Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Name:
Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

If It's Not A Hoax, Deadwards Is A Jerk

A Letter From a Neighbor of Senator John Edwards.

I'd like to introduce you to my neighbor. I'm from Raleigh, North Carolina, and for several years I've lived around the corner from Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards. My neighbor John has been in the news a good deal lately, but it's hard to tell about the man himself from the coverage. Maybe I can help you get to know him better.

Even several years ago, before he was elevated to the national stage, my neighbor John didn't socialize much with other neighbors. He didn't gather with other neighbors at the Fourth of July and he didn't come out to the sledding hills to watch the kids play after a snow. My neighbor John preferred to jog through the neighborhood by himself.

There's no sidewalk on Alleghany Drive, John's street in Raleigh, and if you drove past him as he was jogging on the road and didn't slow down enough for his taste he'd flip you the bird. Even after he became a U.S. Senator, he'd still come home to Raleigh every once in a while, would still jog through the neighborhood, and would still flip the occasional bird to passing cars.He last showed me his middle finger about four yea rs ago.

Since then, my neighbor John is rarely in town. When he is home, though, we in the neighborhood all know it. My neighbor John invited reporters from TV, radio, and print news organizations to come to his house in January 2003 for the announcement of his Presidential bid. He didn't want any news vans parked on his property -- in fact, he made sure all the cameras and reporters waited in the street at the bottom of his driveway. That way everyone could get good footage of him strolling down the driveway to make his announcement, young children in tow. The news vans drove into the yards of John's neighbors and parked there. I heard two families ended up re-sodding their damaged yards, and John never apologized to anyone, much less offered any compensation. The family across the street from myneighbor John has since put up posts at their property line to try to keep that sort of thing from happening again.

The appearance was good for my neighbor John. Nobody else seems to matter to him.

Since then, when my neighbor comes home (as he did July 10, to be interviewed with John Kerry for "60 Minutes"), Raleigh police officers block off the street. Those of us who live near him end up coming andgoing to and from our homes on a circuitous route, on a bad, unsurfaced road. Forsyth Street has been closed to through traffic, except when my neighbor is in town, because the road has been ripped up for installation of new gas and sewer lines. My neighbor's street is a public, city-maintained street, and it is the best way to get to homes just north of his. If my neighbor is around, though, apparently none of the rest of us can use the street at all.

It's good for my neighbor John. Nobody else seems to matter to him.

My neighbor John has been a very successful trial lawyer, but his practice of law sometimes seems more like extortion. A friend of mine is >a doctor in Raleigh. He recently spoke with another doctor, an anesthesiologist, who was named in a suit filed by my neighbor John. Apparently a surgeon at a local hospital had made a mistake, and my neighbor John represented the injured patient. Not only did my neighbor John sue the doctor who made the mistake, but also sued the hospital and a string of >others, including the anesthesiologist. There was no problem with the anesthesia -- the anesthesiologist had done absolutely nothing wrong. His attorney said so in a meeting with my neighbor John. John's neighborly response was that he couldn't care less if the doctor had done nothing wrong. That wasn't the point. The point was that clients come to my neighbor John because of his record of success and his reputation for thoroughness. Every defendant in a suit he files pays, regardless of whether they are actually guilty or not. My neighbor John demanded a settlement of $250,000, and said his firm was willing to spend $2 million to get it. The doctor's insurance company promptly paid the $250,000

The rate of growth in North Carolina's medical malpractice insurance rates is among the highest in the nation. The total cost of health care rises with those rates. My neighbor John's slimy extortion is part of the reason. Forget about right or wrong, guilt or innocence. My neighborJohn did what was best for himself. Nobody else seemed to matter.

My neighbor John may be a trial lawyer, but in front of juries he also claims to be something of a psychic. You see, my neighbor John specializes in cases involving the death or serious injury of children. He claims to receive messages from dead or brain-damaged children, and the messages are much clearer and more specific than those received by the famous "psychic" who nearly shares my neighbor's name.

When a child has been killed or is otherwise unable to speak for him or herself, my neighbor John says he has the ability to "channel" that child. He tells juries he feels the child inside him, and that he has messages from that child, which he relays to jury members. He tells juries about the car-accident death of his own son, Wade, and speculates that he may have received the ability to "feel" the souls of dead or injured children because of the close relationship he still feels with his son. It sounds hokey and more than a little creepy, but it seems to play well with juries, and results in very high jury awards. These awards have made my neighbor extremely wealthy. He's so wealthy that he created a corporation of which he is the only member, and pays himself most of his earnings as corporate dividends, not as salary or wages. Medicare taxes are not levied on dividend income, so my neighbor has avoided paying $600,000 into the Medicare system since 1995 by setting up this tax shelter. But he says others aren't paying their fair share of Medicare taxes.

It's good for my neighbor John, and nobody else seems to matter.

My neighbor made a lot of promises on his way to the Senate. He promised strong support for our military, but then voted against body armor, combat pay, and better health care for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. He promised to support traditional North Carolina values, but then voted to the left of Ted Kennedy on partial-birth abortion, taxes, property rights, and a host of other issues. We in North Carolina feel betrayed. My neighbor John figuratively gave his constituents the middle finger while he ingratiated himself to Tom Daschle and the rest of the Democrat Party leadership.

My neighbor announced many months ago that he would not seek re-election, because he knows he's unpopular in North Carolina and would lose by a huge margin. According to a poll released this week, when the Kerry/Edwards ticket was announced, support for Kerry in North Carolina went down, not up.

We North Carolinians know John Edwards. We've been betrayed by him, and we do not support him.

But as he broke his promises to us, he gained favor with the Democrat Party leadership. Now he's a political star. I guess turning his back on the people he claims to represent has worked out well for my neighbor,John Edwards. Nobody else seems to matter.

It's a great country!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Muqtada Al-Sadr and The Religion Of Peace.

At least 25 bodies of executed civilians and police have been found in the basement of a religious court set up by rebel cleric Moqtadr al Sadr, according to AFP news agency.

Some of the bodies had been mutilated or burned, according to the reports.

-Sky News

It seems Muqtada Al-Sadr has operated a Star Chamber in the basement of one Najaf's holy buildings. This behavior reminds us all that we deal with the likes of Francisco Torquemada when we enter into agreements with Muqtada Al-Sadr.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands this fundamental fact. According to the same Sky News article referenced above,

Under the deal the Government agreed al Sadr would be "free to go anywhere he likes".

I can't help but noticing that these terms and conditions are far more generous and forgiving than anything "Mookie" offers to those that he captures and detains. Leaving Muqtada Al-Sadr free to do this again is despicable.

Ayatollah Al-Sistani should be made to give religious counciling to the families of Al-Sadr's victims and explain to them where in the Koran he finds it suggested that leading clerics should set up shop as judge, jury and executioner. He should have to advise these people as to what the deaths of their loved-ones meant, if Al-Sadr walks free to kill again.

