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Saturday, November 12, 2005
Batman's Anarchist Buddy

I know that most of you will scratch your heads about this post, but it's part of what I try to talk about regularly at this blog.

What makes a hero? Well, for starters, they do heroic things--saves lives at great risk to their own. But more than that, they have to be heroes in their other actions as well. Heroes are like Boy Scouts: They are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

They don't have to be all those things, of course. All heroes of fiction have some flaws. But they can't be made up of flaws completely; the overall package has to come down on the good side.

Over the last 20 years, DC comics has appeared to be determined to create a hero made up of little but flaws. This is chiefly a problem for me because they chose my favorite comic hero to do it with: Batman. And for an example of how they've been doing it, consider Detective 608-609, from 1989. (Note: You can click on any of the images in this post for a larger version).

The person at the bottom of the picture is Anarky. When first we meet him he has encountered a drug-dealing rock star who managed to get away from Batman:

Okay, so maybe Mr Vomit gets what he deserves (he's not killed but definitely incapacitated).

The next appearance we begin to see that Anarky is one of those Noam Chomsky-type anarchists, spouting communist claptrap:

He proceeds to attack the owner of a chemical manufacturing plant. We don't see the action much onscreen, but get this bulletin the next day:

Well, unconscious and dying certainly sounds to me like Anarky is guilty of attempted murder at best, right? Bruce/Batman recognizes this, but still gets a little squishy:

And believe it or not, for the rest of Anarky's appearances, that seems to be the common take. "Gee, I agree with his objectives, just wish he wasn't quite so cold-blooded about it."

Anarky returns a year later as a hacker who's stealing money from wealthy people and distributing it to the poor. And once again, we hear the "We may sympathize with his objectives, but we deplore his methods" crap:

This is how you run down a hero; by making him sympathize with idiots like Anarky.
Weasel & Nelson Didn't Get Boxer's Message

Engaging in partisan politics on Veterans' Day:

While President Bush on Friday was delivering his most forceful defense of the Iraq war yet, former presidential candidate Wesley Clark and Sen. Bill Nelson were in Sarasota blasting the war and warning that the insurgency is growing.

In some of his harshest criticisms of the war to date, Nelson said the Bush administration has not been up front with the American people about the war and likened it to Vietnam.

"We're in a heck of a mess," Nelson, a Florida Democrat, told a mostly Democratic crowd of 80 at a political fund-raiser held in a Sarasota bayfront home.

Clark, a retired four-star Army general, said going to war was a mistake.

Once more, they're dividing us.
Boxer's Briefs

Hugh Hewitt's right; she's the dumbest member of the Senate:

Sen. Barbara Boxer took President Bush to task last night for using a Veterans Day speech to blast congressional critics of his Iraq war policy.

"Veterans Day is not a day for partisan attacks," the Greenbrae Democrat said during a Marin book-signing event for her new novel. "Once more, he's dividing us."

Can we say the obvious here? Boxer's own comments constitute a partisan attack. What a fathead!
Text of Bush Speech

It's here.

Recently in the town of Howaider, Iraq, a terrorist detonated a pickup truck parked along a busy street lined with restaurants and shops, just as residents were gathering to break the day-long fast observed during Ramadan. The explosion killed at least 25 people and wounded 34.

When unsuspecting Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast are targeted for death, or 25 Iraqi children are killed in a bombing, or Iraqi teachers are executed at their school, this is murder, pure and simple, the total rejection of justice and honor and morality and religion.

These militants are not just the enemies of America or the enemies of Iraq. They are the enemies of Islam, and they're the enemies of humanity.
Friday, November 11, 2005
A Collective "At Last!"

Bill Kristol:

Bush's counterpunch hit home. Ted Kennedy was upset. He found the speech "deeply regrettable." How dare the president try "to rebuild his own credibility?" How dare the president defend his honor--and the country's? For the nation's honor is at stake, too. If we went to war based on lies told by our president, then it is a disgrace to us all. It is a further disgrace that we reelected him. It is yet a further disgrace that Congress continues to support this war, by appropriating funds for it. It is a disgrace that Senator Kennedy has not moved to have the president impeached.

At least the anti-American left, which wants to get out of Iraq immediately and to impeach the president, is consistent. But Kennedy--and his colleagues like Sen. Harry Reid--do not really want to follow the logic of their accusations. They would rather just damage the president--and the country's foreign policy--and enjoy the political effect.

Michelle Malkin:

My question: What took him so long? He could have made this speech while Sheehan was gaining traction outside his Crawford, Tx. ranch this summer with her "Bush lied!" brigades. He could have made this speech while the anti-war movement and the media were busy politicizing the "2000 dead" milestone in the most macabre and dishonest way. He could have made this speech as Harry Reid was jumping up and down like Rumpelstiltskin behind the Senate chamber's locked doors.

