Friday, April 28, 2006

Check out the new style...

As you may have noticed if you stopped by in the past half hour or so, I've changed the look of my blog. I'm sure there are going to be bugs, and I've got to finish updating many of my links, but if you have any major problems with your view of the page, email me or leave a comment. Or if you think it just generally sucks, let me know too. I'm just looking for feedback in general.

My main motivation for the change was adding the second sidebar. I think it allows for more information, links, etc to be closer to the top of the page and therefore easier to get to for those who just stop by quickly. Also I liked the idea Ace had put into effect the last time he changed his template of adding a "Headlines" section in his sidebar. Similar to what Ace had said at the time he changed, there are lots of news articles that I read for work and for my blog that I like or think are important but I don't have the time, effort, or strength of opinion to necessarily dedicate a post to it. So that's what I'll be using the "Headlines" seciton on the left for.

So let me know what you think. I'm open to suggestions...

UPDATED & BUMPED: C'mon people.... I know the comments are working... Gimmie some feedback already. New style good, bad, or indifferent? I know I've only got 3 regular readers; where are you guys?

UPDATE 2: Seems the most common problem was the bronze colored font on the dark background... made reading a little difficult, so I brightened that up a bit.

Dubai company's purchase of American manufacturing plants approved

It's not going to be nearly the fiasco the ports deal was, but it sure got some intense scrutiny. I'm mean even Chuck Schumer said it got thoroughly reviewd, so you know he'll change his mind here shortly and hammer Dubya for approving the deal.

Forbes - President Bush has approved the takeover by a Dubai-owned company of American plants that make parts for jets and tanks after a review that seems to have satisfied lawmakers who helped block an earlier Dubai deal.

Bush said Friday the proposed sale of a U.S. subsidiary of a British precision engineering firm to the Dubai company "has been looked at very carefully." He said he had signed off on the transaction after receiving recommendations from the Pentagon and a committee that reviews security-related sales to foreign entities.

[...] Doncasters has nine plants in the United States, including two each in Connecticut and Alabama and one each in Massachusetts, South Carolina, Georgia, California and Oregon. It makes precision components and assemblies for such companies as Boeing Co., Pratt & Whitney and General Electric Co.

Apparently a subsidiary of Doncasters is the Department of Defense's primary supplier of turbine engine blades which was enough for CFIUS to be extra-sooper-dooper cautious when reviewing this sale giving it the extra 45 day review on top of the normal 30 days before recommending the sale to Dubya.

So a Dubai firm can oversee manufacturing of parts for our troops, but they can't oversee longshoremen as they unload cargo ships. Interesting.

2 more key al Qaeda members nabbed in Iraq

But don't forget that the war in Iraq has nothing to do with al Qaeda or the GWOT. We're just there for oil...

Baghdad - Two key members of the Al Qaeda network were killed and captured in separate operations in Iraq over the past two days, US and Iraqi security sources reported Friday.

Al Qaeda's regional leader in the city of Samaraa, Hammad Al Takhy, was killed on Friday morning, while on Thursday, Al Qaeda leader Abdel Qader Makhul was captured near Tikrit, the sources said.

That's right we're just there for the oil. Fortunately we're killing and capturing terorists at the same time.

10,000 visitors and counting

No not 100,000. 10,000.... in just under a year.

Hey I'm not Michelle Malkin or Powerline who get that many visits in an hour...

And not that there's a prize or anything, but hit #10,000 came from a guy in Brooklyn, thanks to a link from Real Clear Politics.

So who knows... maybe I'll get to 100,000 sometime this lifetime.

Iran reaches a nuclear deadline

And in Ahmadinejad's own words, Iran doesn't "give a damn." The UN Security Council is meeting next week to start procedures that "could" result in "punitive measures." This is after 3 years of of investingating by the IAEA.

But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said no Security Council resolution could make Iran give up its nuclear program.

"The Iranian nation won't give a damn about such useless resolutions," Ahmadinejad told thousands of people Friday in Khorramdareh in northwestern Iran.

"Today, they want to force us to give up our way through threats and sanctions but those who resort to language of coercion should know that nuclear energy is a national demand and by the grace of God, today Iran is a nuclear country," state-run television quoted him as saying.

In one of the few new developments in the IAEA's more than three-year investigation, the report concluded that Iran used undeclared plutonium in conducting small-scale separation experiments.

"The agency cannot exclude the possibility ... that the plutonium analyzed by the agency was derived from source(s) other than declared by Iran," the report said. Plutonium separation is one of the suspect "dual use" activities that could be used for a weapons program.

At what point do we move on to a strategy other than diplomacy?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Memo to ABC...

For the love of God, please stop airing "recap" episodes. I'm sick and tired of being fooled into watching the latest episodes of Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and Lost when they are nothing more than summaries of the season thus far! That's what the opening of the episode is for!! "Previously on Lost..." That's what the first 30 seconds of the show is for!

It's a waste of my time and my TiVo's time. TiVo thinks it's recording a brand new episode when all it records is clips from the current season!

So stop with the damn recap episodes!!

Freedom Tower work breaks ground

Thanks to Chad for the tip. I like the design they finally settled on...

MSNBC - For the next month, the crews will be laying the site's foundation.

"It is going to be a symbol of our freedom and independence," Pataki said at a news conference on the ramp.

At 1,776 feet tall, the tower will be the tallest structure in New York, casting a beam of light from its peak.

Under the agreement, five towers will rise from the 16-acre site by 2012, joining a memorial and transit hub scheduled to open in 2009, and a performing arts center.

Addressing concerns that the Freedom Tower would be a potential terrorist target because of its height, Pataki added: "We are not going to just build low in the face of a war against terror."

Silverstein added: "This is an opportunity for us to show our determination, our resiliency, our resolve."

A shining light on a hill... Symbolic indeed.

I made it to New York to see Ground Zero, and I look forward to the chance to go to see the finished Freedom Tower.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bush blocks assets related to Hariri assassination

... which basically means Syria.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Wednesday issued an order blocking the assets of anyone connected with the February 14, 2005, assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

Bush in a statement said the new order blocks the property and interests of anyone determined to have been involved in Hariri's assassination and that additional steps were being taken "concerning certain actions of the government of Syria."

A U.N. report last year implicated senior Syrian security officials in Hariri's killing and said Syria was impeding the inquiry. Syria has denied involvement.

Dubya... taking a small stand for Democracy in Lebanon and thumbing his nose at the Syrians.

Now for something really important...

People's list of the World's Most Beautiful People 2006 is coming out April 28th (don't worry... I won't be holding my breath). And thanks to AOL we get a little preview of some of these beautiful people.

Angelina Jolie - UN spokes-hole hottie
Jessica Alba - Dark Blue Angel hottie
Isaiah Washington - sorry no smart comments on the guys, unless absolutely warranted
Eva Longoria - Desperate hottie
James Blunt - WTF!?! He's got to be the ugliest "beautiful" person on the list
Beyonce - Anytime you want to dump Jay-Z, let me know
Heather Locklear - oldest hottie on the list
Terrance Howard - apparently it's not too hard out there for a pimp
Danica Patrick - fast hottie
Ziyi Zhang - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Hottie
Avril Lavigne - another WTF?!? Sure if you pile enough makeup on her, but that's cheating...
Brandon Routh
Rachel Bilson - too skinny OC hottie... yeah I know... they're all too skinny
Naveen Andrews - torturing people is apparently hot... so where's Jack Bauer?
Nicole Kidman - came to her senses before Tom Cruise sacrificed her as mother to his alien spawn hottie

Avril Lavigne and James Blunt? Please... just because you've written a song shouldn't make you "Beautiful People" worthy...