Muqtada Al-Sadr will continue to cause havoc and despair to the average Iraqi citizen until he is captured and brought before a jury of his peers. Or at least a jury of Iraqui citizens if no one would willing consider Al-Sadr a peer.

Update I: Captain's Quarters ARTEP report card on Allawi, Al-Sadr, Al-Sistani, and the US tropps in Najaf.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

24 And Still Going Strong.....

Another week, another House O' ketchup. Bush is catching up, so why shouldn't we ketchup?

The Enemies List Returns

There's a group of people out there making lists and they're probably checking them at least twice. Regretably, these people are not Santa and his Merry Band of Elves. They are the evil leftist radicals at NYC Indymedia and they are listing people they would like to see harassed.

They are also putting very detailed POC information out in the public domain. It would almost appear that they would like to see these individuals not quite make it home from work tomorrow. Under a file entitled DNC Working Group, they posted the names and addresses of all the delegates to the Republican National Convention.

They also posted the POC information of everyone in Protest Warrior and have posted graphics indicating they would like to see these individuals hung. It's amusing to see a whole website full of liberals sharing hobbies and diversions with The KKK.

This is of course occuring against a backdrop of increased protest activity that seems to be extending beyond the universally agreed upon rights of Free Speech and Non-Violent protest. Examples of planned activities follow below.

New York City police have expressed concern about the way some of these groups have used the Internet to disseminate plans for disruption. Among those messages cited:

  • "Go to a rifle, pistol or skeet shooting range, spend an hour shooting to saturate clothing with smell of gunpowder, go directly to a New Jersey Transit, LIRR or subway train headed for Penn Station.

  • "Try to have at least two people on a train in different locations, sit or stand near the doors as the train approaches the station, try to get near police and dogs, loiter as long as possible around the dog, try to pet it if possible.

  • "If the dog alerts on your scent, do not leave or resist; the situation will cause a major disruption of the train schedule. ... If there is more than one person on the train that causes a dog to alert, you can bet that the train will not be going anywhere for a long time ... neither will any trains behind it.

  • "It is important that the police call in all possible resources to investigate the situation. ... This will result in the maximum disruption. ... With any luck, Madison Square Garden will be evacuated.

  • "Rush hours are ideal, the final night of the convention, very good, too."
-WorldNet Daily

The best way I can think of for the internet to lose its status as a zone of free speech is for those rights to be abused and for people to die in large numbers from plans that are arrainged by internet hate groups such as Indymedia. Let's hope these nut-jobs return to their senses.

What Right-WingNuts Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols did was horrendous and unacceptable. Let's hope sincerly that the address-posters and demonstration coordinators over at Indymedia are not planning a Left Wing answer to the OK City Bombing.

Update I: Watcher of Weasals has found a new set of cretinous moorlocks to keep a sharp eye on.

Update II: SondraK posts her intense displeasure with the Fascist hate posters of the so-called liberals at Indymedia.

Update III: Aaron's Rantblog reminds us all that Indymedia received $376,000 from the Tides Foundation.





Swift Boat Vets Torpedo Kerry Again

Kerry's crewmembers seem to have mutinied. They have released SwiftBoat add #3. It features a sailor from Kerry's boat who publically plants the axiom that Kerry lied about his trips into Cambodia on Top Secret missions.

Amazingly, the missions seemed so Top Secret that Steve Gardiner was on those missions and unaware he was in Cambodia. I'm still not convinced Kerry lied. He may have been too unable as an officer to navigate a river using a military map.

Update I: Wizbang, In Effect, Charge Four, Over.

Update II: The Spoons Experience uses subtlety and implies unpleasant things about one of John F. Kerry's alibi witness re: Christmas in Cambodia.


From Hero To Lackey - The Sad State of Max Cleland

Max Cleland suffered terribly when he went to fight in Vietnam. He accidently picked up a live grenade and suffered mutilation. This was tragic and I genuinely feel sorry that he is confined to a wheelchair the rest of his life.

Another sorry thing occurred when Cleland served in the US Senate. He went along with Tom Daschele's directions and voted against the formation of The Department of Homeland Security. This cost him his Senate Seat because his opponent hammered him on this particular vote and a very large number of Georgians agreed it was not a good decision.

If Max Cleland had ended it there and found a nice happy place to retire from politics, I could only congratulate the man for A) Serving his country, B) Overcoming a tragic physical disability to win a seat in the US Senate. Max Cleland had the opportunity to go out of politics a true role-model.

Unfortunately, Cleland felt embittered by his defeat. He accused his opponent Saxby Chambliss of having ridiculed his patriotism. No Max, Chambliss ridiculed your decision making. He was calling you misguided, rather than treasonous. Terry MacLow-life and a host of other embarrassed Democrats jumped on his bandwagon and spent a lot of time and hot air claiming they lost Election 2002 because a bunch of mean Republicans called them unpatriotic.

Even at this point, Cleland could have shrugged and walked away. His bitterness right after a painful election defeat could be easily forgiven. Other Democratic politicians behaved far worse than Cleland had during the 2002 Election. Cleland would still have left politics a positive and likeable figure.

Cleland's true loss of respect occurred because he allowed his service to his country to be used by John Kerry as a prop for a cynical and cheap campaign stunt. Cleland was enlisted by Senator Kerry to deliver a personal letter from Senator Kerry to President Bush that called on President Bush to stop the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth from airing ads that attacked John Kerry's service as a naval officer in Vietnam. This was done publicly at President Bush's ranch at Crawford, Texas. The media was invited and strongly encouraged to attend.

The letter is nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt on several levels.

A) President Bush has no authority to curtail these ads. Swift Boat Veterans For Truth is an unregulated 527 corporation. They are one of the misbegotten offspring of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act.

MoveOn.Org is another such scurrious offspring. These people question President Bush's service record during the Vietnam War and they also produce ads that equate our current president with former German Chancellor Adolf Hitler. I find it uniquely curious that none of the concerned senators signing the letter to President Bush has dispatched Currier Cleland, missive in hand, to one of John Kerry's palatial manses to demand that he make them also cease and desist.

B) If John Kerry took serious offence to the SwiftVet ads and was about to throw the gauntlet down to George W. Bush and demand that they meet at high noon with the pearl-handled six-shooters, he would display far more gravitas if he delivered the letter without inviting his media fan club along for the ride. If these ads were truly the causus bellum for a personal grievance between the two men, gentlemen would handle that, well, personally. Dan Rather would be forced to look elsewhere for his nightly propaganda points.

C) Former Senator Cleland was met by two supporters of George W. Bush who offered to convey the letter onward to President Bush. They also offered him a letter to carry back to his principle, John F. Kerry. Cleland would not deign to deliver his letter to anyone other than George W. Bush himself, and refused to carry any letter back. Hopefully, if elected, John Kerry will keep this pathetic performance in mind before placing Max Cleland in charge of the postal service.

