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Saturday, April 07, 2007
Belt-Tightening In Michigan

The hard times in the Rust Belt has clearly led to some outside the box thinking:

We have come to the conclusion that the crisis Michigan faces is not a shortage of revenue, but an excess of idiocy. Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.

It's for the educational value, though! Since so many kids load up their iPods with books on CD, this will no doubt result in higher SAT scores for Michigan students. Now, some might say that spending like this in the midst of a budget crisis is frivolous, but you've gotta spend a little to make a lot. I foresee a lot of people moving to Michigan just so their kids can have a free iPod. This will lead to a recovery in the housing and job markets.

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Friday, April 06, 2007
Some Products to Avoid

You know, she does comedic bits even better than serious bits. Terrific job, Mrs. M!

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Rosie's Support Shows Truthers a Small Minority

Over at Stop Rosie, there are 25,600 signatures on the petition pledging not to watch The View. Over at Defend Rosie, Alex Jones and crew try to con people into believing there are 8,000 signatures and counting:

But when you click on the signature page, there are only 2,600 signatures as of about ten minutes ago:


Thursday, April 05, 2007
Darryl Stingley Dies

If you were a football fan in the 1970s you remember him. He was a wide receiver for the New England Patriots, paralyzed after taking a hit from Jack Tatum in a preseason game in 1978.

An autopsy revealed contributing factors were bronchial pneumonia, quadriplegia, spinal cord injury and coronary atherosclerosis, the medical examiner's office said.

"I am deeply saddened by the death of Darryl Stingley," Tatum said in a statement released by the Raiders. "Darryl will be forever remembered for his strength and courage. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Amen. Tatum took a lot of criticism over the event, but it was just a good, solid NFL hit.

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Mitt's Poll "Surge"

I am pleased to see that Hugh Hewitt doesn't buy this given the source.

It has been 13 months since Zogby's idiotic "poll" of American troops in Iraq, and he still hasn't come clean on that set-up job.

It is a smart man indeed who knows enough to discount news that fits his personal bias. Hewitt is indeed a smart man.

Looking at the poll, I see a rather obvious problem:

This is a telephone survey of [Republican Primary Voters] conducted by Zogby International. The target sample is [502] interviews with approximately [26] questions asked. Samples are randomly drawn from telephone cd’s of national listed sample.

However, as political pros know, New Hampshire's registered independent voters can vote in either primary (but not both), so figuring out who Republican primary voters are can get a tad tricky. Of course, typically one primary or the other features a non-competitive race, something that may not happen this election, making figuring out who will be voting in which primary even tougher than usual.

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Hiss Debate Continues

Actually this was resolved on several occasions (Hiss' perjury conviction, the Venona transcripts), but the Left can't let go of their fantasy that Hiss was persecuted by the evil Richard Nixon.

A Russian researcher, delving anew into once-secret Soviet files from the Cold War, says she has found no evidence that Alger Hiss spied or that Soviet intelligence had any particular interest in him.

In a speech to be delivered at a New York University symposium Thursday, Svetlana A. Chervonnaya says neither Hiss' name nor his alleged spy moniker, Ales, appears in any of dozens of documents from Soviet archives that she has reviewed since the early 1990s.

A copy of the speech was made available to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Calling her efforts "proving the negative," Chervonnaya says "a thorough combing of all the said archives combined has not produced a shred of evidence that Alger Hiss had ever been a member of the (American) Communist Party and was engaged in any behind-the-scenes interactions with the Soviets."

This proves nothing except that she did not find his name or moniker in the documents she looked at. The idea that this proves Hiss did not spy for the Russians is ridiculous. As always look at the motivations of the people putting this out:

Chervonnaya was one of several scholars, writers and historians scheduled to speak Thursday at a daylong symposium, "Alger Hiss and History," inaugurating New York University's new Center for the United States and the Cold War.

Others on the program included Hiss' son, Tony Hiss, and stepson, Timothy Hobson, who were expected to recall their family life with the man whose name became a synonym for Cold War espionage. Both have always maintained Hiss was innocent.


Romney the Big Game Hunter

Once again, Mitt does himself in by trying to be what he's not:

To hear Mitt Romney talk on the campaign trail, you might think the Republican presidential candidate had a gun rack in the back of his pickup truck.