US Air Force doesn't think to highly of UC Santa Cruz anti-war weenies

Scroll down...

Here's the background on the lengths these protestors went to, and the hubbub that ensued when they tried to take on Michelle Malkin.

And here's the USAF's take...

Hopefully that bomb killed a couple terrorists.

Thanks to Blackfive.

UPDATED and BUMPED: If you feel a bit more eloquent than the USAF as far as their response to the UC Santa Cruz SAW protests, head over to GOP and College and check out the caption contest for the above picture...

Possible reduction of troops in Iraq by year's end

As Condi Rice and Rumsfeld visit Baghdad, ABC reports on projected troop reductions by the end of 2006.

April 26, 2006 — As the top U.S. commander in Iraq [Gen. George Casey] suggested today that the United States will soon reduce the number of troops in Iraq, Pentagon planners tell ABC News they hope to pull more than 30,000 troops out by the end of the year, and possibly by as early as November. The reductions depend on political and security progress in Iraq.

[...] In late December, Rumsfeld announced a reduction in U.S. troops that brought the number down from 150,000 to 132,000 and suggested more withdrawals would be coming — Casey suggested at the time that reductions would come by March and the Pentagon had begun planning to bring the number of troops down to 100,000 by the end of the year.

A fairly sizable reduction and it's based on progress on the ground (the comment on troop reduction was made a General) not some artificial timetable created by some guys in cubicles thousands of miles away who've never even seen a gun, let alone been to a warzone.

As the situation improves troops will come home, not bring the troops home and hope things improve.

Time for some Snow in Washington

It's been speculated ever since Scotty stepped down, and now it's official. Tony Snow is the new Press Secretary.

WaPo -- Fox News commentator Tony Snow was named White House press secretary today after top officials assured him that he would be not just a spokesman but an active participant in administration policy debates, people familiar with the discussions said.

A former director of speechwriting for President Bush's father, Snow views himself as well positioned to ease the tensions between this White House and the press corps because he understands both politics and journalism, said sources familiar with the President's decision.

A pundit takes over the press room. Excellent! He's opinionated and vocal. He's not afraid to disagree with the President or the press corps. This could make for some interesting showdowns with Helen Thomas and David Gregory. And he's already getting nicknames from the press... Foxy Spokesman, Max Headroom, etc...

I for one think it's a great move. Why not make an opinionated, articulate, pundit who's used to debating people from the left side of the spectrum the person in charge of getting the message to the press and to the public? Who better to field questions from a hostile room? Why not take someone who'll give the president an earful of his opinion as well?

I'm looking forward to some great press conferences...

UPDATE @9:52am: Here's how Snow's characterized Dubya in the past...

Snow called Bush "something of an embarrassment," a leader who has "lost control of the federal budget," the architect of a "listless domestic policy" and a man who has "a habit of singing from the political correctness hymnal."

Bush said he asked Snow about the critical remarks. "He said, `You should have heard what I said about the other guy.'"

Hopefully he brings more of that to the table at staff meetings.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Seven degrees of Mary McCarthy

The Commissar breaks down the Mary McCarthy connection...

Sure it's not anything totally damning for her, but it doesn't speak well for the MSM that some pajama clad nobodies were able to search out all this info while the MSM tries to play catch up.

Who knows maybe we'll be able to connect Mary to the oh-so-tragic outing of Valerie Plame so liberals can shut up about that already.

For a refresh on the CIA's latest leak go here, here, and here.

10 arrested for roles in Dahab bombings

Finally some good news after so much carnage...

DAHAB, Egypt (AP) — Police arrested 10 people Tuesday and divers retrieved body parts from the sea after three bombs ripped apart a Sinai beach resort at the height of Egypt's tourist season, killing 24 people and injuring more than 80, many of them foreigners.

It was the third terrorist attack on a Sinai resort in less than two years to coincide with a national holiday. It also seemed to open a rift between hard-line al-Qaeda sympathizers and other radical Muslim groups, such as Hamas, which immediately condemned the bombings.

Security police said they had detained for questioning 10 people — three of whom had arrived in Dahab on Sunday and tried to leave the resort 15 minutes after the blasts in a car with fake license plates. The police said they did not yet know if the explosions — timed for maximum destruction in a promenade of bars, restaurants and shops in the early evening — were caused by suicide attackers or bombs on timers.

The blasts were so powerful that police divers worked Tuesday to retrieve body parts from the shallow waters of the sea. At one spot near the beach, two black sandals lay in a pool of blood on a wooden footbridge.

The Hamas codemnation of the bombings is interesting... Counterterrorism blog has more links to the theory al Qaeda is behind the bombings.

Why is Hamas against bombings? They've rationalized bombings as self defense and created a terrorist security branch... Are they trying to talk a good game and pretend the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing to improve their standings in the international community? Maybe get some of that aid back so they can pay their bills? Or are they just trying to keep their power in the face of possible open revolt by the Fatah members of the government?

If you cross Jack Bauer, you die.

It's really that simple. I told you last week that nobody sucker punches Jack Bauer, and what happens? SecDef Heller ends up dead in a lake. Don't these people know better by now? Listen to what Jack says, or you will die.

Curtis also makes a triumphant return this past hour and arrives just in the nick of time to save Audrey's bleeding butt from RoboCop's henchmen who arrive shortly after Jack leaves. RoboCop of course did not have the tape on him. He passed it off to someone who went back to the airport.

Chloe is all ready for the slumber party at Chiggy Killer's place. She got her cocoa, pajamas, laptop, and hacked into CTU to access satelites to track RoboCop and his bad guys. Is there anything she can't do with a computer? She's obviously the smartest person to ever work for our government which begs the question, why the hell is she working at CTU when she could be making bazillions of dollars making an operating system that works better than Micorsoft Windows?

Anyway we finally see the puppeteers that are controlling President Weasel's every move, and it's Dr. Romano! The one-armed wonder from ER who died when a helicopter crashed on his head in the ambulance bay! What do we get to call him? Corky (as in Romano)? One-armed wonder doc? Chopper arm? We'll have to see...

But who's really behind this whole 24 hours of terror? If they say Halliburton, I will hunt down the writers and hurt them, Jack Bauer style. But I think we get a clue as Jack's breaking into the airport to get on the diplomatic plane that the guy with the tape is on. We see a limo pull away with... French flags!! IT'S THE FWWWWENCCCHHH!!! No wonder Logan's such a spineless sack of goo! He's conspiring with the French! This really explains a lot...

And on that note, your Jack Bauer Moment of ZenTM:

In his youth, Chuck Norris Jack Bauer did not play dress-up; he just killed people and used their bodies as costumes.

On the seventh day, God rested, and Chuck Norris Jack Bauer said, "Get your lazy ass back to work." So he did.

Chuck Norris Jack Bauer's strength comes from the pain and suffering experienced by each and everyone of his victims.

A grave miscarriage of justice was righted today...

My traffic ticket was vacated.

I know you were probably expecting something along the line of I cured poverty or disease or something. Nope... just got my ticket reversed. But you've got to celebrate the small victories. Hey I waited in traffic court for about 90 minutes before my case was called in order to get my $357 fine back... small victory indeed.

