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August 31, 2005

Backpacking Checklist

I've spent a few days out backpacking and have updated my backpacking and/or camping checklist:

Backpacking List

Not everything on this list will necessarily be taken, nor is the list necessarily exhaustive. Before using the list, one should use one's own creativity to prepare for packing whatever seems necessary, and then to go through this list to check for forgotten items. One's own list, combined with this list, will hopefully leave nothing important behind. This list is based upon a low nighttime temperature of 32_F (0_C) and expected warm temps of at least 50_F (10_C) during the day.

Clothing: Stay away from cotton. Use high-quality "wicking" or "hydrophobic" (pulls moisture away from your skin) base-layer wear. Layering is the key to proper camping attire; have a base layer, a mid-layer (insulator such as fleece) and a shell (rain jacket) as a minimum for the upper body. Similar should occur for the legs (underwear, long johns, pants, and wind breaking material) and feet (protective "blister proof" socks as a base, thicker heavy socks for warmth, shoes or boots). The combined use of all layers together should be adequate for all temperature conditions. If you don't think that they'll be enough to keep you warm, choose your layers more wisely.

I. Basics
  A. Backpack
  B. Day pack
  C. Tent
  D. Groundcover
  E. Pillow
  F. Sleeping Bag
  G. Mattress
     1. Insulite pad
     2. Therma rest
     3. Foam Rubber
  H. Towels
     1. Dish
     2. Hand
     3. Body
     4. Paper towels
II. Toiletries
  A. Toilet paper, sealed in zip lock bags
  B. Tooth:
     1. brush
     2. paste
     3. floss (the string has multiple uses)
  C. Sunblock
  D. Deodorant
  E. Bio-safe soap
  F. Hair brush
  G. Wet Wipes
  H. Hand sanitizer
III. Clothing
  A. Hat
     1. Sun hat
     2. Thermal hat
  B. Shirt
     1. Long Sleeve
     2. Short sleeve
  C. Sunglasses
  D. Pants
     1. Long pants
     2. String/thin pants
     3. Shorts
  E. Shoes
     1. Hiking shoes
        a. A spare pair of laces
     2. Sandals
  F. Underwear
     1. Long Johns
     2. briefs (boxers lend themselves to chafing)
     3. Socks
        a. heavy
        b. light
  G. Coats
     1. Fleece liner
     2. Wind breaker (shell)
  G. Return Trip Clothing (it's nice to change into something clean for the drive home)
IV. Food
  A. Water
     1. Car reserves: 5_gal
     2. water for the hike 3_liters per day
     3. water filter
  B. Snack Food
     1. Fruit
     2. Energy bars
     3. Trail mix
  C. Meals
     1. Cooking
        a. Soup mix
        b. grain cereal
        c. stirfry
           i) vegetables
           ii) oil
     2. Uncooked (or pre-cooked)
        a. cereal
        b. milk
        c. juice
        d. bread
        e. cheese
        f. tuna
        g. fruit
        h. nutrition bars
         i. pizza?
  D. Utensils/Cookware
     1. Pot/pan
     2. Fork, Spoon
     3. Pocket Knife
     4. Stackable, disposable, storage tubs for food storage and as dinnerware
     5. Stove and cooking fuel
  E. Caffeine
     1. Coffee
     2. Energy drinks
     3. Energy drink powder
     4. Gels
     5. Vivarin
V. Emergency/Medical
  A. Snakebite kit
  B. Aspirin
  C. First Aid Kit, plus
     1. Space blanket
     2. ACE bandage
     3. Inflatable splints
     4. Toe warmers
VI. Navigation
  A. Compass
  B. GPS Unit
  C. Binoculars
  D. Maps (USGS, and/or Trails Illustrated)
  E. Hiking plans
     1. Books
     2. Trail/area descriptions
VII. Other
  A. Walki-Talkies
  B. Mobile phone
  C. Camera
  D. Matches/Lighter
  E. Book/Reading Material
  F. Notepad
  G. Writing Utensils/Eraser
  H. Lights
     1. Headlamp
     2. Hand flashlight
     3. Glowing lightsticks
  I. Bandana
  J. Extra Batteries
  K. Watch or other timepiece
  L. Wash rag
     1. person
     2. dishes
  M. Tiny sewing kit
  Q. Thermometer
  R. Plastic garbage sacks

Posted by Jeff at 11:37 AM | Comments (5)

August 18, 2005

Stages of the Human Lifespan

The lifespan of a human (in reverse order):

  • Elder
  • Adult
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Infant
  • Fetus
  • Fertilized Egg

All genetically identical.

