Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Questionable Accuracy

Here's a story out of Afghanistan:

Afghan forces kill 2 Taliban, woman, child in siege
By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan security forces surrounded a house in the capital Kabul on Wednesday and traded gunfire with Taliban insurgents before blowing up the building and killing two militants as well as a woman and child inside, officials said.

The two dead Taliban fighters were involved in a botched attempt to assassinate President Hamid Karzai on Sunday, but they had also received help from some government officials, senior ministers and a security official told a news conference.

"Investigations make clear that the enemy had infiltrated to some extent into some of our security organs and those involved have been arrested with all their networks," said Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak.

The identities of those who helped facilitate the attack would be revealed after the president's approval, said the head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Amrullah Saleh.

Taliban gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades and small arms at a state parade on Sunday sending President Hamid Karzai, his cabinet and the military top brass diving for cover. Three people were shot dead the before troops killed three Taliban attackers.

The same Taliban network was behind both attacks, Interior Minister Zarar Ahmad Moqbel said.

Afghan security forces surrounded the house on a hillside close to the old city during the night following tip-offs from those arrested after Sunday's violence, Wardak said.

After about 10 hours of battling the militants, NDS officers blew up the house killing the two Taliban fighters and a woman and child inside, Saleh said.

OK. So what's the problem with this story? The headline. I firmly believe that one can be accurate while still slanting the news to point the reader in the direction the writer wants them to go, or to elicit an underlying emotion that can influence the reader's perspective.

This story is about Taliban insurgents being tracked down, fought and killed. The fact that there was a woman and child in the house could have been presented in a number of ways, but the writer here chose to make it a point from the beginning that the woman and child were killed by security forces -- and the headline makes the same point, that the fact that the woman and child died is one of the main points of the story that the reader should come away with.

If a woman and child are in the house with Taliban militants engaged in a 10-hour battle, are they necessarily innocent civilians?

First off, women and youths have taken part in suicide bombings, so I don't think gender and age automatically disqualify someone as an insurgent.

As well, a child can be 1, 5, 12 or 15 ... so the fact that no age for the child is given, the reader doesn't really know how much of a "child" that child actually was.

Take into consideration the fact that the pair were in the house, for a 10-hour battle, and could have gotten out -- so were they there on their own? Were they held hostage by the Taliban (because as has been seen numerous times, radical Muslim fighters have no problem hiding among women and children so that shooting back at them makes the defender the aggressor)?

To me, the fact that a woman and child were killed in the battle is a side note, one that should not be in the headline, not in the lead of the story. And, if the reporter was going to make such a point of it, then he should have investigated the pair more before making it.

The way I see it, the "big news" in the story would be that Afghan forces found, fought and killed people they believe responsible for an assassination attempt. Bringing in the mysterious woman and child is just a way to make the reader lean toward the viewpoint that the Afghan security forces kill women and children.

You see it all the time -- when Palestinians launch rockets into Israel, you never hear things like "and the rocket landed near a bunch of kids," or "Palestinians fired a rocket into a marketplace where there were dozens of women and children" .... but as soon as Israel strikes back and blows up a house full of bloodthirsty Hamas militants loading their weapons for the next attack, you're sure to be told that "a 2-year-old boy was hit with shrapnel," or you'll be told exactly how far away the nearest child was.

In the story above, you're briefly told about the Taliban firing rockets and guns into a parade -- but were you told if any children or women were in the vicinity? What about the 3 people that were killed in that attack? Nothing.

Read all the news stories, you'll see the pattern -- any time Israel strikes Hamas, or coalition forces strike al-Qaida, or Afghan forces strike the Taliban, you're sure to read about innocent women and children killed in those instances, and the stories never examine the fact that the terrorists seem to always be surrounded by women and children.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Exercise in Futility

Here's a video clip of a drug dealer with a razor blade attacking a female prosecutor in a NYC courtroom:

Now, aside from the fact that I think the guy should be strung up by the johnson for attacking a woman, I have to ask -- what exactly did this guy think was going to happen?

Let's say he was able to cut up the woman with the razor ... then what? Did he think he was going to somehow NOT get in trouble? Was the plan to cut up every single person in the room and escape? Or was it just an attempt to inflict harm on someone, just because?


Don't Ban Guns, Bad Idiots

Here's a rich one:

Palm Beach Post

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

WEST PALM BEACH — It could've been a typical spat between grocery store customer and manager, with the customer announcing he planned to take his business elsewhere. But then the customer drew his gun. The store manager drew his and so did the assistant manager.

