Will it play in Peoria? I'll be the judge of that.

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Saturday, February 22, 2003

I thought this cartoon reminded me of something ...

Remora reverts to her mermaid form after an injury during a high school basketball game.

Mermaid Lori Lemaris used a wheelchair when she attended college with Clark Kent. She later started morphing between mermaid and totally human form.I love reading Bill Holbrook's "Save Havens" comic strip. It has lots of fantasy elements, including a mermaid named "Ramora" who attends the same high school as the lead character, teen-age girl Samantha Argus. A recent strip showed the Ramora trapped in mermaid form after suffering an injury on the basketball court. Rather than miss school, she uses a wheelchair and wraps a blanket around her tail. That scene was familiar. It was from Superman comics. Lori Lemaris, a mermaid from Atlantis used the same dodge when she attended Metropolis University with boyfriend Clark Kent. The character of Superman has been rebooted several times, but Lori keeps coming back and this time she also has the power to morph between human and mermaid. Superman must have a thing for mermaids.
Holbrook may very well have had Lori in mind when he created Ramora.

Forget it boys. She's probably wearing boxers under there.

Hey, these
X-Ray specs
really do work!

No, it's not a see-through skirt. It's the new rage in Japan: Skirts with a print of a girl's butt and panties.

I can see the appeal. They have all the advantages of appearing nearly nude without actually showing skin.

It's an ever bigger cheat than the Wonder Bra. Take the skirt off and she's probably wearing granny panties that cover up an acre of cottage cheese and pimples.

My God, those things would cause traffic accidents in the United States.

Indepundit lives

I am still getting hits from the site even though there have been no posts since Dec. 9

Too many white guys running newsrooms

At least that's white ex-Gannett executive Al Neuharth says now that he's rich and retired. He was discussing media issues Thursday in a talk at Rochester Institute of Technology.
"The real key to diversity ... lies in the media newsroom and school classrooms," Neuharth said. "Too many middle-aged white men still make the decisions. And too many of them still don't get it."

Actually, I shouldn't complain too much about Neuharth's comments. If the Peoria Journal Star had more black reporters, it would pay more attention to Peoria's older neighborhoods.

Happy Birthday, Jeri Lynn Ryan

Look at those Borg implants! She could teach me a thing or two ...
The former Borg sex-kitten from "Star Trek: Voyager" and current attorney-turned-teacher in "Boston Public" turned 35 on Saturday, Feb. 22. She shares a birthday with the luscious Drew Barrymore (28), annoying Aussie crocodile wrangler Steve Irwin (41).

Do all championship high school bands do this?

A little Exlax ought to clear that problem right up, Harry ...

I once interviewed the director of the Dunlap High School band about its Illinois state championship and he was late to the interview because his seniors T.P.ed his home and his car. He was amused.

I wasn't in band. I was on the yearbook staff. Oh, I also wrestled. I was undefeated my sophomore year. A whopping 1-0.

Friday, February 21, 2003
It's a good thing little Billy understands the French at such a young age.

An alternative to "cheese-eating surrender monkeys"

Thanks to Dave Log's Cease and Desist Comics, we have the perfect cartoon to describe how most red-blooded Americans feel about the French.

Calvin peeing

Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeing Calvin peeingBruce Rheinstein says I get score a lot of hits by writing "Calvin peeing" a lot of times. I doubt it. I mean, who searches for the phrase "Calvin peeing." I wonder if they are searching for that infamous image of shows Calving peeing on an automotive logo of Osama Bin Laden.

What does Bruce take me for, anyway? A shameless Google-whore? "Calvin peeing," indeed.

This is bound to piss off the French

According to MSNBC:
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 21 -- Chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix sent a letter to Iraq on Friday ordering the destruction of dozens of missiles with ranges that violated U.N. limits, U.N. officials said. Iraq's response to the order to destroy its missiles will test its cooperation as negotiations for possible war enter a crucial stage, with Washington and London preparing a new U.N. resolution that could pave the way to military action.
Iraq will, of course, not comply. If anything it will pretend to comply.The reaction of the France and Germany will be interesting to watch, especially if Iraq refuses to comply.

