April 29, 2006

May I Have $6.00 A Gallon Please?

Chuck Schumer (Dem., N.Y.) recently asked "If $75 a barrel oil and a $3 average for a gallon of gasoline isn't a wake-up call, then what is?" and as the Wall Street Journal notes it is indeed a fine question for Senator Schumer to ask. They go on to note:

In fact, Mr. Schumer and most of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate--the very crowd shouting the loudest about "obscene" gas prices--have voted uniformly for nearly 20 years against allowing most domestic oil production. They have vetoed opening even a tiny portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas production. If there is as much oil as the U.S. Geological Survey estimates, this would increase America's proven domestic oil reserves by about 50%."
The dirty little secret about oil politics is that today's high gas price is precisely the policy result that Mr. Schumer and other liberals have long desired. High prices have been the prod that the left has favored to persuade Americans to abandon their SUVs and minivans, use mass transit, turn the thermostat down, produce less consumer goods and services, and stop emitting those satanic greenhouse gases. "Why isn't the left dancing in the streets over $3 a gallon gas?" asks Sam Kazman, an analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who's followed the gasoline wars for years."
This graph shows the average price of gasoline, per gallon, in both the United States and some European countries. Click this Link to see where Mr. Schumer really wants gas prices to go (he won't tell you, I just did) Is that what you want Mr. Schumer? If it is, then be at least honest enough to say so without the fancy footwork designed to make you look indignant (when you aren't) and gouge the American People under the guise of concern which you are obviously trying to do.

Let us be honest in this debate about gasoline prices. First, there is no evidence of price gouging to date. Since the 1990's the SEC and FTC have been scrutinizing the oil companies without finding any evidence. Second, the inflation adjusted price of gasoline today is less than the cost of gasoline in 1979/80. View image! As you can see from the graph, the cost of gasoline of gasoline was higher in 80/81 than now. That does not mean that gasoline won't go still higher and break records but the reasons for that are not necessarily under the control of the oil companies. It is called supply and demand and with India and China feverishly working to increase their supplies, that will drive the price up all else remaining the same.

Looking at the cost as a percent of personal comsumption expendatures on a monthly basis, you will see that while expenditures are indeed up, the cost are still below the '80/'81 levels View image. Again, while the costs and expense for families is high, it has been higher.

We also need to take a look at where the real costs of gas at the pump come from. The hype of the left is that the oil companies get it all, or at least that is what they want you to believe. The reality is that the cost of crude (and remember we import way too much oil) is 47% of the cost. So, at $3.00 a gallon $1.47 of that is just for the cost of the oil to make the gas. Add to that another $0.69 for state and federal taxes and you are already over two thirds of the cost of a gallon of gasoline. But wait, we aren't done yet. It costs $0.36 to get the gasoline to you and to advertise their product and we are now up to $2.46 of the cost of a gallon of gas at $3.00. That is just shy of 84% of the cost. View image According to the Energy Information Administration: Department of Transportation: Bureau of Economic Analysis, those folks charged with knowing how much you have to pay for gasoline, only about 27 cents is profit and another 27 cents goes into refining costs. TWENTY SEVEN CENTS!!! Yeppers, that's price gouging. NOT! Economics are obviously not the forte of Mr. Schumer and his cohorts.

There are other reasons for the significant rise in the cost of gasoline that the liberals/Democrats don't want you to know. While the UN dithers with Iran, world concern regarding supplies have driven up costs lest the Iranians block the exit to the Persian Gulf or other major disruption of oil transshipment. There are also currently seventeen types of "botique" blends of gasoline and ethanol that are mandated by congress and or the states. This causes disruptions in delivery and where in one locality one type of fuel has to be turned down because it is not a mandated type. There is a move afoot in congress to whittle that number down to six.

Just a lowly eight months ago, Congress passed and the President signed an energy bill with significant tax breaks to get the oil companies up and moving because of the major disruption caused by Hurricaine Katrina and Rita. The disruption of the refinary capacity has caused part of the problem and we have not built any new refinaries in over 20 years. That is also part of the problem because the majority of refinaries located on the Gulf Coast were damaged and supplies disrupted. Now, congress is debating on rolling back the tax breaks but that will only increase receipts to the government because the fact of the matter is that corporations do NOT pay taxes. You do. Taxes are part of the economic mix that are passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices IN ADDITION to the taxes you pay at the pump.

Then there is the move by the President to halt filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that is almost full anyway and this will hardly make even a small dent in the cost of gas. Bold move Mr. Bush. NOT!

Which brings me to the Republican's efforts (What efforts?...Ed! - precisely) in this mess. They are as busy with double talk and crapping on the oil companies making it look like they are so concerned and are acting just like Democrats. In fact, it is getting harder and harder to tell the two parties apart (execept the Republicans don't have anyone near as deadly as Schumer when it comes to getting between Schumer and a TV camera). I fear the Reps will find out that we really don't need two liberal parties in November and that the population will just vote for Democrats rather than Republicans acting like Democrats. But, maybe the Reps will wake up, it is not too late. YET!!!

Posted by GM Roper at 08:51 AM | Comments (43) | TrackBack (0)

April 28, 2006

A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose

My Mom used to call me Prince Rainier; she wanted me to grow old with Grace! (gleefully stolen from the routines of Red Skelton). But one can grow old with grace as evidenced by the following:

I have absolutely no idea if this is a true story, but it was sent to me by a former student and a good friend. So, sit back, read and enjoy!

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose.

I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went.

She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At! the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet.

I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

(this cracked me up!)

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose."

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

I challenge you to put Rose's principles to the test, laugh, love, play, dream big, have no regrets for things not done.

Linked to Woman, Honor Thyself

Posted by GM Roper at 09:00 PM | Comments (4)

History Test

Please pause a moment, reflect back, and take the following multiple choice test. The events are actual events from history. They actually happened! Do you remember?

1. 1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by
a. Superman
b. Jay Leno
c. Harry Potter
d. a Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40

2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by
a. Olga Corbett
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwarzenegger
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

3. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by:
a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

4. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

5. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Geraldo Rivera
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

6. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by:
a. The Smurfs
b. Davey Jones
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

7. In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by:
a. Captain Kidd
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

8. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy and The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

9. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
a. Richard Simmons
b. Grandma Moses
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

10. In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
a. Mr. Rogers
b. Hillary Clinton, to distract attention from Wild Bill's women problems
c. The World Wrestling Federation
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

11. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

12. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
a. Enron
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

13. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
a. Bonnie and Clyde
b. Captain Kangaroo
c. Billy Graham
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

12-13 correct = Conservative, Proud, Probably Republican and A History Buff.
10-11 correct = Conservative, Proud, and A History Buff.
07-09 correct = Probably a bit too Progressive for most readers of this Blog.
05-06 correct = Progressive or liberal, unable to learn from history.
03-04 correct = Not at all able to learn from history, asks "Why do they hate us?"
00-02 correct = Your name is either Kennedy, Murtha, Pelosi, Reid, Zinni or perhaps Zarqawi or you are a member of that group of raggamuffins called Al Qaeda.

Nope, ......I really don't see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you? So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile certain people. They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, secret agents who are members of the President's security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winning and former Governor Joe Foss, but leave Muslim Males between the ages 17 and 40 alone lest they be guilty of profiling. Let's remind this to as many people as we can so that the Gloria Aldreds and other dunder-headed attorneys along with Federal Justices that want to thwart common sense, feel doubly ashamed of themselves -- if they have any such sense. As the writer of the award winning story "Forrest Gump" so aptly put it, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Posted by GM Roper at 02:48 AM | Comments (40) | TrackBack (0)

April 25, 2006

Kerry Lied! So, What Else Is New?

Speech in Boston by Senator John "Do You Know Who I Am?" Kerry (D. Ma.) in which he delivered the following line:

No wonder Thomas Jefferson himself said: 'Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.' " [emphasis added]
Website for Montecello, home of Thomas Jefferson, Third President of The United States Of America:
There are a number of quotes that we do not find in Thomas Jefferson's correspondence or other writings; in such cases, Jefferson should not be cited as the source. Among the most common of these spurious Jefferson quotes [emphasis added] are:

1. "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." [emphasis added]
2. "We should build an aristocracy of achievement based on a democracy of
3. "An informed citizenry is the bulwark of a democracy."
4. "Information is the currency of democracy."
5. "A nation is as good as its values."
6. "There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal
7. "When the government fears the people, there is liberty; When the people
fear the government, there is tyranny."
8. "I have nothing but contempt for anyone who can spell a word only one
9. "I am a big believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I

Is there any wonder we didn't elect this guy President?

And a tip 'O the GM Derby to James Taranto

Posted by GM Roper at 06:14 PM | Comments (64) | TrackBack (0)

"All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance"--Right after this station break.

Just when I had almost given up any hope for the world, we were visited by the late Beatle John Lennon through a seance in which he called for peace. Before you pass this off as just another sign of nuttiness from the left, you might want to learn more.

Lennon asks for peace: TV seance (Reuters 04/25/2005)

"Peace ... The Message is Peace."

That's what the producers of a US pay-television seance to contact John Lennon claimed the former Beatle said when communicating with them from beyond the grave.

People who...watch(ed) the pay-per-view Lennon special...saw audio crew members, a psychic and an expert in paranormal activity claim that the late Beatle's spirit made contact with them through what is described as an Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). ...EVP is based on a belief that spirit voices communicate through radio and TV broadcast signals.

On the television show, filming...suddenly stopped and a narrator said something odd has happened. Show participants said that a mysterious voice can be heard on Power's voice feed. The producers called in "EVP specialist" Sandra Belanger to examine the voice and she proclaims it Lennon's.

Producer Paul Sharratt, who heads Starcast Productions and calls himself a sceptic, said hearing the voice has made him a believer. ....

Hey, call me crazy, but that's proof enough for me!

