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What they call confidence, I call hubris. What they call happiness, I call slavery. How about you?

Recently, I have been confronted by folks accusing Your Humble Narrator of being "too negative". These words have come at me from...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, September 09, 2005

Look out, St. Louis! 'Cause Miami has...


...Danielle Knox...


...Susan Barnett...


...Jade Alexander (My, oh my.)....


...Jennifer Santiago...


...Nefertiti Jaquez (WOW! 2 bonus points for the name.)...


...Shaunie (Mrs. Shaquille) O'Neal...


...and Maggie Rodriguez.

Put them together and you have the babes of WFOR in Miami. I did not think it was possible but they are giving KMOV a run for the coveted team title.

Sydney 7.14 (56) defeats Geelong 7.11 (53).

UGH!

It sounds like it was a thrilling match to watch on tv, or hear on the radio. But America wouldn't know for sure, because we can't see or hear Australian Football League games!

PLEASE, FOX SPORTS NET, HAVE PITY ON AMERICAN AFL FANS! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GIVE US THE GRAND FINAL LIVE SEPTEMBER 24! NOBODY'S WATCHING YOUR LOUSY NETWORK AT THAT TIME OF NIGHT ANYWAY!

Dr. Zaius, call your office.

Genes Show Signs Brain Still Evolving
(Thanks to My Way News and Drudge for the brains up.)

The human brain may still be evolving. So suggests new research that tracked changes in two genes thought to help regulate brain growth, changes that appeared well after the rise of modern humans 200,000 years ago.

That the defining feature of humans - our large brains - continued to evolve as recently as 5,800 years ago, and may be doing so today, promises to surprise the average person, if not biologists.

"We, including scientists, have considered ourselves as sort of the pinnacle of evolution," noted lead researcher Bruce Lahn, a University of Chicago geneticist whose studies appear in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

"There's a sense we as humans have kind of peaked," agreed Greg Wray, director of Duke University's Center for Evolutionary Genomics. "A different way to look at is it's almost impossible for evolution not to happen."

Still, the findings also are controversial, because it's far from clear what effect the genetic changes had or if they arose when Lahn's "molecular clock" suggests - at roughly the same time period as some cultural achievements, including written language and the development of cities.

Cause, or effect? They don't even ask the question. That's not science, kiddies.

Lahn and colleagues examined two genes, named microcephalin and ASPM, that are connected to brain size. If those genes don't work, babies are born with severely small brains, called microcephaly.

Using DNA samples from ethnically diverse populations, they identified a collection of variations in each gene that occurred with unusually high frequency. In fact, the variations were so common they couldn't be accidental mutations but instead were probably due to natural selection, (Emphasis mine.) where genetic changes that are favorable to a species quickly gain a foothold and begin to spread, the researchers report.

Anybody see the prejudicial assumption here? Kiddies?

Dr. Zaius would not make the same mistake.

From The Violation Of The Natural Law Department:

THX 1138, call your office.

Scientists win right to create human embryo with three genetic parents

BRITISH scientists have been given permission to create human embryos that will have three genetic parents.

The fertility watchdog cleared a team at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne yesterday to conduct an experiment to prevent genetic disease by merging single-cell embryos with donated eggs.

The decision to approve the procedure on appeal, after two previous applications were rejected, is controversial because it could eventually lead to the birth of children who carry genes from two mothers and a father.
It also opens the possibility of “germ-line” genetic engineering, because any children born would carry added genes that would be passed to successive generations.

At present, gene therapy to alter defective DNA is permitted only when such changes would not be passed on.

The licence awarded yesterday by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) allows only experimental use of the technique and not the implantation into a womb of any resultant embryo.
The Newcastle team does not envisage applying for permission to conduct such procedures for reproductive purposes until several years of research have shown it to be effective and safe, though the ultimate goal is to employ it to create healthy children.

Katrina related headlines from Drudge.

CDC reports no disease outbreaks so far...

Although health officials were preparing for outbreaks of deadly diseases in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the federal Centers for Disease Control said Thursday that no epidemics had materialized so far.

Doctors are seeing some clusters of diarrhea, along with skin rashes and infected wounds. But the CDC said an epidemic of cholera or typhoid was "very unlikely." Medical experts said the main concerns currently are potential outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease and flu-like illnesses in the shelters, where thousands of refugees from the New Orleans area are still living in cramped quarters.

"No disease outbreaks have been reported as of September 8, 2005 in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina," the CDC said on its Web site.


WIRE: Katrina fuels 'global warming' storm...

Experts agree it is impossible to say any one storm is caused by rising temperatures. Numbers of tropical cyclones like hurricanes worldwide are stable at about 90 a year although recent U.S. research shows they may be becoming more intense.

Still, the European Commission, the World Bank, some environmentalists, Australia's Greens and even Sweden's king said the disaster, feared to have killed thousands of people in the United States, could be a portent of worse to come.


Fewer Bodies Than Expected Found in Katrina Sweeps...

Authorities said Friday that their first systematic sweep of the city found far fewer bodies than expected, suggesting that Hurricane Katrina's death toll may not be the catastrophic 10,000 feared.


WHITE HOUSE MULLED SEIZING RELIEF MISSION // Invoke the Insurrection Act?...

As New Orleans descended into chaos last week and Louisiana's governor asked for 40,000 soldiers, President Bush's senior advisers debated whether the president should speed the arrival of active-duty troops by seizing control of the hurricane relief mission from the governor.

To seize control of the mission, Mr. Bush would have had to invoke the Insurrection Act, which allows the president in times of unrest to command active-duty forces into the states to perform law enforcement duties. But decision makers in Washington felt certain that Ms. Blanco would have resisted surrendering control, as Bush administration officials believe would have been required to deploy active-duty combat forces before law and order had been re-established.

While combat troops can conduct relief missions without the legal authority of the Insurrection Act, Pentagon and military officials say that no active-duty forces could have been sent into the chaos of New Orleans on Wednesday or Thursday without confronting law-and-order challenges.

But just as important to the administration were worries about the message that would have been sent by a president ousting a Southern governor of another party from command of her National Guard, according to administration, Pentagon and Justice Department officials.

Want some easy money?

Just read my last two posts and do the exact opposite.

Fyodor's Pro Football Picks of the Week.

1) The guys who set the spreads are professionals. Their job is to make each game look as attractive as possible to everyone. That way they even out the amount of money bet on each side.

Instant translation: The house wins no matter who wins. That's why people get into the gambling business.

2) I am just a fan. I won't even keep track of these picks week to week if it gets too embarrassing.

3) There is no such thing as "inside information". Especially in the pros.

4) If those idiot touts on tv and in the paper were that good, they wouldn't go public with their genius. They'd sit at Harrah's sports book from open to close and then go out and buy $2,000 an hour hookers who dress like high school girls.

5) Gambling is stupid. You cannot win.

That being said, here are my NFL picks for this week.


Sunday 9/11


Denver (-4) at Miami
Two teams with bad QBs. Miami's are worse. Take Denver to cover.
FINAL: Miami 34 Denver 10 - Fyodor loses! (My apologies to Gus Frerotte.)

Cincinnati (-3.5) at Cleveland
Browns bad, Bengals better. Bengals cover.
FINAL: Cincinnati 27 Cleveland 13 - Fyodor wins!

Houston (+5.5) at Buffalo
Buffalo's defense at home. Houston still looks like an expansion team. Take the Bills.
FINAL: Buffalo 22 Houston 7 - Fyodor wins!

Tennessee (+7) at Pittsburgh
Sophomore slump for Big Ben, injured Bus and Duce, shaky secondary...I hate to say it, but take Tennessee and the points.
Final: Steelers 34 Titans 7 - Fyodor loses! (What Was I Thinking? Game of The Week. Apologies to Ben and Willie Parker.)

Chicago (+5.5) at Washington
Who cares? Gamblers do. This is my Crappy Game of the Week. Take the Redskins, if you must.
FINAL: Washington 9 Chicago 7 - Fyodor wins! (Crappy. I warned you.)