If you don't recall my ticket or the rants that it produced here, I got it for allegedly running a red light ($357. For allegedly running a red light? Is that cruel and unusual to anyone?). But I maintain that I did not, in fact, run any red light, and I came to court with what I thought was a pretty damned good argument.

First, the light changed yellow as I entered the crosswalk. You ought to know I was in one of two dedicated left turn lanes that has a turn signal assigned to it, so I wasn't exactly zipping along at 30 miles an hour. Still I was past the point of no return; I couldn't safely stop my car to prevent myself from continuing into the intersection. Even if I had gone into a full panic stop, my momentum would have carried me into the intersection.

Second, as I mentioned above there are two dedicated turn lanes, and I was in the one furthest to the left. I proceeded into the intersection at the same time as another car. I of course mentioned this to the officer after he pulled me over and he said she was slightly ahead a me. Please... He had every oppurtunity to pull either of us, or even both of us over, due to heavy traffic conditions, but he chose to pull me over. I hate to speculate, but was I pulled over becuase I'm a young white male, as opposed to the 45 year old soccer mom in her SUV? Profiling? Perish the thought...

Third, from where the motorcycle officers sit to stake out this intersection they have almost no view of the traffic signal. I've got the pictures to prove it. They sit some 20 yards back from the intersection on the sidewalk. From his vantage point he watched me make my left, proceeding the the direction opposite to the one he's facing. These pictures were taken at the same time of day and show even on the max zoom on my camera (10x digital), you can't make out what color the signal is. When I downloaded the pictures and further magnified them to 400% I could begin to make out the color, but it's not something obviously apparent to the naked eye.

Those were my main arguements and evidence.

Too bad the officer didn't show up so I could argue them.

As I'm sure most of you know, if the officer doesn't show up to the court date, the ticket is automatically thrown out. The funny thing was the officer was actually in court this morning. He testified for another ticket; some 18 year old girl who got nailed for rolling through a stop sign. The first thing I looked for when I walked into court was the officer. I recognized him immediately, and when I saw he was in court, my heart immediately sank, knowing that it wouldn't just get automatically thrown out. But after the girl's ticket was upheld, the officer left. 3 or 4 cases later my name was called and the citation was vacated because the officer was not present... almost like he knew the ticket was bogus...

... and justice prevailed. What a great system.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Mary McCarthy: the left's latest darling

It appears leaking is back in style according to the Democrats. A rather quick turn around after slamming the administration only a couple weeks ago for deciding to declassify material to promote the facts about the war in Iraq and the GWOT. But as with fashion, Democratic policy is pointless fickle.

I originally posted the general headline on Friday, but over the weekend the rest of the blogosphere started tearing the story apart. Ace has a great round up of the story and the blogosphere's thorough fisking of the MSM total mischaracterization of the story. There's a ton of good stuff there, but here's a snippet

The Corner notes the WaPo's fawning story on McCarthy makes no mention of McCarthy's contributions to Democrats. Even the NYT managed to note ONE donation. The article claims she's no "firebrand ideologue."

But the numbers tell a different story. A reader at the Corner estimates her yearly income and calculates how much of her salary went to Democratic politicians in 2004. An awful lot, as it turns out. Possibly 8.4% (or more) of her 2004 net income (income after taxes).

If someone's tithing that much to the Holy Liberal Church and still not a "firebrand ideologue," I'd like to know how much of your hard-earned cash you have to give away to politicians before you do become a "firebrand idelogue." 20%?

Just One Minute meanwhile notes the NYT similarly continues having trouble finding the full extent of McCarthy's Democratic donations, despite the fact that every blogger on the planet was able to find them at Open Secrets or the FEC disclusre site within about, oh, three minutes.

The Times scratches its pointy little head wondering what McCarthy's motivation for leaking might have been, while studiously ignoring the following information that everyone not reading the Times knows:

1) She was Berger crony and Clinton appointee.

2) Her career was going gangbusters through the Clinton Adminstration, being appointed, ultimately, to the high post of National Intelligence Officer for Warning.

3) Bush then eased her out of this high position into, it seems, a far less influential and much less powerful berth at what seems to be some sort of CIA-affiliated think-tank, the Center for Security and International Studies, which may be where old CIA horses are put out to stud.

4) She was a committed Kerry partisan, giving, perhaps, a full 8.4% of her 2004 net income (i.e., income after taxes) to Kerry and other Democratic politicians and organizations.

And Hot Air also has video of John Kerry and Juan Williams going to bat for her.

So when does she get arrested and tried for treason?

Voter fraud 101: A commuter course from New Orleans

Our first class today, children, is thanks to New Orleans. Yep, that City of Chocolatey Goodness (how could we forget that white milk plus dark chocolate makes a yummy treat) has once again taken it upon themselves to require zero identification to vote and allows constituents to photocopy their ballots.

It's pure genius. And Jason Coleman is all over it, seeing as how he received an absentee ballot and he DOESN'T EVEN LIVE IN THE STATE.

But the real question here is how many times does Mickey Mouse get to vote before someone figures out that there's something fishy going on?

Anything that would positively establish identity is OPTIONAL INFORMATION. Yep, that's right, optional. I could easily fill out this form, get my ballot, send it in; and I haven't lived in New Orleans in over a decade. Furthermore, I can make as many copies of this form as I'd like:

Instructions (NOTE: You may copy this form for outher Louisiana Displaced Registered Voters.)
Given the track record of Louisiana Government in the past say, um . . . well . . . FOREVER, I don't have much confidence that the Sec State will be able to provide for a legitimate election given that anything that could be used to positively identify a voter as a legitimate voter is *Optional.

At least it explains how "Chocolate City" Ray "I'm stuck on stupid" Nagin got elected in the first place.

Hamas vs. Fatah... There can be only one!

Talk about choosing the lesser of two evils...

BEIRUT, Lebanon, April 24 (UPI) -- The simmering Fatah-Hamas row blew open as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused the militant group of seeking to incite internal strife.

In an interview with Jordan's daily al-Rai, reproduced Monday in Beirut's al-Mustaqbal newspaper, Abbas bluntly accused Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Meshaal of acts that would lead to civil strife.

"The Palestinian Authority rejects strife and will not accept any form of civil war regardless of who is behind it or its motivator," Abbas said in an obvious reply to a speech made by Meshaal in Damascus last week during which he attacked Abbas' Fatah Movement.

Abbas called on Palestinians "to steer away from even thinking about civil war because that will only result in harming the just Palestinian cause and will affect only the patient people attached to their land."

Abbas also stressed that the Palestinian Authority is keen on preserving its close relations with Jordan, in response to Amman's accusations that Hamas was smuggling arms to Jordan and monitoring vital targets.

"We will not accept that Jordan be harmed in any way whether the harm is small or big because Jordan constitutes our strategic depth," Abbas said.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa commented from Cairo on the Hamas-Fatah row, calling it "most revolting."

If these "acts that will lead to civil strife" include blowing up innocent civilians and creating a special terrorist security branch, then we really need to work on Abbas vocabulary. I would think blowing up innocent people would be higher on the moral outrage scale than "possibly resulting in civil strife."

But that's just me...

UPDATE @ 12:13pm: More from the WaPo as Hamas' terrorist activities continue to bite them in the ass.

The current paychecks are already three weeks late, and next week another monthly salary is due, with no relief in sight, reinforcing Abbas' warning.

