Wednesday, October 24, 2007

California's worst series of fires ever

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that Southern California has been on fire now since Sunday. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who has family affected by this fire. I had my sister evacuated from Encinitas as well as my cousins in Santa Clarita, not to mention a dozen other friends in the San Diego area. And living in Riverside county, just north of the San Diego county line, I've been watching their fires very closely, but as of now, they haven't come within 10 miles of me.

Of course it would be nice if the television news casts actually relayed actual news. One problem we face here in south Riverside county is that we're lumped into what's generally considered part of the greater LA area, so we get LA news channels. The problem with that is the fires approaching our area are from San Diego county. So watching the LA news more useless than normal since they aren't covering the SD fires. And even if they were all we would get still follows the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality. Just more proof that the MSM is totally useless.

Before going to bed last night I watched 90 minutes of news and got absolutely no useful information, and certainly nothing pertaining to the fires nearest to my area. You get the stories of the people in the evac centers, will this be better than Katrina type stories. Something tells me there will be plenty of time later to sort that kind of thing out. Let's stick to reporting the news for now. I think it was 20/20 last night that asked Michael Chertoff three questions all of which were about how the affects of Katrina are still being felt. You're interviewing the head of Homeland Security and all you can ask is about the effects of a hurricane 2 years ago? Please...

Then there are the clips that follow people back to their homes and watch them sift through the rubble and say this was the garage, this was the livingroom... I don't want to seem heartless, because their loss is staggering and tragic, but it does nothing to inform the population as to what the latest fire info is.

Then there are the secondary effects of fire type stories. If you watch you get to learn the breathing smoky air is probably bad for you. I needed you to interview a doctor to tell me that? And what about displaced animals? One report cut to a stable at the LA community college used to house horses from burn areas, and all the reporter there could say was that the stable was full. And the pet interviews were fun, but again, totally useless.

You also get the great helicopter shots of massive flames in some random canyon, with the pilot saying yeah Bob, I'm over Dumb River Canyon and wow it's going up in flames. Now, I've lived in SoCal my entire life in LA, San Diego, and now Riverside counties and I'd like to think I know SoCal pretty well. But I've got no idea where this random canyon is or that tiny creek is or what that hill over there is called. It could be 2 miles away and I wouldn't have a clue because most people don't refer to anything around here by topographic features. Try giving real world references like major streets, freeways, and landmarks. And when the reporters do start talking streets they find the smallest dead end street possible to reference. Start small and then give a larger picture of where that is please.

Then you have the anchors talking about total area burned, total number of houses destroyed, total number of people displaced simply to shock the audience. I like the statistics and hard data info, but knowing the total area burned by each fire, the number of homes destroyed by that fire, etc. doesn't help. Again maps of what the current burn area is would be nice. What area is the fire burning toward, what areas are threatened. And again show major streets and freeways please; I don't know where Rattlesnake creek is.

But my favorite story from yesterday's TV news was the reporter in the Lake Arrowhead area who had just finished filming a clip in front of a house that had a couple embers starting to burn in the backyard. He said this house is about to go up in flames and that fire units were nowhere to be found. Then 2 minutes later, two firemen show up but don't have a truck, hoses, or any water. So the reporter gets to be a "hero" when he goes to the house next door and grabs a garden hose so the firefighter can put out a two foot square patch of fire. I'm sure he'll get a Pulitzer or something for that stunning report.

So who's been the best source of info for me? Local city and county websites and all the phone numbers for fire agencies with the up to date info, and webcasts from the local access channels. Several of the San Diego newspapers have fire info blogs, bulletin boards, and chat rooms up where the public can get info from each other directly.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Petraeus to Congress: the surge is working

... exactly what the Democrats feared...

WaPo - Army Gen. David H. Petraeus told Congress yesterday that the deployment of 30,000 more troops to Iraq has made enough progress that the additional combat forces can be pulled out by next summer, but he cautioned against "rushing to failure" with a larger and speedier withdrawal.

In what some called the most anticipated congressional testimony by a general since the Vietnam War, Petraeus presented an upbeat picture of improving security conditions in Iraq and offered a grim forecast of the "devastating consequences" of a more rapid pullout. Petraeus said his forces "have dealt significant blows" to al-Qaeda in Iraq but warned that Iran is now fighting a "proxy war" against Iraqi and U.S. forces there.

The partial troop pullout Petraeus outlined in a joint appearance with Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker represents a modest acceleration of what military planners were privately forecasting but is the first drawdown the two men have publicly supported since becoming the top U.S. military and civilian officials in Baghdad. President Bush, in a televised national address later this week, is likely to adopt the recommendation for this rollback of his troop "surge," while war critics immediately condemned it as too little, too late.

Of course the Dems didn't let a little good news prevent them from trying to discredit the General at every chance. They didn't debate his ideas or try to debunk his facts; they went after him. There is of course the Public Relations arm of the Democratic Party,'s full page ad in the NYTimes, "General Petraeus or General 'Betray Us'?". And don't think that it is simply a coincidence that this ran in the NYTimes either. Why would the NYTimes give a 60% discount on the full page ad? A full page, nationwide ad space in the NYT normally goes for between $182K-$167K. only paid $65K. Why the discount NYT? Is Soros running low on cash? Are the Dem's really that hard up for money now that Hillary gave back (some of) that money from her criminal supporter, Norman Hsu?

You'd think that perhaps the Dems might try to get what they believe to be the real facts out of Petraeus. This is their chance! The man with the answers sitting right there in front of them! Clinton, Reid, Boxer, et al "know" that the war is a failure and this would be their chance to prove it! But instead of asking questions, they wasted their 8 minute window of opportunity to preach, bluster, and opine from their little soap boxes. That's what California's distinguished Senator Boxer did. So did Sen. Obama. Boxer's question speech was so long the General will have to reply via letter to it, which is exactly what they wanted. They get to talk uninterrupted and no one gets the chance to argue. Heaven forbid they actually have to deal with facts.

But perhaps this apparent ineptitude in the face of the facts on the ground in Iraq could be why Rep. Pelosi accused this reporter of being biased when he asked how we could view her stewardship of Congress as anything other than a failure. She insinuated that surely he was a Fox News plant. But no, he's from CBS. His question has from so far to the left that it just must have seemed like the vast right wing conspiracy. Pelosi should know better though... The left relies on hatchet job reporting. The right simply tries to stay with the facts.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We will not forget...

September 11th, 2001.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Current market woes claim another victim...

The mortgage industry is getting hammered, and I'm another casualty. In a company paying commission only to the sales force and loan processing staff, I was the only salaried employee in the company other than the owners. After closing branch offices in an effort to cut overhead, there isn't much else left to cut other than staff...

But it looks like I won't be the only one looking for work...

Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest U.S. mortgage company, plans to cut its workforce by 10,000 to 12,000 in the largest round of firings since the industry's contraction began last year.

New U.S. home loans probably will drop 25 percent in 2008 from this year's levels, forcing the company to eliminate as much as 20 percent of its staff, Calabasas, California-based Countrywide said in a statement yesterday.

More than 15,000 jobs have been lost this week amid the worst U.S. housing slump in 16 years. IndyMac Bancorp, the second-biggest mortgage company, National City Corp. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. cut staff. At least 100 mortgage companies have sought buyers or halted lending since the start of 2006, and foreclosures in the second quarter rose to a record, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington.

Time to look for something new.

How well does blogging pay?

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Better late than never...

Fred Thompson confirmed all the rumors about his presidential candidacy last night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

From his 15 or so minutes he actually made some decent points... his support of the war and being respected by the "international community" instead of being liked. Based on his appearance last night (and I really don't know much else about him or his views) he seems to have a solid grasp of things and certainly comes across in a straightforward, easy to understand manner.

If his campaign team doesn't fall apart on him, he certainly can't be counted out...

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Schumer says the surge isn't working

Huh? Can anyone follow this man's warped logic?

Looks like the Dems are trying to discredit Petraeus' upcoming report before he even gives it.

Perhaps becuase Schumer, like his colleague in the House Rep. Jim Clyburn, realizes that a positive report from Petraeus would be "a real big problem for us."

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sen. Craig's resignation not worth the paper it's written on

What the hell is this guy thinking? Does he really want to withdraw his previous plea and have this go to trial? This bathroom sex scandal will be just the tip of the iceberg...

WASHINGTON - To the dismay of fellow Republicans, Sen. Larry Craig launched a determined drive to save his seat on Wednesday, vowing to stay in office if allowed to withdraw his guilty plea in a men's room sex sting.

Craig's campaign suffered an instant setback, however, when the ethics committee refused to set aside a complaint lodged against him. "Pending Sen. Craig's resignation, the committee will continue to review this matter," the committee's senior senators wrote.

Craig's decision to deploy his legal team marked a reversal of his pledge to resign on Sept. 30, and raised the possibility of a protracted legal and political struggle, much of it playing out in public, with gay sex at its core.

Please just resign Seantor. You've slimed yourself and the party enough already.

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Major terrorist plot broken up by Germans

The arrests were made because it appeared that attacks were imminent. The US base at Ramstein was a primary target along with Frankfurt International Airport.

BERLIN - Three militants from an Islamic group linked to al-Qaida were planning "massive" bomb attacks against Americans in Germany when an elite antiterrorist unit raided their small-town hideout after months of police surveillance, officials said Wednesday.

Prosecutors said the suspects — two German converts and a Turkish citizen sharing a "profound hatred of U.S. citizens" — had military-style detonators and enough material to make bombs more powerful than those that killed 191 people in Madrid in 2004 and 52 commuters in London two years ago.

[...] Germany's elite GSG-9 anti-terrorist unit arrested two of the suspects Tuesday at a vacation home in Oberschledorn, a town of some 900 people in central Germany. A third suspect fled through a bathroom window, but was caught about 300 meters (yards) away, authorities said.

[...] During the first part of the year, they acquired 12 containers of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide solution, which officials said can easily be combined with other material to make explosives.

As a token of the intense surveillance by German police, prosecutors said that during the investigation they were able to replace the dangerous peroxide in the containers with a harmless solution without the knowledge of the suspects.

The containers were first kept in a garage in the Black Forest region in southern Germany. Subsequently, one of the three rented a vacation cottage in Oberschledorn under a false name on Aug. 17.

On Sept. 2, the two other suspects joined him there with the intention, officials said, of making bombs using detonators and electrical components they had obtained.

Police decided to move in when the suspects moved one of the containers to the cottage, fearing an attack could be in the offing. The more than 700 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of peroxide could have made a bomb with the explosive power of some 550 kilograms (1,200 pounds) of dynamite.

"This would have enabled them to make bombs with more explosive power than the ones used in the London and Madrid bombings," Joerg Ziercke, head of the Federal Crime Office, Germany's equivalent of the FBI, said at the news conference.

Terrorists love to mark important anniversaries (like 9/11) with more death and destruction, so we were probably less than a week away from a massive terrorist attack. Hopefully, German officials can use information obtained from these would-be terrorists to take down other terrorist organizers in teh al Qaeda food chain.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just how badly is the MSM mis-reporting the news from Iraq?

On the heels of my post from yesterday, quoting from Robert McFarlane's WSJ piece relating his work getting a joint Shia-Sunni fatwa against violence in Iraq, and how the MSM has yet to report of such a historic occurrence, comes this incredible post over at Protein Wisdom.

Honestly, this is the best single Iraq post since Chrenkoff stopped doing his Good News from Iraq series. It hammers the MSM for its hotel journalism, reducing the number of reporters in Iraq from 570 to, at it lowest level, 9, relying on sources like al Jazeera for their stories, and simply reporting numbers (number of bombs, numbers of crashes, number of casualties, etc.) without doing any analysis whatsoever.

Take, for example, the coverage of events in Anbar province. In September-November 2006, the Washington Post ran a series of articles suggesting that the US military was unable to defeat the bloody insurgency in western Iraq “or counter al-Qaeda’s rising popularity there.” These stories were echoed in the New York Times/International Herald Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, NBC News, ABC News, CNN, the AP and others, down to local TV.

But this was not the only picture of events in Anbar. In “Will the Real Anbar Narrative Please Stand Up?”, Bill Ardolino juxtaposed the WaPo stories against analysis by bloggers and embedded reporters like the Times of London’s Martin Fletcher and Michael Fumento for the Weekly Standard. Bill Roggio’s military and intelligence sources were angry over the media’s characterization of the secret reports cited by the WaPo. Roggio examined how the claims made in the WaPo coverage were taken out of the larger context of events in Anbar. Roggio and the Mudville Gazette’s “Greyhawk” charted the formation and rise of the Anbar Salvation Council — the alliance of 25 of the province’s 31 tribes in the fight against al Qaeda. Roggio and Greyhawk followed up when the Anbar tribes got US air and artillery support — a development ignored by the establishment media.

We now know which narrative was more accurate. Al Qaeda was not increasingly popular in Anbar. To the contrary, the local tribes were overwhelmingly opposing and increasingly waging war against al Qaeda, with support from the US military. Bloggers — carefully following and synthesizing information from their own sources, military information, embedded reporters, Arabic media and isolated stories in the establishment media over the course of a year — proved to be better remote journalists than those at the WaPo, NYT, CSM, AP, CNN, NBC and ABC (and any others I have overlooked).

