Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union Commentary

I decided to blog about the State of the Union as I was watching it. Below, you'll see the parts of the speech I thought resonated at the time I heard them. I'll add commentary later, right now I'm going to meet some liberal friends so we can "discuss" all that Bush said.

9:02- Cabinet Members enter. The talking heads on Fox News are talking about how they feel this State of the Union will be more modest than last year, since Bush's Social Security reform went nowhere last year. The theme for this SOTU is apparently "optimistic."

9:05- JUSTICE Sam Alito is looking around the room. He looks a little awed.

9:06- Apparently Newt Gingrich is one of the Fox News talking heads tonight. They're saying things are running about four minutes behind schedule.

9:07- "So much for the era of good feeling in Washington." says a talkin head.

9:08- "Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States!"

[Applause #1]

9:10- Apparently, Cindy Sheehan was invited to sit in the gallery by a democrat from California. She was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor while the President was giving his speech because she was wearing an anti-war shirt, which violated House rules, and then was refused to cooperate when told she couldn't wear it.

9:11- The President has reached the podium. "Members of Congress, I have the high priveledge and the distinct honor of presenting to you the President of the United States."- Speaker Hastert

[Applause #2]

9:12- The President starts by honoring Coretta Scott King, who passed away today.

[Applause #3]

9:13- "There will always be differences and debate, but even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone..."

9:14- "Tonight the State of our Union is Strong, and together we will make it stronger."

[Applause #4]

9:15- 'The only way to secure the peace is by our leadership... so the United States of America will continue to lead.'

[Applause #5]

9:16- "Every step towards freedom in the world makes our country safer, so we will act boldly in freedom's cause."

[Applause # 6]

Apparently today there are 122 democracies in the world. Go world!

9:17- Syria, Burma, North Korea, and Iran get mentions as non-democratic.

[Applause #7]

Radical Islam- the perversion by a few of a noble faith

9:18- "We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it."

[Applause #8]

9:19- If we leave them alone, the terrorists won't leave us alone, they'll just bring their attacks to our shores. We would show that we no longer believe in our own ideals. "We will never surrender to evil."

[Applause #9]

9:20- He's reminding everyone that we are the ones who liberated Europe. It might be nice if Europe could remember that every once in awhile.

9:21- We're helping Iragi's build a cohesive government, and striking terrorist forces while training Iraqi forces.

[Applause #10]

9:22- In three years Iraq has gone from a dictatorship to national elections.

[Applause #11]

9:23- "The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home...but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington DC."

[Applause #12]

9:24- "There is a difference between responsible criticism... and defeatism... second guessing is not a strategy."

[Applause #13]

John Kerry looks displeased. I can't imagine why.

9:25- We must "...stand behind the American military in this vital mission."

[Applause #14]

9:26- A soldier who died last month left a note that said: "It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the knowledge that you would never have to."

The soldier's family is sitting behind the first lady.

[Applause #15- really long applause for the family and the soldier]

9:27- "As we honor our brave troops, let us never forget the sacrifices of America's military families."

[Applause #16]

9:28- "Ultimately the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their policy terror and fear...elections are vital, but they're only the beginning."

9:29- Leaders of Hamas need to reject terrorism and work for lasting peace.

[Applause #17]

9:30- Democracies in the middle east will not look like our own... but liberty is the future... because it is the right and hope of all humanity."

[Applause #18]

Boo Iran.

[Applause #19]

They're radical people and we can't let them gain nukes.
[Applause #20]

9:31- Bush is talking to the people of Iran about we hope to one day open ties with a free and democratic Iran. Call for revolution, anyone?

[Applause #21]

9:32- Showing compassion abroad: mentions issues like AIDS, Malaria, girls sold into slavery, poor education, etc. Helping the world helps us.

9:33- "The enemy has not lost the desire or the capability to attack us." Expresses thanks to law enforcement and counter-terrorism officials.

[Applause #22]

9:34- Support those people by giving them tools they need. Renew the Patriot Act.

[Applause #23- and I think I just saw a Democrat stand and clap to support that. Couldn't tell who.]

Talks about his authority to use wiretapping for calls to and from terrorists from people in the US. "We will not sit back and wait to be hit again."

[Applause #24]

9:36- "The only alternative to American leadership is a dramatically [more dangerous world- can remember the exact wording]"

"Together let us... lead this world towards freedom."