It all happened at 5 p.m. Monday at the IGA Supermarket at 1000 36th St. in West Palm Beach. And in the end, West Palm Beach police arrested customer Marshall Hugo Grant for attempted first-degree murder, shooting into an occupied dwelling, aggravated assault with a firearm and carrying a concealed firearm.

Police reported Tuesday morning that Grant, 73, entered the store through the exit despite manager Marino Hernandez's warning not to enter that way. The confrontation escalated, Grant drew a handgun; assistant manager Roberto Espinal drew his handgun. Hernandez also pulled a gun. Grant backed out of the store, firing three times as he went, the arrest report states.

The managers, who witnesses said never returned fire, ended up surrounding Grant, who hid behind a vehicle while continuing to fire, according to the police report. Grant eventually surrendered his weapon to the managers, once they told him police were on their way.

Grant appeared Tuesday morning before Judge Nancy Perez, who ordered him held without bond while he undergoes a psychiatric examination.

WTF? The guy draws his piece over an argument?

A great example of why you shouldn't ban guns, you should ban idiots.

A Reason for Liberals to Watch FOX News

Hillary Clinton is going to make her first-ever appearance on FOX News Channel Wednesday night on the O'Reilly Factor.

Watch it. If you have to tape it, or TEVO it, then do it. But this, to me, is a major turning point for the Democrats in the 2008 election -- after most of the original candidates shunned FOX and wouldn't even take part in debates with each other if it was hosted by FOX, it's interesting to think that someone finally told Hillary that the 2 million or so nightly viewers of the Factor might be interested in what she has to say.

And, let's see how long after that it takes for Obama to go on O'Reilly's show.

Messing With the Home Team

From Local 6 in Florida:

Swimmers were again cleared from a New Smyrna Beach Monday after a third swimmer in three days was bitten by a shark and treated at a hospital.

The latest victim was the ninth recorded shark bite of the year in Volusia County, putting the number of bites ahead of the record breaking "Year Of The Shark" in 2001, according to beach records. Monday's bite happened when an 18-year-old was trying to get back on a surfboard near the Ponce De Leon Inlet's south jetty.

The victim received stitches at a Central Florida hospital.Several shark sightings in the water prompted lifeguards to clear the water Monday, Local 6 reported. Meanwhile, over the weekend two different swimmers were treated at hospitals after being bitten by sharks. A 24-year-old man stepped off of his surfboard in chest-deep water near a jetty in New Smyrna Beach Sunday and was bitten on his right calf.

He was taken to Bert Fish Medical Center and treated. On Saturday, a 21-year-old man was treated at a hospital after a shark bit his foot while he was surfing in the same area Saturday. Officials said Mark Pattison of Lake Mary was injured Saturday after he got of his surfboard near a jetty in New Smyrna Beach. Capt. Jack Driskell of the Volusia County Beach Patrol said the man's injuries were not life-threatening. He underwent minor surgery Saturday.

In 2001, there were some 22 recorded bites -- the most ever in Volusia County. By the end of April 2001, there had only been eight bites in the area, one less than this year, beach records said.

I really like sharks, I think they are amazing creatures, and they scare the hell out of me. But, once someone gets bitten (or eaten), wouldn't you think people would stop swimming there?

Things That Taught Me To Be A Good Person

Part of the reason that I despise people so much is because of the television I watched as a kid.

With all the sex and violence and just plain awful things that kids are exposed to on TV these days, the kids are just taught to be egocentric, horny little lunatics.

It's not even so much that the stuff I was exposed to was so completely clean -- there was plenty of sexual innuendo, it was just subtle.

And even then, the important difference is that bad people were treated as such and, more often than not, ended up feeling the consequences of their actions.

When I was really little, it was basically Magic Garden, Electric Company, Looney Tunes, the Superfriends, Batman, The Brady Bunch, Happy Days ... morning TV was cartoons that were really like cartoons, the Little Rascals, the Stooges ...

Basically, everything taught me to be a good person. When the characters would do something wrong, they were usually sorry by the end of the show. Diff'rent Strokes, the Facts of Life, All in the Family ....

At what point did the sex go from "fooling around" to really explicit stuff?

Anyway, the whole reason I wrote this is because I just found the Web page for the 2 chicks from Magic Garden, Carole Demas and Paula Janis.

If you don't know what it is, don't worry about it -- it's just a show that taught me (a) all the little life lessons in a fun way, and (b) taught me that I liked girls, even if I didn't know what that had to do with anything, because I would just sit their mesmerized by their singing. And the hair, the hair was good. I had a thing for Carole, the one not with the guitar. Yeah, big time, the hair in the pigtails? And, as far as I'm concerned, the style is still fantastic -- jeans, boots ... the whole western thing.