New Orleans (+7) at Carolina
Saints have played well in Carolina recently. That's all I have. Pick New Orleans.
Final: New Orleans 23 Carolina 20 - Fyodor wins!

Tampa Bay (+6) at Minnesota
I'm guessing Minnesota is a better team without Randy Moss. Take the Vikings to cover.
FINAL: Tampa Bay 24 Minnesota 13 - Fyodor loses!

Seattle (+3) at Jacksonville
I like Leftwich, but I'll take Seattle and the road upset. Seahawks should win outright.
FINAL: Jacksonville 26 Seattle 14 - Fyodor loses! (Somebody shoot me with a tranq dart next time I try to pick Seattle on the road.)

Jets (+3) at Kansas City
Has Pennington healed? Can those Browns in Chiefs clothing stop anybody? I'll take KC to cover the 3.
FINAL: Kansas City 27 Jets 7 - Fyodor wins! (What's wrong with Pennington's arm?)

Arizona (+3) at Giants
Giants win, but don't cover. Take Arizona and the points.
FINAL: Giants 42 Arizona 19 - Fyodor loses! (The other Manning looked good. Kurt Warner, not so much. That's why they call it gambling.)

St. Louis (-6) at San Francisco
Why is this spread so small? Have the Rams sunk this low? Do the wise guys in Vegas know something about the 49ers that Fyodor doesn't? Take St. Louis.
FINAL: San Francisco 28 St. Louis 25 - Fyodor loses! (Stinkin' oddsmakers!)

Green Bay (+3) at Detroit
The Packers may have the worst defense in the league. (Remember how they finished last year? And they lost Sharper to boot.) I'll take the improving Lions to cover at home.
FINAL: Detroit 17 Green Bay 3 - Fyodor wins!

Dallas (+4.5) at San Diego
LT lights up the lives of fantasy football geeks everywhere. Chargers cover easily.
FINAL: Dallas 28 San Diego 24 - Fyodor loses! (It would not have mattered to the point spread players, but why didn't SD run LT at the goal line once at the end? They had a timeout left. Draw play, anyone?)

Indianapolis (-3) at Baltimore
Ray Lewis is aging quickly and Kyle Boller still hasn't proved he can play QB in the NFL. Take the Colts.
FINAL: Indianapolis 24 Baltimore 7 - Fyodor wins! (Thank goodness the Ravens have Super Genius Coach Billick or they might have lost 24 to 0.)


Monday 9/12


Philadelphia (-1) at Atlanta
When he's on the field, T.O. plays. And McNabb is still better than Michael "Mike" Vick. Take the Eagles.
FINAL: Atlanta 14 Philadelphia 10 - Fyodor loses! (The Eagles are going to have to find some offense. Memo to Mr. Trotter: What were you thinking?)



Fyodor's College Football Picks of the Week.

1) The guys who set the spreads are professionals. Their job is to make each game look as attractive as possible to everyone. That way they even out the amount of money bet on each side.

Instant translation: The house wins no matter who wins. That's why people get into the gambling business.

2) I am just a fan. I won't even keep track of these picks week to week if it gets too embarrassing.

3) There is no such thing as "inside information". Especially in the pros.

4) If those idiot touts on tv and in the paper were that good, they wouldn't go public with their genius. They'd sit at Harrah's sports book from open to close and then go out and buy $2,000 an hour hookers who dress like high school girls.

5) Gambling is stupid. You cannot win.

That being said, here are my college picks for this week.


Friday 9/9

Pitt at Ohio U. - Pitt favored by 14.5

Pitt's offense looked sick last week and their defense wasn't much better. Take Ohio and the points.
FINAL: Ohio 16 Pitt 10 - Fyodor wins!
Pitt looked even worse this week. That could spell trouble for ND against Michigan later today.

Saturday 9/10


Virginia Tech at Duke - Tech favored by 20.5

Virginia Tech has a schedule that could take them to the mythical national championship. Duke fans are waiting for basketball practice to begin. Take Virginia Tech to cover.
FINAL: Virginia Tech 45 Duke 0 - Fyodor wins!


Notre Dame at Michigan - Michigan favored by 7

Yeah, like I am going to pick against the Irish. Take Notre Dame and the points.
FINAL: Notre Dame 17 Michigan 10 - Fyodor wins!

Cincinnati at Penn State - Penn State favored by 17.5

Talk about offenses that stink out loud! PSU will be lucky to win this one. Take the Bearcats and the points.

FINAL: Penn State 42 Cincinnati 24 Fyodor loses! (18 stinking points! That's why they call it gambling.)

Colorado State at Minnesota - Minnesota favored by 13

Minnesota is probably overrated. (They are in the Big 11, after all.) My guess is CSU hasn't recovered from last week's rivalry game with Colorado. Minnesota wins big and covers.

FINAL: Minnesota 56 Colorado State 24 - Fyodor wins!

South Carolina at Georgia - Georgia favored by 18

Welcome back, Coach Superior. Georgia wins, but does not cover. Take the other USC and the points.

FINAL: Georgia 17 South Carolina 15 - Fyodor wins!

Texas at Ohio State - State favored by 1

Everbody's BIG GAME of the Day. Texas hasn't won a big game in years. Ohio State plays in the Big 11. Under the lights, in front of 100,000 screaming home fans, the Buckeyes win and cover.

FINAL: Texas 25 Ohio State 22 - Fyodor loses! (That's ONE for Mack Brown. Stinkin' Big 11.)

Rice at UCLA - UCLA favored by 25

Remember when UCLA had a football team? Nope, me neither. Take the Owls and the points.

FINAL: UCLA 63 Rice 21 - Fyodor loses! (Who knew Rice was that bad? That's why they call it gambling.)

9/11 recovery loans went to many who didn't need them...

...or, Just watch that $150 billion in Katrina relief go down the crapper.

I cannot say I am surprised by this, but it almost leaves me speechless nonetheless.

All I have by way of commentary is a giant WTF?????

(Thanks to The Monitor of McAllen, TX and AP for the heads up on this one. Also, extra special kudos to the AP reporters listed at the end of the story.)

The government’s $5 billion effort to help small businesses recover from the 9/11 attacks was so loosely managed that it gave low-interest loans to companies that didn’t need terrorism relief — or even know they were getting it —The Associated Press has found.

And while some at New York’s Ground Zero couldn’t get assistance they desperately sought, companies far removed from the devastation — a South Dakota country radio station, a Virgin Islands perfume shop, a Utah dog boutique and more than 100 Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway sandwich shops — had no problem winning the government-guaranteed loans.

Dentists and chiropractors in numerous cities, as well as an Oregon winery that sold trendy pinot noir to New York City restaurants, also got assistance.

"That’s scary. Nine-11 had nothing to do with this," said James Munsey, a Virginia entrepreneur who described himself as "beyond shocked" to learn his nearly $1 million loan to buy a special events company in Richmond was drawn from the Sept. 11 program.

"It would have been inappropriate for me to take this kind of loan," he said, noting that the company he bought suffered no ill effects from Sept. 11.

Arvind "Andy" Patel, 50, said he used his $350,000 loan in fall 2002 to remodel his Dunkin’ Donuts shop in western New York state and never knew it was drawn through the Sept. 11 program.

"Not at all," Patel answered, when asked whether his business had been hurt by the attacks.

Government officials said they believe banks assigned some loans to the terror relief program without telling borrowers. Neither the government nor its participating banks said they could provide figures on how many businesses got loans that way.

But AP’s nationwide investigation located businesses in dozens of states who said they did not know their loans were drawn from the Sept. 11 programs, suggesting at least hundreds of millions of dollars went to unwitting recipients.

The Small Business Administration, which administered the two programs that doled out Sept. 11 recovery loans, said it first learned of the problems through AP’s review and was weighing whether an investigation was needed. But officials also acknowledged they intended to spread the post-Sept. 11 aid broadly because so many unexpected industries were hurt.

"We started seeing business (needing help) in areas you wouldn’t think of — tourism, crop dusting, trade and transportation. ... So there were a lot of examples you wouldn’t think of, at first blush," SBA Administrator Hector Barreto told AP.

