Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Trade NOT Aid

Privately Americans gave $241 billion to charity, with roughly a 10th of it going overseas. Microsoft's Bill Gates has given billions for disease relief in the developing world. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, set up a Web site to invite worldwide input on how to give away his $10 billion fortune. America's openness lets the world's poor earn money here and then send it home. In many poor countries (e.g., Mexico, India and the Philippines), foreign aid is dwarfed by remittances sent from family members working in America. That's money, some roughly $18 billion a year from the United States — that goes directly to households that need it, from somebody who directly understands their needs. It doesn't flow through government hands, subject to rake-offs and politically inspired diversions to worthless projects. The obsession with redistributing wealth misses the importance of creating it. The countries that prosper are those that want investment, not giveaways. Afghanistan's, Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani recently said the best things that could happen in his country would be for Western multinationals to begin investing in the region. "Trade, not aid," is a slogan adopted universally in the last few years by emerging democratic governments in the developing world. Trade tends to start the "virtuous cycle" of job opportunities, education and upward mobility in ways the pork-barrel aid has largely failed to achieve. Collin Levey of the N.Y. Post points out, "Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries on earth and hard hit in the latest disaster. Last year, it had to fork over roughly $300 million in tariffs for the privilege of making clothes for Americans and selling them here. Agriculture and textiles are traditionally the first rungs on the trade ladder. Yet to protect labor unions and farmers in America and Europe, we destroy these opportunities with various domestic subsidies and import quotas. This is an abomination, helping to keep countries poor and therefore more vulnerable to disasters like last weekend's tsunami than they would otherwise be."

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Knave of The Week!

The Vatican in its newspaper yesterday mistakenly scolded Israel for not offering aid to Sri Lanka when in fact the anti-Semites in the island nation refused entry to the Israeli aid delegation. In the language it used to issue its judgment on the only nation in Southwest Asia that allows Christians unfettered religious freedom, the Vatican revealed a bias that calls into question Pope John Paul II's famous outreach to Jews. The official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, denounced what it called a decision by the Israel Defense Forces to deny emergency help to disaster victims in Sri Lanka. The publication calls for "a radical and dramatic change of perspective" among people "too often preoccupied with making war." However, contrary to the Vatican report, the Israelis were all too anxious to assist the victims of the tsunami. An Israeli plane carrying 80 tons of food and medical supplies worth $100,000 was set to depart for Sri Lanka yesterday morning - but Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry denied entry to 150 Israeli medical and security personnel that planned to render assistance to the victims. Israel sent the food and medicine despite the insult. Oops! I guess the Vatican doesn't take its mission to provide the truth to the world too seriously these days. As Ed Morrissey at CaptainsQuartersBlog states, "It's yet another shortsighted and pointless example of anti-Semitism that hurts the haters more than it could ever hurt the Jews bearing the aid the Sri Lankans need. It didn't take much for the official newspaper of the Catholic Church to judge Israelis as a group as warmongers who lack the heart and decency to assist the needy. This reaction plays dangerously close to the stereotypes of Jews that have passed through the centuries as stingy, greedy miscreants who work to undermine civilization - stereotypes that the Catholic Church, unfortunately, helped to fan for centuries." Time rolls on, centuries pass but the hateful stereotype still exists in Rome. Pre-Occupied with making war??? If terrorists were attacking the Vatican maybe the rich and fancy lifestyle would end and the affuent of the church would be more pre-occupied with saving their skin. Oh! I forgot. Pope Pious XII turned the other way while Hitler was busy exterminating Jews. It's apparent anti-Semitism runs deep in Rome as well as the rest of Europe. Some things never change!

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Attic Quote of The Day!

Move over Jane Fonda and John Kerry.....Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General for President Johnson (who brought us the Vietnam War), is on the Saddam Hussein Defense team. The quote today sums up years of "anti-war" rhetoric from the left. "This is the illogic that animated a significant segment of the anti-war leader ship. They think America's elected leaders are guilty of war crimes, but that Saddam Hussein - the dictator who invaded Kuwait, gassed the Kurds, massacred the Iraqi Shiites, and dealt with his political opponents by feeding them into wood-chippers and raping their wives - is innocent."

~N.Y. Sun Op-Ed

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A New Twist on Hate and Anti-Semitism

A 150-member Israeli aid delegation canceled its mission to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, after the country - one of the hardest hit in the Asian tsunami disaster - refused to accept the Israeli team, Israel military officials said. The relief team that had been expected to depart for Sri Lanka on Tuesday included medical teams and representatives of the Israeli army and Defense Ministry.The delegation was planning to assemble a medical facility comprised of specialist doctors, and to set up emergency, internal medicine and pediatric departments, as well as laboratory and X-ray facilities in the southern part of Sri Lanka. However, Israel is dispatching supplies at Sri Lanka's request, including 10,000 blankets contributed by the Israeli army, tents, nylon sheeting and water containers. The Israeli army's Home Front Command is organizing aid preparations. Meanwhile, the Israeli humanitarian organization Latet ("To give") is sending a separate aid package. It is filling a jumbo jet with 18 tons of supplies worth $50,000, at Sri Lanka's request. Sri Lanka restored diplomatic ties with Israel in 2000, despite objections from the island's Muslim minority. Refusing aid during a disaster the magnitude of this demonstrates how pathetic hate for Israel can be. Source: BBC News

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How Do You Want Your McChicken?

McDonald's Corp. said Wednesday it is studying whether to require its chicken suppliers to use a more humane slaughter method following a proposal by an animal rights group that holds shares in the fast-food chain. The world's largest fast-food chain is looking into so-called controlled-atmosphere killing, which is already being used by some of its European suppliers. Leave it to the Europeans to favor a "controlled killing" yet they are against the death penalty and many favored Saddam Hussein & Co.'s method of torture-to-death-to mass grave over United States military intervention. In addition, isn't continuous use of fast food another method of controlled killing?

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

President Bush Speaks Out!

President Bush issued his opinion on U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland's comments about rich western countries being "stingy" in their aid to poor countries. "I felt like the person who made that statement was very misguided and ill informed," said Mr. Bush. "In the year 2004, our government provided $2.4 billion in food and cash and humanitarian relief ... That's 40 percent of all the relief aid given in the world last year." Thank you for setting the record straight Mr. President. Source: Associated Press

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Attic Quote of The Day!

Sex for Food is one more United Nations blunder which has managed to stay under the world radar screen for more than a decade. As usual U. N. "leadership" is in denial.

"I am really shocked by these accusations."
XXXXXXXX
~Kofi Annan - U.N. Secretary General
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Allegations of sex crimes committed by U.N. staff and troops date back at least a decade and span operations on three continents, in places like Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cambodia. What is really shocking is Kofi Annan is still at the U.N. The charges range from rape, in which some victims were children, to sexual exploitation. In some cases, women and young girls have been coaxed into sex in exchange for essential food items. A French U.N. staffer was arrested for raping underage girls and taking digital pictures of them.
XXXXX
The U.N. wastes no time criticizing the United States for removing dictators or questioning our dollar value of aid provided around the world, but won't name people or countries in these tragic examples of horrendous abuse. When do they become accountable by the world at large?