Peace in Middle Earth in our time

If J.R.R. Tolkein was an idiotarian, the Lord of the Rings would have sounded like this:
MINAS TIRITH (Gondor News Network) - Thousands of peace activists took to the streets of Minas Tirith and other cities of Middle Earth today to protest what they termed a rush to war with Mordor.

"We need more time for diplomacy," said a key member of the Middle-Earth Security Council, Saruman the White. "I am not convinced by the evidence presented by my esteemed colleague, Gandalf the Grey, or that the Dark Lord Sauron presents an imminent danger to the peoples of the West."

(Link courtesy of InstaPundit)

Happy Birthday, Drew

Drew, listen to me. Forget dating rock musicians and gross-out comedians. Move to Peoria and date me. I've loved you since, well ... you reached an appropriate age for me to do so. Once you've had a 40-year-old bald fat man, you'll never forget it.

The luscious Drew will turn 28 on Saturday, Feb. 22 (thanks to Bruce for sending me the pic).

Keeping an eye on the Fat Head from Flint

Just discovered and added to my Blogroll: Moore Watch.

Bill's Content guarantee

Nothing here about "Joe Millionaire," "The Bachelorette," "The Bachelor," "American Idol" or even "Are You Hot." Nada (OK, maybe a dig or two at "Are You Hot"). Can lesser blogs make the same promise? I think not.

"Jesse Jackson's million-dollar mouthpiece"

When the Rev. Jackson intervened in the contract dispute between Chicago WBBM and newsperson Felicia Middlebrooks. Without his help, Middlebrooks would not be at WBBM. Middlebrooks is supposedly under orders to not read stories having anything to do with Jackson, but she still does, including the E2 nightclub fire that took 21 lives (Jackson apparently intervened on behalf of the nightclub owner when the city tried to close it). Don Wade, the morning host on competing WLS, takes issue with Middlebrooks.
"There is no way that you can characterize Felicia Middlebrooks at WBBM as anything other than Jesse Jackson's million-dollar mouthpiece. Jesse Jackson's million-dollar mouthpiece is supposedly telling you the true story about this nightclub disaster and whether there's a Jesse connection. She owes her job -- her million-dollar contract -- to Jesse.

"I believe that in the interest of accuracy, that there should be full disclosure on the part of Miss Middlebrooks every time she reads a story about Jesse Jackson. She should read a disclaimer before the story divulging the fact that she owes her job to Jesse Jackson's strong-arming CBS.

"If I were the management at CBS, I would ask Miss Middlebrooks to take some time off and recuse herself whenever a Jesse Jackson controversy erupts. And considering the frequency with which Jesse Jackson controversies erupt, that could be a long, long time off," Wade said.

Are Wade's comments self-serving, considering his ratings are lower than Middlebrooks'? Yes. But he has a point. Jackson has no business putting political pressure on a station to employee certain people. It's like President Bush telling which anchorman to use on the evening news. And Middlebrooks has no business reporting on her benefactor. A disclaimer isn't enough.

Another nightclub tragedy

At last report, 60 people have been reported killed at the night club fire in Rhode Island. Witnesses say a pyrotechnic display by the band Great White caused the fire, and that one band member is among the missing.
Shouldn't the existence of fire codes have prevented the blaze, just as similar building codes should have prevented the 21 trampling deaths at a Chicago nightclub?
Remember folks: Laws do not prevent bad things from happening. They simply provide for a method of punishing people who break them.

"French military victories"

Like everyone I have seen and been amused by an image floating around the Web perporting to be a captured Google search page for the phrase "french military vistories" that reports no matches and suggests a serch for "french military defeats." I cannot let my understandable revulsion for cheese-eating surrender monkeys deter my from my duty to report that this image is a fake to the tune of 91 hits.


The former employer has taken down its long-abandoned Web site. This act makes most of the links on my clips page useless. I'm going to have to go through the saved copies of my articles and post them myself. I wonder how may potential freelance writing customers I lost because of this. I also wonder what kind of chickensh*t organization doesn't have Web site. Hell, its worse that that ... they had a Web site, then let it die because they didn't want to spend one extra man hour of work updating the samn thing once a week. I offered to convert the site Web log, but my boss wouldn't hear of it. I couldn't possibly know what I was doing. After all, I was stupid enough to work for them, how could I possibly know anything about the Web.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Man of Steel; Woman of Kleenex

Larry Niven's classic primer on Human/Kryptonian reproduction. The only flaw I can see in Niven's essay is that he neglected to consider the existence of the Bottle City of Kandor, where the artificial Red Sun radiation would solve the numerous problems that arise when super-powered sperm are, ah, released.