But I digress. The point is that these 2 are alive and well, and you can download an order form from their site where you can buy DVDs, hats ... very cool.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Waiting for the Libs to Start Crying

Check this out:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former White House press secretary Tony Snow will join CNN as a conservative commentator beginning Monday.

CNN president Jon Klein announced that Snow, a long-time political observer with a longstanding news background, will contribute to CNN as the network continues to broadcast winning political coverage.

Snow most recently served as press secretary to President Bush. For 10 years, beginning in 1996, he appeared on Fox News Channel as the host of Fox News Sunday, Weekend Live with Tony Snow and other programs. Before joining Fox, Snow served as a substitute "From the Right" co-host for CNN's Crossfire.

Snow has also been a newspaper writer, radio host and columnist, and a speechwriter in the administration of the first President Bush.

So now that a guy who worked for Bush, and used to work for FOX News, is on staff at CNN, how long will it tale the liberals to start moaning about how CNN is turning "right wing"?

I guess if he gets on the air and gives the old "Bush lied, puppies died" line, the libs will embrace him and talk about how great he is. But, if he goes on TV and tells it like it is, then they'll bash him, and I can guarantee at least some of them will mock him for his illness, too. I've noticed that the "compassionate" libs are the first ones to say really hateful, nasty personal things about the people they disagree with, especially when they have no real counter argument, which is often.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Funny Dyslexia

There are some words and letters that I always seem to transpose or misspell, like a completely involuntary thing.

Some of the regulars include "univeristy" ... mostly when typing "university," transposing Rs and 9s ... yeah, I don't get the relation between a letter and a number, but like I said, completely involuntary.

But I realized the best one today.

When I type "Home Depot," for some reason, I get "Home Deport" ....

If you don't see why that's funny, don't worry about it, it means you wouldn't think it's funny even if you knew.

Not To Say I Told You So ...

Here's a neat little story from the LA Times:

NEW YORK -- Anger at ABC News over the approach its moderators took in this week's Democratic debate continued to spill forth online Friday, with many people writing that they will no longer watch the network's newscasts.

The fierce criticism of the questions posed by moderators Charles Gibson and George
Stephanopoulos to Sen. Barack Obama comes as ABC's "World News With Charles Gibson" has been locked in a tight race with "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams" to be the top-rated network evening newscast.

Whether the controversy will dampen viewership of ABC News' flagship broadcast remains to be seen. But in many of the 20,000-plus comments posted on, viewers said the tone of the debate undermined ABC's credibility and soured them on the network.

"I can't trust that you could ever deliver a fair and balanced news story after the debate," read one comment posted Friday morning. "My choice will be to tune in elsewhere."

Jon Banner, executive producer of "World News," said he did not think the heated reaction would affect viewership of the broadcast.

"There are a lot of things that go into the performance and the ratings of the evening newscasts," he said. "We will continue to cover this election from a position of strength. I would venture to say that our political coverage is the best in the business.

"It's a free country," he added. "If people want to stop watching, they'll stop watching. But I'm hopeful they'll stick with us."

The criticism began shortly after Wednesday's 90-minute debate in Philadelphia, the first half of which was dominated by questions to
Obama about his electability. Among other matters, Gibson and Stephanopoulos pressed the candidate about incendiary remarks made by his onetime pastor and about Obama's association with a 1960s radical.

Many media critics disparaged the debate's focus, and supporters of the Illinois senator decried the line of questioning as trivial and irrelevant. ABC News' website was immediately bombarded with posts complaining about the tone. Comments kept pouring in Friday.

"This was tabloid TV at best, not what I expected from ABC or Charlie Gibson," wrote one. "Some of us actually live in the real world and care much more about real issues like food and gas prices, losing our health care, etc., not what someone said in church or 40 years ago."

"This was a sad day for ABC," read another post. "It was my last time to consider watching ABC evening news. . . . Peter Jennings would have NEVER done this."

Executives on rival broadcasts said that it was difficult to know how much of an effect the debate would have on the audience but that they would not be surprised if viewing patterns shifted.

"There are a lot of factors as to why people watch any of these broadcasts, but one of them is getting to know the anchor as a person," said Alexandra Wallace, executive producer of "NBC Nightly News." "It's not just what they do between 6:30 and 7."

Said Rick
Kaplan, executive producer of "CBS Evening News": "It's never a good idea to irritate the audience."
I have an idea for people just realizing that ABC, NBC and CBS are full of partisan, slanted crap: WATCH FOX!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Stop Persecuting the Polygamists!

This is starting to irritate the hell out of me.

