Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Army-Navy Hype, Part I

This Saturday Navy squares off against Army in the 104th annual Army-Navy Game at 2:30pm ET in Filthadelphia, PA. This year's Emerald Bowl-bound Midshipman (8-2) should have no trouble with Coach Bobby Ross' hapless Cadets (2-8).

Today's hype comes from the Black Knight's official webpage. Whenever Army and Navy take the field against each other, you can toss their overall records out the window. No single game means more to each team. So even in years when Army is 1-10 or Navy 0-11, you can still count on each team leaving it all on the field. For the last two seasons, Navy has kicked Army all over the field to the tune of a 92-18 advantage. Yet Army still holds hope that it will get its hands on this year's Commander-in-Chief's trophy, awarded to the best of the academy football squads each season:

Commander in Chief's Trophy at Stake as Army Battles Arch-Rival Navy in 105th Renewal of "America's Classic"

One of the most revered rivalries in all of sports will be revisited on Saturday when Army and Navy battle for the 105th time. Rich with tradition, drama and excitement, the series is widely viewed as the premier rivalry in all of sports. The Army-Navy Classic returns to the city of Philadelphia for the 78th time, pitting the 2-8 Black Knights opposite the 8-2 Midshipmen. Emerald Bowl-bound Navy can clinch its second straight outright Commander in Chief's Trophy title with a victory over Army. The Black Knights will be looking to gain a share of their first CIC title since 1996 with a victory. Army will also be out to avenge a pair of embarrassing losses to its arch rival, with Navy outscoring the Black Knights by a combined 92-18 margin the last two years. A sellout crowd of more than 70,000 is expected to fill Lincoln Financial Field with worldwide television and radio audiences looking on. Army leads the all-time series by a narrow 49-48-7 margin.

Quick Hits

Army holds a slim one-game series edge. The Black Knights have captured seven of the last 12 series meetings, but Navy has won four of the last five matchups between the arch rivals.

Army has not trailed in its all-time series against Navy since defeating the Mids in 1992 to forge the series' most recent tie. The Black Knights have led the series since a win the following year.

Navy features the nation's third-ranked rushing attack, averaging 290.0 yards per game. Army is ranked 115th nationally against the run, allowing an average of 243.8 ground yards per game.

All-Time Record

The Black Knights are in the midst of their 115th season and seventh as members of Conference USA. Army boasts an impressive all-time record of 624-414-51 (.596) and ranked 27th on the nation's all-time victories list entering the 2004 campaign. The Black Knights ended 108 years of Division I-A independence in 1998 when they joined Conference USA and will return to Independent status next season. Army entered the 2004 season ranked 27th among all Division I-A programs in winning percentage (.600).

To get a sense of the pageantry involved in each game, go here and here. I have been to two of these affairs. One at the Vet in Philly on the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and the other in 2000 in Baltimore. Nothing beats the rivalry, the palpable mutual respect between both schools, and the public display of tomorrow's future leaders both on and off the field.

The time for bipartisanship in this post is over. GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY! Posted by Hello

Technical Difficulties

The program I use to upload photos has been on the fritz for the past couple of weeks, so my intention to post pictures has been effectively stymied. Instead, you are forced to read my inane posts rather than just flip through the pictures. I sincerely apologize for any pain this may cause you until I get the problem fixed.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Finally, But Only Briefly, Back to Nature

Last Friday I joined a couple of my brothers and my fiance for a jaunt to Great Falls National Park on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. The weather was perfect for a rigorous hike, chilly enough to prevent sweating, but warm enough to prevent shivering. With the exception of the poor lighting for photo taking, nothing could beat this brisk nature walk...particularly trying to fight a mob for a post-Thanksgiving sale.

We were joined by thousands of other hikers, rock-climbers, and kayakers in a near-urban return to nature. Of particular interest were the kayakers who braved the shockingly rough and bone-chillingly cold park waters for a little adrenaline rush. Some chose interesting spots to take out their kayaks. One group stopped along a steep cliff, whereupon one of the kayakers disembarked and proceeded to free climb the rock face. Upon reaching the top, he set up a rope system for the remainder of the kayakers/climbers to scale the face and haul up their boats. I was very jealous. Posted by Hello

The park was understandably crowded, being the day after Thanksgiving. Many people full of turkey, stuffing, and pie used the opportunity to shed a few calories. This scene on the Billy Goat Trail looks a lot like those crowded summit attempts on Everest these days. Posted by Hello

Some of the roiling waters in a side canyon. This is not a place to get lost in a kayak or in any other circumstance for that matter. Posted by Hello

A more tranquil scene along the C&O Canal. Posted by Hello

College Hoops Hype: ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Get your match-ups here!

Terps tip-off at 9:30pm ET Tuesday night at the Badgers of Wisconsin. A Badger friend of mine and I have wagered a beer on this contest. I can taste the Guinness already. Terps over the Badgers Tuesday in Wisconsin? Brilliant!

The Holy Muslim Warriors

Anyone thinking about starting their own personal jihad in the spirit of taking down America need only read this amazing after-action report from a soldier on the ground in Fallujah to get a good picture of the "peaceful" and "pious" Muslims they would be joining in battle:

The Marines' mission was to follow TF 2-7 and fight the enemy by clearing from building to building. A lot of the insurgents saw the armored vehicles and hid. They waited for the Marines to come and took their chances by fighting them since the Marines weren't protected by armor like we were. In that first day of fighting, the Marines took 5 x KIA and many more wounded, but they also did their job very well. Along the way, they found HUGE caches of weapons, suicide vests, and many foreign fighters. They also found unbelievable amounts of drugs, mostly heroin, speed, and cocaine. It turns out, the enemy drugged themselves up to give them the "courage" and stupidity to stay and fight.

The enemy tried to fight us in "the city of mosques" as dirty as they could. They fired from the steeples of the mosques and the mosques themselves. They faked being hurt and then threw grenades at soldiers when they approached to give medical treatment. They waived surrender flags, only to shoot at our forces 20 seconds later when they approached to accept their surrender.

Needless to say, these are not high quality individuals we are fighting against.

It All Makes Perfect Sense Now!

When liberals complained during the election season that President George W. Bush was not "playing with a full deck," I mistakenly assumed that they were impugning our Commander-in-Chief's intellect. I apologize for jumping to this conclusion. Surely, Democrats were instead refering to the famous CENTCOM deck of cards and Dubya's progress in capturing or killing Iraq's Most Wanted. So it is true that President Bush is not playing with a full deck. In fact, he has discarded 45 cards and now only ten remain.

Once again, I apologize for misinterpreting the phrase, and join in praising the President and our troops for their efforts and successes!

Support the Troops This Holiday Season!

Here's another round-up of ways to support our hard-working men and women in the armed forces this holiday season.

An Early Christmas Present

This is the kind of hard-hitting journalism we need to see more of, preferably on the same topic:

After an immortal 19-year run of 10 Final Fours and three national championships, Duke is teetering on the edge of mortality.