Incidentally, as early as September 2004, Roggio had predicted the tribes would eventually turn on al-Qaeda. This type of development is crucial to winning a war against an insurgency. Popular support is key to the continuation of an insurgency; Mao Zedong famously advised his insurgents to “move through the people like a fish moves through water.” Thus, the magnitude of the media’s failure to recognize the import of the rise of the Anbar Salvation Council — and its portrayal of Anbar province as lost — cannot be understated.

It's very long but definitely worth the read.

(h/t LGF)

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bush targets Iran's role in Iraq (and other news items of significant progress in Iraq)

Bush was speaking to the American Legion and not only reminded everyone that our troops have killed or captured 10,000 terrorists and insurgents, but that Iran is playing a major role in Iraq.

In Iraq, Sunni extremists, led by al Qaeda, are staging sensational attacks on innocent men, women, and children in an attempt to stoke sectarian violence. Their operatives have assassinated those seeking to build a new future for the Iraqi people. Their targets include everyone they consider infidels -- including Christians and Jews and Yezidis and Shia, and even fellow Sunnis who do not share their radical distortion of Islam. Their ranks include foreign fighters who travel to Iraq through Syria. Their operations seek to create images of chaos and carnage to break the will of the American people. These killers don't understand our country. America does not give in to thugs and assassins -- and America will not abandon Iraq in its hour of need. (Applause.)

Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people. Members of the Qods Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are supplying extremist groups with funding and weapons, including sophisticated IEDs. And with the assistance of Hezbollah, they've provided training for these violent forces inside of Iraq. Recently, coalition forces seized 240-millimeter rockets that had been manufactured in Iran this year and that had been provided to Iraqi extremist groups by Iranian agents. The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased in the last few months -- despite pledges by Iran to help stabilize the security situation in Iraq.

Some say Iran's leaders are not aware of what members of their own regime are doing. Others say Iran's leaders are actively seeking to provoke the West. Either way, they cannot escape responsibility for aiding attacks against coalition forces and the murder of innocent Iraqis. The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops. I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities.

And one of the ways Bush may target Iran is by labelling Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist force.

Ahmadinejad responded to that likely threat:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran would respond if the United States were to label the Islamic state's Revolutionary Guards a "terrorist" force, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday.

"They know that any action against the Iranian nation would be faced with a proper response," Ahmadinejad, himself a former Guards commander, told a news conference.

But he also said he believed it was "highly unlikely that the American government will take such an illogical approach ... it would be a joke I guess."

U.S. officials said this month Washington may soon name the Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist group, a move that would enable the United States to target the force's finances.

I think it'd be a great joke, and I hope we give it a try. Of course the challenge with the terrorists designation is also going to be getting other nations to recognize the Revlutionary Guards as a terrorist force as well.

But Bush is (finally) out there trying to drum up support for the war, trying to get the word out about our progress in Iraq.

One thing that seems to be slipping through the cracks though was discussed this morning on Dennis Prager's show. Dennis interviewed Robert McFarlane, former National Security Advisor to Ronald Reagan. McFarlane has been working in Iraq and has achieved a momentous agreement; something that should be the headline on every newspaper in the country: A Fatwa Against Violence.

Last week, I participated in a three day meeting here that included six of the most senior Iraqi Sunni and Shia religious leaders. At the meeting, held at a Marriott hotel in a Cairo suburb, they formally agreed to "end terrorist violence, and to disband militia activity in order to build a civilized country and work within the framework of law."

This gathering was a truly historic event, given the authority of the participants -- including Sheikh Ahmed al Kubaisi, acknowledged by all Iraqis as the senior Sunni religious authority (the weekly audience for his Friday sermons, broadcast from Dubai, number 20 million), and Ayatollah Sayyid Ammar Abu Ragheef, chief of staff for Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, the acknowledged leader of the Shia community in Iraq and beyond. One has only to consider the power of these specific religious leaders, and the instruments at their disposal for getting results, to grasp the gathering's enormous potential importance.

Going well beyond traditional rhetoric in their closing statement late last week, they stated their intention to work for the early issuance of a joint Sunni-Shia fatwa to the Iraqi people. A fatwa such as this will carry the force of law for all followers. Think about that. After more than four years of brutal warfare and untold suffering, the leading religious authorities in Iraq have joined hands and said "Enough," and have committed to use their authority to bring peace to their country.

Why isn't this ANYWHERE in the MSM? A google new search of Robert McFarlane yields only 48 results, and the #4 result is the WSJ article linked above. Most of the results appear to be about a completely different Robert McFarlane! Where's the NYTimes? LATimes? Chicago Trib? CNN? MSNBC? ABC? All the other alphabet soup networks?

No where to be found...

Once again the MSM seems to news that shows the progress we're making in Iraq.

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Hot Wing Conspiracy Fantasy Baseball: Week 21 recap

Well we're only 1 week away from the playoffs baby! And these last 2 weeks are going to be huge. Only the top 6 make it, and while it appears that we already have the 6 likely playoff teams, only one had clinched entering this week's action, and just 3 more would join by week's end...

Wookies Will Repeat - 7
Big Damn Heroes - 4

Sure I'm happy with the win, but going into Sunday's games I was winning 10-1, and only end up winning 7 to 4, and on top of that I drop in the overall rankings despite the win from 5th to 6th. Fortunately, the top six make the playoffs which start next week, and barring an absolute meltdown, I'm in!
MVP: Miguel Tejada. He's had a sub- par season, but came through this week with 3 HRs, 6 RBIs, and hit .346
Dud: Heroes pitching staff. He played to waiver wire to try to make up some ground in pitching, but picked up 6 losses, 4 pitchers who's ERA were in the double digits, and 2 wth ERAs at 27.00.

Robots Eat Babies - 5
PFB - 8

Robots just wasn't prepared for the PFB offensive onslaught. 14 HRs, 41 RBIs, 77 hits, .330 average. Wow. He took 5 of 7 offensive stats and took ERA and WHIP on top of that to seal the win.
MVP: Brandon Philips and Carlos Pena combined to hit .400, 20 hits, 6 HRs, 15 RBIs, and 16 runs scored.
Dud: Phil Hughes and Jeremy Bonderman. Hughes ERA was 7.30 and Bonderman's was a sky high 11.12. Needless to say both picked up losses.

Baseball Rulz! - 9
RFTR - 4

Baesball Rulz put together a solid overall performance, winning both offensive and pitching stats. RFTR managed to blow out Baseball Rulz in the HR and SB categories, but that's it. The silver lining for RFTR is that depsite the loss he's clinched a playoff spot.
MVP: Adrian Gonzales and Mike Lowell combined to hit .464 with 4 HRs, 16 RBIs, 16 hits, and 16 runs.
Dud: RFTR's relievers Billy Wagner and Tom Gordon got hammered with ERAs at 12.00 and 18.00 respectively.

