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November 27, 2005

I Don't Want to be Un-Assimilated!

I just read this in a Hugh Hewitt interview transcript with Mark Steyn:

Mark Steyn: I'm having a low-key Thanksgiving. I am celebrating Thanksgiving in New Hampshire. You know, I said to daughter's writing teacher, that we were having a discussion about how unassimilated the Muslims were in France. And then she said, well, what are you doing for Thanksgiving? And I said well, Thanksgiving's not a big deal with us. You know, we're foreigners. And she said oh, you're New Hampshire's equivalent to the unassimilated Muslims. And I felt so bad about that, that we're having a real big Thanksgiving celebration, a traditional, all-American Thanksgiving. I don't want to be unassimilated.

Too funny. And worthwhile.

Posted by Jeff at 01:21 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2005

Veterinarian and Neck Swelling, II

For review, my chameleon has had an issue lately with her neck being swelled up (see Neck Swelling):

Neck Swelling

When I searched the Internet, I found this type of swelling to be commonly mentioned, called "edema", and was attributed more often than not to over supplementing (i.e., powdering crickets, for example) leading to an excess of vitamin A. Well, I very rarely powder crickets for the chameleon. I prefer to rely almost exclusively upon gut loading the crickets for the chameleon's nutrition, so I only dust on those rare occasions when I'm feeding crickets to the chameleon without them being gut loaded. That's about 2-3 times per month.

However, my gut load may have too much vitamin A. My gut load has three parts: A) masticated greens, B) bee pollen, and C) dried egg yolk. The masticated greens (think applesauce, except made with greens instead of apples) include dandelion greens, collard greens, watercress, and endive. As it turns out, dandelion greens are very high in vitamin A. I said "may", however, because I've just taken the chameleon to the veterinarian, and the veterinarian doesn't find excess vitamin A to be a very good candidate. She's of the opinion that vitamin A problems come from supplements, not from natural sources. And she's of the opinion that all of the greens I am using are very, very healthy for the chameleon.

I had an x-ray done:

Veiled Chameleon x-ray
View larger image.

You can see the ring around the chameleon's neck. In the top image, it appears as on each side. In the bottom image, it appears larger, and within it is a dark blob of an area which leads up, then turns sharply to the right toward the chameleon's abdomen. That, if I understood the veterinarian correctly, is the fluid that's been building up.

Anyway, although the immediate cause of the problem isn't known (and probably couldn't be known without some kind of invasive surgery), the best guess seems to be that the antecedent for the swelling is the pregnancy, which is getting quite severe. It may be sort of like the strange complications that many human females have when they're pregnant. You can compare the amount of space which is taken by the eggs now with the amount of space which was taken by them six months ago in the next image (you can tell the difference in the size of the chameleon as well):

Veiled Chameleon x-ray old and new
View larger image.

The other possibility is that it does have to do with vitamin A excesses. With both of those possibilities in mind, I'll be giving the chameleon extra crickets in an effort to help her to develop her eggs as soon as possible, and I'll be offering the crickets a grain based gut load in addition to what they've been getting. The result will be reduced vitamin A going to the chameleon.

We'll see what happens.

Posted by Jeff at 11:48 PM | Comments (77)

Pull out of Iraq NOW!!!

Why do they pull this b.s.?

Murtha Balks at Own Proposal
Late Friday night the House took a vote on Rep. John Murtha's proposal for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. The vote was 403-3 against, with Murtha among the 403. The only congressmen favoring Murtha's idea were three far-left Democrats: Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, Jose Serrano of New York and Robert Wexler of Florida. Six Dems voted "present": Michael Capuano (Mass.), William Clay (Mo.), Maurice Hinchey (N.Y.), Jim McDermott (Wash.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Major Owens (N.Y.).

They do it for the purpose of the seediest side of politics: to get the media spotlight, to control the national dialogue. What a complete and total waste of these elected leaders' time. What's really sick is that they're so conditioned that they do it without any embarrassment at all.


Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today

Posted by Jeff at 02:15 PM | Comments (6)

November 18, 2005

The Worst Kind of Racism

So, I'm up watching an episode of Law & Order (the Fourteenth Season) (why they decided to offer this one up on DVD so far out of order, I don't quite know), and it's about a black skinned reporter who fabricated an interview with a wanted fugitive. The reporter is charged with killing a bounty hunter, who was blackmailing the reporter by threatening to expose his having fabricated his story. The reporter's lawyer defends the reporter, not by saying that the reporter didn't kill the bounty hunter who was framing him, but instead by saying that the reporter's actions were mitigated by the pressure that society put him under - that is, the pressure of being a black man, elevated to his prestigious position as a reporter for a major publication, not because he was qualified (which we wasn't), but because he was black.

It just makes your head hurt.