In all, the government provided, approved or guaranteed nearly $4.9 billion in loans, and took credit for saving 20,000 jobs. That would put the average cost of saving a job at about a quarter million dollars each.

Of the 19,000 loans approved by the two programs, fewer than 11 percent went to companies in New York City and Washington, according to an AP computer analysis of loan records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

"I had nothing here," said Shirla Yam, who runs a clothing store in the former shadows of the twin towers that got a $20,000 grant from a local advocacy group but no federal aid after Sept. 11. "I don’t know if I’ll be here next month."

Under one of the programs, SBA lent money directly to companies that provided detailed statements on how they were hurt. The other program provided incentives — and guaranteed loans from default — so banks could lend money to companies they determined were hurt by the post-Sept. 11 economic downturn.

Most loans were well below market rates — as low as 4 percent, documents show.

SBA officials acknowledged the second program, the Supplementary Terrorism Activity Relief (STAR), left banks on an honor system to determine worthy loan recipients.

"One lender could have been really strict and specific about the borrower providing the documentation to prove that they were affected by the Sept. 11 attacks, and another banker may not have, or may have had ulterior motives for approving loans," said SBA spokeswoman Carol Chastang.
SBA documents obtained by AP show banks had a strong incentive to approve as many loans as possible from the terror program. The banks profited from the interest while incurring little risk because the government guaranteed 75 percent to 85 percent of each loan.

And the annual fee the lenders paid to SBA to get the government guarantee was slashed from 0.5 percent to 0.25 percent — meaning lenders saved an additional $5,000 a year for every $2 million they loaned under STAR.

"There was definitely an advantage to the lender to get that reduced fee," said Christopher Chavez, an SBA official in Colorado. He said he suspects lenders might not always have talked to businesses about damage from Sept. 11 before moving loans into STAR.

While SBA officials expressed surprise at AP’s findings, banking officials said the agency encouraged the industry to use the post-Sept. 11 programs liberally, especially when its normal guaranteed lending program was hit by steep budget cuts in 2002.

"They had personnel at our conference stand up and say if you cannot find a reason to move the loan over to the STAR program, contact us and we’ll help you find a reason to move it over," recalled Tony Wilkinson, president of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders.

A bank that provided an SBA-backed loan to a trucking firm in Indiana acknowledged it did not tell the recipient about the Sept. 11 connection. "We don’t have any indication there was any communication or provisions we shared with the client that these were funds from the government used to support them from Sept. 11," said Pat Schubah, first vice president of small business banking at Indianapolis-based Union Federal.

Major lenders like Wachovia and Wells Fargo declined to say how many loans they shifted into the terror relief program, saying only that they followed the law.

Wells Fargo, the nation’s second largest SBA lender, said the STAR program enabled lenders "to provide funds to new and mature businesses impacted by 9/11" and the bank "continues to strictly adhere to SBA operational standards for all SBA loan originations."

Many loans went to local outlets of some of America’s most famous and lucrative companies. For instance, 55 Dunkin’ Donuts shops across the country, 14 Quiznos sandwich shops and 52 Subway sandwich shops got loans. Fourteen Dairy Queens — part of the ice cream franchise partly owned by Wall Street billionaire Warren Buffett — won more than $5 million in loans.

"I just applied for the loan at the bank. I had no idea where the funds came from," said Tom Mayl, who got two SBA Sept. 11 loans totaling more than $800,000 to open a Subway shop in suburban Dayton, Ohio, and a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Sidney, Ohio.

"It doesn’t seem right, just on the surface, but I really don’t know the details," Mayl said.

Don Robinson said he too didn’t need or ask for terrorism relief when he got a $765,000 government-backed loan in 2003 — drawn without his knowledge from the Sept. 11 program — to start a motorcycle shop in Brigham City, Utah.

"Actually, the motorcycle industry grew after 9/11," Robinson said. "People just took their money out of the stock market to buy toys."

Dentists and chiropractors also were frequent, but unwitting, beneficiaries. "They weren’t putting their health second to anything else," chiropractor Colby Shores said of his patients in the suburbs of Rochester, N.Y. He was unaware his $87,000 loan with a 4 percent interest rate came from the terror relief program.

The loan patterns uncovered by AP left some seething in the neighborhoods directly scarred by Sept. 11.

"You have to take it back and give it to us. Even now, I could use it," said Mike Yagudayev, who said the SBA would only provide him $20,000 of a $70,000 loan he requested to rebuild his hair salon flattened by the collapse of World Trade Center towers in New York.

"I said, ‘You know what, take it back. Twenty thousand is like an insult,"‘ he recalled.

Thousands of businesses far from the devastation had no trouble getting SBA loans, simply submitting short applications that linked their slow business to the widespread economic fallout caused by Sept. 11. For instance:

—Karl Grimmelmann, general manager of KBFS-AM "Hit Kickin’ Country" in Belle Fourche, S.D., borrowed $135,000 from SBA’s disaster program after learning about it from a news release. He said his station was forced to pay more money to cover national news and also lost advertisers. "Everybody started holding onto their money, plain and simple," he said.

—Margie Olson, co-owner of the Torii Mor Winery in McMinnville, Ore., said her business needed a $125,000 loan because it couldn’t sell high-end pinot noir to Manhattan restaurants that had closed. "Everyone started hitting the heavy stuff," Olson said, laughing.

—Melva Kravitz, co-owner of the Little Dogs Resort & Salon in Salt Lake City that offers boarding and grooming services for small dogs, said people stopped taking vacations and boarding their pets after Sept. 11, requiring her $50,000 loan. "It was awful," she said. "You just couldn’t go on."

—Christine Hilty, co-owner of Violettes Boutique on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, said the perfume shop lost 60 percent of its business overnight as tourism stopped. She got a $169,500 loan from SBA. "Would we have closed our doors? It was close," she said. "Everyone was afraid to get on a plane. Tourism was totally halted."

Though the loan programs have ended, the government is inheriting a residual burden. Already, taxpayers have been forced to cover about 600 defaulted disaster loans — some approaching $1 million each — from companies that went bankrupt or closed. More defaults are expected.

Jim Hammersley, who runs the SBA’s collection arm, said many applicants asked for too much or too little money to keep their businesses afloat.
"The folks that were dealing with the aftermath of 9/11 didn’t have anything that certain to try and gauge whether they needed money or how much they needed," he said.
———
AP Writers Paul Foy in Utah, Amy Westfeldt and Ben Dobbin in New York, Steven Paulson in Colorado, Carrie Spencer in Ohio and Stephanie Stoughton in Virginia contributed to this story.

4 down, 27 to go.

Laura Ingraham is working her way through the radiation treatments for her breast cancer. She must be doing well because today she said she biked sixty-some miles last weekend.

Please pray for her complete recovery and that of all those who are suffering.

"You're right Massa Nagin. Us po' folks would rather die horribly and painfully than ride to safety in dem un-airconditioned yellow cracker buses."

Think I'm kidding about ol' C. Ray heading to the Big House? NewsMax.com provides more evidence of the mayor's malfeasance, if not his utter, abject madness. (Heck, he's a leftist yahoo. It's the same thing, kiddies.)

Ray Nagin: School Buses Not Good Enough

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin garnered a ton of publicity with a profanity-laced interview he gave to WWL radio last Thursday, where he blasted President Bush and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco for not coming to rescue his city in time.

However, Nagin's most newsworthy comments - where he explained why he didn't use hundreds of city school buses to evacuate his city's flood victims - went almost unnoticed.

Turns out, Nagin turned his nose up at the yellow buses, demanding more comfortable Greyhound coaches instead.

"I need 500 buses, man," he told WWL. "One of the briefings we had they were talking about getting, you know, public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out of here."

Nagin described his response:

"I'm like - you've got to be kidding me. This is a natural disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans."

While Nagin was waiting for his Greyhound fleet, Katrina's floodwaters swamped his school buses, rendering them unusable.

Fyodor is not the only one who thinks Mayor Nagin of New Orleans is hearing the cries of the ghosts.