Other people missing John Lennon's advice for the world, according to this article, include Cuban dictator Fidel Castro: "What makes him great in my eyes is his thinking, his ideas. I share his dreams completely. I too am a dreamer who has seen his dreams turn into reality,'' added the 74-year-old former guerrilla who took power in the 1959 Cuban Revolution. ...The Communist Party daily, Granma, put the Beatles on a list of the most "relevant'' figures of the 20th century last year, below Castro, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, and Argentine-born guerrilla Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

Well, why not? After all, Lennon not only said, "Give peace a chance,' he also gave us these words of widsom:

If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.

Okay, so for all of you who spent $9.95 on pay-per-view to watch the John Lennon seance calling for peace--get rid of those televisions so that there will be peace! Now!

So, are you now convinced that this isn't more nonsense from the loony left? If Castro and the communists admire John Lennon, then he must have had ideas appealing to them, too. Now, where's my remote control?

Posted by Woody M. at 05:40 PM | Comments (4)

April 24, 2006

WUZZADEM Strikes Again

There is funny and there is


Posted by GM Roper at 08:36 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

April 22, 2006

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Rationality

In Friday's Wall Street Journal, there is an interesting article on aging and cognitive decline by Sharon Begley. Ms. Begley notes that cognitive training has not shown itself (by itself) to decrease the rate [emphasis mine] of cognitive decline as we age. It has been touted in numerous places that the "brain is a muscle too, use it or lose it" and we have usually accepted this as accurate: Exercise your ability to use your mind and your mind will last a lot longer as you grow older.

This "cliché" as it were is now proven to be wrong. It is true that mental training produces increased ability in the aging in that part which is trained; i.e., if you train by using crossword puzzles, you facilitate the ability to do crossword puzzles, but you may not enhance other cognitive functioning such as ability to solve other problems and that though you may enhance the ability vis-à-vis crossword puzzles, the rate of decline in mental functioning is just as steep as in the untrained but maybe from a higher starting point. Ms. Begley states:

Consider an alternative that is gaining scientific support. Say you enter old age (by which I mean your 30s, when mental functioning starts heading south, accelerating in your 50s) with a "cognitive reserve" -- a cushion of smarts. If so, you are likely to be able to remember appointments, balance a checkbook and understand Medicare Part D (OK, maybe not) well into your 60s and 70s. But not because your brain falls apart more slowly. Instead, you started off so far above the threshold where impaired thinking and memory affect your ability to function that normal decline leaves you still all right.

The Active study isn't the only reason scientists are rethinking the use-it-and-you-won't-lose-it idea. In the Seattle Longitudinal Study, older adults received five hours of training on spatial rotation (what would a shape look like if it turned?) or logic (given three patterns, which of four choices comes next?). As in Active, people got better on what they practiced.

But seven years later, their performance had declined just as steeply (though, again, from a higher starting point) as the performance of people with no training, scientists reported last year. That supports the cognitive reserve idea -- if you enter middle age with a good memory and reasoning skills you stay sharp longer -- not the mental-exercise hypothesis."

So, how do we apply some of this knowledge to the current political landscape. Looking at a number of our politicians we can safely say that many are past their prime. Does this necessarily mean that they shouldn’t be in congress (or other elective office)? Does cognitive decline which is a scientific fact differ markedly from what we have always heard that with age comes wisdom?

Vernon Cooper notes: “These days people seek knowledge, not wisdom. Knowledge is of the past, wisdom is of the future.” One would think then that as Cooper says if knowledge is of the past, than our current crop of aged politicians are full of knowledge for they, well the Democrats among them at least, are spouting off knowledge of how Iraq is like Vietnam, how this should have happened, etc. but no wisdom of how that can and/or should apply to the future. According to Cooper, one could surmise that wisdom can come at any age if one can apply the lessons learned in the past to the future, which is the essence of the exercise of wisdom.

Yet, one must perforce toss in an additional element, that of rationality; rationality in the understanding of Cooper’s “knowledge” in order to be able to apply “wisdom” to the future and map out where are we to go.

This post is essentially then about the irrationality of many politicians, in particular those who are identified with the left of the center aisle and most of them are Democrats. I’ll leave it to the liberal bloggers to attempt to describe any irrationality on the right. That ain’t my job.

In a number of very well laid out essays, Dr. Pat Santy writing as Dr. Sanity discusses rationality beginning with Command Hallucinations:

The American public is hearing voices. And like auditory hallucinations experienced by psychiatric patients, these voices whisper continual doom and gloom. They tell the American consumer that prices are too high. That the economy is tanking; that poverty is on the rise; and that everything is bad, bad, bad.

These voices are persistent and continual. They are unrelenting. They are often frightening. And like the command hallucinations that torment many of my patients, they are completely and totally untrue. You are bad. Life isn't worth living. They are trying to hurt you. Don't try, it's not worth it.

It is very rare for such voices to say anything at all positive. They have a specific goal--and that goal is the distortion of reality.

So why do patients believe them? Especially the one's that are bizarre and so obviously out of touch with any known reality? You know, the ones that say aliens have implanted electrodes in your brain and are monitoring your thoughts and things like that.
It is a triumph of false perceptions over reality. It is testimony to how profoundly and fundamentally people trust their perceptual faculties and let their perceptions rule, even when those perception come in conflict with common sense, truth, or reality.
We, the American people have come to have a similar trust in the voices of the MSM. Over the years, they have almost become an additional perceptual faculty that we rely on--simply because life has become too complicated and overwhelming, that the use of our ordinary senses is insufficient in the modern world.

She continues in a number of posts here, here and here.

Charles Krauthammer is of course the originator of Bush Derangement Syndrome discussed by Dr. Sanity. Krauthammer says BDS is:

the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.
And by the way, Charles Krauthammer is not only a very good columnist but he is also a psychiatrist. That's two!

One of my very favorite sites and someone who has become a friend is Shrinkwrapped. Another psychiatrist who takes on the oft irrational left and the "delusional" media. From one of his posts:

In John Godfrey Saxe's ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend, 6 blind men approach an elephant and try to describe it by touch alone. One touches its flank and declares an elephant is like a wall; the second touches its tusk and declares an elephant is like a spear. After all six proclaim their sense of what an elephant is, the poem concludes:

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

It seems to me that much of our Media commentary on the war in Iraq suffers from a form blindness that is akin to the blindness of the 6 Indian men.

Shrinkwrapped also notes that there is a significant irrational quality in the Democratic left, especially around the "Bush Lied" meme and the movement towards impeachment of the President. Shrinkwrapped has an excellent prescription - let every candidate stand up and announce publicly if they are in favor of impeachment of George W. Bush, or not. He states in this post:
Further, we have an excellent chance to examine our prejudices in the light of day before the next election. While both extremes are problematic, it has been clear for quite some time that the right-wing extremists tend to be marginal in the Republican party. (I would be delighted if anyone can send me a reasoned argument showing me how I am wrong rather than the typical invective more common from the left; as a general rule, "Bush Lied" is not an argument.) Unfortunately, the core of the Democratic party is ruled by just such emotion. Here is my suggestion. Let us have all political bloggers, left and right, join together in requesting (if you prefer to demand it, feel free) that all candidates for the House of Representatives and Senate for the 2006 elections publicly declare and debate the proposition that George Bush should or should not be impeached. Let us settle this once and for all. Clearly, the Democratic base wants this. If Bush is indeed a fascist, if he lied and broke the law, if he is attacking our civil liberties, then his impeachment is an obvious remedy. Let us have those pressing for impeachment make their best case and leave it to the great bulk of moderate Americans to decide whether or not the partisans can make the case. If they win, so be it; if the Democrats lose, they can then reasonably be asked to re-think their fundamental positions and rejoin the political process as a responsible opposition party. With any luck, this question can be settled before the posturing for the 2008 elections goes into full swing.
Sounds to me like an antidote for the irrationality of the left. That's three!

I am struck, however, about the extent of the "meanness" of the so called Angry Left. The use of attack messages and vulgar language when speaking of their political opponents far exceeds that of the so called Angry White Male and other conservatives after the 1994 elections. The MSM adopted the Angry White Male meme with gusto and spread it far and wide. In fact, it was not anger at what the MSM wanted you to think of, namely "non-Whites and women in government, business, media, education, and other institutions" it was anger at the proclivities of the Democratic Party and those results showed in a major upheaval giving Republicans control of the United States House of Representatives for the first time in more than 40 years, control that continues twelve years later. That loss of power, let alone the loss of face for the Clintonites bedevils the Democratic Party today.

The Bush Derangement Syndrome has led them to fight not for what is right, though that is what they say they are fighting for but to fight for a return to power. Indeed, looking at their leadership, Reid, Pelosi, Dean, Kerry (The haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam to borrow James Taranto’s delicious phrase) and listening to their pronouncements as to why they do what they do can lead a rational person to arrive at a single conclusion. They're nuts!

So far, I've quoted three psychiatrists, all of the same persuasion, that the Democrats in general and their arm the MSM have been increasingly irrational. I'm not a psychiatrist, I'm a Licensed Professional Counselor, but I stand with the three and have contributed my own bit here.

For the record, I'm very unhappy with the Republican party today and have noted so in a couple of recent posts here, and here. I'm not sure I'm willing to vote for any Republicans in Texas at this point, but I can be convinced if they are willing to get off their backsides and govern the way they said they would when we elected them. And yes, this means I may spend Election Day sitting at home, or I may vote libertarian or I may write in votes or I may go fishing - it is up to the Republicans what I do, but I can tell you this for sure, I won’t be voting for any liberal Democrats or conservative Democrats who don’t have the guts to go against their liberal masters and from what I’ve seen, that would be all of them with the possible exception of Joe Lieberman and I can’t vote for him anyway.

Posted by GM Roper at 07:59 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)

April 21, 2006

Nothing To Do With Politics

Michael Barrett, that wonderful guy who designed my site, who contributed the Fight On ribbon and who is the author of the terrific blog "Slobokans Site 'O Schtuff" has a new endeavor. It's called Retromental-Time-Capsules and is a series of interviews with everyday people, capturing the essence of history as seen through the eyes of not the professional historian, but the people who lived it.

I urge you to go listen. You won't be disappointed.