The PAWs - 5
Cookeville Engineers - 7

Apparently the PAWs offense is throwing in the towel on the season already. They forgot, however, to tell the pitching staff. Cookeville took all 7 offensive stats, but only managed to get a tie in saves, otherwise PAWs would have swept the pitching stats.
MVP: Jose Guillen hit .407, with 11 hits and 2 HRs.
Dud: Chad Cordero got lit up. A 54.00 ERA and a loss.

bRight & Early - 10
Joe's Keizer Killers - 2

bRight is the one who leap-frogged me in the standings with this 10-2 thumping of the Keizer. Joe put up a fight in the pitching categories, but was no match at all for bRight's offense. bRight's currently in the #5 spot, and while he hasn't clinched yet, it doesn't look like he'll be knocked out by anyone...
MVP: Ryan Zimmerman hit .333, 3 HRs, 9 hits, and 7 runs scored.
Dud: Mike Mussina could've singlehandedly lost the pitching categories for bRight with a 37.80 ERA in his loss to the Angels. Stupid Yankees...

Webcats - 2
Maximum Poo - 10

Max Poo had another solid, but the game was a little closer than that score would indictate, especially in the pitching categories. Max Poo only blew the cats away in a couple categories (hits, average, and RBI), everything else was pretty closely contested.
MVP: Kenji Johjima, Freddy Sanchez, & Magglio Ordonez each had 11 hits, combined to hit .392 with 6 HRs, 19 RBIs, and 17 runs.
Dud: A.J. Pierzynski hit .167 with a grand total of 3 hits in 18 ABs.

Fmragtops Spewers - 4
Leones de Yucatan - 9
Leones shows again why he's the #2 team in the league, clinching a berth with this win. Even though 9-4 isn't quite a blowout, the categories that he did take from FM were by a LARGE margin. 13-3 in HRs, 46-18 in RBIs, 66-48 in hits, and 3-0 in Wins.
MVP: Matt Holiday continues to puch for the MVP with 12 hits, a .400 average, 3 HRs and 7 RBIs.
Dud: Geoff Jenkins had just 1 hit in 16 ABs for a .063 average

Anna Benson is Yummy - 8
JAX Juggernauts - 3

Mmmm.... Anna.... she's got the sweetest pitching staff this side of the Mississippi. She posted 6 wins. Wow. John Lackey, Brandon Webb, and Jake Peavy. She may only be ranked #4 in the league, but I wouldn't want to face her in the playoffs, but at least she clinched her spot in the dance.
MVP: All that pitching and I'm picking Carlos Lee as the MVP in this matchup. A .414 average with 2 HRs and 12 hits.
Dud: The JAX manager. 3 starters didn't play last week. 2 in fact were on the DL. He's lucky he didn't get demolished.

So here's the top 6 teams, and I'm 99% sure they'll be the playoff teams when things are said and done. The ranks may rearrange a bit, but that's about it. bRight and I haven't clinched yet but #7 (Big Damn Heroes) is 12.5 games back so he'd have to sweep webcats this week and I'd have to lose 13-0 to get knocked out of the playoff picture. However there was one 13-0 victory this year, and Big Damn Heroes pulled it off against PAWs. My worst loss though was only 3-9; in fact I haven't allowed an opponent to get double digit points against me, so I like my odds at making the playoffs.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Sen. Larry Craig arrested in airport bathroom for lewd conduct


Are Republicans trying to lose every election for the next 20 years?

Roll Call is reporting that Sen. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican, was arrested earlier this summer in a men's room at the Minneapolis airport by an undercover officer investigating complaints about sexual activity. The Capitol Hill newspaper says it obtained the arrest report.

So far, CNN and several blogs are reporting the news.

On Aug. 8 Craig pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. A 10-day sentence was stayed, but he received a year probation and paid more than $500 in fines and fees, Roll Call writes.

A spokesman for Craig described the June 11 incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the senator's office would release a fuller statement later today.

He said/he said misunderstanding... that has all the marks of an Onion news piece...

But don't stop reading now... It only gets better...

[...] After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report. At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?” the report states.

I'd be saying that that makes him a bigger loser than George Michael.

[...] “At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot.

I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”

Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it. “With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”

A caller to Hugh Hewitt's show made the excellent point that if Craig was doing this at high noon and knew all the signals, that this probably wasn't his first time getting busy in a bathroom.

What the hell are Republican elected officials doing?


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Alberto Gonzales resigns

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to make of that when I read about it this morning. There was certainly no reason for the Senate hearings he'd been neck deep in for the past couple months, but I've no clue about the DoJ and it's inner workings, so I thought I defer to someone better versed in arena: Capatin's Quarters.

In any case, it's far past time for Gonzales to go. No one did anything illegal in terminating the federal prosecutors, but Gonzales and his team made it into a royal botch-up anyway. Gonzales really should have resigned after telling people publicly that the attorneys had performance issues when their reviews showed that they had performed well. That set off a series of statements that Gonzales had to retract or clarify, including some in Senate testimony that made him appear as though he hardly had anything to do with running the Department of Justice.

It's been an ongoing embarrassment -- and not just for the White House, which refused to acknowledge the reality of Gonzales' incompetent handling of the DoJ. The Senate has spent months trying to nail Gonzales on some sort of crime when none occurred. The SJC, and to a lesser extent their House Judiciary colleagues, have wasted months trying to deliver Gonzmas to the nutroots crowd, and the only thing they can find is mediocrity with frequent bouts of incompetence. Had they left it at that point, they would have won the war, but instead the Democrats overpromised and underdelivered and now look like fools.

At least on that note, Gonzales made the partisan differences fade into the background. He made everyone look like fools in equal proportion.

And the Captain's not alone here. Dean Barnett also thinks Gonzales' resignation was long overdue.

Hugh hadn't really opined on the issue other than to say it's a good chance for the administration to appoint a charismatic, young, anti-terror guru to the post.

So, adios Alberto. I think you got a bit of a bum deal, but hey, that's life.


Friday, August 24, 2007

WHO says US Health Care system ranks 37th in the world

The US ranked 37th out of 191 countries in WHO's report (PDF) behind such health care giants like Costa Rica, Morroco, and Cyprus, and in a report by the Commonwealth Fund the US ranked last or next to last in all categories except one when compared to Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

But really... who cares what WHO thinks?

Well Michael Moore does, and apparently he makes a big deal of these statistics in his new anti-American film, Sicko.

But John Stossel takes a closer looks at these studies, and as usual finds out they're not all that they're cracked up to be.

So what's wrong with the WHO and Commonwealth Fund studies? Let me count the ways.