Officials failed to follow plan

Reporter Editor:
Anyone who wants to know what New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin should have done can read the city of New Orleans' excellent hurricane preparedness plan, which, if implemented by the mayor, would have saved the lives of almost everyone who tragically died. The plan can be found on the city's Web site: www.cityofno.com.

There is some very interesting stuff on the New Orleans site. Mr. C. Ray Nagin should resign now. It will look better when he goes to prison as a private citizen.

The plan correctly anticipates that approximately 100,000 residents would be unable or unwilling to leave. Therefore, as soon as a hurricane reaches Category 3, it is the mayor's exclusive responsibility to implement a forced evacuation no later than 72 hours in advance of landfall, well before any possible communications disruption. The plan states that all public transportation systems are to be used, and are to be assisted by city police.
Instead, Mayor Nagin did nothing. The buses sit neatly parked and idle, and the people were left to fend for themselves.

Such ineptitude is downright criminal. Both the mayor and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco have the blood of the dead on their hands, and no one in the mainstream media wants to touch this story. No one should have died had the mayor and the governor simply done their jobs. I am appalled and disgusted.

W. Anderson, Vacaville

Let us hope the good people of Louisiana take this tragic opportunity to clean out the professional politicians and poverty pimps who enslave them.

Speaking of suicide, here's why Walter E. Williams, Ayn Rand, and assorted others who use the generic label "libertarian" are DEAD wrong.

Dr. Williams et al. claim that each man owns himself, and therefore all the socialist nonsense is evil.

Wrong. (Well, of course all the socialist nonsense is evil, kiddies. I am referring to the ownership of humans question.)

From the Catholic Encyclopedia 's entry on suicide:

Positive and direct suicide perpetrated without God's consent always constitutes a grave injustice towards Him. To destroy a thing is to dispose of it as an absolute master and to act as one having full and independent dominion over it; but man does not possess this full and independent dominion over his life, since to be an owner one must be superior to his property. (Emphasis mine.) God has reserved to himself direct dominion over life; He is the owner of its substance and He has given man only the serviceable dominion, the right of use, with the charge of protecting and preserving the substance, that is, life itself. Consequently suicide is an attempt against the dominion and right of ownership of the Creator.

BTW, this teaching of The One, True Church also comes in handy in combatting all that evil socialist nonsense.

For instance, "No, Citizen Stalin. As a matter of fact, you do not own me."

Adrian Karsten, Requiescat in pace.

Of course, if he did commit suicide, that is not possible.

FORMER ESPN reporter Adrian Karsten, facing a prison tax rap, was found dead, an apparent suicide, in his Wisconsin home, officials said yesterday.

Cops declined to provide details but Karsten's ex-wife told The Post that investigators have labeled it a suicide.

Karsten pleaded guilty in July to failing to report about $607,000 in income he made as a sideline reporter for ESPN college football games between 1999 and 2002.

He was sentenced to serve 11 months in prison and nine months home confinement.

He was supposed to report to a federal lockup in Rochester, Minn., last Thursday but never showed up, his ex-wife said. (Thanks to the New York Post for the heads up.)

Gov. Kathleen Blanco's Bureaucrats Blocked Food and Water.

It turns out the Democrass machine in Louisiana has blood on its hands.

The Red Cross was reportedly ready to deliver food, water and other supplies to flood-ravaged refugees who were sweltering inside New Orleans' Superdome last week - but the relief was blocked by bureaucrats who worked for Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

Fox News Channel's Major Garrett reported Wednesday that the Red Cross had "trucks with water, food, hygiene equipment, all sorts of things ready to go ... to the Superdome and Convention Center."

But the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, Garrett said, "told them they could not go."

"The Red Cross tells me that Louisiana's Department of Homeland Security said, 'Look, we do not want to create a magnet for more people to come to the Superdome or Convention Center, we want to get them out,'" he explained.

"So at the same time local officials were screaming where is the food, where is the water, the Red Cross was standing by ready [and] the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security said you can't go."
(Thanks to NewsMax.com for the heads up.)

Those folks on the Gulf Coast are our neighbors. You know what to do.

First, last, and always, PRAY. Pray for the survivors. Pray for the repose of the souls of those killed by Hurricane Katrina. Pray for the families and friends. Pray for the relief workers, the cops, the firemen, the troops, and the technicians. Pray for the volunteers.

It is time to step up once again, kiddies. "Do unto others", "I was naked and you clothed me", et cetera.

Catholic Relief Services is on the job. The absolute best of crisis charities needs money now.


Mail Checks To:
Catholic Charities USA
Hurricane Katrina
PO Box 25168
Alexandria, VA 22313-9788

Call:(800) 919-9338
Contribute Now Online


Agencies Impacted:
Catholic Charities of Miami
Catholic Charities of New Orleans
Catholic Community Services of Baton Rouge
Catholic Social Services of Houma-Thibodaux
Catholic Social and Community Services of Biloxi, MS
Catholic Charities of Jackson, MS
Catholic Social Services of Mobile, AL


And, as always, give generously to the special collections for hurricance disaster relief in your local parish.

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today we honor St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit, a priest, and missionary to African slaves in the New World. He was personally responsible for the baptism of nearly 300,000 slaves. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's readings are
1 Timothy 1-2, 12-14 .
Today's Gospel reading is
Luke 6:39-42.


Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Prayers from EWTN
National Coalition of Clergy and Laity (dedicated to action for a genuine Catholic Restoration)
The Catholic Calendar Page for Today


Just in case you are wondering what exactly Catholics believe, here is

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.


Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.


St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.


Prayer to Saint Anthony, Martyr of Desire

Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)


PRAYER TO SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the divine power, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

"Honey, what's with all the Kafka references?"

So inquired She Who Must Be Obeyed. (Which, BTW, is another of my favorite Liddyisms.)

That was yesterday.

That means the last one was for you, sweetie.

She read Metamorphoses somewhere along the line, but it didn't take.

I do not think Citizen Kafka was a genius. Nor do I think his stories are great literature.

I do think, however, he has a great deal to teach us and we ignore his words at our peril.

I believe ol' Franz got it.

And it scared the living daylights out of him.

HOLY CRAP! SANDY BERGER TO HANG AT SUNRISE!

Washington (Roto-Reuters) - Clinton stooge and admitted traitor Sandy "Are those classified documents in your pants, or did Hitlery pardon you?" Berger is set to hang at sunrise tomorrow for stuffing incriminating classified documents from the National Archives into his nether regions.

Now that would be justice.

But, of course, they don't make ropes that strong.

Here 's the real life kafkaesque traveshamocracy:

A judge on Thursday ordered Sandy Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser, to pay a $50,000 fine for illegally taking classified documents from the National Archives.

The punishment handed down by U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson exceeded the $10,000 fine recommended by government lawyers. Under the deal, Berger avoids prison time but he must surrender access to classified government materials for three years.

"The court finds the fine is inadequate because it doesn't reflect the seriousness of the offense," Robinson said, as a grim-faced Berger stood silently.

Earlier in the hearing, Berger expressed remorse for his crime, which he described as a lapse of judgment that came while he was preparing to testify before the Sept. 11 commission.

"I let considerations of personal convenience override clear rules of handling classified material," Berger said. "I believe this lapse, serious as it is, does not reflect the character of myself."

"In this case, I failed. I will not again," he said.

The sentencing capped a bizarre sequence of events in which Berger admitted to sneaking classified documents out of the Archives in his suit, later destroying some of them in his office and then lying about it.

After initially saying it was an "honest mistake," Berger pleaded guilty in April to a misdemeanor of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, which contained information relating to terror threats in the United States during the 2000 millennium celebration. (Thanks to USA Today for the heads up.)

Those folks on the Gulf Coast are our neighbors. You know what to do.

First, last, and always, PRAY. Pray for the survivors. Pray for the repose of the souls of those killed by Hurricane Katrina. Pray for the families and friends. Pray for the relief workers, the cops, the firemen, the troops, and the technicians. Pray for the volunteers.