Michael, you done good brother, you done good!

Posted by GM Roper at 07:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

April 20, 2006

Renaissance Man

If you are lucky in life you will have many, many friends. Some are close, some are stodgy, tried and true. Some are weird, some are WYSIWYG. And sometimes, if you are very lucky and very good at picking such a friend when they do come by, you will find one who is all of the above.

Such a friend of mine is a fellow by the name of, well, I'll call him Tom short for Thomas which is good because that happens to be his real name. I first met Tom in May of 2001 when I began some consulting work for an adolescent substance abuse treatment center. Tom was the director of operations. We soon became more than just nodding acquaintances, but not quite friends. Over the years however, a true friendship developed between me the wiser and younger and him the slightly older (he'll never see 59 years old again). Tom is a world class practical joker, but never the mean sort. Once, he took my picture and unbeknownst to me treated it with his many digital skills on Photoshop and making my head a perfect Chia Head. The kids in the facility noted that it really wasn't like me because I had this "great big bald spot" on the back of my head. One adolescent looked at the photo, then at me, then back at the photo and thought I could cover up the bald spot if I used Miracle Gro. Nice kid. Tom got a laugh out of that, and still does as a matter of fact.

In the very early part of our relationship, there was a fire alarm set off by one of the tar pots used in re-roofing the building. The fire department came out with the captain in one of the largest fire trucks I have ever seen in my life. I walked up to him to explain that it had been a false alarm but before I could even introduce myself he asked (in a rather ticked off voice) "Who's in charge here?"

Since I was only a consultant I pointed to the Director of Operations and said he is. Again in a stern and ticked off voice the Fire Captain asked "What's your name?" Tom, with out batting an eye or any sign of being dishonest said "George M. Roper" Thanks Tom!

Tom is also one of those guys that likes to do nice things for his friends when he is not pulling jokes. When I was diagnosed with cancer, Tom was there with encouragement, prayers and friendship. He visited me in the hospital every day that I was there and those visits were deeply appreciated. Tom commiserated with me when my hair started falling out because of the chemo-therapy and talked about having to cover my head when outside so the glare wouldn't blind pilots flying nearby. But he also took a photo and treated it with kindness, respect and true friendship. He put it up on the web and if you want to see what I really look like, click here. I told Tom that every time I watched it, I got a little weepy eyed. Initially he said only "Yeah!"

But telling stories of Tom's practical jokes and digital skills is not the purpose of this post, telling you about this great guy is.

Tom had a rough childhood, mother died of cancer when he was very young, dad was kind of cruel and abusive. Tom ran away from home at about 15 or so and lived in a car for a couple of years. Encouraged to join the Army by a judge who didn't think Tom was a bad boy (note: The judge didn't ask ME!!!) he enlisted and served with distinction.

Over the years, Tom has worked in a number of industries, most notably the exciting field of Art. Now, I'm not a serious connoisseur of art, but "I know what I like." I have a "chopped" Dali print, a number of signed and numbered prints of Itzchak Tarkay. But I digress, Tom has forgotten more about art than I will ever know. And so, he has opened his own online shop to sell quality art prints and posters. Works by Da Vinci, Picasso, Dali and Van Gogh. Works by Ansel Adams, Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera not to mention Andy Warhol and Monet. Great pieces at great prices. So, I've added a link to the jpeg at the upper left and if you click on it, it will take you to his site. I've also added a blogad in the side bar on the right. Browse around and see if you don't see something you like.

Full Disclosure: I don't get a nickel from Tom if you buy something, but I think that if you do, I will be very appreciative.

So, in part, this is to get even with you Tom, but in a big part it is also to tell you what a great friend you are.

Tom, I have to see you 5 days a week, but that is ok, I can take some anti-nausea medicine when I get home! ;-)

UPDATE: Tom, who in my world is King Digital is also an Ambassador for Coffee Cup software. He gave me a mini-cd with all kinds of cool programs a lot are free and the rest are available at substantial discounts. If you would like a copy of this CD, send an email with your name and address to this link, you won't regret it.

Posted by GM Roper at 06:59 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Speculation on New White House Press Secretary

After yesterday's announcement that Scott McClellan will be stepping down as President Bush's White House Press Secretary, attention turned immediately to possible replacements to succeed him. Here are brief profiles on two candidates:

One, let's call him Tony, served as a speech writer for President Bush and is currently a news host on Fox News. The other, "Bob," is an unemployed former press secretary who suddently lost his job after new management replaced his former boss. Who do you think would be the best choice?

TS.jpg. . . BB.jpg

The former speech writer is intelligent and honest--a good choice for the right. However, the second guy has been saying exactly what the left wants to hear, "No U.S. troops in Iraq," so maybe he would be a good choice for them.

Posted by Woody M. at 08:40 AM | Comments (37) | TrackBack (0)

NCLB: Teachers, Either Buy In or Get Out of the Way

As mentioned in a recent post, schools are cheating on statistics about the performance of their students as related to the No Child Left Behind Act. Now, to no one's surprise, we find this:

AP Poll: Teachers Dubious of 'No Child'

Teachers are far more pessimistic than parents about getting every student to succeed in reading and math as boldly promised by the No Child Left Behind Act. That's left a huge expectations gap between the two main sets of adults in children's lives.

An AP-AOL Learning Services Poll found nearly eight in 10 parents are confident their local schools will have students up to state standards by the 2013-14 school year target. Yet only half of teachers are confident the kids in their schools will meet that deadline.

Many teachers, along with their unions, need to support reforms for the program to work. Yet, we see them throwing obstacles in the way of attempts to make schools better and trying to downplay expectations. If the teachers refuse to "buy-in," then they are not acting as team players but as selfish government workers fighting accountability for their performance.

Our kids and our students deserve teachers who are dedicated to success for them rather than mediocrity and status quo for themselves. Maybe we need to speed up competition and allow vouchers for schools that will meet superior goals and are committed to student success. The failing schools can continue to teach liberals, who show no hope for learning.

Posted by Woody M. at 08:00 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

April 19, 2006

Mr. Stick Figure

Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online's The Corner thinks Wuzzadem has way too much time on his hands. I think he used the time very productively.

What do you think?

Posted by GM Roper at 04:45 PM | Comments (4)

Illegal Immigration - One Problem, Two Solutions

Mexico has illegal immigration from Central America. The state of Georgia has illegal immigration from Mexico. Mexico has methods to handle their illegal immigrants, and Georgia has a new act to handle its illegals. How are they different and what are the reactions to each?

Now, you would think that Mexico would set the standard on how to humanely treat "undocumented" workers. (I can tell that you're already getting ahead of me.) Well, you might be wrong if you did. Read the following articles from today to see two solutions to one problem.

Georgia's Solution and Mexico's Reaction:

Mexico blasts Georgia illegals law
By Jeremy Schwartz
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/19/06

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government blasted Georgia's new illegal immigration law Tuesday, calling it a half-measure that discriminates against Mexicans.

The Georgia bill, signed into law Monday by Gov. Sonny Perdue, requires verification of the legal status of those seeking certain taxpayer-funded services. The law also prevents employers from claiming the wages of illegal workers as a state tax deduction.

Perdue spokesman Dan McLagan dismissed the Mexican government's characterization of the bill, Senate Bill 529, as a discriminatory measure. "This is saying that people should come in the front door, not the back door, and that the laws of our country and our state need to be obeyed.

Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), the sponsor of SB 529, fired back at the Mexican government. "I would suggest the government of Mexico stop concerning themselves with what we do in Georgia and instead worry about their own corrupt government, which has caused millions of their own citizens to leave their home country. A foreign government has no place in making Georgia law," Rogers said.

Polls show about 80 percent of Georgians want their elected leaders to confront the issue of illegal immigration.

"The news has everybody concerned," said Ana Cristina Castillo Petersen, an international relations expert in Mexico City. "It's having an impact on how [Mexicans] believe immigrants are perceived — as a threat to cultural values, as a cost to the state."

Fox, a former executive for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. in Mexico, has pushed hard but unsuccessfully over the last five years for immigration measures that would allow more Mexicans to work legally in the United States.

Jorge Bustamante, a special rapporteur to the United Nations on the human rights outlook of migrant workers and one of Mexico's leading experts on the topic, called the complaints by Fox's government "absolutely irrelevant" because Mexico has so far failed to influence immigration policy in the United States.

© 2006 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Okay. Do you have that picture? Now, let's see if Mexico handles the problem in the same way that they demand of Georgia. What's your guess?

Mexico's Solution and Migrants' Reactions:

Few Protections for Migrants to Mexico
By Mark Stevenson
Associated Press Writer
Apr 19, 2006

TULTITLAN, Mexico (AP) -- Considered felons by the government, these migrants fear detention, rape and robbery. Police and soldiers hunt them down at railroads, bus stations and fleabag hotels. Sometimes they are deported; more often officers simply take their money.

While migrants in the United States have held huge demonstrations in recent weeks, the hundreds of thousands of undocumented Central Americans in Mexico suffer mostly in silence.

The level of brutality Central American migrants face in Mexico was apparent Monday, when police conducting a raid for undocumented migrants near a rail yard outside Mexico City shot to death a local man, apparently because his dark skin and work clothes made officers think he was a migrant.

Undocumented Central American migrants complain much more about how they are treated by Mexican officials than about authorities on the U.S. side of the border, where migrants may resent being caught but often praise the professionalism of the agents scouring the desert for their trail.

"If you're carrying any money, they take it from you - federal, state, local police, all of them," said Carlos Lopez, a 28-year-old farmhand from Guatemala.... "The soldiers were there as soon as we crossed the river," he said. "They said, 'You can't cross ... unless you leave something for us.'"

Jose Ramos, 18, of El Salvador, said the extortion occurs at every stop in Mexico, until migrants are left penniless and begging for food. "If you're on a bus, they pull you off and search your pockets and if you have any money, they keep it and say, 'Get out of here,'" Ramos said.