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Congratulations to the Orange Revolutionaries

With 99.89 percent of the votes counted in Ukraine, Mr. Yushchenko, the pro-Western opposition leader, won 52.01 percent to 44.18 percent for the Moscow-backed candidate, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. The Ukranian people have stood up to the Russian Bear and declawed it. It's about time Mr. Putin publicly congratulates Mr. Yushcenko. It's also nice to see a European country populated by individuals with a real backbone.

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United Nations Has Some Nerve

The Bush administration yesterday pledged $15 million to Asian nations hit by a tsunami that has killed more than 22,500 people, although the United Nations' humanitarian-aid chief called the donation "stingy." "There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more." The United States is the largest contributor to international relief and aid efforts, not only through the government, but through charitable organizations. The American people are very giving. While the U.S. funds the U.N. with $100 million a year and they steal from the Iraqi people, anyone from the United Nations suggesting we are not "giving" as a government is off base. Mr. Egeland owes American as a whole an apology! May I suggest Mr. Egeland and Kofi Annan donate their salaries for one-year to help with this cause. We may then decide if they too are as generous as the American people. Source: Washington Times

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Attic Quote of The Day!

"Yes, too many Americans are overweight. But this isn't exactly a state secret. The solution to the obesity problem isn't requiring restaurants to tell us that a glass of egg nog contains a gazillion more calories than a Diet Coke. It's learning to say no to the egg nog."

~OpinionJournal

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Monday, December 27, 2004

Holidays That Must Go

Barbara Stock of Republican and Proud suggests some holidays must go so the offended may rest peacefully. Here are some of her sarcastic suggestions:

  • New Year’s Day. People go to parties, drink too much and spend the next two days hung over at best or at worst drive drunk and kill someone. What’s so great about that?
  • Easter. Of course, the easily offended didn’t have anywhere to go with this one since there is no nativity scene to protest, so they invented the “Easter Bunny.”
  • Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This must just drive the anti-war folks nuts. Can you imagine how it must pain them to have TWO days out of the year when the people they call baby-killers and war mongers are honored with parades and flags and marching bands? It must be unbearable for them.
  • Fourth of July. More parades and marching bands and, there they are again, men and women in uniform. All of those people who are offended by the success of America must be driven to near suicide over the fireworks and the sound of “The Star and Stripes Forever.”
  • Labor Day. Now this is one of the worst. Can you imagine how badly the unemployed must feel as the rest of us celebrate our jobs? It must seem as though we working people are just rubbing their noses in the fact that they can’t find work. We get a day off but for them, it’s just another day.
  • Ghosts and goblins run amuck on Halloween. What kind of holiday is that for a Christian country? Once again Americans are stuffing candy down children’s throats as a reward for dressing up in some cute costume. “Trick or Treat?” We also teach kids that if they don’t get what they want, it’s okay to do something bad to someone. Witches are offended that they are depicted with warts, huge noses, and lousy teeth, not to mention they are usually evil creatures that eat small children. The Wickens say they are good witches and little kids are not part of their diets. Shouldn’t we consider their feelings?
  • Thanksgiving. First, white Americans of European decent celebrate the fact that their ancestors stole the land from the Native Americans and then actually thank GOD for all the blessings bestowed on America. If there is the slightest indication that we are giving thanks to GOD, well, that’s just too much. Combine the evil white European conquest of the land and the slaughter of the Indians with the thanking of GOD and one can see why people are offended by this disgusting holiday. Even the PETA people are offended by this one. The mass murder of turkeys must cause them physical pain.

Should the majority in a Democracy really give up their traditions for the few who wish to trample upon the rights of many? The Attic thinks not!

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Attic Quote of The Day!

California voters approved a stem-cell initiative known as Proposition 71 on November 2. But only recently has anyone gotten around to analyzing the fine print. "Arnold fumbled this one by throwing his political weight and popularity behind a measure without careful due-diligence work. By caving to his Hollywood friends who have made stem-cell research their hobbyhorse, he undermines his own rhetoric about putting the state's fiscal house in order."

~OpinionJournal

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Saturday, December 25, 2004

Twas' The Night Before Christmas - A Tribute

Twas' the night before Christmas, he lived all alone, in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone. I had come down the chimney with presents to give, and to see just who in this home did live. I looked all about, a strange sight I did see; no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand; on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands. With medals and badges, awards of all kinds, a sober thought came through my mind. For this house was different, it was dark and dreary; I found the home of a Soldier once I could see clearly. The Soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone; curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home. The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder; not how I pictured a United States Soldier. Was this the Hero of whom I'd just read? Curled up on a poncho, the floor for his bed? I realized the families that I saw this night, owned their lives to these soldiers who are willing to fight. Soon round the world, the children would play and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas Day. They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year, because of the Soldier, like this one lying here. I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home. The very thought brought a tear to my eye, I dropped to my knees and started to cry. The Soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice, Santa don't cry, this life is my choice. I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more; My life is my God, my Country, my Corps. The Soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep, I couldn't control it, I continued to weep. I kept watch for hours, so silent and still and we both shivered from the cold night's chill; I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night. This Guardian of Honor so willing to fight. Then the Soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure, whispered -- Carry on Santa, it's Christmas Day, all is secure. One look at my watch and I knew he was right. Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night. This poem was written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Feel free to pass it on and Semper Fi.

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Thursday, December 23, 2004

BAH HUMBUG!!!

YES! Bah Humbug to all the "Anti-Christmas" Scrooges who suddenly think freedom of speech is for non-believers, anti-Christian's and I suppose people who are against the U.S. Constitution. As I have said before, "Separation of Church and State" is an interpretation, made up and not material fact within the Constitution itself. This theory was blown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1800's. While driving in heavy snow yesterday and listening to all types of Christmas music; Traditional, Jazzed Up, Contemporary, I couldn't help wonder where our society has taken a wrong and bigoted turn. What is wrong with a Nativity scene, White Christmas, Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Manhattan Transfer, Boys Choir of Harlem and so on and so on? NOTHING!! Celebrating Christmas is older than the United States and this country was founded on principals based on the Christmas spirit and Judeo-Christian principals. I say build a nice fire (if you have a fireplace), make some traditional holiday treats, open up a bottle of booze and CHILL OUT!! And please, please stay out of may face while I enjoy some brandy and eggnog, Samuel Adams Christmas cheer and fresh baked Christmas cookies. And please...........don't offend me while I munch on some fresh chestnuts while listening to Nat King Cole.

Here is a cartoon which seems to fit all the Christmas NaySayers!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

How Today's Social Security System Works

?

