Wednesday, January 31, 2007

President Corky

A lot of Democrats are still upset about something Bush did during his State of the Union speech last week. Apparently he repeatedly referred to them as the "Democrat party" instead of the "Democratic party." Quite a few of them are convinced Bush omitted that "ic" on the end deliberately just to piss them off.

So what's the big deal? Bush has repeatedly demonstrated that he can barely speak English. Entire websites are dedicated to his so-called Bushisms. So why should the Democratics--er, Democrats--feel singled out.

Quite frankly, they should be ashamed of themselves. Criticizing Bush's difficulties with human speech is kind of like making fun of the way that Corky kid from Life Goes On talks.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More On Barbaro

At the risk of dwelling too much on the Barbaro story, there was a great Appreciation in the Washington Post today, as well as a timeline of Barbaro's life and final struggle.

And Sally Jenkins has written a great column exploring why, with all the other problems in the world, so many people were so worried about an injured horse. Her conclusion makes a lot of sense: In this time of terrorism, war, and cynicism, Barbaro never once lied to us.

Her column concludes with an absolutely profound quote from one of the horse's owners that applies not only to our feelings about Barbaro, but to life in general: "Grief is the price we all pay for love."


Admiral William Fallon, who is about to become the top American commander in the Middle East, says that the U.S. experience in Iraq:
"Securing the stability of the country has been more difficult than anticipated...Our ability to correctly assess the political, economic and security situation in Iraq has been lacking."

In recognition of this brilliant tactical observation, the Admiral has been nominated for the prestigious Understatement of the Year award from the International Society of the Painfully Obvious.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Horse Named Barbaro

Horse racing has not seen a Triple Crown winner since the late 1970's. For a brief shining moment last year, it seemed the drought might be about to end. A horse named Barbaro had not only blown away his competition in the Kentucky Derby, but his margin of victory was the largest since 1946.

Barbaro was heavily favored to win the second leg of the crown, The Preakness, until one of his hind legs was shattered mere yards out of the gate. Jockey Edgar Prado did an amazing job reigning in the stricken Barbaro, but the damage had been done.

The reason horses don't do well with leg injuries is that if they begin favoring the opposite limb, all that extra weight causes the good leg to develop a condition called laminitis. The prognosis for Barbaro in the days after his injury was not good. Yet despite occasional setbacks, he proved himself to be a fighter, and for much of the last seven months his doctors were increasingly optimistic.

Over the weekend, however, things suddenly took a turn for the worse. Earlier today Barbaro lost his fight to survive.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

In With The New

If the site looks a little different, well, it's only because there's a dangerous carbon monoxide leak in your house and it's effecting your vision.

Then again, it may also be that I switched to one of the new blogger templates. With the older templates, if you clicked on a label, only the 20 most recent posts would show up. There was no way to access any older posts using the labels.

The new templates magically take care of that problem. However, they also limit how much customizing you can do with the code. I also can't seem to get it working with Haloscan, so there's no comments for the time being. Needless to say, it's pissing me off.

Either that, or there's a carbon monoxide leak in my house.

Comcast's Inferior Service

For the last three years or so I've used Adelphia Cable. As you no doubt know, Adelphia hit some hard times, what with the company's founder's getting arrested for building homes and golf courses with corporate funds. Eventually the company ended up in bankruptcy and was divide up among other cable providers. Aside from not being asked to play golf with John Rigas, I really had no particular complaints about Adelphia's service.

The Adelphia franchises in the DC area--including mine--ended up with Comcast, and boy, does Comcast suck. They're almost as incompetent as the Bush administration. On the other hand, tens of thousands of people have not died because of Comcast's incompetence, so I suppose I should give them some credit.

My first inkling of what was ahead came in late December when I received a postcard saying: "Comcast is pleased to announce the following changes to its High Definition TV level of service on Tuesday, January 16, 2007." The card then went on to tell me that they were dropping--among others--two of my favorite channels: HD Net and HD Net Movies and replacing them with Discovery HD and TNT HD.