Maria Elena Gonzalez, who lives near the tracks, said female migrants often complain about abusive police. "They force them to strip, supposedly to search them, but the purpose is to sexually abuse them," she said. Others said they had seen migrants beaten to death by police, their bodies left near the railway tracks to make it look as if they had fallen from a train.

The Mexican government acknowledges that many federal, state and local officials are on the take from the people-smugglers who move hundreds of thousands of Central Americans north, and that migrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse by corrupt police.

The National Human Rights Commission, a government-funded agency, documented the abuses south of the U.S. border in a December report. "One of the saddest national failings on immigration issues is the contradiction in demanding that the North respect migrants' rights, which we are not capable of guaranteeing in the South," commission president Jose Luis Soberanes said.

And while Mexicans denounce the criminalization of their citizens living without papers in the United States, Mexican law classifies undocumented immigration as a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, although deportation is more common.

The number of undocumented migrants detained in Mexico almost doubled from 138,061 in 2002 to 240,269 last year. Forty-two percent were Guatemalan, 33 percent Honduran and most of the rest Salvadoran.

Like the United States, Mexico is becoming reliant on immigrant labor. Last year, then-director of Mexico's immigration agency, Magdalena Carral, said an increasing number of Central Americans were staying in Mexico, rather than just passing through on their way to the U.S.

She said sectors of the Mexican economy facing labor shortages often use undocumented workers because the legal process for work visas is inefficient.

© 2006 The Associated Press

Maybe Mexico could use a Minutemen Patrol. But, I would put it on the other side of its border--to protect the immigrants rather than to protect Mexico. Anyway, like I tell the wackos on the left and I would tell the Mexican government, don't make demands from me that you aren't willing to put on yourself.

It's been serveral days since the immigration act was signed by the Georgia governor, and the state's economy has not collapsed--nor will it. In fact, some of the unemployed legal citizens might be able to get jobs.

It's a crazy idea to protect your nation's borders, but let's see how it works. If it fails, we can always consider handling it Mexico's way.

Posted by Woody M. at 04:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 18, 2006

No Child Left Behind - Unless Educators Cheat on Tests

Do educators care more about teaching or in making it easy on themselves? Check this. The No Child Left Behind Act attempts to make sure that children of all races get a good education by monitoring their academic progress. Yet, school systems are cheating by changing the grades on their report cards by not counting the very students that the No Child Left Behind Act is trying to help.

States Omitting Minorities' Test Scores

An Associated Press computer analysis has found....nearly 2 million children whose scores aren't counted when it comes to meeting the law's requirement that schools track how students of different races perform on standardized tests. ...And minorities — who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing — make up the vast majority of students whose scores are excluded.

Schools receiving federal poverty aid also must demonstrate annually that students in all racial categories are progressing or risk penalties that include extending the school year, changing curriculum or firing administrators and teachers.

To the lazy left, having a protected easy career is the purpose of public schools. It is so important that they cheat on their own tests and fight accountability. There is an all out effort by teachers unions and liberal school boards to fight the purposes of the NCLB Act. They don't want a system that proves what poor jobs they are doing and that might make them work or leave. Who do their efforts help? Bad teachers. Who do their efforts hurt? Students with greater needs.

So, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to see what is going on in the school system of your own child? Are you going to contact editors, school boards, and Congressmen: or, will you sit back and expect others to do it? The left is waging an all-out war against accountability and deflecting expectations by parents and conservatives. It's time to call their hand and expose them. "No-count" teachers should be gone and "no-count" school systems need changes. Students and taxpayers deserve better.

We can start by counting everyone...or, to paraphrase the left on another issue, every student counts, so count every student.

Posted by Woody M. at 11:00 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

April 17, 2006

Marc Cooper: Just Can't Help Himself!

One of my favorite blogs, and one that I read at least daily is Marc Cooper's site. Truth in Advertising: Marc is my blogfather. Having said that, I will also state that I seldom agree with him about anything. But, from the beginning there was a sympatico between at least he and I if not between other righties and him. Marc generally holds fast to his lefty origins, he espouses all the right (left?) causes for all the right (left?) reasons. But one of the things I really like about Marc is that he has never been two faced about anything. He pounds the left almost as often as the right. When he says something, I pay attention, even when I disagree with him (and I do, about 99% of the time).

Marc has signed on to the Euston Manifesto and blogged about it here. Typically, some of the harder left members of his commentarian peanut gallery have taken him to task. Read the whole thing, read the comments and you will get an elightenment about how the hard left excommunicates anyone who dares to disagree with them. That is one of the reasons the left is so hard to take.

And, while the Right also has it's "true believers" many if not most of us who are conservative argue from principle (and no, I don't expect you lefties out there to agree with that statement) and not from emotion. The left is a feel good place, the right tends to be more practical. If you don't believe that the left will excommunicate you, just read Democratic Underground or the Daily Kos for any and all proof that any ordinary person would need.

So, Marc, your blogson wishes you well! I have a few beers set aside for you anytime you get down to South Texas and I'll still read your blog, even though you are usually wrong about things. God speed blogdad, God speed.

Posted by GM Roper at 06:18 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

April 16, 2006


OMG... That's more than I make in a Decade.... (two decades?) Sounds outregeous doesn't it. But Michael Turner at Curouser and Curiouser does a great breakdown of the story and thumps the MSSM (Main Stream Shifty Media) right on the noggin.

Oh my goodness. They actually paid their taxes, donated nearly $7 million to charity, overpaid their withholding and estimated taxes, and applied for a refund. Just like you or I would. I think I like the Cheneys' giving spirit. And I despise the media's shallow attempts to cast aspersions on a husband and wife who donate 3/4 of their income to charity."

Good job Michael!

Posted by gmroper at 12:24 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Who Killed The Easter Bunny?

I first posted this last year at Easter Time. But I think it a good idea (small i) to post it again as a reminder of how much PC is invading our lives. Enjoy and comment please.

eb.bmpWho Framed Roger Rabbit was a fun movie, a blend of "toons" and people. Bugs Bunny Cartoons were even funnier, hapless Elmer Fudd trying to do Bugs in, never succeeding, never even coming close. Roger came out on top. So always did Bugs. Alas my children, the Easter Bunny did not! The Easter Bunny was murdered by P.C. Secularism - politically correct secularism.
E. Bunny Born A.D.200 (approx)- Died A.D.2005, R.I.P.

Rabbi Marc Gellman writing in Newsweek notes that:

"Palm Beach has become the Wittenberg of America. Now, in its most audacious act of spiritual correctness and mythical animal abuse, the Florida town is nailing the Easter Bunny to the doors of The Gardens mall."
Oh the horror, that poor bunny. Rabbi Gellman obviously is Jewish, so why is he concerned about the Easter Bunny - an overtly Christian symbol of the rebirth of Jesus The Christ? Simple, as I have said before, this is an attack on faith and the good Rabbi is not about to make the mistake of Martin Niemöller - he is speaking out now.

Gellman goes on:

"The minority attack on the most benign religious symbols in our culture recently crested in the Ten Commandments case now before the Supreme Court, a display which is supported by almost 80 percent of Americans surveyed, according to one poll. Apparently dissatisfied with taking a position that only 80 percent of the public detest, the enlightened owners of The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach County have apparently succeeded in finding a case which will rally 100 percent of Americans against them.

They have now hunted down and killed, like a mangy dog … the Easter bunny! This follows the bah humbug performance during Christmas time in which America’s marketing geniuses demanded that their employees say “Season's Greetings” rather than the incendiary and divisive “Merry Christmas.” Henceforth and forever more, shoppers at The Gardens mall will be greeted by the Garden Bunny and his pagan entourage who will no longer conduct Easter egg hunts in the mall, but rather spiritually generic egg hunts."

Garden Bunny, GARDEN BUNNY! Children have, for centuries, delighted in the idea that an "Easter Bunny" spends time and effort to deliver and hide Easter Eggs. Now, I know, and you know (as adults) that there is no such thing as an Easter Bunny in real life. We (again as adults) know that this is a pagan symbol of renewal and spring etc. borrowed probably from the Germans. Holiday.net has an excellent, if brief, history of the erstwhile rabbit here

: "The bunny as an Easter symbol seems to have it's origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in German writings in the 1500s. The first edible Easter bunnies were made in Germany during the early 1800s. And were made of pastry and sugar

The Easter bunny was introduced to American folklore by the German settlers who arrived in the Pennsylvania Dutch country during the 1700s. The arrival of the "Oschter Haws" was considered "childhood's greatest pleasure" next to a visit from Christ-Kindel (Christ Child) on Christmas Eve. The children believed that if they were good the "Oschter Haws" would lay a nest of colored eggs."

Gormet Sluth has a delightful tidbit on the Easter Egg (was that a pun?...ed.):
"NO! Martha Stewart did NOT invent this tradition. Eggs symbolize rebirth, new life, etc. etc. Egyptians, as well as Persians used to dye eggs and give them as gifts to symbolize the renewal of life. (This has to be true, because I read it on the web). And then, sometime after that, Martha discovered it...."

Couple the above with this:

"The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eastre. When the second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes of the north with their pagan celebrations, they attempted to convert them to Christianity. They did so, however, in a clandestine manner.

It would have been suicide for the very early Christian converts to celebrate their holy days with observances that did not coincide with celebrations that already existed. To save lives, the missionaries cleverly decided to spread their religious message slowly throughout the populations by allowing them to continue to celebrate pagan feasts, but to do so in a Christian manner.

As it happened, the pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ. It made sense, therefore, to alter the festival itself, to make it a Christian celebration as converts were slowly won over. The early name, Eastre, was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter."

We see a history of an innocuous symbol that delights children and if it offends adults, those adults have a lot more problems than is recognized.

However, the good folks at The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach have decided that someone entering their precious mall may be "offended" by an "EASTER" Bunny. Offended, right! For Pete's Sake, offended by a bunny. Pardon me while I have a severe attack of nausea. I'd be willing to bet dollars to day old donuts that if we took a poll of 100% of Americans we would find less than 5% would be "offended" by an Easter Bunny's presence in The Gardens Mall. The make up of that 5% would be fairly predictable also. Most of the ACLU, Athesists, Islamo-Fascists, a fairly hefty number of the radical left wing of the democratic party and those who decry Halloween as a feast of the devil when the true meaning is to "scare away" bad spirits prior to All Saint's Day the following day.

