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It seems Pope Francis needs to brush up on his Tertullian!

It has been reported (in The ChristLast Media, I must note) that the current Pope does not like the phrase "lead us not into temptation...

"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, October 28, 2005

Animal Flesh Recipe of the Day.

Ok, so tuna are big and dumb. More like sheep of the sea, if you get my drift. Still, that is no reason not to kill and eat them.

Emeril Lagasse and the Food Network bring us a tuna recipe with a Japanese twist.

Crispy Wasabi Potato Crusted Tuna

1 pound center-cut bluefin tuna
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon wasabi powder
1/4 cup water
1 large white potato, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Drizzle of sesame oil
Sprigs of fresh chervil
2 ounces of caviar

Cut the tuna into 2 inch logs, 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick. Season the tuna with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk the wasabi and water together to form a loose paste. Using the potato threader, cut the potato into thin curl-like pieces. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Divide the potato curls between the tuna logs in individual piles. Brush each piece of tuna with the wasabi mixture, coating each side of the tuna completely. Place a piece of the tuna in the center of each pile of potato curls. Wrap the potatoes entirely over each piece of tuna, tightly. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tuna until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Fry the tuna in batches. Serve the tuna on a platter with a drizzle of sesame oil, chervil and a dollop of caviar.

Against all odds, the Find The Hottest TV News Babe Contest continues.

From WDTV in West Virginia comes Erica Sobczak

and Nicole Ducouer.

WRAL in Raleigh-Durham gives us Renee Chou (above)

and Valonda Calloway.

And from KOCO in Oklahoma City, here's Tierney Cook.

Stay tuned for more Hot TV News Babes.

Apparently, Mr. Sulu took that warp factor stuff too literally.

Actor George Takei, Mr. Sulu of 'Star Trek' TV Fame, Announces His Homosexuality in L.A. Magazine

What? No parade? Doesn't the guy even get a shower?

And speaking of sodomy, did you notice how noted wife and mother Sheryl Swoopes was wearing a Cross (but not a Crucifix) around her neck yesterday when she said she was happy her soul was burdened with many mortal sins and would proudly commit an indefinite number of mortal sins in the future?

Ain't progress grand?

Fyodor's Pro Football Picks of the Week.

1) The guys who set the lines 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 10/30

Minnesota (+8) at Carolina
I'll take the Vikings. (Watch. This'll be the one time the Panthers cover.)
FINAL: Panthers 38 Vikings 13 - Fyodor loses! (I told you.)

Oakland (-1.5) at Tennessee
I am compelled to take the Raiders. Ick!
FINAL: Raiders 34 Titans 25 - Fyodor wins!

Washington (+2) at NY Giants
Believe it or not, I'm taking the 'Skins.
FINAL: Giants 36 Redskins 0 (!!!) - Fyodor loses! ( I should hve known they'd win one for Mr. Mara.)

Arizona (+9) at Dallas
Big number (especially this year) versus Arizona stinks on the road. Take Dallas.
FINAL: Cowboys 34 Cardinals 13 - Fyodor wins!

Chicago (+3) at Detroit
The Crummy Game of the Week! I'll take Jeff Garcia over Kyle Orton. Pick the Lions.
FINAL: Bears 19 Lions 13 - Fyodor loses! (I took Garcia.)

Cleveland (+2) at Houston
Wait a minute. This game may be even crummier. Take the Browns.
FINAL: Texans 19 Browns 16 - Fyodor loses!

Green Bay (+9) at Cincinnati
Take the Bengals 'cause the Pack can't run.
FINAL: Bengals 21 Packers 14 - Fyodor loses! (Double ack!)

Jacksonville (-3) at St. Louis
When in doubt, take the home team. Pick the Rams.
FINAL: Rams 24 Jaguars 21 - PUSH!

Miami (+2.5) at (sort of) New Orleans
The Dolphins look bad and so do the Saints. Pick Miami.
FINAL: Dolphins 21 Saints 6 - Fyodor wins!

Kansas City (+6.5) at San Diego
Chiefs defense is the difference. Take the Chargers.
FINAL: Chargers 28 Chiefs 20 - Fyodor wins!

Philadelphia (+3.5) at Denver
Sorry, coach Reid. Short passes are not runs. Take Denver.
FINAL: Broncos 49 Eagles 21 - Fyodor wins! (Eagles are in big trouble.)

Tampa Bay (-11) at San Francisco
Chris Sims versus the 49er D. Take Tampa.
FINALS: 49ers 15 Bucs 10 - Fyodor loses! (This was the Crummy Game of the Week. Sims isn't ready. 5 freakin' field goals?)

Buffalo (+9) at New England
Time for the Pats to play better. Yhey'll cover.
FINAL: Patriots 21 Bills 16 - Fyodor loses!

Monday 10/31

Baltimore (+10) at Pittsburgh
Carve your pumpkin early, kiddies. Then watch the Steelers dismantle the hapless Ravens.
FINAL: Steelers 20 Ravens 19 - Fyodor loses! (A meaningless gambling loss. A tough win for Pittsburgh. They will only go as far as Roethlisberger can take them.)

Fyodor's College Football Picks of the Week.

1) The guys who set the lines 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.

Saturday 10/29

Indiana (+18.5) at Michigan State
State needs a big win, but Indiana has been playing better lately. Take the Hoosiers.
FINAL: Michigan State 46 Indiana 15 - Fyodor loses! (What was I thinking?)

Ohio State (-3.5) at Minnesota
I'm wary of the Gophers in the Dome, but I'll still take the Buckeyes. Warily.
FINAL: Ohio State 45 Minnesota 31 - Fyodor wins!

Oklahoma (+1.5) at Nebraska
Two former greats who are now mediocre. Take the Huskers at home.
FINAL: Oklahoma 31 Nebraska 24 - Fyodor loses!

N. Carolina (+20.5) at Miami
I'll take the Hurricanes to cover.
FINAL: Miami 34 UNC 16 - Fyodor loses! (Just in time for Halloween, Miami came out dressed like Baylor and played like 'em.)

Mississippi (+20.5) at Auburn
The number's too big for me. Take the Rebels.
FINAL: Auburn 27 Mississippi 3 - Fyodor loses! (What happened to last week's magic?)

Utah State (+34) at Alabama
I don't know what the Aggies have, and 'Bama's offense is limited. I'll take Utah State and the points.
FINAL: Alabama 35 Utah State 3 - Fyodor wins!

Navy (+6.5) at Rutgers
I'll take the Scarlet Knights to cover.
FINAL: Rutgers 31 Navy 21 - Fyodor wins!

Purdue (+15.5) at Penn State
Purdue is no Illinois. Take the Boilermakers.
FINAL: PSU 33 Purdue 15 - Fyodor loses! (Pur-don't.)

Maryland (+17) at Florida State
FSU wins big. Pick 'em to cover.
FINAL: FSU 35 Maryland 27 - Fyodor loses! (I see a pattern developing.)