But he didn't.

I think the answer is that they really have grown a little insular over at the White House. They won the election last November, and decided that was it for politics; now they would get down to business. But by not defending themselves vigorously they have gotten to the point where politics is interfering with getting business done.

Jeff Goldstein:

The first victory for the anti-war left itook place shortly after 911, when war supporters on the right agreed, however reluctantly, that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism,” and that we should not question anyone’s patriotism (though the left was of course allowed to question the patriotism of “chickenhawks”; which is only fair, because we’re all just a bunch of cowardly jingoistic scumtonguers, anyhow).

But Glenn touches on an important distinction that we should now be willing to embrace: namely, that though the anti-war position is not inherently unpatriotic, those in the anti-war movement who use lies and misinformation to harm the country are—and political opportunism that relies on revisionist history and the leveling of false charges in order to regain power is indicative of mindset that profoundly cynical and profoundly anti-democratic.

I doubt that anybody on the war-supporting right agreed that dissent is the highest form of patriotism; that's kind of fatheaded even for the left. I don't see anybody over there acknowledging that anti-abortion protesters are true patriots.

And it's really impossible to deny that much of the Left is unpatriotic. In the 40s and 50s they rooted for the Soviets, in the 60s and 70s they rooted for the North Vietnamese, in the 1980s they rooted for the Sandinistas, in the 1990s they rooted for the Chinese, and in the 2000s they are rooting for the "resistance in Iraq". It's like if you rooted for Lex Luthor and Mr Mxyzptlk and the Prankster and Brainiac and Bizarro; sooner or later we'll realize that the common thread is that you don't like Superman.
Cute New Site

Punch has some of the day's political cartoons. No commentary as yet but a good selection of center-right humor.
President Bush Hits Back (At Last!)

We need to see a little more of this:

Bush also dismissed critics who say the U.S. invasion of Iraq has strengthened the terrorists.

"No act of ours invited the rage of killers and no concession, bribe or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder," Bush said. "Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in, we will never accept anything less than complete victory."

The president said the U.S. forces -- along with Iraqi partners -- are implementing a strategy he described as "clear, hold and build."
Here's A Look At the Fresno Falcons' Uniforms for Tonight's Game

Our buddy John at Operation Soldier forward this picture to us:

Note the Operation Soldier patch. If you happen to be in the Fresno area, this would be a great time to show your support for the troops. If not, please consider donating to Operation Soldier!
In Which I Agree with Bill Clinton and Not Douglas "I Tried to Hide Christmas In Cambodia" Brinkley

Here's the setup:

Speaking on the opening day of a three-day conference at Hofstra University examining his presidency, Clinton challenged a statement by noted historian Douglas Brinkley, who opined in a newspaper interview that Clinton would be deemed a great president were it not for his impeachment.

Brinkley's got his head where the sun don't shine. Clinton would not go down in history as a great president were it not for his impeachment. He'd go down as an average president, one who presided over a good economy and didn't screw things up too much.
Windfall Profits

It's all too typical of the Democrats that they are bringing up the notion of taxing the "windfall" profits of the oil industry. But the fact is that windfall profits are often followed by windfall losses. Why? Well, a little example will show how.

Let's suppose that you're a jewelry store owner, and that your main product is gold chains. We'll say that the gold chains weigh about one ounce apiece. Gold costs about $460 an ounce (current prices are around there), and because of your business you have about 100 pounds of gold on hand. Your markup on the chains is $50.

Well, if you sell all the chains, you will make about $80,000 in profit. (100 pounds times 16 ounces per pound, times $50 markup).

But suppose tomorrow, gold prices go to $560 an ounce when gold miners go on strike. What happens? Well, you have a "windfall" profit because you do not continue to sell the chains at $510 apiece, you mark them up to $610 apiece. And you'll make $150 per chain, or a total of $240,000 in profit.

Sounds wonderful, right? But time goes by and you've sold all your gold and you have to buy 100 pounds more at the $560 price. And, unfortunately for you, the miners suddenly decide to settle the strike and the price of gold drops back down to $460 per ounce. Now, you could try to sell the gold chains at $610, but there aren't that many suckers out there, P.T. Barnum not withstanding. So you bite the bullet and drop the price to $510. You lose $80,000 on the shipment, so that for the two sets of transactions, your profit is $160,000, or exactly what you would have made if the price of gold had stayed steady at $460.

That's what will happen to the oil companies. The difference, of course, is that with the gold example we saw the full cycle, while with oil we've only seen the first half. But the losses are coming; we can see it in the declining prices at the pump today.
Happy Veterans' Day!

More Cox & Forkum cartoons here.