Max Cleland has allowed himself to be used as a tool by a cynical, pathetic politician. Waving the bloody shirt has given way to displaying the cauterized stump. Senator Kerry could truly care less about the dignity and honor of Max Cleland, or for that matter of any other soldier present, past or future. Max Cleland should feel embarrassed he ever chose to be a part of this farcifal display.

Update I - Captain's Quarters questions why Max Cleland would participate in smearing a president who is paying him a salary of $136K per year.

Update II - BlogoSferics details the efforts of the Kerry campaign to dig up unsavory details on Swift Boat Veterans running anti-Kerry ads. Some of the details include psychological evaluations. This perfectly parallels how Sidney Blumenthal dealt with Monica Lewinsky during the so-called Clinton Presidency.

Update III- QandO's take on the whole Max Cleland Amputee Freakshow is that John Kerry can be described as Cruel, calculated and exploitive then and now



Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Meatwad Vs Zero-Charisma

Chris "Meatwad" Matthews has done the impossible. He's made Bilge O'Really look fair and balanced. The man has made the election of John Kerry his primary reason for staying on the air.

He faced off against Neanderthal Knuckle-Dragger Patrick J. Buchanon. Who could a person root for between two of America's most pompous blowhards still pumping super-heated air? Who could learn anything from two of the most stupid and out-dated men who think the reat of us should listen to them hyperventilate.

Matthews: "Just a minute, Pat, we'll be back in a minute here. But do you want to say something?"

Buchanan: "Yeah, I do want to say something. Chris, I saw the show you did with Malkin. And there was, there was a misconnection there. She said-"

Matthews: "No, there wasn't. I asked her a dozen times to clarify what she was saying."

Buchanan: "She said, was it a 'self-inflicted wound'? And she said yes. And you were saying, was it purposefully done by Kerry? She should have said, no, it was the-"

Matthews: "Why didn't she say it when I gave her 12 times to do that?"

Buchanan: "Well, it was-"

Matthews: "Twelve times."

Buchanan: "Well, look, I mean-"

Matthews: "Just a minute, Pat."

Buchanan: "You can argue that with Ms. Malkin. But that, what she was saying was right from the book that it was a 'self-inflicted wound,' probably by a grenade that hit the rocks in front of Kerry."

Matthews: "Right. Of course we all know that kind of thing happens in war. The question is, was it purposely, did he purposefully shoot himself or not? That was the question that was being suggested by that discussion."

Buchanan: "I saw her and I do not believe she said it was purposefully-"

Matthews: "Watch the tape, okay."

Meatwad Matthews, Bilge O'Really, and just about every host on talk-tv these days coin their money through obnoxious badgering. An alternative has to emerge to these useless, ego-driven rant sessions. They waste air-time and do nothing to put out information or educate the electorate.

If I want carnel bloodsport, I'll buy the latest boxing mismatch on pay-per-view. That would be way more exciting than sweaty, fat, stupid, old whitebreads senselessly berating oneanother.

The Saint Goes Marching In

Ayatollah Al-Sistani has decided that he and his followers should vote with their feet. He is calling upon the Shia population of Iraq to rise up and march to Najaf to save the Imam Ali Mosque from continued fighting. He hopes to broker a peace settlement that will leave the holy city intact.

Predictably, Muqtada Al-Sadr breathed a deep sigh of relief. The presence of thousands upon thousands of demonstrators effectively relieves the siege against the Mahdi Army.

An al-Sadr spokesman, Hazim al-A'rajy, welcomed a non-violent demonstration.

"Let them come," al-A'rajy said. "We welcome a peaceful process. We welcome anything to stop the conflict.

This touching desire to negotiate ignores the fundamental fact that Al-Sadr started this uprising. He picked the fight and is only negotiating to stave off a condign horse-whipping.

Al-Sistani's motivations are remarkably less clear. Muqtada Al-Sadr has accepted a lot of support from Hezbollah and the Theocracy in Iran. Yes, the Iranians are Shia, but in no sense would Najaf cease to be occupied.

Al-Sistani may think he is saving a holy shrine, but he could ultimately steer Najaf one step closer to his doom.

Update I: Patrick of Freedomstruth speculates on the possible outcomes of Al-Sistani's march on Najaf.

Update II: Iraq The Model describes Al-Sistani's political manuevering from the prospective of an Iraqui citizen.

Monday, August 23, 2004

527 Reasons To Hate McCain - Feingold

The McCain-Feingold Act was enacted to correct what many saw as widespread abuses in how elections get financed. Based on the current election campaign, this legislation has had a deleterious effect on the level and quality of public discourse and has only moved the monies that supposedly corrupt our elections into different financial portfolios.

President Bush took advantage of circumstance to finally do what he needs to do on the issue of Campaign Finance Reform and denounce the behavior of 527 Groups. He has condemned the behavior of these groups and asked them to pull their offensive ads. This suggests that he now understands that McCain-Feingold is one of major aspects of campaign finance legislation that badly needs reform. It's too bad this eluded his grasp when he signed the odious piece of legislation.

President Bush came to understand this because he suffered nearly unlimited vituperation from liberal 527s such as MoveOn.Org. To some, this is seen as a resurgence of the grass roots. This, however, is not how MoveOn.Org gets financed. The Tides Foundation , MoveOn.Org's paymaster, was founded by, is staffed by, and acts on behalf of several billionaires. I seriously doubt the 527 groups supporting Republicans are any cleaner or more civic-minded.

The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth have scored points against John Kerry by casting aspersions against Senator Kerry's tenure as a Naval Officer in Vietnam. They have accused John Kerry of lying about his exploits in order to bolster his campaign and this has damaged John kerry in the polls. Thus Kerry has called upon George Bush to denouce the ads.

President Bush did John Kerry one better. He denounced all 527 groups. Including the $40 Million worth of 527 Groups who have taken to the air to accuse George W. Bush of nearly every crime against humanity that they could think of.

He stopped just short of calling on John F. Kerry to purge the MoveOn.Org staffers that currently work for his campaign. This is a shame, John Kerry had no problem with accusing Karl Rove of serving as The SwiftVet Admiral.

Their advertising has resembled a two-year old kid throwing spaghetti at the ceiling and then admiring all the messy strands that stick. Senator Kerry had no problem with this abuse of the new CFR regulation. It provides George Bush with yet another issue where John F. Kerry has opened the door for President Bush to lead.

Update I - A Large Regular has compiled an elaborate diary of Kerry's peculations. It includes several descriptions of how Kerry has fumbled the whole SwiftVet issue.

Update II - Captain's Quarters has described how the whole 527 situation has backfired on The Kerry Presidential Campaign.

Update III - Wizbang describes the "nuanced" position Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards has taken on 527 groups.

Update IV - Vodkapundit explains how Kerry put Bush in a failsafe, "Win-Win Situation."