"I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," he said this week in Keene, N.H., to a man sporting a National Rifle Association cap.

Yet the former Massachusetts governor's hunting experience is limited to two trips at the bookends of his 60 years: as a 15-year-old, when he hunted rabbits with his cousins on a ranch in Idaho, and last year, when he shot quail on a fenced game preserve in Georgia.

You know, Mitt, it's no shame that you've not hunted a lot; I think my last trip was after birds with a friend's BB gun around age 12. I am a good shot at the range, but you don't go hunting with a pistol and I certainly wouldn't go claiming to be any kind of hunter. Don't pretend to be a NASCAR fan or a golf nut if it isn't you. Show us what you really do. Even Kerry did that with his bicycling and that weird kite-surfing thing.

I hate to keep bagging on this guy, because I really do like him and find his resume incredibly compelling. But he doesn't seem to realize that you have to be honest with the people to get their vote.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007
An Even More Compassionate Conservative?

Rudy Giuliani makes the case for taxpayer-funded abortions.

"Ultimately, it's a constitutional right, and therefore if it's a constitutional right, ultimately, even if you do it on a state by state basis, you have to make sure people are protected," Giuliani said in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash in Florida's capital city.

A video clip of the then-mayoral candidate issuing a similar declaration in 1989 in a speech to the "Women's Coalition" appeared recently on the Internet.

"There must be public funding for abortions for poor women," Giuliani says in the speech that is posted on the video sharing site YouTube. "We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decisions about abortion."

When asked directly Wednesday if he still supported the use of public funding for abortions, Giuliani said "Yes."

"If it would deprive someone of a constitutional right," he explained, "If that's the status of the law, yes."

But the presidential candidate reiterated his personal opposition to the practice.

"I'm in the same position now that I was 12 years ago when I ran for mayor -- which is, personally opposed to abortion, don't like it, hate it, would advise that woman to have an adoption rather than abortion, hope to find the money for it," he said. "But it is your choice, an individual right. You get to make that choice, and I don't think society should be putting you in jail."

That's a big part of why I think abortion should be legal myself; but I support the repeal of Roe (leave the issue up to the states), and I oppose taxpayer-funded abortions. Let the feminists raise money to pay for them.

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British Muslim Terrorists Next Threat?

Michael Chertoff believes so:

The July 7 tube and bus bombs nearly two years ago had shown that Britain had a problem with its Muslim immigrant population that America did not share, he argued.

"Our Muslim population is better educated and economically better off than the average American. So, from a standpoint of mobility in society, it's a successful immigrant population. To some degree, the whole country is a country of immigrants, and therefore there's no sense that we have insiders or outsiders. In some countries [in Europe], you had an influx of people that came in as a colonial legacy and may have always have felt, to some extent, that they were viewed as second-class citizens, and they've tended to impact and be kind of clustered in some areas."

Mr Chertoff, a former federal prosecutor, said that one of his biggest worries was that "unknown terrorists" - such as most of the 7/7 bombers, who were British citizens with no criminal record or intelligence traces - could use the visa waiver scheme to enter and attack America.

It certainly does seem that America does a better job of integrating its minority populations than Europe.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Watching Romney Shrink

The efforts of some in the media to keep Mitt Romney's hopes alive is quite amusing. Although the AP has apparently changed the lede to this story, it originally read as follows:

When early polls showed him trailing Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, Mitt Romney urged all listeners to watch his presidential campaign blossom over the long election season. On Monday, it burst into full glory after just three months.The former Massachusetts governor, still relatively unknown across the country, bested not only McCain and Giuliani in first-quarter fundraising, but posted a staggering $23 million....

Of which, a little over 10% was raised from one contributor: Mitt Romney.

Romney pointed to his total raised — which included a $2.35 million personal loan — as a measure of his political support. His two leading rivals raised lesser sums, with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani saying he raised $15 million, and McCain, the Arizona senator who is making a second run for the presidency, reporting $12.5 million.


Monday, April 02, 2007
A Ride with the Patriot Guards

Our buddy Gawfer got on his hawg and participated in a ride for one of our fallen soldiers.

After arriving at the church, the widow of SSgt Webb came out to great us and we each had the opportunity to express our personal condolences to her and her family. That in itself was worth the ride, but she also invited us to participate with the color guard toward the end of the service. Veterans were invited and encouraged to snap a salute while taps were played, and the Ride Captain ‘Sparks’ called to "Present Arms!" and "Order Arms!" Nobody does that like a Marine!