As the offensive persecution of a group of polygamists continues in Texas, the latest story is:

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — Girls in the West Texas polygamist sect enter into underage marriages without resistance because they are ruthlessly indoctrinated from birth to believe disobedience will lead to their damnation, experts for the state testified Friday at a custody hearing for 416 youngsters.
The renegade Mormon sect’s belief system "is abusive. The culture is very authoritarian," said Dr. Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist and an authority on children in cults.
But under questioning from defense lawyers who lined up in the courtroom aisles to have a turn at each witness, the state’s experts acknowledged that the sect mothers were loving parents and that there were no signs of abuse among younger girls and any of the boys.

Now, here's what ticks me off the most: Are you going to tell me that Islam, or Orthodox Judaism, or hardcore Catholicism, are any less "authoritarian"?

Mostly, look at what Islam does to women, and then explain to me how come the polygamists' "belief system" is being attacked, but if you even breathe a word against Islam, you're branded a racist?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just Another Rich Guy Spouting Off

Check this out:

NEW YORK (AP) ― Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has decided against his own White House run, said Thursday that his endorsement will go to the most straight-talking candidate, adding that "at least we'll have an adult in office who can lead and can accomplish something."

Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, later ducked a question about whether he was taking a shot at President Bush, and cracked a joke instead.

"He's not a candidate for office. There's a Constitutional provision that prevents him from running for a third term, and last I checked, he wasn't trying to change it, nor was anybody advocating that it gets changed, as far as I know," Bloomberg said.

I hate it when really rich people are allowed to be involved in politics just because they have money. I mean, come on, really, do you give a rat's ass what Michael Bloomberg thinks about anything? As far as I'm concerned, his opinion matters about as much as mine -- not a whole hell of a lot. People should look at their choices and make up their own minds, instead of listening to people with purchased influence.

Another Victim of "Fake Racism"

Here's a story from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Moving to nip in the bud some potential bad press, White House hopeful Barack Obama's campaign persuaded a delegate to step down after she was ticketed for calling her neighbor's African-American children "monkeys."

Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski, a Carpentersville village trustee, was elected as an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention. She sports an Obama sign in her front yard.

On Saturday, two neighbor children were playing in the tree next-door to her house.

Ramirez-Sliwinski "came outside and told the children to quit playing in the tree like monkeys. The tree was not on Ramirez-Sliwinski's property," Carpentersville Police Commander Michael
Kilbourne said.

Ramirez-Sliwinski admitted she used the word "monkeys," but said she did not intend racism. She said she was only trying to protect them from falling out of the tree.

"Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski said she saw the kids playing in the tree and didn't want them falling out of the tree and getting hurt. She said she calls her own grandchildren 'monkeys,' " Kilbourne said. The mother of one of the children did not see it that way, noting she and Ramirez-Sliwinski have clashed before.

"She felt it was racist because of the fact the children were African-American," Kilbourne said.

Told of the incident Monday by the Sun-Times, Obama's campaign called Ramirez-Sliwinski and
persuaded her to step aside as a delegate because the campaign felt her remarks were "divisive and unacceptable."

"Given the incident, she is stepping down as a delegate and will be replaced," said campaign spokesman Ben Labolt.

Ramirez-Sliwinski did not return messages seeking comment Monday. She told the Daily Herald she meant no racism with her comment but that "after this incident, I will not run again" for trustee.

The only Hispanic on the board, Ramirez-Sliwinski has been a strong voice for Carpentersville's 40 percent Hispanic population. She and Village President Bill Sarto opposed an English-only proposition and an ordinance to crack down on illegal immigrants.

"Frankly, I don't see a law that was broken here," Sarto said. "I think this entire thing has been blown out of proportion. She's a good neighor. She went over to caution the children to be
careful not to fall out of a tree. She has never indicated to me any prejudice whatsoever. We have a trustee who has been convicted on four counts of domestic battery and refuses to resign from the board. He beat his wife with a baseball bat. This seems far less egregious to me."

Ramirez-Sliwinski's $75 ticket was for "disorderly conduct," which Kilbourne defined as, "when a person does something that alarms or disturbs another."

Wow. So, let me just say right off the bat -- if you think this was a racist comment, then you're not very bright. If I were attempting to liken a child climbing in a tree to an animal that spends time climbing around in trees, monkeys would probably be the first thing I would think of. What else? I'm sure there are some lizards that hang out in trees, and maybe snakes, but they don't really climb the way a person would.

So this woman is not only ticketed, but she loses her position as well? This is just ridiculous. If the kids in the tree were white, or Asian, or Hispanic, there would be no problem. So maybe, just maybe, the problem is not racism, but rather the over-sensitivity of some blacks and the willingness of those same people to automatically think anything that could potentially be considered a racist remark is automatically a racist remark.