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Rainforest Action Network Manipulating Children

I am an advocate to saving Rain Forests across the world. These wonders of nature are valuable and necessary assets to the preservation of our eco-system including wildlife. It is critical that these natural resources be preserved. However, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is promoting the use of children to protest in front of banks, such as JP Morgan Chase, with a whimsical cartoon to children and teachers. Today I saw a newscast of children of 1st and 2nd grade age getting off a bus, not on an educational field trip, but on a crusade with their teacher, who justified the whole bit of propaganda. This woman, from the Fairfield, Connecticut school system should be held accountable as well as administrators and willing parents. This is misuse of funds and real educational time for learning the traditional 3 R's. Of course the parents can do as they wish. The cause of RAN is justified, their method of exploiting children is not. Educating our children about rain forests is important, using them to protest is not. The teacher (I will post her name when available) claims it was their choice. This is doubtful at best, children of this age don't have practical judgment and are easily manipulated. Heads should role for this. The RAN Web Site is available here: RainforestActionNetwork. If you agree with this opinion please write to Michael Brune (Executive Director) and Randall Hayes (Founder). If you disagree feel free to make your opinion known.

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Leftwards Ho, Arnold!

Governator Arnold Schwartzeneger feels his appeal to the liberal State of California would be appealing to the Republican Party. His idea is for the RNC to shift more to the left enabling it to attain 5% more votes. Apparently Arnold uses Al Gore's "Fuzzy Math Theory" not understanding what a shift to the left might mean to conservative voters, or does he care? It's not about more votes Arnold, it's about the conservative base and it's core beliefs. This is what the Republican Party is about and holds it's position center to right, leaning right. Stay on the "Left Coast" and conduct your business locally Arnold! Your ego must be growing to steroid proportions thinking conservatives all share your viewpoint. Maybe the Kennedy affliction has caught him!

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Monday, December 20, 2004

Attic Quotes of The Season!!!

As far back as 1892, in Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States, the Supreme Court ruled: "We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity." In 1952, the liberal Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote: "We are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being." The Supreme Court opens its sessions with the clerk saying, "God save the United States and this honorable court." In this holiday season the Attic says: "God save Us from the Far-Left and the ACLU."

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Sing On!

The Washington Times reports Steve Lonegan, who is running for the Republican nomination for New Jersey governor, is defying a school-district edict that bans religious music from holiday-season celebrations this year. Mr. Lonegan has asked local residents of all religions to join him at 5 p.m. tomorrow "to sing and listen to" songs such as George Frederick Handel's "Messiah" and "Silent Night," which have been banned from schools, even in instrumental form, by the South Orange/Maplewood School District. "The school district's decision to prohibit even instrumental versions of classic Christmas tunes shows that those who claim to speak for tolerance are, in fact, the most intolerant," Mr. Lonegan said. "It's time people lighten up and enjoy the Christmas and Hanukkah season, instead of denying the religious foundation of our nation and the holiday season," said Mr. Lonegan, who is mayor of Bogota, a small town across the Hudson River from New York. "Just because a song refers to a religious figure doesn't make it a religious song," says Mr. Wilson, the New Jersey Republican Party chairman. "Nor does some 10-year-old blowing it on a flute make it a religious statement." Rock On!

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Sunday, December 19, 2004

Time Magazine Makes The Correct Selection

Congratulations Mr. President

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Attic Quote of The Day

"The federal Social Security program was the crowning intervention of the New Deal. It has always depended heavily on illusions.

  • The first of these was that money paid in to Social Security was actually being sequestered someplace, subject to convenient materialization when contributors reached senior age.
  • A second illusion was that the program was designed for those who would otherwise be in need.
  • A third illusion was that money paid out would correspond in some way with money paid in, and that the age at which payments would be activated would coincide in some way with the age at which physical decrepitude set in.

It was contemplated by the framers of the program that payments should begin at about the age at which Americans begin to die, which Americans used to do in their early and mid-sixties."

~William F. Buckley Jr.

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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Why Social Security Never Was A "Trust Fund"

Social Security was FDR's great contribution to the Welfare State. Slated as a "Trust Fund" polictians have used it and abused it for years. What Social Security has really accomplished is taking valuable income from hard working adults to pay for political failures and and to shore up a bankrupt program. The usual term for this system is "Pay As You Go." It has bled workers for years. In the 1930s there were 41 workers for every retiree; the payroll tax could thus be set at a low rate--about 2% for the first $3,000 of earnings. It was quite a deal for the beneficiaries--the average rate of return for people retiring in 1940 was 114%. In the 1950s, Congress started increasing both benefits and the number of people covered. At the same time, however, the demographics were turning sour. Life expectancy was rising to the 78 years it is today, from 69 for men born in 1940. And fertility rates were declining, from 2.2 children per woman in 1940, to a peak of 3.7 in 1957, to two per woman right now. The ratio of workers to retirees began to fall--in 1950, it had dropped to 16 workers to one retiree and now it is just three to one. Payroll taxes have had to rise accordingly--they are now 12.4%. And real rates of return have gone into a free-fall; real returns for workers born in 1960 and retiring in 2025 are less than 2%. Over the next 20 years, as the Baby Boomers start retiring, the number of retirees will jump to around 77 million from 47 million today. The worker-to-retiree ratio will drop to two to one, and real returns for some could be negative. The Social Security system will start running a deficit by 2016 when benefits exceed annual payroll tax revenue. The "Trust Fund" surplus will be totally eaten up by 2042 (or a decade later, depending on economic and demographic assumptions). Then Social Security will have to rely solely on revenue from the payroll tax that will not be sufficient to pay benefits. In a nut shell, Social Security is on a destructive collision course with itself.

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Thursday, December 16, 2004

It's Christmas Time With "First Dog" Barney!!

It's time to take a White House tour and find out what "First Dog" Barney has been up to. View Barney's Web Cam "Where In The White House Is Miss Beazley?"

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Attic Quote of The Day

In reponse to the following question: "Ask yourself, how in a land of extremes, during times of insanity, constantly barraged by violence, and living in conditions comparable to the stone ages, your marines can maintain their positive attitude, their high spirit, and their abundance of compassion?" The Answer: "They defend a nation unique in all of history: One of principle, not personality; one of the rule of law, not landed gentry; one where rights matter, not privilege or religion or color or creed. . . . They are United States Marines, representing all that is best in soldierly virtues."

~Lt. Col. Mark A. Smith
Indiana state trooper who now commands
The 2nd Battalion,24th Marine Expeditionary Unit,
Stationed just south of Baghdad

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More Gagging on The French

Paris on The Potomac? Give me a giant break and a freedom fry! According to FoxNews, Tourism officials heralded a "Paris on the Potomac" campaign this week, a celebration of French music, culture and food that the District of Columbia hopes will draw both French and American tourists to the nation's capital this spring. It seems to me the tourism officials are not so much diplomatic as they are misguided and delusional. "This is an opportunity for us in our own way in the travel and tourism ... and arts and culture economy to reach out to a longstanding friend, forget about politics and go back to good friendships," one tourism official told FOX News. The tourism industry in D.C. feels we, the American citizen, owe the French some debt of gratitude. Landmarks around Washington show the nation's capital owes a lot to the French. A statue of General Lafayette — a Frenchman who at 17 decided to fight for the colonists during the revolution and who became a major general in George Washington's army — sits on a square named after him that is directly across from the White House. And the entire city of Washington was designed by a French architect by the name of Pierre L'Enfant. Our expressed gratitude to Mr. Lafayette for his brave attitude and contributions to the war effort over 200 years ago. Unfortunately the worm has turned and the debt has been repaid in blood as well as money many times over. It seems all Frenchman don't exactly feel as fuzzy and warm about this diplomatic farce which is actually a promotion to fuel the tourism industry. Diplomat Denis Pietton refused to talk to FOX News at the press conference announcing "Paris on the Potomac." On camera he made a disgusting face and walked away from the camera all but thumbing his up turned French nose at America. Bring on the Freedom Fries and please hold the Heinz Ketchup!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Gagging on French Arrogance