[Applause #25]

9:37- "Our economy is healthy and vigorous... 4.6 million new jobs- more than Japan and the EU combined."

[Applause #26]

9:38- "We hear claims that immigrants are bad for this economy even though this economy could not function without them."

[Applause #27]

9:39- "Our economy grows when our people have more of their own money to spend."

9:40- "More than four years of uniterrupted economic growth."

[Applause #28]

"Make the tax cuts permanent."

[Applause #29- there's some chant going on, but I can't understand it.]

9:41- "...stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009."

[Applause #30]

"I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform."

[Applause #31]

Something about a line-item veto, I missed it.

[Applause #32]

Start of baby boom retirees, "including two of my dad's favorite people: me and President Clinton."

[Applause #

9:43- "Congress did not act last year to save Social Security.

[Applause #34- from the Dems. I swear I saw Hillary giggling]

9:44- "The problem is not going away... we need to put aside partisan politics and get this problem solved."

[Applause #35]

"With open markets and a level playing field no one can out produce or out compete the American worker."

[Applause #36]

9:45- "Our nation needs orderly and controlled borders."

[Applause #37]

More about immigration.

[Applause #38]

9:46- We need a humane guest worker program.

[Applause #39]

We need affordable health care

[Applause #40- from everyone]

We will strengthen health savings accounts, etc.

[Applause #41]

We will do more to make this coverage portable.

[Applause #42]

We need medical liability reform so doctors aren't driven out of business.

[Applause #43]

9:48- "America is addicted to oil." Announces the Advanced Energy initiative, the key to solving our problem is technology.

[Applause #44]

9:49- More research on hybrid and hydrogen cars, and producing ethanol from stuff other than corn, hope to make it competitive within six years.

[Applause #45]

"Replace more than 75% of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.

[Applause #46]

9:50- "We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity." Announces the American Competitiveness initiative, to give kids a firm grounding in, among other things, math and science.

[Applause #47]

9:51- Funding for nanotechnology, supercomputing, etc. Make permanent tax credit for R&D.

[Applause #48]

9:52- Kids need to take more math and science courses, and more rigorous courses. Wants to train 70,000 high school teachers to teach math and science Advanced Placement classes.

[Applause #49]

9:53- "Our greatness is not measured by power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another." Violent crime dropped, drug use down, fewer abortions now than in any point in the last 3 decades, and teen pregnancy is falling for the 12th year in a row. "A revolution in conscience."

[Applause #50]

9:54- "Everyone here tonight, Democrat and Republican, has a right to be proud of this record."

[Applause #51]

9:55- People are discouraged by unethical conduct, activist judges, natural disasters, etc. "We have proven the pessimists wrong before, and we will do it again."

[Applause #52]

9:56- "The Supreme Court now has two superb new members on its bench."

[Applause #53]

Judges should be servants of the law.

[Applause #54]

"The United States is greatful to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor"

[Applause #55]

9:57- Urges legislation to ban use of human embryos or clones for medical research. "Human life... should never be put up for sale."

[Applause #56]

9:58- The American people expect officials to uphold public trust.

[Applause #57]

We must never betray that trust.

[Applause #58]

9:59- Laura Bush is leading an initiative to have adults become involved in the lives of at-risk children.

[Applause #59]

New programs to encourage kids to stay in school.

10:00- $85 billion so far to rebuild the gulf coast. "We must also address deeper challenges that existed before the storm."

[Applause #60]

"I ask Congress... to provide new funding to states to end the waiting list for AIDS medicine in America."

[Applause #61]

10:01- Work with communities to find, treat, and prevent AIDS.

[Applause #62]

10:02- "Every great movement of history comes at a moment of great choosing." "We must decide: will we turn back, or finish well?"

10:03- The closing: "Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom's advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward - optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of victories to come. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America."

[Applause #63]

Whoa... the Democrats talk about Bush's smirk, but what the heck is up with Tim Kaine? His left eyebrow keeps quirking up, and it's kinda creeping me out.

Well, it's better than last year's response. BOTH of Nancy Pelosi's eyebrows creeped me out.

Kaine's going on about NCLB. I don't really approve of it (well intentioned, but overall a mistake) but still, he's kinda in a glass house since Ted Kennedy helped write it.

Kaine's response is well written, even if I don't agree with anything he's saying. But he kinda sounds patronising- like he's speaking to children.