Clemson (+3) at Georgia Tech
Take Tech to cover.
FINAL: Georgia Tech 10 Clemson 9 - Fyodor loses! (Ack!)

Georgia (+4) at Florida
The World's Greatest Outdoor Cocktail Party is only a so-so game this year. Take the Bulldogs.
FINAL: Florida 14 Georgia 10 - PUSH!

Washington State (+30) at USC
USC starts its march to the Rose Bowl, but don't cover.
FINAL: USC 55 Washington State 13 - Fyodor loses! (I am an idiot.)

Ball State (+29) at Northern Illinois
Take Ball State. (I know, I know.)
FINAL: Ball State 31 NIU 17 - Fyodor wins! (My only decent pick of the week.)

UTEP (-20) at Rice
A big number, but Rice is bad. Even at home. Take the Miners.
FINAL: UTEP 38 Rice 31 - Fyodor loses! (Who lit a fire under Rice?)

UCLA (-7) at Stanford
Bruins are the worst good team around. I don't want to, but I must take them to cover.
FINAL: UCLA 30 Stanford 27 - Fyodor loses! (Nice comeback, Bruins. You will be destroyed by SC.)

Michigan (-3) at Northwestern
Two overrated academic institutions, but only one overrated football team. Take the Wildcats.
FINAL: Michigan 33 Northwestern 17 - Fyodor loses!

Texas (+37) at Oklahoma State
I'll take the Cowboys because there are a heck of a lot of beautiful girls there. (And now is the time for a Longhorn letdown.)
FINAL: Texas 47 Oklahoma State 28 - Fyodor wins!

South Carolina (+13.5) at Tennessee
Take the Vols to cover.
FINAL: South Carolina 16 Tennessee 15 - Fyodor loses! (Is Spurrier back or is Phil Fulmer still in charge of the Vols?)

Monday is Halloween...

...but only if you are under the age of twelve. For everyone else, it is All Hallow's Eve, the night before All Saints Day.

All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation. Behave accordingly.

Here is a headline you DO see every day.

Rove Won't Be Indicted Today

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today is the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles and martyrs. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading is
Ephesians 2:19-22.
Today's Gospel reading is
Luke 6:12-16.

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.


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.)


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, October 27, 2005

Mark Steyn: The UN, that Smurf movie, and Iraq.

Smurfy's law in Iraq?

I yield to no one in my disdain for the United Nations and all its works. But I did find myself warming up to UNICEF the other day. Just more than a week ago, on Belgian TV, the U.N. children's agency premiered the first adult movie featuring the beloved (by Belgian, anyway) children's cartoon characters the Smurfs. By "adult," I don't mean it was a blue movie. Only the characters were blue. But it was an adult movie in that the Smurfs were massacred in an air strike on their village until only Baby Smurf is left, weeping alone surrounded by wall-to-wall Smurf corpses. It's the first Smurf snurf movie.

Well, I thought, say what you like about the U.N. but any organization that wants to bomb the Smurfs can't be all bad. Not like those wimps at that British municipal council who banned Piglet the other day because some Muslim found him offensive. Why didn't they just make a blockbuster video nuking the Hundred Acre Wood and leaving Pooh to die in a radioactive Heffalump pit?

My mistake. Apparently UNICEF made the short film as a fund-raiser to highlight how children are the principal victims of war. As Baby Smurf wails amid the shattered ruins, we see the words: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."

Oh, well. It's not clear from the Smurf carnage whether their village is a sovereign jurisdiction -- the ultimate blue state -- or they're merely some hapless minority within a multiethnic nation, the Kosovars to Spongebob Squarepants' Slobodan Milosevic. But either way the warplanes come and blue body parts are exploding all over the village.

Good luck to UNICEF and all. But I can't help thinking that, if you're that concerned for children in war zones, you might have done something closer to real conflict in those places.

In Rwanda, Sudan and a big chunk of West Africa, air strikes are few. Instead, millions are hacked to death by machetes. Even on the very borders of Eutopia, hundreds of thousands died in the Balkans in mostly low-tech, non-state-of-the-art ways.

In 2003, Charles Onyango-Obbo wrote a fascinating column in the East African musing on the resurgence of cannibalism, after reports Ugandan-backed rebels in the Congo were making surviving members of their victims' families eat the body parts of their loved ones. "While colonialism is bad," he said, "the colonizer who arrives by plane, vehicle or ship is better -- because he will have to build an airport, road or harbor -- than the one who, like the Ugandan army, arrived and withdrew from most of eastern Congo on foot."

Just so. If you're to be attacked, it's best to be attacked by a relatively advanced enemy. Compared to being force-fed Grandfather Smurf's genitals, having his village strafed in some clinical air strike is about the least worst option for Baby Smurf.

Why would UNICEF show such an implausible form of Smurficide? Well, intentionally or not, they're evoking the war most of their audience -- in Belgium and beyond -- opposes: the Iraq war, where the invader indeed had an air force. That's how average Western "progressives" still conceive of warfare: something the big bullying Pentagon does to weak victims.

But this week we should remember there are worse things than war that "affect the lives of children." If I were Papa Smurf, I wouldn't want Baby Smurf to grow up in Saddam's Iraq. I don't mean just because we would be the beleaguered minority of Smurfistan, to be gassed and shoveled into mass graves.

Even if we were part of Saddam's own approved class living in the Smurfi Triangle, it's still a life permanently fixed between terror and resignation in which all a parent's hopes for his children are subordinate to the whims of a psycho state.

That Iraq is gone now -- not because of UNICEF and the other transnational institutions that confer respectability on dictatorships, but because America, Britain, Australia and a few others were prepared to go to war. Needless to say, for the media moaners, the approval of the new constitution was just the latest disaster. "For the Bush administration, the apparent approval of Iraq's constitution is less of a victory than yet another chance to possibly fashion a political solution that does not result in the bloody division of Iraq," wrote Glenn Kessler in The Washington Post, sufficiently rattled by happy scenes of millions voting at least to hedge his bets.

Religion of Peace Update.

From Arnold Beichman in The Washington Times comes the story of women who are genuine victims of oppression.

One of the most outspoken manifestoes against Arab male domination has just been published in the London Arabic language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat under the title "Imagine You're a Woman." The author is Badriyya Al-Bishr, a lecturer in social sciences at King Saud University. The translation is by MEMRI.

"Imagine you're a woman," she writes. "When your brother is born, people say: 'It's a boy, how wonderful,' and when you are born they say: 'How wonderful, it's a little girl' -- using the diminutive form. Your arrival is welcome if [you are] the first or second girl, but it's best if there are no more than two, so that nothing undesirable happens to the mother. On the other hand, your brothers' arrivals are welcomed -- the more the merrier.

"Imagine you're a woman. You always need your guardian's approval, not only regarding your first marriage, as maintained by the Islamic legal scholars, but regarding each and every matter. You cannot study without your guardian's approval, even if you reach a doctorate level. You cannot get a job and earn a living without your guardian's approval. Moreover, there are people who are not ashamed to say that a woman must have permission to work even in the private sector.