(Link courtesy of Geek Press)

Sleazy journalism in Houston

The Houston Press writes about the Houston Chronicle's agonizing over whether to name a DUI suspect who happened to be an attorney. Simple answer is that you treat the guy the exact same way you treat an unemployed laborer or a college senior. If it is your newspaper's policy to print the names of people who are arrested, print the name. If your paper waits until charges are filed, then you wait till charges are filed.

My policy has always been to print the name of everybody arrested for felonies or serious misdemeanors (which includes DUI, but not speeding). The trick is sticking to the policy, even when tempted to violate it. That way you have a leg to stand upon when the mayor's son gets nipped for DUI. Your paper can't be accused of sensationalism when you publish the name. Strict compliance also forces you to resist the temptation to keep valued sources and friends and family out of the paper when they get busted.

Incredibly, the Houston Chronicle has no firm policy:

The Chronicle, however, flinched at printing the name. On February 17 editor Jeff Cohen said the paper's policy is to make "a judgment call" on whether to print a name. City Councilman Bert Keller's name, for instance, was printed before DWI charges were filed against him in 2000.

In the current case, Cohen said, "An editor took a conservative approach and decided to hold the name of the arrested person."

In other words, the Chronicle picks and chooses who gets mentioned in the police report, not according to what they did who who they are.

This is a sleazy, contemptible practice. Good reporters have quit over this sort of thing.
(link courtesy Romenesko's)

Chirac gets spanked

The BBC has collected comments from nations the chief cheese-eating surrender monkey threatened the other day.

Cheese-eating surrender monkeys, Part V

Question: How many Frenchmen does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: I give up.

Question: How does the French Army defend Paris?
Answer: No one knows. It's never been tried.

Unethical journalists, continued

Howard Altman of the Philadelphia CityPaper entertains his readers with his first-person account of his participation in an anti-war rally. Normally, journalists -- even those working for so-called non-objective "alternative" publications -- should refrain from becoming participants.

There is a reason journalism students take ethics courses. It is the same reason newspapers and broadcasters draft ethics policies and newspaper organizations hold seminars on the subject. Ethics are hard. If letting emotions rule your behavior, there would be no reason for ethics courses, seminars and policies.

But these are no ordinary times.

The man in the White House, who does not even have a mandate from his own people, is hell-bent on waging war on Iraq regardless of a lack of international support -- the likes of Latvia and Denmark notwithstanding.

Do us a favor, Mr. Altman -- spare us your rationalizations and bad advice.

It's easy to maintain objectivity about most of the routine subjects newspapers cover: school board meetings, cops and courts, the weather. It is during the coverage of the tough issues -- and wars certainly quality -- that readers need us to maintain our objectivity. They need to believe that the facts we are telling them are facts, not propaganda. Participating in that peace rally weakened your publication's credibility. Even writers of opinion need to maintain their independence from the groups that share an ideology.

Nixon wasn't forced to resign because Woodward and Bernstein (and the other reporters who covered Watergate) carried signs and chanted slogans. They instead treated Nixon to the death of a thousands cuts by digging up fact after fact. Nixon and his goons moaned and groaned about the liberal media, but by maintaining their standards for objective reporting it became impossible for Nixon to hide.
(Link courtesy Romenesko's)

Johnny Paycheck cashes out:

The sh*t-kicking, working class ex-con's greatest hit was "Take This Job and Shove It," which was made into a movie of all things, has died after suffering a series of illnesses. He was 64.

Cheese-eating surrender monkeys, Part IV

Paul Chirac, leader of the surrender monkeys, apparently ticked off a whole bunch of European nations when he went on his little rant against supporters of war against Iraq. He even threatened to block Eureopean Union membership to former Communist Block nations who support the fight to liberate Iraq. Tony Blair, the gutsy leader of our best ally, is taking advantage
Analysts say Chirac's words were miscalculated and had the perverse effect of uniting East European countries against France.