Posted by Jeff at 01:35 PM | Comments (10)

August 15, 2005

Responding to the "Extremist Hatemonger"

Responding to Cindy Sheehan's over the top vitriolic attacks, Iraqi Mohammad Fadhil:

I know how you feel Cindy, I lived among the same pains for 35 years but worse than that was the fear from losing our loved ones at any moment. Even while I'm writing these words to you there are feelings of fear, stress, and sadness that interrupt our lives all the time but in spite of all that I'm sticking hard to hope which if I didn't have I would have died years ago.

Ma'am, we asked for your nation's help and we asked you to stand with us in our war and your nation's act was (and still is) an act of ultimate courage and unmatched sense of humanity. Our request is justified, death was our daily bread and a million Iraqi mothers were expecting death to knock on their doors at any second to claim someone from their families. Your face doesn't look strange to me at all; I see it everyday on endless numbers of Iraqi women who were struck by losses like yours.

Our fellow country men and women were buried alive, cut to pieces and thrown in acid pools and some were fed to the wild dogs while those who were lucky enough ran away to live like strangers and the Iraqi mother was left to grieve one son buried in an unfound grave and another one living far away who she might not get to see again.

We did nothing to deserve all that suffering, well except for a dream we had; a dream of living like normal people do.

We cried out of joy the day your son and his comrades freed us from the hands of the devil and we went to the streets not believing that the nightmare is over. . . .

The mothers went to break the bars of cells looking for the ones they lost 5, 12 or 20 years ago and other women went to dig the land with their bare hand searching for a few bones they can hold in their arms after they couldn't hold them when they belonged to a living person.

I recall seeing a woman on TV two years ago, she was digging through the dirt with her hands. There was no definite grave in there as the whole place was one large grave but she seemed willing to dig the whole place looking for her two brothers who disappeared from earth 24 years ago when they were dragged from their colleges to a chamber of hell.

Her tears mixed with the dirt of the grave and there were journalists asking her about what her brothers did wrong and she was screaming "I don't know, I don't know. They were only college students. They didn't murder anyone, they didn't steal, and they didn't hurt anyone in their lives. All I want to know is the place of their grave."

Why was this woman chosen to lose her dear ones? Why you? Why did a million women have to go through the same pain?

We did not choose war for the sake of war itself and we didn't sacrifice a million lives for fun! We could've accepted our jailor and kept living in our chains for the rest of our lives but it's freedom ma'am. Freedom is not an American thing and it's not an Iraqi thing, it's what unites us as human beings.

Posted by Jeff at 07:24 PM | Comments (2)

Situational Libertarianism, Slippery Slopes, and Simplistic Thinking

The prudence of situational libertarianism should be obvious to us all. Short term encroachments on civil liberties are warranted when failing to do so presents a credible danger of still greater long term or permanent endings of our civil liberties.

In fact, short term encroachments on our civil liberties are part of every serious civil libertarian's master plan. Who, for example, would knee-jerkedly agree that it's okay to imprison an innocent man? Yet, that's precisely what we do every day in every state of the union: we arrest innocent-until-proven-guilty suspects, uproot them from their lives, and hold them until and unless they either post bail (the temporary seizure of an innocent man's property by the state), are no longer prime suspects (not enough evidence to continue to hold them), or are acquitted. The long term safety of our civil liberties has always come as a benefit from short term encroachments upon them.

High Energy Physics

There's an analogue for this in the natural world, by the way, in the form of the law of the conservation of energy. By virtue of something called the uncertainty principle, the universe is able to tolerate short term variations in its total energy, variations which disappear almost as quickly as they occur. An example of this phenomenon is of empty space being anything but empty, as matter and anti-matter pairs of quanta are constantly being created and destroyed. But I digress....

Sometimes, short term encroachments upon our civil liberties which are necessary for their long term sustainability extend beyond relatively minor encroachments such as the detaining of suspects of crimes. These situations are not unlike forsaking a healthy chemical-free lifestyle in favor of enduring short term chemotherapy to end cancer. Charles Krauthammer's current column explains:

In 1977, when a bunch of neo-Nazis decided to march through Skokie, a suburb of Chicago heavily populated with Holocaust survivors, there was controversy as to whether they should be allowed. I thought they should. Why? Because neo-Nazis are utterly powerless.