Mrs Media Matters has sentiments I share.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Survivor Update--Slinging in the Rain

At the start of tonight's episode, Jamie and Bobby Jon are still angry at each other. Jamie says that calling him no class is like saying he's white trash. Now that you mention it, Jamie...

The Reward Challenge is using an atlatl to throw arrows towards a target. Everybody will get some sort of dinner, but in decreasing order of quality, with the top finisher getting steak and lobster. Judd starts off and sets the standard, with nobody coming close to his throw. Jamie finishes about fourth, but he nobly asks Jeff if he can be bumped down to the bottom of the food chain, to atone for his bad behavior the prior night.

The dinners are indeed in descending order. Judd gets to invite two folks to join him at the head table, and he picks Bobby Jon and Steph. The other meals range from a plate of spaghetti to a cheeseburger to a slice of pizza. Jamie gets stuck with some nuts and boiled but dirty-looking water. Gary spooks Judd by staring at him as he pigs out and gets drunk. The next morning Judd has puked in the shelter.

One other reward Judd gets, though. It's a clue to the location of the immunity idol. Judd reveals to Steph that it tells him that the idol is not on the ground, then tells the rest of the tribe that it's on the ground somewhere. Gary tells Jamie that he will vote with Jamie's group if they just tell him who it is. Jamie responds oddly, telling Steph and Judd that Gary had told him that he was voting Jamie off. Jamie's acting weird and Steph and Judd definitely seem ready to get rid of him.

The immunity challenge is a balancing contest. The players start by walking a beam and untying two boards midway and then walking the rest of the beam. Only four are allowed to advance to the second phase, where the players have to place those boards between two ropes and make a bridge, reaching behind themselves to grab the last board and move it forward.

Here Gary is at a distinct disadvantage since with his height it's harder for him to reach behind and pick up the last board. Rafe and Jamie finish that leg and move on to the finals, where they have to cross over a pool on a pair of ropes. Jamie wins fairly easily, but Rafe provides a bit of comedy with a couple near falls followed by a full-on header.

So much for any thoughts of Jamie getting the surprise backstab tonight. It definitely looks like Gary's head is on the chopping block though, as a result of his supposed plan to vote against Jamie, so he goes out hunting for the idol. And then something interesting happens. He notices that Judd is doing the same, and he's looking in the trees, not on the ground.

So Gary starts looking in the trees, and sure enough, at Tribal Council he whips out the Idol. Amusingly a few moments earlier, Judd had claimed that he had not lied at all during the game, although of course he obviously lied. Not that Gary's can point a finger at him, considering how he's been lying all around about his background.

Bobby Jon gets voted off.
Why Johnny Can't Read

Maybe it's because he's out of school attending an antiwar rally that the school bussed him to:

The Los Angeles Unified School District took things a step further. The district helpfully agreed to provide buses -- that's right, buses -- as well as "adult supervision" to the nearly 800 high school students who walked out of 10 high schools. District officials said they thought it best to provide adults and transportation, since, you know, the kids intended to go to the rally, anyway. "Our issue . . . was safety," said the district's chief operating officer, "and I think we fulfilled our mission, frankly."
Time for New House Leadership?--Updated!

Bulldog Pundit says that it's time for Denny Hastert to get the boot after he was unable to get Republicans in agreement on a budget bill, even after removing the proposal for drilling in ANWAR.

I would say that he's right.

Update: John Ruberry has some thoughts on this matter, and reveals that Hastert was once a high school wrestling coach. Didn't he teach his wrestlers to have no mercy when they got an advantage on their opponents?
Update on Phosphorus

I linked to an article a few days ago on the use of Phosphorous in Fallujah, which an Italian TV report had claimed resulted in much death and injury. Jeff Goldstein and some other bloggers/commenters looked into it and discovered that the effects claimed were greatly exaggerated.

When RP (-ed. red phosphorus) is oxidized, it forms a mixture of phosphorus acids. When these acids are exposed to water vapor, they in turn form polyphosphoric acids, which may be responsible for the toxic injuries to the upper airways. Most of these injuries are mild irritations. No human deaths have been reported from exposure to either white phosphorous or RP smokes. (emphasis added)
Blogroll Roundup

It's been awhile since I've done one of these, for which I apologize. Here's what's going on at a couple of my favorite blogs:

Kitty's got some excellent coverage of the French riots (read both posts).

John Hawkins has some excellent suggestions for a Post-Bush Republican agenda. Post-Bush? I'd like to see some of those suggestions acted on in the During Bush era!

Pam Meister wonders why Fitzgerald ignored some witnesses in his investigation of Plamegate.

Gayle Miller remarks on the similarity between performing and writing a blog.

