Thursday, April 30, 2009

day 101

Consumer spending, new jobless claims dip
"Let's call him Obama!"

96,000 cribs recalled for breakable slats
Well of course, who can forget the slats?!

Biden tells family to stay off planes, subways
Just his family. Everyone else, go about your business.

Biden, Besser remain against border closing idea

OK, let me get this straight. Stay off planes and the subway, but keep the Mexican border flowing. Got it!

SKorean experts claim to have cloned glowing dogs
Growing Dogs, you idiot! Growing Dogs!

WHO raises its tally of swine flu cases to 236
"We don't get flued again."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No Frills Blog Deluxe

On Politics: Signs G.O.P. Is Rethinking Stance on Gay Marriage
Forget the stance, just make sure the outfit is festive!

Egypt orders slaughter of all pigs over swine flu
This Just In From Leviticus 3:19!

Textron to reduce global work force by 20 pct
Glorb of Rigel 7 will be pleased with the colonization!

Colleges offer no-frills degrees
Glad I got a gooder kind way back when!

Science takes aim at the swine flu
This Just In From 1976!

Obama: World's people must resist hatred, racism
"Or The Mighty & Terrible Glorb will be displeased!"

Why so many Americans switch religions
I'm guessing the benefits package.

Lebanese told not to kiss in anti-swine flu drive

Thought for Today:

"Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right." - Sir Laurens van der Post, South African author (1906-1996)....'unless they have fangs. That would be way more frightning.' - Gordie van der Post, South African Villiage Idiot and nephew of Sir Laurens van der Post.

Pig Flu

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For You D.

Torture and the 'Truth Commission'

Why has Congress failed to outlaw waterboarding?


Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) wants a commission that will get to the "truth" about torture. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) says she wants a truth commission too. And so does Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.).

On CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Mr. Leahy said a truth commission would help get to the heart of how the recently released memos on CIA interrogation techniques were drafted. "I want to know why they did that," he said. "What kind of pressures brought them to write things that are so off the wall and to make sure it never happens again. That's why I want [a Truth Commission]."

Mr. Leahy overlooks a small point here: Under our Constitution, the truth commission is supposed to be Congress.

Our Founders didn't look to outsource our most controversial public issues to appointees. They established institutions and arrangements that would hold those who have power accountable to the American people. And when the people's lawmakers believed the people's president was misinterpreting the law, the Founders expected the former to stand up and do something about it.

Over the past few years, the Democrats have moved to ban waterboarding only when it was clear that such a bill would not pass -- or would be vetoed by George W. Bush. In September 2006, Sen. Edward Kennedy introduced an amendment to the Military Commissions Act that would have effectively defined waterboarding as a war crime, and it was defeated largely along partisan lines. In February 2008, when Democrats were in control of Congress, they made a big fuss about sending a bill that would have limited interrogation to techniques found in the Army field manual. They did so knowing President Bush would veto it, and that he had the votes to sustain that veto.

Today the Democrats have an even larger majority -- plus a president who would sign such legislation. So why the call for a truth commission instead? The answer is a nasty one: If Congress made waterboarding illegal now, they would be making clear that it was not illegal before.

Andrew McCarthy is the former assistant U.S. attorney who put Omar Abdel-Rahman (the blind sheik) behind bars for the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Mr. McCarthy explained it this way to me: "When Senate Democrats didn't have the votes, they voted to make waterboarding illegal. Now they have the votes, but there's no effort to ban waterboarding. And the reason is that they are more interested in setting off a partisan witch hunt than passing a principled ban on something they say is torture."

In other words, what the Beltway has planned is a circus -- where the decks are stacked, people are smeared, and conclusions are foregone. In such an environment, the only way to restore some sense of fairness is with fuller and more honest disclosure. Here are a few places to start.

First, former vice president Dick Cheney has called for the release of classified memos that he says show the CIA's interrogation program produced valuable intelligence that helped us break up terrorist plots and save innocent lives. Though CIA Director Dennis Blair fudged his own answer to Mr. Cheney's claim by issuing two separate statements -- one for public consumption, one for internal use -- he did concede that the program yielded "high value" intelligence. Since then, we've had nothing but claims and counterclaims. How about releasing the info and allowing the American people to judge?

Second, Mrs. Pelosi has categorically declared the CIA never told her waterboarding was being used. "My experience was they did not tell us they were using that, flat out," she recently told reporters. "And any, any contention to the contrary is simply not true."

Her claim puts her at odds with Porter Goss, a former CIA director who had at the time of the briefings served on the same House Intelligence Committee with Mrs. Pelosi. In an op-ed for the Washington Post on Saturday, Mr. Goss said he was "slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed."

Surely the CIA kept notes about those briefings. How about releasing the record -- how many briefings there were, when they occurred, who was at them, what was said, how our political representatives reacted -- and let the people judge who's telling the truth?