Had they not been -- had they been a party on the rise, as in late-1920s Germany -- I would have been for not only banning the march but also for practically every measure of harassment and persecution from deportation to imprisonment. A tolerant society has an obligation to be tolerant. Except to those so intolerant that they themselves would abolish tolerance.

Call it situational libertarianism: Liberties should be as unlimited as possible -- unless and until there arises a real threat to the open society. Neo-Nazis are pathetic losers. Why curtail civil liberties to stop them? But when a real threat -- such as jihadism -- arises, a liberal democratic society must deploy every resource, including the repressive powers of the state, to deter and defeat those who would abolish liberal democracy.

I tend to be a "slippery-slope" arguer, myself. I like to say that, to quote (as accurately possible from memory) an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." But that's absurd.

"Life, however, is lived on a slippery slope: Taxation could become confiscation; police could become gestapos. But the benefits from taxation and police make us willing to wager that our judgment can stop slides down dangerous slopes."
--George F. Will

Back to Charles Krauthammer and the aforementioned article. He makes his own "slippery slope" argument:

Civil libertarians go crazy when you make this argument. Beware the slippery slope, they warn. You start with a snoop in a library, and you end up with Big Brother in your living room.

The problem with this argument is that it is refuted by American history. There is no slippery slope, only a shifting line between liberty and security that responds to existential threats.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln went so far as to suspend habeas corpus. When the war ended, America returned to its previous openness. During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt interned an entire ethnic group. His policies were soon rescinded (later apologized for) and shortly afterward America embarked on a period of unprecedented expansion of civil rights. Similarly, the Vietnam-era abuses of presidential power were later exposed and undone by Congress.

Our history is clear. We have not slid inexorably toward police power. We have fluctuated between more and less openness depending on need and threat. And after the Sept. 11 mass murders, America awoke to the need for a limited and temporary shrinkage of civil liberties to prevent more such atrocities.

Our tendencies toward simplistic thinking prod us toward making judgments without thinking past the next move on the chess board; all is black and white and please don't bother us with complexities which may confuse.

Posted by Jeff at 10:55 AM | Comments (4)

August Snail

A Snail in August (actually - it was July - but don't tell anyone!)
Posted by Jeff at 03:06 AM | Comments (2)

August 14, 2005

Tolerance

"[Tolerance] used to be a virtue. It used to mean that even though I disagreed vehemently with your view, I treated you with respect and kindness. Now it means that I am to accept your view, no matter what it is, as having equal value in the marketplace of ideas."
--Tom Knott

Posted by Jeff at 06:52 PM | Comments (0)

Opinion Journal cites BlameBush!

Congratulations to BlameBush for having been referenced in The Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today!

blamebush.jpg
 
Posted by Jeff at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

The F-Word

"[F]ascism seems to have become the academic equivalent of another well-known F-word: a generalized expletive that only infrequently bears any relationship to its original meaning, though it retains the power to shock those who are unaccustomed to its overuse."
--James Taranto

Posted by Jeff at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2005

America Dodged a Bullet

Yesterday, while reading another weblog, I was reminded of just how important it was for President Bush to be re-elected. The weblog in question was that of Wil Wheaton, the fellow who played Wesley Crusher on Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Wil Wheaton, it seems, like most of Hollywood, is on the political left. He seems completely out of touch with how "the real world" works. Sure, his strange little corner of it is as real as anyone else's, but it's a terribly uncommon world unshared by the rest of us (I get a serious kick that his "about" page tells us that since leaving Star Trek, he "tried life as a hobo, riding the rails across the US", followed by "finding his calling" working in a "waffle house" shortly thereafter, a job which he couldn't hold and, "heart broken and disillusioned", he went back to L.A. to write books). He's been weblogging for years, it seems, and I wanted to see what, if anything, he had to say about the re-election of George Bush.

Nov. 1, 2004

I believe that we much [sic] reject George W. Bush and the direction he's taken our country. Even if we (hopefully) end up with a new president tomorrow, it will take decades to repair the damage George Bush has done in just four years....

This election is a referendum on the policies and leadership of President Bush....