"There's definitely a feeling in Europe that Chirac disastrously shot himself in the foot with his outburst," said Steven Everts of the Center for European Reform in London. "France was on a roll and Britain was on the defensive. But Chirac threw it all away."

Chirac's comments were not a slip of the tongue, some diplomats said, but part of a concerted campaign by France to weaken ties between East European countries and the United States -- and by extension Britain.

(link courtesy of Glenn Reynolds' InstaPundit)

Quote for today:

"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

John Stuart Mill

Shut the Hell up, all of you:

The Stranger's Neal Pollack wants everyone to shut the Hell up about the war. Everyone includes Andrew Sullivan, those annoying anti-war poets, shrill cartoonist Ted Rall, fake libertarian Bill Maher and even the editor of the Stranger:
Meanwhile, in turncoat land, Dan Savage, generally liberal sex-advice columnist and medium-market weekly newspaper editor, writes pieces in favor of the war so persuasive that Rush Limbaugh reads them on the air. Hooray, Dan! You support the president! Now shut up and go test-drive that three-pronged dildo for your next column. I wouldn't read a sex-advice column by, say, E. J. Dionne, and I don't want to read a political article by you.

This is the funniest writing I have read on this.

Lucky 13

Thirteen posts on one friggin' day (Wednesday). I gotta learn to space these things out.

Politics costs lives:

Black leaders share some of the blame for the night club deaths in Chicago
The Rev. Jesse Jackson called Epitome "one of the few fine dining establishments in Chicago owned and operated by African Americans" in a letter of support to a city alderman. Jackson rushed to the scene within a few hours of Monday's tragedy, offering condolences to victims while simultaneously defending owner Dwain J. Kyles, a longtime friend.

But at least one of the business' supporters said he is having second thoughts.

Rev. Bamani Obadele said he and several other black, community activists led the campaign to keep the nightspot open last year, arguing that it was an important, black-owned business. At the time, Obadele complained the city wanted to close the establishment because of crimes occurring outside the club.

"If they had closed this place down last year, would 21 people still be alive? That's what I'm dealing with now," Obadele said earlier this week.

According to public records, Kyles is president and owner of Le Mirage Studio Ltd. which owns both E2 and Epitome. Kyles' father, the Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles, was a nationally known Memphis pastor and close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was at King's side during the last hours of his life, as well as a founding board member of Operation PUSH and longtime friend of Jackson.

Most of the players in this tragedy are black -- the victims, the owners and the political creatures who did favors for the owners. This is not a racial issue. White politicians do the same for their friends in every city in America. Conservatives should not -- but probably will -- use this case to score points against Jackson and other black politicians.
There are those who would hold this tragedy up as an example of why we need strict zoning, building and fire codes. Libertarians point out that there already were plenty of laws, rules and regulations already on the books. None of them helped. The rich, powerful and influential managed to flaunt the rules, just as they always managed to do.
There are those who believe that overwhelming number of rules lessens the public's respect for those regs that we need to ensure public buildings are safe. For every rules that really helps prevent these kinds of events, there is another that serves no purpose except to let the government push people around.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Sharpton on Leno: The review

Let's see, what were the topics the Rev. Al Sharpton discussed on Jay Leno on Wednesday night? He discussed why he became a preacher, complained about Leno's jokes about Sharpton's "hunger fast" and mentioned his friendship with singer James Brown.

Leno insisted on quizzing Sharpton about his friendship with Michael Jackson. It is the most important issue of the day, after all.

Sharpton said there's been a lot of "overkill" and I can't disagree with that. But Leno accused Sharpton of being Clinton-like and dodging the issue.

"Well, they litigated it," Sharpton said. Leno pressed. "There's something shaky" about the child abuse accusations against Jackson, Sharpton said in a moment of almost pure irony. Remember, Sharpton was successfully sued by cops and prosecutors Sharpton said raped Tawana Brawley, accusations that have been completely discredited because of the utter lack of evidence any rape ever took place. Sharpton has never recanted these accusations.

The Reverend spoke against violent and sexist rap and hip-hop music. No politician has ever done that before. I'm sure this brave stance will earn him an endorsement from the Moral Majority.