Anyway, I thought it sounded familiar and could vaguely remember a situation in which a New York Times reporter, a black skinned one, was fabricating stories...and it was obvious that this Law & Order episode was inspired by that true life story. And, I was curious, so I looked it up. What I found was this interesting page and this very worthwhile paragraph:

Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press nailed it. "It isn't that black reporters aren't as good," she wrote. "It is that they are not expected to be. ... Times executive editor Howell Raines said his white Southern guilt might have made him look the other way because he wanted a black kid to succeed. That is the worst kind of racism, to think that a black kid can succeed only with lower standards."

When we cast our votes, when we take positions on any issue involving race, that passage should be first and foremost in our minds. Be fair to people, people.

Posted by Jeff at 12:58 AM | Comments (5)

November 13, 2005

Are You Proud to be an American?


Imagine this conversation:

REPORTER: Why do you like President Bush?

PATRIOT: Because he makes me proud of America and proud to be an American.

REPORTER: What has President Bush done in leading this nation that makes you proud to be an American?

PATRIOT: __________________.

Can you fill in the blank with (at least) one answer? Give it a shot, eh?

Thank you.

Posted by Jeff at 01:18 AM | Comments (3)

November 11, 2005

Neck Swelling

While my chameleon has had neck swelling on and off all of her life, usually corresponding loosely to feedings, she's got it all of the time now, and I'm wondering if there's some kind of medical problem that maybe I should be aware of. Here's a photo:

Neck Swelling

I would have preferred a photo from the side, but she doesn't respond well to the camera, even from 5-10 feet away, so this was the best I could get (at least she didn't hide completely behind the vine like she would when I'd try to get a closer shot). She is engaging in a bit of "puffery", there, which you can see directly under her chin, which she was doing to intimidate the camera. That swelling around the neck, however, is like that whether she's intending to threaten or not.

Anyway, is this normal? I think I've been feeding her more, lately. Mostly I give her 10-14 adult crickets about every other day. Perhaps I am feeding her more than is necessary, and maybe I should go back to a daily regimen.

I've made a pretty big deal out of having sand available, almost since she was hatched and brought home, because my previous chameleon died, in part, due to not being able to lay eggs. So far, this chameleon hasn't laid an egg, even though she's had eggs in her for months and months, and she's older than my previous chameleon was when she died. This x-ray was taken on May 9th of this year (6 months ago):

Eggs Present

Someone told me that female veileds live a lot longer if they're kept on a restricted diet and are allowed low temperatures. I've not worried too much about temperatures, but until recently I've probably been more restrictive on her diet. Maybe I'm overdoing it lately with crickets.


See Neck Swelling II.

Posted by Jeff at 02:53 PM | Comments (18)

Bring it on!

So I wander over to Little Green Footballs for a quick perusal of the goings on of the day, and I'm greeted at the top of the page with this little tidbit:

The Muslim community's police and security working group report makes clear that many believe the present anti-terror regime is already excessive, and that the measures risk provoking further radicalisation of young British Muslims.

It says the proposal to make 'inciting, justifying or glorifying terrorism' a criminal offence 'could lead to a significant chill factor in the Muslim community in expressing legitimate support for self-determination struggles around the world'. It could also lead to a fear of using 'legitimate concepts and terminology' because of the anxiety of being misunderstood by authorities ignorant of Arabic/Islamic vocabulary. For instance, a speech on jihad could easily be misunderstood as glorifying terrorism, and the 'extremely thin line' between empathising with the Palestinian cause and justifying the actions of suicide bombers could not be drawn with any legal certainty.

Well, isn't that just lovely.

There's a great episode of the old sit-com, "Night Court", in which someone stole the original draft of the Declaration of Independence and was holding it hostage inside Harry's court. There are two great scenes in that episode.

One was when an FBI agent was asked how the situation should be dealt with. He said something along the lines of, "First we cut off food, water, heat, and electricity, then we wait for negotiations to break down, then shoot him."

The other began just outside of the courtroom and shots were heard fired within the courtroom. Harry and company ran into the courtroom and demanded to know what happened (transcript from a very, very old memory):

"I was attacked and compelled to use deadly force!" the FBI agent explained.

"On a mosquito!", the perpetrator holding the D-of-I reported.

"That mosquito was hopped up on drugs! It had the power of TEN mosquitoes!!!" the FBI agent responded.

Both of those scenes are good examples of how this war on terror should be conducted with regard to the Muslim community, particularly the Muslim communities in Europe: 1) Give NO ground, and 2) over-respond at every possible opportunity.

If they don't like it, they can root the bad apples from their membership. It seems very odd that the "greater Muslim community" hasn't, and doesn't, play a very significant and visible daily part in this war against terror. You'd think that, for political purposes (i.e., for the sake of appearances), they'd be falling all over themselves to participate in ending the fundamentalist "jihad".

And that's just the point: THEY aren't the least bit concerned with how they appear to the non-Muslim community which is fighting this war on terror...so why, pray tell, are we falling all over ourselves to be politically correct for the sake of how we appear to them? Because we FEAR them? We're AFRAID that they'll attack again?