Third Wave Dave is disappointed with his fellow Republicans in the Golden State, who blew a marvelous opportunity to reform California on Tuesday.
Barone on New Jersey's Election

Analysis from the master:

In 2004, John Kerry carried the state 53 to 46 percent. One year later, Jon Corzine won 53 to 44 percent. Once again, the Democratic candidate for governor got the same percentage as the Democratic candidate for president, and the Republican candidate for governor got 2 percent less than the Republican candidate for president.

Bottom line: Despite all the ructions in the national polls, New Jersey looks to be about where it was in 2004. But as in Virginia, neither party was able to raise turnout as much as both did in 2004.
Happy 230th!

Mrs M has much more.

Also read this article on several Marines being honored on stamps:

Indeed, when surrounded by more than 100,000 Chinese soldiers at the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War, Puller is reported to have said: "They're on our right, they're on our left, they're in front of us, they're behind us: They can't get away from us this time."

Now that guy had brass ones!
Clooney Made His Movie In Response to Coulter?

According to this:

George Clooney, writer and director of the rebuttal, claims he was driven to make the movie "Good Night, and Good Luck" because "a book came out about how great McCarthy was."

Q: Ann Coulter's "Treason"?

GC: Yes.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
A British Hero Passes

I don't know why the Brits are so much better at noting the passing of WWII heroes, but they are.

Wells began his brilliant fighting career during the Battle of Britain flying Spitfires with No 266 Squadron before transferring, in September 1940, to No 41, based at Hornchurch. He scored his first victory on October 17 when he shot down a Messerschmitt 109 fighter off the French coast. Twelve days later he probably destroyed a second and on November 2 he accounted for another Me 109.

He was the first pilot to intercept an Italian Fiat CR 42 over England in November, shooting it down off Ordfordness on November 11. By the end of the year he had destroyed another enemy fighter. Wells had been a champion 12-bore shot during his schooldays in New Zealand, and his outstanding marksmanship earned him the nickname "Hawkeye".

In March 1941 he joined No 485 Squadron, the first all-New Zealand fighter squadron, scoring its first success on July 5 when he shot down a Me 109 whilst escorting Stirling bombers over Lille. His successes mounted steadily, and in August he was awarded the DFC for showing "the greatest courage and determination".
Terrific Fisking

By our buddy Chris over at Lucky Dawg on an ABC article about the military recruiting at NASCAR races. This part had me up on my chair, clapping:

So what does Osunsami imply here? Our armed forces are filled with idiots, losers, and the dregs of society. This is straight out of the left wing playbook. When opposing a war, attack the character of the men that are fighting it. They did the same thing to our Vietnam vets and history is repeating itself again. In the sick mind of a yellow liberal journalist, only our nation's inferior class fight its wars. The smart folks don't sign up and aren't in the fight.

Yes, all the talk about how the media are just as patriotic as anybody else is a bunch of bull-pucky, as Jonah Goldberg points out.
All Your Milblogs Are Belong to Us

Here's a pretty cool idea; a collection of milbloggers. And not just from the US; there are over 100 milbloggers on the list who are in Iraq. I like the idea of a Christmas Card project, as covered in this post.
And OJ's Still Looking for Nicole's Killer

This is pathetic:

In her first book interview, scheduled to air on Wednesday's Good Morning America, Mapes "says she is continuing to investigate the source of the controversial documents whose authenticity was seriously questioned by the CBS panel."
Poll Fault

Our buddy Mr Right got a sneak peak at the media's next set of poll questions:

How would you characterize the ridiculously awful job being done by this incompetent boob we laughingly call our President, George W. Bush?

a) Poor.
b) Very poor.
c) Horrible.
d) Beyond horrible.
e) It's the end of all civilization!!!
f) I'm too stupid to know what a boob he really is.
g) What was the question again? I don't know how to answer a simple poll.

I think we can guess how this one is going to turn out.

BTW, In the Right Place is on the verge of becoming a Mob Blog, with a total of four bloggers!
The 1961 NFL Quarterbacks

A friend of mine called this morning with a trivia question: Who were the starting quarterbacks for the NFL teams in 1961? I was able to get quite a few without looking them up:

NY Giants: Y.A. Tittle
Cleveland Browns: Milt Plum
Minnesota Vikings Fran Tarkenton
San Francisco 49ers: John Brodie
LA Rams: Roman Gabriel
Philadelphia Eagles: Sonny Jurgensen
Green Bay Packers: Bart Starr
Dallas Cowboys: Eddie LeBaron
Pittsburgh Steelers: ? (Friend said Bobby Layne; I'd forgotten that Layne went to Pittsburgh).
Chicago Bears: Billy Wade?
Baltimore Colts: Johnny Unitas
Washington Redskins: ?
St. Louis Cardinals: ? Jim Hart?
Detroit Lions: Frank Ryan?