[Coach Mike "Coach K"] Krzyzewski is no dummy. This team can't handle the kind of national schedule Duke has played in the past. Watch next year's non-conference schedule, which will look like something straight out of Clemson -- or Syracuse.

Next year, if the stars align in the wrong way, Duke will need every easy win it can get. If you haven't been paying attention, here's some news: The stars have been aligning the wrong way for years. Next year, like an NFL team that has skirted the salary cap for too long, Duke's bill comes due.

Haha! I can't wait. Let's see how good Coach K is without 5 McDonald's All-Americans in the starting line-up. Maryland's Gary Williams has squeezed every last shred of heart out of his players during his tenure, turning recruiting rejects into champions. Coach K, on the other hand, has been a spectacular recruiter, but with Kevin Garnett, Kobe, and LeBron making the successful high school-to-the-pros transition, the rules have changed. Now Coach K has to coach. He's dominated the ACC. He's had success in the NCAA tournament (but success relative to his annual stacked lineup?). But he's done it all with the blue chip recruits. No coach has ever turned as many McDonald's All-Americans into NBA duds as Coach K has.

Time will tell whether Coach K is really a coach or just a recruiter. Perhaps he will conveniently feign a back injury to escape his team's imminent slide into mediocrity like he did last time his team lacked talent (and finished sub-.500 while Coach K cooled his heels in a hospital bed and escaped blame). Whatever the case, I can't wait to see Duke and it's smug, smarty-pants fans take a seat and their lumps.

Charlie's Angels, Iraq Edition

Not every American soldier looks like the Marlboro Man. Some have a softer side...but can still kick some tail.

For the Lawyers

For all you lawyers out there, this should be an interesting read when it comes online, the Gary Becker/Richard Posner Blog.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Skyline Meme

Stu Savory has asked photobloggers to post pictures of their local skyline for a project he calls the Skyline Meme. Here is a picture from my own backyard, Wrigley Field, Chicago. Beyond the rooftop apartments behind Wrigley's right field wall, you can see the Chicago skyline in the distance from the John Hancock building on the left through the Sears Tower on the right. It's truly a beautiful city, especially as framed by the Friendly Confines. Posted by Hello

Don't Try This At Home

Another good reason why, regardless of how bad your day has been, it is not a good idea to attack a judge.

"You'd better be careful. I'm a lawyer, you know," McKillop said.

Whither Sammy?

The New York Times tackles the anti-Sosa sentiment in Chicago. As the article mentions, the city has been down on Sammy for some time, but with a particular vengeance since the corked bat incident in 2003. It must be something else to come to your workplace and see the front page of every newspaper with your face on it and large font headlines blaring "Cheater!" or "Say It Ain't Sosa!" Everyone in Chicagoland still enjoys his majestic, but increasingly rare, home run blasts. What they don't enjoy are the constant strike outs, GDP's, and abrasive attitude he's shown during the past few months. Cubs fans want to see him go, Sox fans want to see him stay (so they have something to needle the North Siders about). That should tell you something.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Today's View From the Unemployment Line

Sorry, but this week I won't be doing much posting. OK, well maybe that is a relief to you and you don't need an apology. I am working some pretty long hours this week (but don't worry, I'm still technically unemployed) and will be heading back to Maryland for Turkey Day. So posting will be light, and I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving. Posted by Hello

Another Sign It's Basketball Season

When you starting getting these emails:

Subject: Weird story worth reading

Seven Year Old Boy in Custody Battle

Lincoln, NE - A seven-year-old boy was at the center of a courtroom drama this morning when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents, and the judge awarded custody to his aunt. The boy confirmed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he refused to live there.

When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they beat him more than anyone. The judge dramatically allowed the boy to choose who should be allowed to have custody.

Custody was ultimately granted to the Washington Redskins football team as the boy firmly believes that they are not capable of beating anyone....

Justice Scalia Speaks in Chicago

Unfortunately I was unaware (and uninvited!) that Justice Scalia would be speaking yesterday here in the Chicago area. One of my most cherished memories was an argument he and I entered into over the proper tools to employ in judicial interpretation. Nothing like being a lowly 3L and getting yelled at and spit on (but in the best possible way) by Justice Scalia. The highlight of my career so far!

Scalia is Catholic, so many of us Catholic lawyers look up to him for judicial guidance and that's apparently what he was in the area for:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia urged several hundred lawyers and judges gathered at a Wheaton church on Sunday to not fear being considered foolish for having faith.

"We are fools for Christ's sake," Scalia said. "We must pray for the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world."

Right on.

Dust Up in DC

We've all seen the footage of the War on the Floor at the Palace at Auburn Hills last weekend. Ron Artest is rightfully out for the season (CONSPIRACY ALERT: Coincidence that just a few days ago he talked about how much he wanted the season off to promote his rap album? I think not.) and a plethora of assorted fellow high paid thugs will join him for X-Box tournaments at the Artest mansion while they serve lesser, varying sentences.

Then we had the Tigers/Gamecocks melee in South Carolina during the Clemson vs. South Carolina game on Saturday. The several minutes long bench-clearer ended once both coaches and stadium security settled the players. As a consequence of the conspicuous lack of class both teams displayed, each has decided not to pursue a bowl game this post-season.

Finally, today we had another "basebrawl" in DC, the city's first in several decades. A baseball fight in late November? Seems some overzealous protester decided today's franchise name unveiling was the perfect place to impose his First Amendment rights on everyone in attendance. Our selfish, pitiful loudmouth was escorted by force by security and a member of the DC Council:

Yesterday's gathering was preceded by a brief protest when District resident Adam Eidinger, 31, stormed to the podium and yelled, "This is a bad deal, people!" Eidinger remained on stage yelling before several officials -- including 73-year-old Charlie Brotman, the former public address announcer at RFK Stadium for the Senators, and District Councilman Harold Brazil -- wrestled him away, with the help of security.

Those are strong-arm tactics typical of the DC government!! Hopefully Mr. Eidinger is getting a chance to practice his First Amendment rights to his heart's content in the pokey tonight.

So what about the name? I don't like it personally. Too plain. And what exactly is a "National," anyway? How do I cheer for something as intangible as the plural of an adjective? Luckily, this name change might just be an early marketing ploy to make some quick dough during the offseason while we wait for the REAL DC whatevers to take the field:

The name, though, could be temporary. The franchise, owned by the other 29 MLB teams, is up for sale. A new owner will be allowed to petition MLB to change the name.

Certainly, there's a better name out there. Why don't we name the team in honor of our fighting men who are engaged in some pretty amazing feats of heroism halfway around the world? Now would be the perfect time.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Is it Basketball Season Yet?

Maryland lost to Virginia Tech tonight 55-6. It only took sorry, no-account starting QB Joe Statham 45 seconds to throw his first INT on his way to an 8-17-70-3 evening. The first two Terps QB's to take the field combined for an 11-23-90-4 night. Pathetic.

