowing this sweet music to drown out rational thought:
Behold! The Palestinians are promising to "renounce terrorism." Didn't they make that same promise at Oslo in 1993?
The Palestinian problem has never been making promises.
It has been keeping them.
What part of "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech" didn't they understand? Key Parts of Campaign Finance Law Upheld
WASHINGTON - A divided Supreme Court upheld the broadest restrictions on campaign donations in nearly 30 years Wednesday, ruling the nation is better off with limits on the financial influence of deep-pocket donors even if money never can be divorced from politics.
Rooting out corruption, or even the appearance of it, justifies limitations on the free speech and free spending of contributors, candidates and political parties, the court said in a 5-4 decision.
This law is a disaster. It protects incumbents and makes it harder to get rid of them (soft money donations tend to be targeted at districts where incumbents face a challenge).
And it will confuse the political landscape, as candidates turn to special interest groups to get their message out, instead of just telling people directly on the televison. The speical interest groups now have to do so without mentioning a candidate's name.
What exactly does this mean?
Under those limits, groups such as the Sierra Club or the National Rifle Association may run ads about specific candidates within 60 days of a general election only if the ads were paid for with money from donors whose identities have been disclosed to the Federal Election Commission.
Are these people unaware that money is fungible? It doesn't tell us where it came from! All kinds of avenues of corruption are opened up here.
And the most damning evidence of all! The Inquirer likes it, but predicts that many more "reforms" will be needed.
I hate TV ads as much as anyone, but this is ridiculous.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Message Received, Loud And Clear
It is vital that our determination in Iraq be understood in every corner of the Arab world. Such resolve emboldens our friends (and we have many friends in Iraq) and it terrifies our enemies.
This Kuwaiti editor seems to have gotten the message:
The United States is not going to quit. Instead, it will convert poles of Jihadi flags into arrows to pierce the hearts of terrorists - who ultimately will be consigned to the dustbin of history.
Say It Ain't So!
George Clinton a drug user? I never saw that coming!
But there it is:Funkmeister George Clinton arrested
This Is Big News?
Al Gore to endorse Howard Dean
No word yet on the crucial endorsements from Mondale and Dukakis.
Glad To Have You Aboard, Matt
Matthew Miller, a liberal columnist:Dems in disarray over Medicare
The missing voice. At this crucial juncture, there is simply no voice for generational equity and fiscal sanity in American politics. The bill's $400 billion over 10 years - which all sides know is just a down payment on seniors' drug costs - is all being borrowed from our children.
Who says younger taxpayers should be footing most of the bill for non-poor seniors when there are already $25 trillion in unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare today? Not to mention 44 million uninsured, and a host of other unmet needs for Americans who happen not to be senior citizens.
Put another way, what will non-poor seniors' food bills be over the next decade? Or clothing bills? Should younger workers be expected to fund most of those as well?
Speak Up, NYT!
The New York Times chastises everyone involved in flu vaccine selection and production, copping a know-it-all attitude and typical Times arrogance: How Not to Pick a Flu Vaccine
What are their suggestions for improvement? They offer none.
They acknowledge that the selection of strains had to occur in March to allow time for production, and that adding the difficult to produce Fujian A strain was very likely to cause huge delays that might leave the country facing this flu outbreak with no vaccine at all.
They moan about the vaccine shortage, but I've never seen them eager to reimburse companies in years when flu vaccine demand is overestimated, and they are left with millions of unused and outdated doses.
In short, all they are doing is bitching that the world's not perfect.
And these are the geniuses that think Medicare and Social Security need to be further expanded.
Sunday, December 07, 2003
The Mind Reader
I figured it out, but only after some frustration! Try it. It's pretty cool!
(thanks to Gooseneck).
Saturday, December 06, 2003
Wal-Mart Invades, and Mexico Gladly Surrenders
The company that ate America is now swallowing Mexico.
Wal-Mart, the biggest corporation in the United States, is already the biggest private employer in Mexico, with 100,164 workers on its payroll here as of last week. Last year, when it gained its No. 1 status in employment, it created about 8,000 new positions Â nearly half the permanent new jobs in this struggling country.
Wal-Mart's power is changing Mexico in the same way it changed the economic landscape of the United States, and with the same formula: cut prices relentlessly, pump up productivity, pay low wages, ban unions, give suppliers the tightest possible profit margins and sell everything under the sun for less than the guy next door.
Don't the Mexicans understand how EVIL Wal-Mart is?
The New York Times knows.
In truth, I'm a big - though skeptical - fan of Wal-Mart. Whenever anyone tells me that Wal-Mart is competing unfairly by undercutting the little guy, I remind them that this is exactly what they were saying about Sears in 1920.
Capitalism is wonderful because no one stays king of the hill for long. Sears - once the biggest retailer in America - has now been driven to distant fourth, and it may face bankruptcy.
And Wal-Mart itself - the invincible - is showing signs of vulnerability. More focused retailers are eating its lunch by offering more variety in key areas.