Sharpton ended his appearance by blasting Bush for not caring about the middle class and for his "suspicious" failure to mention Osama Bin Laden during his State of the Union speech. Well, up until last week, we were all hoping Osama was worm food in some cave somewhere.

What should we do about Bin Laden, Leno asked? "We should get him," Sharpton said. Wow. That's deep. "Hmm. I ever thought of that solution," Bush thinks to himself. "I'll just push that button that automatically 'gets' anyone on Earth, despite the best efforts of that person to hide halfway across the globe with the help of an international network of terrorists." I am always amazed by the vast, monolithic power the left attributes to the United States government. If there is something bad happening -- poverty, AIDS genocide -- it must be because the United States chooses to allow it to happen.

Leno promised to try to set up a debate between Bush and Sharpton. It will never happen, nor should it. Bush is the President of the United States and leader of the free world. Sharpton is a race hustler who is treated with more respect than he has earned. Bush will no doubt debate the Democratic nominee. That person will not be Sharpton.

Leno always lets his guests plug their movies and television shows. Why not show an out take from Sharpton's video -- you know, the one that showed the Reverend making a drug deal with an undercover FBI agent. Sharpton escaped prosecution by turning FBI snitch.

I also would have asked Sharpton what he thinks of Carol Moseley-Braun for entering the race, this splitting the black vote.

Ladies and gentlemen, the worst newspaper publisher in America

The honor goes to Ryan E. Philips, publisher of the Montgomery County Journal. Mass firings during a union drive and an editorial deriding a politician's "man-bosoms."
Although Ryan Phillips served briefly as publisher and president in the early years, politics was his real aspiration. He ran unsuccessfully in the GOP primary for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1996.

His nascent political career ended in 1998, when two college women complained to Richmond police that Phillips had stood on a chair at the window of his downtown hotel room and exposed himself. He was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. When Phillips was sentenced to 40 days of community service and fined $250, his attorney told the judge that his client was being treated for exhibitionism.

By 2001, he was back in charge at the paper. Slight, blond and younger looking than his 34 years, Phillips is not the typical button-down newspaper executive. When former news editor Willem Scheltema first saw his new publisher wandering the newsroom in jeans and a polo shirt, "I actually thought he was the pizza guy," he said.

In his office, Phillips kept a portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee -- his hero -- and a little Confederate flag. He lunched at the local Hooters and bragged to Scheltema and others that he kept a gun in his desk drawer.

Former reporters and editors at the paper say that Phillips, who did not graduate from college, was unprepared for the job. "At one point Ryan said: 'Why do we need copy editors? All they do is cut copy that sits around the ads,' " Scheltema said.

NBC's West Wing hates the French, too

I was going to post this tonight, but John Cole's Balloon Juice beat me to it. This is the post, verbatim:
I am watching the West Wing, and in this episode, President Bartlett sent in the military into a fictional African country to stop genocide during a 'civil war.' At any rate, the French denied the Americans airspace, and the last scene had the President shouting into his cellphone to 'tell those fancy hairdressers I am going to shove a loaf of bread up their ass."

Earlier in the show, everyone agreed that the[y] hated the President's daughter's boyfriend, who is French, and spends all his camera time berating the Bartlett.

The French -- Uniting Republicans and Hollywood.

I would add the following comments: The West Wing is the left's fantasy about what the Clinton White House was all about. But, there are differences: Bartlett is a reasonably honorable person, Clinton was a lying sack of crap, which is why there was so much turnover. Bartlett lied about having a serious, albeit under-control, illness. Clinton lied about getting a hummer. This fantasy lets them pretend their cause was more moral than it really was.

Also, I have a problem with what they are doing with Toby Ziegler. In this season alone, Zielger was revealed to be the son of a guy who worked for Murder Inc. Ziegler also fathered an out-of-wedlock baby with his ex-wife, who also serves in Congress. On tonight's episode, Ziegler gets arrested for having a fight in a restaurant.

In the real world, Zielger would have been shown the door.

Despite the show's politics, I like it because it is well-written, which is an incredibly rare thing in this age of reality television. There have been fewer moments of pure sanctimony than last year.