"The constitution gives me clear and definite authority to remove a government from power, but I don't want to use this authority. Everyone should know that by law this power is in my hands," Abbas said in the interview with CNN-Turk, recorded before he arrived in Turkey on Sunday.

Hamas reacted angrily, threatening to call off a 15-month truce brokered by Abbas that greatly reduced Israeli-Palestinian violence after five years of bloodshed.

A senior Hamas official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the group would "not leave in silence."

"We will not participate in any new election and we will go underground as we did before and we will not adhere to any commitments, any truce, by anyone," he said.

By electing Hamas, the Palestinians have just about screwed themselves, and Palestinian politics is beginning to look a lot more volatile...

This is why Iran can't have nukes...

Because Ahmadinejad continues to say stuff like "Israel cannot continue to exist."

In wide-ranging remarks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that Israel was an artificial state that could not continue to exist.

"Some 60 years has passed since the end of World War II, why should the people of Germany and Palestine pay now for a war in which the current generation was not involved," Ahmadinejad told a press conference.

"We say that this fake regime cannot not logically continue to live," he said.

Apparently there was some sort of logic in there, but I can't find it. The article goes on to describe other Middle Eastern nations planned responses to a nuclear Iran. That is exactly what I was saying when we were discussing Iran and our current high fuel prices last week... how nuclear Iran only makes the rest of the region more unstable.

UPDATE 4/26 @ 4:06pm: In from the Cold is now reporting that Iran says that they'd be happy to share their nuclear technology with other nations. Great.

Fantasy Baseball roundup

For those who kinda dug the break from reality into the world of fantasy baseball from last week, Fmragtops has taken it upon himself to give us last week's results in a nutshell from the Hotwing Conspiracy League.

As for my team, I lead the matchup against Akhtar for most of the week, but let it slip to a tie on the final day... Dammit. I took 4 of 6 pitching categories, and he took 4 of 6 hitting categories, with 2 ties. And it was close...

At least I'm still close to the top of the standings overall...

Week 1: GOP and the College
Week 2: Cake or Death
Week 3: Fmragtops

But that's not my only team. In my family league I clobbered my cousin, 9 to 1. Our pitching stats were pretty close (I still took 4 of 5), but I won by a pretty good margin in each of the offensive categories (I took 5 of 5).

Better luck next time Matt.

Friday, April 21, 2006

As the price of oil passes $75 a barrell, people start to freak out

And when people start to freak out they call their Congressmen. And when enough people put pressure on their Congressmen, these representatives start actually trying to think of more ways to waste taxpayer money. So they stand up in front of their microphones, and they start blaming people. They'll blame big oil for being a company that (gasp!) makes money, they'll blame the consumer for driving gas guzzling, environmentally unsound SUVs, and they blame the president for hostile policies in the Middle East that have all the investors crapping their pants (wait... I thought Iraq was a war for cheaper oil... oh nevermind).

I actually had a conversation with a good friend the other night about whether I thought the gas prices were Bush's fault and if there was anything he could do about it. My response was no it's not his fault, and yes there's something he could be doing about it. I start with my good old standby: drill. in. ANWR. Part of the huge price increase is due to investors freaking out about a nuclear Iran and sanctions or even hostilities that may result from that situation. An easy way to help solve that situation is either let Iran have nukes and hope that problem goes away (and we sure as hell don't want that to happen, becuase that will make the region 100 times more unstable) or we drill in ANWR so we don't rely as much on oil from the OPEC nations. Along with that, easing up on environmental restrictions so oil companies could drill, say, off-shore ffor oil would help as well.

We could always invest more money in nuclear power and other renewable energy resources (hydro-electric, wind, solar, etc) put there are lobbies against that sort of stuff. Just look at the huge fuss about the proposed Cape Cod windmills (not that I put too much stock in them). Just imagine what they'll do if a new nuclear power plant were proposed. There are lobbying groups opposed to all forms of energy from oil, to wind, to nuclear. Right now the anti-oil people are the loudest. That doesn't mean the other anti-energy groups are gone.

Along with changing government policies, we need the oil companies to make money. Yes, the amount of money made by these companies sounds obscene (we've discussed why it's not before), but we need them to make money. That money will pay for further oil exploration, and perhaps more importantly, for more oil refineries. How much can a few more refineries help? A couple refineries could add upwards of 5% to our oil production.

In the absence of a clear explanation, members of Congress have jumped into the fray. "These major oil companies have hooked their hose up to the pocketbooks of American citizens and are sucking money from ordinary Americans into the treasury of the giant oil companies," said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), a member of both the Senate Commerce and Energy committees. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday called on the Federal Trade Commission to make sure the major oil companies weren't intentionally keeping refinery capacity offline to jack up prices. He cited a 5-percentage-point decline in refinery utilization rates.

But the American Petroleum Institute responded sharply. "Any charge that oil companies are intentionally driving up prices ignores the very obvious fact that refinery capacity has been lower because the industry is still in the process of recovering from the extensive damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last summer," the API said in a statement. "It is a fact that three refineries remain closed since the hurricanes. The combined capacity of those refineries is 804,000 barrels per day -- or about 5 percent of U.S. refinery capacity, the same amount Senator Schumer mentions."

[...] Major refiners say that the shortage of capacity in their industry has been years in the making and, because of the long time it takes to build refineries, will also be years in the fixing. For years, it was a low-margin, capital-intensive business. Investors shunned refining companies, and many refineries were put up for sale at relatively cheap prices or closed.

And billions of their profits are going to be spent on making sure their products meet new, stricter environmental standards. And as much as I like the effort being put into new energies like the "Go Yellow" ethanol campaigns, I'm not convinced ethanol is the solution with more research coming out citing the inefficiency of using ethanol as a power source and the pollution risks from the ethanol production process. It's not necessarily the saving grace that it's touted to be.

As consumers are faced with higher gas prices and the misguided perception that they're being gouged across the board, they are becoming more and more desperate. I've gotten 3 forwards just today about holding "Gas outs" where no one buys gas that day and a newer idea of boycotting the biggest oil companies (Exxon) for several days in the hopes of balancing supply and demand.

As people try to save money, maybe they'll drive less, carpool, or take mass transit. Or perhaps they'll do something totally foreign here in Southern California... walk.

As for me? I'm thinking I might have to dust of the fetching Mrs. Wookie's bike. I do live only 5 miles from work...

UPDATE 4/25 3:07pm: Captain's Quarters has a similar take on the oil issue now that Dubya's announced a Congressional investigation.... drill in ANWR, more refineries, and environmentalist posturing hamstringing these efforts. He also points to the interesting fact that I hadn't considered, that states have their own refining standards, and how that poses a problem due to shortages and price fluctuations.

CIA leak caught

Good. It's about time they stopped up the unauthorized leaks to the media coming out of the government. I'm tired of hearing "unnamed sources" being cited as unbiased fountains of truth.

WASHINGTON — A CIA officer has been relieved of his duty after being caught leaking classified information to the media.

Citing the Privacy Act, the CIA would not provide any details about the officer's identity or assignments. It was not immediately clear if the person would face prosecution. The firing is a highly unusual move, although there has been an ongoing investigation into leaks in the CIA.

Now they just need to prosecute him. Nail him to the wall. Giving classified info to the press is not his job.

Lawyer just drops dead

He just dropped dead.