P.C. run amok. Rabbi Gellman goes on:

"So in the pursuit of that neutrality which seems to regard all religions with equal contempt, I offer up some suggestions to the mall owners of south Florida as to their next targets:

Passover matzohs blur the constitutional line separating cracker and state, and should be renamed “Getting-the-hell-out-of-Egypt flat bread.” Also public greetings of “Happy Passover” should be replaced with, “Glad you (or we) got the hell out of there.” For those who feel uncomfortable saying “hell,” please feel free to substitute “heck.”

For our Muslim brothers and sisters we have good news for you too. Ramadan, the month-long fast, will also be a forbidden word because of its religious overtones. Instead of wishing each other “Ramadan Mubarak” (Happy Ramadan), Muslims in Palm Beach County should be asked, at least while they are shopping, to wish each other “Happy no-lunch month.” After you say it a few times, the Palm Beach official in charge of language purification tells me, it has a rather nice ring to it—especially in Arabic."

If you believe, as I do, that this unremitting attack on faith is not stopped, nothing you believe will be safe. It will be ridiculed or ignored as quaint or worse as "un-American."

The Good Rabbi ends with a prescription that each of us should really take to heart:

"Look, the way we greet each other speaks the truth of our roots and our hopes and our joys. You cannot translate these religious and cultural traditions without perverting and distorting and ultimately killing them, and if some child or some adult (almost universally it is the latter) feels deeply offended and marginalized, well then they need to: first, get a life, then send money for tsunami relief, then try to end the slaughter in Darfur, then go out and buy an energy-efficient car, and then try real hard to understand that bumping into your neighbor's customs and faith ought to bring you a sense of warmth, curiosity and compassion—not fear, not revenge and not God help us, Baxter the Garden Bunny. I know this is a long fight and somewhere buried in this insanity, someone must feel that there is some worthy social, constitutional, and moral principal at issue, but I remain both flummoxed and amused at the irrational hatred of religion and religious symbols in our culture—a hatred which remains the last socially acceptable prejudice of our time.

To those who agree with me—both of you—I say, keep up the fight against the insane secularizers of Palm Beach. Remember, it's a bunny-eat-bunny world out there."

So, who REALLY killed the Easter Bunny? Easy, you and I did. We did it just as Martin Niemöller said:

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak out for me."

You see, we didn't speak out. We didn't speak out when the radical left, the MSM to the extent that they didn't call "foul," and the secularists declared war on faith and its symbols.

Happy Easter everyone, enjoy it while it is still legal.

Update: Ogre at Ogre's Politics and Views has a new posting regarding the Colorado Supreme Court throwing out a conviction because a juror read a bible. You thought the above was just a joke, I meant it when I said enjoy it while it is still legal.

Posted by gmroper at 07:05 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

April 15, 2006

Happy Easter & A Joyful Passover

At the risk of offending people who would like to rid our nation of religious references and celebrations, everyone have a Joyful and Happy Easter, anyway. Be sure, if you can, to visit your church to share in this special day for Christians.

Traditions in Easter celebrations often include two special musical pieces: Christ the Lord Is Risen Today by Charles Wesley and, of course, the Hallelujah Chorus from Handle's Messiah. Read the words from the links to the hymns and see if they have special meaning to you. Then, you will have a chance to listen to this music, which can provide a spiritual uplift.

This begins the first hymn and states the reason for our celebration. Christ died on the cross and was resurrected in victory over sin and death.

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

The end of the next piece ends with these words of rejoicing and victory:

And He shall reign forever and ever,
|: King of kings! and Lord of lords! :
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Be sure to read and reflect on all the lyrics to both songs.

There is a site for a small church whose choir sang both songs together, and they share a video of that in wmv format, which most people can enjoy by clicking on the link and having it automatically play. It's not a big choir with a giant orchestra. It's nothing particularly fancy. In fact, it's more like what you might experience in a church in almost any community. It shows people like many of us coming together in worship. That's what makes it special. It may take a moment to load, but please go to this church's music ministry site and go to the very bottom to click on link titled Easter Sunday 2005. You won't find this on MTV. We're confident that you will be blessed by the presentation.

Let this Easter Sunday be more than egg hunts and visits with friends and relatives. Meditate on Easter's special meaning and what it does for your life. It's not ancient history. Christ lives and He makes it possible for you to give up the past. Here is an article from "Christianity Today" that explains how this event has influence on you and how it gives you hope today: What Difference Does Easter Make? The Resurrection's effects on life and death .

G.M. and Woody wish you a joyful Easter and pray that it has positive meaning in your life.

Oh, and don't hesitate to wish others Happy Easter or be ashamed for your faith in Christ--no matter what others say. People need to hear good news.

For our Jewish Friends, we wish you a most Joyful Passover:

From Exodus begining with the 12th chapter:

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2 This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4 If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt."

"14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you shall hold a solemn assembly, and on the seventh day a solemn assembly; no work shall be done on those days; only what everyone must eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17 You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your companies out of the land of Egypt: you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a perpetual ordinance. 18 In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day, you shall eat unleavened bread. 19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether an alien or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your settlements you shall eat unleavened bread."

"21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go, select lambs for your families, and slaughter the passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood in the basin. None of you shall go outside the door of your house until morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to strike down the Egyptians; when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over that door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you down. 24 You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children. 25 When you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this observance. 26 And when your children ask you, 'What do you mean by this observance?' 27 you shall say, 'It is the passover sacrifice to the LORD, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck down the Egyptians but spared our houses.'" And the people bowed down and worshiped."

"28 The Israelites went and did just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron."

"29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. 30 Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his officials and all the Egyptians; and there was a loud cry in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. 31 Then he summoned Moses and Aaron in the night, and said, "Rise up, go away from my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD, as you said. 32 Take your flocks and your herds, as you said, and be gone. And bring a blessing on me too!"

"33 The Egyptians urged the people to hasten their departure from the land, for they said, "We shall all be dead." 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls wrapped up in their cloaks on their shoulders. 35 The Israelites had done as Moses told them; they had asked the Egyptians for jewelry of silver and gold, and for clothing, 36 and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. And so they plundered the Egyptians."

Posted by GM & Woody at 08:34 PM | Comments (5)

April 11, 2006

Dear Republicans: YOU NEED MY VOTE!

Dear Republican National Committee and any Republican running for elective office:

Sirs, you need my vote! My name is Joe American and I've been very worried about and losing sleep over the current state of governance you have displayed. You need to know that I proudly voted for Ronald Reagan 1980 and in '84, I voted for Bush the elder in '88 but he lost my vote in '92 because after saying his "Read my lips..." promise, he broke it. Yeah! That had some very real consequences in '92 didn't it? I voted Republican again in '96, '00 and '04 and in all the in-between elections. But I may very well not vote for you in '06 and you will have no one else to blame except yourselves.

In '94 Newt Gingrich ran for a congress strongly behind the "Contract for America" and it was roundly derided by the Democrats who had controlled the congress for so damn long. Everyone expected the Democrats to gain power one more time. But guess what fellows? America voted the bastards out, and they did so for a number of very cogent reasons.

Oh, I know, the MSM would like to have had you believe at the time that it was the vote of the "Angry White Male" but that was so much B.S. It was folks like me and Maria down the Block and Hans over at the German Deli and Mabel at the bar. It was Juan at the vegetable packing shed and young William flipping burgers between classes at the University. It was Dr Yang over at the hospital and Dr. Grayson my personal doc. It was Betty at the bowling alley and Jennifer who teaches at the local elementary school. It was James at the fish market and Oskar at the dry cleaners. It was America! And America is now upset with you.

When we put you in office, you had high ideals. You seemed to be committed to the idea of fiscal restraint. Instead, you have spent like a tax-and-spender (usually called Democrats) except in your case; it's been a cut tax but spend anyway. Our President Bush has not had the guts or the wisdom to veto some of those profligate spending bills, even when it was obvious he should have done so. Trent Lott the former Majority Leader of the Senate recently stated that he was tired of hearing from the "so called porkbusters." He is also on record as having said "“The way I do it is, I fold them into bills where you can’t find it,” Lott said. “I’ve been around here long enough to know how to bury it.” Is that what you think we elected you for?

Then there are the scandals. Oh, I know that Democrats (and it was apparently about pork money too) and Republicans are prone to scandals, but golly folks, you seem to be reveling in the ability to upset the status quo.

Money and Scandal - John Shadegg said it pretty well:

Republicans promised the American people two things in 1994. First, we promised to rein in the size and scope of the federal government. Second, we promised to clean up Washington. In recent years, we have fallen short on both counts. Total federal spending has grown by 33% since 1995, in inflation-adjusted dollars. Worse, we have permitted some of the same backroom practices that flourished in the old Democrat-controlled House. Powerful members of Congress are able to insert provisions giving away millions--even tens of millions--of dollars in the dead of night. The recent scandals involving Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff have highlighted the problem, but this is not just a case of a few bad apples. The system itself needs structural reforms.

Most of all, I resent you spending my money and the money of my children, my future grandchildren and maybe my great grandchildren as well. You did one good thing by passing a significant tax cut. Because of that, the economy is doing well, but if you don't tie spending restraint into this picture, you won't like it when the picture changes.

You have failed miserably at reforming the way government works. And, I'm not sure you even think we have noticed. You are going blithely about your business as though we were too stupid not to notice. Well, you are wrong. Further, you are wrong on so many counts. We expect good government and we are not getting it with you in charge. If we wanted all this scandal, spending like there is no tomorrow etc., we would have kept the Democrats in place in '94. But, we wanted change. You started off right but quickly lost your way.

So, I'm putting you on notice. You will have to EARN my vote this year, and you have damn little time to do it. You need to clean up your act and you need to start now. Not next week, not next month, not next year. Now!