As a famous game show host used to say, "But that's not all!" Here are the Hokies' scoring drives ending in TD's:

Drive: 5 plays, 29 yards in 01:38.
Drive: 3 plays, 17 yards in 00:54.
Drive: 6 plays, 53 yards in 02:00.
Drive: 3 plays, 23 yards in 00:15.
Drive: 6 plays, 62 yards in 01:28.
Drive: 9 plays, 28 yards in 04:43.
34 Yd interception return, 0:23.

Like a hot knife through butter. Including PAT's, that's 33 plays, 212 yards on offense, approximately 11 minutes, 49 points. Take out that "long" drive of 28 yards in nearly 5 minutes, and you have 6 TD's (42 points) in just 6 minutes of play. Just for the record, the last time I checked Virginia Tech wasn't playing its home games in an Arena Football stadium.

I said a couple weeks ago that all was forgiven because we beat Florida State this year. But I think this game tips the season back in the direction of an utter embarassment. Luckily, basketball season starts tomorrow night.

A Little Excitement Downtown

Yesterday the East entrance to my building was shut down after an incident with a crane. Across the street from Bank One Plaza, a new building slated to house the law firm Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood is quickly going up. Since last spring, a large crane has been assisting in the construction. It appears as if someone moved the crane a little too close to the Bank One building:

Bank One employees were stunned when a wayward piece from a tower crane snapped and smashed into their 22nd-floor conference room window at Bank One Plaza in the Loop on Wednesday morning.

None of the bank's Finance Department employees were hurt when the steel "gusset"--an object measuring 3 inches by 10 inches and weighing 3 pounds--shattered the glass inward about 10:18 a.m., said Chris Kozicki, deputy commissioner of the Chicago Buildings Department. The gusset plummeted to the ground and struck a vehicle on Dearborn Street. No one was injured.

I learned of the incident on the way to lunch when catching an elevator on the West side of the building took excruciatingly long due to the shutdown of the East side. Rumors were flying. My first thought was, I sure hope it wasn't a disgruntled ex-employee of the bank flown off the handle...

(PS: It wasn't me.)

Baby Killers and War Criminals

Baby killers:

Marine Lance Cpl. Jeramy Ailes, 22, of Gilroy was killed Monday in Al-Fallujah by small arms fire. "They had finished mopping up in Fallujah and they went back to double-check on some insurgents. From what we gathered, somebody playing possum jumped up and shot him,'' said his father, Joel Ailes, who learned of his death Monday evening. "It's extremely hard."

... His first time in Iraq, Jeramy Ailes gave $10 to each child he came across because he knew it would feed their families for 30 days. This time, he asked his family to mail as many soccer balls as they could. His family sent 300 balls, and Jeramy Ailes' platoon handed them out to children.

Joel Ailes warmly remembered the last conversation he had with his son last month, in which Jeramy Ailes recounted how he had come across a large man walking with a 12-year-old girl carrying a huge bale of straw on her back. His son, who spoke and read Arabic, exchanged words with the man. And, for the next seven miles, his son carried the girl on his back and the man carried the bales of straw. "That was my son," Joel Ailes said.

War Criminals:

A young Marine and his fire team cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with AK-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insugent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded. Suddenly, he pulls from under his bloody clothes a grenade, without the pin. The explosion rocks the room, killing one Marine, wounding the others. The young Marine catches shrapnel in the face.

The next day, same Marine, same type of situation, a different story. The young Marine and his cover man enter a room with two wounded insurgents. One lies on the floor in puddle of blood, another against the wall. A reporter and his camera survey the wreckage inside, and in the background can be heard the voice of a Marine, "He's moving, he's moving!"

The pop of a rifle is heard, and the insurgent against the wall is now dead. Minutes, hours later, the scene is aired on national television, and the Marine is being held for commiting a war crime. Unlawful killing.

And now, another Marine has the possibility of being burned at the stake for protecting the life of his brethren. His family now wrings their hands in grief, tears streaming down their face. Brother, should I have been in your boots, i too would have done the same.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Today's View From the Unemployment Line

I haven't posted a picture in a couple days, so here's one I accidentally took last Saturday. My intention was to take a picture of the El tracks at the Addison stop, but when I pulled out my camera and turned it on, I saw this in the viewfinder. I thought it was a cool picture, so I released the shutter... Posted by Hello

Big Brother in the City of Big Shoulders

No wonder Mayor Daley has decided to raise taxes and confiscate and sell residents' cars. Maybe this is all to fund his new surveillance command post:

Mayor Daley officially opened a new city operations center Tuesday that will include a dramatic increase in camera surveillance on Chicago’s streets. The new addition to the 9-1-1 center will help manage and coordinate in response to emergencies such as a terrorist attack.

The new system will allow emergency workers to receive instant real time video and audio information from 2,000 cameras and microphones stationed around the city. The system won’t be fully operational until spring. “The key to dealing with an emergency is not just having the manpower, it’s having the manpower in the right place at the right time,” Mayor Daley said. [...]

The new system also has the ability to instantly report the sound of gun shots within hearing distance of the microphones planned around the city.

Cameras and microphones? How did this get approved? Where is the ACLU to defend our privacy on this one (oh, probably too busy keeping the Boy Scouts off military bases)? What are the chances that this new snooping ability will be used only for innocent purposes, especially in an administration as corrupt as Daley's has been? How soon before the Mayor turns this venture into some kind of fee generating scheme at the expense of the citizen on the street?

The Idiocy of Sour Grape Hyperbole

Anyone who recklessly equates American Christian voters with Islamofascists needs to read this and apologize to the next Christian he sees:

Another poster in the ruins of the souk bears testament to the strict brand of Sunni Islam imposed by the council, fronted by hardline cleric Abdullah Junabi. The decree warns all women that they must cover up from head to toe outdoors, or face execution by the armed militants who controlled the streets.

Two female bodies found yesterday suggest such threats were far from idle. An Arab woman, in a violet nightdress, lay in a post-mortem embrace with a male corpse in the middle of the street. Both bodies had died from bullets to the head.

Just six metres away on the same street lay the decomposing corpse of a blonde-haired white woman, too disfigured for swift identification but presumed to be the body of one of the many foreign hostages kidnapped by the rebels.

Explain to me again why freeing the Iraqi people and others under Middle Eastern dictatorial or medieval fanatical Muslim rule is "the wrong war at the wrong time"?

Par For the Course

As I mentioned before, you know what kind of year it's been for your football team when you see this article:

Podlesh's Punting Keeps Terps Competitive

By Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 16, 2004; Page D08

When Virginia Coach Al Groh and Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen met on the Scott Stadium field before the Nov. 6 Maryland-Virginia game, Groh told Friedgen, "Your punter is definitely an all-American."

Sigh. Well, that about does it for my football season.

Monday, November 15, 2004


When I worked as an intern in the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, my main duty was to sit in a supply closet that doubled as my "office" and reply to to put this delicately..."colorful" letters from "colorful" constituents. Our office had a "reply to every letter" policy, so no matter how bizarre or ridiculous was the letter, I still had to respond on behalf of the Congressman. I could literally write the comedy book of the year just using many of those letters as material.

Here is an example of the kind of letter I used to get. Funnier than the letter, perhaps, is that instead of giving this laugher to an intern to respond to, the Portland Press Herald chose to print it!