The WHO judged a country's quality of health on life expectancy. But that's a lousy measure of a health-care system. Many things that cause premature death have nothing do with medical care. We have far more fatal transportation accidents than other countries. That's not a health-care problem.

Similarly, our homicide rate is 10 times higher than in the U.K., eight times higher than in France, and five times greater than in Canada.

When you adjust for these "fatal injury" rates, U.S. life expectancy is actually higher than in nearly every other industrialized nation.

Diet and lack of exercise also bring down average life expectancy.

Another reason the U.S. didn't score high in the WHO rankings is that we are less socialistic than other nations. What has that got to do with the quality of health care? For the authors of the study, it's crucial. The WHO judged countries not on the absolute quality of health care, but on how "fairly" health care of any quality is "distributed." The problem here is obvious. By that criterion, a country with high-quality care overall but "unequal distribution" would rank below a country with lower quality care but equal distribution.

It's when this so-called "fairness," a highly subjective standard, is factored in that the U.S. scores go south.

The U.S. ranking is influenced heavily by the number of people -- 45 million -- without medical insurance. As I reported in previous columns, our government aggravates that problem by making insurance artificially expensive with, for example, mandates for coverage that many people would not choose and forbidding us to buy policies from companies in another state.

Even with these interventions, the 45 million figure is misleading. Thirty-seven percent of that group live in households making more than $50,000 a year, says the U.S. Census Bureau. Nineteen percent are in households making more than $75,000 a year; 20 percent are not citizens, and 33 percent are eligible for existing government programs but are not enrolled.

So like most things espoused by Michael Moore, they're shallow arguements based on halftruths and misleading statistics.

This isn't to say that the US healthcare system is without flaws. We all know there's room for improvement. Frivolous lawsuits create higher malpractice premiums for doctors, and higher insurance premiums overall. So doctor visits cost more, testing costs more, and procedures cost more because you're not spending your money. Other people are spending your money, and Stossel quotes Milton Freidman, "No one spends other people's money as carefully as he spends his own."

And multiply that problem by 1000 if you want the government to take over and socialize healthcare. You think ER waiting rooms are packed now, just wait and see. All doctors offices will be like the DMV. Like socialized systems in Canada and Europe, you have to schedule appointments 6 months in advance, and wait months even years for important tesing and surgical procedures. Preventative medicine will be a thing of the past. Doctors and nurses will function more like postal workers; nothing against the post office, but would you bet your life on your package arriving on time via the post office? To quote PJ O'Rourke, if you think healthcare is expensive now, wait to see how expensive it is when it's free. Our public schools spend more per student than any other nation on the planet, and yet our public education system barely makes the top 20.

Whenever people talk about having the government run anything I always think of this satirical scienctific piece on a new elemnet just discovered: governmentium.

A major research institution (MRI) has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. The new element has been tentatively named Governmentium. Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second. Governmentium has a normal half-life of three years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass.


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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Michael Yon: The Ghosts of Anbar

Michael's back with Marine's in Fallujah. Check out his first dispatch...

Reframed thus from a position of strength, this stage of the Anbar-war is more a sort of business transaction, where alliances beneficial to all sides—except Al Qaeda—are formed. From this perspective, there is now a moment of genuine ground-floor opportunity in Anbar, if the people here can see that by doing business with the Coalition, everyone benefits—except Al Qaeda—an exclusion that most can live with.

From a distance, this seems both obvious and uncontroversial. But on that ground floor things are less pristine, because some of our new business partners were only recently actively trying to kill our soldiers and Marines. Some may even have danced beneath Blackwater Bridge.

Reading Yon's dispatches is like reading a best seller...

Read the rest of the part 1 and keep an for the next 3.

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NSA wiretaps target fewer 100 US citizens! Oh the humanity!

How can they even keep track of so few wiretaps! It boggles the mind!

Chicago Trib - Previously, few details about the scope of the U.S.-based surveillance program had been made public.

McConnell made the revelation while visiting El Paso for a conference on border security. In the interview, he explained the distinction between court-sanctioned surveillance of Americans and the kind of warrantless surveillance that U.S. officials can conduct under legislation signed into law by President Bush this month.

The new law allows expanded, warrantless eavesdropping on foreigners' calls and e-mails to people in the U.S., as long as the Americans involved are not considered targets of the investigation.

If the U.S. recipient of a call turns out to be a terrorism suspect, authorities would "just get a warrant," McConnell said. He described the number of such cases as "manageable."

"On the U.S. persons side, it's 100 or less," he said. "And then, the foreign side -- it's in the thousands.

"There's a sense that we're doing massive data mining. In fact, what we're doing is surgical," he said. "A telephone number is surgical. So, if you know what number, you can select it out."

So we're "surgically" monitoring thousands of foreign calls, but actual US citizens under surveillance is 100 or less. So if you think the US population is 300 million, 100 is a 0.0000316% of the population that's being monitored.

I still bet that the loony left swears their calls are being listened to.

Really people... grow up... the government really doesn't care about your granola, or patchouli, or your new super green hybrid prius. Stop being so narcissistic. the world doesn't revolve around you.

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Stay classy San Diego (Zoo)

Here's a gorgeous shot of Balboa Park from the sky buckets at the San Diego Zoo.

The Fetching Mrs. Wookie and I took the Wookette and my cousin who was visiting for the week to the San Diego Zoo a week and a half ago. We met with the Wookette's God-mother there too.

I think our little Wookette slept most of the time, but we all still had a great time!

Here's some more pics, including the 4 day old giraffe!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More than 10,000 terrorists killed or captured since surge began

Hugh Hewitt's been replaying the speech the president made earlier today in Kansas City. The entire MSM is hammering Dubya's for his comparison of Iraq to WWII and Vietnam, but they're missing a key bit of info (or conversely you could say that once again the administration isn't communicating our successes in Iraq again): More than 10,000 terrorists killed or captured since January.

Here's the text from Dubya's speech today:

There is one group of people who understand the stakes, understand as well as any expert, anybody in America -- those are the men and women in uniform. Through nearly six years of war, they have performed magnificently. (Applause.) Day after day, hour after hour, they keep the pressure on the enemy that would do our citizens harm. They've overthrown two of the most brutal tyrannies of the world, and liberated more than 50 million citizens. (Applause.)

In Iraq, our troops are taking the fight to the extremists and radicals and murderers all throughout the country. Our troops have killed or captured an average of more than 1,500 al Qaeda terrorists and other extremists every month since January of this year. (Applause.) We're in the fight. Today our troops are carrying out a surge that is helping bring former Sunni insurgents into the fight against the extremists and radicals, into the fight against al Qaeda, into the fight against the enemy that would do us harm. They're clearing out the terrorists out of population centers, they're giving families in liberated Iraqi cities a look at a decent and hopeful life.

