Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Syria and the war on terror

I think this is great news, as we really should have bombed the snot out of these a**holes years ago...

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/24/us.syria/index.html

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Syrian government has halted all cooperation with the United States in sharing information about the war on terror, Syria's ambassador said Tuesday.
Imad Moustapha told CNN that Syria's decision came in the wake of recent "unfair and inaccurate" statements by U.S. officials that Damascus was allowing foreign fighters to cross Syria's border to aid in the insurgency in Iraq.
"This is actually the state of the affairs. Today, we are not cooperating with the United States," Moustapha told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
At the same time, Syria is still willing to work with the United States on security issues, he said.
"We're not saying we will not do this anymore," Moustapha said. "We are saying that this is not happening today because of this state of affairs between us and the United States."
He added, "We are trying to tell the United States we are willing to engage with you constructively. We want a good relationship with you, but you have to stop this unfair media campaign against Syria, because we think it is unfair and it is unconstructive."
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said U.S. officials had met with Syrians on an array of issues -- from cutting off suspected terror financing to stopping Iraqi border infiltration -- but Damascus "didn't carry through in any consistent way."
"We look for them to take real action," Boucher said. "We look for them to cooperate in practical terms with us and especially with neighbors like Iraq."
He said Syria is "out of step with the region," and said Damascus has been trying to undermine efforts in Iraq and Lebanon as well as "the progress the Palestinian people are trying to make."
Relations between Washington and Damascus have been strained for years.
Moustapha said that in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Syrian government provided the United States with a "wealth of information on al Qaeda," including "actionable information" that Moustapha said helped prevent two terrorist attacks.
He said Syria has worked hard on securing its borders to try to prevent fighters from entering Iraq.
"When the United States publicly expressed that they were unsatisfied with our efforts, we said to them, 'This is what we are doing, and we are very transparent and clear on this. However, we invite you to engage with us. Let us work together on securing these borders.'"
Moustapha said Syria has also fully withdrawn from Lebanon -- pulling out both its military personnel and intelligence apparatus. A U.N. report released on Monday said it could not conclude with certainty that the Syrian intelligence agents have fully withdrawn as called for in U.N. resolution 1559. (Full story)
Moustapha said the U.N. report was made under pressure from the United States.
"Categorically and clearly we have withdrawn every single Syrian official from Lebanon," Moustapha said. "Whether he's in the army, in the intelligence, or with any other relation to those two organizations, there are no Syrians in Lebanon today that represent the army or the intelligence.
"This is absolute."

There's a great article on South Park Conservatives over at NRO , a term used to describe a growing group on the Right that embraces pop culture, isn't offended by off color language (but won't let their kids watch) and, surprise of all surprises, has a sense of humor.
There's a mention of the growing conservative film movement and our friends over at the Liberty Film Festival as well.

I've said before here that I think the Right tends to think that anything in the media that isn't Liberal is thus Conservative. Brian Anderson over at NRO makes the point that this isn't the case. A show like South Park, which has a pretty strong anti-Liberal bent, isn't Conservative, but Conservatives have embraced it as one of the few programs available that actually criticize some of the same things we do on a daily basis.

Plus...as Brian suggests....somwhere along the line we developed a sense of humor, and thus laugh at stuff if it's funny, regardless of the target.

Now...if I can just get my wife to let me watch South Park from time to time...

Lionel Tate and Florida justice

Remember Lionel Tate? He's the 12 year old from Florida who killed a 6 year old little girl. The Tate defense was that he was simply imitating pro wrestling moves and things got out of hand. His mom refused a deal that would have had him tried as a juvenile, then, much to her chagrin, a jury found Lionel guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison. Anyway, his conviction was overturned and he was given one year of home confinement and credited with 3 years of time served.

Where is he today? Drumroll, please...

He was arrested yesterday in Pembroke Park, FL for pulling a gun on a pizza delivery guy. By the way, he had been arrested back in September '04 when cops found him late at night with a knife in his pocket. The tough Florida judiciary added 5 years to his probation for the September incident.

On the latest arrest, Tate's attorney Richard Rosenbaum said. "I heard he jacked a pizza delivery guy, which I can't believe happened. I'm shocked and appalled."

I'm appalled, but not shocked. I guess there were no warning signs? I don't see how Tate doesn't go to prison for the rest of his life now. Stay tuned...