Okay, after I wrote those all down, I checked here. I was wrong about Ryan, he was the starter for the LA Rams, not Roman Gabriel. The immortal Sam Etcheverry was the starter for the St. Louis Cardinals. Earl Morrall and Jim Ninowski split signal-calling duties for the Lions, while Norm Snead lined up over center at Washington. Rudy Bukich actually threw a couple more passes than Bobby Layne.

But 10 out of 14 ain't too bad, considering that it's 44 years ago.
When Poppa Podhoretz Speaks

We should all listen.

The intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel, and—yes—France all agreed with this judgment. And even Hans Blix—who headed the UN team of inspectors trying to determine whether Saddam had complied with the demands of the Security Council that he get rid of the weapons of mass destruction he was known to have had in the past—lent further credibility to the case in a report he issued only a few months before the invasion:

The discovery of a number of 122-mm chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at a storage depot 170 km southwest of Baghdad was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker, and therefore the rockets must have been moved there in the past few years, at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions. . . . They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for.

Blix now claims that he was only being “cautious” here, but if, as he now also adds, the Bush administration “misled itself” in interpreting the evidence before it, he at the very least lent it a helping hand.
2005 Elections: It's the Values, Stupid

That's what our buddy Pat Hynes says:

In Texas, gay marriage went down again in a big way. More than three-quarters of the voting population ratified Proposition 2, a measure the ban gay marriage.

In Virginia, Democrat Tim Kaine defeated Republican Jerry Kilgore. And it was Kaine who made frequent reference to his faith throughout the campaign. Kaine, a Catholic, spoke openly about his religious convictions while stumping throughout the Commonwealth.

New Jersey? Well, take New Jersey off the table. No one there has any values anyway.

Hey, take it easy on my homies!
Moron Massey

Michelle Malkin takes on the Great Pretender in her latest column. She's also got more on her blog.

Miraculously, a lone member of the mainstream media answered the call. Last weekend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Ron Harris, who was embedded with Massey's unit in Iraq, published a devastating debunking of the crackpot legends of Jimmy Massey. Harris detailed how Massey misled reporters, backtracked from allegations about witnessing a tractor-trailer filled with dead Iraqi civilians he claimed were killed by American artillery, and habitually embellished and altered his uncorroborated accounts of alleged military atrocities in the press and in public speeches.

The response of Harris's colleagues who were duped by Massey? Mostly, a collective shrug. I e-mailed a reporter from The Washington Post asking if he would follow up. No response. A USA Today reporter told me he had no plans to do so. And I spoke with David Holwerk, editorial page editor of the Sacramento Bee, which ran a lengthy freelance interview of Massey by an anti-war activist. "I don't know what we're planning to do," Holwerk said.

She also compares Massey's accounts with the infamously fraudulent Winter Soldier "investigation" by the VVAW.

There does seem to be a pattern here. Somebody pops up that the media adore due to the damaging things he or she says about the war. That person is immediately lionized by the press as a brave teller of truth to power. Then the real truth comes out and the person is allowed to slip back into anonymity as the press studiously ignores the inconvenient facts. It's happened during this war, with Joe Wilson, George Galloway, Cindy Sheehan and now Jimmy Massey, just as it happened back in the Vietnam era with John Fraude Kerry.
The Amazing Race Update

I had to deal with some work-related issues today, so I was jumping back and forth from the TV to the computer during the show, but I caught most of it.

During the first part, one player has to swim out to a marker buoy to get the next clue. I missed the early parts of this, but saw that Rollie was indeed a boy; I've kind of assumed that, but it would hardly be surprising to hear that he was just a fairly masculine young woman.

Detour, with the choices being to load a bunch of sugar cane onto a cart or to paint a wheel in a decorative Costa Rican style. The Linzes and the Paolos choose the cart job, but this time the garbage man and his sons can't load the stuff fast enough and despite entering the job earlier, they leave behind the Linz family.

Those choosing the painting job seem to have a somewhat easier time of it, but still the Linzes are in the lead. The Weavers, who entered the painting job last pull ahead of the Bransons.

The next clue directs them to Phoenix, Arizona, the place I've called home for 21 years. Yay! Find a flight from Costa Rica to Phoenix. Two teams settle for a flight to Atlanta then Phoenix, while the rest (apparently) get on a flight to JFK, then Phoenix. But the Desperate Housewives (CBS must love advertising another network's show) apparently get hosed when there is no record of their reservation from JFK to PHX. You know how this one works out, though. They take a cab (!) to Newark Airport, where they get an earlier flight than the other teams.