The Guggenheim Museum of Contemporary Art in NY and the Pompidou Center in Paris have both signed agreements with a Hong Kong joint venture that is bidding to build a cultural center in the former British colony. Guggenheim Foundation Director Thomas Krens said last month that he was looking forward to cooperating with the Parisians. At a dinner in Paris with Hong Kong journalists, the Pompidou's top brass lost their cool when the subject came up. President Bruno Racine acidly said, "We're not interested in managing a museum together with Guggenheim." Alfred Pacquement, the museum's director, was more trenchant: "A museum is not a Coca-Cola factory. You can't have museum branches everywhere in the world." Now for the French punch line, curator Alain Sayag offered an explanation when he said, "The Pompidou and Guggenheim are on different levels. We're world class, they're second class. We're national, they're small and private. We're Europe, they're U.S." It seems to me the French are not only out-classed, they have no class. The Guggenheim has three museums in Europe -- in Bilbao, Venice and Berlin. The French don't understand the difference between National and International....or National and World Class for that matter. The French have a difficult time understanding class. Source: OpinionJournal

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Pooh Poohing Sammy Sosa

My early morning check at Cubs.com brought me more on kissing up to Sammy Sosa in the media. Manager Dusty Baker has a typical quote that is Sammy butt smooching as usual. "Right now, Sammy's on the Cubs," Baker said. "And until he's not on the Cubs, we have to figure out a way to have him be productive and hopefully happy and help us win." Well Merry Christmas Cub fans!!! Find a way to make Sammy more productive? Find a way to make Sammy happy? $18 Million a year would make me happy and I would do everything, short of a steroid fix and corked bat, to be more productive. Why do fans have to listen to this garbage, bemoaning the rich and arrogant athlete who feels he needs special attention. I have been a "Die-Hard" Cub fan and Charter member of the actual club my whole life. Well at least since age four. I have owned season tictets, felt the misery that goes with being a Cub fan. It's more like an affliction than fandom. However, no player is bigger than the game. "Sosa and Mark McGwire are credited with giving baseball a much-needed boost with their home run race in 1998. But Sosa was booed this season at Wrigley Field, and didn't help his image when he made an early exit the last game of the regular season." Keep in mind the arrogant McGuire got caught with "enhancements" in his locker and retired not long after that. Keep in mind Sosa got caught with cork in his bat and his body has "sized-down" after ballooning for a few years. The mark of a world class athlete is to actually be humble and show some class. Fans have a right to boo for non-performance. It's part of the game, well before Sosa gave up shining shoes in the Dominican Republic. Fact is, Sammy is a show boat who loves the limelight and makes daily attempts to shine that light upon himself. Sammy pouts publicly and is quoted often as wanting "respect." Well Sammy, I want respect too. As a Cub fan before you and after you I want performance equal to your inflated salary not in conjunction with your inflated ego. I have s son who was a wonderful swimmer but before attaining championship status liked to moan and pout. I bought him a swim cap that said, "Shut Up and Swim." Well Sammy, SHUT UP AND PLAY BALL!

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Attic Quote of The Day

Creative writer of parody column, "Scrappleface" gets the nod for quote of the day at the expense of abortion rights advocates. Writer Scott Ott quips on the California jury that sentenced Scott Peterson to death for the double murder of his wife and unborn son. The sentence sparked outrage from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). "We decry the inhumanity of the death penalty for a man who simply exercised his choice to end a pregnancy and to end the woman who was harboring an unwanted fetus,' said an unnamed NARAL spokesman. "This emotional jury decision shows no respect for Mr. Peterson's reproductive rights. It's a sad day for America and may have a chilling effect on the hundreds of physicians nationwide engaged in similar work." Although sarcasm, unfortunately comments from NARAL and Planned Parenthood like this are not far from their true beliefs.

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This Thought Has Certainly Crossed My Mind

NEW YORK (AP)--A Manhattan housing court judge, whose picture was posted in an advertisement on eBay as putting him up for sale, said he did not find the posting funny. The ad for Judge Jerald R. Klein, accusing him of miscarrying justice, depicted him sitting in the courtroom, smiling. It drew 6,400 and 21 bidders. But the judge said he was "outraged" by the posting, which eBay took down after about 90 minutes of finding out about it. "I'd like to know their rules for this," Klein told the New York Times in Monday editions. "I'd like to know what investigation they did before they put this out there." An eBay spokesman said the company never investigates what people put up for sale on the web site, which auctions off items to people who bid for them online. There are more than 30 million listings on eBay and 3.6 million are added daily, making it impossible for the company to screen all advertisements. The ad, entitled "Judge for Sale" was posted Wednesday by Janet Schoenberg, the disgruntled litigant in a landlord-tenant dispute in New York City Civil Court who said Klein was mishandling the case and she exhausted other ways of drawing attention to her case. "In today's world, this is how people who are not celebrities can get their voice heard," said Schoenberg. She maintained, however, that she meant the ad as a joke. "I didn't expect anybody to actually bid on this," she said. "It was satire, it was parody." After four days, the best offer for the judge was $127.50. Klein did not discuss potential libel issues, saying that he would discuss his next action to court administrators. Certainly this Judge has no sense of humor but as a Father who has experienced and witnessed corrupt family court Judges for over 10 years I can certainly understand frustration. This Judge should go back to the law books, particularly the U.S. Constitution and freshen up on "Freedom of Speech." The public has a right to an opinion even if their parenting or other rights are ignored in a court of law. Personally Judge, I would like to know why more Judges aren't investigated! This one is just another pompous ass.

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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Customer Service...The Failing of Business

My age plays a part in my topic and criticism of "Customer Service" and lack of it in business. I grew up in an era of excellent customer service, and pride in work effort. The last few days have been a glaring example of not receiving decent service by a business but of also receiving condescending remarks and outright lies from employees whose jobs should require excellent customer service. Let's start out with dining out at the chain, "Cracker Barrel." This is a glorified fast food joint bent on delivering "Country Fixin's" and shoving the past down one's throat in the form of a "Country Store." The waitress was inept to say the least; she couldn't even pay attention while taking the order, asking repeatedly what we (4 adults) wanted. Then she complained of a past ear infection which was affecting her hearing. I believe she hates her job or has acute Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADDH). Forget the "H" as Hyper was not her problem, moaning and complaining to the customer was the problem here. Cutting to the chase, our orders disappearing into the Twilight Zone, menu items became unavailable, and then became available while other treats suddenly disappeared from our reach. The "AOL Keywords" for our waitress was "I Apologize." I understand waitressing is tiring and very thankless but if you take on the job than do it to the best of your ability. The problem here goes up the chain of command and while many people are looking for work these individuals at many levels take their positions for granted and show no pride in their effort. I went to the front desk and requested a new waitress and received one but the original was also serving our table alternating in a bizarre turn of events of redundancy and duplication of poor service. The meager service quotient began extrapolating into a ridiculous situation that would have been slapstick comedy if it weren't becoming so painful. By the time our orders were sorted out, the apologies continued ad nauseum; our "new" waitress was dripping with over bearing niceties and offered our table free dessert. WOW!!! Customer Service? Finally? Can it be? Hell NO!!! More apologies while explanations were repeated why certain dessert selections we chose were no longer available. Now for the punch line. Desserts arrived in a state of comparative reduction of normal and typical portions, dwarfed to "Half-Portions" appearing as ridiculous as the "service" we were receiving. The pie went from slice to sliver and the alamode went from scoop to melon ball size. It was an apparent slap in the face for complaining. As I progressed towards the weekend it got worse....much worse. Up next, Time-Warner Cable.