Our troops are seeing this progress that is being made on the ground. And as they take the initiative from the enemy, they have a question: Will their elected leaders in Washington pull the rug out from under them just as they're gaining momentum and changing the dynamic on the ground in Iraq? Here's my answer is clear: We'll support our troops, we'll support our commanders, and we will give them everything they need to succeed. (Applause.)

So let's do the math:

1,500 dead or captured terrorists x 8 months = 12,000 dead or captured terrorists

These are the type of word problems math teachers should be giving to their students.

As of right now, there are 716 articles at Google news, referencing the president's speech. Any guesses on how many lead with the "More than 10,000 dead"?

Or even worse, check out the Freudian slip at ABC (via Ace and Hot Air): Iraq like Vietnam - Bush's new talking point...

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Obama would remove US-Cuban restrictions

He must be having a tough time finding good Cuban cigars anymore...

WaPo - "The primary means we have of encouraging positive change in Cuba today is to help the Cuban people become less dependent on the Castro regime in fundamental ways," the Illinois senator wrote in an op-ed piece published in Tuesday's Miami Herald.

Clinton, the New York senator and Democratic front-runner, issued a statement reiterating her support for the current policy toward Cuba, adding, "Until it is clear what type of policies might come with a new government, we cannot talk about changes in the U.S. policies toward Cuba."

She has recently sought to portray Obama as naive on foreign policy.

[...] "We're in a very critical moment where many of us are hoping that we will see a transition as opposed to a transfer of power. Frankly I think his comments are ill-timed," said Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, chairman of the Republican National Committee. "It shows that he either didn't think it through very well or simply hasn't had enough experience on these tough foreign policy problems."

Gee... ya think?

Obama's statement makes absolutely zero sense and Mel Martinez is right on point. Castro is old and dying, so why empower a crumbling regime by caving in now after 45 years of an economic embargo? As Fidel slowly rides off into the sunset, that's where we'll see our opportunity to promote change in Cuba, free an oppressed people, and create a valuable trading partner.

Maybe think a bit next time before you flaunt your brave new policies.

Or at least let Hillary proofread them for you...

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6 Minnesota Imams drop "John Doe" passengers from their lawsuit

We all remember the 6 Imams who were removed from a US Airways flight for "suspicious behavior" that included excessively loud praying, chanting "Allah, Allah, Allah," and angry, muttered conversations. Well, they removed the "John Doe" passengers who reported their behavior as suspicious from their lawsuit.

Normally I'd celebrate a victory of common sense over stupidy, but they still plan to move forward with the suit against US Airways and Minneapolis airport workers.

You can't expect too much good news at once...

Hat tip: LGF

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ledeen gives us some of the history behind our problem with Iran

It's another fabulous article, published yesterday, in which Ledeen shows us how the US has, for the past 30 years, been suckered by the Iranian regime over and over and over...

Washington diplomats have steadfastly refused to see the Iranian regime for what it is: a relentless enemy that seeks to dominate or destroy us. This blindness afflicted the first American negotiators shortly after the 1979 revolution, and has been chronic ever since, even though Iran declared war on us in that year and has waged it ever since.

During the first negotiations in early 1979, shortly after the Revolution, the Iranians denounced American meddling, and the Americans lamented Iran's dreadful human-rights practices. The Iranian negotiator, Deputy Prime Minister for Revolutionary Affairs Ibrahim Yazdi, said that Iran had just undergone "the cleanest revolution in world history," even though mass executions were underway throughout the country.

Yet American diplomats were optimistic that a grand bargain could be struck. The Iranians wanted arms, and American military men sat down to work out the details of new sales. On the diplomatic front, Assistant Secretary of State Harold Newsom reported that: "the Iranian suspicions of us were only natural in the post-revolutionary situation but that after a transition period common interests could provide a basis for future cooperation-not on the scale of before but sufficient to demonstrate that Iran has not been 'lost' to us and to the West."

This was written almost precisely a month before the American Embassy in Tehran was seized in November, 1979. For the next 444 days, diplomats talked and talked, until, minutes before Ronald Reagan's inauguration, the hostages were ransomed out.

Five years (and a new set of hostages) later, the Reagan administration commenced secret negotiations with the mullahs, using American, Israeli and Iranian back channels. Reagan's deep personal concerns about the fate of the hostages drove the policy, and inverted the logical strategic order.

Iran was a major problem for the U.S.--hundreds of American marines and diplomats had been massacred in Beirut by Tehran's favorite terrorist instrument, Hezbollah--and should have been dealt with on that basis. But some American officials convinced themselves that a deal could be made with Iranian "moderates," and a group led by former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane flew secretly to Tehran, met with a few mid-level Iranian officials, and returned empty handed. As in the Jimmy Carter years, the mullahs killed Americans, but America did not respond effectively.

The George H.W. Bush administration, with the Iran-Contra scandal fresh in their minds, avoided direct negotiations with Iran, but in recent years two of its leading officials--National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and Secretary of State James Baker--have been outspoken advocates for talking to the mullahs.

The Clinton administration passionately sought rapprochement. Believing that the Iranian "moderates" had grown more powerful with the election of President Mohammed Khatami, the president and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made public amends for real and imagined American sins against the Islamic Republic, and made a series of public and secret gestures calculated to show that the U.S. bore no ill will toward the mullahs.

Iran was secretly authorized to ship weapons into Bosnia in defiance of a United Nations embargo that was formally endorsed by the Clinton administration. Russia was secretly permitted to sell weapons and supply Iran's budding nuclear program, in violation of a law coauthored by Vice President Al Gore in his Senate years. Visas were issued to Iranian wrestlers and scholars, and some Iranian funds were unblocked.

This was all evidence of the American belief that an agreement could be reached. The Iranians exploited the opportunity, provided by our invitation to ship arms to the Muslims in the Balkans, by supporting a terror network in Bosnia. Mohammed Atta trained in Bosnia, from there he went to Hamburg, and thence to the U.S. Two other 9/11 terrorists--Ramzi Binalshibh, and Said Bahaji--were recruited into al Qaeda in Bosnian camps. We ignored the Iranian actions.

In 1996, the Iranians were up to their necks in the terror attack against Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Still, we pursued the mirage of a deal with our enemies. In the final months of the Clinton administration, former Spanish President Felipe Gonzales traveled secretly to Tehran to explore the possibilities of a new relationship. Like all the others, he made no progress.

And unfortunately, Dubya has fallen into the same pattern: tough talk... all bark and no bite.