Now I have no problem with them adding channels to their lineup. But is it necessary to drop channels and restrict your customers' choices? If nothing else, make those two HD channels part of some premium hi-def package that costs extra. But no, Comcast isn't willing to even do that.

So if I wasn't already pissed enough at losing my high definition versions of Enterprise, Boomtown, and Dead Like Me, Comcast decided to f*ck up my Internet access. When I came home Friday evening, the connection was down. And judging by my Weatherbug feed, which had last updated at 1:58 PM, it had been down a while.

I understand things happen, so I waited a while. Finally around nine I called Comcast. After fighting my way through their stupid voicemail lineup, I ended up listening to bad smooth jazz for 20 minutes before a live human picked up. He checked and finally said, yeah, there's a borderline outage in my area.

Borderline?? But I've been down since almost two o'clock.

Then the guy gives me some line of crap about a "node" that's at 81%, which is borderline bad. If it had been at 80% then it would definitely be bad.

Apparently the fact that some customers are already without service doesn't qualify this node thing as being bad.

My connection was still down yesterday morning so I went off to work thinking that a big company like Comcast would surely already be working on the problem. But when I got home around 6, there was no change. I called Comcast, fought with the voicemail, endured the smooth jazz, and again got a live human. He confirmed that yes, there was an outage throughout most of Virginia. Then he said that the problem was first reported at 3:15 that afternoon.


I told him about my phone call the previous evening and he explained that it wasn't actually an outage then. Something about those damn percentages again. So then I just repeatedly smashed my phone against the wall. That made me feel better. The connection finally came back up sometime overnight. Two years ago Comcast was the target of of numerous complaints in Maryland because of their outages. I hope this weekend's problems aren't an indication of what we're in for here in Virginia.

It's a pretty sad state of affairs when a corrupt, bankrupt company provides a better level of service than a financially viable one. Comcast should be embarassed.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The State Of Bush's Failures

President Bush has raised some good points about Iraq, both during the State of the Union address as well as in previous interviews: The consequences of our defeat would be dire. The current sectarian violence in Baghdad and the rest of the nation would become a full scale civil war (though many would argue that it already is), instability would likely spread to surrounding countries, and terrorists would become emboldened.

What Bush neglects to mention, however, that all these consequences will be a direct result of his actions.

Virginia Senator James Webb summed it up best when he delivered the Democratic response to Bush's address: This President led us into Iraq "recklessly" and forced us to endure "a mismanaged war for nearly four years." Harsh? Rude? Not if you consider that Bush's actions have cost thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. Webb also backed up his charges (text of Webb's speech):
"He disregarded warnings from the national security adviser during the first Gulf War; the chief of staff of the Army; two former commanding generals of Central Command, whose jurisdiction includes Iraq; the director of operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and many, many others with great integrity and long experience in national security affairs."

Hell, even Gerald Ford said in an interview before his death that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.

The only thing to do now is to leave, and leave NOW. Even if you choose to blindly accept the President's reasons for the invasion of Iraq, you have to admit that the Iraqi people have been given ample opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities we handed them.

They clearly haven't, however, and there is no reason for us to continue to shed American blood in that shithole. If the Sunnis and Shiites want to kill one another because of some asinine interpretation of Islam, or who succeded Mohammad, or whatever the f*ck they're arguing about, fine, let them. Our role should merely be to try to keep the violence from spreading to neighboring countries, and the best way to do that is through diplomatic channels.

Webb concluded his response Tuesday evening with references to Presdents Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, and a warning to Bush:
"These presidents took the right kind of action for the benefit of the American people and for the health of our relations around the world. Tonight, we are calling on this president to take similar action in both areas. If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way."

Amen to that.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

That video of the Portland ice storm I posted yesterday is kid stuff compared to this footage from a tunnel in Russia. According to the accompanying text on YouTube, "This 3150 m long tunnel in Russia is the longest in-city tunnel of Europe. There is a river running over it and water leaks at some points. When the temperature reaches -38 degrees like it did this winter, the road freezes and the result is the attached video taken during a single day with the tunnel camera."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Where's The Zamboni?