Indeed, the ride home was a quiet and thoughtful, saying a prayer for the family of SSgt Webb and one for a safe ride for my fellow PGRs. I am a better person for it.

Great job, Gary!

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2008 Election Wrapup

Hillary's got sacks of money, but so may Obama:

Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign raised a record-setting $26 million for her presidential campaign in the first three months of a year, an impressive feat that may nonetheless be overshadowed in the next few days by news that Sen. Barack Obama managed to keep pace.

Is Fred Thompson a serious candidate? Bob Novak says yes:

Thompson's popularity reflects weakness among announced Republican candidates, as reflected in the Gallup survey. Sen. McCain, no longer an insurgent but still not accepted by conservatives, is stuck in the 20-25 percent range. Former New York City Mayor Giuliani has dropped precipitously from 44 percent to 31 percent, amid attacks on his ideology and personal life. Most startling, despite a well-financed, well-organized campaign, Romney has fallen to 3 percent.

Slate's John Dickerson says no:

Authenticity and star power conjure visions of Ronald Reagan. But Reagan had genuine experience running something—namely the state of California. Thompson's résumé is thin—an undistinguished eight years in the Senate, an acting career, and a youthful turn as co-counsel in the Watergate hearings. Supporters try to pump up his résumé by boasting that he shepherded John Roberts through his confirmation hearings—but that was the legal equivalent of walking Michael Jordan onto the court.

Mitt's pretty good at shaking the money tree:

Republican Mitt Romney reported raising $23 million for his presidential campaign during the first three months of the year, shaking up the GOP field and rivaling the total reported a day earlier by Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, that 3% poll rating may dry the well up rapidly. And indeed, Mitt's money man sounds like he's thinking of moving on:

"Back in January, I had no idea that Fred was even thinking about it," Welch said. "I went ahead and committed to (Massachusetts Gov.) Mitt Romney because I thought he was the best of the lot that had shown interest in running. It would be very inappropriate and very unfair for me to say to Mitt Romney, 'Hey, Fred Thompson decided to run and I'm gone. Bye.' I'm not going to do anything like that. I made
a commitment, and I'm going to stick with it, so long as he is in the race.

"If he, for some reason, were to drop out, my choice would naturally be Fred Thompson."

Welch made sure to say that last sentence several times: If Romney's out, Thompson is Welch's guy.

Animal Rights nutbars are up in arms over Rudy's wife's involvement with a firm that operated on dogs to demonstrate medical staples.

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Farewell, Britain

The wimpification of the British continues apace:

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

Hey, aren't these the same school teachers who courageously teach evolution and sex education despite the fact that Christian fundamentalists object? What could possibly be the difference here?

Oh, yeah, that.

More at the Flight Deck and Blogmeister USA.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007
TAR Work Shall Make You Free

General comments: A long and ultimately unsatisfying episode that nonetheless had some very high points. Teams start out in Zanzibar and must make their way to Warsaw. Phil discloses that at this point, the Old Gay team is an incredible 16 hours behind the leaders, One and a Half Women.

As was the case once before this season, teams have assigned seats on one flight but they are free to locate an earlier flight. However, to say that the service at the Zanzibar Travel Agency is not the best is perhaps putting it mildly. The Beauty Queens manage to get a flight arriving at 9:10 AM. Joyce and Uchenna catch another flight that will connect with that one. In the meantime, Mirna and Charla and the young gays endure 7 hours of searching before they finally find a flight that will get them in at 9:45. But Joyce & Uchenna miss their connection and now they are stuck at Mt Kilamanjaro?

Things also turn out badly for Old Gay and the Frat Boy and Danielle, as they are stuck taking the scheduled flight, which then misses its connection. Looks like the BQs are doing quite well this evening! They make it to Warsaw first, and head to a castle where Chopin lived.

There they must choose between Perfect Angle and Perfect Pitch. In Perfect Angle they must carry a mannequin to an X-ray clinic, where, by positioning the mannequin correctly, they will find their next clue in an X-Ray. In Perfect Pitch, they must find the one key on a piano that is out of tune and tune it. The BQs kick butt on piano tuning, and head for the next clue, a monument to a war hero. From there they head to the Pit Stop. Huh? No Roadblock this episode? They win a trip to Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile the Young Gays and One and a Half Women are having trouble with the piano tuning, but the former finally get it, as do Uchenna and Joyce. One and a Half Women decide to bail and go for the X-Ray Machine.