See my earlier post on the state of affairs in Florida. Sorry Jeb...you gotta take a little heat for all this.

Friday, May 20, 2005

No ties for Father's Day, thank you...


Father's Day 2005 Posted by Hello

order here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000E6GHI/qid=1116614229/sr=8-3/ref=pd_csp_3/104-6920062-6003134?v=glance&s=kitchen&n=507846

Lucas and the VC lie...

George Lucas has been busy giving interviews and it's no secret he has an anti-Bush bias. I'm ok with that, I mean, hey, this is America. There's room for that. But here's what I don't get...

Over at the Libertas Blog , I kind of found out for the first time that Lucas had envisioned the Rebel alliance, along with the Ewoks, as the Viet Cong in their fight against America.

Well, comparing a bunch of stone age teddy bears on steroids with an enemy like the VC is a tremendous insult to the many Vietnam Veterans who served and died for the cause of Freedom. Think about it...how many US servicemen in Vietnam were killed when a log on a vine hit them in the head? Now, how many were killed by surface to air missiles? How many were killed with AK-47s? How many were killed by land mines and hand grenades?

It's not that Star Wars has an anti-Bush theme that bothers me, but this worship of an enemy that bears no truth to Lucas' vision.

But let's put on our Right Wind Dad hats and analyze the Ewoks...maybe they are more like the VC that the many Vietnam Veterans in this country would recognize...

1. They worshiped a robot with a divine attraction. That makes sense. Communism can be described as robotic, with no heart. And if C3P0 were to have never been in a Star Wars movie, would anyone have cared? Nope. Just like Communism. A useless addition to the world politic.
2. The Ewoks were incredibly violent. When they first met the Star Wars heroes, their first inclination was to eat them. Similar to the VC yet again.
3. The Ewoks also had their own TV show for a little bit, which was a total failure. Again, how many Communist governments are there today???

It's ok to be anti-Bush. It's ok to be against the war in Iraq and the war on Terror. It's ok to have different ideas on how to make this country, and the world, safe.

But let's get one thing straight...the VC were not a rag tag, cuddly group of freedom fighters on a quest to rid Vietnam of evil. There were many mistakes the US made in Vietnam, but that does not remove the barbarity of the VC or the atrocities that were committed by them on the people of Vietnam especially, and on the United States secondarily.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Jon Corzine joins the blogs...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/featuredposts.html#a000451

this is really too much...this is from his post on The Huffington Post...

My name is Jon Corzine, and I’m one of the two US Senators who represents the state of New Jersey. Most people don’t really know what a Senator does. In my case, among other things, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to prevent this country from being attacked. My state was hit hard by 9/11, and preventing another catastrophe is paramount in my job description.

Is Corzine talking to my son's pre-school or is he talking to the Hollywood elite? Or are my son and Hollywood reading at the same grade level?

School Busses...

...need seatbelts. Period.

School Bus Crash in Mo. Leaves Two Dead

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050509/ap_on_re_us/school_bus_accident


Giant threat??? Chemical Plant in Kearny, NJ Posted by Hello

Today's NY Times runs a front page article proclaiming the above plant "the deadliest target in a swath of industrial northern New Jersey that terrorism experts call the most dangerous two miles in America: a chemical plant that processes chlorine gas, so close to Manhattan that the Empire State Building seems to rise up behind its storage tanks."

Here's the link to the entire article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/09/nyregion/09homeland.html

Let's take a step back here. Yes, chlorine gas is quite deadly. And it would be a pretty bad day if one of the storage tanks were to blow, but...

Take a look at the picture above. Look at the size of the plant. It's gigantic. Hundreds of storage tanks. Yes, lots of targets. But look at the entire plant. You'd have to have a team of hundreds of demolition experts working weeks to set up enough explosives to blow up the entire thing. It's impossible for a terrorist to do.

Yes, a terrorist might be able to detonate a car bomb near one of the storage tanks. But which have deadly chlorine and which do not? The writer of the article suggests lax security because he was able to take pictures next to a bunch of storage tanks. Were these water tanks or did they have chlorine in them? Who knows?