Does this mean that no black child can ever dress up like a ghost for Halloween, so no one refers to them as a "spook"?

You know, though, I don't think it would have mattered what Ramirez-Sliwinski called the kids -- she could have just told them to get out of the tree, and I would bet the kids' mother still would be crying some sort of discrimination, because there are too many people who just spend their days looking to be a victim of something.

The worst part is that Ramirez-Sliwinski was giving the kids some good advice (Ever fall out of a tree? It hurts, especially when you hit branches on the way down.), and they've now been taught not only to ignore that advice, but also how to play the race card any time they have an opportunity. I feel bad for them, having an idiot for a mother.

Jimmy Carter is a Fool

Jimmy Carter -- whose attempt at the presidency should have shown him that he's just no good at dealing with aggressive nations -- is now meeting with members of Hamas, a known terrorist group that routinely tries to kill innocent people for fun and profit.

CAIRO (AP) - Former President Carter is meeting with a Hamas delegation from Gaza, part of a series of talks with the Islamic militant group that has drawn sharp criticism from U.S. and Israeli officials.

An Associated Press reporter saw the Hamas delegation going into the meeting Thursday at a Cairo hotel and a Hamas coordinator in Egypt said they were meeting with Carter. The coordinator spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The meeting was held under heavy security shortly after Carter met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Hamas officials said Wednesday that Carter's meetings with its leaders will boost the group's legitimacy despite criticism by Israel and the U.S. government of the former president's personal peace mission.

So, there's really no other way to say this: Is Jimmy Carter a complete moron? I know siding with terrorists is what many liberals seem to think is cool, but even the Hamas "official" recognized that Carter's visit would "boost the group's legitimacy."

The stupidity of this visit astounds me. But it's the way the American left works -- if someone shows that they are violent and kills innocent people, the best thing to do is try and appease them so they will only kill other people and not you.

Funny. The last time Carter tried his goofy hand at massaging terrorists' egos, we had Americans held hostage for more than a year.

It took a Republican about 20 minutes to get them released, by simply letting the terrorists know we would be willing to wipe their nation off the face of the Earth if they kept screwing around.

So, while Carter goes and kisses terrorists' asses, the terrorists are enjoying the publicity, and trying to think of new and creative ways to kill people in order to get what they want.

Funny -- conservatives who support war are labeled "warmongers" by the left, but Muslims who kill people for giggles are somehow viewed as the victims.

"Inciting Hatred" vs. "Real Hatred"

Famed actress Brigitte Bardot is in trouble -- again -- for what prosecutors call "inciting hatred" against Muslims.

PARIS (AP) - Brigitte Bardot is back on trial in France, facing charges of fanning discrimination and racial hatred against Muslims.

In a Paris court hearing Tuesday, prosecutors said they are seeking a two-month suspended prison sentence and a $23,900 fine against the former screen siren and animal rights campaigner.

Bardot, 73, was not present for the hearing. A verdict is expected June 3.

A leading French anti-racism group known as MRAP filed suit last year over a letter that Bardot sent to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, and which was published in her foundation's quarterly journal.

In the letter to Sarkozy, now the president, Bardot accused France's Muslim population of destroying France, and complained about the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.

French anti-racism laws prevent inciting hatred and discrimination on racial or religious or racial grounds. Bardot has been convicted four times for inciting racial hatred.

That sounds more like an opinion than "inciting hatred" .... Are these people for real? So, Muslims can chant death threats against everyone, from villagers to the queen, and even put videotapes of them actually killing innocent people on the Internet, but Bardot's opinion is a criminal act?

Once again we see a great example of the backward thinking that endangers us all: Ignore the actual killers and go after the people trying to get the world to open its eyes and recognize the threat the killers pose.

It's also a great example of one of my biggest pet peeves, the misuse of the word "racism" ... Bardot's sentiments are NOT racism, they are her opinion, and she is entitled to have that opinion and voice that opinion.

Look at it this way -- if all these anti-racism groups actually dealt only with real racist acts, they would have much less of a reason for existing; then they would have to go find real jobs like normal people. So, it's in their best interest to make sure that "racism" is still found in every nook and cranny of the civilized world, because whining to the news media about what they see as racist remarks is a much easier workday than digging ditches or delivering mail.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Thought He Would Wear the Big Hat

The pope with President Bush and first lady Laura Bush. I thought the pope would have worn that enormous pope hat ... you know, to make a big impression.