And suddenly they announce that because of the extreme lag between teams, they announce that the Beauty Queens have now started the next leg. What the... is this a double episode? A check at the clock confirms that we are carrying over. The teams must go to Auschwitz on either of two charter buses.

As the other teams arrive at the mat, I am convinced that this will not be an elimination leg, and sure enough, even though the Old Gays arrive last, they are only marked for Phil-Limination if they don't finish first on the next leg. This is actually a big boon for Eric and Danielle, who are far behind the other teams, but effectively a half hour ahead of the Old Gays.

The BQs, Young Gays, and Joyce & Uchenna catch the first bus to Auschwitz, while One and a Half Women get stuck behind with the other two teams. This looks pretty unfair, but the worst is yet to come. After touring Auscwitz and lighting a candle to the victims (at which point everybody gets appropriately emotional) the teams are told to make their way to a theatre in Krakow. Joyce & Uchenna and the young gays arrive first and are greeted by an Intersection, where two teams must pair up.

This really hoses the Beauty Queens, who now must wait for the second bus, which was four hours behind theirs, to arrive. Worse still, the Intersection includes a fast forward, by which the first two teams can zip ahead. The Fast Forward task turns out to be ridiculously easy; count the steps in two large towers. Joyce & Uchenna and the Young Gays get it right the first time and move far into the lead, while the BQs must wait.

They strategize as to which team would be best to join up with but in the end they take the first one to arrive, which is Charla & Mirna. Detour: Eat It Up or Roll It Up. They must either make some kielbasa and eat it (2 feet apiece), or roll up 20 bagels. Looking at Charla, I gotta thing that eating nearly her height in sausage is going to kill her, but they decide on that task. The other team, the Frat Boy and Danielle and the Old Gays decide initially to make bagels, but it turns out that they can't locate the shop, so they decide to wolf down the meat. As predicted, Charla has a tough time, eventually she finished just as the other team is complete.

The teams must now go to another castle. Roadblock. One member of the team must wear a suit of shining armor and guide a horse a half mile to the castle. Charla does it for One and a Half Women, with predictably comical results. Meanwhile things are looking grim for Old Gay, who are ahead of the Frat Boy & GF, but not by enough to survive a 30-minute penalty. And, when they reach the mat in fifth they must stand by to be Phil-Liminated.

General commments, Part Two: This episode revealed why the bunching maneuvers (which have been minimal this season) work so well to enhance the drama. Without them the BQs would have waltzed easily to victory because they were the only team to get the really early flight to Warsaw. The three teams now at the back of the pack (BQs, One and a Half and Frat Boy and GF) are now going to need to hope for another bunching to catch them up to the leaders.

As always, check out Viking Pundit's recap as well.


Steyn on the Brits

On the money, as usual:

But this is a season of anniversaries. A few days ago, the European Union was celebrating its 50th birthday with the usual lame-o Euro-boosterism. I said up above that the 15 hostages are "British subjects." But, as a point of law, they are also "citizens of the European Union." Even Oxford and Hoover's Timothy Garton Ash, one of the most indefatigable of those Euro-boosters, seemed to recognize the Iranian action was a challenge to Europe's pretensions. "Fifteen Europeans were kidnapped from Iraqi territorial waters by Iranian Revolutionary Guards," he wrote. "Those 14 European men and one European woman have been held at an undisclosed location for nearly a week, interrogated, denied consular access, but shown on Iranian television, with one of them making a staged 'confession,' clearly under duress. So if Europe is as it claims to be, what's it going to do about it?''

Short answer: Nothing.

Slightly longer answer: The 15 "European" hostages aren't making that much news in "Europe." And, insofar as they have, other "Europeans" -- i.e., Belgians, Germans and whatnot -- don't look on the 15 hostages as "Europeans" but as Brits. Europe has more economic leverage on Iran than America has. The European Union is the Islamic Republic's biggest trading partner, accounting for 40 percent of Iranian exports. They are in a position to inflict serious pain on Tehran. But not for 15 British servicemen. There may be "European citizens," but there is no European polity.

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