Saturday, August 21, 2004

Meatwad Attacks Michelle Malkin

Chris Matthews appears genuinely stupid to me. I just look at this guy and think this dirtball just skipped another AA meeting. He then opened his mouth to Michelle Malkin and utterly confirmed my suspicions regarding his IQ, if not his temperance or lack thereof. According to Malkin, Matthews addressed her as follows.

"Are you sure you are old enough to be on the show? What are you? 28?" I grit my teeth. He badgers me again with the same question. I politely answer his question and supply my age...."

That Chris Matthews, he has such a way with the ladies. Michelle's lucky she's married or Meatwad would have probably asked for falletio right then and there. He also seemed to have forgotten he was supposed to be interviewing Michelle Malkin.

Matthews introduces me, says we'll get to the subject of my book "in a minute," and launches into a spiel about how Bush should order the Swift Boat Vets to stop running their ads.

That's the thing about McCain-Feingold. President Bush can't control what the Swiftvets run and don't run. They are a 527. Bush or Kerry would be liable if they told these people what they could do ads about. I think McCain-Feingold has actually given candidates an additional degree of deniability they used to lack when partisan groups ran negative ads.

Matthews intentionally mischaracterizes me as "speaking on behalf of the Bush campaign," when he knew full well I was there ........he had chatted with me briefly about before the start of the segment. I correct him. He does not acknowledge his error.

How can a person as perfect as Chris Matthews make an error; much less admit to one? When I vituperated against Meatwad back in the first sentence, I left out his revolting, pompous arrogance. The man has selected himself for apotheosis.

As the show broke for commercials, Matthews scrambled for his producers to see if what he said was true.

I'd hate to be that man's ex post facto fact checker. Matthews focuses on his target of opportunity andforgets whether his ranting has any connection to reality. I hope he's at least considerate enough to chew on a mint before he blows his hot air in his interview victims' faces.

However, in fairness to Meatwad Matthews, Bilge O'Really doesn't strike me as particularly reasoned or friendly towards his guests either. Most cable news talkshows are bear-baitings. They pick their guests on a basis on how much contempt they have for them and bask in their own self-righteous hatred the way a drunken frat boy would lay claim to a prodigeous beer fart.

One staffer ran to the office where I had left my copy of the book, and handed it to Matthews, who--for the first time, apparently--started flipping through it. .......

Again, Matthews displays contempt and arrogance. Why prepare intelligently when you are obviously debating your inferior? Matthews disgusts anyone with a rational mind.


After I left, he trashed me again on the air and his scurrilous charges were repeated by his MSNBC colleague Keith Olbermann, who called me an "idiot."

Now I wonder why Michelle would care what Kieth Olbermann thinks. The producer had to write Keith's talking points out on an etch-and-sketch for him before Olbermann wiped the nose candy off his lip and went on the air. On balance, Meatwad embarrassed himself and Michelle Malkin should find more redeeming ways to spend her time than on MSNBC.

Update I: The American Mind rakes the muck on Cornball with Chris Matthews. It seems Matthews was much more willing to believe the impercations regarding George W. Bush's service record than John F. Kerry.

Update II: Californian Sojourn points out that the left's reaction to Michelle Malkin's blogging about her interview with Meatwad has been by-and-large disingenuous. This is not surprising. A significant number of these liberal bloggers are payed. They are Hessians of the Blogsphere. What can you expect?

Fusionism - Birth Of The Conservatarian?

Kenneth Sibler suggests three reasons why the GOP could be moved more towards freedom and further away from authoritarianism. This is something that needs to happen.

1) The extremes cannot hold. Both conservatism and libertarianism have manifestations that are -- deservedly -- at the margins of American political life. A libertarian extreme is "anarchocapitalism," which seeks to eliminate all government on the evidence-free theory that a peaceful, market-based society would result. Conservative extremism at present tends toward the theocratic; in the past, racists and paranoid anti-Communists hovered more visibly on conservatism's fringes. National Review played a crucial role in separating extremist groups such as the John Birch Society from respectable conservatism. Exclusion, as well as inclusion, is a necessary element of fusionism.

2) The center has changed. Moderate Republicanism was once characterized by the fiscal profligacy of New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. Today, it is exemplified more by the budget-cutting of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Among the Democrats, opposition to budget deficits and support for welfare reform were the Clinton-era hallmarks of moderation. Centrist politics gradually has become more amenable to limited-government ideas. This raises the possibility of using center-right coalitions to enact policies compatible with fusionism.

3) Liberalism has become more authoritarian. The traditional liberal emphasis on civil liberties and social permissiveness increasingly has been overshadowed by impulses toward safety, sensitivity or stasis. Campus speech codes and anti-pornography measures are now considered liberal causes. Liberal advocacy of stem-cell research coexists uneasily with liberal fears about genetic engineering. Political movements are often defined, in substantial part, by what they are against; and thus fusionism is likely to gain momentum as it combats liberalism's tendencies toward authoritarianism.

Friday, August 20, 2004

The Mark Of A True Gentleman

No one at Athens will take home more hardware than Michael Phelps. He has seven medals already and will pick up number eight when the US Medley Relay team wins. This is almost a certainty. The US swim team has never failed in this event since it was added to the Olympic games.

Now Phelps has something else. He has won a reputation for being a class act. He has done so by offering teammate Ian Crocker the opportunity to stand on the podium instead of himself. Given the history of these two men, the gesture is remarkable.

Phelps and Crocker have been among the two best in the US at swimming for at least the last two years. At a recent meet, Crocker beat Phelps by less than 1/10th of a second. Phelps took this very personnally. He kept a poster of Crocker on his wall just to work himself into a proper lather before he went to practice. Perhaps Phelps credits Crocker, to a certain extent, for his success.

In this year's games, Phelps has one-upped Crocker not once, but twice. Now he steps aside, so that Crocker will qualify for an additional medal at these games.

Now Michael Phelps is more than just a champion, he is also a sportsman and a gentleman. Well done, Mr. Phelps. Well done.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Gold Medal Ketchup

Come see the games of the XXIII Edition at Kerry's House Of Ketchup!

Truth Is Sometimes More Frightening Than Fiction

Ahh, the glories of socialized medicine...

A British hospital is now investigating the case of a woman who had an abortion, but then was shocked to find out the head of her unborn baby had been left inside her.

In response to the rather obvious question "WTF?!?!?!",

A spokeswoman for King's College Hospital told the Voice: "We are aware of this patient and we did receive a complaint. We are now investigating but we cannot release any information until our investigation is complete."

This is like a cross between Stephen King and Frans Kafka. I can only hope Clement Atley and Margaret Sanger died happy. The woman this happened to probably never will know true sanity again. Put yourself in her shoes and imagine.

"At midnight, my ex-partner knocked on the door to check if I was all right. ... I went to the bathroom and as I was sitting there, I just felt something slip out of me as if I had just given birth. I looked in the toilet and saw this lump that seemed to have a bone in it. So I showed it to my former partner."

Imagine the horror when the poor former couple discovered...

The couple realized they were looking at the face of their unborn child, seeing the eyes, nose, mouth and ears. The tiny head measured no more than 4 centimeters.