RALEIGH — A defense lawyer died of an apparent heart attack Thursday while arguing a drunken driving case in a Wake County courtroom.

I could make some tasteless lawyer joke here, but that wouldn't be funny.

I repeat.... would. not. be. funny.

Nope not funny at all....



OK, OK... How many personal injury attorneys does it take to change a light bulb?

Today in Southern California...

It is 75º and sunny with a nice cool breeze blowing.

I really wish I was golfing...

Another study dismissing much of the global warming hubbub as hype

Who would have thought.... climate changes are, for the most part, natural.

Washington Times - The Duke estimates show the chances that the planet's temperature will rise even by 11 degrees is only 5 percent, which falls in line with previous, less-alarming predictions that meteorologists made almost three decades ago.

In recent years, much academic research has indicated otherwise, often in colorful terms and citing the United States as the biggest contributor to global warming. This month, a University of Toronto scientist predicted that a quarter of the planet's plants and animals would be extinct by 2050 because of rising temperatures. On Wednesday, two geophysics professors at the University of Chicago warned those who eat red meat that their increased flatulence contributes to greenhouse gases.

Last year, Oregon State University research linked future "societal disruptions" with global warming, while the Carnegie Institution reported that the insulating influence of northern forests alone would raise the Earth's temperature by 6 degrees. In 2004, Harvard University scientists informed Congress that warming had doomed the planet to climatic "shocks and surprises."

The Duke research, however, found substantial ups and downs in the Earth's temperature before modern times, countering other studies that confine noticeable temperature increases to the industrialized era. Marked climate change in other centuries resulted from "external forcing," said the Duke findings, citing volcanic eruptions and other influences.

"Our reconstruction supports a lot of variability in the past," said research director Gabriele Hegerl of Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

Although her study found that the Earth is, indeed, warming, Ms. Hegerl discounts dire predictions of skyrocketing temperatures. The probability that the climate's "sensitivity" to greenhouse-gas levels would result in drastically higher temperatures is "substantially" reduced, she said.

Less than a 5% chance the planet's temperature will rise 11 degrees. The "sensitivity" of the planet and our atmosphere to human produced greenhouse gases is "substanitally reduced." Al Gore's gonna be so pissed...

Also go check out Jason Coleman's post that also covers the human impact on the environment in the context of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and the tectonic plate movements and fault activity in southern Louisiana.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hamas government creates terrorist security branch

Thanks to OP-FOR for keeping an eye out.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The new Palestinian interior minister named a well-known militant as his top aide on Thursday and announced the formation of a new security branch to be composed of militants. … Interior Minister Said Siyam issued a decree appointing Jamal Abu Samhadana, the head of the Popular Resistance Committees, as director general of the Interior Ministry. Samhadana's group is responsible for many of the homemade rockets launched at Israel in recent weeks.
Hmmm, let’s re-write that lede, shall we?

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The new Palestinian interior minister named a well-known terrorist as his top aide on Thursday and announced the formation of a new security branch to be composed of terrorists.

Aah yes. The mininstry of blowing up innocent civilians. I think that's a great idea.

The Carnival of BauerTM makes its weekly appearance

Hosted by Justin's Random Thoughts this week. There are some excellent posts this week. The Electric Goose has the 24 alphabet, Pantry Girl has all around general funniness on everything from hair styles to what would Chiggy Killer and SecDef Heller be like as dads, Jamootz thinks Buchanan is going to have a sleepover, Radioactive Liberty thinks that with gas over $3 this War for Oil turn 24's taken isn't such a bad idea after all, and Dr. Blogstein thinks that if Jack had been leading the Jews out of Egypt instead of Moses, they'd have made it to the promised land in only (you guessed it) 24 hours.

Oh and of course there's my post on 24... SecDef Heller sucker punching Jack, Chloe the pickpocket, and of course the Jack Bauer Moment of ZenTM

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fantasy Baseball: Hot Wing Conspiracy week 2

Since no one else in the league is gonna post an update I figure I might as well do it.

First, let's go over the scoring rules for the league. The stats your team builds up are broken down into 12 groups. For batters, there's runs, homeruns, RBI's, Strike-outs, stolen bases, and batter's average. For Pitching, there's Wins, Saves, Strike-outs, Holds, ERA, and WHIP. Each one of those is a win, a loss, or a tie. So in a given week, you can have any combination of wins, losses, and ties that add up to 12.

Last weeks results:

Columbia Cardinals: 2
Wookies Will Win: 9, with 1 tie

I've got to say this one really wasn't close. My wookies nearly doubled the Cards totals in each category I won. Strong performances across the board carried me, but Pujols was on fire and put this one way out of reach. It's not so much me as it is Pujols... he's good.

Robots Eat Babies: 4, 1 tie
This one looks like it was probably pretty close over the course of the week, but RFTR's power stats gave him the edge over a split in the pitching categories

Poca Dots Blog!: 7
Baghdad Bombers: 5

This was pitching vs. power and Poca Dots took 4 out fo the 6 pitching categories and split the offensive categories, with the Bombers taking runs, homeruns, and RBIs and Poca Dots taking steals, average, and fewer strike outs.

fmragtops' spewers: 7
bRight & Early: 5

This one was close across the board with both teams having rather mediocre stats through the week. Spewers pulled out the win with better pitching stats including a stellar ERA and WHIP.

CZC Owns: 4
webcats: 5, 3 ties

Talk about even... 3 ties? Yikes. Webcats eeked out the win thanks to stronger overall batting stats even though CZC spanked him with twice the homeruns.

Akhtar the Divorcee: 7
The right wing nuts: 3, 2 ties

A solid performance from Akhtar across the board. The offensive stats were close between Akhtar and the Nuts, but it was the Akhtar's pitching that got him the win by taking 4 out of 6 categories.

Gashouse Gorillas: 2
The PAWs: 8, 2 ties

Once again it's pitching that's the difference. Gorillas kept the offensive stats tight, but PAWs shut out the Gorillas in the pitching categories, winning 4 of the 6 categories and both ties were in the pitching stats as well.

The Galt-inators: 9
Repubs lost in SD: 1, 2 ties

Despite the blowout score, it was closer than it looks. Neither team really ran away with it... neither hit .300, had more than 1 SB, or had more than 30 runs or RBIs. Galt's ERA (well under 3.0) and WHIP (under 1.0) were spectacular though.

Week 3 matchups:
Akhtar the Divorcee vs. Wookies Will Win
bRight & Early vs. Robots Eat Babies
RFTR vs. Baghdad Bombers
fmragtops' spewers vs. webcats
CZC Owns vs. The right wing nuts
Columbia Cardinals vs. The PAWs
Gashouse Gorillas vs. Repubs lost in SD
Poca Dots Blog! vs. The Galt-inators

Good luck to all...

Press Secretary Scott McClellan resigns

I've got two words to explain this resignation... Helen Thomas.

Hey, after years of trying to explain things to that old battle axe, you'd resign too...

WaPo - McClellan is the most visible face of the White House after the president himself since he presides over the increasingly contentious daily briefings that have become common fare not only on C-SPAN but on the late night humor shows.