Finally, thus far all the focus has been on the techniques approved by the White House. The impression is that Mr. Bush allowed every technique to go forward. How about releasing any memos that speak to techniques that were rejected -- and the reasons? If there's information in any of these classified documents we don't want our enemies to see, they can easily be redacted on a case-by-case basis.

And if after all this, members of Congress still insist that waterboarding is a war crime, maybe they could explain to the American people why they don't just go ahead and outlaw it.

Write to

more brilliance from The Wall Street Journal

Partial-Birth Interrogation
Clark Hoyt, "public editor" of the New York Times, reports approvingly that the paper's news pages have adopted an increasingly harsh approach when editorializing against the interrogation of terrorists:

Until this month, what the Bush administration called "enhanced" interrogation techniques were "harsh" techniques in the news pages of The Times. Increasingly, they are "brutal." (On the editorial page, they long ago added up to "torture.") . . .
Jill Abramson, the managing editor for news, came to her own conclusion that the facts supported a stronger word than harsh after she read just-released memos from the Bush-era Justice Department spelling out the interrogation methods in detail and declaring them legal. The memos were repudiated by President Obama.
"Harsh sounded like the way I talked to my kids when they were teenagers and told them I was going to take the car keys away," said Abramson, who consulted with several legal experts and talked it over with Dean Baquet, the Washington bureau chief. Abramson and Baquet agreed that "brutal" was a better word. From rare use now and then, it had gone to being the preferred choice. The result of that decision was this top headline in the printed paper of April 17: "Memos Spell Out Brutal C.I.A. Mode of Interrogation." . . .
The Times should strive to tell readers exactly what a given interrogation technique entails. . . . But that is not always practical, as in a headline. When the paper needs a short description, the word brutal is accurate and appropriate, whether you think the acts were justified or not.

Contrast this with the way the Times, in a 2005 article, described the practice of "partly extracting an intact fetus from a woman's uterus and killing it by collapsing and removing the brain from the skull so that the fetus can pass through the birth canal":

Opponents of abortion refer to the method as partial-birth abortion and denounce it as brutal and uncivilized.

The headline reads "Appeals Court Voids Ban on 'Partial Birth' Abortions." Why not follow the same practice when describing interrogations of terrorists--namely, say that "opponents denounce it as brutal" and use the opponents' terminology in scare quotes (" 'Torture' ") when brevity is essential?

It couldn't be because the Times news reporters and editors, who are supposed to be impartial, are pro-abortion and anti-interrogation, could it?

Reader Pat Allen, commenting on our Friday item about torture and public opinion, raises a similar parallel:

As reported on the Pew website, they interpreted the results as follows: "Nearly half say the use of torture under such circumstances is often (15%) or sometimes (34%) justified; about the same proportion believes that the torture of suspected terrorists is rarely (22%) or never (25%) justified."
You mentioned that the results could be looked at as saying that 71% of Americans think torture is justified in some cases, while only one-quarter say it is never justified.
Let me suggest another way to interpret these numbers. I would look at it this way: 56% say torture is justified sometimes or rarely, 15% say it is justified often, and 25% say it is never justified. I would look at it this way because it seems to me that "often" and "never" are the extreme positions, while "sometimes" and "rarely" are just variations on a theme.
Also, when you look at these numbers this way, they compare interestingly to another set of numbers. Look at these numbers from a Gallup poll taken in May of last year: Do you think abortion should be: "legal under any circumstances," 28%; "legal under most circumstances," 13%; "legal only in a few circumstances," 40%; "illegal in all circumstances," 17%.
These numbers can be looked at two ways, also. A little under half (41%) think abortion should legal in all or most circumstances; a little over half (57%) think it should be legal under no or very few circumstances. But that is not the way Gallup combined the responses. Gallup isolated the "all circumstances" and "no circumstances" responses by themselves and combined the other two in a "legal under only some circumstances" category that gives you a middle ground of 53%.
Look at the breakdowns for the two issues: Abortion: 17-53-28. Justifiability of torture: 15-56-25. What these numbers say to me is not that the United States is divided evenly, as Pew said. Rather they say that there is a solid majority in the middle, with the more absolute positions on either end attracting only about a fifth to a fourth of the population.

There is a sensible middle position here, one that is neither pro-torture nor pro-terrorism: Let's keep enhanced interrogation safe, legal and rare.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Closer To Thee

Geithner, as Member and Overseer, Forged Ties to Finance Club
I think 'Forged' is a very telling word in this sentence.

More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops
A little closer to Heaven!

Gay Couples Line Up for Marriage Licenses in Iowa
It's not that they line up, it's how they line up.