One common complaint around here is that DC motorists don't know how to drive in the snow, and I freely admit to being one of the people who bitches the loudest. However, after watching the below video of drivers in Portland (Oregon?) trying to navigate the streets during a recent ice storm, I will never EVER complain about my fellow Washingtonians again.

Credit: Link found at Law & Disorder.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Peyton Manning For President

Is Peyton Manning amazing or what? Going into halftime, Manning's Indianapolis Colts were down 21-6 against New England. But rather than roll over and die, Manning led his team in an amazing comeback. The Colts soon tied the game with a touchdown and a two point conversion.

Through most of the fourth quarter, the Patriots would score and briefly pull ahead, only to have the Colts come back yet again to tie the game. With less than two minutes to go, Indianapolis finally managed to take the lead themselves. For a moment it looked like the Patriots might tie the game and force overtime, but that hope--and their season--ended with an interception.

When all was said and done, the Colts won 38-34. In so doing, they also had completed the biggest comeback ever in an NFL conference championship game.

Those of you not familiar with American-style football may not fully appreciate the magnitude of this accomplishment. To put it in proper perspective, think of it this way: This amazing comeback is the sports equivalent of George W. Bush actually turning things around with his stupid surge idea, winning in Iraq, and going down in history as an absolute genius.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

Damn Interest Rates

It's like I tell people whenever we have a stretch of nice, warm weather in the winter--ANY winter: "We always end up paying a price."

So to those of you shoveling snow in Malibu, or sitting in the dark in Texas because of an ice storm, or buying orange juice and wondering why the price has doubled, or shivering through bitter cold in new England, or enduring howling winds in Europe, guess what?

The bill just arrived.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

In Case You're Counting....

A new United Nations study says that 34,452 Iraqi citizens died violently last year. This year seems to be off to a rocking start as well, thanks to a pair of car bombs that killed 60 near Mustansiriya University in Baghdad.

The 34,452 figure is somewhat more impressive than the 22,950 estimate that the Iraqi Health Ministry came up with just ten days ago.

It's always refreshing to hear good news out of Iraq, ain't it?

At Least He Wasn't Boinking The Altar Boys

Whenever I'm feeling lost or in need of spiritual guidance, I always turn to a priest. They always seem to have the right answers for what ails my soul. And while I have never sought out the Reverend Rodney Rodis for advice, I now wish I had. I would have been that much richer for the experience.... Especially since Father Rodney is suspected of embezzling $600,000 from two Virginia churches.

At first glance, that may seem shocking. But it's perfectly understandable when you consider that Rodis was also leading a double life with a wife and three daughters on the side. It's not cheap to support a family these days.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Introducing Our Next President

As the nation's focus slowly shifts to the 2008 presidential election, I have been deliberating who would be the best choice to pick up the rubble left behind by George W. Bush. The current democratic front runner is Hillary Clinton, but she has a lot of political baggage and may not be electable. Barrack Obama just formed his exploratory committee, but will he still be such a hot commodity in a year? Dennis Kucinich recently announced he was running again, and I about choked on a sandwich from laughing so hard. John Edwards has name recognition, perfect hair, and plenty of charisma.

And then there's John Kerry... It still boggles the mind that he was unable to beat Bush. Comedian Lewis Black summed it up best: Losing to George W. Bush is like a normal person being unable to win at the Special Olympics.

The Republicans certainly have some early choices as well. John McCain appears to be an early favorite, though his steadfast support for Bush's ill-advised troop surge may yet sink his candidacy. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has the credentials to appeal to the far right. And former Virginian governor James Gilmore has made early rumblings about throwing his hat into the ring.... Even if he did virtually bankrupt the state during his term.

Then I got to thinking: Why must our choices be between a Democrat and a Republican? Is there a viable third choice out there? Someone who can--quite literally--"fly above the fray?"

Indeed there is, and that is why I have made my choice for our next President.

The above video was put together by DC lawyer Adam Tiffen, who led a platoon during a tour in Iraq. The recent article about him in the Post was a very interesting read. In some ways it shows progress in Iraq; in other ways it demonstrates that our efforts are doomed to failure the moment we leave.