Nov. 3, 2004

I'm stunned, and at a total loss for words this morning, so I'm going to borrow some words from Oliver Willis:

The amazing thing to me about this race was that Bush could be as divisive as he wanted to be, but it never penalized him. The most important things in the world were responded to with infantile answers or complete ignorance. Where he stood was clear. Simplicity wins.

Apparently, my country holds a fundamentally different set of values than I thought we did, and that scares the shit out of me. I still believe that Bush is bad for America, and though I'm virtually certain that the next four years will be an absolute disaster. Not just because we have gotten four more years of the Bush agenda, but because this election has been an enthusiastic endorsement of that agenda.

I hoped I would wake up this morning to the good news that our long national nightmare was over.

It's not over.

It's just beginning.

The truth is that a nightmare was averted. He was right that the vote was a referendum on America's actions in the previous 3.5 years, and he's right that the vote was an enthusiastic endorsement of that agenda. Can you imagine what would've resulted from a George Bush defeat?

For several years, misguided people across the globe have been denouncing America, agreeing with Wil Wheaton that the effects of America's actions during President Bush's term can accurately be described as "damage" - and damage which will take decades to repair. Now just imagine what world consciousness about America would be if George Bush had not been re-elected. He'd have been perceived as having been "thrown out of office" by his own people. Those across the globe who have been lambasting America would've had their criticisms validated by Americans themselves. America would've been seen as the self-admitted great satan of the world, a country which owes much to the rest of the world for its hubris (the lefties' new favorite word) and the destruction which followed from it. America would be seen as having been sent to the back of the world's classroom, to sit in a corner, with a dunce cap on its head, where it'd be expected to follow, from now on, the much higher and mightier moral authority of the rest of the world.

And it would be a sickening misappreciation of what's really going on.

America, including - if not especially - America under the leadership of President George W. Bush, can not only be proud of itself, but still more proud of itself than that of any other nation. Freedom still rings here better than it rings anywhere else. What passes for freedom in other previously Americanized countries, such as Canada and Great Britian, tend to be statist encroachments upon freedoms. We're seeing these kinds of encroachments on our freedoms here at home (affirmative action, for example: a requirement by the state that we shall hold a persons race to be not only important, but an indespensible measure of the man in question, tattooed from birth), but we're still far ahead of the rest of the world. America is also tremendously generous to other nations in terms of charity, America is still a leader in technological innovation, including innovations which reduce our impact on the natural environment. The list, for America - unlike most other countries - can go on and on. America is not merely good, America is GREAT. No culture has done more good for humanity than that which forms the basis of America's politics.

So just imagine what would've happened had George W. Bush not been re-elected. The whole world would be pulling America down, helped by leftist Americans themselves, and instead of Democratic childish obstructionism in the senate hampering the American agenda, the Libertarians and the Republicans would be left fighting like America's founding minutemen, to prevent the once great United States from being stamped down into the the Union of Amerikan Socialist Republics.

With the re-election of President George W. Bush, America has maintained its moral authority in the world.

PS: With regard to the quote above which suggests that George W. Bush was divisive, we should all know by now who is really dividing America.

Posted by Jeff at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

White Woman, Black Man

It'll be interesting to see how the story of a real life "Bonnie and Clyde" plays out. Here we have a black man, who was imprisoned, and a white woman, who was free to set up the means necessary for the planned escape of the man, both accused of murder in having executed that plan. It seems that as corrections officers were leading the man, George Hyatte, out of a court house, George suddenly yelled, "Shoot him!" Bullets rang out, killing one of the corrections officers, a Mr. Wayne "Cotton" Morgan. The other corrections officer managed to return fire, injuring the woman who was firing the shots, the prisoner's wife, Jennifer Hyatte. The authorities released these photos of the perpetrators:

old.jpg

The sheriff of Roane County, Tennessee said, "I would recommend death" as the penalty that they should face. I most certainly agree. When I was a child in school, I remember a teacher explaining to the class that the death penalty in my state applied whenever a murder is premeditated and/or whenever a murder takes place during the commission of another crime (in the latter case, suppose an armed robbery is taking place and someone is killed; arguably, they never intended to kill anyone, so there was no plan for a murder, thus this situation requires being addressed separately). In the case of the Hyattes, it certainly appears that both conditions took place, as the shooting was an essential element in George's planned escape.

I hope that Tennessee has a similar application for the death penalty as my state.