Remember, I don't need you, I can get some Democrats to do the same thing you are doing (and probably increase my taxes too.) But you need me in a most desperate way. You need my vote!

INSTALANCHE: Thanks Dr. Glenn. Welcome Instapundit Readers. Hope you enjoyed this and come on back any time. Dr. Glenn's readers are always welcome.

Posted by GM Roper at 09:03 PM | Comments (64) | TrackBack (3)

April 10, 2006

More On Global Warming

There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998

A judicious quote:

Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society's continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

"In response to these facts, a global warming devotee will chuckle and say "how silly to judge climate change over such a short period". Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh. Our devotee will also pass by the curious additional facts that a period of similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, well prior to the greatest phase of world industrialisation, and that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate."

"Does something not strike you as odd here? That industrial carbon dioxide is not the primary cause of earth's recent decadal-scale temperature changes doesn't seem at all odd to many thousands of independent scientists. They have long appreciated - ever since the early 1990s, when the global warming bandwagon first started to roll behind the gravy train of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - that such short-term climate fluctuations are chiefly of natural origin. Yet the public appears to be largely convinced otherwise. How is this possible?"

Good question. Read the Whole Thing as they say!

And now, Canada is dropping out of the Kyoto Accords

And a tip of the GM Derby to Glenn Reynolds

Posted by GM Roper at 12:26 PM | Comments (32) | TrackBack (0)

Jimmy Carter: "Kill the Wabbit"

Do you remember the episode when President Jimmy Carter was attacked by a killer rabbit--as documented in the picture below?

Carter Fights Rabbit.jpg

1979: Killer Rabbit Circles President in Boat Attack

Well, a lot of people made fun of Carter, but there is good news. A killer rabbit has been caught which may redeem the reputation of our former president. Click on this link and listen to our former commander in chief order the successful dispatch our enemy, which is shown captured in the next picture.

Killer Rabbit.jpg

Ehhh, What's Up, Doc?

This won't win a peace prize, but can he have his reputation back?

Posted by Woody M. at 12:30 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

April 09, 2006

"Give In or We'll Turn America Upside-Down"

Disgraceful Protest.jpgI'm not going to recount arguments about amnesty for illegal immigrants. There are plenty of articles and web sites that already do that. I simply want to share the image to the left. Groups of illegal immigrants are massing in our streets waving their flags and chanting ¡Sí, Se Puede!--for which the intended meaning is "hell, yes, we can do it!" Does this image and do these sounds give you pause?

Posted by Woody M. at 11:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

General Zinni: Hero or Mountebank?

The genesis of this post was a comment in an earlier post from on Jorg Wolfe, a friend (though obviously from a different political slant) to another commenter:

From Gen Zinni: "If, like General Casey said a week or so ago, 99.9 percent of the people are opposed to the violence and the perpetrators of these violence. Well, all those people have to do is call up on the phone and tell you where the insurgents are ... And the security forces and the Iraqis would be able to handle it. We're not fighting the Waffen SS here. You know, we're fighting a bunch of ragtag people with AK-47s and IEDs and RPGs. They can be policed up if the people turn against them. We haven't won the hearts and minds yet."
Now, I am a supporter of the effort in Iraq, as Jorg is not. He is however a staunch supporter of the war in Afghanistan and often mentions the 2000 German troops in the Afghan War. I commend him for this part of the war on terror.

But, I digress, the genesis of this post was Jorg's comment about General Zinni. I have listened to the General on the talking head shows a couple of times and have wondered "What about this guy?" Is he for real, an honest to goodness hero of Vietnam and other conflicts, a solid Marine or is he a mountebank? So, I asked a friend of mine who might have known Zinni and might be able to comment on him and his performance. My friends comment:

There are some comments re: Gen. Zinni and others' view on the war in Iraq.

IRT to Zinni, he seems to be talking out of two sides of his mouth. On the one hand (and remember that he was Commander, Central Command before Gen. Tommy Franks), he says that we should never have gone into Iraq. On the other hand, he states that now that we are there, we must stay and prevail. In my view (and remember this is his second book...lots of money involved in his books...not to mention being fawned over by the liberal press and such on his speaking tours...for which he is also well paid), is if one's country is in a war, one aids and abets one's OWN forces, and doth not sow questioning during the strife. To do otherwise gets soldiers killed. During the run up to the assault against Iraq, he could have spoken out long and loud (for my dime), but once the troops crossed the LOD, he should have dummied up. It is interesting to note, that LOTS went wrong in our Civil War, World War I and World War II. LOTS. Having said that, we kept our eye on the big picture and pressed ahead. Wars, by their very nature are very awful and very messy. Lots of mistakes are made. One attempts, through training, careful planning and such to lessen the awfulness and sorrow. Few note that many of the those Americans killed or maimed are through accidents...often their own fault. Heck, George, during "peacetime" lots of folks get injured or killed during training. We pay lots of attention to safety in America's armed forces, but with lots of mostly young men...one is never going to completely make it perfect. As a commander, I lost way more troops to traffic accidents and such than I ever lost to training accidents. Note: I was pretty hard on safety violations both on and off duty...thus my safety record was among the best among all the units at Camp Pendleton, CA. I talked to the Marines quite a bit and told them that I really did not want to write a letter to their parents or spouses if they were killed due to stupidity or bad choices. I told them in advance that I would (metaphorically) fall on them liked a old brick house.

Well, I know Zinni from when he was a brand new Captain (and promoted very quickly due to the war [RVN]) and I a new Lieutenant. He was lecturing us on ambushes. The class was in the field. He was using an Army Field Manual published post WW II. Nearly all he said, in my view, was wrong. I had just come from RVN where ambushes was mostly what I was doing. I was mostly successful and never lost a Marine in my unit. The enemy lost many. Soooooo, politely and with proper deference to his "lofty" title vice my more "lowly" one, I challenged him. He did not take kindly to it. Maybe my opinions above are suspect due to personal grudge long held? Maybe, maybe not.

I have learned in long study of military history, added to personal observation, that wisdom does NOT necessarily accrue to those who are older. There were/are plenty of generals around that made/make very wrong decisions.

I have gone on too long. I don't like that Zinni is speaking out....further it is really suspect when he is making plenty of money doing it.[Emphasis Added]
Well, is that fair? Maybe not. But it is one Marine Officers opinion, a Marine whom I'm personally acquainted with.

General Zinni has said:

In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence, and corruption.
General Tony Zinni in Battle Ready. [Emphasis Added]

But my friend is not the only one to question General Zinni's "honesty" or reasons for saying what he is saying. Others including Jed Babbin have a question or two. Babbin:

Why in the world would anyone want to be the next Wesley Clark? In the 2004 election General Clark played Ashley Wilkes to Dan Rather's Scarlett O'Hara. Clark went wacky early, doing his best to endear himself to the Howard Dean lefties by making a habit of statements such as his call for a criminal investigation into the president's decision on the Iraq war. Clark's only achievement was to make of himself a useful tool of the Clinton machine.
Babbin goes on to note:
ZINNI IS SO WRONG ON SO MANY levels, it's hard to know where to start dissecting him. He claims we threw away ten years of planning for Iraq. He, of all people, a former combatant commander, should know that old plans get thrown out when the assumptions on which they were made become invalid. That, precisely, was the reason much of the Clinton-era planning for Iraq was set aside in the 2002-2003 buildup to the Iraq campaign. War plans aren't static, they evolve with the forces -- political, military and economic -- that change in every nation every year. Zinni knows better. His points are political, not military or strategic.
"He, of all people, a former combatant commander, should know that old plans get thrown out when the assumptions on which they were made become invalid." Babbin MAY be wrong about that, after all as noted above he was teaching WWII ambush tactics for use in Vietnam when Marines who had actually been there and used new techniques knew better. And General Zinni (then as a Captain) didn't like being corrected any more than he does now as a General. In fact, the General has those who are wondering if he is right (and that is always a possibility) including this comment from that oh-so-very chic radical right wing chick Peggy Noonan (/sarcasm - Noonan is brilliant folks)
Tony Zinni was against the Iraq war before it occurred, opposes it now, has written about it. Fine. But the history recounted in "Cobra II," and the testimony of Gen. Zinni, suggests a lot of generals--a lot--were against the war in the run-up, for reasons that were many and serious. If this is correct it begs questions: Did they feel they could not speak? Why? What dynamics went into the decision? Or did they speak and we didn't hear, or didn't weigh what was said seriously enough? Did they speak inside? To what degree did the inside listen? Or were the generals and colonels, in fact, split? Were the generals more supportive than is now being suggested?
Zinni again:
...I heard the case being built to go to war right away- I was hearing a depiction of the intelligence that didn't fit what I knew. There was no solid proof that I ever saw that Saddam had WMD...."

Jorg Wolfe of Atlantic Review is at the minimum a supporter of General Zinni, and has noted this in comments on this blog as well as the post referred to. Jorg is a very smart fellow and a friend. But he is wrong on this one I think. General Zinni is being lauded on his apostasy by the very liberal MSM (oh, and don't even go there that there is no such thing as a LIBERAL MSM) as was/is Jack Murtha, congress-critter of Penn.(folks, each word is a seperate link - read them all)

Joel Mowbray writing in Townhall.com was considerably less than kind about General Zinni's choice of words. Words that to Mowbray sounded (as many other have noted about the seemingly anti-semetic and/or at the minimum anti-Israel left, and I know that they are not the same thing, but in some peoples minds in that sewer, they are. It's a hell-of-a-note to think that Democratic bigwigs align themselves with trash like David Duke isn't it?) But, I digress, as Mowbray notes:

Discussing the Iraq war with the Washington Post last week, former General Anthony Zinni took the path chosen by so many anti-Semites: he blamed it on the Jews.

Neither President Bush nor Vice-President Cheney—nor for that matter Zinni's old friend, Secretary of State Colin Powell—was to blame. It was the Jews. They "captured" both Bush and Cheney, and Powell was merely being a "good soldier."