Since the perjury indictment of vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the briefings have featured many more angry questions from some reporters who feel they were misled by McClellan on White House involvement in a series of leaks on pre-war evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

First we've already discussed the fact that when a president declassifies materials for public release it's not a leak. So let's just get that out of the way right now. Other than that, The Today Show was discussing rumors circulating the beltway that Scott's resignation wasn't his idea or preference. That's probably ture, but I don't think it's a big deal. Scott's worked with Dubya for a long time, back to his governor days, so I'm sure he'd prefer to stay on if he had his druthers. But the administration appears to be looking for some new blood, and a new face in the press room might help Dubya more clearly promote his agenda. Not that the press will be at all hospitable, because on top of Helen Thomas, there's David Gregory also leading the charge in a hostile press room. Good luck to whoever gets Scott's job. I'd get a prescription for high blood pressure now, because if you don't have an ulcer, migranes, and high blood pressure yet, you will soon.

The WaPo article above also tries to make a big deal of Karl Rove giving up duties on policy oversight, but read the fine print. He'd only been doing that for a year anyway, so it's really no big deal. He's going to spend more time focusing on the 2006 elections where Republicans could certainly use the extra help.

UPDATE @2:50pm: Blogs4Bauer had the same reasoning behind Scotty's resignation... namely Helen Thomas and the rest of the White House press corps. Here's the artist's interpretation...


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Katie Holmes gives birth to Suri Cruise

And to go along with the name that the child will be teased about for the rest of her life, she's got the Church of Scientology to deal with too. It's almost like being born with a handicap.

Yahoo -- The Tomkitten has arrived. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, the high-profile pair dubbed TomKat by the media, had a baby girl Tuesday, said Cruise spokesman Arnold Robinson. The baby, named Suri, weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and measured 20 inches long, he said.

"Both mother and daughter are doing well," Robinson said in a prepared statement.

The name Suri has its origins in Hebrew, meaning "princess," or in Persian, meaning "red rose," the statement said.

No word on whether any drugs were administered, whether it was a silent birth, whether any Thetas stopped by with gifts, or whether Tom Cruise actually ate the placenta.

He'd probably want to do that last one kinda fast. I hear those don't keep too well...

How cool is this?!

A DaVinci Code game? SWEET!! Sign me up!

The Da Vinci Code involves a thrilling murder investigation that unearths a secret that could change the course of history. The film opens May 19th worldwide.

The quest, which begins TODAY requires skill, intellect, and perseverance. Over a span of 24 days ending May 11th, you will encounter unique challenges. These daily puzzles will pull you deeper into the world of The Da Vinci Code. Answer all 24 puzzles correctly for a chance to win untold riches.
Day One features symbols.

Only the worthy will prevail. Play HERE.

Too friggin' cool. Thanks to Ethos for the link and the pic.

BTW, I have completed the first two rounds...

Michelle Malkin continues to cover the Santa Cruz's anti-war thugs

Students Against War (SAW) gets to block military recruiters from coming on campus and can go around defacing private property. Michelle's been covering the story and posted a press release SAW released where the organizers unwittingly gave their phone numbers and email addresses (stupid is as stupid does I guess). So they've probably received calls from some upset people.

SAW is now claiming Michelle made their contact info available, not the press release, and that they've received death threats.

Needless to say Michelle's gotten some tasteless emails and been called some really vile things as the "tolerant" left has gone absolutely berserk. I won't even reprint what they're saying to her, but she's fearless and has posted the threats she's received.

Go on by and give Michelle some support.

UPDATE @4:52pm: Six Meat Buffet has this Support Malkin banner up...

I'm glad you noticed Preston...

Nobody sucker punches Jack Bauer!

I just about fell off my couch last night when SecDef Heller sucker punched Jack in the throat (but it would bode well for the future Blogs 4 Bauer Fight Club match I suggested last week, SecDef Heller vs. President Weasel. Thumbs up to the SecDef on that one). Instead of taking Jack and Audrey's evidence against the Weasel in Chief and taking him down in flames, he wants to go reason with him. Right. We all know that's not gonna work... And he didn't even take the tape with him!!

So the SecDef has Jack and his daughter tied up so he can go chat with the Weasel. Jack gets them free, pulling the ballsy move of the show and burning his bindings and wrists on the flaming hot pipe. You could see his wrists smoking! Talk about will power... So Jack takes down the Secret Service detail that Heller left behind to guard them and right after disarming the agent RoboCop arrives and things really start to go to hell.

Back at CTU Chloe's been found out and taken into custody for her role in assisting Jack and Audrey evade Frau Blucher's surveillance, but she shows off her pickpocketing skills, stealing HLS weenie's access card. But on the way out, Anita Hill's red-headed step child (and resident CTU hottie) tries to stop Chloe. But the "I'll tell on you" card is no match for the "I'll recommend you for a psych eval since you're a sexual harrassment freak" card. So she escapes to go enlist help for Jack from our recently fired Chiggy Killer.

In the mean time, Heller meets with the Weasel in Chief and tries to strong arm him into resigning do to stress from one long-ass day and suddenly, President Weasel looks like the spineless, wimpering idiot we've come to know and love this season. So Heller writes up a resignation letter and tells the Weasel to bring in the VP as a witness.

As they are about to sign the Weasel's resignation letter, RoboCop takes Audrey prisoner cuts her brachial artery and we get to watch her bleed to death (almost) as RoboCop uses her to get Jack to hand over the tape Henderson made with the Weasel. (He was young and needed the money... sorry bad Richard Gere-hamster joke). With the tape RoboCop calls the Weasel just as the VP comes in to witness the resignation. Once the Weasel learns Heller has no evidence now, Weasel turns the situation against Heller and demands his resignation for the accusation.

Damn. A lot happened this episode. On a quick side note, I'm not so sure I like the "War for Oil" turn the show is taking with President Weasel... Seems like the writers had a momentary bout of Bush Derrangement Syndrome as they wrote this part of the script and took a hard left turn...

But on a happier note, don't leave without your Jack Bauer Moment of ZenTM...

Chuck Norris Jack Bauer can never sleep. One nightmare from Chuck Norris Jack Bauer would destroy everything in a 5,000 mile radius. [This explains why Jack doesn't ever seem to get tired...]

King Kong climbed the empire state building to get away from Chuck Norris Jack Bauer.

Chuck Norris Jack Bauer is considered a weapon of mass destruction, and George W. Bush has men working 24/7 to make sure he's not buried somewhere in Iraq.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy tax day

I hope everyone has gotten their taxes finished and mailed them off to the happiest of all bureaucracies, the IRS. You got a couple extra days this year since April 15th was a Saturday; hopefully you finished them over the Easter weekend.

On a side note, is April 15th the perfect day for what is, for many, one of the worst days of the year (if you have to pay at least)? Abraham Lincoln dies on April 15th. The Titanic sank on April 15th. Your taxes are due on April 15th. A fairly bad day all around...

So did you do them yourself this year? Do you pay some sweaty, fat guy to do them for you, like me, because mastering the tax code just isn't something you have the spare time for since you'd much rather be learning to cope with increasing levels of electro-shock toture just in case terrorists capture you?

I'm sure you've seen the no IRS image on the sidebar. Click it and check that out as well as It's a link to the proposed idea to eliminate our tax system as we know it and turn instead to a national sales tax.

Give it a look and see what you think...

Blogroll update

Looking for good news from the war front? Esteemed bloggers Mudville, BlackFive, Winds of Change and others have set up MilBlog Wire to help publicize the good news from the front that never seems to get the press time it deserves.

BlackFive has the info on their mission, who's involved, and which charities will benefit from their success.

Check it out.