It is time to step up once again, kiddies. "Do unto others", "I was naked and you clothed me", et cetera.

Catholic Relief Services is on the job. The absolute best of crisis charities needs money now.


Mail Checks To:
Catholic Charities USA
Hurricane Katrina
PO Box 25168
Alexandria, VA 22313-9788

Call:(800) 919-9338

Contribute Now Online

Agencies Impacted:
Catholic Charities of Miami
Catholic Charities of New Orleans
Catholic Community Services of Baton Rouge
Catholic Social Services of Houma-Thibodaux
Catholic Social and Community Services of Biloxi, MS
Catholic Charities of Jackson, MS
Catholic Social Services of Mobile, AL

And, as always, give generously to the special collections for hurricance disaster relief in your local parish.

Ever wonder what the-glass-is-half-full thinking looks like in pixels? I give you Aaron Mannes on the Egyptian election.

From National Review Online:

With a Mubarak victory foreordained, Egypt’s presidential elections — the first allowing multiple candidates — can only be considered a tiny step toward reform in Egypt. Fortunately, there is a chance to take a second step with the approaching parliamentary elections in November. Egyptian reformers hope to build on the experience of multiparty presidential elections to prepare for competitive parliamentary elections and lay the groundwork for more effective election monitoring. But more dynamic change is necessary if the people of Egypt are to be engaged in the reform process. One step, that would have the twin virtues of being an important reform while not directly challenging Mubarak, would be to press for an open election for vice president to be included in the parliamentary elections.

Since taking power after Sadat’s assassination in 1981, Mubarak has not appointed a vice president. While modern Egypt has not been a democracy, it has been a republic. Vice President Anwar Sadat succeeded President Nasser on his death in 1970. Sadat, in turn, was succeeded by Vice President Hosni Mubarak. This is in distinct contrast to the messy succession processes that prevail in the rest of the Arab world. The establishment of a vice president would restore a sense of Egyptian constitutionalism. It would also be prudent. Mubarak’s domination of Egyptian politics is so complete that Egypt (and the world) holds its collective breath whenever Mubarak appears in jeopardy, like in 1995 following an assassination attempt in Ethiopia, and in November 2003 when he collapsed while speaking before parliament. Mubarak appears healthy, but at 77 this status cannot last indefinitely.

A vice-presidential election would open the political system by giving the Egyptians a real stake in their political process, and it would prepare the groundwork for truly contested popular elections. But a vice-presidential election would also have the virtue of not directly threatening Mubarak. The vice president would have no formal power but would set the stage for an eventual transition. Taking Mubarak’s situation into account is essential for any reform. Over $50 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt has produced stability but no political reform or even economic growth. Mubarak is no reformer. His quarter century in power has been a period of stagnation. But Mubarak responds to pressure when it is firmly and carefully applied. He released leading reformer Prof. Saad al-Din Ibrahim from prison after an international campaign, and he has recently appointed some solid technocrats to his cabinet. He has even expanded trade relations with Israel, again under U.S. pressure. It is only when pushed to act against his own core interests that Mubarak will balk.

Incremental steps are necessary because, as Mubarak plausibly argues the immediate alternative to his rule would be a regime run by the Muslim Brotherhood. This would not be not an outcome favorable to the United States or to the prospect of reform in the Middle East. The Muslim Brotherhood seeks, in the words of Egyptian intellectual Tarek Heggy, to establish “a Caliphate, a religious militarized state, as the base to wage war against the ‘infidel’ West.” In interviews, Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammed Mahdi Othman Akef does little to dispel this impression. In the Egyptian paper al-Arabi, Akef called suicide bombings in Iraq and against Israel a religious obligation. He told the Muslim Brotherhood website that “Islam will invade Europe and America, because Islam has logic and a mission.”

Currently the Muslim Brotherhood is banned but tolerated in Egypt. It is possible that a Muslim Brotherhood-aligned candidate could win the vice-presidential elections. If this issue is faced openly and with international support before the Brotherhood acquires real power, then Egypt could focus on building the checks and balances necessary to maintain an open democracy.

Jonah Goldberg discovers the truth stranger than fiction: Lefist power-madness.

Memo to BlameBush!, ScrappleFace, et al.: You're going to have to turn the dial up to 11, boys. The surreal sickness of left-fascism has caught up to you.

One just can't make this stuff up, kiddies. If you do...well, just keep on reading.

Back when NPR and other news outlets were reporting that New Orleans had “dodged the bullet” on hurricane Katrina I made an ill-conceived joke in The Corner about how the Superdome was going to hell-in-a-hand basket. I wrote:

ATTN: SUPERDOME RESIDENTS [Jonah Goldberg]
I think it's time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you're working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he's not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen. It's never too soon to be prepared.

I was mocking what at the time seemed like out-of-control media hype. When things turned out to be worse than I — or most of us — ever could have expected, I apologized.

That didn’t stop scores of blogs and hundreds of angry e-mailers from tearing me a new one for my insensitivity. As the week progressed, however, a lot of folks wrote me — half jokingly — to congratulate me on my prescience. After all, except for the gill-growing and serpent-talking I turned out to get it pretty much exactly right. If I’d only said I wasn’t kidding, I’d be in the clear.

They were onto something. Because, you see, I hadn’t even raised the possibility that, after just three or four days without food, blacks in New Orleans would transform into Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.

On September 2, Randall Robinson, former president of Transafrica wrote that “It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive.”

Before we move on, let’s be clear about all the components of this sentence. First, it is deadly serious. Indeed, its import is such that it caused the man to lose all faith in America. Second, blacks are eating the flesh of the dead to survive: Not “hurricane victims,” not “the poor,” not “the refugees,” not “New Orleans residents,” but “black hurricane victims” and black hurricane victims alone are feasting on the bodies of the fallen. Second, it asserts as fact that “it is reported.” At the time I searched Google News and Nexis and found not one story mentioning this fairly dramatic piece of news.

Robinson has since retracted this single solitary assertion. But he says he stands “behind everything else I wrote without reservation.”

We’ll get to “everything else,” but let us linger for a moment. Robinson did not apologize for his error, he merely offered a retraction. So, in other words, he doesn’t feel the need to make amends for the fact that he told the world black people — and black people alone — were willing to eat their fellow human beings after 72-96 hours without food (a “fact” now reported as far away as Turkey). Moreover, he feels no shame for believing it.

Imagine if I said, "Oh, you know those blacks — after a couple days without food they start eating each other. White folks? They can go weeks before they’d even consider such a thing. But if the food runs out on a Monday, zombism will break out among the black population by Thursday." People would be outraged. As they should be. Talk about the soft bigotry of low-expectations.

One of the great ironies here is that, like most people, I first heard of Robinson thanks to his various hunger strikes. His most recent one was in 1994 when he went 27 days without food to restore Haitian “democracy.” His fast is widely credited for changing Clinton-administration policy. Perhaps this gave Robinson some special insight into the black man’s willingness to break the final taboo? (One doesn’t want to think that this wealthy lawyer-activist thinks only the poor black folk eat the dead). Perhaps the rule among his entourage was "Keep your hands and feet away from Randall’s mouth." Democracy is one thing. But even Jean Bertrand Aristide might draw back a nub if he got too close.

There’s an old axiom which says that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. But Robinson was so keen on believing this allegation he went straight to the megaphone after someone simply told him it was so. What kind of person takes such news at face value? Let’s see: Racists surely would. But that’s a bit of a stretch. Idiots would take it at face value. But I don’t think Robinson is anybody’s fool. I’ve got it: He’s a fraud. Yeah, that works. It’s not perfect, but it will do the job.

Robinson writes: “My hand shakes with anger as I write. I, the formerly un-jaundiced human rights advocate, have finally come to see my country for what it really is. A monstrous fraud.”