Technically, the former head of the Central Command in the Middle East didn't say "Jews." He instead used a term that has become a new favorite for anti-Semites: "neoconservatives." As the name implies, "neoconservative" was originally meant to denote someone who is a newcomer to the right. In the 90's, many people self-identified themselves as "neocons," but today that term has become synonymous with "Jews."

Mowbray goes on to say:
Given that the "neocons" do not control the Departments of State or Defense nor the National Security Council—gentiles all head those agencies—and given that the White House is clearly run by non-Jews, how is it that Zinni claims that the "neocons" were responsible for the U.S. liberating Iraq? As he explains to the Post, "Somehow, the neocons captured the president. They captured the vice president."

And the Post piece uses dramatic language when discussing Zinni's views on the "neocons":

The more he listened to Wolfowitz and other administration officials talk about Iraq, the more Zinni became convinced that interventionist 'neoconservative' ideologues were plunging the nation into a war in a part of the world they didn't understand."

Zinni's comments are eerily similar to those made by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit this October. In a speech that drew a standing ovation from the leaders of Muslim nations in attendance, Mahathir remarked, "Today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."

Since Jews make up roughly 2% of the American population and less than a fraction of one percent of the world's—yet attract disproportionately more of the world's bigoted venom—the only way to perpetuate the hatred of Jews that has existed for centuries is to blame them for controlling vital industries, "ruling the world by proxy," or by "capturing" the leader of the free world and his likewise freely elected vice-president.

Why, even Chesty Puller had some negative things to say about Jack Murtha My favorite Puller comment (and one I'm rather proud of) is said about Murtha, but maybe it applies to General Zinni as well:

GM: I understand General Puller. So, do you think Mr. Murtha is, how shall we say this, "un-patriotic?"

General Puller: Don't go there boy! It is not a matter of being patriotic or not, it's a matter of judgment. Do you put the needs of your party ahead, or the needs of a bunch of fine young warriors! Look, Murtha, and his fellow travelers have made a decision, one that gets them headlines and is inimical to the best interests of the United States of America. When you get sworn in son, you swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies. Foreign or Domestic. That author fellow, George Orwell noted that pacifism ultimately supports your enemies. That is exactly what Murtha is doing and in my opinion, is going against his sworn oath. That oath doesn't allow for any finger crossing, you can't say except when it goes against my opponent’s party, you can't say only if I like the current President. Naw, it doesn't work that way. You set your politics aside at the waters edge. There are bad people out there son, they want to kill you, your family, and they want to kill Murtha and his family. They already tried once; one of those four planes was headed for the Capital of the United States of America on September 11. Why that bloated, mealy mouthed, son-of-a-bitch can't see that is beyond me. I thought he got better training in the Corps. Hell, he did get better training and it showed, but I guess in his case, the spotlight was more important, he was a patriot son, and he really was. Now he is just a scoundrel."

So, Murtha, Zinni, and Clark are all mountebanks? In my opinion, absolutely. And for reasons that should be obvious to even the most dedicated lefty, if they will be honest enough to call a spade a spade.

Posted by GM Roper at 04:51 PM | Comments (48) | TrackBack (0)

April 08, 2006

Love Lust and Marriage

Love: When you take a bubble bath together
Lust: When you take a bath in Jell-o together
Marriage: When you give the kids a bath

Love: A romantic candle-light dinner for two
Lust: "Do I have to buy you dinner first?"
Marriage: 4 McDonald's Happy Meals . . . to go

Love: Giving your love some candy
Lust: Thinking you are the candy
Marriage: Scraping the kids' candy off of the carpet

Love: Sex every night
Lust: Sex 5 times a night
Marriage: What's sex?

Love: A night out at the symphony
Lust: A night out at the Holiday Inn
Marriage: A night out at Sesame Street On Ice

Love: French perfume
Lust: Brut aftershave
Marriage: "The baby needs changing. . ."

Love: Lending your jacket to your love when he/she is cold
Lust: "I can think of a way to stay warm . . ."
Marriage: Your teenaged daughter has borrowed all of your jackets

Love: Long drives through the countryside
Lust: Long parking sessions at Lover's Lookout
Marriage: Long drives with the kids screaming in the backseat

Cheerfully stolen from BIGDADGIB

Posted by GM Roper at 11:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

April 06, 2006

From The Annals of The New York Times: An Alternate History

Apr 6, 1989 2:10 PM EDT
by U. Gottabee Kiddin
New York

In the early spring of this year, photographer Andres Serrano published a photograph of a crucifix of Jesus submerged in a vat of urine. Initially the exhibit, on view with other works of art including the far less controversial Madonna and Child II which featured immersion in the same fluid attracted little attention except from a few art aficionados.

When word eventually got out that this work had been supported by a $15,000.00 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, the fundamentalist outrage was palpable. Hearings were held in the US Senate by Jesse Helms and Alfonse D'Amato which included the comments following this.

From the Congressional Record:

Mr. President*, several weeks ago, I began to receive a number of letters, phone calls, and postcards from constituents throughout the Senate concerning art work by Andres Serrano. They express a feeling of shock, of outrage, and anger.

#2. They said, "How dare you spend our taxpayers' money on this trash." They all objected to taxpayers' money being used for a piece of so-called art work which, to be quite candid, I am somewhat reluctant to utter its title. This so-called piece of art is a deplorable, despicable display of vulgarity. The art work in question is a photograph of the crucifix submerged in the artist's urine.

#3. This artist received $15,000 for his work from the National Endowment for the Arts, through the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.

In New York, Washington, Paris, London, Berlin and in much of the Middle East rioting broke out in indignation that a revered religious icon was immersed in urine. In Saudi Arabia King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz led 10,000 Muslims on a march proclaiming the sacrilege of having a revered prophet treated in such a cavalier manner.

In Berlin, the anger that was felt by the German Government was equally obvious. Chancellor Helmut Josef Michael Kohl noted that all of Germany stood behind the Christians who were angry. In Paris, François Mitterrand noted "We are all Christians now!

New York seems to have been the hardest hit with cars up and down 5th avenue being torched by angry Christians. Many with signs saying "Behead the heretics." Yet, there are those who strongly support freedom of expression, however when they marched in Central Park, they were set upon by a screaming mob and pummeled within an inch of their lives. No arrests were made however as the police seemed to have vanished from the area around Central Park.

In Washington, President Bush called for calm and rational reflection on the meaning of the sacrilege and to take action in the form of passing laws against such sacrilege again. This was strongly supported in the United States Senate most notably by Senators Kennedy, Biden, Byrd, Dodd and Thurmond.

Borders Bookstores, parent of Walden Books have removed all "art" books from their shelves because of the fear that Christians might trash the stores and harm their staff and customers.

In an Editorial in the New York Times yesterday, this paper and its publisher came out strongly against the trashing of peoples religious icons:

We heartily condem any attempt to claim under the guise of free expression and the First Amendment that willfully denegrates a great world's religion.
This reporter stands firm in solidarity with the editors of this paper.

This is of course, fiction. Sadly, it is not April Fool's fiction.

UPDATE: Via Dr. Sanity comes this bit of truly chilling future history. Read it if you dare. It's long but totally frightening

Posted by GM Roper at 06:03 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

April 05, 2006

Open Letter To Trent Lott

The Honorable Trent Lott
487 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Lott:

First, please know that I am an American first and a conservative second and a Republican third. If I were a citizen of your state, please believe that I would not vote for you in the next election. Fortunately, I live in Texas.

Recently, according to the newspapers you stated, and I quote: I'll just say this about the so-called porkbusters. I'm getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble..." If you did say that sir, you are an idiot. NEVER should a United States Senator disdain from hearing from citizens of this United States. Never should a Senator be so piqued that he insults citizens expressing an interest in how this country is run, let alone how this country is funded. You don't have to agree, but by gosh you don't have to denegrate the concerns of its citizens. Many of the "porkbusters" are Republicans and reside in your own state.

The major issue is spending $700 million (that is with a M to move a rail line from where it survived a major hurricane to a more inland area. Why Senator? Have you never heard the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?"

Tim Chapman even caught the Senate Appropriations folk LYING about the project noting that the claim was that the CSX rail line was only operating "on a temporary basis." Senator, that rail line has been back at normal service levels since January 31, 2006. Care to explain that to the Porkbusters?

Apparantly not. Do you think that the Porkbusters (of which I am a proud member) are encroaching on your political turf? Do you think that we can't see what you are doing in terms of garnering monies for your state at the expense of others?

Oh, we know that this is how the game is played, we understand that you vote for other Senator's pork projects so that they will vote for yours. We understand that you really don't give a damn about the fiscal integrity of the United States as long as you get to say you brought money into Mississippi. Surely we do!

And Senator, we also understand that your days as a spender are numbered. If the good people of Mississippi had wanted a tax and spend politician they would have elected a tax and spend politician rather than you, a politician that preaches conservative values of fiscal restraint. One that preaches the value of being responsible. In your March 7, 2006 press release you noted:

In the fall Congress approved $2.75 billion to fund highway transportation aid packages for Gulf Coast states. As a result, DOT provided $25 million last year and $740 million for the state's road repair work in January, the Senators said.

Tuesday's award of $248 million is in addition to the earlier figures, bringing the total federal funding for emergency road repairs in Mississippi to more than $1 billion, Cochran and Lott said. The total also funds the cost of removing debris from highways immediately after the storm.
Now, spending money to get the highways damaged by Katrina seems justified as say opposed to the same amount on an unbuilt "bridge to nowhere." But $700,000,000.00 to move a railroad that is perfectly functioning?

At one time I thought you were a fairly stalwart fellow. No more, Senator, no more. Now, I see, you are just another pork hustler in the halls of congress. No different than any Democrat or any other tax and spend. Wait, I'm mistaken, you are a tax cut and spend anyway congress-critter.

You may be running on the Republican ticket Senator, but you are no Republican. Shame on you!

GM Roper

UPDATE: From a source in DC, Trent Lott said this Last year as reported in Roll Call [subscription required]: "The way I do it is, I fold them into bills where you can't find it," Lott said. "Ive been around here long enough to know how to bury it."