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Break Out the Mylanta...More New Age Customer Service

Part one of my customer service series is here as I continued on my journey into absolute despair. I have a nice little start up business as an online merchant selling goods to willing auction and Internet shoppers. The key to having a retail or wholesale business with goods to sell is maintaining an adequate level of inventory. On the one hand I must have fast and continuous Internet service to function. On the other hand I must seek out value priced merchandise to fill my inventory on a consistent basis, which requires research and more Internet service. No Internet, no business, it's that simple. Operating an online business requires excellent customer service and communication in writing. Consistency is very important and email is the method of choice in reaching the customer. Email requires, as we know, an Internet connection with Broadband as my choice. The plot thickens, along with the continuous stream of B.S. (Something commonly found on cattle ranges and in customer service departments.) Time-Warner Cable was in my neighborhood Friday shutting down a users service and made the mistake of turning my broadband "Road Runner" connection down as well. BEEP! BEEP! I discovered how my service went south after an hour of troubleshooting with a customer service representative who believed my experience as a former Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) was of no value in determining the problem was not equipment, not me and was outside of my immediate workspace. The problem actually resided on the telephone poll outside my residence, but who am I to question a trained and skilled customer service representative honed in on their script? Keep in mind, on seven (7) different occasions within a nine (9) hour period in which I selected three (3) on the phone keypad requesting "Customer Service", Seven (7) Customer Service Representatives, two (2) Supervisors and endless commercial breaks, while spending over 90% of this time on hold resulted in no service until the following evening. The Dispatch department was also involved in maintaining my service in the "Off" position for over 24 hours. Although I could not receive same day service for a problem Time-Warner Cable created, each person I spoke to insisted if I signed up for an upgrade to "Business Class" a technician would be on the way to correct "MY" problem. Customer Service's answer was always buying more service, something they couldn't provide to begin with. This was the ultimate lesson in the blind leading the blind while attempting to beat the customer into submission. The lesson here is this. When I don't receive customer service to my liking, I become the proverbial tiger caught by the tail with a relentless pursuit to solving the problem, whatever it takes. It's not a poor attitude; it's my training in customer service, my ultimate expertise. The key to marketing a product is actually through excellent customer service. Word of mouth can make or break a business and will eventually result in low performance ratings, further denigration of the workforce and poor business profit margins if negative customer contact is consistent. Businesses large and small are in constant transition with turnover at all levels in the chain of command. Ultimately, problems in business lie in poor management, poor training programs and failure to look at the customer as the end result of success. Cable companies lack enough competition and hold monopolies in local areas. As long as they are the only game in town, there lacks any motivation to provide good customer service.

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Friday, December 10, 2004

Biting The Social Security Bullet

It's absolutely long overdue for the politicians to follow President Bush's lead and revamp a broken, outdated and income robbing Social Security system. For years Social Security tax has robbed workers of income to pay off a bankrupt system, robbing "Peter to pay Paul," working today for yesterday's workers. The current system takes Present Value income with no hope of increased value based on ownership investment, compounding interest and future value growth. Economics 101 and a basic statistics course teaches Present (PV) and Future (FV) value of a dollar. The simple premise is your current dollar is at present value and it has a future value based on probable economic growth and investment. However, one needs the option of investing that dollar without government intervention, i.e. taking your hard earned dollar and using it to payoff old Social Security debt. Unfortunately Democrats and Republicans alike are suggesting increased payroll taxes to fund their past follies. President Bush has drawn a line in the sand stating, "No New Taxes." I suggest the politicians heed his warning and to paraphrase Bush "41", "Read His Lips." This time however, Bush "43" will keep his promise. Social Security reform is the only answer to addressing the $11 Trillion shortfall created by years of stealing from taxpayers to fund a bankrupt system. It's a scary thought to see Nancy Pelosi and Lindsay Graham suggesting similar objections to reform.

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Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Family Jewels

A news story at that's been making the rounds has it that laptop computers are dangerous for male fertility, because actually holding a computer on your lap can change the temperature of the genitals, diminishing sperm production. The WebMD.com account of this problem caught our attention:

  • Is the increase enough to impair male fertility? The researchers can't say for sure. However, they note that another study showed that sperm concentration dropped by 40% when median daytime scrotal temperature rose to about 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius).

Thirty-four degrees Fahrenheit? If your family jewels were only 2 degrees above freezing, you'd have trouble reproducing too! Obviously the problem here is the metric system, and that explains why Europeans have such low birthrates. The French, who invented the metric system, even have a word that explains why it is a dead end. But then surely you've heard of a cold-de-sac.

Source: OpinionJournal

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Viva la Boycotts!

French wine makers have fallen on hard times and are demanding help from the government, the Associated Press reports from Paris:

  • Pinched by overproduction, shrinking exports, advertising restrictions, an aggressive campaign against alcohol abuse and changing drinking habits, at least 6,000 growers and winemakers staged spirited demonstrations nationwide Wednesday to press the government for help. . . .
  • Vintners wearing black armbands marched through Bordeaux, Avignon, Angers, Macon, Nantes, Tours and other cities in key winemaking regions to urge the Agriculture Ministry to help offset their financial losses. . . .
  • France's wine industry, which employs about 500,000 people, says exports through Aug. 31 dropped by more than 5.5 percent in volume and 9.6 percent in value. Experts say Bordeaux was particularly hard hit, with foreign sales of its signature reds down 25 percent.

Viva la Napa, Sonoma, Australia, I love your wines! Mr. Chirac...Let Them Eat Cake!!!!

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Attic Quote of The Day!

"Sharia, Muslim religious law, is not acceptable to Christian democracy. Sharia allows children to be whipped to death for breaking Ramadan fast. Sharia allows women to be beaten to death by their husbands for the smallest infraction. Marriage at the age of six is alright; sex with a child of nine is fine. Adoption is illegal even as prostitution to service soldiers is legal. Polygamy is acceptable and a husband can invoke divorce by simply by repeating the word “divorce” three times. A woman’s testimony in court is not equal to a man’s; she can be stoned to death for being raped; she can be raped in order to punish her relatives for their infractions. Slavery is legal (the very word “Islam” means “submit”). Slave armies were and are common under Islam, and male slaves are not uncommonly castrated. Women, slave or free, are likewise often subjected to partial or complete removal of external genitalia."