"Imagine you're a woman and the guardian who must accompany you wherever [you go] is your 15-year-old son or your brother, who scratches his chin before giving his approval, saying: 'What do you think, guys, should I give her my permission?' Sometimes he asks for . . . a bribe [in return], heaven forbid! [But] your brother avoids taking such a bribe in 'cash' because his self-respect prevents him from touching a woman's money. So he prefers the bribe to be a car, a fridge, or an assurance of money that you will pay in installments [for him], until Allah gets him out of his financial straits.

"Imagine you're a woman, and you are subject to assault, beatings, or murder. When the press publishes your photo [together with] the photo of the criminals and [descriptions] of their brutality, there are people who ask: 'was the victim covered [by a veil] or not?' If she was covered up, [the question arises:] 'Who let her go out of the house at such an hour?' In the event that your husband is the one who broke your ribs, [people will say] that no doubt there was good reason for it.

"Imagine you're a woman whose husband breaks her nose, arm, or leg, and you go to the Qadi to lodge a complaint. When the Qadi asks you about your complaint, and you say, 'He beat me,' he responds reproachfully 'That's all?' In other words, [for the Qadi], beating is a technical situation that exists among all couples and lovers, [As the saying goes]: 'Beating the beloved is like eating raisins.'

"Imagine you're a woman, and in order to manage your affairs you must ride in a 'limousine' with an Indian or Sri Lankan driver . . . or that you [must] wait for a younger brother to take you to work, or that you [must] bring a man who will learn to drive in your car, and will practice at your expense . . . because you yourself are not permitted to drive.

"Imagine you're a woman in the 21st century, and you see fatwas [issued] by some contemporary experts in Islamic law dealing with the rules regarding taking the women of the enemy prisoner and having sexual intercourse with them. Moreover, you find someone issuing a fatwa about the rules of taking the women of the enemy prisoner even in times of peace, and you don't know to which enemy women it refers.

"Imagine you're a woman who writes in a newspaper, and every time you write about your [women's] concerns, problems, poverty, unemployment, and legal status, they say about you: 'Never mind her, it's all women's talk.'"

The degradation of women in the Arab world is rarely described openly. That is why the report of Madame Badriyya Al-Bishr ought to be acted upon, perhaps by an American university. Such courageous candor ought not to be ignored and who better to recognize that courage than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice?

Differences in DNA mapped.

From The Washington Times:

Scientists have mapped patterns of tiny differences in DNA that distinguish one person from another, an achievement that will help researchers find genes that promote common illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

The map represents "a real sea change in how we study the genetics of disease," said Dr. David Altshuler, a leader of the project, which included more than 200 researchers from six nations.

Scientists want to find disease-related genes as a means for diagnosis, prediction and treatment. Such genes give clues to the biological underpinnings of disease, and so suggest strategies for developing therapies.

Genes that predispose people to common disorders -- heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma and others -- are devilishly hard to find.

But the new "HapMap," taken from the genetics term haplotype, opens the door to starting comprehensive searches through the human DNA for those genes, said Dr. Altshuler, who conducts research at the Broad Institute, which is a collaboration of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and at Massachusetts General Hospital.

It is not clear how many genes will be found or how useful they will be, Dr. Altshuler said. The achievement probably won't result in disease treatments for five or 10 years or more, he said.

HapMap data already have been used to track down a gene linked to the eye disorder macular degeneration, said HapMap project participant Dr. Lincoln Stein of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York state.

The map is described in today's issue of the journal Nature. Participating scientists came from Canada, China, Japan, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States. The project analyzed DNA samples from 269 persons from Nigeria, Beijing, Tokyo and Utah.

"It is a triumph for collaborative science," said Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt. "This is a landmark achievement."

Human DNA consists of more than 3 billion building blocks whose sequences form genes, just like letters spell a word. For any two unrelated persons, these letters are 99.9 percent the same. But that leaves millions of single-letter differences, called SNPs (pronounced "snips") that provide genetic variation among people.

The HapMap shows how more than 1 million of these SNPs form patterns: A person with one particular version of a SNP is likely to carry particular versions of other SNPs as well. A group of variants that associate together is called a haplotype.

This clustering greatly simplifies the task of analyzing what variations a person carries, because not all of them have to be identified.

This, in turn, allows scientists to use great arrays of SNPs as signposts for tracing genes that promote disease or determine a person's response to a particular medicine.

Quote of the Day.

Meanwhile, the Salt Lake Tribune has a wonderful quote from First Lt. Bruce Bishop, a 31-year-old fireman, who explains that he plans to re-enlist in the Utah National Guard "because as I look around at the state of this nation and see all of the weak little pampered candy-asses that are whining about this or protesting that, I'd be afraid to leave the fate of this nation entirely up to them."
(Thanks to Best of the Web Today for this slice of reality.)

Memo To The Children of the "Reformation":

You thought you knew, but you didn't know.

Read and learn. This Miers mess is just another of the many reasons why I don't trust you any farther than I can throw you.

Weren't you folks screeching how Miers was a staunch foe of the Roe v. Wade abomination? And just a couple of days ago, too! When will you "conservative" protestants get it through your poor addled brains: Only The True Church can help a man (or woman) stand up to the wickedness and snares of the Devil.

You should be down on your knees thanking God this poor, confused woman won't be given a handhold on the reins of power! And while you are at it, ask Him to send the Supreme Court someone dependable, namely a faithful Catholic with a paper trail! (Do the names Scalia and Thomas ring a bell?)

Swallow your pride and admit I am typing the truth.

Now that Harriet Miers has withdrawn, we have to learn the lesson of the last three and a half weeks. In the text of a 1993 speech she delivered to a Dallas women's group, Harriet Miers sounded more like John Edwards than John Roberts: "We undeniable [sic] still do have a justice system that does not provide justice for all as provided by the Pledge of Allegiance. One justice for rich, one justice for poor. One justice sometimes for minorities, one for whites." On judicial activism, she punts, writing: "When you hear Courts blamed for judicial activism or intrusion where they don't belong...stop and [sic] examine what the elected leadership has done to address the issue at hand...." This speech lacks a clear logic, reasoning, or attention to basic grammar and punctuation. We can't believe that President Bush never read this speech. This speech is not anything that could ever be written by a judicial conservative with a firm grasp of the principle of judicial restraint. (Thanks to Laura Ingraham for the heads up and for her tireless efforts to get the truth out.)

Who was Harriet Miers? The Last.

For me personally, one of the best things about Miers' withdrawl is it seems to have pissed off Senator Brain Damage.

Stay tuned for details, kiddies.

Ralph Neas, a braying jackass whose head is filled with socialist piffle, is outraged by the damage done to his beloved Harriet.