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI arrived Tuesday in the United States to a presidential handshake and enthusiastic cheering, a warm welcome that followed the pontiff's candid admission hours earlier that he is "deeply ashamed" of the clergy sex abuse scandal that has rocked the American church.

On his first papal trip to the U.S., Benedict gave hundreds of spectators a two-handed wave as he stepped off a special Alitalia airliner that brought him from Rome. Students from a local Catholic school screamed ecstatically when the saw the pontiff, who shook hands with President Bush, first lady Laura Bush and their daughter, Jenna on the tarmac.

The pope and the president left in a motorcade a few minutes later.

On the flight to the United States from Rome, Benedict addressed the most painful issue for the Roman Catholic Church in America - clergy sex abuse. The U.S. church has paid out $2 billion in abuse costs since 1950, most of that in just the last six years.

"It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen," Benedict said. "It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission ... to these children."

"I am deeply ashamed, and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future," the pope said on the flight from Rome to Washington, speaking in English as he responded to questions submitted by reporters ahead of time.

Benedict pledged that pedophiles would not be priests in the Catholic Church.

"We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry," Benedict said. "It is more important to have good priests than many priests. We will do everything possible to heal this wound."

The pope's promise failed to mollify advocates for abuse victims, however. They said the problem is not just molester priests, but bishops and other church authorities who have let errant clergymen continue to serve even after repeated allegations.

"It's easy and tempting to continually focus on the pedophile priests themselves," said Peter Isely, a board member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "It's harder but crucial to focus on the broader problem - complicity in the rest of the church hierarchy."

Benedict's pilgrimage is the first trip by a pontiff to the United States since the case of a serial molester in Boston triggered a crisis that spread throughout the United States and beyond in 2002. Hundreds of new accusations - many dating back decades - have surfaced each year since. There were 691 new accusations in 2007 alone, according to an annual report from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

As head of the Vatican agency that enforces adherence to Catholic doctrine, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was heavily involved in gaining Vatican approval for the reforms U.S. bishops proposed for the American church. The bishops have since released several reports analyzing the scandal and have pledged that all credibly accused priests will be pulled from public ministry.

Pedophilia is "absolutely incompatible" with the priesthood," Benedict said.

Benedict described his pilgrimage as a journey to meet a "great people and a great church." He spoke about the American model of religious values within a system of separation of church and state.

President Bush made the unusual gesture of greeting Benedict at Andrews Air Force Base - the first time he has welcomed a foreign leader there.

The pope said he will discuss immigration with Bush, including the difficulties of families who are separated by immigration.

While the pope and Bush differ on such major issues on the Iraq war, capital punishment and the U.S. embargo against Cuba, they do find common ground in opposing abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research.

White House press secretary Dana Perino, asked about the pope's comments regarding the clergy sex abuse scandal, said she wouldn't rule out that the topic would come up in conversation between the pope and the president.

But she added that "I don't think it's necessarily on the president's top priorities" for his agenda in talking with the pope.

Perino said the two leaders would likely discuss human rights, religious tolerance and the fight against violent extremism.

As for the war in Iraq, Perino said, "Obviously, there were differences years back." She downplayed those, emphasizing instead a strong bond between Bush and the pope.

Benedict "will hear from the president that America and the world need to hear his message, that God is love, that human life is sacred, that we all must be guided by common moral law, and that we have responsibilities to care for our brothers and sisters in need, at home and across the world," Perino said.

A crowd of 9,000 or more is expected at the White House Wednesday to greet Benedict on his 81st birthday. Aides say he is in good health.

After making little headway in his efforts to rekindle the faith in his native Europe, the German-born Benedict will be visiting a country where many of the 65 million Catholics are eager to hear what he says.

A poll released Sunday by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University found eight in 10 Catholics are somewhat or very satisfied with his leadership.

On Friday, Benedict will address the United Nations. The day before, he will celebrate Mass at Nationals Park in Washington. His final event of the week will be another big Mass, this time in New York's Yankee Stadium on Sunday.


So why do I not care that much?

I care that it happened, I appreciate the sentiment, but I find the words hollow. ... I think the only thing that can really help our society is for Jesus himself to come around and start offing people. Other than that, it's just too much of an uphill battle.

Although I suppose that's the challenge of following his ways.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Roll Call Highlights - April 4

Here are some of the highlights of things our "leaders" have been up to:

(HOUSE) HIV/AIDS, MALARIA, TB: Voting 308 for and 116 against, the House on April 2 passed a bill (HR 5501) authorizing $50 billion over five years for U.S. support of global programs to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, mainly in
sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. The bill earmarks 80 percent of its funds
for HIV/AIDS programs such as the distribution of anti-viral drugs. The bill
discontinues a mandate that one-third of AIDS spending be allocated to
abstinence programs.