The accompanying song is "Dante's Prayer," by Loreena McKennit.

Tiffen also wrote a blog while serving in Iraq.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Just Call Me Cynical

Timothy Carney's experience in Iraq is an interesting one. Three and a half years ago he was part of the initial reconstruction effort but ended up quiting after just a few months. The reason was that Paul Bremer--the U.S. viceroy for Iraq the first year--was hindering efforts to reconstruct the battered country.

Upon his return to the United States, he began warning that progress on getting Iraq back on its feet was virtually nonexistent. And his reward? His wife lost a government contract, and it appeared Carney's days of working for the government were over.

But he's back in Iraq as the new coordinator of the American reconstruction effort. Indeed, Carney is but one of several former Iraq dissenters that Bush has turned to in an effort to stabilize Iraq.

Again, this raises an important question: Why has the President waited this long to get things back on the right track? It has been obvious for the last two years that Iraq was progressively deteriorating, yet the White House team kept telling us that things were hunky-dory and that the press was exaggerating the problems.

Would it be cynical to suggest that maybe the Bush team didn't want to admit its mistakes before the congressional elections? Would it be cynical to think that maybe Bush kept sacrificing American lives--as well as the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians--because he didn't want to admit until AFTER the elections that he had screwed up?

And would it be cynical to suggest that maybe by waiting this long, and allowing the sense of frustration and despair among the Iraqi people to become even more entrenched, Bush has already ensured our defeat?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007

"We're Going Down"

I still remember what I was doing 25 years ago today.

I was working at a record (Round black things that played music when you stuck a needle on them. Seriously.) store in Manassas Mall- Harmony Hut, if you're being nosy--and we had received word to close early because of a snowstorm. On the way home I was listening to the radio when the announcer interrupted with a news bulletin that a plane had just crashed into the Potomac River.

When I got home I immediately turned on the TV and the first thing I saw was a U.S. Park Police helicopter trying to rescue people from the river. At one point the pilot, officer Don Usher, actually dipped the skids into the water as another guy leaned out the open door to grab a survivor. And while I may not know squat about flying a helicopter, I know enough to realize that was one hell of a daring move.

The plane that had gone down was Air Florida flight 90. It had just taken off from National Airport, gotten maybe 50 feet into the air, and then stalled. On its way down, the Boeing 727 clipped the 14th Street Bridge and killed four motorists who were stuck in rush hour traffic. The plane then smashed through the ice of the frozen river below.

Investigators quickly concluded that the plane had stalled because of ice on its wings. Although it had been de-iced while still at the gate, the plane got stuck as it was pulling away. That ended up costing it almost an hour delay, enough time for ice to begin reforming on its exterior.

As it turns out, however, investigators also found that the causes of this tragedy went well beyond mere frozen slush. It got to the heart of how people interact with superiors. For example, on the black box recording the copilot could be heard voicing concerns about some anomalous readings from one of the engines, readings probably caused by the buildup of ice over various sensors. The pilot, however, ignored the warnings. And the copilot, rather than continuing to press the issue, declined to further challenge his Captain's authority.

Finally, at 4:01 PM, came the final exchange between the Captain and his First Officer (Graphic of time line, cockpit recordings):
First Officer: Larry, we're going down, Larry.
Captain: I know it.
The lessons learned from the accident investigation carried over into other modes of transportation, as well as even the medical profession. The bottom line was don't be afraid to challenge your superiors if you see a potential problem.

Amazingly, five passengers from the plane ended up surviving thanks to the heroic efforts of several passersby.

Roger Olian was a sheet metal foreman at Saint Elizabeth's hospital. He was on his way home when the plane crashed near him. Before rescue workers had a chance to begin arriving, he and several other people fashioned a long "rope" out of jumper cables, panty hose, and scarves. He tied one end around his waist and then crawled out onto the ice. He got to within a few yards of the wreckage when the helicopter arrived and was pulled back to shore.