Neas, In Awe of Principled Effectiveness
[Kathryn Jean Lopez 10/27 09:39 AM]

For Immediate Release Contact: Josh Glasstetter or Nick Berning

October 27, 2005


Right Wing Power Politics Overwhelm President’s Supreme Court Pick
Harriet Miers’ withdrawal from her Supreme Court nomination demonstrates that ultraconservatives are so determined to swing the Supreme Court sharply to the right that they pounded their own president’s nominee into submission, and now demand a nominee with unquestioned far-right credentials, said Ralph G. Neas, President of People For the American Way.

“It’s an astonishing spectacle. The unelected power-brokers of the far right have forced the withdrawal of President Bush’s own Supreme Court nominee, before a confirmation hearing has even been held. President Bush’s complete capitulation to the far-right interest groups is astounding. The ultra-right wing dominance of Republican Party politics is complete, and they have dealt a terrible blow to an already weakened President and his administration,” said Neas. “Right-wingers are openly saying they elected Bush to put a battle-ready ultraconservative on the court to replace the moderate Sandra Day O’Connor, and they’re demanding a new choice – bipartisanship, moderation and mainstream Americans be damned.”

Yeah? Wait'll you see what we do to your gal Hitlery. She'll be blubbering on Oprah's show after our Truth Squad gets done with her.

Neas said that while his group had initial concerns about Miers’ qualifications, he was willing to wait for document disclosure and the confirmation hearings to assess the nomination. Meanwhile, the drumbeat against Miers from special interest groups on the right grew in coordination and intensity, dooming the nomination.

That is a lie. They smelled a Souter. They saw Miers as an easily manipulated woman with no underlying belief system to help her resist the siren call of collectivism.

Neas urged Bush to resist calls for an ultraconservative nominee.

If he does, we'll take that one down as well.

“After this sorry episode, the best way for the President to demonstrate leadership and recover strength would be to choose a nominee with a great legal mind and mainstream legal philosophy who could draw bipartisan support. The President must not let the extreme right dictate his next choice, but instead choose a nominee who can bring us together and maintain a fair and independent balance on the Supreme Court,” he said.
(Thanks to NRO's Bench Memos for the heads up.)

The Eucharistic Synod holds the line...

...and guess what type of Catholic is upset? (Thanks to Brian Saint-Paul and CRISIS Magazine for the heads up.)

The Eucharistic Synod and Priestly Celibacy
CRISIS Magazine e-Letter
October 26, 2005

Dear Friend,
The Eucharistic Synod ended on Sunday and some people are just not happy.

As you probably know, the gathering brought together an estimated 250 bishops from around the world. They met for three weeks, discussing and debating a number of issues facing today's Church. Once the discussions were concluded, they voted on 50 propositions, ranging from the sacraments to the liturgy to the priesthood.

And that's where the trouble begins.

You see, while some people liked the open dialogue that characterized the synod debates (and is yet another example of how Pope Benedict XVI is hardly the close-minded authoritarian his critics warned us of), they object strongly to what the bishops decided.

"They opened the issue, talked solutions, then ran as fast as they could in the other directions," huffed Sister Christine Schenk, CSJ, to Associated Press. You'll be shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that Sister Schenk is with Call to Action and FutureChurch.

We Are Church released a statement, quoted in the same Associated Press story, that decried the bishops' "lack of courage" in not making the changes they hoped to see. If their "Appeal to the Synod of Bishops on Eucharist" is any indication, this would include eliminating the notion of the Eucharist as a sacrifice, the doctrine of transubstantiation, allowing married priests, women's ordination, etc. and etc.

In the coming days, we can rightly expect more foot-stomping from the usual gang. I'm thinking of instituting a Crisis Magazine office pool on what Rev. Richard McBrien will complain about first. The smart money is on priestly celibacy, but really, it could be anything.

The fact is, on the well-publicized issue of married priests, bishops from around the world discussed and debated the matter freely... and then voted overwhelmingly to maintain celibacy in the Latin Rite.

Critics claim they lost their nerve. But isn't it simply more likely that they realized that married priests won't fix the vocation shortage? Indeed, many Eastern Catholic Churches have married priests, and a goodly number of those are experiencing the same crisis as the Latin Rite. As many careful observers have noted, the proven method for increasing vocations in a diocese is the promotion of dynamic orthodoxy... that is, a fidelity to the historic Faith that is energetic and evangelistic.

Look at the Archdiocese of Denver. Archbishop Charles Chaput has made it one of the premier dioceses not only in the U.S., but in the worldwide Catholic Church. And he did it by surrounding himself with faithful Catholics and by standing up for authentic Catholicism. As a result, they have more seminarians than they can handle.

That's the solution. Not married priests. Not women's ordination. Not anything on Charles Curran's "Things To Do Before I Die" list. Fidelity, pure and simple.

Amen to all that, Brother!

Let's keep that in mind in the days to come.

All the best,

P.S. Rosa Parks died on Monday. Please join me in praying for her and for those she left behind. Parks was more than just a hero of the civil rights movement -- though she was certainly that. She was also a living example of how one person can stand up for what is right, and in doing so, change everything. May God bless her.

It looks like we dodged a serious bullet, kiddies.

From The Salt Lake Tribune comes this example of the chameleon known as Harriet Miers. Can you say Souter Jr.?

But seriously, folks, this is a good win for the good guys and a blow to the bad guys. I hope and pray we can turn it into a huge win by returning the Supreme Court to sanity.

A 1993 Miers speech frays some conservatives' nerves

A 1993 speech by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers prompted new skepticism from some Senate Republicans about whether she has a consistently conservative judicial philosophy about abortion, religion and the role of courts.

The senators said Miers must explain an apparent contradiction between her 1989 support for a constitutional amendment banning most abortions and the speech in which she suggested a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy was a matter of ''self-determination.''

Miers's 1993 speech ''raises questions about how consistent and well-grounded her judicial philosophy might be,'' said Louisiana Republican David Vitter, who met with Miers Wednesday in Washington.

Vitter is among a half-dozen conservative Republicans who have questioned whether Miers's qualifications and judicial philosophy make her the best nominee at a time when President Bush has an opportunity to cement conservative control of the Supreme Court.

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings are set to begin Nov. 7 on Miers's nomination to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a pivotal vote on many hot-button issues who voted to uphold abortion rights. Miers today is to resubmit written answers to questions that some lawmakers said she failed to answer completely the first time.

Miers's 12-year-old speech to ''would suggest at least she's got some opinions that don't necessarily jive,'' said South Dakota Republican John Thune.

Conservative Senate Republicans have so far been the most vocal critics of Miers, 60, the White House counsel and a former Dallas lawyer who specialized in commercial litigation. Conservative groups opposing the nomination argue that because Miers was never a judge, she has no record on issues likely to be decided by the court.

''I think she has a high hill to climb,'' said Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2008.

''The big question mark about this candidate is about the judicial philosophy,'' he said, ''and what it is and how set it is.''

Vitter said that when he asked Miers about the 1993 speech ''she tried to put it in context'' by saying ''she thought some of the analysis of particular snippets, statements from her past, was sort of over-analysis.''

Thank goodness for over-analysis, eh, kiddies?