There is no excusing what was done to this woman.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Gays Should Despise Governor McGreevey

Governor McGreevey has made it official. Homosexuality has now become the ne plus ultra of excuses for debased and ammoral behaivior. If society were nicer to gay people, McGreevey would never have been forced to keep his marital infidelities a state secret. He could have made like (B)ill Clinton and bragged.

McGreevey's homosexuality was news to most of New Jersey. This includes his fair-haired wife and his children. This also includes a number of Democratic Politicians who are avoiding McGreevey the way Superman runs from krptonite. Sen. Corzine is smelling the blood like a shark in pursuit of a wounded dolphin.

McGreevey wasn't completely motivated by a desire to come out of the closet. His relationship wasn't necessarily as consensual as he described it. Former aide Golan Cipal was quoted as follows by CNN.Com.

Cipel says, "He hit on me over and over ... Think about how scary it is when we are talking about a powerful man like the governor of the state of New Jersey."

Cipal wasn't taking McGreevey lying down. He was threatening to sue for sexual harassment and make more noise than the Boston Pops. So McGreevey knew that his days were numbered and the handwriting was soon going to be on the subpeonas if not on the wall.

McGreevey did decide to take care of his party better than he took care of his wife and children. He opted to date his resignation 15 November, and thereby forestall any chance of the Republicans having a governor's race to coincide with the presidential one. Senator Lautenburg, another Jersey Dem who plays fast and loose with election laws, sent his regards.

If there is a homosexual community that wants to be accepted as part of normal, mainstream America, they need to condemn this creep from the rooftops of West Hollywood and San Francisco. He does almost as much damage to them as NAMBLA.


The Buchananization Of Alan Keyes

A fiery orator always attracts a certain number of admirers. The English language, when beautifully rendered, will charm and befuddle the masses. To hear Alan Keyes go off on the stump is to hear a man channel a proud American tradition of religious oratory. To read a transcript of Alan Keyes is to wonder why the GOP would ever consider nominating The Unabomber for a US Senate Seat.

Keyes has long been a favorite of the far right wing of the Republican Party. He has unabashedly championed conservative causes that other politicians shun in order to improve their chances with more moderate sectors of the national electorate. This has been easy for Keyes. He has shown up in Presidential primaries with zero chances and thus has had no reason to care what anyone to the left of Chancellor Bismarck had to say about his positions on much of anything.

Keyes would prove amusing and rather fun to listen to if he would leave his shinnagans to merely getting arrested at demonstrations and waging Quixotic campaigns for the White House. Everyone loved William Jennings Bryant for his "Cross Of Gold" speech. Far less than a plurality of eligible voters believed he was sane enough to be president.

So what does the GOP do with a man with a silver tongue and a verbal rapier if he thwarts their cause by carrying rhetorical arms under their banner? They handle him the same way they handle Pat Buchanan. They put the man on a pedestal and let him rant. Then afterwards, the Buchananization begins.

a) They make a big deal over how much of an opportunity they've given him to shine. Not just everyone gets a Senate nomination. Their talking points will ignore the fact that this race in Illinois was "Operation Lost Cause".

b) They will express great regret over the fact that he said the things he said. They will disavow his radical statements with sadness and great disappointment.

c) They will contact him sometime after this race and explain to him that he will not ever represent this party in public again.

d) The Reform or The Constitution Party will offer him a place on their presidential ticket in 2008 and Alan Keyes will become another Gus Hall of the right wing.

The GOP could openly name this man as the deracinated whackjob that he sometimes is. This would offer a refreshing taste of honesty in the otherwise murky punch of politics. However, it would anger and disillusion the base of the GOP. The base that walks the precincts, puts up the yard signs and works the polls in early November. The GOP needs to respect these people.

The GOP can't keep this man around. He calls Barrack Obama a slave holder for his position on abortion, and demands a reparations tax break for ancestors of US slaves. A bunch of my early ancestors were run out of Germany by Frederick The Great. I demand UN reparations too.

So how do they handle the dilemma? They hand Alan Keyes a nice, long rope and he'll make like Judas, leave town and hang himself. They can't think of a more graceful way to fire an obviously disastrous employee. Thus the Buchananization of Alan Keyes continues apace in The Illinois Senate Race of 2004.

Update I: The Spoons Experience has analyzed the oratory of Alan Keyes and joined the fight - on behalf of Barrack Obama.

Update II: Daly Thoughts has listed two places where he couldn't bring himself to vote GOP. Dare I say it, perhaps Illinois is #3.

Update III: Michelle Malkin argues Keyes' latest brain flatulence is also pandering hypocrisy.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

A Proposal On Drugs

The latest effort on John F. Kerry's part emulate Jolly St. Nick involves a really dopey attempt to push more drugs. He wants to reimport them from Canada. Like many policy positions of The So-Called Democratic Party, it sounds really brilliant if you believe in a free lunch. Where it becomes a bad idea, is when it is applied to the real world.

Every year the Canadian Government 'negotiates' with US drug companies to buy a whole bunch of perscription drugs at a much lower price than American consumers pay for them. I put the word negotiate in quotes because the Canadian Governemnt negotiates these prices in much the same manner that the 4th Infantry Division negotiated the surrender of Saddam Hussein to Coalition Forces in Iraq. They intimidate these companies through a simple and aggressive strategy.

The Canadian government tells these companies that they will not respect US drug patents unless they give the Canadians the drugs at price their government deems as fair. Again, on the surface, this appears to be no big deal. It's a very big deal when the process by which a US drug company gets a patent is examined.

The US Government demands extensive research before prescription drugs receive a patent. This process can take as long as twenty years and cost a young fortune in R&D money. The positive result of this process is that US patients can go to a doctor and more likely than not get a safe remedy for most of the things that could possibly ail them.

However, like all with all government regulations, you don't get something for nothing. The drug company has to recover this massive R&D expenditure or go under from the cost. Therefore Americans pay a massive premium on the per pill manufacture costs of most prescription drugs. By conveniently ignoring the research costs associated with curing medical maladies, Kerry makes a slick and nubile case that the average American consumer takes a dishonest hiding from evil drug manufacturers every time we fill our prescriptions.

Thus, he plants the axiom that Christmas arrives a few months early if he can reimport these drugs at Canadian prices and stiff Merck and Pfizer out of their R&D costs. In responses to this buncomb scheme, the drug companies have two options.

a) The companies refuse to sell jack to Canada. This works until Canada rebukes our patents and starts ripping off our chemical formulas to build their own pharmacuetical stocks.

b) American drug companies can stop trying to cure AIDS and cancer and become yet another consortium of industry where the company HQ is a colonial brick building in Delaware and the factories are staffed by workers who speak Spanish or Chinese.