Then there was a lowly government worker named Lenny Skutnik. He watched one woman repeatedly trying to grab the rescue line from the chopper, but the 29 degree water had weakened her to the point where she could no longer hold on to the rope. So what did this idiot go and do? He jumped into the freezing water without a lifeline, swam 30 feet through chunks of broken ice, grabbed the woman, and dragged her back to shore.

People call athletes heroes for pulling in multi-million dollar paychecks. But when is the last time Peyton Manning jumped into 29 degree water to save someone's life? Has Michael Jordan ever risked his neck piloting a rescue helicopter during a blinding snowstorm?

Two weeks later, Skutnik got to sit next to Nancy Reagan as her husband delivered the State of the Union Address. During the speech, President Reagan congratulated Skutnick by name for his actions. And while many other people have since been invited to the annual presidential addresses and singled out for recognition, Skutnick was the first. He still lives in the same Washington area townhouse as 30 years ago, and still works at the Congressional Budget Office.

Finally and most sadly, there was Arland Williams. He was a passenger on the plane and survived the crash itself. But he kept passing the helicopter's life line to other surviving passengers. And what became of Williams?

He had been so busy saving others that he drowned before he could save himself.

WUSA news report

Documentary, part 1 (Includes interviews with Skutnik, Olian,
a crash survivor, and the copter pilots)

Documentary, part 2

Documentary, part 3

Documentary, part 4

It's A Gas.... Or Maybe Not

Last week Russia cut off oil supplies to Belarus as part of a trade dispute. Since that same pipeline also carries oil to the rest of Europe as well, the move effectively cut off the rest of the continent from Russian oil as well. Russia claims that its problems with Belarus are purely over the price of oil, but other observers say that what the Kremlin--and by extension Russian President Vladimer Putin--really want is more control over Belarus' politics.

The Russian trade minister, in what seems like a risky move, now admits that this dispute with Belarus has greatly damaged Russian relations with western Europe.

WHOA!!! That sounds like a roundabout way of criticizing Putin. If the trade minister knows what's good for him, he'll start checking his food with a Geiger counter from now on.

Friday, January 12, 2007

And Starring Brad Pitt As Jesus

An artist in North Carolina has painted a portrait of Angelina Jolie.... As the Virgin Mary. In the image, the actress is depicted as carrying three small children and hovering over a Wal-Mart checkout line.

No immediate word on how often Jolie, who commands about $15 million per role, actually shops at Wal-Mart.

The painting is currently being exhibited at an art show in Miami. The asking price, should a buyer materialize, is $50,000. However, you can probably find it for less at.... Never mind.

Is it just me, or are the kids in the painting all white?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Madness Of King George

First off, let me--and I hope I don't choke on my words--commend President Bush for finally admitting some fallibility. In his speech last night he conceded that "mistakes have been made" in Iraq. The "mistakes" he owned up to had to mostly with insufficient troop levels during the initial invasion.

On the other hand, the President did not admit to lying through his teeth to get us into this mess in the first place. Nor did he explain his sudden realization that gee, things aren't going too well in Iraq. This is understandable, since Bush has had his head up his tuckus for the last three years and couldn't see what was going on.

And even if you choose to foolishly accept the initial reasons (WMD's, Saddam's ties to Al Qaeda)--reasons that turned out to be products not of bad intelligence but selective intelligence--for going into Iraq, you have to at least admit that things have not gone nearly as planned. We have now been fighting in that hellhole of a sandbox for longer than it took us to fight World War II, and if anything, we are further from "winning" than we were in March of 2003.

So what's the solution? Well, according to our fearless leader, it's an additional 21,000 soldiers on the ground. This is easy for him to say since his own daughters aren't in the military and aren't the ones about to put their asses on the line.

But why should we trust Bush now? For three long years--even as the body counts steadily grew larger--he has been assuring the American people that his plan is working, that he knows what he's doing, and that everything is under control. And now we are asked to accept that he has suddenly seen the error of his ways, and has also miraculously seen the way out!?!? Again, you'll notice that he's not asking his own kids to die for his mistakes.

The President also failed to address the issue of military readiness. Many of the soldiers that will be going to Iraq as part of the surge plan aren't properly trained, nor do they have enough equipment to conduct their mission.