Ack. I can't stand Kaine, but it's not like his Republican opponent was much better. Kilgore ran a pathetic campaign. My thirteen year old brother could have managed it better.

Wahwahwah the evil Republicans hate the people they just want to help their buddies in the oil industry make money.

Yeah, that's why Bush wants us to develop alternative energy sources.

I must say, the fire in the fireplace in the background was a nice touch. Makes the message seem all homey-like.

Newt Gingrich says Kaine's response was about as good as the Democratic response could have been.

Checking In

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last couple days. My spring semester has started, and it looks like my courseload is going to be brutal. So far some assignments I know I'll have to complete this semester include a ten page policy paper for my American Public Policy class, a ten page SINGLE SPACED (single spaced, are you kidding me?) paper for my Science v. Religion class, five two page single spaced essays for Spanish, and half a dozen briefs a week on Supreme court cases for my Constitutional Law Class.

And I haven't even started my Honors Leadership Seminar yet, so God knows what I'll have to do for that...

And that's just my course work. I'm working with SPIN@UMBC (Student Political Involvement Network) to get a bill about tuition at public colleges passed in Annapolis. I also have to try and raise money for the college republicans. And if all that isn't enough, I have people from four different political campaigns knocking on my door to get me to help them out.

And since the academics and political activities above are all very important, and carry the potential to get me a job one day, my blog is probably gonna get the short end of the stick as far as attention goes. I'll still post when I can, hopefully a couple times a week, but don't expect daily updates and commentary on every single political crises of the day. I will be posting my reaction to the State of the Union either tonight or tomorrow, though.

Anyway, I think that's about it for now.

Except, one more thing I feel the need to say.

Booyah!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Still Not Long Enough

Previously, I mentioned the Judge in Vermont who gave a convicted child molester a 60-day prison sentence because he "no longer believed in punishment." Yesterday, the Judge altered his ruling.

BURLINGTON, Vt. - A judge who was widely vilified for giving a child molester a 60-day jail term imposed a new sentence Thursday, increasing the man’s prison time to three to 10 years.

Judge Edward Cashman said he felt he could now impose the longer sentence because the state had agreed to provide treatment to the man while he is behind bars. The state had initially said such treatment would not come until after the man served his time.

Mark Hulett, 34, pleaded guilty last year to charges that he had sexual contact with a girl during a four-year period beginning when she was 6...

...[Governor] Douglas said he considered the new sentence to still be too lenient considering the crime.

“It’s 18 times 60 days, so it’s certainly an improvement,” the governor said. “Personally, I think it’s inadequate for a crime of that magnitude, but it is certainly better than the first decision.”

Attorney General William Sorrell had also hoped for longer than three years, but he praised the judge for making the change. “I would have rather seen it be a longer sentence as a message to other would-be offenders, but I think Judge Cashman is big enough to change course,” he said.



While 3-10 years is certainly better than two months, I still don't think it's long enough, considering the heinous crime the defendent was found guilty of. This MSNBC poll shows that 82% of respondents agree.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

This Can't End Well

So much for the idea of peace in the region.

RAMALLAH, West Bank - The Islamic militant Hamas won a landslide victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections, winning 76 seats in the 132-member legislature, election officials said Thursday. The rival Fatah Party, which controlled Palestinian politics for four decades, won 43 seats. Hamas supporters raised their flag over the Palestinian parliament and rushed into the building amid clashes with Fatah loyalists a day after winning parliamentary elections.


It is beyond me how people could vote for a terrorist organization like Hamas. This is from Hamas' Charter: the Martyr's Oath.

"Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious...The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised...

...The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: 'The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him...'
Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every Muslim, male or female. A woman can go out to fight the enemy without her husband's permission, and so does the slave: without his master's permission...


And we're supposed to treat these people like legitimate, rational world leaders?

More Tragedy

As if losing seven children wasn't bad enough, the sadness wasn't over for the Mann family.

LAKE BUTLER, Florida (CNN) -- News of a crash in which seven children perished so upset their grandfather that he had a massive heart attack and died, the children's adoptive mother said.

"I lost my daddy tonight," Barbara Mann said Wednesday. "My dad died of a massive heart attack tonight over all this. He lost all seven of his grandkids ... I can't deal with this."


Please pray for the Mann family.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Seven Killed in School Bus Crash

This is tragic.