As Economic Turmoil Mounts, So Do Attacks on Hungary’s Gypsies
I whacked a couple of them this weekend just for practice!

Study links ADHD medicine with better test scores
What in the world would test scores have to do with...ohh look a squirrel!

Racial disparities persist in higher-paying jobs
Absolutely! Just consider Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, etc.

Gov't won't urge people to wear masks in workplace
unless they're fugly.

Webcam fans mourn Calif. bald eagle chick deaths
Webcam fans need to try my Bald Eagle Chick soup. It's divine!

Republicans push nuclear energy to lower costs
It's clean, renewable and inexpensive. Damn Republican Hippies!

Father of Jamie Lynn Spears' baby injured in crash
"My baby-daddy done got hurt!"

Doctors urge baseline test for prostate cancer
If 'baseline test' elimintates 'finger-in-pooper test', I'm in!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Will volunteer for money"

Scientists discover an Earth-sized planet
Maybe they're just looking in the wrong end of the telescope.

I don't know what this IQ thing is, but I'm in!

Forget TV, where the free crack at?!

As Bush adviser, Rice delivered OK to waterboard
Oh, I wish I could call her Madam President.

Youth volunteering dips, first time since 9/11
most youth are dips, before or after 9/11.

Colo. man convicted of murdering transgender woman
but he was aiming for the man part.

Death of Freddie Mac's Kellermann may be suicide
as soon as they figure out how he shot himself in the back of his head.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why did Helen Keller's dog bite her?

Sept. 11 planner waterboarded 183 times: report
Only 2,793 times to go and he'll still be alive!

IAEA urges sticking to talks with North Korea, Iran
IAEA sounds like something Helen Keller would name her dog.

Obama says reaching out to enemies strengthens US
"But it worked out so well for Neville Chamberlain."

Congress set to tackle credit cards, health care
"But it worked out so well for poverty & drug use."

Congress considers major global warming measure
"But it worked out so well for education & the economy."

Today's Highlight in History:

Ten years ago, on April 20, 1999, the Columbine High School massacre took place in Colorado as two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives. Good thing we have Gun-Free Zones so stuff like that can't happen again!

In 1812, the fourth vice president of the United States, George Clinton, died in Washington at age 72, becoming the first vice president to die while in office. Apparently, the Parliment was still too funkadelic.

In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, unanimously upheld the use of busing to achieve racial desegregation in schools. I expect governmental involvment with global warming to be just as successful.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Let me be confused!

How come Barack Obama says "Let me be clear..." before he says anything?
Is it burned on the teleprompter screen or is he just trying to reassure himself that someone out there might understand what comes out of his mouth?

4.17.09 So, Let Me Get This Straight...

The president has decided that using waterboarding as an interrogation technique on an avowed killer and mastermind of 9/11 is inhumane and torturous, but shooting three teenage pirates in the head is an equitable response for holding some guy hostage?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm an extremist.

Obama: Better trains foster energy independence
Just like Amtrak!

Iraq: Suicide bomber kills 16 Iraqi soldiers
I wish these "suicide" bombers would just jump off a building. Fewer people would die.

General Growth files for bankruptcy protection
When professional wrestlers go bankrupt, you know it's bad.

Expelled UN nuclear inspectors leave North Korea
Looks like it's 'Terse-Letter' time for Hans Blix. That'll show N. Korea!

AARP: Prescription drug prices on the rise
No worries elder-folk. Mama Obama gonna fix it for you.

White House seeks health plan compromise
Step 1. Increase taxes on everyone who works.
Step 2. Refuse medical treatment to anyone over 57.
Step 3. Profits!

Can Cuba cope with an onslaught of Americans?
I can name some people who should move there permanently.

Homeland security chief defends agency risk report
Dissent is only patriotic when a republican is in office.

Today's Highlight in History:

In 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.

In 2007, in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history, student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.
Nobody told him it was a gun-free zone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day Becomes Protest Day

How the tea parties could change American politics.

Today American taxpayers in more than 300 locations in all 50 states will hold rallies -- dubbed "tea parties" -- to protest higher taxes and out-of-control government spending. There is no political party behind these rallies, no grand right-wing conspiracy, not even a 501(c) group like


A rally and march in protest of higher taxes in Santa Barbara, Calif., April 4.

So who's behind the Tax Day tea parties? Ordinary folks who are using the power of the Internet to organize. For a number of years, techno-geeks have been organizing "flash crowds" -- groups of people, coordinated by text or cellphone, who converge on a particular location and then do something silly, like the pillow fights that popped up in 50 cities earlier this month. This is part of a general phenomenon dubbed "Smart Mobs" by Howard Rheingold, author of a book by the same title, in which modern communications and social-networking technologies allow quick coordination among large numbers of people who don't know each other.