~Steve Kellmeyer - Author @ bridegroompress.com

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John McCain and Baseball

Doc Farmer is a writer and humorist has an interesting take on the government, baseball and sterioids over at ChronWatch. His best quote is about John McCain, which really is a point well taken. The Senator from Arizona helped author the reform bill which brought us 527's, an election loophole one could drive several tractor trailers through. McCain also threatened Major League Baseball before, which proved to be more politcal puffing. "Senator McCain, perhaps if you actually paid attention to the job you're supposed to be doing, we'd have a better government and a better country. Leave the games to the players and fans and owners. Leave business to the businesses. Leave law enforcement to the cops. And leave the rest of us alone. That goes for the 534 other bozos you work with as well. Maybe then, just maybe, you might actually be worthy of our votes." Enough said! Thanks Mr. Farmer.

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Mary Frances Berry........Lock Her Up!

The former chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Mary Frances Berry, refuses to step down. She has said, in defiance of law, President Bush and Congress, that she will remain in her post until Jan. 21 — the day after the Bush-Cheney inauguration. Her term ended on Dec. 5. Berry habitually releases to the public statements, reports, and press releases (usually critical of Republicans or at least consistent with her positions) that have been voted down previously by the commission as a whole. Ms. Berry should have been long gone, she has mismanaged the commission for years and demonstrates a strict bias against Republicans and is racist.

  • In 1997, a Government Accountability Office report noted that management is in disarray, projects are poorly managed and take years to complete, spending data isn't maintained by office, program, or function and the agency's policies and procedures are unclear. GAO couldn't even verify project spending because of the commission's indecipherable record keeping.
  • The Office of Personnel Management conducted two reviews of the commission in the 1990s. Yet despite evidence of pervasive management problems, the civil-rights commission failed to implement five of six substantive OPM recommendations.
  • The GAO's 2003 review of the commission showed that the commission had also failed to comply with the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. The civil-rights commission has not updated its strategic plan since 1997.
  • The commission has not had a full independent audit in at least 12 years as required by law.

Why has Berry been protected from her partisan tactics and complete mismanagement of this commission? She repeatedly fails to obey the law and should be held accountable. If she refuses to leave the commission immediately Ms. Berry should be hand-cuffed and removed to the nearest jail pending a hearing. Her arrogance, defiance and insubordination should no longer be tolerated. She is not above the law!

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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Unreported Progress In Iraq! Part II of IV

Besides the exemplary work done by our fighting forces who are cleaning out the swamp of terrorists in Iraq, programs in education, health care, food security, infrastructure reconstruction, airport and seaport management, economic growth, community development, local governance, and transition initiatives are ongoing. Main stream media doesn't report this side of the U.S. effort to bring freedom to Iraq and it's citizens. Here is Part II of IV demonstrating the bright side of Iraq. Economic Governance

  • Worked with the Ministry of Finance to introduce the new Iraqi dinar.
  • Created more than 77,000 public works jobs through the National Employment Program.
  • Provided technical assistance on accounting, budgeting and lending activities at Iraq's commercial banks.
  • Improved statistical analysis, monetary policymaking, and bank supervision procedures at Iraq's Central Bank.
  • Provided technical assistance for CPA's $21 million microcredit program.
  • Provided technical assistance for the Oil for Food transition to prepare Iraqi ministries to assume responsibility for OFF contracts.
  • Evaluated and updated commercial laws on private sector and foreign investment.
  • Assisted in developing the reconstruction levy in collaboration with the CPA and the UK Customs Service; this levy imposes a five percent tariff on imports to Iraq.
  • Developed a government-wide IT strategy to support the automation of planning, budgeting and reporting processes across ministries.
  • Provided technical assistance as well as information on contracting opportunities for Iraqi businesses through business centers.
  • Provided technical support for the re-opening of the Iraq Stock Exchange after it was closed down for more than 15 months; 3.6 billion Iraqi dinars ($2.4 million USD) in shares were traded in the first day.

Education

  • Awarded 627 grants worth more than $6 million to rehabilitate schools and equip Directorates General.
  • Rehabilitated 2,405 schools countrywide.
  • Distributed desks, chairs, cabinets, chalkboards, and kits for primary and secondary schools countrywide.
  • Printed and distributed 8.7 million revised math and science textbooks to grades 1-12 by mid-February 2004.
  • Completed a major initiative that trained nearly 33,000 secondary school teachers and administrators, including 860 master trainers, nationwide.
  • Conducted a pilot accelerated learning program in five Iraqi cities to allow out-of-school children to complete two school years in one year. More than 550 students participated.
  • Assisted the Ministry in establishing official baseline education data for Iraq.
  • Awarded five grants worth $20.7 million to create partnerships between U.S. and Iraqi universities. Through these partnerships, Iraqi universities are rebuilding infrastructure; re-equipping university facilities; participating in international conferences; attending workshops and refresher courses; and reforming curriculum.

Elections

  • Voter Education (IRI): (1) Establishment of a Iraqi Voter Outreach Training and Education program (I-VOTE); (2) Promotion of voter education discussions through national media coverage and grassroots activism; and, (3) Utilization of mass media and multimedia technology to promote participation in the electoral process.
  • Domestic Observation (NDI): Build the capacity of domestic organizations to be capable of monitoring electoral events and field domestic election observers. The civil society organizations will monitor the various stages of the election cycle, from the registration of voters and parties and the commencement of the political campaigns, to campaign tactics and the role that the government plays in the electoral process, to the final voting, counting and verification procedures, the processing of complaints, and the resolution of disputes.
  • Conflict Mitigation (IFES): (1) Creation of an Iraqi Alliance for Peaceful Elections (IAPE); and (2) Production of a toolkit of techniques and approaches to be used in monitoring electoral conflict.
  • Support to the Election Administration (IFES): (1) Work with the IECI and the UN to facilitate the development of an interim voters list; (2) Assist the IECI in the building of a national field infrastructure which will include the establishment of Governorate, sub-Governorate and local election IECI offices; (3) Provide emergency commodities and procurement support when necessary; and, (4) Provide international technical and operation assistance where requested by the IECI and the UN.

Electricity

  • By October, 2003, rehabilitated electric power capacity to produce peak capacity greater than the pre-war level of 4,400 MW. Hit 5,365 MW on August 18, 2004.
  • Since achieving record power production in Summer '04, the Ministry of Electricity-with assistance from USAID-has begun the standard Fall maintenance process which will necessarily reduce the amount of power available for consumption. USAID worked with the MOE to conduct last Fall's maintenance program.
  • Repairing thermal units, replacing turbines, rehabilitating the power distribution network, and installing and restoring generators.
  • USAID has added 435 MW of capacity through maintenance and rehabilitation work, and also repaired a 400 KV transmission line.
  • USAID and the Ministry of Electricity are working with partners to add a total of more than 1,281 MW to the national grid by December 2005 through maintenance, rehabilitation, and new generation projects.
  • USAID completed a project to convert two units that produce 80 MW each to operate on crude/heavy fuel oil instead of diesel which is imported and in short supply.
  • Most recently, USAID has initiated a project to rehabilitate 13 existing substations and construct 24 new substations in Baghdad. These 37 substations will improve the distribution and reliability of electricity for more than two million Baghdad residents.