LAKE BUTLER, Fla.— Seven children were killed Wednesday and three others were seriously injured in a fiery accident involving a school bus, car and semi truck in rural north Florida, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

All seven children in the car died. They had been adopted by a single family. The car was driven by 15-year-old Nicki Mann, who was accompanied by her siblings Elizabeth Mann, 15, Johnny Mann, 13, Heaven Mann, 3, Ashley Kenn, 13, Miranda Finn, who was either 8-or 9-years-old, and Anthony Lamb, who was almost two years old. Lamb was in the process of being adopted, said FHP Lt. Mike Burroughs said.

Nicki Mann, who was driving illegally, was headed towards the children's home about two miles north of the crash site, Burroughs said.

It was unclear why the children were unaccompanied in the car. Nine students were on the bus, three of whom were ejected out of the bus during the crash, Burroughs said. The extent of their injuries was unclear.

Burroughs said three were seriously injured, while the rest had minor injuries. The operator of two Shands Hospitals said they initially received eight patients, five of whom were children. Two of those children were in fair condition and three in serious condition. Of the remaining three patients, two were treated and released, while the others remained hospitalized in good condition.


My prayers are with that families of the children involved. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose seven children in an instant.

An Open Letter to the President of Iran

Dear President Mahmoud Ahmanutjob,

If you don't mind, could you please stop acting like a complete and total psychopath? I know that might be hard for you, seeings as you're insane and all, but could you at least try?

I mean, it's bad enough that you have absolutely no knowledge of history. But to come out and claim that the holocaust never happened? That's just stupid. Nobody can respect a stupid person, and how do you expect them to believe anything else you say after a comment like that?

Then you go and threaten to wipe Israel off the map, and say that you're going to enrich uranium again. This is where I get confused: are you insane, or do you just have a death wish? The Israelis already have nukes, so unless you want Iran to be turned into a parking lot, maybe you should just shut up for awhile, k?

Anyway, the real reason I want you to shut up and pretend to be rational is that you're starting to freak some people out. And not in the "Ooo... look at the evil scary dictator" sort of way, but more in the "Maybe we should put him in a straightjacket to avoid damage to himself and others" sort of way. Now, normally I wouldn't care so much, because you're thousands of miles away. But you making people nervous makes it so that I have to pay $2.45 a gallon for gas, and that is just wrong.

Now, I know you might be thinking that you don't care about me paying lots of money for gas. After all, I'm a girl, and an infidel, and an American, and a capitalist pig, and all that sort of stuff, right? But you crazy people are always screaming that the war in Iraq was all about the oil. Well gas prices are way higher now than they were then, so unless you wanna see a real war about oil, I suggest you sit down and shut up.

Actually, that isn't entirely true. You would never get to see the war about oil, because we would kill you first.

Just thought you'd want to know.

~RWC

PS~ Honestly, I'm kinda hoping you die soon. Don't take it personally, I just think you're a despicable excuse for a human being. Actually, on second thought, you should take that personally.

Why I Think Michael Moore is an Idiot

So I'm a few days behind on this, but cut me some slack, I've been out of town. I read this letter to Canada from Michael Moore, and just had to share my opinion of the stupidity contained therein.


Oh, Canada -- you're not really going to elect a Conservative majority on Monday, are you? That's a joke, right? I know you have a great sense of humor, and certainly a well-developed sense of irony, but this is no longer funny.


Really? I think it's hilarious. Conservatives now control Canada, so where are Moore and Co. going to threaten to move during election time if their candidate loses?

Far be it from me, as an American, to suggest what you should do. You already have too many Americans telling you what to do. Well, actually, you've got just one American who keeps telling you to roll over and fetch and sit. I hope you don't feel this appeal of mine is too intrusive but I just couldn't sit by, as your friend, and say nothing. Yes, I agree, the Liberals have some 'splainin' to do. And yes, one party in power for more than a decade gets a little... long. But you have a parliamentary system (I'll bet you didn't know that -- see, that's why you need Americans telling you things!).


Yes. Talk to them as if they were a group of retarded five year olds. That's the way to convince them to vote your way.

These are no ordinary times, and as you go to the polls on Monday, you do so while a man running the nation to the south of you is hoping you can lend him a hand by picking Stephen Harper because he's a man who shares his world view. Do you want to help George Bush by turning Canada into his latest conquest? Is that how you want millions of us down here to see you from now on? The next notch in the cowboy belt? C'mon, where's your Canadian pride?