Here's another problem with the article...check out this quote: "A Congressional study in 2000 by a former Coast Guard commander deemed it the nation's most enticing environment for terrorists, providing a convenient way to cripple the economy by disrupting major portions of the country's rail lines, oil storage tanks and refineries, pipelines, air traffic, communications networks and highway system. "

Ummm...excuse me. The most enticing target in 2000 was the World Trade Center. The Pentagon seems to have been ahead of the Kearny chemical plant on the list or priorities as well. As a matter of fact, of all the alerts we've had since 9/11, I can't recall a single specific threat to a chemical plant.

The article suggests that many more FEDERAL dollars are needed in order to secure such ticking time bombs as this Kearny plant. Ahhh...I see where we're going. This is all Bush's fault. Yes...that's it. Bush has cut funding to New Jersey and now, we're all going to die.

From the same article:

"In several instances, counterterrorism money sent to the state has been used for questionable purposes: the city of Newark spent $300,000 on two air-conditioned garbage trucks, and New Jersey Transit has proposed using $36 million in security money to overhaul the Hoboken Ferry terminal."

Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff has this to say, "Frankly, it's not a matter of spending a great lot of money," he said. "It's a matter of taking resources we have and having a plan in place so we use them effectively."

I used to live in Hoboken. The ferry terminal is fine. I think I'm going to have to agree with Mr. Chertoff on this one. Currently, there is a bill making its way through Congress to try to make protection of these facilities a national priority vs a state priority. Maybe the NY Times should call soon to be former governor Cody and ask him if defense of this particular plant is really such an issue, why hasn't more been done on a state level?

cue crickets...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Michael Newdow, the Pledge and time with his daughter

A great article in today’s NY Times Magazine.

The gist of it is, now that Dads have started doing everything Moms have wanted us to be doing over the past 10,000 years or so, why when divorce happens to Dads still lose out on custody?

One of the champions of the cause is Michael Newdow. You might remember him as the knucklehead who argued in front of the Supreme Court last year that “Under God” needed to be removed from the pledge.

It seems that Mr. Newdow had two passions in life. One, getting Under God removed from the pledge. That didn’t work. Two, he wants more time with his daughter. Mr. Newdow never married the mother of his daughter. He’s been fighting for years for more time with her. His ex-girlfriend wouldn’t even let his daughter watch him argue in front of the Supreme Court in pursuit of passion number one.

So, now he’s really pissed…and he’s right. Basically, the courts are saying that a child’s rights outweigh a parent’s rights. Far too often we hear about the slippery slope of judicial decisions that when there actually is a case on that slippery slope, nobody seems to pay attention.

Quoting from the link above, I love this part:

A hand went up. ''Isn't the best interest of the child a compelling state interest?''
This is one of Newdow's favorite questions. ''How do you prove what's best for the child?'' he asked. ''Somebody tell me what's best for the child. Let's take lunch. McDonald's or make tuna fish at home -- what's best? O.K., lunch at home, you don't risk a car accident, maybe the food's healthier. McDonald's, on the other hand, maybe it's more fun, maybe the kid sees something new, gets the confidence to go down the slide for the first time. When you're talking about two fit parents, who's to say what's best?''
But what also worried Newdow, he continued, was not the problem of how to determine what's ''best'' for the child, but rather the assumption that you can deprive someone of his or her fundamental parental right simply in order to make a child's life more pleasant. Of course, he conceded, society has an obligation to protect those, like children, who cannot protect themselves. But there is a world of difference between protecting someone from harm and improving his life more generally. ''We've gone from protection to suddenly 'make their lives better,''' he said. ''And that's a violation of equal protection -- because you're taking one person's life and ruining it to make another person's better. If you can show real harm to the child, the kind of harm that the state would protect any child in an intact family from -- abuse, neglect -- sure, of course, protect it. But when it's just what someone thinks might be better for the child, you have to weigh that compared to the harm suffered by the parent.''


It’s a long article, so print it out and take it into the john with you…definitely worth the read.

Los Angeles

I grew up in Los Angeles, so I know what I’m talking about here…

In response to this "brilliant" Editorial from today's NY Times, I have this to say...

"Dippity Doos of Los Angeles, you built your homes in a desert....when there is no rain in a desert, it's not called a drought…it's called a desert. When Mountain Lions attack people riding bikes in the canyons of Southern California, they’re not rogue Mountain Lions…they’re hungry. And for the record, “West Wing” is not real and there is no Jimmy Smits type to rally the forces of the left in 2008.”