Neil Watch

I read Neil Steinberg so you don't have to. In Neil's latest masterpiece, he writes that penis puppetry has him longing for the days when obscene meant that Lenny Bruce said something naughty.
Remember, Neil is the guy who used an anonymous column in the Chicago Reader to heap scorn onto Bob Greene for the sin of sentimentality. Yet, here is Neil writing about his nostalgia for the days before Playboy was considered dirty. It is to laugh.
If anybody is destined to write about pricks, it's Steinberg.

UPDATE: Back in January, I planned to write an article that questioned why Bob Greene was being sentimental and insufficiently hip and ironic when he wrote about Bill Mauldin and others of his generation, while Steinberg wrote a column about Mauldin after he died. I declined to write it at the time, because it was too close to Mauldin's death and I didn't want to use the event to score points on Steinberg. Enough time has passed: Steinberg, you are a hypocritical prick. This is at least the second time I've caught you writing about the exact same things you criticized Green for writing.

Really up on current events

A local television station just ran a promo for tonight's newscast: "Is it time to prepare for war?" I tell you, nothing gets by these TV news guys.

Overheard on Rush:

Yesterday, I was listening to Rush Limbaugh while waiting to pick up my nephew at school (he's a junior considering a career in the Army. He has discussed trying to secure an appointment at West Point. He will do fine ... as soon as be gets over being a surly 16-year-old). Anyway, Rush was speaking to a young man who, with his friends, infiltrated one of those anti-war rallies.
I'm not a huge fan of Rush -- he's too much of a name-caller for my tastes -- but I laughed loud enough to rattle the windows of my Sunbird when I heard what they put on one of their signs: "Except for ending slavery, fascism and communism, war has never solved anything."
Thankfully, Ricky West found and posted the pics.

Cheese-eating surrender monkeys, Part III

The Gleeful Extremist has compiled a pretty little list of ways patriotic, anti-idiotarian Americans can poke the ungrateful French right in the eye. (Link courtesy Rodger Schultz)

BTW: Rodger has finally abandoned his old Blog*Spot site and has changed the URL for Curmudgeonly & Skeptical to www.terpsboy.com.

Darth Vader: Anti Idiotarian:

Actor and voice of CNN James Earl Jones, speaking to students at UNC Pembroke, said it's time to get the job done in Iraq:
Jones, a former Army officer, drew perhaps the biggest round of applause after the subject turned to America's showdown with Iraq. He said that war is sometimes necessary.

"All people have to be prepared," Jones said. "If we are going to be the police, we also have to be the guardians. We can no longer play games. I was not against the war in Bosnia. I was against it taking so long. I was not against the war in Somalia. Again, it took too long, and we didn't finish the job. We should've stayed and finished the job. About this pending war, I just think we should've finished that war the first time."

(Link courtesy A Small Victory)

New look:

I finally got the new template loaded. I've still got a few bugs to work out. Please comment.

Cheese-eating surrender monkeys, Part II

Ted Wade compares France's reliance on weapons inspectors to the Maginot Line -- neither one really worked.
The Maginot Line did not protect France from Germany. It only forced Germany to invade three other countries to get around it. The Maginot Line of Inspectors has failed to stop Saddam for twelve years, and their current pace requires 300 more years. The only question is which countries will be attacked with Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, while they drive around this new Maginot Line to France. Recent terror alerts suggest Al Qaeda is planning to used WMD. Police throughout the world are on the look out for terrorists using light bulbs and fire extinguishers to spread deadly toxins. It's beginning to look like the Maginot Line has already been breached.

You have to be batty to do government work

All these courthouse employees want is a bat-free work environment. (Link courtesy Romenesko)

Blogger is down: As regular readers can see, I've screwed up my template and need to make some changes. Unfortunately, Blogger I cannot access my templates to make changes, either through Blogger.com or w.Bloggar. So this beautiful new template remains unused. Help.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Real Libertarians support the war: Don't take my word for it. Read Ronald Bailey's essay from libertarian Reason Online.
Think for a moment if the world were not half-free; what if every nation in the world was a prosperous commercial republic? What would international relations look like then? They would look a lot like what is happening Europe today -- growing peaceful integration of economies, increasingly open borders, and shrinking military forces. By expanding the scope of free institutions worldwide, we guarantee our own freedoms at home.
The parlorlibertarians, in opinion, are those who use their membership in the LP and its committment to "no first use fo force" to explain their pacifism and hide from their moral responsibility to protect themselves and their families from the the terrorists and terrorist-supporting nations that want to destroy them. Harry Browne comes to mind.