In the old days, organizing large groups of people required, well, an organization: a political party, a labor union, a church or some other sort of structure. Now people can coordinate themselves.

We saw a bit of this in the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, with things like Howard Dean's use of Meetup, and Barack Obama's use of Facebook. But this was still social-networking in support of an existing organization or campaign. The tea-party protest movement is organizing itself, on its own behalf. Some existing organizations, like Newt Gingrich's American Solutions and FreedomWorks, have gotten involved. But they're involved as followers and facilitators, not leaders. The leaders are appearing on their own, and reaching out to others through blogs, Facebook, chat boards and alternative media.

The protests began with bloggers in Seattle, Wash., who organized a demonstration on Feb. 16. As word of this spread, rallies in Denver and Mesa, Ariz., were quickly organized for the next day. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli's Feb. 19 "rant heard round the world" in which he called for a "Chicago tea party" on July Fourth. The tea-party moniker stuck, but angry taxpayers weren't willing to wait until July. Soon, tea-party protests were appearing in one city after another, drawing at first hundreds, and then thousands, to marches in cities from Orlando to Kansas City to Cincinnati.

As word spread, people got interested in picking a common date for nationwide protests, and decided on today, Tax Day, as the date. As I write this, various Web sites tracking tea parties are predicting anywhere between 300 and 500 protests at cities around the world. A Google Map tracking planned events, maintained at the Web site, shows the United States covered by red circles, with new events being added every day.

The movement grew so fast that some bloggers at the Playboy Web site -- apparently unaware that we've entered the 21st century -- suggested that some secret organization must be behind all of this. But, in fact, today's technology means you don't need an organization, secret or otherwise, to get organized. After considerable ridicule, the claim was withdrawn, but that hasn't stopped other media outlets from echoing it.

There's good news and bad news in this phenomenon for establishment politicians. The good news for Republicans is that, while the Republican Party flounders in its response to the Obama presidency and its programs, millions of Americans are getting organized on their own. The bad news is that those Americans, despite their opposition to President Obama's policies, aren't especially friendly to the GOP. When Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele asked to speak at the Chicago tea party, his request was politely refused by the organizers: "With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steele that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around."

Likewise, I spoke to an organizer for the Knoxville tea party who said that no "professional politicians" were going to be allowed to speak, and he made a big point of saying that the protest wasn't an anti-Obama protest, it was an anti-establishment protest. I've heard similar things from tea-party organizers in other cities, too. Though critics will probably try to write the tea parties off as partisan publicity stunts, they're really a post-partisan expression of outrage.

Of course, it won't be the same everywhere. There are no national rules, and organizers of each protest are doing things the way they want. And that's the good news and the bad news for Democrats. It's not a big Republican effort. It's a big popular effort. But a mass movement of ordinary people who don't feel that their voices are being heard doesn't bode well for the party that positioned itself as the organ of hope and change.

Will these flash crowds be a flash in the pan? It's possible that people who demonstrate today will find that experience cathartic enough -- or exhausting enough -- that that will be it. But it's more likely that the tea-party movement will have an impact on the 2010 and 2012 elections, and perhaps beyond.

What's most striking about the tea-party movement is that most of the organizers haven't ever organized, or even participated, in a protest rally before. General disgust has drawn a lot of people off the sidelines and into the political arena, and they are already planning for political action after today.

Cincinnati organizer Mike Wilson, a novice organizer who drew 5,000 people to a rally on March 15, is now planning to create a political action committee and a permanent political organization to press for lower taxes and reduced spending. Tucson tea party organizer Robert Mayer told me that his organization will focus on city council elections in the fall as its next priority. And there's lots of Internet chatter about ways of taking things further after today's protests.

This influx of new energy and new talent is likely to inject new life into small-government politics around the nation. The mainstream Republican Party still seems limp and disorganized. This grassroots effort may revitalize it. Or the tea-party movement may lead to a new third party that may replace the GOP, just as the GOP replaced the fractured and hapless Whigs.

Mr. Reynolds is the author of "An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths" (Thomas Nelson, 2006). He will be covering the tea party protests today at

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tea Party!

Small Cars Get Poor Marks in Collision Tests
The upside is that it gets great mileage and you will die instantly.

Thank God for these noble, intelligent, protective and delicious creatures.

Where will captured Somali pirate get justice?
At the end of a rope?

Obama to speak on making changes to tax code


US to name 'border czar' to watch Mexican border
Make sure you give him some stinking badges.

Deportation halted, Demjanjuk returns to Ohio home
He told them he forgot to turn off his giant, people-sized oven.

Meltdown 101: Can't pay your taxes? Don't panic
Send your job application to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Student killed in love triangle involving teacher
They were quite obtuse.

Ron Paul's plan to fend off pirates
does it involve bumper stickers and yard signs?