Suicide bombers are legitimate form of self-defense according to Palestinian government

That is certainly a clarification of Hamas' priorities and clearly explains why the US and EU stopped all aid to Palestine. (via Ace)

Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), said on Monday that the Tel Aviv attack was part of the Palestinians' right of self-defense.

"Resisting Israeli aggression was rightful as long as it continues," Abu Zuhri said.

"The occupation seized money of the Palestinian people and urged the world not to assist the Palestinians, so this attack took place before those who agree with this aggressive attitude," he said.

At least six Israelis were killed and 30 others wounded, with some in serious condition, as a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up near an old bus station in the center of Tel Aviv.

Abu Zuhri was echoed by Wasfi Kabha, minister of Prisoners' Affairs in the Hamas-led cabinet.

Kabha told reporters that the attack came "in the framework of legitimate right for resistance against Israeli violations and crimes."

I'm really rather astonished that they came right out and said it, although I really shouldn't be surprised. It's like Palestinians have been blowing themselves up at pizzerias, malls, and markets to kill innocent men, women, and children for so long they don't know anything else. The Israelis, on the other hand, do precision missile strikes and raids to capture or assassinate Hamas leaders and minimize civilian casualties. Pretty humane for a nation surrounded by tens of millions of people who hate them and dozens of nations who would follow Iran's lead in exterminating Israel from the map.

I was curious who would pick up the tab on the Palestinian government...

... after the US and EU decided they didn't want to fund a terrorist organization that managed to gain control over the government.

DOHA, Qatar Apr 17, 2006 (AP)— Qatar said Monday it would give the Palestinian government $50 million in aid to help make up for a shortfall after the United States and the European Union cut off funding.

The official Qatar News Agency said the funds were offered to "bolster the budget of the Palestinian authority based on the decision of the Arab summit held in Khartoum" in March.

On Sunday, Iran said it was sending the same amount of money to the Palestinians to help fund the Hamas-led government.

The United States and the European Union have cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority following Hamas' victory in legislative elections in January, demanding the group renounce violence and recognize Israel.

Qatar and Iran. I can only hope this steps up the pressure to hammer Iran with pressure and sanctions. They've quickly taken the lead as the most destabilizing force in the region.

Comedy Central's reply to my complaint

Here is Comedy Central's entire response to the complaint letter I wrote Friday about the episode of South Park they refused to air unedited.

Dear Viewer,

Thank you for your correspondence regarding the "South Park" episodes entitled "Cartoon Wars." We appreciate your concerns about censorshipand the destructive influence of outside groups on the media,entertainment industry and particularly Comedy Central.

To reiterate, as satirists, we believe that it is our First Amendmentright to poke fun at any and all people, groups, organizations andreligions and we will continue to defend that right. Our goal is tomake people laugh and perhaps, if we're lucky, even make them think inthe process.

Comedy Central's belief in the First Amendment has not wavered, despiteour decision not to air an image of Muhammad. Our decision was made notto mute the voices of Trey and Matt or because we value one religionover any other. This decision was based solely on concern for publicsafety in light of recent world events.

With the power of freedom of speech and expression also comes theobligation to use that power in a responsible way. Much as we wish it weren't the case, times have changed and, as witnessed by the intenseand deadly reaction to the publication of the Danish cartoons, decisionscannot be made in a vacuum without considering what impact they may haveon innocent individuals around the globe.

It was with this in mind we decided not to air the image of Muhammad, adecision similar to that made by virtually every single media outletacross the country earlier this year when they each determined that itwas not prudent or in the interest of safety to reproduce thecontroversial Danish cartoons. Injuries occurred and lives were lost inthe riots set off by the original publication of these cartoons. TheAmerican media made a decision then, as we did now, not to put thesafety and well being of the public at risk, here or abroad.

As a viewer of "South Park," you know that over the course of tenseasons and almost 150 episodes the series has addressed all types ofsensitive, hot-button issues, religious and political, and has done sowith Comedy Central's full support in every instance, including thisone. "Cartoon Wars" contained a very important message, one that Treyand Matt felt strongly about, as did we at the network, which is why wegave them carte blanche in every facet but one: we would not broadcast aportrayal of Muhammad.

In that regard, did we censor the show? Yes, we did. But if you holdComedy Central's 15-year track record up against any other network outthere, you'll find that we afford our talent the most creative freedomand provide a nurturing atmosphere that challenges them to be bold anddaring and places them in a position to constantly break barriers andpush the envelope. The result has been some of the most provocativetelevision ever produced.

We would like nothing more than to be able to look back at this in a fewyears and think that perhaps we overreacted. Unfortunately, to havemade a different decision and to look back and see that we completelyunderestimated the damage that resulted was a risk we were not willingto take.

Our pledge to you, our loyal viewers, is that Comedy Central will continue to produce and provide the best comedy available and we willcontinue to push it right to the edge, using and defending the FirstAmendment in the most responsible way we know how.

Comedy Central Viewer Services

Comedy Central is at least being mostly honest in the reply. They didn't give any mumbo jumbo about the sacred image of Mohammed or being sensitive to the religion of Islam. It was a safety issue. They didn't want to get themselves or innocent people injured in potential retaliation by Muslims around the world.

But behind that reasoning is a logical conclusion they they didn't express in the response to my complaint. They don't trust Muslims. It's not that they don't like Muslims, or the religion of Islam, or anything like that. They don't trust that Muslims won't riot, fire bomb buildings, or kill non-Muslims given even the smallest provocation, whether that provocation is implied, real, or totally imaginary. Islam has officially been entirely corrupted by extremists who will kill anyone who speaks out about their religion in basically any manner whatsoever. If you mention Islam, Allah, Mohammed, Mecca, or any other sacredly held Islamic belief, you are in danger.

So it's not so much that Comedy Central fears for the public's safety as much as they don't trust Muslims not to overreact and kill people.

UPDATE @10:56am: Thanks to Chad at the East Coast Cake or Death for pointing out that South Park's newer epsiodes opening sequence actually has a cartoon Mohammed in it from a previous episode Parker and Stone did (Season 5, Super Best Friends). So technically Comedy Central's been airing Mohammed cartoons all season! Here's a pic from that episode...

And here's the pic of Mohammed in South Park's opening credits...

Kinda fuzzy, but he's there...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Contact Comedy Central. Tell them to air the episode unedited.

You can submit comments via their website. Here's my complaint letter...

I can't believe Comedy Central didn't have the guts to air a 5 second image of Muhammed that was part of the South Park episode that aired Wednesday night. Freedom of speech means just that. It means nothing is sacred. You will hide behind your right to freedom of speech when it comes to the images that South Park episode contained of people defecating on Jesus and the American flag, but when it came to a simple image of Muhammed handing a helmet to Peter in their representation of a Family Guy episode, all of a sudden freedom of speech meant speaking responsibly. I'm sure you've gotten complaints about content on other programming. You have the right to air your opinions, ideas, and images, just as viewers have the right to write, voice, or publish complaints about what you air. They can even boycott your sponsors,and better yet, those viewers can change the channel. But I'm sure that's never stopped you before.

Air the episode. Don't cave in to religious pressures or terrorism.

I'm trying to contact South Park Studios to see if they can give me any other contact info for Comedy Central that I can forward complaints to...

UPDATE @ 9:15am 4/17: See Comedy Central's reply to this complaint.