Sending candy to Iraq terrible

Am I the only one who finds the idea of sending candy to Iraqi children not only not brilliant but insensitive, offensive and stupid ("Kids offered sweet deal on candy," Oct. 29)?

The candy is not good for our children's teeth but OK for kids who probably have no access to dentistry?

Can you catch just a glimmer of why Americans are so hated in other parts of the world?

What a feeble gesture toward "winning the hearts and minds" of Iraqis.

Shame on the Press Herald for endorsing this idea as "brilliant" in its editorial space.

Florence White

Wait, isn't she one of these blue-staters I keep hearing about who is supposed to be intellectually superior to us Bush voters?

New Secretary of State

Condelezza Rice will take over at Secretary of State for the resigning Colin Powell. Condi's worldview is known to differ significantly from the more moderate outlook of Gen. Powell. I am glad that Rice will bring the State Department more in line with the Bush White House, removing a thorn from the side of the Administration. A government with similar goals and philosophies will operate much more efficiently, and critically be better able to make quick adaptations to the ever-morphing nature of the world war on terror. At the same time, I believe we are losing a great asset in General Powell, particularly his role as the dissenting voice in the cabinet. Although Bush was right to pursue his policies over Gen. Powell's objections, the issues Gen. Powell raised fostered necessary debate prior to action. I worry just a little about an administration without dissent. Debate prevents rash decisions and necessarily provides varying perspectives. If everyone is looking in the same direction, there is much that might be missed coming from other corners.

The AP story about Condi's reassignment is notable for its complete failure to mention the fact that she is the first ever black female to hold the post. This is a good sign. We may finally be getting beyond race and moving towards more important issues, such as ideological outlook and past performance. I think this is partly a product of President Bush's regular appointment of minorities to posts of consequence. For instance, today's Wall Street Journal mentioned the likely candidates for open Supreme Court seats. Obviously, with Alberto Gonzalez off to the Attorney General post (BTW, the first Hispanic ever to hold that post), he is out of consideration. But of the eight or so candidates mentioned, at least two were Hispanic, and at least one a female (doh, I left my paper at the office...sorry for less than 100% accurate reporting if my memory fails me). The pattern of appointments of minorities to high administration posts by the current President is either underreported or we have moved just a little closer to a race-free political outlook. Unfortunately, I think it's the former, rather than the latter. And I wouldn't be surprised if the President's party affiliation had something to do with this.

Today's View From the Unemployment Line

I braved Michigan Ave. on Saturday evening. The throngs of holiday shoppers are already out, and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet. I guess that could be taken as a good sign for the economy and for Mayor Daley's new, higher sales tax. Maybe they won't ticket our cars so much anymore if they can pick the pockets of the Christmas gift buyers. Ah, but I dream. More revenue will just mean more stuff to spend it on! I can just see the mayor and his cronies lighting 100 bills with their cigars and saying, "Merry Christmas to ME!"

I'm obviously not quite in the holiday spirit yet. It's even tougher to be so after shoving my way through the shopping hordes on Saturday. But soon enough there will come a time where Christmas music is enjoyable, rather than excruciating. I'm no Scrooge, but I do like my holidays separate. Once I wake up from my turkey-induced nap on Thanksgiving Day, I will probably be a bit more comfortable with the idea of Christmas trees and Jingle Bells. Until then, I will just have to endure... Posted by Hello

Action in Fallujah

From the Drudge Report comes unedited video of some of the intense action from Fallujah. Keep our boys in your prayers.

More from Iraq at the Command Post and Winds of Change.

DC Wins Football Championship!

By football, I mean soccer. DC United won its fourth MLS Cup in the short history of the league with a 3-2 win over Kansas City yesterday in Carson, CA. Playing a man down for much of the second half due to a handball on the goal line that prevented a KC goal, the United held off the KC attack enroute to winning another exciting cup. As a former DC United season ticket holder, and attendee at one point of three consecutive MLS Cups, I feel qualified to describe the action as "exciting" without rolling my eyes. Congratulations to the Black and Red.

Besides, as a DC sports fan, beggars can't be choosers when it comes to winning championships.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

ACC Hoops Preview

College Hoops starts in earnest for the Terps next Tuesday as the early season sacrificial lambs come to town for tune-up games.

It's going to be another exciting year in the ACC:

[T]he ACC is loaded again. There are three teams in the preseason top four; six in the top 25. Duke, which has spent almost every minute of the last seven basketball seasons ranked in the top five in the nation, may have trouble cracking the top five in the conference. Maryland, picked No. 15 in the first poll, is picked no higher than fourth in the conference and as low as sixth -- all of which delights Gary Williams, who will spend countless hours telling his players that no one respects them.

The new ACC lineup (additions of Miami and Virginia Tech) will mean this is the first year without a round conference schedule. I can't believe I'm saying this, but luckily the Terps get Duke and UNC twice, but single games against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. The Yellow Jackets and Demon Deacons are both top 5 teams this year, so I won't miss them. But I couldn't imagine a season without home and homes against the Blue Devils and Tar Heels, anyway. That would be a travesty. I say this now, but I know my blood pressure will rise significantly during those games. I'll gladly trade a couple hours of intense stress for a tight win against our closest rivals.

The Terps won't really be tested until the 26th of November when they play Memphis in the Tip-Off Classic. Expect more hype on this site between now and then. Fear the Turtle!

It's Been This Kind of Year

Today's Redskins headline story in the Washington Post:

Punter Tupa Shines for Redskins

The Beat Goes On

Here's a new one. Voters for George Bush are probably a bunch of heartless child beaters.

I know, I promised I wouldn't post about sour grapes again. Sorry.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Today's View From the Unemployment Line: Veteran's Day Edition

If you are reading this post on Thursday, November 11, it is Veteran's Day. Millions of Americans have fought over the years for the notion that man should be free to govern himself, speak without recrimination, practice his own religion freely, and enjoy those hallowed inalienable, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our soldiers, sailors, and airmen protect for us what was declared ours and humanity's on July 4, 1776. Lives have been lost, heroes made, and brothers forged on battlefields throughout our nation's short history. The valor and the sacrifice continues today on battlefields around the world. These soldiers fight in your service. Appreciate them.

This Veteran's Day, let us put aside our differences on the policy behind today's wars, and simply recall that "freedom isn't free." We wouldn't be living in the most advanced country on the planet if anonymous American men and women throughout our history weren't manning foxholes, submarines, tents, or command centers somewhere, protecting our ability to do those things we now do in the comfort of our American lives. Today, write a soldier a letter, buy one a drink, or just give one a good pat on the back and a hoo-ah! This is their day. Make sure they know you appreciate what they have done or continue to do in support of freedom, liberty, and democracy.

"It is by no means necessary that a great nation should always stand at the heroic level. But no nation has the root of greatness in it unless in time of need it can rise to the heroic mood." -Teddy Roosevelt

UPDATE: President Bush's 2004 Veteran's Day Proclamation.