Maybe I’m wrong. But here’s how I read this passage. He’s saying that he’s very angry and this anger is atypical. He’s “finally come” to the conclusion that America is a very bad place. Indeed, America is a “monstrous fraud.” The desired impact for the reader seems to be: Even the un-jaundiced Randall Robinson has given up! Even Randall Robinson is quitting America. Robinson even writes “I am a sixty-four year old African-American. New Orleans marks the end of the America I strove for.”
Oh that poor man, he can’t keep the dream alive because that hateful George W. Bush chose to do “nothing” for New Orleans, leaving black residents no choice but to consume man’s flesh.

Oh, but wait. Robinson already quit America a while ago. In fact he already declared America a fraud. How do I know this?

Well, because he wrote a book saying so. It’s even called Quitting America. Here’s the book’s official description “Randall Robinson is quitting America, and this book charts his journey from the most powerful nation on earth to the tiny tropical island where his wife was born. His search for a more peaceful and hospitable place grew out of the disappointment and increasing sense of abandonment he felt in the land of his own birth….”

He even has a whole chapter titled “Frauds” in which he explains how exhausted he is after fighting the monstrous fraud that is America.
So while I have no doubt that Robinson was angry when he wrote that blog entry last week, the only thing that was actually new in his post was his declaration that black folks were eating the dead. The rest was rhetorical featherbedding and, frankly, shtick.

Which gets us to the real point: Robinson belongs to the growing ranks of Bush haters and race industrialists who see nothing wrong with saying the worst thing possible about Bush — or about America under his “rule” — because the benefit of the doubt must always be given to any allegation which ascribes the maximum evil to Bush. Robinson wrote “No-one” had come to help the blacks of New Orleans even as it was obvious that perhaps the largest domestic rescue and recovery operation in American history was already well underway. I harbor many criticisms of the federal response, but there’s an enormous chasm between doing nothing and doing what had already been done as Robinson’s hands shook.

I’m sorry for personalizing this, but this makes my hands shake a bit. For a week my e-mail box filled with the nastiest stuff imaginable because of a joke or two I made when everything seemed like it was going to be okay (I particularly liked the e-mail titled “Are All Zionists A**holes?”). I apologized, sincerely, for my undue levity. Now Robinson, a man far more respected and better known than I am, flatly asserts that blacks — and blacks alone — became such savages that they literally fell like ghouls upon the bloated corpses of the dead floating in the filth of New Orleans. And he sees nothing wrong with saying so. There’s not even a trace of shame that maybe there would be something amiss in the souls of black folks were this allegation in fact accurate. Objecting to the cannibalistic tendencies of black people would just be “blaming the victim.”

Oh sure, it turned out to be a grotesque falsehood he never bothered to spend a moment fact-checking. But why should he bother when the burden of proof falls squarely on Bush and Bush alone? (Thanks to National Review Online.)

Krauthammer on the Iraqi Constitution.

Compare Citizen Krauthammer's take with that of Citizen Sobran:

I've never been a big fan of the Iraqi constitution project. Issues such as federalism and the role of Islam are simply too large and fundamental to be decided this early in Iraq's democratic evolution. It is more appropriately the work of years as Iraqis learn accommodation and tolerance and the other habits of self-government.

I wrote two months ago that forcing a resolution of Iraq's cosmic dilemmas by some arbitrary date could only serve to exacerbate already existing divisions. This has indeed happened. Nonetheless, the Iraqi constitution project is a fact. It has produced a document. It goes to referendum on Oct. 15. And all the lamentations and rending of garments over the text are highly overblown.

The idea that it creates an Islamic theocracy is simply false. Its Islamist influence is relatively mild. Chapter One, Article One: ``The Republic of Iraq is ... a democratic, federal, representative (parliamentary) republic.'' The word Islamic is deliberately and importantly omitted.

More specifically, the rule of sharia is significantly constrained. All constitutions have their ``thou shalts'' and ``thou shalt nots.'' In America, the constitution proper says what the government can and should do. The Bill of Rights says what the government cannot and must not do -- impose religion, force confessions, search and seize. It is the ``thou shalt nots'' that are your protection from tyranny.

The constitution writers in Iraq finessed the question of Islam by posing it as a thou shalt not. No law may contradict Islam. But it also says that no law may contradict democratic principles, and that the constitution accepts all human rights conventions.

This means that there are two gatekeepers for the passing of any law. Insofar as the constitution is adhered to (a heretofore dubious assumption in that part of the world), democratic rights are protected from the imposition of sharia. Establishing a double roadblock to new legislation is an excellent way to launch Iraq's first experiment with limited government.

In any case, the real Gordian issue was never Islam, but federalism. The Sunnis object to devolving power away from Baghdad because they happen not to be sitting on oil and have spent the last century plundering everybody else's and turning villages like Tikrit into monstrous treasure cities with the proceedings. With this constitution, that is going to stop. As it should. The only problematic proposal was for the Shiites to have the right to create a nine-province super-region as autonomous as Kurdistan.

That might establish de facto self-governing entities within the shell of a weak Iraqi central government. So what? The only major objection is that the neighboring countries would vigorously reject a fully sovereign Kurdistan or Shiite ``south Iraq.'' However, maintaining the shell of Iraqi sovereignty might mollify the Turks and Saudis and others who would resist outright independence. It might even turn out to be the best possible solution for Iraq's deep religious and ethnic divisions. After all, as one wag said, Iraq was not created by God, but by Winston Churchill. And it was not one of his most blessed creations. (Thanks to Townhall.com.)

Suicide Bombings Down Due to Shortage of Virgins

By Martin Bodek (From Israelinsider )

JANNAH, PARADISE - [TheKnish.com] Political pundits have long speculated on the cause of the downturn of suicide bombings in Israel. Some have posited that the credit belongs to Ariel Sharon's iron fist. Others have claimed the cause was Arafat's death. However, a new theory has surfaced, and most of the public has accepted the idea as the most likely to be the proximate cause: there are no virgins left in heaven.

"This is most devastating," said Allah during a sit-down interview. "There were so many suicide bombings that all the virgins were used up before I could generate more. I cannot keep up with the demand. Hence, I've ordered a moratorium on suicide bombings until I can restock to pre-intifadeh levels."

The sheer number of suicide bombings is not entirely to blame for the virgin shortage. Other factors are involved with the drought. Haman al Bilaam, a professional stone thrower from Rubble, Gaza used his 72 virgins up in one crazy night and due to a legal loophole he was able to claim 72 more on appeal. Al Bilaam claimed he thought their virginity could regenerate and that he could re-use them. A class-action lawsuit followed and dozens of bombers were able to apply for more virgins until the heavenly legal system closed the loophole. By then the damage to inventory was done.

Some suicide bombers have been asked by the Palestinian Authority to lend some virgins to would-be suicide bombers until the inventory can be replenished. This did not sit well with many of the suicide bombers. "Is the PA crazy?," said Misah Meshina, an amateur crash test dummy, "I'm being so careful not to use up all the virgins during my deathtime. I have 55 to go. I have no guarantees that whatever I give up will be replaced successfully. What if we make peace with Israel? Allah won't be making any more virgins, now will he? No way, they're too precious a resource and I've worked too hard to get them."

In an unsuccessful attempt to deal with the virgin shortage problem, the PA began recruiting female suicide bombers. Females do not receive 72 virgins, rather their reward is a man as handsome as the prophet Yosef. "This was totally unfair," says Badei Shoshana. "I blew myself up and got the ugliest man on earth. I should have known better. Have you seen People's "50 Most Beautiful Palestinians" issue? It wasn't pretty. I got screwed. Actually, I'm not getting screwed. This sucks."

Shoshana's dilemma put an instant halt to the female suicide bombers program and trickled down to the four remaining virgins as well. After seeing the looks of the would-be bombers in the suicide program, they got themselves laid at an Israeli night club. Heaven is now virginrein. Little did Israel know that peace would not come about by treaties or land returns. Rather, Israel's safety has been secured by a sexually active Palestinian population. © 2005 TheKnish.com.

Religion of Peace update.

Report Warns of Terrorists' 'Great Ramadan Offensive'


(CNSNews.com) - Al Qaeda's plans for a series of spectacular terrorist strikes in October, targeting American interests as well as U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East and said to be coordinated by Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenant in Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- are the subject of a non-public report issued by terrorism experts this week.