Cheese-eating surrender monkeys:

Silflay Hraka has the history of French warfare. Historically accurate, yet entertaining.

Monday, February 17, 2003
Update on Blogger/Google deal: MSNBC has posted a Reuters report on the story, so it is officially a big deal now. This report has nothing new, except that it named Ru Paul as a well-known celebrity Blogger. The Reuters reporter must travel in different circles than I do.

Shout out for Blog Out! Sick of problems with YACCS, I decided to switch to HaloScan. But they aren't accepting new signups and Rodger Schultz announced he was switching to Blog Out. I gave it a try and it seems to work fine.

Ombudsgod lays down the smack: The target is a French pacifist.

Sunday, February 16, 2003
Spending bill is a joke: An article in my Sunday morning newspaper reminded of a joke I heard many years ago:
A traveling salesman was driving his car down a rural country road. He looked out his window and saw a farmer lifting a large pig in the air so the pig could eat apples off a tree.
His curiosity piqued, the salesman pulled over and walked over to speak to the farmer.
"Well, it's a long story," the farmer explained, "I was plowing out in the back 40 after a heavy rain. The tractor hit a particularly muddy patch and a tire sunk into the ground. The entire thing tilted and I fell out of the tractor, and I ended up pinned beneath. I yelled and yelled, but no one heard me. I thought I was a goner, until I saw this pig standing there. I told it to go get help. It ran up to the farm house and started squealing and raising a ruckus. My wife and sons came out to see what the fuss was about, and this here special pig brought them out here and they rescued me."
The farmer was impressed. This certainly was a special pig. His curiosity satisfied, the salesman got back in his car and proceeded to his sales meeting. The next day, the salesman was heading back home along the same route. As he passed the farmhouse, he wondered if he would catch a glimpse of the farmer and the special pig.
Sure enough, he did. The farmer was again holding the pig in the air as it ate apples directly from a tree. Only this time, the pig was missing a leg, and sported a bandaged stump!
Concerned, the salesman screeched to a stop and ran over to the farmer to ask what happened.
"Oh, that's an easy question," the farmer said. "You can't eat a special pig like this all at once."

The article in question was about how conservative groups are upset with the Republican controlled Congress. It seems the last time the GOP controlled Congress in 1995, they proposed massive cuts in the Federal government, including eliminating the departments of Education, Commerce and Energy, but were driven back by President Clinton.
But, with Congress and the presidency under control of Republicans, the $397.4 billion spending bill now awaiting Bush's signature is missing such massive cuts. While Democrats complained about "shortchanging" schools, land conservation and border security, three of four House Democrats voted for it, as did three of five Senate Dems.
"Republicans are beginning to look like Democrats," complained Keith Ashdown, spokesman for the conservative Taxpayers for Common Sense. "The cadre of fiscally responsible lawmakers is getting smaller every day."
Ashdown guy doesn't get it. There has never been a surplus of responsible lawmakers. It's easy to vote against massive spending items when you know damn well the spending bill going to pass anyway. You get to be a hero to conservative groups like Taxpayers for Common Sense, but still get the pork you need in your own district because you made a deal to make sure other guys got the pork they need for their districts.Besides, the up- or-down voting on the final bill is not where the action is. Spending bills are decided in committee, where no one really keeps track of the voting. Don't believe me? Call your congressman's office to find out how he voted on that part of the spending bill that passed through his committee. Let me know how it goes.
There are no excuses for the GOP now that Congress and the White House are in GOP hands. Conservative activists are going to get a rude awakening when they find out that the folks they've backed for years don't really want to eliminate whole departments because they are just as invested in big government as the Democrats are.
That's a lesson libertarians have been teaching for a long time.
Everyone complains that special interests are like pigs at the trough. But they are all special pigs and you can't eat them all at once.