One can only pray that Congress will have the balls to stand up to the President and put a stop to this madness. Yes, we will lose in Iraq. But you know what? We already have!

It is time to face the ugly truth that no matter how many more American lives the President sacrifices, nothing will change. The sectarian strife in Iraq will continue one way or another. The sooner we get the hell out, the sooner the goddamn Iraqis can finish fighting it out among themselves.

St. Peter's Waiting Room Is Getting Crowded

They're dropping like flies. Now Yvonne De Carlo has cast off this mortal coil. She is perhaps best remembered for her role as TV's Lily Munster.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

Iwao Takamoto is the latest bit of my childhood to pass into eternity. Takamoto, in case the name is unfamiliar, was the creator of none other than Scooby Doo, everyone's favorite crime solving cartoon dog.... Though I suppose there weren't that many of them.

As the Washington Post put it in its Appreciation: Scooby Doo was "a show in which nobody is as smart as unsupervised young detectives who never go to school, have no parents, no zits and no sex drive! And a van!"

Ah, to be innocent again!

Rare Photo Of Saddam's Cat

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

But Were The Leaf Blowers Loaded?

When I saw the headline Troops Flee From Border Outpost, I immediately assumed it was yet another sign of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq.

Boy, was I wrong!

Turns out this incident occurred in freakin' Arizona, in the good ol' US of A!!! Yes, it's true: An observation post used by National Guard troops near Sasabe, Arizona was overrun by armed men. It should be noted, however, that the Guardsmen were unarmed and acting strictly as observers. So when the bad guys with guns crossed the border from Mexico, the Americans had no choice but to hightail it.

Okay, that's just plain embarrassing. Possibly even MORE embarrassing than invading the wrong country.

This all goes back to last year when the Bush administration announced with much much fanfare that it was deploying National Guard troops to assist the Border Patrol. What did NOT get a whole lot of press, however, was the part where the troops would be acting strictly as unarmed observers. And if they were to actually see illegals crossing the border, the soldiers were to call armed Border Patrol agents.

Even worse, in some cases Border patrol agents were pulled from watching the border and assigned to guard the soldiers.

Charlotte's Web: The Sequel

I am always interested in furthering my knowledge of God's various creatures and how they behave. This is not necessarily out of any particular hunger for knowledge for knowledge's sake, however. It's just that if I know how, say, a grizzly bear behaves, then that knowledge might keep my ass from being eaten by, say, a grizzly bear.

Similarly, if you're as afraid of spiders as I am, you'll want to know how they behave, especially if they get into your private stash of LSD or pot. The results are quite interesting, and surprisingly human-like.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Moooving Story

A rare two-faced calf was recently born to Kirk Heldreth of Rural Retreat, Virginia. Well, technically it was born to one of Mr. Heldreth's cows, but hopefully you know what I meant.

The calf is perfectly normal from its tail until its unusually large head. It has two noses, two mouths, and two tongues. It has two normal eyes on either side, plus an additional third eye socket in the middle.

Two faces, eh? If nothing else, it can go into politics when it grows up.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Talk About The Water Breaking!

A woman in New Orleans is about to give birth to a baby that's a Katrina survivor.

Say what, Lugosi? Have you been snorting Diet Coke again?

In the immediate aftermath of the city's flooding, some 1400 embryos were rescued from a New Orleans fertility clinic. Among those were some belonging to Glen and Rebekah Markham. Since the couple had been wanting another child anyway, they decided to use one of the previously frozen embryos.

It's a safe bet this kid will scream louder than most whenever he gets near the bath water.

Swear Words

A couple of readers raised some good points regarding oaths of office (See previous post). First, the actually swearing-in ceremony does not involve placing one's hand on any sort of holy book. It's just a simple recitation of the oath of office. However, some members of Congress opt to 'repeat' the ceremony as part of a photo op. That's what Ellison was doing with the Koran.

Also, there's no law that says one has to use a Bible when taking the oath of office. That's really just a tradition that was started by the famous American insurgent leader George Washington. Many Presidents, in fact, have used the exact same Bible to take their oaths of office.