You do have In-N-Out Burger, so, we’ll keep you in the union…that is, until management decides to franchise out on the East Coast...

Oh Please...

Just Saw this posted on Drudge...
SPIELBERG WEEPS AT STAR WARS SCREENING
http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/spielberg%20weeps%20at%20star%20wars%20screening

Are you kidding me? Definitely not a Right Wing Dad.

For the record, Right Wind Dads are allowed to cry at movies.

"The Champ" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078950/ and"Old Yeller" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050798/ are two movies where crying is allowed. And it's no shame to admit that from time to time, a segment on ESPN will bring me to tears. You know, guy coming back from a broken leg...that gets me every time.

There will be no crying in a Star Wars movie, however.

If I were Steven Spielberg, I'd go see a urologist...testosterone injections might become necessary....

The Incredibles

I finally got around to watching "The Incredibles" this weekend. Not too impressed. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was a great movie. Excellent story. Funny characters. Suspenseful. But it is not the conservative movie I thought it was going to be. Maybe all the hype that I'd been hearing regarding how conservative a movie this was had me expecting something different.

The Liberty Film Festival actually had it as one of the top conservative movies of the year. See here:
http://www.libertyfilmfestival.com/

Liberty also has "Hero" on the list, which I don't agree with either, but that's old news. "The Incredibles" is a great example of a movie success...a movie that appeals to both liberals and conservatives. It seems to me that everyone who sees this movie sees what they want to see in it. Michael Jordan was once asked to endorse a black Democrat running for Senate in North Carolina. He refused. He said, to paraphrase, just as many Republicans buy my shoes as Democrats. MJ realized where his bread was buttered...NIKE. Nike and MJ are there to sell shoes. To sell shoes to everyone who wants them. If Republicans all of a sudden associate MJ with Michael Moore or Howard Dean, how many shoes is that going to sell?

So, watching "The Incredibles", I maybe watched it a little too closely. But, it seems to me, the villains are, in order of appearance, trial lawyers, the federal government, a big insurance company and a self made millionaire. Not really the villains in a conservative movie. And by the end, you're kind of made to feel sorry for the crazy inventor, as if only people had been a little nicer to him growing up, he'd be working for Microsoft rather than out to destroy the world.

The Incredibles was a good movie. My son loves the shorts on the bonus CD and he'll love the actual movie if he ever sits still long enough to get past the opening credits. But, it's not a conservative movie. Just because it's not liberal, doesn't make it conservative. In this day an age, maybe having a movie that's right down the middle is all we can really expect out of Hollywood???

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The UN, Democrats and Sammy Sosa

Will Democrats make as big a show of the UN fighting this Congressional subpoena as they did when Sammy Sosa threatened the same thing? Stay tuned...

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050507/ap_on_go_co/oil_for_food_investigation

Meanwhile, Kofi Annan will get an honary degree from U Penn...crazy...

See Cliff May's very good article on it here:
http://www.defenddemocracy.org/in_the_media/in_the_media_show.htm?doc_id=275551&attrib_id=7374

Darth Vader

With Star Wars III opening up soon, the question must be asked, "Was Darth Vader a good father?" Seems to me, Vader is much like the father in the Johnny Cash hit, "A Boy Named Sue". For the country-challenged, the song is a story of a father who names his male child, Sue. This father than left Sue and his mother and went on his way. Sue spends his entire young life searching for his father to get even for his horrible name. Well, he finds his father and there is the obligatory fist-fight. Anyway, turns out the father knew he'd be better off out of Sue's life because the father knew he'd be a bad influence. He named his boy Sue to make sure Sue would grow up and be able to handle himself, figuring any boy named Sue would have his fair share of playground altercations. Like any great country song, the boy and his father end up getting drunk together.

Vader's relationship with Luke is very similar. I mean, what's the point of having the Force if you can't predict the future at least as well as Sue's father? And as luck would have it, Darth Vader has a blog. As you read, you will see the love the Dark Lord of the Sith really has for his boy...

http://darthside.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 06, 2005

Slutty Penguins

You never see this happen in "Red State" Zoos...

Chlamydia Outbreak Killing S.F. Penguins

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155747,00.html

More Mother's Day

unacceptable behavior by a school Assistant Principal...

Student suspended over call from mom in Iraq

http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/05/06/call.suspension.ap/index.html

& good news from Florida...