Also, let's hope the White House fools in charge of vetting Miss Miers have learned their lesson. She would never have been nominated if the content of this speech had been known beforehand.

The Oil for Fascism scandal grows and grows.

U.N.: 2,000 Cos. Gave Iraq Illicit Funds

More than 2,000 companies paid about $1.8 billion in illicit kickbacks and surcharges to Saddam Husseins government through extensive manipulation of the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq, according to key findings of a U.N.-backed investigation obtained by The Associated Press.

The report — to be released in full Thursday by the committee probing claims of wrongdoing in the $64 billion program — indicates that about half the 4,500 companies doing business with Iraq paid illegal surcharges on oil purchases or kickbacks on contracts to supply humanitarian goods.
The investigators reported that companies and individuals from 66 countries paid illegal kickbacks through a variety of devices while those paying illegal oil surcharges came from, or were registered in, 40 countries. The names will be included in Thursday's report but were not in the key findings obtained Wednesday by the AP.

Thursday's final report of the investigation led by former U.S.
Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker strongly criticizes the U.N. Secretariat and Security Council for failing to monitor the program and allowing the emergence of front companies and international trading concerns prepared to make illegal payments.

According to the findings, the Banque Nationale de Paris S.A., known as BNP, which held the U.N. oil-for-food escrow account, had a dual role and did not disclose fully to the United Nations the firsthand knowledge it acquired about the financial relationships that fostered the payment of illegal surcharges.

Lock 'em up! Lock 'em all up for a long, long time!

Memo To CowardlyGeorge FlyingBushMonkey:

You have been given a unique opportunity at a second chance at being remembered as a man of principle.

You must nominate a someone with an obvious dedication to the Constitution as written.

You must fight the forces of totalitarianism with everything you have because they will fiercely oppose anyone like Scalia and Thomas.

Make no mistake, Mr. President. We are at war with those people in the same way we are at war with the moslem terrorists. The fascist totalitarian left hates our institutions and way of life as much as the jihadists do.

But at least the terrorists are honest about it.

Declare war, Mr. Bush. And don't stop fighting until January 2009.

Fyodor honors the Chicago White Sox with The Book of Day.

A Pennant For The Kremlin by Paul Molloy

The eccentric owner of the White Sox dies and leaves the team to the USSR in his will. A great example of why baseball lends itself to storytelling.

Thank you, Miss Miers.

I believe you did the right thing for your country. In my mind, you are a heroine.

I know withdrawing was a difficult thing to do. The Supreme Court is the pinnacle of your profession. I would like to think I would make the same decision if I were in a similar situation, but I am not sure.

May God bless and protect you all your days, Miss Miers.


Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination.
Miers had faced stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

President George W. Bush said he reluctantly accepts her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.


Actually, kiddies, major league baseball died in the 1980's...

...although most people did not notice until the debacle of 1994. Baseball is still the greatest game ever invented, but real fans can only enjoy it from Little League up through the AAA level.

So much for my disclaimer. You can take or leave the following as you wish.

I would like to congratulate the Chicago White Sox on their World Series victory. From the little I have read, they seem to play the classic style of ball even though they are saddled with that abomination known as the Designated Hitter Rule. They have good starting pitching, (especially for this era) they hit in the clutch, they have a solid defense, and, miracle of miracles, they know how to bunt.

Congratulations to Jermaine Dye, the Series MVP, a very good ballplayer who I will always remember as the guy who broke his leg by fouling a pitch off it.

Congratulations to Ozzie Guillen, the Sox manager. I remember him as a good infielder whoalways played hard. I always like to root for guys the media label as crazy or difficult or clueless.

But most of all, I'd like to congratulate the good Sox fans who have waited for this since 1917. Besides this long wait, Sox fans have had to endure a reputation (all too often deserved) as a drunken, ignorant mob as well as comparisons to the fans of everybody's favorite losers, the Cubs.

Rejoice, Sox fans! Until Satan buys a sweater, YOUR team is #1 in the Second City.

Oh, and one more thing. This one's for you, Shoeless Joe. Real fans know you got a raw deal.

Enough of my prattle. Here's Tom Boswell, often the only reason to read Washington's other newspaper:

In the last 365 days, baseball has squared some of its longest standing debts. Last Oct. 27, the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. On April 14 this spring, the first baseball game was played in Washington after 33 vacant seasons. Last Wednesday, the Houston Astros won their first pennant in 44 years of existence. And on Wednesday night in Minute Maid Park, one day shy of the anniversary of the Red Sox' championship, the Chicago White Sox beat the Astros, 1-0, to win their first World Series in 88 years, storming through October with 11 wins in 12 postseason games.

Say it's so, Jermaine, Geoff, Ozzie, Paul, Scott, Jose, Freddy, A.J., Bobby and Joe.

After the final out, the White Sox formed a scrum at the pitcher's mound, often hugging each other until they toppled to the ground. Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio, Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk, Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura, Ray Durham and Carlos Lee -- all of whom played and lost in past postseasons for the Pale Hose -- were not there. But all their efforts, fallen short over the decades, were fully honored by the work of a team, managed passionately by Ozzie Guillen, that respected every baseball fundamental. The Chisox preached pitching, defense and situational hitting -- a doctrine as valid in 2005 as it was in 1917, when the South Side of Chicago last ruled the sport.

The final two outs of this game bore the team's stamp of toughness and precision. With an Astro in scoring position, Chicago shortstop Juan Uribe battled his way into a third base box seat to grab a foul pop-up. No, this Chicago team was not afflicted with any meddlesome ball-deflecting fans. Then, to end the season, Uribe nipped Orlando Palmeiro at first base by inches on a slow dribbler. Throughout this postseason, the White Sox often seemed blessed by mistaken or controversial umpiring calls that went their way. This call was correct, just as the coronation of a White Sox team that won 99 regular season games and stood in first place for every day of the season was altogether proper.

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today is the Feast of St. Abraham the Poor, a holy hermit from Egypt. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading is
Romans 8:31-39.
Today's Gospel reading is
Luke 13:31-35.

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.


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.)


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.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

ScrappleFace gets it.

Dean: Celebrate 2,000th Iraq Death with Dignity
by Scott Ott

(2005-10-25) -- Democrat National Committee Chairman Howard Dean urged party members to "restrain their joy" during nationwide celebrations of the 2,000th American fatality of the Iraq war, "out of respect for the untold thousands who have been killed by our troops."

"These American military dead are not just names on a list," Mr. Dean said. "Behind many of those names we can feel the loss of the grieving families of Arab freedom fighters who mourn their dearly-departed insurgents."

In an email to Democrat party members, Mr. Dean suggested that local celebrations of the grim milestone include "a moment of non-sectarian silence before the champagne corks start popping."

At the end of his note, the DNC chief added, "P.S. -- I hope the 2000 celebration helps us all to look forward eagerly to 2008."