That is it, isn't it?

Bush's demeanor in the beginning of this war on terror was appropriate, and now severely under-used: BRING IT ON!

Posted by Jeff at 12:15 AM | Comments (1)

November 07, 2005

Are Democracy and Islam Compatible?

Someone asked this on a message board that I frequent:

For the record I do tend to think Democracy and Isalm are at odds, and don't coexist too well, but time will tell.

It seems to me that this subject can be broken down a bit more for clarity. I don't think that anyone disagrees with you on that. Those who do disagree, or think that they disagree, are people who just haven't thought the issue through to its end.

The real issue is: Which will win? Democracy? Or what you are referring to here as "Islam"?

Those of us on the pro-democracy side of the equation say that it is democracy which will win. That is, people will choose democracy over what you are referring to as "Islam".

The issue that gets missed is that what you are referring to as "Islam" is not the only religion which is referred to as "Islam". Sure, what you are referring to as "Islam" is Islam, but your point would be much better served if you referred to it as something along the lines of radical extremist fundamentalist Islam. It is that Islam, the radical extremist fundamentalist type of Islam, which is incompatible with democracy and which will be flushed down their toilets by the overwhelming vast majority of those who are given the new choice of democracy (or dropped down their outhouses, if they don't yet have indoor plumbing).

The other kind of Islam, which is the most prevalent type of Islam, can survive well in democracy and is benign, except, perhaps, in the cultural sense. But, then, the as the current trials about getting "Intelligent Design" (ironic name) into the public schools demonstrates, the "benign" form of Christianity ain't all that great either.

Posted by Jeff at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

Paris Burns

So now they've killed an old man.

It's amazing to me that they're unwilling to stop these riots. They have a military. They have the ability to use lethal force. Yet, they don't use it. Can it possibly be true that everything people have been saying about France since WWII could be correct? Are they waiting for someone else to come and liberate them?

It kind of puts their non-participation in the Iraq war into perspective, doesn't it?

Posted by Jeff at 11:00 AM | Comments (1)

November 01, 2005

The Senate's Closed Session

There are 5 columnists whom I regularly read. They can be found in my list of columnists, at the time of this writing, located on the far right column of this page. I like each of them for different reasons, though they're all conservative politically.

Mark Steyn is arguably my favorite. He's the most well rounded of all of the columnists. His analyses of events are very colorful and interesting. The breadth of his knowledge of the facts is unparallelled by anyone, and his knowledge of history is deep and rich.

William F. Buckley is arguably my least favorite. I have to admit, a third of the time I have no idea what he's talking about. Reading his columns is sometimes like sitting down to dinner with...I don't know...the Queen of England, or someone like that, and being presented with 50 different forks, spoons, and plates, each one for a specific purpose, and not having a clue as to the protocol of their use. However, he often provides interesting insights into events which other columnists miss.

Charles Krauthammer is somewhat new to me, so I've little to say about his writing other than that I like it so far.

Then there's James Taranto, writing for the Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today. Taranto is great for when you want to see the members of the left stripped naked, their ugliness unwrapped, the make-up off, the spin gone. He must have a large staff doing a lot of research in order for him to illuminate the hypocrisy of the left's politicians, pulling statements up that they made 3 years ago which directly contradict statements they're making today, and only because the other side was under attack back then. And his sarcasm is priceless. And, what's great about Taranto, is he writes a new column each and every day.

But there's one columnist who I think stands out in a very unique and valuable way: George F. Will. While Mark Steyn seems unusually intelligent in terms of creativity, George F. Will seems to excel in the opposite: he's cold as a calculator, rigid, and logical. The man cuts through all of the hyperbole, provides none of his own, and presents arguments logically and factually. He, also, is priceless.

And George F. Will is whom I most want to read with regard to this issue with Harry Reid sending the senate behind closed doors today. But, unfortunately, his columns are few and far between.

I'd like to read Will's thoughts on the issue, because I understand it so little. It seems to me that it wasn't Reid that made the news today, but Bill Frist. Imagine that Frist had, instead of complaining about the tactic, had simply ignored it, gave the media no statement, and had gone into the closed senate session without a word. Would there be any media attention at all? Frist's being flabbergasted seems to me to be what drove the story. The leftists loved that - and the media are, by and large, leftists.

And why should anyone care? I mean, they were working on an important piece of legislation, work which was brought to halt by the decision to enter into a closed session. That's annoying. But that issue could've been presented to the media without all of the huffing and puffing about the "stunt" pulled by Reid. Instead of the story being about the "stunt" and how Republicans received it, the story could've been about Democrats wasting the senate's valuable time.

So I don't really get what the big deal is. I don't know what is going on. I don't want spin. I don't want Democrats made out to be idiots. I just want the facts, cold, and simple. What...is...going...on. I'd love to read George Will's thoughts on this. But, George Will hasn't got a column about it available.

But, so far, the best I've found is this:

Fort Sumter 2005

Posted by Jeff at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

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