You'd think that we'd have learned our lesson after the first, second, or perhaps even the 10th time that our gestures of good will were treated with blatant disregard and contempt; they're certainly not worth the paper they were printed on. We've given them chance after chance after chance and we still look to give them further chances. Hell, if by some disasterous twist of fate, Obama manages to get himself elected president, he said he'd sit down with Tehran personally. Nevermind that our troops on the ground in Iraq have captured suspects who've confessed to receiving training in Iraq from Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, that weapons caches have been destroyed that were of specific Iranian design, and that paperwork and laptops have been analyzed that show direct links between insurgents in Iraq and Iranian suppliers from within the Iranian government.

I'm sure they'll stop all that this time if we agree to negotiate with them.


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Monday, August 20, 2007

Passenger jet explodes on Okinawa runway


The amazing thing is that there were no casualties. All passengers and crew made it safely off the plane before it exploded.

Holy crap!


How Wing Conspiracy week 20 results

Another fun fantasy baseball week bites the dust.
Here's how the final scores came out...

Wookies Will Repeat - 6
Maximum Poo - 6

I thought I had Poo down for the count, with a 10 - 3 lead on Friday. But Poo came storming back and tied things up. And it it wasn't like either one of our teams played particularly crappy. Any other week we'd both have probably had runaway victories. Just not this week.
MVP - Albert Pujols. Big Al hit .476, 10 hits, & 3 HRs
Goat - Ray Druham. Ray hit a spectacular .100, with only 1 hit. The pisser here is that if I'd left him in the lineup on Sunday, I'd have won since he went 1 - 4 with a HR. HRs was the one category we tied in...

Robots Eat Babies - 2
RFTR - 11

Unfortunately, Robots was thoroughly outmatched. RFTR had a truly dominating performance and Robots never had a chance. Robots only took the offensive and pitching K categories and that was it.
MVP - Bobby Abreu. Bobby hit .375 with 3 HRs, 6 RBIs, and 2 SBs. Who told the Yankees it was OK to win again? I liked them better when they were in the cellar.
Goat - Ryan Howard. A rough week for the Rhino. Only 3 hits for a .125 average and 12 K's.

Baseball rulz! - 9
Cookeville Engineers - 3

This match up was a little closer than the score indicates. The pitching stats were a dead heat here, but Cookeville lost the offensive categories 5 to 1. Cookeville took SBs by 9 but that's were the fun stopped.
MVP - Lance Berkman. Lance finally put together a good week hitting .400 with 3 HRs and 9 runs scored.
Goat - Kevin Youklis. The man with the funny goatee only hit .111 and racked up 12 K's.

The PAWs - 11
bRight & Early - 2

PAW came out to play this week, despite the sub .500 record and took out bRight, a top ranked team. Don't let the score fool you; it was a tight game, but PAWs found a way to come out on top... barely. He took hits by 1, RBIs by 2, runs by 2, and HRs by 2.
MVP - Mark Reynolds. Yeah... I don't know who he is either, but he hit .375 for the week with 2 HRs and 4 RBIs.
Goat - Brad Wilkerson. he came through with just 1 hit and 8 Ks for a total average of .083. Ouch.

PFB - 7
Big Damn Heroes - 6

Another bottom feeder team coming up big against a contender team. Heroes put up a fight but just couldn't quite overcome PFBs well rounded attack. PFB had 3 guys with double digit hits, 4 with 5 or more RBIs (every started had at least 1 RBI), and at least one run scored by every starter too.
MVP - Brandon Phillips, Vlad Guerrero, and Tori Hunter combined for 3 HRs, 30 hits, 16 RBIs, and 14 runs scored.
Goat - Joe Borowski. Looks like he got pounded. 13.50 ERA with a loss.

Webcats - 7
Leones de Yucatan - 5

This must have been the week of the upset! Webcats is ranked #15 in a 16 team league and Leones was #2. Webcats had a solid week, and Leones had a bit of a down week. The cats just barely took 6 of the 7 offensive categories, but that was enought to get them the win.
MVP - Raul Ibanez. We have Raul Ibanez siting! Trying to resurrect an absolutely horrendous season, Raul hit .429, with 2 HRs, and 5 RBIs.
Goat - Scot Shields. Sure he had a 20.25 ERA and a WHIP at 4.50... Could be worse...

Fmragtops Spewers - 6
JAX Juggernauts - 5

FM wins! FM wins! This was your basic mediocre offense vs. mediocre pitching, and we all know mediocre offense will win that matchup at most 50% of the time.
MVP - Geoff Jenkins. He had a modest .261 average, 6 hits 3 of which were HR, and 6 RBIs. Medicrity at its finest.
Goat - Omar Vizquel. We're closing in on Omar's retirement I think. .056 average, with only 1 hit all week.

Anna Benson Is Yummy - 10
Joe's Keizer Killers - 1

As usual, Anna's opponents roll over and bask in her yumminess, and while Joe may be a Keizer Killer, he was no match for her feminine sex appeal. Stats were overall pretty close, so Joe put up a fight at least.
MVP - David Wright. The latest fathead spokeman had 11 hits, posting a .423 average.
Goat - Jon Garland had a rough week. 2 losses with a 9.72 ERA.

And this week's matchups certainly favor the top ranked teams. Teams 1-4 all play the bottom teams this week. I of course being ranked 5th have to play the #7 team. I guess I'll have to dredge the free agent pool for some pitching....


Friday, August 17, 2007

Get your helmet dusted off and those pads strapped on... Fantasy Football is back!

And who else would be hosting fantasy football but Hot Wing Conspiracy!

First though a baseball update. This season's been much more challenging than my championship year last year; certainly not the runaway success that last year was. But I've beeen plugging away and have worked my way up in the rankings from 10th to 5th. I'm riding a 4 game win streak and am 5-0-1 over the last 6 weeks. Last week I beat Leones, the #2 team in the league and so far this week, I'm up on #1, Max Poo. I just need my starting pitching to pick it up a notch, and I could really start kicking butt. I'll try to put up this week's results early next week.

Now to the pigskin!

Last year my wookies placed 3rd, not too shabby, but I'm going for it all this year with Wookies Will Win. Here's how the draft went down for this year's wookies:

1. (5) Joseph Addai RB
2. (20) Willis McGahee RB
3. (29) Vince Young QB
4. (44) Jamal Lewis RB
5. (53) Darrell Jackson WR
6. (68) Terry Glenn WR
7. (77) Kellen Winslow TE
8. (92) New England DEF
9. (101) Robbie Gould K
10. (116) Jerry Porter WR
11. (125) Jay Cutler QB
12. (140) Greg Olsen TE
13. (149) San Francisco DEF
14. (164) Stephen Gostkowski K
15. (173) Brian Leonard RB

I'm pretty happy with that... My draft strategy was get runningbacks, runngingbacks, and more runningbacks. The one thing I'm running short on here is wideouts. I'm going to need to pick another receiver up and probably drop either Leonard or the SF Defense.