Honestly, the vast majority of Americans really couldn't care less who Canada elects to lead their country. It's doubtful that most people's opinions of Canada is really going to change much regardless of who is in charge.

Eh?

I'm Back

I'm finally back from my visit with relatives in The Middle of Nowhere. Now, I don't have any medical evidence for this, but in the last four days I have formed the hypothesis that being in the presence of old people for an extended length of time, coupled with being located in Booniesville, Nowhere has something of a sedative effect. I think I took more naps in the last four days than I did all last semester (which is actually saying something).

I mean, don't get me wrong, I do enjoy visiting with my family, so long as they don't talk about politics (that side is ALL liberal). Talking with them about anything-but-politics is always enjoyable, but we can't talk all day long, and they aren't up for anything much more active. Which leads to lots of daytime television. Which leads to lots of naps.

Anyway, it's pretty late, so I'm going to do a quick roundup of some of the stories that have come up in the last few days. A bit hat tip goes to Right Wing News, which is where I'm pulling several of these links from. Others will come from a quick perusal of news sites.

Conservatives win Canada! There may be hope for out northern neighbors after all...

More on Canada- New Leader wants to mend ties with the US

President Bush: "It's amazing to me that people say, well he's just breaking the law. If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?"

Michael Moore Opens His Mouth and Crap Comes Out (Again)

I will definitely be commenting more about this one tomorrow.
Pics of Abramoff With Bush Prove Nothing


Just because Abramoff had a couple grip-and-grins with the President doesn't mean they're old buddies. I have a signed picture of myself with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, but that doesn't mean he knows me, or that he should be connected with anything I might do wrong.

Palestinian election still too close to call (could Hamas win control?)

Majority of Senators Support Alito


I think this will wind up very close to a party line vote. I think deep down the Democrats don't want to filibuster someone who is so qualified, and who was very open during the hearings. At the same time, they can't afford to vote to confirm him, and then getting hit with the backlash from their base if he ends up being a vote against Roe. It seems to me like we'll hear lots of moaning and dire predictions, but when push comes to shove the Democrats will not fight an up or down vote.

CDC Chief: Bird Flu "Not Media Hype"


That's all for now. I'll go over some of these in more detail tomorrow.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I Hate to Say it, but...

...I'm going to be gone for a couple days. I'm visiting relatives in Virginia for a few days, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to get online to post. I'll try, but no guarantees.

I should be back by Tuesday night, though, so expect something then.

From the Speaker

Just a quick post this morning, then I'm off to Annapolis for the day.

This is from the latest post on Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert's blog.

Hello everyone. I hope all my friends out in blogosphere had a safe and happy holiday. It was good to have some time with my family, but now we’re back to business and getting ready for this second half of the legislative session.


I still have to giggle a little when 'Denny' uses the word "blogosphere." It's not something that many old people say.

I’ve been reading the headlines and watching everything going on, and I’m concerned. I used to teach government classes to high school students and I know that confidence in the integrity of our government is essential to our democratic system. So it makes me both angry and sad when a Member of Congress or former staffers betray that trust. Painful as it is, I’m glad that the judicial process is bringing people to justice. I said in my press conference this week what I deeply believe: It’s not acceptable for anyone to break the rules of the House or to break the law. And if anyone has done this, we need to hold them accountable.



Yes, if they're guilty, punish them to the fullest extent of the law.

I’ve asked David Dreier, the Chairman of the House Rules Committee, to lead the lobbying reform effort in the House. He has been reaching out to Senator McCain and other reform leaders that have been working on this issue. I was encouraged when Senator McCain responded favorably to the thoughts I expressed in my press conference on Tuesday. Senator McCain seemed hopeful, as am I, that we can finally get something enacted into law.


Damnit, 'Denny', you're a blogger now. We don't like McCain. His stupid collaboration with Feingold tries to tell us what to do, strictly limits speech on the internet 60 days before an election, and strongly favors the old school media that doesn't play nicely with conservatives (or tell the truth, for that matter). We certainly don't want McCain anywhere near lobbying reform. Get Shadegg to do it... it'd be a nice way to break im in as Majority Leader (hint, hint).

Gotta go, more later.

Update: Ok, I'm back now. Here is more from Speaker Hastert's blog post, focused on his goals for lobbying reform. They sound pretty good, though I would still prefer McCain not be in charge of it.