(Photo: The WWII Memorial across the Severn River from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD)Posted by Hello

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

...and it's not even Thanksgiving yet! Posted by Hello

Typical War Coverage

US soldiers (Happy Birthday Marine Corps!) are currently crushing the terrorists wishing (and being granted the wish) to "martyr" themselves in Fallujah. Reports from the battlefield indicate the US strategy is a marvel of old-school boots-on-the-ground combined with the latest in high tech-gadgetry. The jihadis are left with the frightening prospect that their ticket to hell could be punched at any moment without warning.

This display of overwhelming power and precision warfare has resulted in a lightning quick seizure of most of Fallujah in under three days. There have been US casualties, but not on the scale some of the naysayers have predicted. Should the US and Iraqi forces close this thing out during the next few days, the victory will have occurred well under the three week timeline this assault reportedly was given to succeed. Good news, right?

Here is the headline this afternoon in the Washington Post:

American Military Claims Control of Most of Fallujah

Off to a good start. But the article then begins:

BAGHDAD, Nov. 10 -- Gunmen kidnapped a first cousin and daughter-in-law of interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi from their Baghdad home on Tuesday, an Allawi spokesman said Wednesday. A militant Islamist group said it would execute Allawi's relatives unless U.S. and Iraqi forces withdraw from Fallujah.

It's almost as if it's impossible for reporters to acknowledge a success in Iraq. One's sense of elation at the seeming report of good news is instantly crushed upon moving from the headline to the story. Like my brother said, he knew things were going well in Fallujah when the news stopped hyping it and moved back to that irrelevant and highly annoying Scott Peterson "celebrity" murder trial.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Rout in Fallujah

The battle for Fallujah seems to be going quite well:

The enemy withdrawals have sometimes been explained by suggesting that the enemy is suckering in US forces into a trap. But this is impossible. Their backs are to the river and the Marines are across that. Every retrograde movement compresses the enemy into a smaller area and forces them to leave behind prepared positions painstakingly stockpiled with food, batteries and ammo. Running backward with wounded, they can't carry much ammunition and won't find any unless a prepared position is already available. And how does anyone stand fast in the face of the otherworldly violence of the American onslaught?

Small bands of gunmen -- fewer than 20 -- were engaging U.S. troops, then falling back in the face of overwhelming fire from American tanks, 20mm cannons and heavy machine guns, said Time magazine reporter Michael Ware, embedded with troops. Ware reported that there appeared to be no civilians in the area he was in. On one thoroughfare in the city, U.S. troops traded fire with gunmen holed up in a row of houses about 100 yards away. An American gunner on an armored vehicle let loose with his machine gun, grinding the upper part of a small building to rubble.

This is a description of platoon-sized enemy units attempting to hold back the Martians. The bravado of Al Jazeera has this completely wrong. If classical history were still widely taught, these scenes would be instantly recognizable as a rout, that terrible disintegration of ranks as the foe closes in before and behind.

Don't forget to remember and pray for our brave men and women in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other remote outposts around the world this Thursday, Veteran's Day.

Blue State Blues

I live in Chicago, a city run by Democrats. The Democrats are the party of the "working people." Yet the working people are taxed and burdened with fees for everything to the point of farce. Like they say, it would be funny if it wasn't so sad (and expensive). I'm already miffed at the revenue collection scheme disguised as "street cleaning" (signs are posted on Wednesday night for a Thursday morning cleaning, if you aren't lucky and your car is parked on a street where you won't see the sign when you leave for work, expect a $50 ticket...I have been scammed several times on this backdoor tax). Now, just in time for Christmas, we get this gift from our compassionate Mayor Daley:

Mayor Richard Daley today proposed hiking Chicago's sales tax to 9 percent—a move that would put it among the highest in the nation—and asked the City Council to raise other taxes and cut hundreds of jobs to close a $220 million budget deficit.

Of course, any budget shortfall is probably Bush's fault. Nevermind that in this area of the state, Osama bin Laden has a better chance of getting elected than a Republican. That being the case, this deficit can squarely be blamed on the entrenched Democratic leadership in this city.

Any benefit I might get from a cut on my federal taxes will be thrown away as soon as I buy anything in this town. One more reason to treasure internet shopping.

Wait, there's more!

Other tax hikes Daley has said he would seek include a doubling of the cigarette tax, to 32 cents a pack, up from 16 cents now; and alcohol tax increases amounting to 7 cents per case of beer, and 6 cents per fifth of hard liquor.

The amusement tax for tickets to events at larger venues would rise to 8 percent from 7 percent. The hotel tax would rise to 3.5 percent from 3 percent. The tax on each parking space in lots and garages would rise by a quarter, to $2.25. The rental-car tax would rise to $3.75 from $2.75.

So we can't even drown our newly imposed sorrows without getting penalized. And going to a Cubs game will be a double-whammy: since drinking is required AND the amusement tax will increase on sports tickets, it's just pure piling on!

Oh, and just to add insult to injury, those cursed parking fines are going up, too:

Fines for city code violations also would go up. Parking in a handicapped space, for example, would cost violators $200, up from $150.

Maybe Mayor Daley knows that for us small government types, higher taxes are our kryptonite. This could be part of some sort of diabolical plan to squeeze every last Republican out of the city. Democrats are impervious to new taxes, and seem rather to enjoy them so they won't be going anywhere. With the economy as bad as it in Chicago, I don't know whether higher taxes are going to help. I will certainly take my business elsewhere (but I still won't be able to avoid those infernal parking tickets!!!). Sigh.

Also note that it is interesting that a party that portrays itself as the party of the working poor has decided to raise revenue by taxing exactly those things that will hurt that constituency the most: goods, cigarettes, liquor, parking, and leisure. They sure know how to ruin the fun. Daley's plan to include a casino as a revenue generator also hurts the working poor by catering to the addictions of the some of the weaker willed who have dreams of striking it rich on the pull of a lever. The rich can absorb a hit here and there, but for the poor a bad bet could be devastating. Daley specifically declined to raise property taxes, one of the few taxes he could have raised that would hurt the better off most. I really do not advocate the increase of any taxes, but the falsity of the "party of the poor" argument is definitely on display here. Granted, the taxes will be used to keep services in the city that will benefit those with lower incomes, but the government is inherently inefficient and by crowding out the entrepreneurial crowd who might otherwise provide those services in a competitive atmosphere, I would guess that this tax increase is a net loser for everyone.

Just an idea, but here in Chicago, a simple tax on the bevy of traitors would probably close any budget gap.

Korematsu to the Extreme

There are a lot of irresponsible sore losers out there who prefer secession over living in America under George Bush. These same individuals, remember, are the ones who come from the party of unity and "tolerance." Get some perspective, my friends. This is my last post on these sour grapes (I hope). But I will leave the subject with a hilarious modest proposal on what do with these neo-Confederates:

The secessionists are looking at the state-by-state Red/Blue map. A better indicator is the county-by-county Red/Blue map [on which almost all of the counties are red, even in the blue states]. Liberals don't need to secede. We need to turn Blue counties into Liberal Reservations, just like Indian Reservations. They can have their own law requiring taxpayer funded partial birth abortions, and we can have ours prohibiting it. Women who want one can visit the reservation, just as they did to get divorced in Reno, and just as they do to play the slots at Mystic Lake. I nominate Al Gore for Commissioner of the Bureau of Liberal Affairs to run the reservations, hopefully as efficiently and courteously as BIA works now.

