Oscar-winning US actress Gwyneth Paltrow feels dinner talk is far more interesting in her adopted homeland Britain than back in her native country.
"I love the English lifestyle, it's not as capitalistic as America. People don't talk about work and money, they talk about interesting things at dinner," she told "NS", the weekend magazine supplement of daily Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias on Saturday.
I'm sure she'll take a lot of criticism for those remarks, but I happen to think she's right. Remember, Gwyneth doesn't hang out with the Andy Capps of England or the Joe Sixpacks of America; she hangs out with the swells, the artists and the like. I am sure that the Hollywood Glitterati are reasonably boring to hang out with than their counterparts in the UK. The LA crowd are far too busy making their movies and money to keep up with current events and are less likely to have the kind of classical education that makes for a well-rounded conversationalist. I am sure that if Gwyneth were by some chance to hang out with the middle and lower classes, she'd find the Americans far more interesting and cultured than the Brits. Although I loved my time in London, one thing that shocked me was how coarse and numerous the lower classes were. The soccer hooligans are just the tip of the iceberg.
The Democrats and their enablers (including the ACLU) are pushing for a "do-over" or worse in Florida's 13th Congressional District:
That would be Florida's 13th Congressional District, which runs along the Gulf Coast from just south of Tampa to just north of Fort Myers. The certified winner is Republican Vern Buchanan, who beat Democrat Christine Jennings by fewer than 400 votes out of more than 237,000 cast. Two recounts, which were demanded by Democrats and required by law, have reconfirmed Mr. Buchanan's victory and slightly increased the margin.
Unbowed, the Dems are now suggesting that defective voting machines cost them the race. They point to Sarasota County's 18,000 "undervotes," or incidences where voters cast ballots in other races but not the Buchanan-Jennings contest. Ms. Jennings--along with such liberal partisans as People for the American Way and the American Civil Liberties Union--has filed a lawsuit contesting the results based on "statistical and eyewitness evidence of significant machine malfunctions" in Sarasota's iVotronic touch-screen system.
They want a court to declare Ms. Jennings the winner by--get this--using statistical models to extrapolate that she would have received most of the undervotes. Short of that, they'll settle for nullifying the November results and holding a new election. But among the many things that are strange here is that if anyone ought to be complaining about undervotes, it's the GOP. Sarasota is the largest and most Republican county in the district, yet the Democrat, Ms. Jennings, carried it handily. In fact, it's the only county in the district that she did carry, which makes it more likely that it was Republicans who declined to vote in the Congressional race, not Democrats.
Of course, those same statistical models indicated that Kerry won Ohio in 2004, which I have pretty well debunked in the past.
Using high-tech x-ray and CT scanning, they have deciphered hidden inscriptions and pieced together the workings of the complex mechanical mechanism.
The analysis confirmed the theory that the Antikythera Mechanism, which dates back to between 100 and 150BC, was an astronomical calculator - but also showed it was much more technologically advanced than previously thought.
So sophisticated was the system of gears, cogs and wheels that it is thought to have been unmatched until the at least 1,000 years later.
Here's a terrific story of one of our fighting women in action:
Back in March in Iraq, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lori Hill, with the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, was piloting her Kiowa Warrior when the lead chopper came under heavy fire. She drew the fire away, simultaneously providing suppressive fire for the troops engaged with the enemy on the ground.
A rocket-propelled grenade hit her, damaging the helo’s instrumentation, but instead of focusing on her predicament, she established communication with the ground forces and continued to provide them with aerial weapon support until the soldiers reached safety.
As she turned her attention to the aircraft, which was losing hydraulic power, the helo took on machine-gun fire, a round crashing into one of Hill’s ankles. Still, with a damaged aircraft and an injury, she landed at Forward Operating Base Normandy, saving her crew and aircraft.
For her actions she was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross by Vice President Richard Cheney at Fort Campbell, Ky., on Oct. 16.
“It’s was a once-in-a-lifetime thing to get the award and then have the vice president come and award it to you,” she said. “It’s just incredible for any soldier.”
Obviously the focus has been on his calling the President "numbnuts" but somebody should mention that he also talked about "trashing" the Lincoln Bedroom. Reminds me of the famous photo of Marky (dumb as a ) Post jumping up and down on the bed.
...and then we banish the nastiness from our thoughts and vote like it never happened, like terrorism isn't our problem. Yet our enemies still exist, and they still want all of us "infidels" dead. That includes all of those anti-war sympathizers, too. They're considered infidels along with the rest of us. But what the hell, life is a cabaret -- right?
Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.
He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.