If you want to do home repairs, you don't go to Wal-Mart, you go to Home Depot. If you want cookware, you go to Bed, Bath and Beyond. If you want stereo equipment, you go to Best Buy.
Wal-Mart can't compete on variety with more specialized retailers. And it knows it. After all, shelf space is finite - even in a Super Store.
So they have to provide goods that are cheaper than the competition. But the competition is matching Wal-Mart's prices on the high end stuff. Wal-Mart is forced to go low end.
But, at a certain point, you get what you pay for. Customers don't like sacrifice quality to get a lower price.
Am I the only one who has noticed that the qulaity of Wal-Mart's merchandise has been dropping? The clothes are even trashier than usual, the housewares are low end and the electronics are low quality.
Wal-Mart is still a great place to stock up on toilet paper, but for more expensive things, I go elsewhere.
I believe eventually that Wal-Mart will follow K-Mart's lead.In the early eighties, "K-Mart" became synonymous with "cheap." Its fate was sealed.
I think Wal-Mart will find it hard to avoid the same fate.
Who Would Have Thought? Hunting Works!
Amid much debate, Pennsylvania revised hunting regulations to let hunters thin out the huge deer herds in Pennsylvania parks. This decision was greeted throughout much of the state with a shrug.
In Philadelphia, it was hugely controversial. Hunting was crueler than starvation and it wouldn't work, activists said. They have tried to prevent ANY hunting in Fairmount Park and Valley Forge, both infested with herds of starving deer.
Listen up, Philly:
The next day, teams of wildlife officials started dropping in on hundreds of butchers across the state. Working on bloody barrels in freezing coolers, they tried to determine whether the deer brought in for processing into steaks and sausage were any different than last year. They had hoped that the males would be older, meaning they had lived longer and grown larger.
'I've never seen anything like it,' said wildlife biologist Gary Alt. Bucks at least two years old made up more than half the deer Alt examined at butchers in Wayne and Pike Counties. That compared with 15 percent in past seasons, he said, when the vast majority of kills were yearlings.
The early numbers surprised even Alt, who drew up and heads the Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer-management program and who spent thousands of hours persuading skeptical lawmakers - and their powerful hunting constituency - to give it a try.
Friday, December 05, 2003
Campaign Finance Reform Silliness
NBC affiliates may not show Sharpton on 'SNL.'
Why, it must be censorship!
It sure is:
The candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination has agreed to host the 90-minute comedy show this weekend but his appearance will trigger federal rules regarding equal time for political candidates.
It could also cause headaches for NBC affiliates in states where Sharpton is already on the ballot.
I loathe Sharpton. But if SNL wants him as a host, I believe that is their right (I won't be watching, but I never watch).
The feds should stay out of it.
My Inquirer Letter
They finally published one:
Your children will pay
Now that Medicare is being expanded, fiscal conservatives have two non-choices out there: bigger government and much bigger government.
Enjoy those drugs, seniors! That money is coming out of my son's paycheck.
You should probably thank him. Where does he work? He doesn't work. He's 3 years old.
Oh, don't worry, and please don't feel any guilt. His brother is chipping in, too. He's 6 months old.
I'll try to raise them to be good workers, but it might be hard telling them not to cheat on their taxes.
Thursday, December 04, 2003
The Top Ten Muslim-American Occupations
From the Philly Inquirer:Tuning in to connect
Corporate Manager 6%
Small Business Owner 4%
Admin. Assistant 3%
What? No airline pilots?
Maybe Philly Mayor Street Isn't That Bad...
Check out the Big Man in Detroit!
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Jimmy Inserts A Foot Into His Mouth
Informal Peace Plan for Mideast Is Unveiled in Geneva:
Mr. Carter, defeated in his quest for re-election by Ronald Reagan in 1980, speculated that 'had I been elected to a second term, with the prestige and authority and influence and reputation I had in the region, we could have moved to a final solution.'
For once, the man is 100% right.
Monday, December 01, 2003
A Silver Lining?
Pay attention, Dubya::
We'd add that Social Security reform becomes even more important to Mr. Bush's Presidency and his political coalition in the wake of the Medicare giveaway. Republicans are bragging that by giving seniors a vast new entitlement they will sweep to victory in 2004. But the price of that 'victory' has those of us who believe in limited government wondering what difference there is between the two parties.
Please let this be the end of this protectionism silliness.
Saddam Was No Threat!
Yes, Saddam had learned his lesson from Gulf War I, and he was deeply contrite about all the violations of the Gulf War ceasefire. He was looking forward to good relations with his neighbors, and all of those scientists studying obscure diseases like Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever were only looking for a cure. He felt bad about all the people in the mass graves, and he was not planning on killing any more. He was looking forward to being welcomed back into the peaceful world, as a reliable friend and a global partner.
And then the US came along, removing him from power for no reaseon at all! Evil warmongering Americans!
Oh yeah, and Saddam - ever the curious intellectual - was looking to develop a space program too!
What else would Saddam do with rocket production lines?