Bush: Miers Views Not Clouded by Legal Scholarship
by Scott Ott

(2005-10-25) -- As part of a third White House strategy to prop up the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, President George Bush announced today that Miss Miers is not "intellectually burdened" with detailed knowledge of the opinions of legal scholars regarding the Constitution.

"Justice Harriet Miers will read the Constitution like I would," said the president. "I want someone who has a fresh perspective on the actual words of the document, rather than on what Chief Justice Earl Warren Burger wrote in 1812."

Meanwhile, White House sources said, Miss Miers "pulled an all-nighter" preparing responses to a follow-up questionnaire from the Senate Judiciary Committee due today.

The nominee reportedly consulted several familiar legal reference works, including Cliffs Notes, U.S. Constitution for Dummies and the Schoolhouse Rock video on American history.

"I think the Judiciary Committee will find that Miss Miers is quite familiar with the Constitution," Mr. Bush said. "During the vetting process, she actually sang the Preamble, which really impressed us. Even Chief Justice John Roberts didn't do that."

Steelers Update.

(Thanks to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for the heads up.)

+Steelers safety Mike Logan injured his hamstring in Sunday's win at Cincinnati and could be out 3-4 weeks, coach Bill Cowher said. He'll be replaced by fellow McKeesport High grad Russell Stuvaints, one of the Steelers' final cuts in September. To make room for Stuvaints, tight end Matt Kranchik was placed on waivers with the hope of being re-signed to the practice squad.

+Linebacker Clark Haggans, out the previous three games due to a partially torn groin that required surgery, will start Monday night against the Ravens. He has 16 tackles and three sacks. He played his best game of the season against New England (10 tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles) before sustaining the injury in the game's waning moments. Cowher said James Harrison, who filled in capably for Haggans, will stay involved, and that Haggans will be eased back in.

+The Steelers are relatively healthy, given only two players -- CB Ricardo Colclough (shoulder) and DE Kimo von Oelhoffen (shoulder) -- are listed as questionable. Eleven are probable, all of whom should play.

+The death of Wellington Mara, the patriarch of the New York Giants who lost his battle with cancer at age 89 on Tuesday, touched Steelers chairman Dan Rooney.

"He truly was a Giant in the NFL and in life. The Rooney family has been friends with the Maras for four generations," Rooney said in a statement. "Wellington was a mentor for me and a counsel I could call on. ... We will all miss Wellington Mara as we celebrate his life. God bless and keep him."

Penguins Update.

A hopeful sign: Sidney Crosby drew six penalties against the Panthers Tuesday night.

Either way, Tuesday night's game against the Florida Panthers at Mellon Arena was going to be an important one.

Win, and the Penguins' would gain their first victory of the year and end a franchise-worst eight-game winless streak to start the season.

Lose, and, well, none of the players wanted to even think about the option heading into the game. Although general manager Craig Patrick said before the game that they weren't considering making player moves and that coach Eddie Olczyk was their guy, there's no telling what could happen when a team hoping to contend for the Stanley Cup starts pushing 10 games with no wins.

The Penguins lost, 4-3, to bring their record to 0-4-5 with five points, still the fewest in the Eastern Conference.

But not before they gained then lost a third-period lead to force the game to overtime, where center Stephen Weiss scored a power-play goal to win with Mario Lemieux in the penalty box.

"I think of all the ones we played, we deserved to win this one," said rookie forward Sidney Crosby, the only player in the locker room to field reporters' questions immediately following the game. "I think we did everything right (Tuesday night). I think we deserved to win. I'm not making excuses; we deserved to win but we didn't come out with it. But I think we can honestly tell ourselves we put an honest effort out."

Starkey: Time to put the puck on Crosby's stick
Mario Lemieux jumped out of the penalty box and made a beeline for referee Stephane Auger after the final horn Tuesday. He had to be restrained by the two linesmen.

Penguins Notebook

Penguins general manager Craig Patrick said they have options available when it comes to changing player personnel, but at the moment they're not interested in making any changes.

"We believe in this group of people and until that changes, we're happy where we are," Patrick said before Tuesday night's game.

+Scouts from nine different NHL teams - the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers -- were credentialed for last night's game. The Oilers had three scouts at the game.

"I don't even know who's here," Patrick said when the large number of scouts - including three teams that the Penguins don't play this year - were mentioned.

The vultures are circling?

+Penguins forward Andre Roy will be out of the lineup indefinitely with a broken orbital bone and will be reevaluated in two weeks. Patrick said they weren't considering bringing anyone up from Wilkes-Barre in the meantime, however.

"We have plenty of people," he said. "And (forward) Shane Endicott's going to start skating with the team soon so there's a possibility he might be back in a couple of weeks. Right now, unless we have another injury, there's no need to do anything."

Endicott is recovering from a high ankle sprain suffered the first week of training camp.

+If they did want to add a player, the Penguins still have first dibs at anyone who goes on the waiver wire up until Nov. 1 based on draft selection. After that, the order of selection is based on points relative to games played.

"If we make a claim, we're going to get him up until Nov. 1," Patrick said. "Then, it's based on standings, and hopefully we're not in that position anymore." (Thanks to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for the heads up.)

One man's peace is another's charnel house.

War Is Peace

The Washington Post reports on a New Yorker interview with Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser in the Ford and Bush père White Houses:

Scowcroft, in his interview, discussed an argument over Iraq he had two years ago with Condoleezza Rice, then-national security adviser and current secretary of state. "She says we're going to democratize Iraq, and I said, 'Condi, you're not going to democratize Iraq,' and she said, 'You know, you're just stuck in the old days,' and she comes back to this thing that we've tolerated an autocratic Middle East for fifty years and so on and so forth," he said. The article stated that with a "barely perceptible note of satisfaction," Scowcroft added: "But we've had fifty years of peace."

Now let's see. Between 1953 and 2003, here are the Mideast wars we can think of off the top of our head: the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, the two Palestinian intifadas against Israel, the Algerian Civil War, the Yemen Civil War and two Sudanese civil wars. That doesn't even count acts of terror against non-Mideastern countries, from the Iranian invasion of the U.S. Embassy to the attacks of 9/11.

What do you call someone who describes this as "50 years of peace"? A "realist." (Thanks to Best of the Web Today for the heads up.)

Convent Archives Provide Striking Link Between Outlook and Life Expectancy

Is Positive Thinking the Key to a Longer Life?

A growing mountain of evidence suggests that an upbeat, positive attitude could be the key to a long life. Some of the best scientific proof comes from the world of religion.

At the Franciscan Handmaids of Mary in New York, there can be an 80-year divide between the sisters who teach and the children in their classes. The age difference hardly matters. Many of the nuns are aging remarkably well, and doctors wonder if it's a matter of personality.

"I realize it is not how long you live but how intensely you live, in terms of appreciating your life and living life to the fullest," said Sister Loretta Theresa Richards.

Richards is 76, and doctors say her sense of purpose may be helping to keep her healthy. Studies show people who are busy, optimistic and have networks of friends tend to live longer. Involvement is good, not tiring.

"It does not wear you out," said Dr. David Bennett, director of the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Chicago. "It seems to keep everything working."