As Speaker I believe I need to do everything I can to help rebuild public trust. So I’ve been working hard on developing a plan for lobbying reform.

I’ve asked David Dreier, the Chairman of the House Rules Committee, to lead the lobbying reform effort in the House. He has been reaching out to Senator McCain and other reform leaders that have been working on this issue. I was encouraged when Senator McCain responded favorably to the thoughts I expressed in my press conference on Tuesday. Senator McCain seemed hopeful, as am I, that we can finally get something enacted into law.

Chairman Dreier has also been reaching out to our Democratic colleagues because this is one issue where we need to come together. I was discouraged when the Democratic Leader issued a very negative statement following our press conference Tuesday. I guess that’s politics, especially in an election year, but I had hoped for the sake of the institution we could work together. But I felt better afterwards when I saw that she had essentially adopted all of our ideas when she rolled out her plan. So I guess that is progress. I’m going to continue to urge all my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, to do the right thing on this issue. We really need to come together. I know that some feel that some of this reform is overkill and all we need to do is punish those who broke the rules. But I think we need to go further if we want, as an institution, to regain the trust of the American people.

And that starts with changing the rules so that there isn’t any doubt about what’s acceptable and what’s not.

At the press conference Tuesday, David and I talked about the plan we’re introducing when the House returns. I want to share a little of it with all of you.

Let me point out that we plan to start work on this the first day that lawmakers are back – February 1st. And the first thing we’re going to do is end the access that former Members of the House who have become lobbyists have to the floor, the gym and other locations. Even under current rules no former member is supposed to lobby on the House Floor, but I think we need to go a step further and not have them on the floor at all so there isn’t even the appearance of impropriety. I also hope we can very quickly pass legislation to take away the government pension from anyone who is convicted of a felony that is related to the performance of their duties as a Member of Congress.

There are some other reforms that I intend to introduce the first day we are back and hopefully get through hearings, passage in the House and Senate and onto the President’s desk before the end of March. That’s a quick pace for legislative action but I think we need to do it – and I think we can and still have time to get it right.

First, we want to ban privately sponsored travel. I know some fact-finding trips, giving speeches to organizations and participating in conferences outside of Washington is important, but the fact of the matter is private travel has been abused by some. Now, we just need to put an end to it.

The second thing we want to do is tighten the gift rules. Like I said at the press conference, Congressmen should still be able to accept a ball cap or a t-shirt from the proud students at a middle school in their districts. But they don’t need lunch or dinner on a lobbyist’s dime.

We also want to increase the reporting requirements for lobbyists. Most of them do a good job, representing legitimate interests -- interests many of you may be a part of, whether unions or industries or environmental groups. As I used to teach my High School students, the Constitution protects the rights of all Americans to petition their government whether through a letter or an email or through the representation of someone they have hired to represent their group. But the system is more accountable when all this lobbying is done in the bright light of disclosure.

We also need to reform what are called “earmarks.” This is where Representatives or Senators tell the bureaucracy that certain funds should go to specific projects. In many instances I think your elected representatives know more than the Washington bureaucracy about what the priorities in their district or state should be. And unlike the bureaucracy they are accountable for what they have earmarked at election time. But I am interested in the ideas that some of my colleagues are putting forward to make sure that this is a much more open and transparent process where those who suggest an earmark are accountable to the public for the merit of the projects being funded.

And we want to tackle the issue of the 527 groups. A lot of these groups came out last year. They basically raise tons of money from anonymous donors and then use it to run distorted campaign ads. We saw a lot of them in the weeks before the hearings for Judge Alito, and we saw a lot of them crop up in the last election. In my opinion they have made our election more nasty and personal and less about issues. And the 527 groups are not accountable because they use a loophole to keep us from knowing who is donating the unlimited and unregulated money to put on these ads. Well, I for one intend to work very hard with John McCain and others to reform the way these 527 groups are run

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Yeah, I'm Easily Amused

Well this is more addicting than it has a right to be.

I blame FrankJ. from IMAO for getting me hooked on this. He's the one that linked to it in the first place.

Top Ten Ways the US Congress Could Be Run More Like a Plantation

As I've previously mentioned, Senator Hillary Clinton demonstrated an impressive case of foot-in-mouth disease when she said "“When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation and you know what I'm talking about...."

Now, anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together can tell that that was an ignorant think to say, especially in an African-American church on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. But, since Hillary said it, I'll play along.