They have to go to the Bondurant School of Racing, near Firebird Lake. Locating this would not be a challenge for yours truly. First, though, we have a little bit of drama with the Paolos struggling to locate the reserved cars. Again, not difficult for me, since I know where the parking is for Terminal 2.

One person has to drive around the racetrack 50 laps, in apparently 101-degree heat, to which I can only say, where's my sweater?

Some rather forced drama with the kids of Mrs Weaver lamenting the thought of her riding around on a go-kart track because their father died at a stock car race. It does seem another rather oddball choice intended to give the God Squad conniptions. You can't help feeling sorry for them. They've been designated the team that everybody wants to beat, apparently even the producers.

Another bit of forced drama where we're supposed to believe that one of the Linzes, who arrived fourth, may be catching up to Mrs Weaver and suddenly there's a semi-crash! But nothing comes of it, and I strongly suspect that it was just something made up by the producers to carry us through the break.

The teams finish this challenge in the order that they started (despite attempts to encourage us to believe that the Linz driver will pass Mrs Weaver. The next (Pit) stop is Fort McDowell Adventures. I know where the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation is--up Country Club Road from where they are. But the Bransons fumble around a bit, as apparently do the Godlewskis, and eventually they arrive at the Pit Stop.

The real humor of the evening is provided by the Paolos, who, deciding they have finished last, start putting on lots of clothing. Then suddenly the Bransons arrive and it's a race to the mat!

But of course the Paolos win, leaving the Bransons in last. Interestingly, the Paolos urge the Bransons to go back to the car and put on every item of clothing they can fit, before stepping onto the mat. It's more dramatic for the families, but we know that they're giving us a double-shot of TAR tonight and so there's no chance the Bransons are eliminated. Sure enough, Phil just takes their possessions.

Second Leg--Trip across Arizona!

The second half of this episode really delivered. Teams had to travel to Williams Field Airport, which of course is a speck compared to what it used to be (a well-known WWII AFB). There are pull-tabs for position, and this time essentially 1-3 are the same as are 4 and 5. The Weavers get there first. The task is to fly a loop in a stunt airplane. Rollie succeeds in his first attempt, as does a representative from the Linzes and the Godlewskis. Looks like an easy task, but then one of the Paolo boys--the short one I think--misses his first attempt.

Next task--get to the Grand Canyon. Alright, you know how this one goes--202 to the 101 to the 17 to Flagstaff before you have to figure anything out--surely it will not be that tricky to get from there to the specific lookout at the canyon?

But the Paolos somehow get caught in a traffic jam entering the parkgrounds. Already in last place and with an obvious elimination staring them in the face, they get the next clue. Head to Page, Arizona (in the northeast corner of the state) and Glen Canyon Dam.

The Yield this time is Bearing or Bailing. In Bearing, teams have to take three consecutive readings off a compass to determine the location of three colored clues. In Bailing they have to bail out a rowboat that is partially submerged and then bring it up onto shore.

The Weavers pick Bearing and that apparently does not work well as the Linzes pass them by. At some point the Godlewski family gets ahead of the Weavers too, as we head for Page, Arizona and the apparent end of tonight's segment.

The Linzes get to Lake Powell first, but miss the obvious clue--look for signs to a trail. Just a little too perfect. Following the trail they discover that they're on a motor boat race through the narrows to the mat. The Linzes grind their prop on the rocks before realizing they had to put out a bit before starting up the engine. The Godlewskis (of course) somehow avoid beating their prop too badly and managed to pass the Linzes for the lead and the win (yet again!)

The Weavers arrive and it's becoming obvious that their unpopularity is getting to the kids as there is much emotion expressed. But they should realize that their mom is probably right, that these people are not really their friends and that they should not let short-term interest in being liked override their long-term interest in having a million dollars to deal with life's problems.

I look hard at the game, and I can't help but think that there's a not-so-subtle under-current of anti-religion going on. Although early in the game several of the teams managed to get in a little prayer for the right exit, in the most recent episodes it seems to be only the Weavers. So we get a "religious and everybody hates them" sub-text. Interestingly this contrasts with what appears to go on with CBS's Survivor, where it often appears that religious players band together to vote off those "undeserving"--i.e., atheists, hedonists, etc.

Usual drama at the end as the Bransons apparently take the USS Minnow while the Paolos skim over the water in a hydrofoil. But of course it's just pretend and the Paolos arrive on the carpet in last place. Sorry to see them go, especially since I only adopted them last week after the Gaghan tragedy.

My team is now: The Weavers. Yes, I realize it's hopeless, that they are the most likely to be Phil-Liminated next week. But somebody's gotta root for them.

The Viking Pundit has his terrific run-down up as usual.