An internment for the 21st century could do some of these turncoats some good. I don't really mean that. But if I flipped the irrationality of the disciples of the looney left to the other extreme, it's probably what I would come up with. If you advocate secession, think about that and ask yourself whether you want your name to be associated with such nuttery.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Today's View From the Unemployment Line

Somebody at work said something about getting snow here in the next few days. I guess that's somewhat appropriate, being that Christmas decorations have been hitting the shopping district since just before Halloween. I guess it's never too early anymore. Unfortunately, Christmas this year just reminds me that, being jobless, I can't afford to buy any presents. Sorry everyone! You can send your grievances to my former employer.

Sorry this week's posts are so lame. But my temporary job is taking away from some good blogging time. You have no room to complain, however. Every hour worked means the chances that you'll get something for Christmas increase just a little....Posted by Hello


I'm really hoping that all the bile spewed by the sore losers on the left this election is nothing more that the equivalent of a night drinking followed up by a nasty hangover and regret the next morning. In this case, liberals drunk on their own self importance are still riding their intoxicated high courtesy of the legitimacy given to them by the Howard Dean campaign and its adoption (along with all the kooks) by the Kerry campaign. Now that election is over (that's right, deal with it), I would hope that the effects of this momentary boost of ego wears off, and some of the people currently talking revolution or succession, and heaping contempt on their "stupid redneck" brothers and sisters return to sanity and regain some perspective. Shake your heads a couple of times to clear the cobwebs. Let's hope there are a lot of people soon exclaiming:

"Good Lord, what have we done?"

UPDATE: Things are really bad here in Chicago, at least according to the disenchanted voters of the city:

The economy has worsened since the Clinton years, said Atiya, who, like 55 percent of Illinois residents, voted for Sen. John Kerry in last week's presidential election. But he said he wasn't surprised to find the state out of step with the American majority that elected President Bush.

"Illinois has it worse than other states," Atiya said. "In Chicago, a lot of factories closed, a lot of people lost their jobs."

Illinois' unemployment rate was 6 percent in September, lower than previous months but above the national rate of 5.4 percent that month, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures.

This, of course, has nothing to do with the fact that the city and the state are governed by a full slate of Democratic politicians.

And even though over 59 million Americans voted for the Republican candidate for president, and that candidate won the election by more than 3.5 million votes, the evidence apparently isn't enough to show that Republican voters are the mainstream:

But for many in Illinois, especially in Chicago, it is natural to be a more liberal bastion.

And it is Chicago's dominance that makes the state blue.

"I don't think Chicago is out of step with the rest of the nation," said Don Tanagi, 63, who sells George Bush playing cards ("Carefully Stacked Deck") and books such as "Banana Republicans" at the City Newsstand on Cicero Avenue on the Northwest Side. "I think the rest of the country is out of step with us."

Why did the Republicans win? Because those dirty Republican campaigners tricked people into voting for them, not because the majority of voting Americans evaluated the facts and made a rational choice. By "dirty Republican campaigners," I probably mean Karl Rove. What's that, Karl? I mean, no I don't. Sorry, this mind control stuff is hard to shake.

One possible reason Illinois parted from national results is that it wasn't exposed to the same presidential campaign intensity that swing states saw, said Ed Sadlowski, a retired steelworker and union official from Chicago.

Sadlowski went to Wheeling, W.Va., to ring doorbells on behalf of Kerry, and the campaign there centered on matters such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

"There was just massive playing on people's emotions, scare tactics--almost disgracefully bad," he said. "In Illinois you weren't seeing that--television ads just day in and day out. Scurrilous damn things."

In other shocking news, a group of Northwestern students couldn't believe that Bush won because everyone they know voted for Kerry. Why do I keep hearing that darn echo?

At Northwestern University on Friday, about 200 Kerry supporters held a rally to console each other. Many of the students wore "Kerry-Edwards" and "No War" buttons.

"It's hard to realize the level of conservatism in this country," said Sarah Sullivan, 20, a junior theater and English major who helped organize the rally, "because most of my friends feel the same way I do."

Three things give away Ms. Sullivan's politics: 1) college student, 2) theater major, and 3) English major. Not surprising that all of her friends voted for a certain liberal senator from Massachusetts. Echo! Echo! Echo!

Those Democrats are compassionate, too. Their billionaire, windsurfing, Italian-villa-vacationing, Swiss-educated, not-SUV-owning-because-that's-Teresa's-not-mine, jenjiss-khan-talking presidential candidate may not have been inspiring, and although he loopholed his way into paying fewer taxes on a higher income than either the president or vice president, Dem voters still pulled the lever for Kerry because he's "for the working people."

At Taqueria Los Primos on the West Side, Teresa Valenzuela, 39--who emigrated from Mexico when she was 6--said she cast her vote for Kerry. The senator didn't inspire her, she said, but she isn't surprised that Illinois bucked the conservative trend.

"Democrats are more for the working people," she said.

Oh, and as for those innocent Iraqi citizens who are getting murdered daily under Saddam's rule? Democratic voters also would have been fine with the status quo. F 'em Iraqis.

On a down-and-out stretch of North Laramie Avenue, Randy Scarver, 37, a self-employed home remodeler, said he is bewildered by the national vote.

"Me personally, I don't know why Bush is back in there, because a lot of people were so [angry] about the war," he said, referring to the fighting in Iraq. "Saddam Hussein wasn't doing nothing to us. He was killing his own people. Let him kill his own people."

Now that's a compassionate sentiment to vote for.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Today's View From the Unemployment Line

It's starting to get cold. This is the time of year when my brother in North Carolina starts taunting me with weather reports from the beach while I suffer in the brutal Chicago cold. It's definitely not brutal yet, but for me, it doesn't take much.

I read a lot of books about exploring and mountain climbing. Last winter I happened to have just finished a book called "Sea of Glory" right about the time the winter really started to get down to business. A section of the book detailed the United States' attempt during the 1800's to see how far south a ship could sail, and to determine what exactly lay at the lower latitudes. The descriptions of the maritime conditions in the Antarctic region were hard to imagine coming from the DC area. I didn't even really know what temps below zero felt like. The Chicago winter last year for me was exciting because it gave me a little better perspective on what explorers, scientists, and adventurers go through in the frozen zones on this planet.

Lucky for me, when the commute temperature hits -8 like it did once last January, even though I feel like I could just give up the ghost on my two block walk to the office, I know that warmth and a steaming pot of coffee are only steps away. So I can't wait to see what this winter brings. My North Face puffy coat is out of storage, I have a new pair of thermal underwear, and my vintage Redskins knit hat is ready for action. So I say, "Bring it on!" Posted by Hello

The Catholic Vote

A lot has been made about how Catholic voters broke in large numbers (52%) from the Democratic Party to vote for George Bush over the "Catholic" Senator from Massachuesetts, John Kerry. Kerry, of course, had non-traditional views on abortion (one of the Senate's staunchest supporters of abortion rights) and gay marriage (was for it, but against it), which should account for much of the discomfort Democratic Catholics had with voting for him.