But why? How does the mind affect the body? Several studies have focused on nuns and monks because they have consistent lifestyles — and are happy to help scientists in the cause of knowledge.

"I wake up in the morning and there is one prayer I say every day, and it carries me for the day," said Sister Anthony Marie Granger, 83.

Psychologists say there is an obvious need for negative emotions, such as fear, which tell us to run from danger.

But over the years, the stress hormones that result are bad for the heart and immune system. So it may be that positive emotions — like optimism and serenity — help your body recover from that stress.

Research has shown that people who meditate — whether in prayer or under a doctor's guidance — can lower their blood pressure.

"You can bring about biochemical, molecular, physiological changes in the body that are effective in treating stress conditions," said Dr. Herbert Benson, founding president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Benson is the author of several best-selling books on what he calls "the relaxation response," a technique he says people can use daily to control stress.

Additional studies suggest that upbeat, stress-reducing traits appear at an early age. Some of the most striking findings have come, not from examining nuns in their later years, but from essays they wrote when they entered the convent in their 20s.

Those who were optimistic and had active minds back then, were the ones who aged best. On average, they lived 10 years longer than others.
The essays offer tantalizing clues, but researchers caution that, until recently, few people reached age 65. They died from infections, heart attacks and other causes, long before they had a chance to reach old age.

"You realize that this is really the first generation in the history of the world to get old," said Bennett. "We are really at the beginning of understanding aging."

Miss Sierra Stiles, 8, kilt a b'ar.

How cool is this? Seriously, folks, if you don't think this story is cool, you just don't get it.

Born to the woods, she's 4 1/2 feet tall and 8 years old, with a shock of light brown hair and a steady trigger finger that put two bullets into a black bear's chest cavity Monday, according to her and her father and granduncle, who were hunting with her. State officials backed the claim by Sierra Stiles and credited her with the first kill of Maryland's second bear season since hunting the animals resumed after a half-century ban.

Sierra Stiles,8, put two bullets into a black bear's chest cavity Monday in Western Maryland, according to her and her father and granduncle, who were hunting with her.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials, waiting to take measurements and tissue samples from the bears at a wildlife management center here, shook their heads in amazement at the news that the first hunter to bag a bear was a third-grade girl from Kitzmiller, on Maryland's border with West Virginia.

Sierra recounted here how she shot the 211-pound bear from 50 yards away with her .243-caliber rifle. "I was scared," she said, then paused for dramatic emphasis. "Because bears will eat anything!"

With evidence that the bear population has rebounded after nearly being wiped out in the early 1900s, Maryland is allowing hunters to kill 40 to 55 bears this season. This is up from a haul of 20 bears last year, when hunters met the quota in one day. The season is likely to last a few days longer because of the higher quota and abysmal weather: It was raining, then snowing, Monday in Western Maryland.

Early on, the hunt did not appear very promising: At least one hunter quit because of the weather, and animal rights advocates in bear suits protested in front of the natural resources headquarters in Annapolis.

Then at 9:50 a.m., Sierra, wet and shivering, arrived at the Mount Nebo Wildlife Management Area with her father and granduncle in a red Ford F-150 pickup. They backed into a small garage, and game workers hoisted the bear's carcass out of the truck's bed with a hanging hook.

Donald Stiles beamed as his daughter, dressed in hunters' camouflage with a fluorescent orange vest, told how she skipped school to shoot the male bear.

After winning one of 200 bear-hunting permits granted by lottery this year -- and acing the required safety test with a score of 98 -- Sierra recalled being rousted out of bed by her mother at 4:58 a.m., wolfing down a bowl of cereal and heading outside, to a field on her granduncle's farm. They waited two hours in the bush under a steady, cold rain.

"I was dragging," Sierra said.

It got a bit brighter as the sun glowed sullenly through a thick blanket of clouds, she said. Sierra's granduncle, Robert Harvey, saw a dark shadow in the distance, but he didn't know what it was. Her father thought it was a bear.

"I froze up," she recalled. Regaining her composure, Sierra stood behind a tree, waiting until the bear was about 50 yards away, she said. Then she took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. The bullet struck the bear behind the shoulder. Unfazed by the rifle's light recoil, she said, she ejected the casing, reloaded and fired another round. (Thanks to Washington's other newspaper and WND for the heads up.)

Remotely controlled humans.

From Breitbart.com come this story of those pesky Japanese, interesting science, and weird technology.

In a word, everything is normal.

Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was.

Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japans top telephone company, says it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic. But more sinister applications also come to mind.

I can envision it being added to militaries' arsenals of so-called "non-lethal" weapons.

A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head _ either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved.

I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off.

The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation _ essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance.

I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced _ mistakenly _ that this was the only way to maintain my balance.

The phenomenon is painless but dramatic. Your feet start to move before you know it. I could even remote-control myself by taking the switch into my own hands.

There's no proven-beyond-a-doubt explanation yet as to why people start veering when electricity hits their ear. But NTT researchers say they were able to make a person walk along a route in the shape of a giant pretzel using this technique.

It's a mesmerizing sensation similar to being drunk or melting into sleep under the influence of anesthesia. But it's more definitive, as though an invisible hand were reaching inside your brain.

NTT says the feature may be used in video games and amusement park rides, although there are no plans so far for a commercial product.
Some people really enjoy the experience, researchers said while acknowledging that others feel uncomfortable.

I watched a simple racing-car game demonstration on a large screen while wearing a device programmed to synchronize the curves with galvanic vestibular stimulation. It accentuated the swaying as an imaginary racing car zipped through a virtual course, making me wobbly.

Another program had the electric current timed to music. My head was pulsating against my will, getting jerked around on my neck. I became so dizzy I could barely stand. I had to turn it off.

NTT researchers suggested this may be a reflection of my lack of musical abilities. People in tune with freely expressing themselves love the sensation, they said.

"We call this a virtual dance experience although some people have mentioned it's more like a virtual drug experience," said Taro Maeda, senior research scientist at NTT. "I'm really hopeful Apple Computer will be interested in this technology to offer it in their iPod."

Research on using electricity to affect human balance has been going on around the world for some time.

James Collins, professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University, has studied using the technology to prevent the elderly from falling and to help people with an impaired sense of balance. But he also believes the effect is suited for games and other entertainment.

"I suspect they'll probably get a kick out of the illusions that can be created to give them a more total immersion experience as part of virtual reality," Collins said.

The very low level of electricity required for the effect is unlikely to cause any health damage, Collins said. Still, NTT required me to sign a consent form, saying I was trying the device at my own risk.

Religion of Peace Update.

Syrian show: Jews cut Christian throats
Jordanian TV airs 'documentary' of Zionist history

Sheikh seeking to 'terminate' Jews honored
Awarded 'Islamic Personality of the Year' at international event

(Thanks to WorldNetDaily for these links.)

Richard Pipes on the word "Islamophobia".