TOP TEN WAYS THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS COULD BE RUN MORE LIKE A PLANTATION:

10: Democrats have to pass tests on the Constitution to vote.

9: Senator Kennedy is put in the stocks and given only bread and water (no alcohol, oh the horror) whenever he uses the word "coathanger."

8: Senator Arlen Spector pulls out a bullwhip whenever the Democrats on the committe spend more that five minutes asking one question.

7: Senator Arlen Spector uses the bullwhip whenever a Democrat says "I" or "me" in a question that is supposed to be about Samuel Alito.

6: Sam Alito responds to Senator Kennedy's bloviations by telling him "stop questioning your betters, you worthless drunken murderous lout. And get me some water, I'm thirsty."

5: When a Democrat threatens a filibuster, they are told "You are not to be seen or heard. Now go pick up my dry cleaning."

4: When Congress isn't in session, Democratic Members can be seen repainting the Capitol, mowing the lawn, and shining Dennis Hastert's shoes.

3: "Uppity" Senators like Hillary Clinton are sold to other 'plantations' to be taught a lesson- like North Korea or Cuba.

2: Democrats only count as 3/5 of a person.

And the number one way the U.S. Congress could be more like a plantation is:

1: Democratic Members of Congress constantly try to escape oppression by fleeing north to Canada. Only in this case, no one cares enough to stop them.

Judge: No Prison Time for 'gay' Rapist Teacher

This is outrageous.

A former high school teacher who pleaded guilty to the homosexual rape of one of his teenage students will avoid jail time.

Gregory Pathiakis, 26, of Brockton, Mass., pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of rape of a child, enticement of a child under 16, five counts of possession of child pornography and one count of distribution of harmful material to a child, according to the Enterprise newspaper of Brockton, Mass.

Pathiakis, who quit his job after school officials questioned his extracurricular contact with students, was arrested in January 2004 after a 15-year-old boy told authorities the Middleboro High School teacher raped him Dec. 23, 2003.

Prosecutors asked Brockton Superior Court Judge Suzanne V. Delvecchio to give Pathiakis four to eight years in state prison, followed by five years probation. But she issued a suspended, 2 1/2-year jail term, followed by five years probation.


This is absolutely disgusting. This guy rapes a kid, and he walks free? Because some bleeding heart judge feels bad for the guy? You know who I feel bad for? The kid- you know, the actual victim in this case.

The boy wrote a statement, read by his father in court, telling the teacher, "I feel you deserve jail. You are a disgrace to all teachers."

The teen said the incident forced him to leave school and activities he loved and be homeschooled.

The boy's mother told the court, "You have destroyed our child and our family."



So we have a man in a position of authority use that advantage to rape a kid, and he gets away with no jail time. And this isn't an isolated case, either. Earlier this month a Vermont judge gave a man who repeatedly raped a little girl for four years a sixty day sentence because he "no longer believed in punishment."

I'm sorry, but no judge should have that much power. They're putting predators back out on the streets, and putting innocent people at risk. Not to mention it increases the likelihood of people taking the law into their own hands. I don't know about you guys, but if someone did that to my little brother and then got away with nothing but a slap on the wrist, I would take care of the matter myself. If the legal system wouldn't punish the person, I would, because you do not mess with my family and get away with it.

After all, with Judges like these, it isn't like I'd have to worry about jail time...

I Had a Hunch Something Like this Would Happen

Like shopping at Wal-Mart? Enjoy the low, affordable prices?

Don't get used to them.

WASHINGTON — AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney said Wednesday the legislation passed last week in Maryland to require employers to spend a percentage of their payrolls on employee health care was the "first crisp punch" in the fight for workers' rights.

Speaking at the National Press Club, Sweeney said the organization is launching similar health care campaigns in more than 30 states. Maryland's law — approved by the General Assembly over Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich's veto objection — is the first in the nation to require large employers, those with at least 10,000 workers, to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on worker health care. Wal-Mart is the only company in Maryland now affected by the law.



Look, America is the best country in the world. We want our workers and their families to be healthy. But this isn't the solution. Wal-Mart isn't just going to shoulder those extra costs, they're going to raise prices. So everyone who shops there- from college kids without a ton of money (like me) to poor families whose lives are made a little easier by Wal-Mart's low prices- will suffer.

There has to be a better way to do this. I'm by no means a health care expert, but it seems like the way health care is managed is flawed. Isn't there a better way? Tax breaks for people who pay for their own insurance? A way to reform the system without punishing big businesses?