Source: USAID

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Better Late Than Never

  • Failing to enforce 17 resolutions against Saddam, tolerating his ejection of U.N. weapons inspectors, and even enabling him to stay in power by looking the other way as he exploited Oil for Food.
  • Failing to use U.N. peacekeepers already in place to stop the Rwanda genocide in 1994, and, worse, handing over thousands of Bosnian Muslim men for slaughter by the Serbs at Srebrenica in 1995.
  • Failing to act in Kosovo in 1999, amid the threat of a Russian veto, leaving NATO the task of preventing a bloody civil war on European soil.
  • As recently as this year, failing to stop the massacre of African Muslims in Sudan's Darfur province.
  • And failing even to bring up for formal debate, let alone action, North Korean and Iranian violations of non-proliferation agreements.

And the beat goes on.

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Monday, December 06, 2004

Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest

Tommy Thompson announced Friday that he's leaving his post as secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Associated Press reports he made this comment: "For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do." Thanks for the suggestion Mr. Thompson. Duh! Secretary Thompson, from Wisconsin, places a whole new meaning on the term, "Cheesehead!"

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Kofi Annan Thinks His Ineptness Is Funny

Speaking at a festive dinner Friday night that was organized by the U.N. Correspondents Association, Secretary-General Kofi Annan joked about rumors that he is about to resign. "I am resigning myself," he said as members of the audience gasped, "to having a good time." Let the truth be told. Kofi Annan is the lead clown in the world's largest circus known as the United Nations.

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Sunday, December 05, 2004

Attic Quote of The Week!

Once upon a time, the International Committee of the Red Cross was a humanitarian outfit doing the Lord's work to reduce the horrors of war. So it is a special tragedy to see that it has increasingly become an ideological organization unable to distinguish between good guys and bad.

That's the unfortunate conclusion suggested by three years of open ICRC hostility toward U.S. conduct in the war on terror. The latest salvo was a Tuesday's front page story in the New York Times quoting from an ICRC report complaining about the detention conditions and interrogation practices used on Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The ICRC is alleging that the psychological conditions faced by Guantanamo detainees are "tantamount to torture." Why? Because -- we kid you not-- prisoners are being held for indefinite periods, and uncertainty is stressful. And because some prisoners are subjected to psychological pressure techniques during interrogations aimed at thwarting further terrorist attacks.

The ICRC also objects to interrogation pressure that is typically no more abusive than the good-bad cop routines common in American police stations. And where the interrogation techniques go further, they include nothing worse than loud music, temperature extremes, and uncomfortable positions. To call such discomforts "a form of torture" is to rob the word of all meaning and implicitly elevate the behavior of truly odious regimes.

Source: OpinionJournal ; Editorial Cartoon: Cox & Forkum

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Unreported Progress in Iraq! Part I of IV

Besides the exemplary work done by our fighting forces who are cleaning out the swamp of terrorists in Iraq, programs in education, health care, food security, infrastructure reconstruction, airport and seaport management, economic growth, community development, local governance, and transition initiatives are ongoing. Main stream media doesn't report this side of the U.S. effort to bring freedom to Iraq and it's citizens. Here is Part I of IV demonstrating the bright side of Iraq. Agriculture

  • Summer and Winter Crop Technology Demonstrations: These demonstrations are introducing farmers to new technologies and techniques through extension field days.
  • Animal Health: Several veterinary clinics in Kirkuk, Fallujah, and other cities are being renovated and a grant has been made for dipping tanks to improve sheep health and wool.
  • Technology Support: The Ministry of Agriculture and a major university's schools of Agriculture and Veterinary Science have been awarded grants to furnish and equip computer centers, improving research capabilities and consulting capacity.
  • Date Palm Propagation: In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, 40,000 elite date palm offshoots are being used to establish mother orchards in 13 governorates as part of a multiplication program and the establishment of a national register of elite varieties.
  • Agriculture Sector Transition Plan: This plan, completed in mid-April, addresses the short-term recovery of agricultural infrastructure as well as medium and long-term implementation of policies to develop a market-based agricultural economy.

Airports

  • Flights have been arriving and departing Baghdad International Airport since July 2003. BIAP is processing an average of 45 non-military arrivals and departures daily.
  • Completed emergency infrastructure work at BIAP for civil air operations, including repairing Terminal C and administration offices and installing VSAT communications systems and adding power generators.
  • Completed work to prepare Al Basrah International Airport for commercial operations, including installing VSAT and radio communications; runway, taxiway, and apron striping; and installing baggage x-ray units and a perimeter fence. Work to rehabilitate the water and wastewater treatment facilities are almost complete.

Roads and Bridges

  • Completed 36 detailed bridge assessments and demolished irreparable sections in preparation for the rehabilitation of three major bridges in Iraq. All three bridges have now been repaired and re-opened to traffic.
  • Repaired a floating bridge over the Tigris River improving traffic in the region for 50,000 travelers a day.
  • Completed an assessment of over one hundred 1,100 km lengths of track and associated facilities throughout the country to identify priority projects.
  • Constructing 72 kilometers of new track and facilities between the Port of Umm Qasr and Shuaiba Junction, located west of Basrah.

Community Action Program

  • USAID has committed over $104 million to 2,183 projects while Iraqi communities have committed more than 25% of total funding. CAP has established over 670 community associations in 17 governorates. Five U.S. NGOs each concentrate on a region: north, Baghdad, southwest central, southeast central, and south.
  • The northern program focuses on the conflict prone areas of the Sunni Triangle, Mosul, Kirkuk and the Iran-Iraq border. The partner NGO has completed 331 projects with over $13.9 million total project commitments including establishing a youth center in Hawija, improving the Tikrit water supply, and developing income generation projects in the north.
  • In the southwest central region, the partner NGO has established a strong presence in the Shi'i holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, as well as Hillah through active community associations. A strong emphasis on critical infrastructure needs has provided these communities with sewage and water services, improved schools, and repaired vital social infrastructure. They have completed 268 projects and have over $21.4 million in project commitments.
  • Income generation is an important emphasis in the Baghdad program where 426 projects have been completed through community action groups. A marketplace for over 700 vendors is being constructed, and crews are cleaning up medical waste dumps and educating medical personnel on proper disposal methods. Total project commitments are $22 million.
  • In the southeast central region, 151 projects are complete with a total of $13.3 million in commitments. In the Shi'i heartland, these projects address needs resulting from decades of government neglect and focus on water, sewerage, community clean-up, and school rehabilitation.
  • The southern program has completed 448 projects which focus primarily on immediate community needs such as sewage clean up, water treatment and distribution, public health, and girls' access to education. Total project commitments are $21.3 million.

Source: USAID

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Friday, December 03, 2004

Attic Quote of The Day

"The Major League Baseball Players Association - to its eternal shame - has protected and coddled its overpaid, overjuiced stars for years, fighting tooth and nail to stop drug testing. The League stuck its head in the sand when every fan of the game knew it was a problem."