The term presents several problems, however. First, what exactly constitutes an “undue fear of Islam” when Muslims acting in the name of Islam today make up the premier source of worldwide aggression, both verbal and physical, versus non-Muslims and Muslims alike? What, one wonders, is the proper amount of fear?

Second, while prejudice against Muslims certainly exists, “Islamophobia” deceptively conflates two distinct phenomena: fear of Islam and fear of radical Islam. I personally experience this problem: despite writing again and again against radical Islam the ideology, not Islam the religion, I have been made the runner-up for a mock “Islamophobia Award” in Great Britain, deemed America’s “leading Islamophobe,” and even called an “Islamophobe Incarnate.” (What I really am is an “Islamism-ophobe.”)

Third, promoters of the “Islamophobia” concept habitually exaggerate the problem:

· Law enforcement: British Muslims are said to suffer from persistent police discrimination but an actual review of the statistics by Kenan Malik makes mincemeat of this “Islamophobia myth.”

· Cultural: Muslims “are faced with an extreme flow of anti-Islamic literature that preaches hatred against Islam,” claims the president of the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Virginia, Taha Jabir Al-‘Alwani: “novels, movies, books and researches. Just among the best selling novels alone there are almost 1000 novels of this type.” One thousand bestsellers vilify Islam? Hardly. In fact, barely a handful do so (for example, The Haj, by Leon Uris).

· Linguistic: A professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, falsely reported (in his keynote speech at a U.N. event, “Confronting Islamophobia,” reports Alexander Joffe) attempts to hide the Arabic origins of English words such as adobe – which derives in fact from ancient Egyptian, not from Arabic.

· Historical: The term anti-Semitism was originally used against Arabs living in Spain, Nasr also stated in his speech, and was not directed at Jews until after World War II. Nonsense: anti-Semitism dates back only to 1879, when it was coined by Wilhelm Marr, and has always referred specifically to hatred of Jews.

Fourth, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s manipulation of “Stop Islamophobia” betrays the fraudulence of this word. As the Sunday Times article explains, “Ostensibly the campaign’s goal is to fight anti-Muslim prejudice in the wake of the London bombings,” but it quotes Anthony Glees of London’s Brunel University to the effect that the real agenda is to spread anti-Semitic, anti-Hindu, anti-Sikh, anti-homosexual, and anti-female attitudes, as well as foment resentment of Western influence.

Finally, calling moderate Muslims (such as Irshad Manji) Islamophobes betrays this term’s aggressiveness. As Charles Moore writes in the Daily Telegraph, moderate Muslims, “frightened of what the Islamists are turning their faith into,” are the ones who most fear Islam. (Think of Algeria, Darfur, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.) “They cannot find the courage and the words to get to grips with the huge problem that confronts Islam in the modern world.” Accusations of Islamophobia, Malik adds, are intended “to silence critics of Islam, or even Muslims fighting for reform of their communities.” Another British Muslim, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, discerns an even more ambitious goal: “all too often Islamophobia is used to blackmail society.”

Muslims should dispense with this discredited term and instead engage in some earnest introspection. Rather than blame the potential victim for fearing his would-be executioner, they would do better to ponder how Islamists have transformed their faith into an ideology celebrating murder (Al-Qaeda: “You love life, we love death”) and develop strategies to redeem their religion by combating this morbid totalitarianism. (Thanks to Human Events Online for the heads up.)

You think you know, but you don't know.

From Human Events Online:

Everyone from the Washington Post to the Boston Globe to CBS' "60 Minutes" has pumped up public fears that terrorists could seize Russian-made suitcase-sized nuclear bombs and carry a portable Hiroshima into Manhattan.

They're wrong.

An extensive investigation by best-selling author Richard Miniter reveals that the Russians only made a small number of these bombs and all were dismantled under the watchful eyes of U.S. inspectors in the early 1990's -- years before CBS and the Washington Post pumped out their scare stories.
New evidence that completely discredits the media myth of suitcase nukes is revealed in the powerful new book Disinformation: 22 Media Myths that Undermine the War on Terror published by Regnery (a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).

Surprise! That's Fyodor's Book of the Day!

Joe Sobran writes an epitaph for the administration of Bush the Younger.

(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.)

No president since Richard Nixon has faced such a welter of problems, and even Nixon, until his final days in office, never faced such rapidly dissolving support. No single “smoking gun” like the Watergate tapes is likely to finish Bush off, but he looks unexpectedly desperate, confused, ineffectual.

What does he stand for? Only one thing: the failed war he has already staked his reputation on. He has subordinated everything to that, and in its absence it would be impossible to name any philosophy, conservative or otherwise, he could be identified with.

Ouch! Big time.

So conservatives are now afraid that when the dust has settled, their philosophy will be identified with Bush’s failure. That would be unjust to their philosophy, but they’ve asked for it. It’s too late for them to repudiate him now. He hasn’t betrayed them as badly as they’ve betrayed their philosophy by supporting him all these years.

The president Bush most resembles is not Nixon, but Lyndon Johnson, who also tried to expand the Federal Government in every direction and fatally split his base. Democrats paid a heavy price for supporting his war in Vietnam along with his multifarious social programs. They tried to recoup by pretending he hadn’t happened and moving leftward, but liberalism got a bad name and by 1994 they’d lost the electoral majority they’d taken for granted since the New Deal.

Now Bush has given conservatism a bad name — with a lot of help from conservatives who should have known better. Was keeping John Kerry out of the White House worth the price of backing Bush’s war?

Now that's a cheap shot. Any Freudian worth his angst will tell you Kerry would have become one of the all-time greatest warmongers, if only to prove those Swift Boat guys wrong.

Poll finds discontent with both parties.

Americans are increasingly critical of President Bush and dissatisfied with the Republicans who have controlled Congress for a decade, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds.

But congressional Democrats — while favored when it comes to the economy, the war in Iraq and even taxes — have problems, too. They get a rating only somewhat less negative than the GOP. (Thanks to USA Today and CNSNews.com for the heads up.)

Don't start hyperventilating, kiddies. This is not the shock that will trigger the formation of The Reality Party. (More here.)

Why? Because politicians are like the weather. Everyone talks about them, but nobody stops them.

Bloodbaathist Update. (These things have been popular of late.)

Washington Post:
Assad Says Accused Syrians May Face Trial

Yeah, sure.

Stalin had lots of trials, too, you know. Sometimes five or six an hour.

The glorious legacy of King Goober II is updated for your edification.

(CNSNews.com) - Two women who say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton plan to visit his presidential library in Little Rock on Wednesday. "What can be more embarrassing for the possible future 'first man'?" the press release asks.

Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and attorney Candice Jackson, author of "Their Lives: The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine," will tour the library and hold a news conference afterwards.

The women said they want to determine if the Clinton Library is displaying "true historical fact or mere Clintonian fiction."

They are specifically looking for "revisionism of Clinton's womanizing," the press release said.

Fat chicks with low self-esteem of the world unite! Save the legacy of your hero, the man who brought you closer to power than even JFK!

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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