I'm sorry, I didn't realize our country was doing so well that we could give away $50 billion. I thought we were in a recession ... (1) We can't afford to spend $50 billion, (2) We shouldn't be spending $50 billion on any other country and (3) We shouldn't be spending $50 billion when the people we're trying to "help" refuse to stop behavior that spreads disease.

If we have to send some cash, can't we say $50 million instead? That's still a nice chunk of money, and it's a lot more realistic. It's almost as if there's some weird obligation being pushed down our throats in regard to Africa. ... It's a fact that when HIV+ people there receive medicine, they feel better; they then go out and have unprotected sex with numerous people and spread the disease further because they can't comprehend "disease." ... Newsweek ran a story a few years back about it ... the people take the medicine, feel better, and figure that means they're OK. The doctors tell them, 'No, you're sick, stop having sex,' but they just don't get it. It's not my problem ... perhaps if that's how dense they are, then they're not supposed to survive the plague, you know?

Oh, and for the folks who actually pay attention to what our "representatives" do ... they (Larson, Courtney, DeLauro, Shays, Murphy) all voted yes, including the "Republican" Chris Shays ... and he and the rest also voted no to cutting the above $50 billion down to $30 billion. Remember that next time Shays wants to be re-elected. HE just pissed away $20 billion of YOUR money that he didn't have to ....

(SENATE) MORTGAGE COUNSELING: Voting 44 for and 40 against, the Senate on April 3 failed to reach 60 votes needed to double funding in HR 3221 (above) for mortgage counseling by non- profit agencies. The amendment sought to increase the outlay from $100 million to $200 million in order to extend counseling to an additional 250,000 holders of problem mortgages.

Wow. Both Chris Dodd, a Democrat, and Joe Lieberman, and Independent (Democrat) voted against increasing the money. I'm pleasantly surprised.

Call me crazy, but I have limited sympathy for anyone who buys something they know damn well they can't afford. They know better than anyone how much money they have. It's a simple comparison of 2 numbers: How much you can spend, and what something costs. If the second number is higher than the first, don't buy it!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Gender Is Not An Option

Has anyone seen the story about a "pregnant man" going around?

How stupid are people?

Be clear on this: THIS IS NOT A MAN!

Our society is so mixed-up that they can't even tell a man from a woman anymore.

"Well, I'm a man, but I feel like a woman, so you should consider me a woman."

For Pete's sake, I learned about this when I was six years old. ... This "pregnant man" is a lesbian who had her breasts removed. She still has a vagina, and ovaries, and a womb.

In case you missed it, men don't have any of those.

OK -- take a dog, cut off its legs and throw it in water. Is it a fish?

Sew those legs onto a snake. Is it then a dog?

Good Lord, sometimes I feel like I'm surrounded by morons. The fact that the media refers to this woman as a man is simply appalling.

And have you seen some of the headlines? This pregnancy is actually being called a "miracle" ... What? How is it a miracle? Women get pregnant and have babies, this is not new.

What's a miracle is the fact that people like Oprah aren't getting laughed off the stage for putting this crap on the air.

This woman should not be on TV or in the papers, she should be in a mental institution, because she is very, very confused about something that really should not be confusing.

The way I see it, if someone's mind is telling them that they are a different gender than what the physical parts say, that is a mental problem.

Really, how is that any different than a shoe salesman whose mind tells him he's the Queen of England?

I guess I'm biased because I was born male and haven't really had any problem with that. If I ever felt like I was a woman, I think all I'd have to do is take a look downstairs and go, "Oh, yeah, right."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Our Lawmakers Are Just Brilliant

So the state is having a hard time finding places to house sex offenders released from prison.

It seems no one wants a building full of criminal rapists and perverts next door.

The other day, a guy who had been in prison for sexually assaulting a child allegedly decided to go into a woman's house, shoot her and abduct her friend, whose body was later found.

He allegedly needed cash and a car, but. because the women saw his face as they offered him money and a car, he figured he had to kill them.


Can I just note here -- when I need cash and a car, I get a job. Although, I guess it is easier just to steal someone else's.

Anyway, so the state is looking for ways to house these guys once they serve their terms, and here's a great quote from state Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, co-chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee:

"If he was in a supervised, staffed, secure residential transitional (facility)
... he would not be out roaming around, breaking into people’s houses in New
Britain," said Lawlor.

Are you serious? This guy is an elected official?

Here's a quick answer for Lawlor: They have a place pretty close to that, it's called prison.