But there's something even more sinister about this crime. Not only did they plan a murder, and not only did the murder take place during the execution of another crime, but additionally the crime was not only against the fellow who was killed, but it was also against the state. Even if no one had been killed, we had our system of justice violently attacked and subverted. An attack against our government from the inside is no better than an attack from the outside - by malicious governments or terrorists. I would consider it to be a slap in the face to all Americans if these people receive anything less than the death penalty.

After they were caught, the authorities released these photos of the pair:

new.jpg

So I just click on a news story entitled, Mother says con's wife gullible about men. Oh lord...let the scapegoating begin. I find this lovely statement, made by Jennifer's mother, within its text:

"We realize that what she has allegedly done is terrible, but we feel the horrible man she got involved with is truly to blame for this whole situation. We also feel that he had her brainwashed from the first time they met."

Granted, the mother is probably suffering significant grief over these happenings. And the first response of nearly any mother is going to be to want to protect her child, to solve the problems, and make all of the bad go away. And given what is likely the mother's state of mind, I can't say that I blame her for saying such a thing.

But putting the grief aside for a few moments, consider that statement as (hypothetically) coming from a person who is of sound mind. If such a woman believes such a thing, I can't say that I'd be overwhelmingly surprised to find her raising children who murder. The statement is nothing else but a denial of personal responsibility. And raising a kid to avoid personal responsibility is just about the worst thing that a parent could do. Such avoidance is the primary reason for the evils that happen in this world.

The danger here is that such an argument will be used in court. Here you have a black man with a long rap sheet and a white woman who has no record at all. "He brainwashed her". What a load of crap. And, judging by the types of daytime television shows which become so very successful in America, I can see a jury of 12 nincompacs letting this bimbo off of the hook. Let's hope not.

Get over it.

Posted by Jeff at 01:56 AM | Comments (14)

August 12, 2005

Remember the "Fang Fund"?

There's an interesting weblog called Electric Venom whose blogger had an unfortunate accident this month:

Emergency Room Blogging

Oh the pain, pain, pain! I'm at the ER, bleeding all over my blouse. Took the Venomous Boy on a bike ride this evening and I wiped out. Hit my mouth on the handle bars - two teeth gone, at least 3 others cracked and/or chipped.

Look for light blogging tomorrow, if any. It's gonna be a long nite.

((mo-blogged from my Treo))

The most recent update is this:

Got Fangs?

Well, I do!

The good news: the flippers fit, and they look pretty darned good!

The bad news: I had two more teeth extracted before the flippers went in, and they hurt like hell on my still-tender gums. I'm back on Lortab and antibiotics to prevent getting "dry socket" again. So, I'll be following my dentist's instructions to remain in bed the rest of the day. That's not going to be too hard - right now, all I want to do is sleep.

See you in the morning!

The previous day's update included:

Thanks to your contributions, the Fang Fund has reached $7,959.42 - which means that it's almost entirely full! Your generosity has been amazing, and I am so very thankful to all of you. Tomorrow when I put those flippers on for the first time, whether they hurt or not, I am going to be smiling and it's all because of you!

So if you're interested in feeling good for having participated in a random act of kindness, click visit the original Fang Fund blog entry, then pass along a donation to help someone who has had a tough break.

Posted by Jeff at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2005

An Open Book

Okay, so a couple of days ago I mentioned that I was ripping to mp3s all of my music discs and saving them on my hard drive. The purpose of doing that was so that I could make a random compilation of them to burn to a CD for me to listen to in the car (my car stereo will play mp3s). There's lots of reasons behind doing this:

1: I'm not carrying a CD book around in my car which could be stolen.
2: I can fit a lot more mp3s on a disc (the one I've made so far has 160) than are on a normal CD.
3: I can mix up all kinds of music that I like, rather than having to stick with just one album.
4: I can burn CDs with randomly chosen mp3s from my collection, thus getting me to listen to stuff that I tend to pass over. My Bruce Dickenson stuff, later Iron Maiden discs, certain Rush discs, nearly anything new, and other goodies fall into that category.

So to this end, I also wrote a Perl script to randomly pick an mp3 from my collection, check whether there's still room for it on the CD which is being created, then (if there is) place it into a folder to be burned later; if there isn't any room left for the chosen mp3, it'll randomly choose another and see if it fits - then it'll keep this up until it's run out of mp3s to choose from. In this way, I fill that disc up as full as it can get with random mp3s.