My take on the rest of the field:

Linzes. I don't think they can possibly win, simply because we haven't gotten to know them much apart from the fact that the girl has to deal with her idiot brothers sometimes. If they were going to win we'd have seen some signs before this.

Godlewskis. You gotta respect their record, but they're still ciphers.

Bransons. Nice-looking gals but Dad's a bit of a nebbish.

Weavers. I think everybody really hates the mom more than the kids.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Terror in Oz?

The plot seems to have been foiled, but there must be some concern that this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Abu Bakr — an Algerian-Australian who has said he would be violating his faith if he warned his students not to join the jihad, or holy war, in Iraq — was among nine men who appeared Tuesday morning in Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with being members of a terror group.

Police declined to give details of the likely target of the attack, but New South Wales Police Minister Carl Scully said: "I was satisfied that this state was under an imminent threat of potentially a catastrophic terrorist act ... involving the attempted stockpiling of chemicals and related materials that could be used in a major explosion."
Here's a Nice, Newer Group Blog

X-Ray Nova is the blog of four friends who've stuck together since their college days and share their common interests and individual areas of expertise. I especially enjoyed a November 8th post on "Liberal Distortions of Christianity" (it's on top now but you may have to scroll down a bit in a day or two), which draws from an earlier post of mine.

One recommendation: They should mention (either at the top or bottom of the post) who wrote the individual entries. However similar the members of a group blog may be, inevitably they will disagree on some issues, and it's helpful to know who's speaking.
Nice Guys Don't Always Finish Last

Our buddy the Real Ugly American notices how friendly and helpful the blogosphere can be.

I'd just correct one thing, even if it makes me look even worse. He says:

He did the same thing to La Shawn Barber a while back and that’s how he learned.

Actually I knew before that, but I got ahead of myself and trackbacked to La Shawn after I had linked her, then forgot to save the changes to the post. So it was not ignorance but carelessness on my part. :(
US Forces Using Chemical Weapons?

That's what this story indicates.

Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.

Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.

Yellow light on this one. It comes from The Independent, which is one of the flakier London newspapers, and it's not even firsthand:

In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says: "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete.

"Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for."
Operation Soldier Event Coming Up This Weekend

Our buddy John passed this information onto us for any of you in the Fresno area:

Don’t forget that Operation Soldier will be on hand, with the Fresno Falcons, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL San Jose Sharks, at the Save Mart Center,

Friday, November 11th and Saturday, November 12th, 2005.

Friday’s Game is against the Utah Grizzlies and Saturday’s game is against those heated rivals, the San Diego Gulls. Both games start at 7:00pm.

Pre game events for Friday’s game include a military band, which will play the National Anthem, introduction of military personnel from WWII to the present, and the ceremonial first puck drop which will be done by Fresno’s own, Fresno Police Officer, and United States Army SSGT, Michael Toews, who was wounded in Iraq, during combat on October 1st.

The Falcons will be wearing desert camouflage jerseys both nights, to honor America’s military personnel. After the game on Saturday, the 12th, the jerseys will be auctioned off to the public with proceeds going to Operation Soldier, to further help their Patriot Down Foundation.

So come out and join the Fresno Falcons and Operation Soldier as we “Salute Our Troops” on Friday, November 11th, and Saturday, November 12th, at 7:00pm, both nights!

Operation Soldier is a terrific cause, run by one of Fresno's finest.
Brainster on the Radio

I will be on with Allman & Smash in the morning on Tuesday at 8:10 Central Time, which is 9:10 Eastern, Kitty. You can listen live here (requires Internet Explorer).

Update: Whoops! Looks like I got the date wrong. I'll let you know when my next appearance is scheduled.
There Goes That Talking Point

Researchers find that middle- and upper-middle-income youths are the ones joining the armed forces, not the poor.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Churchill's Quote Never So Apt--Updated

After Chamberlain returned from Munich with the "Peace" of paper:

"You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war."

Update: I realized that I may not have been clear about what I was referring to; it's Jacques Chirac and the French.
Were the French and the CIA Working Together to Discredit Bush?

Here's an extremely thought-provoking article in the American Thinker that lays out the possibilities.

Today Wilson claims to be a business agent for “African mining companies.” But Niger’s mines are owned by a French consortium, which operates cheek-by-jowl with the Quai d’Orsay. Niger itself is a semi-colony of France. No uranium sales go on there without the full knowledge and consent of the French government. Valerie Plame was quoted in a CIA memo as saying that “my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts)...” Lots of French contacts, indeed.
Weapons of Massey Destruction

GOP & The City has the story on a lying ex-marine.
Just a Beautiful and Heartwarming Story

Kudos to the Real Ugly American, who has a terrific post up on a tribute to a fallen hero. Keep your hankies ready!
Sometimes I Wish I Still Lived in San Francisco

I called it home from 1981-1984, and if I still lived there, getting photos of idiots like these would be easy.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin
You Might Have Missed This

One of the more curious beliefs among the Left is that the press has been overly deferential towards President Chimpy Shrub McHitler. Naomi Wolf (the woman who recommended Al Gore wear earthtones) articulates this in the Guardian today:

In the US comic strip, Peanuts, there is a little boy who is always followed by a cloud of dust. Wherever he goes, his cloud follows him. George Bush can't shake his personal cloud. The until recently eerily untouchable president has now lost his mojo. The man to whom the entire US press corps has been on its knees for four years is finally in the doghouse.