Why am I supposed to have any sympathy for criminal perverts? I don't care if they "did their time" or not -- as far as I'm concerned, it's hardwired. Just because they "do the time" doesn't change what they are.

So that's it, Mikey -- a jail cell or a coffin would be as secure as anything. Now if you and the rest of your liberal peers would stop treating criminals like citizens and citizens like nothing more than sources of money, maybe we could get something going here.

Feeling Human - Part I

I do not know if I am a good person. I know I'm not a bad person, but I think I spend more time thinking about doing good deeds than actually doing them.

It's as if I stop at the simple act of thinking of the "good" thing to do, and then back off an do nothing.

So, while I don't help, I don't harm. ... Unless not helping causes harm, then I guess I'm just screwed.

Here's one of those moments:

I bought an AP Stylebook on eBay. I won the auction (99 cents plus shipping!), paid my tab and waited for the book.

After two weeks went by with no sign of the book, I contacted the seller and they gave me shipping details and told me to check back if it didn't show in a couple days.

Two or three weeks later, there was still no book, and no more replies from the seller to any of my e-mails.

I got burned.

So as I'm filing all the necessary forms through the payment site to try to get a refund of my dough, I notice on eBay that 38 other people were in the same boat as me. A previously good seller had suddenly burned 38 out of the last 42 people who bought something from him/her. In the comment section, people were cursing the seller, saying all sorts of mean things, and I'm thinking the same things -- he didn't like how little the item sold for, he's a fraud who just took everybody's money and ran -- and I'm just thoroughly disgusted.

Rotten jerk fraud ripoff piece of crap took my money.

But then I realized how awful that was -- it's not like they called and said, "Ha ha, I took your cash." Maybe something happened to them. Did anyone think to call them and see?

I'm filing these claims, like thirty-something other people were, and eBay was organizing the forms and working on refunds and blah blah blah, all around this guy -- but had anyone actually tried calling him? Had he already been found dead by the local authorities and put in the ground, and we're all up here bitching about this rotten jerk ripoff artist while it's actually some 70-year-old guy that fell and died, probably while packing things up for eBay, and was just dead on his floor for like days while we all cursed him? And now he's dead and rotting and his family is crying and his grandkids are wondering why Pop-pop isn't giving them candy or quarters anymore, and I'm just sitting here hoping to God that I can get my $4.55 back?

See what I mean? Awful.

So, I've decided that I'm going to find out if they're OK, rather than just think hateful thoughts and go through the administrative motions to get my cash back. I got their contact information through eBay, and I'll give them a call at a more appropriate hour and find out what's up.

The sad part is, after that little After School Special there, that there's a really, really good chance that it's just going to be some jerk who decided to rip people off, you know?

Because people are rotten. But if I'm rotten, too, then it just makes things worse.

Call it a very late New Year's Resolution, but I'm going to give this "human" thing a shot and see what happens.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Some Interesting Stories for Today

Here are some quick stories for the morning:

Apple sued again: A customer is suing Apple over what she says are misleading claims by the company regarding the number of colors the new 20-inch Apple iMac can display. I found it interesting because many of today's high-tech items are so advanced that many users wouldn't know if the "features" touted by the manufacturers are really accurate, so when a company gets caught (allegedly) giving customers a load of bull, especially Apple, which is supposed to be the big customer-friendly company, I get a kick out of it. Read the end of the article to see some other lawsuits Apple has already settled.

Defending your religion: As the protests over a Dutch lawmakers film about Islam continue, I find interesting the differences between what happens when someone criticizes Islam vs. what happens when someone criticizes, say, Christianity. I've written about this before; when an "artist" covered a picture of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung and pornographic photos, Christians got mad and protested, but many people just basically told them to shut up and started "discussion" about how Christians want to control everyone's lives ... but when Muslims protest, for some reason those same people suddenly start talking about the need to be sensitive to people's religious beliefs. Why is it OK to mock some religions and not others? Is it because Christians protest peacefully, while Muslims burn things and make death threats?

Is your cell phone going to kill you? Some people say that using cell phones increases your risk for a brain tumor. Others say it's bunk. But have you ever wondered how some things really will affect people when those things haven't been around long enough to really know for certain? The little Bluetooth headsets people wear in their ear, for example -- how does anyone know what 10 years of that thing stuck in your ear will do, when they haven't been used for 10 years yet? Do you stand in front of your microwave oven when you use it?

Mmmm. An $81 burger: As a loyal carnivore, this burger sounds fantastic, but I don't know if I would shell out $81 for it. ... Actually, I do know -- I'd never spend $81 on a burger unless I was filthy, filthy rich. Still sounds great, though.