Here's what I found interesting. If you look at the county-by-county election results, here's what you get. Now contrast that with this map showing counties nationwide where the largest denomination is Catholic. Notice how most of the Kerry counties nationwide are also Catholic counties. Apparently, the break for Bush was strong overall, but not in traditional Democratic strongholds (such as the east and west coasts and the large cities). Bush won some rural states with large swaths of Catholic counties, but he still lost the major cities of NY, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, DC, and Philly...each of which is largely Catholic according to the religion map.

What is misleading about these maps is that they don't tell the story of where the concentrations of voters are. Bush could win dozens of counties in Kansas and Nebraska and still come nowhere near the same number of voters as you would have in Cook County, IL (where Chicago lies). When looking at the religion map, my first thought was, Catholics are the largest denomination in each of the big cities, and they still went for Kerry. With the exception of the lesser populated mountain states, the bluest (most Catholic) areas of the map still went to Kerry. The break for Bush, therefore, was insignificant to the electoral outcome in most states with large cities (and, therefore, high electoral vote totals). Bush's overall vote totals may have been padded, but the outcome on the election from the Catholic vote looks slight.

St. John's Beats Gonzaga

Congratulations Cadets and Coach Patterson!

With the victory, St. John's (7-3, 5-2 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) earned the third seed in next week's playoffs and will face second-seeded DeMatha. Gonzaga (7-3, 4-3) gets top-ranked and undefeated Good Counsel. It was St. John's first win over the rival Eagles since 2000, and it came before an estimated crowd of 5,000 at Blair High.


This article is a spectacular laugh.

I love how the so-called "complex thinkers" of the Democratic party can never seem to see the contradictions in their own arguments. This woman explains that everyone is in danger because of the uneducated masses in the red states. The red staters are ignorant because they are religious and believe that if they think hard, they are going to hell. Yet the prospect of hell doesn't seem to bother them when it comes to violence, cheating, intimidation, and raiding the public treasury. Makes perfect sense. But I guess I'm just supposed to take her argument for the truth, since being a Bush voter I can't think hard enough to realize that I have to suspend reason to get from her point A to her point B. Furthermore, I wouldn't want to go to hell for proving disproving her theory.

Sadly, Smiley's point of view is far too common. The Michael Moore-ification of the left has yet to dissipate.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Today's View From the Unemployment Line

The elections are over and our country (contrary to what some sore losers believe) survives. And guess what, it would have even had Kerry come away with Ohio on Tuesday. Our country is like that. It has been for over 200 years. We're a forward looking people, and one way or the other we find a way to stay together and progress.

For me, the most interesting part of election night was the IM chat I had with my sister living in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer. Despite a brownout that deprived her town of television coverage, she found a computer somewhere and was able to follow the returns over the internet. How about that? A taste of the 21st century in a underdeveloped country. What a world we live in! Posted by Hello

Brie vs. Velveeta

My experience so far with Kerry-supporting friends and collegues is that they are utterly stupified by the "stupid people and rednecks" from the South and Midwest who shunned their candidate for an intellectual lightweight like current and future President George W. Bush. A common theme is that Republicans are a bunch of dummies swayed by the machinations of that evil genius Karl Rove, whose mind control powers are second to none. They can't debate red staters because they are a bunch ill-informed, Bible-beating Neanderthals. GOP-supporters are those deranged "[w]hite folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back" that Howard Dean was talking about.

There is no better summary of this phenomenon than here at For a quick taste:

It’s not Nader’s fault (this time). It’s not the media’s fault (though they do
bear a heavy responsibility for much of what ails our political system). It’s
not “our” fault either. The problem is just this: Slightly more than half of the
citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the
“reality-based community” say or believe about anything.

MORE: From Powerline:

The reason the Democrats have lost five of the last seven presidential elections
is simple: A generation ago, the big capitalists, who have no morals, as we
know, decided to make use of the religious right in their class war against the
middle class and against the regulations that were protecting those whom they
considered to be their rightful prey—workers and consumers. The architects of
this strategy knew perfectly well that they were exploiting, among other
unsavory qualities, a long American habit of virulent racism, but they did it
anyway, and we see the outcome now—Cheney is the capitalist arm and Bush is the
religious arm. They know no boundaries or rules. They are predatory and
resentful, amoral, avaricious, and arrogant. Lots of Americans like and admire
them because lots of Americans, even those who don't share those same qualities,
don't know which end is up. Can the Democrats appeal to such voters? Do they
want to?

STILL MORE: At Instapundit.

Sheesh. Sour grapes.

More on "Stupid People and Rednecks"

Here are a couple people who don't get it:

"Nicholas Kristof in the NYTimes today makes the argument that “the Democratic Party’s first priority
should be to reconnect with the American heartland”. He continues later by
saying that “One of the Republican Party’s major successes over the last few
decades has been to persuade many of the working poor to vote for tax breaks for
billionaires.” Precisely. I am always shocked when I have conversations with
people – doesn’t happen too often, but I try to do it when possible – who are
clearly hurting the most by Bush’s politics, but who are nonetheless avid
(Crooked Timber)

Nobody is voting for "tax breaks for billionaires," they are voting for the principle that there should in general be fewer taxes and smaller government. I keep reading today how baffling it is that anyone would vote for Bush because he is giving billions of dollars to the rich. No he isn't. The government had been taking billions of dollars FROM the rich. That's what liberals can't seem to grasp. Most of the red state, "working poor" that they speak of are the hard working, self-made types who don't feel like they need government to do everything for them, and wish more than anything else that government would play a lesser role in everyone's lives. They're not selfish about that view. Lower taxes for all. Less government intrusion for all. There is no contradiction there, nor is there anything nonsensical about not wanting government handouts despite tough times. Some people just prefer to fight the good fight.

Arafat Declared "Brain Dead"

That's news? But seriously...

Yassar Arafat is reportedly dead...somewhat.

It's important to reflect on the last 30 years we've had the displeasure of knowing this creep, and thinking about what we just avoided on November 2 with respect to individuals of his ilk.

Somehow, Yassar Arafat has spent the last 30 or so years bombing, strafing, and assassinating his way to international acceptance. A terrorist if there ever was one, he won the Nobel Prize for peace(!) during the Clinton administration as part of his "efforts" towards bringing a resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian question. Good show, total failure. Arafat and the PLO and it's various formulations and allies are responsible for the deaths of hundreds and possibly thousands of Europeans, Jews, and Americans, not to mention, derivatively, his own Palestinian people. Keep that in mind as you read below.