~ New York Post - Op Ed

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Take Me Out to The Ballgame

Buy me some peanuts, Cracker Jack and steroids. Huh? The song is beginning to change more and more. During the baseball off-season I enjoy watching for trade stories and learn of upgrades on my beloved Chicago Cubs. I ignore stories about finances and salaries except when one player receives so much money the team is at a "cap" and can't afford to improve itself further. Truth be told, Jason Giambi reportedly admitted to injecting himself with human growth hormones. Athletes in other sports have admitted to, or have been seen injecting growth hormones. Barry Bonds is still in denial but it's difficult to observe the "sluggers" increased homerun performance in the last several years as he ages and his physical appearance shows distinct signs of muscular growth. In addition, Bond's injuries are at a minimum for a player in his 40's and recovery is that of a much younger player. The baseball players union, and commissioner Bud Selig are all guilty of ignoring the problem, defending the players and diminishing the integrity of Major League Baseball. It is now up to Bud Selig to "step up to the plate" and establish rules and regulations with steep penalties for drug use, including lifetime bans from the sport. The use of drugs in baseball is no less harmful to the integrity of the sport than gambling, which cost Pete Rose a trip to the Hall of Fame. It's obvious to the fan and student of baseball that new records don't need an asterisk beside them, they have no place in the record books when enhancements were used to shatter long established records of current Hall of Famer's. At one time I had office space on the same floor Sammy Sosa resided in Chicago during the baseball season. Over several years I witnessed Mr. Sosa's body size dramatically evolved into much larger proportions. I had frequent, up close views in the lobby and on the elevator, as well as during conversation of Sosa. At the same time his hitting ability increased, more homeruns were launched and he was virtually injury free. In the past two years Sosa's body size has literally shrunk from the hulk he developed into previously. This phenomenon, as the investigations into steroid use gained prominence, is parallel with Sosa's reduction in body mass, his poor statistical performance and increased time on the disabled list. I might add a relationship also exists to Sosa getting caught with cork in his bat. I believe he was well advised to lay off enhancements. The solution will be Federal indictments of players, mandatory drug testing and lifetime bans for guilty athletes. A zero-tolerance position is the only way to save major league baseball and ensure the record books are accurate, meaningful and fair. There is no place for cheating in our national past time or any competitive endeavor. No athlete is larger or better than the sport itself.

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Thursday, December 02, 2004

AHHH!!!!! A Clinton Blast from the Past

Former American fugitive Marc Rich was a middleman for several of Iraq's suspect oil deals in February 2001, just one month after his pardon from President Clinton, according to oil industry shipping records obtained by ABC News. A U.S. criminal investigation is looking into whether Rich, as well as several other prominent oil traders, made illegal payments to Iraq in order to obtain the lucrative oil contracts. We should all remember fugitive Rich; a picture of his ex-wife was televised frequently in the company of Bill and Hillary. Recall how "Three-Dollar-Bill" spent the night and wee hours of the morning before President Bush's inauguration signing a record number of pardons, including relatives and friends. It's nice to know the Clinton's did so much, for so little, for so long to reduce America's ability to defend itself while reducing our intelligence agencies and military to mere afterthoughts. The more the Bush administration is criticized by MSM and foreign countries, the more little tidbits keep leaking out to world corruption and the Clinton administrations participation in it.

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Matter of Interpretation

I have previously given my opinion on the ACLU and their attack on the Boy Scouts of America. Here is the 1st Amendment Clause at issue and some scholarly interpretation defending the Department of Defense and it's long standing support of the Scouts. 1st Amendment Clause at Issue: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." ACLU Interpretation: "that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" — sometimes characterized as the "separation of church and state." Philip Hamburger, a legal historian at the University of Chicago, argues that the separation doctrine was actually a late-nineteenth-century fabrication of anti-Catholic nativists. The clause itself says nothing about separation. That implies neutrality toward religion, not absolute separation. Neutrality means that the Boy Scouts, like any civilian group that uses the bases, is only subject to law and to the approval of appropriate military authorities. Source: Washington Times

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Attic Quote of The Day

"This is the most massive fraud in the history of the United Nations. Kofi Annan and the United Nations are slowly bleeding to death over this. It's time to cut the gangrene limb off. In any other organization where the CEO oversaw a $21 billion theft, there would be a board of directors saying we need to clean this up and clear our reputation. The problem here is that the board of directors is France, Russia and China who all benefited from the program."

~ Norm Coleman, R-MN

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Fightin' Words

You media pansies may squeal and may squirm, But a fightin' man knows that the way to confirm, That some jihadist bastard truly is dead, Is a brain-tappin' round fired into his head. To hell with some weenie with his journalist degree Safe away from the combat, tryin' to tell me, I should check him for breathin,' examine his eyes. Nope, I'm punchin' his ticket to Muj paradise.
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To hell with you wimps from your Ivy Leaque schools, Sittin' far from the war tellin' me about rules And preachin' to me your wrong-headed contention That I should observe the Geneva Convention, Which doesn't apply to a terrorist scum So evil and cruel their own people run from, Cold-blooded killers who love to behead, Shove that mother' Geneva, I'm leavin' em dead.
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Your slick talking heads may preach, preen, and prattle, But you're damn well not here in the thick of the battle. It's chaotic, confusin' it all comes at you fast, So it's Muj checkin' out because I'm going to last. Yeah, I'll last through this fight and send his rear away To his fat ugly virgins while I'm still in play. If you journalist weenies think that's cold, cruel, and crass, Then pucker up sweeties, kiss a fightin' man's ass.
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Russ Vaughn
2n Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 1965-6
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Source: ChronWatch

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President Bush Get's It Right in Canada

"We just had a poll in our country when people decided that the foreign policy of the Bush administration ought to stay in place for four more years," Bush said at a joint news conference. "I made some decisions, obviously, that some in Canada didn't agree with, like, for example, removing Saddam Hussein and enforcing the demands of the United Nations Security Council," Bush said. "I want to thank the Canadian people who came out to wave, with all five fingers, for their hospitality," remarked the President. As always President Bush is honest, deliberate and unfettering.

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Attic Knave of The Day

"I support the ban on religious music in the schools because I feel that it makes children, who do not celebrate a particular holiday or have a particular religion, it makes them uncomfortable, as if they have to choose between being in a chorus or band and their religions."

~Shelley Slafkes - Parent, Maplewood NJ
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UPDATE: I was on the phone with FedEx today and while on hold several times I was entertained with Christmas music. SHOULD I HAVE BEEN OFFENDED AND DISCONTINUED MY BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH FedEx? (Dripping with sarcasm!)

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Attic Quote of The Day

"Fallujah has been a life-changing event for many of the Marines, fighting in an environment that is just unfathomable to anyone outside. When we saw what the enemy did, what they were capable of doing, we were only more eager to do away with this pure evil. Regardless of how many pockets of resistance are still out there, it will not sway our morale. Nothing can."

~Maj. Rich Bourgeois - 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment

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