I couldn't agree with him more. Usually I'll read an editorial like this and the writer will go off onto a tangent, but Prager hits on all the points I would:
1. Jews have not taken their oath of office on the Talmud. 2. Mormons have not taken their oath of office on the Book of Mormon. 3. Atheists have not taken their oath of office on the New York Times.
He points out that Ellison is likely to get away with it, precisely because he is a Muslim.
An aside (okay a tangent) here: A lot of conservative commentators (including Charles Krauthammer and Jonah Goldberg have panned the movie Borat for its supposed revelation that people in the heartland of America are intolerant. In fact, Borat shows that if anything, people are too tolerant of a boorish, sexist kook. Ditto with Ellison and his quest to be sworn in on the Koran.
Democratic Sen. John Kerry, considering a second bid for the U.S. presidency, finished dead last in a poll released on Monday on the Likeability of 20 top American political figures.
Among those placed ahead of Kerry were about a dozen potential 2008 White House rivals, including Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
This is hardly surprising to a person who started a blog called Kerry Haters. It always seemed that the people who knew Kerry best, liked him least. Remember the "no-bounce" convention in 2004? Kerry, given a week of solid coverage capped off with his "And I'm reporting for duty!" speech at the DNC, actually saw his poll numbers decline slightly.
Everywhere you looked, you found people who disliked Kerry, from his classmates at Paul's prep school, to those who knew him at Yale, to those who served with him in the Navy. After his divorce from his first wife, he dated a few famous women, including Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas singing group, and actress Morgan Fairchild. Phillips donated to Kerry's rival for the nomination, Howard Dean, but not to Kerry. Fairchild donated to John Edwards, Howard Dean, and Dick Gephardt, but not John Kerry.
Kudos to our buddies Andrea Shea-King and Mark Vance, whose post on thanks to our military got picked up by Stand To!, a daily compendium of news, information and context for Army leaders. (Look under "What's being said in blogs").
Apparently Sherman Yellen wasn't paying attention during the 1990s, as he comes up with a hilarious "high crime and misdemeanor" for which President Bush can be impeached:
What is the impeachable offense, other than lying to America and to the world about the WMD's? First and foremost, stupidity. There is a point in which bad judgment is a crime, or as the diplomat Count Metternich said of some 19th Century misadventure, it is worse than a crime, it is a mistake. As a result of George Bush and Dick Cheney's mistake, the republic is at risk. That is what impeachment is about - removing those whose disgraceful actions have put the country in danger.
I don't know how much there is to this story, but it's certainly interesting that his war wounds have migrated over time.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on May 12, 2002, reported that “Marine Corps casualty records show that Murtha was injured in 'hostile' actions near Danang, Vietnam, on March 22, 1967, and May 7, 1967.
“In the first incident, his right cheek was lacerated, and in the second, he was lacerated above his left eye. Neither injury required evacuation,” the Post-Gazette reported.
But an Oct. 26, 1994, article in the Herald-Standard quoted Murtha as describing two different injuries.
“I was wounded in the arm with shrapnel from a bullet that hit the motor mount of a helicopter. In the other, my knee was banged up and my arm was banged up when a helicopter was shot down from a very few feet,” Murtha told the Herald-Standard.
The four remaining teams learn that their next destination is Morocco. On the way to the airport, we see that Rob is again having trouble with his rental car; he's always complaining about the cars, but as one of the Gumps remarks later, if it's always you having the problem, maybe you are the problem.
The Beauty Queens get the first flight to Italy, from where they will have a tight connection to Casablanca. The other teams fly to Paris where there is a later flight to Casablanca, but it apparently doesn't matter, because there is only one flight from Casablanca to the town that is the destination, which is something like Ouarsazad. As it works out, the BQs miss their connection, and just barely make it to Casablanca in time.
The teams must travel to the Casbah, where they will receive a good luck charm at a particular store. The Beauty Queens sneak off the flight quickly but Rob & Kimberley and Team Recovery follow them as they follow a cabbie who apparently knows the route but gets lost and stops for directions. Meanwhile, Team Gump did not waste their layover in Paris, spending their time studying maps of the region. Sure enough, they zip past the other teams and find the shop quickly. The next clue takes them to the Atlas Studios where films such as Gladiator were shot. Warning, Yield Ahead!
Unfortunately, the studios are closed until morning, so the Gumps don't get their chance to yield the Beauty Queens, and instead are yielded by them. Oddly, the other two teams arrived at the Yield first and did not choose to yield the BQs. Roadblock: Teams must take part in a chariot race and grab two pennants while they're racing. This does not appear too tough, but Team Recovery misses their first try at a penannt and so must make another lap while the BQs and Rob & Kimberley head off. It appears that the Gumps' time delay is over at about this time as well, and they make it through the chariot race fairly quickly. BTW, guys, they were not "gladiators" they were "charioteers".