The league favorite has to be bRight, who got LT, but I think Tokyo and The Jerk will also be pretty strong contenders.

Keep an eye on the Hot Wing Conspiracy page for full updates! I'm sure it will get updated soon here as well!

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Wookie family update

I know blogging has been a bit light of late(especially if you don't include the past 2 days), so I thought I'd show you why...

Happy weekend everyone!!

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Chavez declares himself president for life

Don't you love the smell of socialism in the morning?

Telegraph - The Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has anointed himself president for life by proposing sweeping changes to the country's constitution.

Setting out his plans for completing his socialist revolution in the oil-rich Latin American nation, he proposing radical constitutional reform which has at its centre indefinite re-election for himself.

In a rambling televised speech reminiscent of his close ally and friend Fidel Castro, Mr Chavez told the national assembly of 33 changes he plans to make to the constitution he introduced in 1999 which will cement his grip on power.

"We have broken the chains of the old, exploitative capitalist system," said Mr Chavez. "The state now has the obligation to build the model of a socialist economy."

So now that's he's taken control of all media outlets, made most of Venezuela's industries state-controlled, and declared himself dictator for life, you'd think that that would raise an eyebrow or two on the left.

But we are talking about Democratic party afterall...

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The Inconvenient Truth of global warming is being hampered by Inconvenient Facts

I suppose you could say that global warming wackos lied, and people panicked and bought hybrid cars. But what did they lie about? Let's check out Michael Fumento's latest article...

If you follow the global warming debate, you “know” that nine of the ten warmest years recorded in the U.S. lower 48 since 1880 have occurred since 1995, with the very hottest being 1998.

But whaddya know! Those figures are wrong. Data from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) now show the hottest year since 1880 was 1934. Nineteen-ninety-eight dropped to second, while the third hottest year was way back in 1921. Indeed, four of the 10 hottest years were in the 1930s, while only three were in the past decade.

The real 15 hottest years are spread over seven decades. Eight occurred before the chief “greenhouse gas,” atmospheric carbon dioxide, began its sharp rise; seven occurred afterwards.

Say it ain't so! So all Al Gore's inconvenient graphs in An Inconvenient Truth are inconveniently wrong?

Don't forget though that the global warming debate is over. The polar bears and penguins are roasting to death and it's our fault.

Even if the facts still don't support their premise...

UPDATE @ 8:08am on 8/18 - Michael has a more detailied version of the Townhall article posted at his website. Check it out for all the cool graphs. Chicks dig graphs.

Thanks for the link Michael!

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jose Padilla found guilty

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The jury in the Jose Padilla terror trial has found the American guilty of conspiracy to support Islamic terrorism overseas.

Padilla's two co-defendants, Adham Hassoun and Kifan Jayyousi, were also found guilty on the three counts as charged: conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim people in a foreign country, conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists, and providing material support for terrorists.

The verdict came after less than two days of deliberations, according to a U.S. District Court official.

Sentencing is set for December 5th and he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Prosecutors played 70 intercepted phone calls for the jury, 7 of which actually included Padilla's voice. FBI specialists testified that the calls were conducted in code of course and when translated revealed that Padilla was discussing travelling overseas to fight with Islamic militants in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

I'm sure the leftie moonbats are all weeping into their no foam, soy lattes for this "freedom fighter" wannabe terrorist. We here at Cake or Death will chalk it up to good security and prevention of the deaths of thousands of Americans. Score one for the good guys!

UPDATE @ 11:55am - Oh and then there's this damning piece of evidence (Thanks to Hot Air for the reminder) that the leftwing moonbats would like you to forget:

The key piece of physical evidence was a five-page form Padilla supposedly filled out in July 2000 to attend an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, which would link the other two defendants as well to Usama bin Laden’s terrorist organization.

The form, recovered by the CIA in 2001 in Afghanistan, contains seven of Padilla’s fingerprints and several other personal identifiers, such as his birthdate and his ability to speak Spanish, English and Arabic.


But why let perfectly good things like facts get in the way of a freedom fighter wannabe terrorist?

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8.0 magnitude earthquake destroy large portions of Peru

Holy crap. A 2 minute 8.0 earthquake.

As a Californian, that scares the pants of me...

(CNN) -- Rescuers in Peru frantically combed through rubble Thursday looking for survivors of a powerful earthquake that officials said killed at least 337 people and injured 1,350.

The two-minute, 8.0-magnitude quake struck Wednesday evening, and strong aftershocks followed, including a 6.0-magnitude temblor on Thursday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

When the shaking stopped, a major highway along the coast was nearly destroyed, said Giorgio Ferrario of the International Red Cross. Rescuers have been severely hampered by fallen debris, he said.

An 8.0 earthquake followed by 11 other quakes including a 6.0 aftershock.


I'm sure the number of injured and killed will tragically continue to climb. When you read that the the quake destroyed 75% of towns like Ica, Pisco and Chincha, you can't help but think that 337 dead is going to increase dramatically.

UPDATE @ 11:30am - Australia's increases the death toll to 387.

UPDATE @ 9:57am on 8/17 - The NYT now puts the death toll at 510. And they continue to have aftershocks; big ones. 14 in fact registered at 5.0 or larger.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Democrats try to come up with a 50th way to run away from war in Iraq

Murtha's waving the white flag again, although maybe he thinks it's only slightly off-white as opposed to bleached white (a la scared sh*tless).

WASHINGTON - House Democrats have drafted new Iraq legislation they hope will appeal to Republicans fed up with the war: Start withdrawing troops in two months but leave it up to President Bush to decide when to complete the pullout.

[...] The House has passed similar anti-war measures in the past, but has been unable to push the legislation through the Senate, where Democrats hold a slimmer majority and Republicans have routinely blocked such bills from advancing.

Most recently, the House approved legislation that would have required troop withdrawals to begin this November and finish by April 1.

Under his latest plan, Murtha said he envisions troop withdrawals to start in November and take about a year to complete. A draft of his proposal did not include a firm end date.

So Genereal Patreus gets the requested "surge" in troops which he's only had now for a couple months (and which was overwhelmingly approved in the House and Senate), but since that didn't result in an immediate victory, surrender or all terrorists, peace on earth and goodwill toward men, the Dems resort to handwringing, wailing, and moaning again. And who better to do the handwringing for the Dems than the consumate handwringing professional, John Murtha.

So we'd still have to start withdrawing troops in November, but date to finish withdrawal is slightly murkier than the original April Fools Day.

Maybe at some point Murtha will realize the profound Freudian nature of that final exit date and put away his white flag once and for all... but I'm certainly not going to bet on it...

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