Kerry runs headlong into the paradox of the modern state. Yes, government can take actions that vastly improve the lot of the common man. No, government cannot take those actions free of cost. Somebody has to pay the cost of developing safe and effective 'miracle drugs'. Exacerbating the free rider problem created by the machinations of Canadian bureaucrats will only cause irreperable damage to America's scientific community.

John F. Kerry is a profoundly intelligent man with a broad range of governmental experience. In other words, he's not stupid on this issue, he's blatantly dishonest. Far too dishonest to be classified as anything other than unfit for command.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Judges And Attorneys: America's True Nazi Party

The strongly partisan among both The Democrats and The Republicans will tend to find new and puerile ways to call the other side a bunch of Nazis. As if they were actually going to convince dedicated people of a different political dogma to recant by the sheer force of personal insult. This generally doesn't win any sympathy from an informed electorate and it also misses the gravest threat to individual liberty in our country.

For those who have membership in Stormfront and actually hope Nazis will get power one day, the totally dictatorial behavior of judges and attorneys greatly trumps anything that either party has on their 2004 Presidential Platform. A recent example occurred in Bowling Green, Va.

BOWLING GREEN, Va. -- A woman was sentenced Thursday to 10 days in jail for defying a court order not to smoke around her children.

Tamara Silvius was banned last year from smoking around the youths, now ages 8 and 10, as part of a custody arrangement with her ex-husband.

She allegedly violated the order during a trip to South Carolina for Thanksgiving. For that, Silvius was fined $500 and was given a 10-day suspended sentence on the condition she not do it again.

Yes, I know this stems from an agreement between her and her not-so-dearly beloved, but I'm also certain she was at least partially coerced into what she signed. I also know that this violates any semblance of individual liberty. Should we also detain pregnant women who eat too many bad things during pregnancy?

I personally don't smoke and wouldn't recommend the habit to any sane individual. However, there comes a point where we stop being America if a court can kick down our door and take us away for crap like smoking in front of our kids. Like Germany after WWII, the legal profession is badly in need of denazification.

Sorting Out Mookie

Muqtada Al Sadr seems to be nearing the end of the line, according to a recent post at Freedom's Truth Blog. He has risen up twice against US forces in his bid to replace Ayatollah Al Sistani as the head cleric of Shiite Islam in the holy city of Nejaf. The recent chaos in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein has provided Al Sadr a fulcrum to attempt Al Sistani's ouster.

Al Sadr's and Al Sistani dispute how to best optimize the power of Iraqi Shiite Muslims. Al Sistani looks at recent Iraqi census counts and recognizes that they are the most numerous group throughout all of Southern Iraq. He feels that they would take office by landslide and dominate at least half of the country if Prime Minister Alawi called an election that was anything close to fair.

Al Sadr has a more radical approach. He wants an armed uprising against the coalition because he distrusts the current election plans and probably doesn't want anything to do with Democracy as a form of government.

Thus Al Sadr raised The Mehdi Army and has made enough trouble in Southern Iraq to earn the derisive nickname "Mookie" from the US forces who had to put his first uprising down. This would have been the end of "Mookie" several months ago except for three factors.

1) He is supported to the hilt by the Shiite Clerics who run the Theocracy in Iran.

2) Al Sistani recently needed a heart transplant. While Al Sadr hasn't taken a page from Ayatollah Khomeni's book yet and prayed that Al Sistani had cancer, he has viewed Al Sistani's health problems as a career enhancement opportunity, rather than a reason for mourning.

3) He hides in one of the most sacred shrines in the muslim world. We can't really unleash on Muqtada Al Sadr without running a high risk of collatoral damage. Smashing this shrine would probably make the entire Southern half of Iraq rebel and join The Mehdi.

Now Muqtada Al Sadr lies wounded in the sacred shrine. He is holed up with about a Battalion of Mehdi Infantry. Exceedingly p*****-off US Marines surround the compound. Al Sadr now negotiates, possible for his life.

We've let this man walk out of a seige before. This time we should require his personnal surrender. Muqtada Al Sadr is a constant and dangerous problem. One that we can't wage a more sensitive war on terror against. One way or another, Uncle Sam's Misguided Children need to give Mookie a good sorting out.

Update I: Vodkapundit suggests that a Al Sadr is tired and could really use a nice long dirt-nap. .50 cal martyrdom would certainly sort The Mookster out quite nicely.

A Slow Boat To Cambodia

Captain's Quarters, has INMHO, led the blogsphere in covering Kerry's latest broadside of fertilizer regarding his exploits in Indochina.

TOUR OF DUTY author and John Kerry historian Doug Brinkley is rushing a piece for the NEW YORKER: to set-the-record-straight on Kerry's Christmas in Cambodia tale, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
Kerry has turned to author Brinkley for a "modification" after it was exposed that Kerry was not in Cambodia during Christmas of 1968, as he once claimed from the Senate floor.
The Brinkley piece for the NEW YORKER will now say that Kerry was not in Cambodia during Christmas, but rather in January, publishing sources tell DRUDGE.


We all know Kommander Kerry was IN VIETNAM, but did you know he was in Cambodia? Perhaps the real question was did Kommander Kerry know he was in Cambodia. He seems to be unsure, particularly when his spin doesn't play well politically.

Maybe he spent Christmas in Cambodia, maybe he spent it 5 miles inside Vietnam. Maybe John Kerry needed a refresher trip through the Navy's training course on navigation and map reading. Perhaps if he'd oriented his map to Magnetic North, not Grid North.

Bilge O'Really and several other members of the 'politically disinterested' media, have rushed to Kerry's defense. Rather than forming a truth squad and investigating the allegations made by the Swift Boat Crews, they've dug up enough dirt to assassinate their characters.

James Carville has no clue what Kerry did or did not do in Cambodia, but he sure knows what some of the Swift Boat Veterans have posted on FreeRepublic.Com. If Kerry were the GOP nominee, the media would have already declared Jihad.

Kerry might even have a plausible explanation for this pile of hooey. He needs to produce it before he rides any further into his own pile of dung. Otherwise, I'd be inclined to opine that John F. Kerry wasn't the swiftest boat on the rivers of Indochina.

Update I: CrushKerry does precisely that. It seems Swift Boat Captains are expected to keep Brown Books. Sort of like the Sit-Reps Army Commanders send up the Chain of Command. In other words, it was Kommander Kerry's bloomin' arse if he was ever unsure whether he was IN VIETNAM or in Cambodia.

Update II: QandO has also taken exception to Kerry's 'incomplete' recollection of calendar, location and azimuth during his stint IN VIETNAM and perhaps also Cambodia. Yet another blogger has decided that the man is either very stupid or exceedingly dishonest. In either case, he's Unfit For Command.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Kerry Speaks His Mind

Kudos to Antivenom over at FreeRepublic.com

"The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country." - John F. Kerry

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." - John F. Kerry

"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'." - John F. Kerry

"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future." - John F. Kerry

"The future will be better tomorrow." - John F. Kerry

"We're going to have the best educated American people in the world." - John F. Kerry

"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made." - ! John F. Kerry

"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe." - John F. Kerry

"Public speaking is very easy." - John F. Kerry

"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls." - John F. Kerry

"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur." - John F. Kerry

"For NASA, space is still a high priority." - John F. Kerry

"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children." - John F. Kerry

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." - John F. Kerry

"It's time for the human race to enter the solar system." - John F. Kerry

A More Sensitive War On Terror

Kerry has figured out how to really put the clamps on Muqtada Al Sadr but good. He intends to fight a sensitive war on terror. He explained his brilliant master plan to a party of journalists recently.