The first disc I've burned has 160 mp3s on it and is about 699MB - which are stored on a 700MB disc (that's pretty filled up, eh?), and in the last two days I've been giving it a listen. It's DEFINITELY got me listening to stuff that I'd rarely choose to play.

One thing it has me playing was something I mentioned a couple of days ago: Madonna. I'm listening to the song, "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock and Roll)" by AC/DC, and I've got that song cranked UP, 'cause it's a killer tune. I'm cruising down the road with my windows down and it's blaring. About 10 seconds before I get to a red stop light, the song ends and a Madonna song begins. It's the one that goes something like, "...open your heart...I'll make you love me...." I didn't get 'round to lowering the volume right away.

After I stop at the stoplight, I look to my left and see a city-boy type redneck sitting in the passenger seat next to me looking at me like I'm nuts. I wondered if he could hear the song playing over the street noise, the sound of the car that he was in, and whatever music might be playing in the car he was in. (Of course he could - it was stupid to even question it.) I look to my right and there's a couple of girls sitting on the grass on the corner waiting at the bus stop. They're probably in their early thirties.

I decide to lower the volume. I then hear one of the girls yelling something at me, but I can't make out what she's saying. I turn the stereo off.

"What?" I yell out my window.

"She was singing," one of the girls says while pointing at her friend, "and you shut the music off!"

D'oh! That's when I realized that, yes, the girls could hear the stereo, the guy next to me could hear it, and maybe everyone for a mile could - I don't know.

I yell back, "Yeah, I shut it off so that no one would know that I was listening to that!" and laughed. They laughed too. How odd it must've looked for a guy to be cranking an old Madonna tune.

Posted by Jeff at 10:50 PM | Comments (7)

August 08, 2005

Life Goes Away

So I'm shopping for food at CostCo and I notice that they've got an Eagles concert playing as a demo on a flat screen television. As I've been a casual Eagles fan for a while, I stopped to watch. It blew my mind.

The Eagles are OLD. You're thinking, "Duh!", I know. But I'm not saying that they're old for rockers, or for pop artists, or whatever you'd call'em...I mean they're old like Andy Griffith old...they're old like George Burns old.

It's a shock. It highlights the harsh reality that I'm no spring chicken myself, and I'm just going to get older. It beats the only other realistic alternative, that's for sure, but it's still a shock.

So then I come home and start ripping CDs. I've been doing this for days, getting all of my CDs ripped so that I can make random mixes of mp3s for use in the car, sort of like my own radio station. Anyway, I'm ripping Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath...and then I come upon a Madonna disc that I bought for just one song: Live to Tell.

Live to Tell was a Madonna hit in the mid-to-late eighties when I was in my late teens and early 20s. I've always liked the song. Anyway, while ripping that CD I take a moment to play the song. Instantly, I'm in nostalgiaville. Oh how I'd love to go back to that point in my life and live it again. Here's a kicker, though: I wasn't all that happy back then. In fact, I'd say that I was pretty miserable. Nevertheless, there's something magic about that time of my life and there's no way to get it back. Life just goes away.

Posted by Jeff at 02:06 PM | Comments (1)

Not News

I'm sorry, but this story is simply NOT "big news":

Protest Mom

Look at that...look at how many stories Google is finding for that non-news story. When people discuss leftist bias in the news, this is what they're talking about, folks. It's about the news media pushing in our faces what they want us to think is important, rather than what we actually do.

Now, I'm sure that there are some moveon.org, democraticunderground.com, Michael Moore, ultra-leftist types who think that this IS news, but these characters aren't the mainstream, nor are they the people on the right. But apparently they are the people in the news rooms.

Here - have some Cox and Forkum:

Air America and MSM Leftist Bias
Posted by Jeff at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

Get Over It

The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over
Hell Freezes Over
 

Get Over It

I turn on the tube and what do I see
A whole lotta people cryin' "Don't blame me"
They point their crooked little fingers ar everybody else
Spend all their time feelin' sorry for themselves
Victim of this, victim of that
Your momma's too thin; your daddy's too fat

Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit
Get over it, get over it

You say you haven't been the same since you had your little crash
But you might feel better if I gave you some cash
The more I think about it, Old Billy was right
Let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight
You don't want to work, you want to live like a king
But the big, bad world doesn't owe you a thing