The attacks, planned to coincide with the Muslim observance of Ramadan and dubbed the "Great Ramadan Offensive," are designed to create a "fateful confrontation" with the U.S. and Israeli forces in the Middle East, according to a May 30 letter from Zarqawi to bin Laden. The contents of the letter are referenced in the report written by Yossef Bodansky, the former director of the U.S. Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.

The Sept. 2 report is accessible only to government officials on the Global Information System (GIS) database. Cybercast News Service obtained the report on the same day as its release. It warns of planned attacks in Western Europe, Russia and perhaps the continental U.S. The specific targets are believed to include airports at Schiphol in the Netherlands and Fiumicino in Italy.

Italy remains on high alert and barricades have been placed around Rome's Colosseum. "Terrorism is coming home," the GIS report quotes one unnamed German senior official. "And it's coming home to those countries whose governments may have believed they were immune from terror because for years they have provided safe haven to notorious Islamic extremists."

An associate of Zarqawi named Abu Abdul Rahman al-Jazaeri, was said to be in Italy, but could not be located by authorities, according to Bodansky, who added that Jazeiri was believed to have recently received from a Zarqawi messenger "the definitive mandate to plan and carry out a major terrorist operation in Italy."


U.S. SHAKEN BY QAEDA 007

U.S. counterterrorism authorities have been engaged for months in a shadow war with a computer hacker extraordinaire who is using cutting-edge technology to help al Qaeda and other jihad groups with their vast Internet operations, The Post has learned.

Experts inside and outside the government confirmed in recent interviews that an intensive effort has been under way for more than a year to track and shut down the mysterious cyber-ghost, who identifies himself as Irhabi 007 — or "Terrorist 007."

While officials said Irhabi 007 might not be a hardened al Qaeda terrorist, they believe he is a vital cog in the jihadi network, which relies on the Internet for communications, recruitment, fund-raising and propaganda.

"We don't know whether Irhabi 007 is a man or woman — an al Qaeda terrorist or a 16-year-old kid in a basement somewhere. But he is a fairly important figure who is getting increasingly popular and has a growing following," said terror expert Rita Katz, whose SITE Institute monitors al Qaeda communications on the Internet.

The FBI has been investigating Irhabi 007 since July 2004, when the Web site of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department was hacked.
The site was transformed into an al Qaeda message board, and links were posted that allowed visitors to view videotapes of Osama bin Laden and tributes to the 9/11 hijackers.

Surprise! Stolen tax money would have saved lives in New Orleans.

Washington's other newspaper refuses to draw the obvious conclusion: Politics Kills. (Thanks to CNSNews for the heads up.)

In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large.

Much of that Louisiana money was spent to try to keep low-lying New Orleans dry. But hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to unrelated water projects demanded by the state's congressional delegation and approved by the Corps, often after economic analyses that turned out to be inaccurate. Despite a series of independent investigations criticizing Army Corps construction projects as wasteful pork-barrel spending, Louisiana's representatives have kept bringing home the bacon.

For example, after a $194 million deepening project for the Port of Iberia flunked a Corps cost-benefit analysis, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) tucked language into an emergency Iraq spending bill ordering the agency to redo its calculations. The Corps also spends tens of millions of dollars a year dredging little-used waterways such as the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, the Atchafalaya River and the Red River -- now known as the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, in honor of the project's congressional godfather -- for barge traffic that is less than forecast.

The Industrial Canal lock is one of the agency's most controversial projects, sued by residents of a New Orleans low-income black neighborhood and cited by an alliance of environmentalists and taxpayer advocates as the fifth-worst current Corps boondoggle. In 1998, the Corps justified its plan to build a new lock -- rather than fix the old lock for a tiny fraction of the cost -- by predicting huge increases in use by barges traveling between the Port of New Orleans and the Mississippi River.

In fact, barge traffic on the canal had been plummeting since 1994, but the Corps left that data out of its study. And barges have continued to avoid the canal since the study was finished, even though they are visiting the port in increased numbers.

Pam Dashiell, president of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, remembers holding a protest against the lock four years ago -- right where the levee broke Aug. 30. Now she's holed up with her family in a St. Louis hotel, and her neighborhood is underwater. "Our politicians never cared half as much about protecting us as they cared about pork," Dashiell said.

Yesterday, congressional defenders of the Corps said they hoped the fallout from Hurricane Katrina would pave the way for billions of dollars of additional spending on water projects. Steve Ellis, a Corps critic with Taxpayers for Common Sense, called their push "the legislative equivalent of looting."

Oh, yeah. Then there was this little nugget tucked into the middle of the story:

But overall, the Bush administration's funding requests for the key New Orleans flood-control projects for the past five years were slightly higher than the Clinton administration's for its past five years.

Hitlery, (Or, as she prefers, Madame Presidentrix) call your office.

Yahoo! nazis collaborate with Chinese commies.

From CNSNews:

Internet giant Yahoo, accused this week of providing information that helped land a Chinese journalist in prison for 10 years, says it had no choice.

"Just like any other global company, Yahoo must ensure that its local country sites must operate within the laws, regulations and customs of the country in which they are based," Yahoo said in a prepared statement, read by spokeswoman Mary Osako over the phone from Sunnyvale, California, late Wednesday.

Said the law abiding German Christian as his Jewish friends were led to the slaughter.

She was responding to allegations arising this week about the company's alleged role in the imprisonment last spring of Chinese journalist Shi Tao, who used his private Yahoo email account to send information to a pro-democracy Chinese publication in the U.S.

According to a translation of the official trial record, Chinese investigators tracked him down with the help of "account holder information furnished by Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong)," which confirmed the IP address of Shi's computer and the phone number he used to connect to the Internet.

Kevin Li of the California-based Dui Hua Foundation confirmed Wednesday that the group had translated the court document, as part of its ongoing work to document and disseminate to governments and rights groups information about political trials in China.

The case was brought to public attention by the media freedom lobby group, Reporters Without Borders, which had strong words for Yahoo.

"We already knew that Yahoo collaborates enthusiastically with the Chinese regime in questions of censorship, and now we know it is a Chinese police informant as well," the organization said in a statement.

"Information supplied by Yahoo led to the conviction of a good journalist who has paid dearly for trying to get the news out," it said. "It is one thing to turn a blind eye to the Chinese government's abuses and it is quite another thing to collaborate."

Time to abandon those free e-mail accounts, kiddies.

Please shut up about gas prices.

For about the millionth time I can remember, Walter Williams tries to explain supply, demand, and price to the willfully ignorant.

Are gasoline prices high? That's not the best way to ask that question. It's akin to asking, "Is Williams tall?" The average height of U.S. women is 5'4", and for men, it's 5'10". Being 6'4", I'd be tall relative to the general U.S. population. But put me on a basketball court, next to the average NBA basketball player, and I wouldn't be tall; I'd be short. So when we ask whether a price is high or low, we have to ask relative to what.

In 1950, a gallon of regular gasoline sold for about 30 cents; today, it's $2.50. Are today's gasoline prices high compared to 1950? Before answering that question, we have to take into account inflation that has occurred since 1950. Using my trusty inflation calculator (www.westegg.com/inflation), what cost 30 cents in 1950 costs $2.33 in 2005. In real terms, that means gasoline prices today are only slightly higher, about 8 percent, than they were in 1950. Up until the recent spike, gasoline prices have been considerably lower than 1950 prices.

Some Americans are demanding that the government do something about gasoline prices. Let's think back to 1979 when the government did do something. The Carter administration instituted price controls. What did we see? We saw long gasoline lines, and that's if the gas station hadn't run out of gas. It's estimated that Americans used about 150,000 barrels of oil per day idling their cars while waiting in line. In an effort to deal with long lines, the Carter administration introduced the harebrained scheme of odd and even days, whereby a motorist whose license tag started with an odd number could fill up on odd-numbered days, and those with an even number on even-numbered days.

Ahhhh...The glory days of Little Jimmy Malaise.