Three Presidents, however, did not use a Bible at all when taking office: John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover (Adams used a legal book).

And their souls are probably burning in eternal damnation because of it, but that's besides the point.

Adams' approach was probably the best. As a secular nation founded on human laws, some sort of legal document would seem to make the most sense. Indeed, why not use a copy of the Constitution? After all, that is really what all office holders in this country are supposedly swearing to uphold.

When Ignorance Bites You In The Ass

In a move that has raised some eyebrows, newly-elected congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota will be sworn in later today. Nothing unusual in that, except that he is a Muslim and will take the oath of office using a Koran instead of a Bible.

When I first heard about this last month, I wasn't sure exactly where I stood on this issue. On the one hand, despite Bush's best efforts, the United States is still a free country. Having said that, I'd also be scared shitless if I had to sit next to a Muslim on an airplane.

Any waffling I may have felt about Ellison's decision ended when Congressman Virgil Goode of Virginia objected to what Ellison is doing. Thing is, Goode didn't just disagree; he responded with a hateful diatribe about how if we let this stand, soon more Muslims will be taking oaths of office, America will be overrun by damn immigrants, the sky will fall, and dogs and cats will begin living together.

The only problem with Goode's logic is that Ellison was born in Detroit.... Michigan.... In the United States. In other words, Goode's position is based on nothing but utter ignorance and mindless hatred of immigrants.

I'm curious about Goode's ancestors: Is he of native American descent, like Cherokee or Navajo? Or did his family immigrate to this country from somewhere else? The answer to that question would have a lot to do with his credibility on immigration.

Ah, but the story gets much, MUCH, MUCH better.

You see, when Ellison does take that oath later today, he will not be doing so with just any ol' copy of the Koran. He will be using an English language version that was once owned by none other than Thomas Jefferson, author of our very own Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia. Jefferson also wrote the Virginia Bill of Rights for the state's Constitution, which later became the foundation for the United States Bill of Rights--the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

Here's the kicker: Virginia's fifth congressional district--that's the one represented by none other than Virgil Goode himself--includes Albemarle County in Virginia. Albemarle County happens to be Jefferson's birthplace. It also includes Charlottesville, which is where Jefferson's home, Monticello, is located. Oh, and the University of Virginia is there as well.

No word on whether Congressman Goode plans to call for the deportation of Jefferson's remains.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bringing Peace To Australia

Things in Somalia have definitely been heating up lately. There has been fighting between Ethiopian troops and radical Islamic fighters who had taken over Somalia's capital, Mogadishu (yes, the same Mogadishu from Black Hawk Down).

In an effort to bring order to this troubled corner of Africa, President Bush has ordered an invasion of Norway.

Maybe God Told Him To Go Off His Medication

Noted televangelist and suspected psycho Pat Robertson is back in the news. Now he is predicting that the United States will suffer a major terrorist attack in late 2007. His source? None other than the lord almighty himself. Yes, it's true: Pat routinely has conversations with God in which God tells him to go forth and make an ass of himself.

Robertson, you may recall, is the Christian leader who last year called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. And a few years ago he also said that someone should drop an atomic bomb on the U.S. State Department. More recently, he predicted that the "wrath of God" would descend upon the community of Dover, Pennsylvania after voters ousted the pro-intelligent design school board. That was 421 days ago (there's a counter in the left hand column of this page) and Dover is still there.

If nothing else, Pat Robertson proves that the only religious leaders openly killing for death and mayhem in the name of God aren't Muslims.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007

On The Road to 4000

The death toll for American soldiers killed in Iraq has hit 3,000. That figure includes 2860 troops that have died since Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq, and 2794 since our President issued his asinine "bring 'em on" challenge.

Meanwhile, the nation's top soap manufacturers have gathered in DC. They will attempt to formulate a workable plan to get all that blood off Bush's hands.

Looking Back

Noted historian Dave Barry has prepared a scholarly review of 2006. Click here to read his take on That Blasted Year.

Keeping track of trends in an ever-changing world is never easy, and the Washington Post has its annual In & Out List. Curiously, Saddam didn't make the Out list.