Kerry had told a meeting of minority journalists last week that he could do a better job than Bush of cultivating allies in the war on terrorism. "I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side," he said.

This runs headlong into an inconvenient buzz saw of factual information. For starters, Kerry, himself, claims he favored dropping the hammer on Saddam and would have done so as President. The French, The Germans, The Canadians, The Russians and The Chinese inveighed against our taking any such step. The only way Kerry could make these nations not feel antipathy towards our efforts in Iraq would have been not to undertake them.

Sensitivity does not override what other nations view as their vital self intrest. There is no sensitive game of Realpolitik. Vice President Dick Cheney pointed that out in direct and certain language during a campaign rally.

"America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive," Cheney said.
"Those that threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively, they need to be destroyed," he said.


Cheney accented some form of the word "sensitive" a half-dozen times and drew laughter from the partisan crowd. He said Kerry had a "fundamental misunderstanding" of the world.

The Kerry Campaign wasted no time in returning fire. They forgot the whole sensitivity thing. I'll bet Cheney's feelings were hurt after this fusillade of obfuscation.

"This vice president's lack of sensitivity is precisely what led this administration to ignore the advice of the professional military and rush to war (in Iraq)," Kerry spokesman David Wade said. "We can't afford another four years of their failed insensitive foreign policy."

So there we have it. We should have spent another twelve years watching Saddam Insane wipe his butt with a toussel of UN regulations and using the Oil For Food Boondoggle to pay the families of Hezbollah suicide bombers an annual Darwin Award Grant for the pointless and stupid death of their favorite suicide bomber. We really screwed the poochie when we rushed headlong into war over there.

As for 'we' not being able to afford four more years of insensitive foreign policy, I'm reminded of Ronald Reagan's brush off of Bill Clinton's pathetically fatuous claim that "We won the Cold War." Raegan asked Bill Clinton the same thing Dick Cheney should ask the Kerry Lackey that offered up the asininity. "Who is we?"

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

They Had To Bring Up Pete Rose

It was sad the day I figured out there was no such thing as Santa Claus. Not believing in the tooth fairy was a doozey as well. The one that hurt three times as much as both combined, was learning that Charlie Hustle was a bum. ESPN reopened an old wound by running an afternoon special on the decline and fall of Cincinnati Reds superstar Pete Rose. With a stat line like this,


AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI
.303 3562 14053 2165 4256 746 135 160 1314

Calling Pete Rose a bum seems totally unfair. Rose's defenders are legion and many are famous. Jimmy Carter went to bat for him back in 1995, writing this.

Let us consider the four key factors mentioned above:

Rose's offense: It is fruitless to rehash the already belabored facts. A major degree of guilt has been conceded.

Extenuating circumstances: The most important are the marvelous (not just superior) achievements of Pete Rose as a player during his long career, aside from his subsequent service as a manager. No player has over-hustled more, or been more committed to the game of baseball. After breaking Ty Cobb's record, Rose went on to a total of 4,256 hits in an unequaled 3,562 games and 14,053 times at bat, for a lifetime batting average of .303. He also held 31 other major and National League records.


Reform or restitution: Pete Rose served his prison time as required, and has subsequently led the life of a proper and law-abiding citizen. He is gainfully employed, and has complied with the special restraints placed on him by Commissioner Giamatti. In painful dignity, he has suffered many other actual and indirect punishments.


Victims' forgiveness: The primary victims of the crime are the millions of dedicated fans who support baseball and are very protective of the game's reputation and integrity. A 1994 article in Sports Illustrated reported a telephone poll of Americans in which 97% of respondents said that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. I have found virtually no fans who disagree.

Jimmy Carter also thought Daniel Otega was a great world leader. His capacity to forgive waxes, in proportion to his waning connection with terra firma. Rose's painful dignity involved going on TV and auctioning off self-autographed memorabilia the day he was banned from baseball for life.

He also denied ever betting on baseball games, even after The Dowd Report made him look only slightly less rediculous than OJ Simpson looking for the killers with a golf cart and a bag full of clubs. The bookie who left a dead fish in Charlie Hustle's mail box added just the right personal touch. Personal is exactly how it gets when someone stiffs their bookie for $500,000 and doesn't even feel a twinge of remorse.

Personal is also how it gets when someone I really admire lets me down in a massive way. During Pete Rose's incredible 44-game hitting streak, I wrote the man fan mail. It royally tees me off when people I genuinely respect turn out to be miserable, dirty rats. I'm lucky I never particularly liked (B)ill Clinton.



Sunday, August 08, 2004

The Lycopene Lowdown.

The American Mind has the latest Dirty Lowdown on that waskely wabbit John Kerry. It's my better late than never link to Kerry's House O' Ketchup.

I Hate It When Pessimists Are Correct

Nearly every conservative worth his/her salt knows the current income tax system fails in it's essential duty and grossly violates the rights of the individual American. Everyone with at least one foot still anchored to terra firma knows that some form of taxation remains a necessary evil. The problem can be defined thusly.

"If the current taxation as practised by the Federal Government of the United States is economically inefficient and morally worng, and if such taxation is a necessary duty to support the essential functions of the state, how can we do it better?"

Regrettably, the GOP leadership has an answer. An answer that would get about a B-/C+ for a grade in a really lenient liberal arts class. Here's a sampling of their "logic" on this issue.

The Drudge item served to highlight the indecisiveness that many Republican leaders have shown. A spokesman for Hastert said the speaker favors a value-added tax, but is open to sales-tax and flat-tax ideas. And House Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Thomas has expressed an interest in holding hearings, but a spokesperson for the committee says Thomas wants "whatever is most politically feasible" and won't commit to one plan over another.

Reform has again lost out to lip service. As long as congressmen represent hopelessly gerrymandered districts and are payed to maintain a partially functional statis quo, this problem will not end up getting fixed. At least not until a coroner writes on someone's death certificate that they died from "progressive" taxation.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Mike Caldwell Candidate

Prior to stepping to the mound last Thursday to deliver his big prime-time speech, Senator John Kerry warmed up by throwing out the first pitch at a Red Sox-Yankees game in Boston. The pitch was a passed ball and by many accounts, so was his acceptance speech. However unimpressive Kerry's performance may have looked, he remains in excellent position to win and bring himself and his party to political power.