With the recent spike in gas prices, the government has chosen not to pursue stupid policies of the past. As a result, we haven't seen shortages. We haven't seen long lines. We haven't seen gasoline station fights and riots. Why? Because price has been allowed to perform its valuable function -- that of equating demand with supply.

YES!!! That used to be Economics 101.

Our true supply problem is of our own doing. Large quantities of oil lie below the 20 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The amount of land proposed for oil drilling is less than 2,000 acres, less than one-half of one percent of ANWR. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are about 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil in ANWR. But environmentalists' hold on Congress has prevented us from drilling for it. They've also had success in restricting drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and off the shore of California. Another part of our energy problem has to do with refining capacity. Again, because of environmentalists' successful efforts, it's been 30 years since we've built a new oil refinery.

Few people realize that the U.S. is also a major oil-producing country. After Saudi Arabia, producing 10.4 million barrels a day, then Russia with 9.4 million barrels, the U.S. with 8.7 million barrels a day is the third-largest producer of oil. But we could produce more. Why aren't we? Producers have a variety of techniques to win monopoly power and higher profits that come with that power. What's a way for OPEC to gain more power? I have a hypothesis, for which I have no evidence, but it ought to be tested. If I were an OPEC big cheese, I'd easily conclude that I could restrict output and charge higher oil prices if somehow U.S. oil drilling were restricted. I'd see U.S. environmental groups as allies, and I would make "charitable" contributions to assist their efforts to reduce U.S. output. Again, I have no evidence, but it's a hypothesis worth examination.

That makes too much sense to be proved in a court of law.

New Orleans? Thomas Sowell gets it.

From Townhall.com, Dr. Sowell surveys the moral devastation that makes everything much worse and longer lasting.

The physical devastation caused by hurricane Katrina has painfully revealed the moral devastation of our times that has led to mass looting in New Orleans, assaults on people in shelters, the raping of girls, and shots being fired at helicopters that are trying to rescue people.

Forty years ago, an electric grid failure plunged New York and other northeastern cities into a long blackout. But law and order prevailed. Ordinary citizens went to intersections to direct traffic. People helped each other. After the blackout was over, this experience left many people with an upbeat spirit about their fellow human beings.

Another blackout in New York, years later, was much uglier. And what has been happening now in New Orleans is uglier still. Is there a trend here?

Fear, grief, desperation or despair would be understandable in people whose lives have been devastated by events beyond their control. Regret might be understandable among those who were warned to evacuate before the hurricane hit but who chose to stay. Yet the word being heard from those on the scene is "angry."

That may be a clue, not only to the breakdown of decency in New Orleans, but to a wider degeneration in American society in recent decades.
Why are people angry? And at whom?

Apparently they are angry at government officials for not having rescued them sooner, or taken care of them better, or for letting law and order break down.

Can't (or won't) you see this as exactly what the left wants? Destroy and then blame your enemies forthe destruction. It's classic Leninist-Leninism.

During good times or bad, the police cannot police everybody. They can at best control a small segment of society. The vast majority of people have to control themselves.

That is where the great moral traditions of a society come in -- those moral traditions that it is so hip to sneer at, so cute to violate, and that our very schools undermine among the young, telling them that they have to evolve their own standards, rather than following what old fuddy duddies like their parents tell them.

Now we see what those do-it-yourself standards amount to in the ugliness and anarchy of New Orleans.

In a world where people flaunt their "independence," their "right" to disregard moral authority, and sometimes legal authority as well, the tragedy of New Orleans reminds us how utterly dependent each one of us is for our very lives on millions of other people we don't even see.

Thousands of people in New Orleans will be saved because millions of other people they don't even know are moved by moral obligations to come to their rescue from all corners of this country. The things our clever sophisticates sneer at are ultimately all that stand between any of us and utter devastation.

Any of us could have been in New Orleans. And what could we have depended on to save us? Situational ethics? Postmodern philosophy? The media? The lawyers? The rhetoric of the intelligentsia?

To whom would you turn? Or do you think you could survive on your own, Mr. Rambo?

No, what we would have to depend on are the very things that are going to save the survivors of hurricane Katrina, the very things that clever people are undermining.

New Orleans can be rebuilt and the levees around it shored up. But can the moral levees be shored up, not only in New Orleans but across America?

My guess is no, Dr. Sowell. I hope I am wrong.

Sobran on the Iraqi Constitution.

(Note: The link above will take you to Joe's current on-line column. The archive is here. Not all of his past columns are available in the archive.)


Joe gets his sarcasm on:

We Americans are very proud of our Constitution, though we don’t use it that often, and we want Iraq to have one reasonably like it. It should be democratic, with women’s rights and stuff, but beyond that we’re giving them a lot of latitude. After all, the whole reason we invaded Iraq is to give the Iraqis self-government.

Anyway, that’s the reason now, even if it wasn’t the reason at the actual time of the invasion. We invaded at the time because the White House had determined — determined in the sense of decided, not necessarily discovered — that the tyrant Saddam Hussein possessed weapons like ours and was apt to use them.

Point well taken.

These included, or would soon include, nuclear weapons, and nuclear weapons are terrible things when they fall into the wrong hands. In the right hands, such as our own, they do a lot of good, such as shortening wars. Nuclear wars don’t drag on and on and become quagmires; they’re over before you can say “Jack Robinson,” or for that matter “Pee Wee Reese,” or “Gil Hodges.”

Now, Joe, let's not drag baseball into this.

But let’s get back to the Iraqi constitution. How they write it is pretty much up to them, within limits. One difference between theirs and ours was that ours was written after we got the foreign troops out, whereas theirs is being written under the supervision of the foreign troops, which in this case are us. Another difference between Iraq and us is that we have a Monroe Doctrine advising foreigners to stay in their own hemisphere, and they don’t.

Ouch.

If you stop to think about it, it would put a severe crimp in U.S. foreign policy if everyone had a Monroe Doctrine, wouldn’t it? We like to help people, after all. Just as the French export wine and cheese, we export self-government. It helps keep up the balance of trade. But you can’t export self-government unless you have someone to take it where it’s needed, a rather obvious point that Casey Sheehan’s mother seems unable to get through her head.

Not everyone agrees. Some Americans, called isolationists, think Americans should stay home and “mind our own business.” That’s what a lot of foreigners think, too. They want us to consume their exports, but they don’t want to consume ours.

Exporting the blessings of liberty can be difficult when the natives refuse to accept them peacefully and those blessings have to be inserted anally, as it were, like an enema, which is no fun, maybe, but is good for you. Again, if everyone had taken the view that Americans should “stay home and mind their own business,” as the tired cliché has it, we wouldn’t have been able to win World Wars I and II. In fact, we wouldn’t even have been able to fight them. Or shorten them. Or give the aggressors — that is to say, the losers — democracies and constitutions.

Ouch, literally.

When you fight a war with the United States, you are by definition the aggressor. As Lincoln warned the Southern states before invading them, “You yourselves will be the aggressors.” And the pattern could hardly be clearer: history shows we only invade aggressive countries, such as the Philippines.

Uh, there was that whole Fort Sumter thing.

It’s a good thing the aggressors always lose, or today all Americans might be speaking with Southern drawls, even in Brooklyn and Boston. Imagine Ted Kennedy saying, “Y’all come now, heah?” and you’ll appreciate what a close shave we had. The so-called Civil War might better be remembered as the War of Southern Aggression.

When you lose a war with the United States, democracy and a shiny new constitution, right out of the showroom, will be your consolation prizes. And we will even help you rebuild any cities it has been necessary to carpet-bomb or nuke. Our friendly troops will distribute candy to your surviving children. Yes, war is hell, but we try to make losing a war a little bit of heaven.

War is heaven. William Tecumseh Sherman, call your office.

Of course there will be the inevitable questions. Will the new Iraqi constitution be a living document, like ours, with lots of penumbras formed by emanations? The news reports are inconclusive on this, but we can hope for the best. We can only do so much; the rest will be up to the Iraqi judiciary.

Of course, Joe is referring to the excretions of William O. Douglas' pudenda?

About Me

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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