Escaped sex offender caught in Florida

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/06/sex.predator/index.html

no more guilt!

On this Mother's day weekend, here's a great link to a CNN.com story which tells working moms to stop feeling guilty. It also (I think long overdue) gives working dads in this day and age a little credit.

http://money.cnn.com/2005/05/05/pf/workingmoms/index.htm

Thomas Friedman today

My dad thinks Tom Friedman should run the United States, maybe even the world. He hangs on his every word. The other day, Friedman wrote that the US was failing because we're falling behind on "broadband" access. To my Dad, this was like the Soviets putting up Sputnik. As far as my Dad is concerned, the war with China and India is already lost. I reminded him that 20 years ago he said the same thing, but it was Japan as the victor. He says it's different because of broadband. Of course, he has no idea what broadband is, but to him it is a magical and wonderful creation.

Here's the Friedman link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/06/opinion/06friedman.html?

So, my Dad calls me this morning to remind me to read Freidman, which I'd already done. He's still not too sure how I'm able to read the NY Times without actually buying the physical paper. (Hint to Dad...it has something to do with broadband)

He told me he didn't want to argue with me about the content, but wanted to say that he thought I was doing a great job with my son, teaching him to read and all. He thinks, like Friedman, that it's important to get an education so the Indians and Chinese don't take all the great jobs.

But, since my Dad won't listen, here's my argument about what's wrong with Friedman today.

Friedman says, "Many authors hate to go on grinding book tours. But I've always found it a useful way to be a foreign correspondent in America and take the pulse of the country."

If he was writing a book about apple picking, guess what...he'd come away from his tour amazed at how many Americans love apple picking. Is it any different that he comes away from this trip amazed at how many people agree with him? Can't you imagine him saying, "Wow...who knew this many people think the world is flat, too"?

Friedman is actually making the case for why blogs are taking over for Op-Ed writers in the major newspapers. It's the typical, "all my friends think GW is an idiot, how could he have won" attitude. Note to Friedman, to get the pulse of the country, do not rely on lines of people who've just bought your book. Maybe if he started a blog and then actually read the emails he rcvd., both positive and negative, he'd have a good idea what the pulse of the country is. Op-Ed guys, including those who say they're not in the MSM but really are, have gotten lazy. Why read emails from the masses? I might be wrong and might Friedman might actually read emails from his critics. Maybe he'd post his email address at the end of every Op-Ed if he were serious about actually receiving them, however.

Here's another Friedman doozie, "To learn how to learn, you have to love learning - while some people are born with that gene, many others can develop it with the right teacher (or parent)".

This is the part that my Dad called me this morning to congratulate me on. He thinks I'm doing a great job at teaching my son a love of learning.

Here's the problem...

One, people in India aren't becoming engineers because they love learning. Indians are becoming engineers because they love the financial freedom it will provide them and their families. Only in America do you have kids studying for the pleasure of studying. Kids in India are tracked at a very young age into the path they will pursue. You can't even have a gifted program in a public school in this country unless it is open to everyone. The WSJ last month had a great article about the sons and daughters of the engineers in Silicon Valley. Here are some of the best and brightest kids - kids that have parents that have made millions because of an engineering background - and they want to study economics and business, not engineering. One girl said, "Dad, why be an engineer? It's all going to be outsourced." Maybe engineering degrees just aren't all that important. When's the last time you heard a kid say, "I want to draw blueprints when I grow up!" The reason, blueprints are all drawn by computer today. What took hundreds of trained people, now can be done by a kid with a Mac. What's really the difference between blueprints of yesteryear and an electric circuit or computer program today? Eventually, you'll need fewer and fewer bodies to do this type of work as well. I'm not trying to say everything is just perfect here in the US, but I really don't think the sky is falling.

Two, and this is the part I have a real problem with today, why is "parent" in a parenthetical? If someone asks me what the difference is, at its core, between Republicans and Democrats, it's this line. Republicans look at the parent first, Democrats look at the teacher.

Friedman mentions that parents and students would come up to him on the tour and ask what they should study. Here it is again. A whole group of people just waiting to be told what to do to make sure everything is going to be ok.

There's no magic answer. There's no government solution. Kids will have to make their own decisions about their future. And those parents who let their kids wait around for someone to tell them what do to make everything oke-dokey will suffer the consequences of the global economy.

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