Turkey playing hardball: According to an exclusive Newsweek report, Turkey wants to send troops to Iraq, specifically Northern Iraq. It seems the mostly Muslim nation wants to use these troops to keep Kurds from fleeing into Turkey after the war breaks out. You know what, I don't blame them. As a sovereign nation Turkey has every damn right to use force to maintain its borders, even if it means sending its troops across its border with an aggressor nation (that nation would be Iraq, for those of you have had your heads up your bums the past year). Maybe if we are real nice to Turkey, they will do us a favor and invade France. A couple of platoons ought to do the job.
Turkey originally wanted to post troops about a dozen miles into Iraq.
BUT NOW, NEWSWEEK has learned, Turkey is demanding that it send 60,000 to 80,000 of its own troops into northern Iraq to establish "strategic positions" across a "security arc" as much as 140 to 170 miles deep in Iraq. That would take Turkish troops almost halfway to Baghdad. These troops would not be under U.S. command, according to Turkish sources, who say Turkey has agreed only to "coordination" between U.S. and Turkish forces. Ankara fears the Iraqi Kurds might use Saddam's fall to declare independence. Kurdish leaders have not yet been told of this new plan, according to Kurdish spokesmen in Washington, who say the Kurds rejected even the earlier notion of a narrow buffer zone. Farhad Barzani, the U.S. representative of the main Kurdish party in Iraq, the KDP, says, "We have told them: American troops will come as liberators. But Turkish troops will be seen as invaders."
While Turkey enjoys a warm spot in my heart (NATO's original refusal to assist in Turkey's defence made them an underdog in my eyes). But fighting in Iraq outside of American authority makes me nervous. We need the Kurds on our side because it is in our interests to build a nation over there. A freelance Turkish invasion puts that at risk.
"Turkey is playing hardball," said Michael Amitay of the Washington Kurdish Institute. "But if the U.S. agrees to these Turkish deployments, there is a real risk that the Kurds will start a guerrilla war against the Turkish troops."

I just don't know how the U.S. can say "no" to a nation whose help we need so much. Perhaps Turkey is just angling for a bigger aid package.
Still I admire Turkey's balls. Our great allies France and Germany are doing everything in their power to not only stay out of the fight, but also to actually provide aid and comfort to Iraq. Turkey, a Muslim nation whose leaders are at great risk of assassination from militant contrymen, seems itching to get in the fight.

Pyra and Blogger about to go Big Time: Google has purchased Pyra Labs, owner and creator of Blogger.com. Once Blogger starts using Google's massive servers, expect fewer problems with BlogSpot. Nick Denton asks some questions.

Bad timing: I finally decide to switch to HaloScan from Yaccs, and HaloScan has stopped taking new subscriptions due to server problems.

First things first: "SF war protest postponed to make room for Chinese New Year parade." The fireworks undoubtedly would have made the protestors pee their pants.

Don't do us any favors, NATO: The agency dedicated to the mutual defence of its members has reluctantly agreed to mutually defend one of its members.
France, the sole member of NATO that is not on the Defense Planning Committee, continued to oppose the idea.

Glenn Reynolds on genocide: The creator of InstaPundit, on his MSNBC-linked Weblog, explains why the United Nations failed to prevent genocide in Rwanda and Uganda.
That's no surprise, of course. The United Nations -- despite all the 'never again' talk after World War II -- is not an international body aimed at promoting justice or human rights. (If it were, perhaps its delegates would be elected.) It is, instead, a world leaders' club in which corrupt thugocracies wield just as much influence as legitimate states. (Libya now chairs the Human Rights committee, after all, and Iraq is slated to take over the Committee on Disarmament. What, North Korea wasn't available?) And the United Nations bureaucracy doesn't want to rock the boat.

Yet, many Americans insist that we need the approval of this gang of thugs and appeasers before we take action to guarantee the safety of the United States.

Unarmed Illinoisans: buy a gun now: According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the gun confiscation crowd likes its odds this legislative session.
Eight mayoral proposals will be introduced in Springfield this year, ranging from one that would ban the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to another that would require gun dealers and manufacturers to keep a record of shell-casing markings for each gun.
Other measures call for background checks of buyers at gun shows; state licensing of gun dealers; annual state police background checks of people who have Firearm Owners Identification Cards; increasing the waiting period for taking possession of a newly purchased weapon to 10 from three days; and increasing penalties for having secret compartments that can hold guns or drugs in vehicles.
Also possible in Illinois: ballistic fingerprinting.

The world's smallest violin ... Six Hamas members die in car blast.