Hmmm, Mr. Lott, can you hang your head in shame and then apologize to the taxpayers?

Posted by GM Roper at 08:10 PM | Comments (5)

April 04, 2006

The French, The Left and Idiocy

A curiosity has arisen, why have the left in this country abandoned the ideals of leftism and begun to profile those of different races/cultures?

"What's that," you say, "the left is profiling?"

Yep, it began with the insistance that Dubai Ports NOT be allowed to operate shipping in ports (they were never going to be in charge of security). In essence, the left (and too damn many on the right) said, in essence, "Whoa now!" We can't have a bunch of Arabs controling our port security and business; never mind that as I said port security would still be the responsibility of the United States and never mind that Dubai Ports has been operating other US ports for years with no problems what so ever and never mind that Dubai has been our partner in the war on terror. Nope, not that bunch of Arabs.

"Well," you say, "that's not really profiling now." Yes it is!

Now comes the left and the so called progressives doing it again. This time, in support of those poor benighted French student's from the Sorbonne and other institutes of higher education.

The issue is guaranteed jobs. In France, before Chirac signs the new CPE law or "contrat première embauche" (very loosely translated as "First Employment Contract") the old law said that once hired, you practically couldn't be fired. The result is that France is not able to compete in the world marketplace, unemployment routinely runs in excess of nine or ten percent and unemployment among immegrants to France is astronomical. Yet, here is the left supporting the students for the most part. One Michael Balter, an obviously very smart fellow, but a lefty none-the-less (by the way, I've read his book The Goddess And The Bull and it is pretty damn brilliant) has opined in Marc Cooper's Blog:

Readers of my comments in this space about last November's riots will recall that I usually approach these situations with mixed feelings. There is little doubt that the government's approach--creating jobs by making it easier for employers to exploit workers--is nothing more than a provocation in a country that prides itself on its social protections. Few people here look with admiration on the American model, in which employers have a nearly free hand in keeping wages, benefits, and employment protection to a minimum not only for young people but for a significant percentage of the nation's workforce. Wal-Mart would have a hard time making it in France, even if some Americans--usually the better off ones--think that workers should be grateful to have jobs at all.

On the other hand, as I have said before, the French model also leaves much to be desired. Certainly, job creation has to involve a lot more than pandering to the capitalist class's natural desire to increase its profits. And here is where the social protections, when interpreted rigidly--and that is exactly how most French unions do interpret them--often stand in the way. The French economy is stagnant and lacking in dynamism, and the unemployment figures--more than 10 percent amongst all workers and an average 22 percent among workers aged 15-24 years--are just one of the most important symptoms of this malaise.

Wow, acknowledges that something needs to be done but lables what seems to be a fairly good way to work in market forces as "...creating jobs by making it easier for employers to exploit workers..."

But, there is something left out of this equation. Last November we witnessed the rioting in France by a bunch of disaffected (mostly) Muslim youth and one of their major complaints was lack of opportunity/lack of jobs. Yet, here is the left supporting the Sorbonne Grads (I'm only using them for a foil if you happen to be a graduate of the Sorbonne) against Muslim youth who desperately need jobs if they are ever to assimilate. Though, personally I don't think that they will be allowed to, they just aren't "FRENCH" enough.

Then, you have institutions like New York University who won't allow cartoons of Muhammad to be shown in an open, public discussion of the riots sparked by the cartoons. Because the Muslims might riot! NYU's response to the kerfuffle? In part because:

(1) "NYU has to be concerned with its students' safety and well-being, which are among the factors that drove our decision in this matter."

(2) The decision was also based partly on NYU's "larger obligation as a university to the sensibilities of its students," many of whom are offended by the cartoons.

(3) As to the policy, "No-one's speech was curtailed." "If you read the policy, it talks about speakers' speech being curtailed, and to the best of my knowledge none of the speakers were the cartoons' authors."

So, three examples: 1) No Arabs can run the ports; 2) French Arab youth must remain unemployed and 3) Muslims are violent by nature and can't tolerate a bunch of damned cartoons.

Yeppers, looks like profiling by me!

UPDATE: USA Today has an interesting article regarding who is striking/rioting and why:

Chirac's compromise was not enough, said Claude Olivier, 20, who attends the University of Paris VI. "The idea of opening up jobs is good," he said. "There is so much unemployment among youth. And the idea of giving them trial periods, two years or one year, is good. But not for an employer to fire you at any time."

To let employers more easily fire workers adds to a sense of an uncertain future among young people, he said. "Not only are there not enough jobs, young people cannot afford a place to live or buy a car," he said. "There is no job security."

They seem to be saying "I really want that omlette (actually, I demand it), but please don't break any eggs!"

Posted by GM Roper at 08:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (2)

Dignan is RUNNING

Dignan is going to run for congress. Against Cynthia McKinney no less.

Dignan says:

Cynthia McKinney is not unfit for her job because she is liberal. There are plenty of liberal Democrats in this country who serve their constituents well, even though I often disagree with their positions.

Cynthia McKinney is unfit for her job because she is a do-nothing demogogue whose apparent goal in life is self-promotion through race-baiting and conspiracy theories.

So I am throwing down the gauntlet.

Unless a better candidate appears, I will run for Congress against Cynthia. If I have to spend every day after work knocking on doors in my district for the next 20 years, I will do what it takes to defeat her. If I have to places calls to every person in this country asking for donations to the campaign, I will do it.

Go Dignan!!!

And a delighted tip of the GM Derby to Glen Reynolds

Posted by GM Roper at 07:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

April 03, 2006

The Value of a REAL Education

According to a news report, a certain school in Garden City, MI was
recently faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were
beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the washroom. That was
fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to
the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints.

Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day,
the girls would put them back.

Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. He called
all the girls to the washroom and met them there with the maintenance
man. He explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem
for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night.

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, he asked
the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.

He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned
the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.


There are teachers, and then there are Educators.

Comments may be made here

Posted by GM Roper at 07:10 AM | TrackBack (0)

April 01, 2006

This Child - This Beautiful, Battered Child

There is another War on Terrorism, the war against the treatment of women and children in Afghanistan, Iran, and much of the middle east. Treatment that is condoned, maybe even incouraged by the so called Religion of Peace.

Let me introduce Gulsoma, now 12 years old. She was "married" at age 5 and the story of her life so far would break the heart of all but the least human of us. Gulsoma is a beautiful child, with a warm engaging smile, a winsome healthy look about her. But the smile hides scars beyond belief. At the bottom of this essay, you can find out what I mean. You can find her whole story here in a story by Kevin Sites. Read the whole thing.

Some of the scars are from beatings, some are from her being forced to be a table top where her "family" cut their food on her bare back. Nice people these.

Part of my growing disdain for the left, the feminists, the progressives is an increasing anger that they do not understand that their promotion of "Women's Rights" seems to end where the islamofascists begin. Why is that, where does this hypocracy come from. Why aren't they shouting from the rooftops about this?

I'll have a lot more respect for them if they do, until then, no respect at all.

Cross posted at my new blog home.

Posted by GM Roper at 09:01 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Borders/Walden Books -> Cowards!

One of my favorite authors in the blogosphere, and there are many, many of them, just take a long look at the blogrolls on my sidebar, is Robert Bidinotto. Robert is a major factor in the Individualist movement and is the editor of The New Individualist plus, he is a very nice guy.

I've been following Robert's open letter to the folk at Borders and the increasing number of protests to the policies of Borders that have capitulated to the islamofascists. Let me give you a hint of Robert's excellent open letter:

Not only is your policy ethically disgusting and counter-productive, it is completely nonsensical. With many thousands of book and magazine outlets in this country, there is absolutely no reason for Borders to believe that its stores, staff, and customers would be singled out for harm. Yet despite all of this, Borders does stand out: as the first and most gutless of them all. It is the first American bookstore chain to adopt a policy that I have labeled "anticipatory capitulation": advance surrender in the face of a mere hypothetical threat.

Terrorism and fanaticism are the gravest menaces of our age. Our nation is dispatching thousands of soldiers abroad to meet that threat to our liberty and our modern way of life. But after 9/11, it should be clear that all of us -- not just our soldiers -- are on the front lines of this war.

If we value our rights and freedoms, all of us must stand together and resolute in the face of threats, intimidation, and violence. The worst possible message we can give to terrorists or to anyone else willing to initiate force is that we do not stand united against them -- and that their tactics work

Robert has done an excellent job of nailing the cowards at Borders/Walden Books, you really need to read all of it.

THEN Robert follows up with High Noon At The Borders. A small sample:

Gary Cooper won the Oscar for his stoic portrait of Will Kane, the lonely marshal. It was seen then, and since, as a great allegory of the lone hero in corrupt times.

Not surprising, then, that I was reminded of High Noon while reading the sophistry served up by Borders and some of its online apologists. They, like fine citizens of Will Kane's Hadleyville, offer every lame excuse for failing to stand up to the bullies of our own time:

Look, I run a private business, and I have the right to carry or not carry whatever I want on my shelves.... It's not my business to fight terrorists -- that's what I pay taxes to the government for.... I don't want to OFFEND my customers/employees.... I want to PROTECT my customers/employees.... Why don't we look at things from THEIR point of view; how would YOU like to have your religion insulted?.... After all, it's only one little magazine.... Hey, this is a business decision; don't give me all that abstract principle stuff....

And on and on the excuse-making goes. But everyone knows what it's really all about.

It's about cowardice in the face of bullies. Period. It's no more complicated than that.

I hold this guy in Total Awe, if you don't have the Bidinotto blog on your favorite places/book marks, you don't know what you are missing.

I have blogged about the overt cowardice of the MSM here and here and to this list we can add Universities and of course the everpresent sufferors of Bush Derangement Syndrome as noted by Stephen Green Samizdata "Throws Down The Gauntlet" and ends with this quote:

"Cowardice does not make you safe. It makes you a safe target
........... - D.Amon"

UPDATE: From Cox and Forkum

borders cartoon.gif

Posted by GM Roper at 08:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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