European and Clintonian treatment of Arafat is a history of coddling and appeasement for the eventual end of a Palestinian nation bereft of basic services, security, commerce, and hope. European countries continue to bankroll his political party, really just a front for terror, even though Arafat has skimmed millions from the aid intended for the Palestinian people into his own secret bank accounts. Despite not having had a real job for much of the last 30 years, Arafat enjoys incredible wealth...the type that could get him the best medical treatment in a Paris hospital while the average Palestinian is left without competent medical care of the least degree. Like an African warlord, Arafat has stolen at the expense of those who need it, immeasurable amounts of aid to add black ink his various bank statements. Yet, the Europeans still insist that he is the man to negotiate with and support monetarily if the Israeli/Palestinian issue is ever to be solved. Career terrorist Arafat is the protagonist in their view of Middle East politics.

During the Clinton Administration, Yassar Arafat was the president's #1 most invited "foreign leader" to the White House. Clinton's machinations ended up convincing those intellectual heavyweights at Nobel to award him a peace prize. Arafat didn't let the prize go to his head. By the end of the 1990's, he had renounced a favorable compromise for a Palestinian state and reauthorized the latest intifada which has destroyed Palestine, poisoned Middle Eastern politics further, and has resulted in a culture of death that glorifies the fiery suicide deaths of teenaged boys and girls alike. This "man of peace" is also complicit in approximately 30 years of terror worldwide that has resulted in the deaths of many American soldiers and civilians. Yet the Democrats decry George Bush's attempts to discredit, weaken, and isolate him, preferring instead to criticize the Israeli people who have suffered heavily during the last four years of Arafat-condoned suicide attacks aimed almost exclusively at civilians.

Palestine is destroyed and thousands of civilians have died due to his policies both Arab and Jew alike. Arafat is directly responsible, yet praised in intellectual circles of Europe and the Democratic party. If you want John Kerry's proposed "Global Test" in microcosm, Arafat was it. In the body of this man, at least, the Global Test is a terrific failure. Negotiations, monetary support, and world-wide recognition were not enough to change a terrorist into a butterfly. He has been protected, legitimized, and supported while committing attrocities. This proves the falsity of the belief that negotiations and aid alone can cure the world of its ills. Since military action was forgone, we have had to wait 30+ years for the only thing that could save the world from this blood-soaked lunatic: the natural cycle of life and death.

I hope Arafat likes warm temperatures and eternal pain, because that's what he's in for. He has a lot of atoning to do. I have a feeling there are 72 demons somewhere sharpening their pitchforks in breathless anticipation of his arrival...

UPDATE: On a less serious note, "Excuse me while I go pass out sweets."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Kicked to the Curb

As of 2pm ET, the election is officially over. KerryEdwards graciously conceded the election to George Bush when it became apparent that any challenge to the Ohio vote was effectively pointless. With the concession, the specter of a protracted, democracy-damaging legal battle appears to have been averted.

"In America, it is vital that every vote count .. but the outcome should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal fight," Kerry said. "I would not give up this fight if there was a chance that we would prevail."

But Kerry also said that "there won't be enough outstanding votes for us to win Ohio, and therefore we cannot win this election."

Whew! You have to hand it to the Democrats, when a loss is assured, they are good at giving classy concession speeches. Al Gore's in the last election was a compliment to him. But who knows whether Kerry will grow a beard, lay low in the Senate, and reemerge in 2007 as a bitter, conspiracy-minded nutball like Al. Let's hope his manly actions today raise his stock as leader in the Senate, and that he does actually work towards the goal of "begin[ning] the healing."

As well-behaved as KerryEdwards were today, the same cannot be said of their bitter supporters. Today I had the pleasure of listening to two defeated partisans complaining about the result, and blaming the "stupid people and rednecks in the South and Midwest" for spoiling Kerry's rightful ascension to the nation's highest political post. Funny, I thought. Aren't the Democrats supposed to be the party of the middle class and poor, often the same "stupid people and rednecks" they were complaining about? Those ingrates!

But when you think about it, the "stupid people and rednecks" are the most selfless of Americans. Concentrated in the South, Midwest, and Mountain states, these same country folk are the ones who man most of the military posts around the world. They are also the same folks who care so much about the security of all Americans, that they chose to re-elect the incumbent Commander-in-Chief, a wartime president, for the benefit of the same whiners in Chicago, New York, Boston, Philly, DC, and LA that are most likely in the crosshairs of a terrorist attack. A hardworking farm family in Indiana (60-39% Bush) is far less likely to be targeted for terror than a city family from DC (90-9 Kerry, and in a city already targeted several times over). The cities abandoned the president that responded on their behalf after 9/11, mainly with brigades of the men and women from the red states that comprise much of the Armed Forces. I think a great deal of appreciation from the city folk in the blue states is due to the gregarious country folk who care for the safety of their political opposites, and the protection of all Americans.

Well, this election is one for the history books. Voters came out in droves, a bevy of Republicans won by overwhelming majorities, and we have the first president to win the majority of the popular vote since George H.W. Bush in 1988. The people have spoken. Bush's leadership has been validated. And the "selected, not elected" crowd can recede into the fog of irrelevancy for four more years.

UPDATE: Guess my experience wasn't unique. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Mark Steyn on differences between the candidates:

It was, with hindsight, foolish to think that the differences between America and most of the rest of "the West" would somehow not also be manifest within America itself. For all those who complain with feigned ennui about the choice of candidates – the lesser of two evils, the evil of two lessers, yawn – the political system has contrived to throw up two men who are almost perfect embodiments of the choice facing the country.

John Kerry, with his pining for summits, his aspirational French, his boundless retrospective wisdom after some other fellow's taken the difficult decisions he ducked, his modish embrace of the Viet Cong and the Sandinistas and even Saddam in his Kuwaitswallowing days, is almost a parody Eurograndee.

But America cannot be a Greater Belgium or a Greater Canada or a Greater Spain. The only thing that enables Belgium to be Belgium and Canada to be Canada and Spain to be Spain is that America is America. If everyone in the civilised world's torpid and ineffectual and semi-non-aligned, it's not gonna work. Americans will not choose transnational complacency over national resolve.

A Western world that is wilfully mediocre and impotent is one that is asking for more 9/11's. There must be a bully on the block, or the West's enemies will take advantage of the situation. Yes, we are that bully. But a bully ceaselessly with good intentions. I'd prefer to be the bully that makes sure the lesser bullies give the nerds their lunch money back, than be one of the many nerds powerless to act at all in the face of intimidation.

(Hat tip Random Birkel.)

CBS Sportsline ACC Preview

The college hoops season starts soon. CBS Sportsline has a substance-free preview of the ACC here.

Chicago Votes

Voter turnout was reportedly heavy today in Chicago. My own experience at 7am was nearly a whole hour from start to finish. There's nothing like voting in a haunted firehouse. I hope the skeletons they had hanging from the building weren't past rescues gone wrong.

How sad that I would like to write, "We'll know later tonight who will be our next president" but based on the facts, I just can't do it in good conscience. I leave you with this, "We'll know later tonight where and how many initial lawsuits are filed." I don't think this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Posted by Hello

A reminder of what's at stake. Posted by Hello