Get over it
Get over it
If you don't want to play, then you might as well split
Get over it, Get over it

It's like going to confession every time I hear you speak
You're makin' the most of your losin' streak
Some call it sick, but I call it weak

You drag it around like a ball and chain
You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain
You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown
Got your mind in the gutter, bringin' everybody down
Complain about the present and blame it on the past
I'd like to find your inner child and kick its little ass

Get over it
Get over it
All this bitchin' and moanin' and pitchin' a fit
Get over it, get over it

Get over it
Get over it
It's gotta stop sometime, so why don't you quit
Get over it, get over it

Posted by Jeff at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)

Embracing Mediocrity

These three quotes contain a lot in common, do they not? The first is from a...well, I suppose it's a site spoofing Communism. I say that less than solidly because, considering what an abysmal failure Communism is, and considering how cruel and immoral Communism's goals are in the first place, and considering how laughable are it's methods from the perspective of reason, wouldn't even the most serious Communist site resemble a spoof? Anyway, the following quote is from The People's Cube:

Competition is a barbaric, insensitive ritual that reeks of social Darwinism. We cannot allow the fittest to survive on our pages. Your loss is someone else's gain, and your gain is someone else's loss. Therefore, losers contribute to the society and winners take away from it. Being a winner is unethical, while a society of losers is happy and striving as a collective. In the spirit of diversity, inclusiveness, and collectivism our contests shall have no winners. Everyone is declared a loser, which in our book means an ethical team player.
--You May Be Guilty of a Thoughtcrime if....

And while you allow the whole meaning of that quote to sink in, and after reminding yourself that this came from a spoof site (while also noting the irony that it accurately describes Communism), consider the following real event:

The other day an official with a British teachers' union proposed that the concept of "failing" exams should be abolished. Instead of being given a "failing" grade, she said, the pupil would instead be given a "deferred success."
--Mark Steyn, Democrats' New Strategy: Almost Winning

Two quotes into my three quote presentation, and things are already looking pretty scary. The next quote comes from the same story as the above. Mark Steyn, master political columnist, is the first to tie them together, I get no credit for that, it's all his, but what's scary is both of these quotes describe real events - not spoofs. My point is that the type of thinking in the first quote, the one from The People's Cube, is the essence of what is going on here:

Oh, sure, you can scoff. But evidently the system's already being test-piloted in Howard Dean's Democratic Party. That's why the Dems' Congressional Campaign Committee hailed their electoral failure in last week's Ohio special election as a triumphant "deferred success." As their press release put it:

"In nearly the biggest political upset in recent history, Democrat Paul Hackett came within just a few thousand votes of defeating Republican Jean Schmidt in Ohio's Second Congressional District."

Yes, indeed. It was "nearly the biggest political upset in recent history," which is another way of saying it was actually the smallest political non-upset in recent history.

Embracing mediocrity. That's the whole story.

It's amazing that the Democratic party has any power (i.e., voters) at all.

On another topic, the rest of the Mark Steyn article is excellent as well. Here's a bit more to whet your appetite:

Hackett was like a fast-forward rerun of the Kerry campaign. He was a veteran of the Iraq war, but he was anti-war, but he made solemn dignified patriotic commercials featuring respectful footage of President Bush and artfully neglecting to mention the candidate was a Democrat, but in livelier campaign venues he dismissed Bush as a "sonofabitch" and a "chicken hawk" who was "un-American" for questioning his patriotism.

And as usual this nearly winning strategy lost yet again -- this time to a weak Republican candidate with a lot of problematic baggage. Insofar as I understand it, the official Democratic narrative is that Bush is a moron who's nevertheless managed to steal two elections. Big deal. Up against this crowd, that's looking like petty larceny. After the Ohio vote, Dem pollster Stan Greenberg declared that "one of the biggest doubts about Democrats is that they don't stand for anything." That might have passed muster two years ago. Alas, the party's real problem is that increasingly there's no doubt whatsoever about it.

Fortunately, the Dems have found a new line of attack to counter the evil election-stealing moron. A few days ago, the Democratic National Committee put out a press release attacking Bush for being physically fit. It seems his physical fitness comes at the expense of the nation's lardbutt youth. Or as the DNC put it:

"While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs."