When you press them for examples of how the press has been overly friendly to President Bush, they usually cite the runup to the war, when the press accepted the administration's claims of WMD. Of course, the problem is that almost everybody accepted that Saddam has or was diligently pursuing the acquisition of WMD, so it seems a bit hard to blame the press.

But will this shift in the wind affect US relations with the larger world community? I think it could, but not, again, because our role at the UN will change or because we will have an awakening about our pathetic behaviour in relation to Kyoto. The shift in foreign relations will be an outcome of ordinary human shame. We were willing to be held in contempt by those effeminate Frogs - by "old Europe" - when we were intoxicated with ourselves: our isolationism made that easy. But now we are actually ashamed of ourselves at home, we can't bear international contempt in the same way. Now it hurts.

Read it all, and remember that Gore was paying this woman $15,000 a month to give him advice.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
As Predicted Here

The Democrats were paying attention to the debate over Miers:

SEN. KENNEDY: ...because we have seen--I think, at the arrival of Judge Bork, we have seen where a nominee was appointed solely really--not only was he a smart person but he was appointed primarily because of his judicial philosophy and that I think opened up the whole process to be able to kind of consider. And I think Democrats and Republicans, if you read the Republican statements about Miers, you would say the whole list of Republicans said, "We want to make sure we get into the whole issue of judicial philosophy." I think that that's fair. American people ought to understand that we aren't going to be something more than a rubber stamp.

Some of us still have some moral capital to argue that opposition to Alito should not be based on judicial philosophy. The gang over at NRO doesn't.
The Scale of the Rioting in France

According to this article, 1300 cars were burned last night. Thirteen hundred! Let's say that they're cheap cars worth on average $5,000. That's $6.5 million in automobiles alone.

And as usual in these riots, the worst hit areas are the ones the rioters call home. In other words, the rioters and the victims are probably both Muslim.
Bottom of the Deck

That's what I'd hope for at best in Aaron's new "Deck O' Bloggers". Making it tougher is that Hearts are reserved for female bloggers and Clubs for mil-bloggers, so that just leaves 26 spots open.

So I'll go for the bottom of the deck. Qualifications? About the only ones I can think of are:

1. Part of the blogging team that broke the Christmas in Cambodia story 2-1/2 months before the Swift Boat Vets (at Kerry Haters).

2. Solid job of identifying good smaller blogs before they became big blogs. Among others, I was the first to link My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (currently #46 in the TTLB) and Right Wing Nuthouse (Rick's now also writing regularly at the American Thinker).

3. Currently a Large Mammal in the TTLB.
Steyn On Target

You know the difference between bright and brilliant? A bright person is someone you agree with before they speak. A brilliant person is someone you agree with after they speak. Mark Steyn is brilliant.

''French youths,'' huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse? Granted that most of the "youths" are technically citizens of the French Republic, it doesn't take much time in les banlieus of Paris to discover that the rioters do not think of their primary identity as ''French'': They're young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity more implacable than anything you're likely to find in the Middle East. After four somnolent years, it turns out finally that there really is an explosive ''Arab street,'' but it's in Clichy-sous-Bois.

The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.

Read it all.


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Brainster in the Media

Howard Kurtz's Media Notes: May 27, 2005

Slate Today's Blogs:

March 16, 2005

May 9, 2005

June 3, 2005

Cited for Breaking the Christmas in Cambodia story (at Kerry Haters):

Hugh Hewitt: KerryHaters was on this story a long time ago. How could the elite media not have asked these questions before now?

Ankle-Biting Pundits: Our friends Pat and Kitty at Kerry Haters deserve the blog equivalent of a Pulitzer for their coverage of Kerry's intricate web of lies regarding Vietnam.

The Weekly Standard

Les Kinsolving

Greatest Hits

What If the Rest of the Fantastic Four Were Peaceniks?

Lefty Bloggers on Gay Witchhunt (linked by 16 blogs including Instapundit)

Kitty Myers Breaks Christmas in Cambodia

Brainster Shows Brinkley Says No Christmas in Cambodia

Explanation of the Blog's Name

Power Ratings Explained

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