In this respect, he reminds me of Mike Caldwell, who pitched for years in the majors, always looked like he was about to give up ten or twelve runs, but then always left the mound with his team in position to win. Kerry, like Caldwell, has mastered the fine art of never quite screwing it up and always making the other guy go out and beat him.

Had Al Gore displayed the same level of competence in 2000, Kerry would still have no aspirations beyond the US Senate. Kerry takes no risks and makes few, if any, controversial moves. He's boring, but plays political prevent defense. President Bush will have to be careful not to make a major error and punch himself out.



Monday, August 02, 2004

Does Fantasy Inform Reality?

Christopher Whittle gives us an interesting explanation of why Santa Claus and other myths exist for little kids. He posits they are a necessary part of the socialization process for young children. Not that that makes getting caught with a group of your adult friends playing Car Wars, Unknown Armies or Call of Cthulu at 3:45 AM any less nerdy, but it sort of puts it all into perspective.

Whittle goes on to argue that people are probably going to continue believing in The Tooth Fairy for a long time.

Scientists and science educators (1) have high levels of paranormal and pseudoscientific belief, (2) do not use their scientific knowledge when voting, (3) use nonscientific approaches in personal and social decision-making, and (4) do not have high levels of science content knowledge outside of their specific disciplines. How can we expect nonscientists to think and act scientifically if scientists and science educators do not? If we decide to mount a concerted program to disabuse the public of paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs, we must first ask if cultures can survive without paranormal beliefs.

The concept of The Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus being necessary doesn't shock me at all. When Dennis Kucinich used Grandfather Twilight as an endorsement on his website, (That must have been after the Car Wars game.) I was amused, but not entirely convinced he was stupid. As long as there's still something out there we don't have the logical tools to understand, the fantasy realm will be out there somewhere. If Area 51 has nothing in it, it's a brilliant public relations coup just the same.

Dean claims to be a rationalist at heart, leaving me to wonder why he really posted a link to Whittle.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

How Should Americans Be Taxed?

The GOP Convention doesn't even start tommorow, but Matt Drudge suggests that it already features something totally absent last week from Boston, Massachussetts. President Bush actually intends to introduce a major idea. Drudge had everything except the cheesy siren up for this one. His text follows below.

REPUBLICANS PLAN PUSH FOR ELIMINATION OF IRS**Exclusive**A domestic centerpiece of the Bush/GOP agenda for a second Bush term is getting rid of the Internal Revenue Service, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.The Speaker of the House will push for replacing the nation's current tax system with a national sales tax or a value added tax, Hill sources tell DRUDGE.

President Bush almost behaves like he's the challenger. It reminds me of 1992, when Bill Clinton dominated the experimental policy arena with his Welfare Reform proposal. The President's haymaker; scrapping the IRS and replacing it with a different system of revenue generation.

Steve Forbes used this issue to remain alive for a primary or two during his attempts to win the GOP nomination. His pet proposal was the Flat Tax. This proposal is often derided as non-progressive and simplistic. However, Paul Bremer didn't think so when he needed a tax system in Iraq. Vladamir Putin has adopted a flat tax in Russia as well.

Another possible taxation system involving a VAT or Value Added Tax, taxes consumption of goods and services. The VAT is already used in many other countries around the world and by the European Union. It works by taxing the value added in each stage of production for a good or service. Wikipedia offers an explanation by way of example below.

Adding on a 10% VAT:
The manufacturer pays $1.10 for the raw materials, and the seller of the raw materials pays the government $0.10.
The manufacturer charges the retailer $1.32 and pays the government $0.02 ($0.12 minus $0.10), leaving the same profit of $0.20.
The retailer charges the consumer $1.65 and pays the government $0.03 ($0.15 minus $0.12), leaving the same profit of $0.30.


A final alternative President Bush may attempt is a National Sales Tax. It's supporters claim that it would eliminate hidden and unfair taxation and improve the competitive status of American Products abroad. Its detractors refer to it as a tax on the poor, but have seemingly lodged a laundry-list of gripes without any real evidence to back them.

Whether President Bush actually carries through on this initiative is almost secondary. It will develop a life of its own. The American people have a strong sense that the current regime of taxation is unfair and needs strong revision. By putting this on the table in a major way, President Bush has the potential to actually turn this year's election into a legitimate contest of ideas. Three cheers for the Commander-In-Chief.

LGF is also blogging this and Wizbang says that it fits in with President Bush's willingness to take policy risks.

Update I: Not all bloggers are as optimistic as I on this one.


Queer Eye For That Osauma Guy

Diving Into Dowd - Because Crap Sinks, It Doesn't Float Your Boat.

Sean Hackbarth at TAM also had the intestinal fortitude to read Maureen Dowd. Talk about something that had to have tasted better the first time it was eaten.....

Dowd displays a rather frightening fixation with Gilligan's Island. The evil part of mind wonders if she used to call Michael Douglas The Skipper during their intimate moments. She asks the philosophical question about Senator Kerry. "Does He Float Your Boat?"

It was a subtle reminder of Candidate Kerry's swiftboat days. Further proof that he was.....a VIETNAM VETERAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO let's dive into Maureen Dowd. Let's muck the depths of her trolladytic mind.

A good diver starts by properly tanking up, and I never reccommend a Maureen Dowd column with a good stiff vodka tonic. Paragraphs like the one below, immediately make you reach for a second one.

Her husband, as usual, went overboard. The Democratic convention, which was focus-group-dial-a- metered to death, needed a dose of dramamine. It was awash in allusions about Commander Kerry steering the ship of state - from the curved design of the metal and wood-paneled lectern, meant to evoke a ship's bridge; to the Massachusetts senator's arrival in Boston Harbor on the prow of a ferry, making like Washington crossing the Delaware; to the dramatic Vietnam Swift boat scenes in the biographical film; to Jim Rassman's iconic story of being saved when Lieutenant Kerry reached down and pulled him from the water over the bow, to the nominee's hokey salute and "reporting for duty."

Thanks Maureen, we got it, Sweetie.

And then there are those Maureen Moments. The lines she brings out just to make you regurgitate all of that alcohol before it does any lasting damage to your system. I wouldn't write this about anyone who handles himself in a courtroom as well as Senator Edwards.

John Edwards was a synchronized swimmer in the Kerry ocean of love:

I guess that's better than being a charming pet gerbil in Richard's Gerebox of digestive elimination. Just not by much. I can't find a less talented of inspiring writer on the editorial pages today. Perhaps that's only because I don't look very hard for William Raspberry, but Maureen truly stinks up the joint like an overeater who forgets the courtesy flush.

I admit it. I never made it past that line. I'm like a diver who's gone too deep too rapidly. Nitrogen narcosis has set in. Not badly enough to make Maureen seem smart or informative, but enough to err on the side of safety and leave Maureen Dowd submerged in her own murky world.

I'll manage my ascent very carefully. I'd hate to end up like Skipper Kerry and Gilligan Edwards. I perfer to sufficiently decompress on the way back up.



"Reciprocals"

As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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