Wow. I noticed my gal had put on a few pounds but I had no idea it was Bush's fault. That sonofabitch chicken hawk. Just for the record, "his cuts to education funding" are cuts only in the sense that Hackett's performance in the Ohio election was a tremendous victory: that's to say, Bush's "cuts to education funding" are in fact an increase of roughly 50 percent in federal education funding.

Posted by Jeff at 04:09 AM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2005

A Fund to Fix Fangs

Do yourself a favor by helping someone else. You'll feel good when you do.

There are all kinds of organizations out there which are out to cure this or that disease, or feed the hungry by the masses, or...whatever. But there's something much, much more rewarding about helping a specific individual directly, rather than through others.

There's an interesting weblog called Electric Venom whose blogger had an unfortunate accident this month:

Emergency Room Blogging

Oh the pain, pain, pain! I'm at the ER, bleeding all over my blouse. Took the Venomous Boy on a bike ride this evening and I wiped out. Hit my mouth on the handle bars - two teeth gone, at least 3 others cracked and/or chipped.

Look for light blogging tomorrow, if any. It's gonna be a long nite.

((mo-blogged from my Treo))

So now she's not only burdened with a permanent injury, but she's also burdened with the temporary debt required to pay for the dental equivalent of crutches and the medical bills as well.

So what's a dollar or two or five? Well, it's your opportunity to help someone out. Give - you'll be glad you did. And, some day in your future, when you could use a helping hand, someone may just be interested in brightening their own day by helping you.

Fang Fund

Posted by Jeff at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2005

I Love Mark Steyn

If you're not reading Mark Steyn's political columns every chance you get, you're missing out on the most worthwhile political commentator since...since...well, since ever. Here's a taste:

[There have been] months of ever more desperate disparagement by Senate Democrats eager to nail [John Bolton]. By April, they were reduced to complaining his body language, as I discussed in The Chicago Sun-Times:

Boy, this confirmation battle over John Bolton, the President's plain-spoken nominee for UN ambassador, is really heating up. Senator Barbara Boxer, the Democratic Party's comely obstructionist, has charged that Bolton needs "anger management lessons".

I don't know about you, but nothing makes me want to hurl a chair through the window and punch someone's lights out like being told I need anger management lessons. So I was interested to hear about the kind of violent Boltonian eruptions that had led Senator Boxer to her diagnosis. Well, here it comes. (If you've got young children present, you might want to take them out of the room.) From the shockingly brutal testimony of Thomas Fingar, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Intelligence Research:

Q: Could you characterize your meeting with Bolton? Was he calm?

MR. FINGAR: No, he was angry. He was standing up.

Q: Did he raise his voice to you? Did he point his finger in your face?

MR. FINGAR: I don't remember if he pointed. John speaks in such a low voice normally. Was it louder than normal? Probably. I wouldn't characterize it as screaming at me or anything like that. It was more, hands on hips, the body language as I recall it, I knew he was mad.

He was "standing up" with "hands on hips"! Who's he think he is - Carmen Miranda? Fortunately, before Bolton could let rip with a "pursed lip" or escalate to the lethal "tsk-ing" maneuver, Fingar was able to back cautiously out of the room and call the FBI anger management team, who surrounded the building and told the deranged diplomat to come out slowly with his hands above his hips.

Well, I haven't been so horrified since ...well, since David Gest split from Liza Minnelli and launched a multi-million dollar suit for damages because she'd beaten him up. As "The Daily Show"'s Jon Stewart observed, "There is no conceivable amount of money worth telling the world that you were beaten up by Liza Minnelli." Likewise, whatever one's feelings about the UN and Kofi Annan and multilateralism, there's nothing that could get most self-respecting men to appear in front of a Senate committee and complain that John Bolton put his hands on his hips. At least, Liza allegedly beat David to a pulp. True, she'd recently had two hip replacements, so if she'd slapped her hands on her hips, she'd have fallen to the ground howling in agony, and David could have run for his life. Or, indeed, strolled for his life, given that she was overweight, barely five foot tall and a decade his senior. But my point is: even David Gest might have balked at complaining about hands on hips.

Still, in the ever accelerating descent into parody of the Senate confirmation process, nothing is too trivial. By the time Senator Boxer and co are through huffing about the need for anger management lessons, Two-Hips Bolton will be able to walk into every saloon in Dodge and the meanest hombres will be diving for cover behind the hoochie-koochie gals' petticoats before his pinky's so much as brushed his waist.

Nuts and Bolton

Posted by Jeff at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)

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