I can't believe Comedy Central censored South Park's image of Muhammed

I am really, really, really dumbfounded by the whole thing... Apparently it was the buzz of the blogosphere yesterday but I only just watched the TiVo'd episode last night. Once again I'm behind the curve...

Picking up where last week's episode left off, Cartman is in Hollywood to convince Fox to pull the episode of The Family Guy with Muhammed in it, but he's doing it not for the good of humanity or sensitivity for Islam, but simply because he hates the show. He wants to get it cancelled. In that effort, he is taken to meet the writers of The Family Guy who turn out to be manatees. They write complete non-sequitor jokes by randomly selecting idea balls from a huge pile. Five ideas balls make one joke.

As Cartman is learning the secret of The Family Guy, the world braces for Islam's reaction. Much of the US has their heads buried in the sand, so they miss statements released by Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden slamming the show (I found my notes! Updated the post.)

Zawahiri: Family Guy better not show Mohammed tonight. I'm serious. Family Guy isn't funny

Osama bin Laden: If you look closely at the writing in Family Guy, you will see that the jokes never derive from the plot. And I think that's totally gay.

In the end Kyle thwarts Cartman's efforts to get the show pulled and it airs as scheduled... but in place of the scene of Peter in a toga getting a Salmon helmet from Muhammed (see... random manatee joke), the screen goes black with script noting that Comedy Central refused to air an image of Muhammed.

Then the video cuts back in and we get to see Islam's response. A short video from Osama productions of US citizens crapping on each other, then crapping on George Bush, then crapping on Jesus, and finally all of them crapping on the American flag. (I found my notes! Updated the post.)

Zawahiri: We warned you not to show Mohammed, but Family Guy did it anyway. So now here is our retaliation on America. Oh yeah, take that! We burned you! That was funnier than Family Guy

It's the perfect illustration of the double standard applied by the media when it comes to Islam. Mocking Christianity, Judaism, and even classic American symbols are fine, but we can't say anything about Muhammed because we don't want to upset Muslims. Some Christians were offended by the imagery of Jesus in the episode, and voiced that opinion (even though they completely missed the point of the episode). But we don't have to worry about Christian clerical leaders bombing embassies or news studios.

The WaPo gives a little history behind Parker, Stone, Comedy Central, and Muhammed.

Weeks ago, when they were mulling the episode on this subject, Cowardly Central told Parker and Stone they could not run an image of Muhammad on the network.

Ironically, about five years ago, "South Park" did just that. That episode was called "The Super Best Friends" and in it Jesus and his Super Best Friends -- including Muhammad, Krishna, Buddha, Joseph Smith, Laotzu and Moses -- took on the church of Blaintology, founded by David Blaine, the street magician who is a sweeps special staple of ABC.

At least South Park gets the freedom of speech implications here, as shown by Butter's dad's speech from last week's episode.

Freedom of speech is at stake here, don't you all see? If anything, we should all make cartoons of Muhammad and show the terrorists and the extremists that we are all united in the belief that every person has a right to say what they want.

Look, people, it's been really easy for us to stand up for free speech lately. For the past few decades, we haven't had to risk anything to defend it. One of those times is right now. And if we aren't willing to risk what we have now, then we just believe in free speech, but won't defend it.

Grow some balls Comedy Central... show Mohammed.

UPDATE @ 9:15am 4/17: See Comedy Central's reply to my complaint letter about this episode.

Industrial production at highest levels in more than 5 years

This is great news for our economy, especially as the real estate boom has begun to slide, notably marked by the yield on the 10 year treasury note bouncing over 5% for the first time in four years.

April 14 (Bloomberg) -- Production at U.S. factories, mines and utilities grew at a faster pace last month and manufacturers were the busiest in more than five years, a Federal Reserve report showed.

The 0.6 percent increase in production followed a 0.5 percent gain in February, the Fed said in Washington. The share of industrial capacity in use rose to 81.3 percent, the highest since September 2000, from 81 percent.

This increase in production is due to increased orders for Boeing airplanes and increased automobile, auto part, electronic, and furniture production. This increase in demand has sparked increased funding for materials, including mine production, electric and gas utility output, metal works (titanium and steel), microchips, and semiconductors. While a lot of this is sparked by consumer spending thanks to low levels of unemployment (more people with jobs is more consumer spending power), much of this growth is due to corporate expansion. Business are hiring and that means they're opening the purse strings not only for salaries, but for supplies for these new employees. Not only are companies buying computers, phones, etc. for new employees, they are upgrading existing employees business equipment.

Business equipment production, which includes transportation and information processing equipment, increased 0.8 percent in February after rising 0.2 percent the previous month. Production of technology equipment, such as computers, communications gear and semiconductors, rose 2.7 percent last month, the most since August, after increasing 1 percent.

The American corporation is going to carry the economy for a while, so while many criticize huge companies, they're going to keep this economy humming right along. And just imagine what this economy could be doing with cheaper gas prices...

Almost makes you want to drill in ANWR so that we're not being held hostage by Middle East oil, don't it...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bye bye Bucky!

Good job Bucky...

I didn't think you'd make it this far, in fact I was pretty much dead set against you at the beginning of all this. But you grew on me... slowly. You have an interesting raspy quality to your voice that was tough to listen to at first, but you seemed to get better every week.

On top of that you seemed like a genuinely good guy, which is a big reason why I like Chris and Taylor... Nice guys. Guys you'd want to grab a beer with...

Sorry you had to go...

How much does the AP collaborate with terrorists?

Michelle Malkin has what looks to be an exclusive. AP photographer Bilal Hussein has a photographic history of terrorist activities that appears to be much more than getting good anonymous tips. He has fearless and total access to their planning and execution, and it looks like it's gotten him in hot water.

This afternoon, in response to a tip from an anonymous military source in Iraq, I contacted both the AP reporter embedded with the Marines in Ramadi, Todd Pitman, as well as AP's media relations office headquartered in New York concerning Hussein's whereabouts. No word from Pitman. But at 6:20pm EDT, I received the following e-mail response from AP:

We are looking into reports that Mr. Hussein was detained by the U.S. military in Iraq but have no further details at this time.

Jack Stokes
The Associated Press
Corporate Communications
According to my tipster, Hussein was captured earlier today by American forces in a building in Ramadi, Iraq, with a cache of weapons.

Here's Hussein's Pulitzer Winning Photograph. Terrorists execute election workers in broad daylight on Haifa Street in the middle of Baghdad back in November 2004.

And much of the rest his work is awful cozy with the terrorists...

White House papers show Libby was not instructed to "out" sooper dooper sekret Valerie "007" Plame

I really can't believe we're still talking about Plame and her extra-super, top secret agent status. Maybe this will help kill this whole ridiculous issue.

But the lawyers asserted that White House documents outlining what Libby was to say in conversations with reporters did not mention Plame's name. They said this supports Libby's contention that he did not participate in a campaign to damage Wilson by disclosing Plame's CIA employment or in a coverup of the episode.

And if you need a refresher on Wilson, Iraq, Niger, and Dubya's 16 words in that infamous SOTU, check out Michael Ledeen's last article over at the National Review.

As it turns out Bush, being the President of the United States and all that, gets to declassify materials for public release. What a concept. So he used this to combat lies being spread in the media about intel leading up to the war in Iraq. What I love is the insane left used to complain about how this was the most secretive administration in history, now their complaining because the president leaked declassified and released information to the public.

You can't have your cake and eat it to, moonbats...