Rob & Kimberley are in the lead, but what's this? A flat tire on their vehicle being pointed out before the fact by the Beauty Queens? I'm just a tad suspicious; there seem to be constant flats in TAR. At first, Rob can't find the jack, then he can't get it out of the vehicle. Meanwhile, all three teams (including the yielded Team Gump) have passed them by. Next stop is a Cafe, and I have a sinking feeling that we're going to get one of those "local delicacy" bits. Fortunately I'm wrong and it's a Detour: Throw It or Grind It.
In Throw It, teams must complete two pieces of pottery, while in Grind It, they must grind 77 pounds of olives into a paste. Phil mentions that there are only three stations at each location, so if all four teams choose the same task, one will be forced to wait.
The BQs decide to Grind It (mainly because they know which direction they are going on that task), while Team Recovery opts initially for Throw It, but then decides to Grind It as well. But the BQs make their first major mistake of the race as they drive past the horse ranch where the olive grinders are located. Meanwhile the Gumps have nearly caught up with Team Recovery, and they begin grinding olives at roughly the same time.
Rob & Kimberley flag down a passing car and get help changing the tire. Finally they make it to the cluebox, where they also decide to grind it. Who will get to the horse ranch first?
It turns out that the BQs are left waiting while the other three teams are grinding away at those olives. Bad luck for them, which seems certain to result their being Phil-Liminated, when the next clue (first received by Team Recovery) is the location of the Pit Stop.
Team Recovery has a pretty good lead on Team Gump as they pull into the parking area and dash off towards the mat. But then they realize they've left their Good Luck Charm behind in the car. As they run back, the Gumps are parking. Can they actually pull off a victory?
Uh, no. It's not even really dramatic as we can see that the twentysomething men are only a little behind the thirtysomething women with a fairly long way to go. There's no way they don't win that footrace easily. Still the two black women are obviously proud of overcoming the Yield to take second place. Team Recovery also happened to pick the Luckiest Lucky Charm and get some sort of device where you can watch TV on your cellphone.
The BQs are clearly behind Rob & Kimberley and despite the latter getting lost initially, they arrive at the mat last. Is this the end for our two hotties? Well, I would have sworn it was, since we've already had two non-elimination legs so far this season, but sure enough Phil announces that they've been spared the axe. IIRC this is pretty standard practice for TAR when the teams reach four, but I could have sworn one of the rules was that all but two pitstops would be elimination legs. David and Mary, Team Coalminer, were spared twice this season already.
I'm glad they're still around; to a certain extent they're the villains this season. My wishes for the winners, in order: Team Gump, Team Recovery, the BQs and Rob & Kimberley. The Gumps because they've done a couple of smart things that have impressed me the last two weeks: studying the Moroccan maps tonight while laying over in Paris, and making up their rap song while driving last week, and it would be a gas to see those moderately out of shape women beat the athletes in the race. I'd pick Team Recovery over the BQs just because they've been more cooperative in the race; the BQs have their game faces on 24/7. Besides, teams that have overcome obstacles are more inspiring than a couple of hot chicks who won beauty contests. I just don't like Rob & Kimberley, although they were not as argumentative tonight as usual.
Don't let Europe's current round of playing pacifist dress-up fool you: This is the continent that perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing, the happy-go-lucky slice of humanity that brought us such recent hits as the Holocaust and Srebrenica.
The historical patterns are clear: When Europeans feel sufficiently threatened - even when the threat's concocted nonsense - they don't just react, they over-react with stunning ferocity. One of their more-humane (and frequently employed) techniques has been ethnic cleansing.
I'm not certain that Peters is right here; it does seem that the Europeans have greater problems integrating their immigrant populations than the US does. It's certainly one of the ironies that in the 1930s and 1940s many blacks felt more comfortable and accepted in Europe than they did in the United State; that may be changing.
Taking the opposite tack is Mark Steyn, and it certainly appears that he has the better of the argument with this point about the Grandma suicide bomber I covered on Friday:
An-Najar gave birth to her first child at the age of 12. She had eight others. She had 41 grandchildren. Keep that family tree in mind. By contrast, in Spain, a 64-year old woman will have maybe one grandchild. That's four grandparents, one grandchild: a family tree with no branches.
You know the problem is that there's no good outcome; just a question of which is worse. Either a new Hitler arises, or Europe falls under Sharia law.