Although I suppose there is one good thing to come out of this. If Wal-Mart is being hounded on this bill everywhere, maybe they'll still build the distribution center in Maryland. The area they are considering really needs the jobs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The 51st State?

Apparently, that doesn't refer to Puerto Rico or Canada anymore.

So in my wanderings through the blogosphere, I came across this rather interesting article.

It starts of with some historical background:

There was a time when Israelis would routinely refer to this place as the 51st State. Only half in jest.

It was a long time ago, when Israelis still spoke of America with the same wistful reverence they reserved for talking about heaven, and for many of the same reasons.

America was more concept than destination then, a fictional place free of the realities of Israeli daily life. No death, no taxes, no terrorism, no call-ups orders for military reserve duty to occupy Arabs and face down their suicide bombers.

Fine free public schools. Safe streets. Freedom from bureaucracy, freedom from intrusion, freedom from suspicion as a person of Mediterranean aspect.

This was the time, the decade or so following the Yom Kippur War, in which Ben-Gurion Airport, kept enlarging its Departures area, and decreasing the space allotted to Arrivals. A bad sign.


Then moves on to the fundamental question of the post:

Paranoia aside, for the moment, what if it were true? What if Israel were, in fact, the 51st state?

Would it vote W. or Democrat?

In the question framed by the American obsession of the decade, would the Great State of Israel be red or blue?


Interesting hypothetical question. The artical proceeds to analyze various factors that might influence an election, such as:

We know that it's in the Sun Belt.

According to the 2004 election, all Sun Belt states with the exception of California were Red States, voting solidly Republican, that is, for George W. Bush.

Of course, California is an enormous exception, with a total population of nearly 36 million people, or one out of every eight Americans.

We know that the voters of the 51st State are fickle.
Substitute, for the sake of argument, the Republican Party for the Likud and the Democrats for Labor. Then note that Israelis went Red (Republican) in 1988, Blue in '92, Red in '96, Blue in '99, and Red in '01.


Of course, my personal favorite deciding factor listed:

We know that it has a sizable Jewish vote.


I tried to think of some pithy comeback to this point, but all that's coming to mind at the moment is 'well, no shit.' I am glad they clarified that point though, on the off chance that there were any doubts.

Eventually, the article concludes with:

While Bush has been widely hailed as the most pro-Israel American president ever, opponents of the disengagement would rightly see him as a strong supporter of withdrawal, even if he was also the first president to endorse a future Israeli hold over settlement blocs in the West Bank.

If opinion polls are a measure, Bush could be expected to take 60 percent or more of the Israeli vote, especially because the opponents of disengagement would likely find the Democratic candidate even more unsympathetic to their cause.


I don't know nearly enough about Israeli politics to have an opinion on the matter, but I do like this answer. Does anyone know any reason why this assessment would be incorrect?

Oh, and I also want to share something that was written by "Khalid" in the comments section. It's pretty... "interesting."

Israel, through the extremely powerful American Jewish circles, control almost everything in America from New York to California. They control Congress, they control the media, they control show biz, they even controled Bill Clinton`s sexual desires at one time.

These are facts. It is no secret that one can criticize Israel more easily in Israel itself than it is in New York where the statue of Liberty is located.

In America you lose your job if you risk criticizing Israel.

In short, in America, Jews are feared more than loved. Even Richard Nixon feared them..and even Pat Robertson had to apologize...

The Jews control the agenda setter media..from the New York Times to the New Republic and from Wall Street Journal to Commentary and from the Washington Post to the Washington times.

In short, the Palestinians will not be free from Israel until America is free from Jewish hegemony.


Wow, someone's off his meds. "Jews are more feared than loved"? The only time I fear Jews is when Jake is driving... but that's a different story.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Stupid Argument of the Day

Alright, so first, we need the backstory.

The Express & Echo in Exeter is calling for samurai swords to be banned, after a local man was stabbed to death in the street.

The newspaper wants the government to stop the sale of the swords, with an exemption for licensed groups.

It is not currently illegal to buy a sword, only to carry it in public.

And a day after Sidmouth man Bradley Moran admitted killing 33-year-old Matthew Stiling by stabbing him through the heart with the 18-inch blade of a samurai sword, an Echo reporter discovered how easy it is to buy one unchecked from an Exeter shop.

Journalist David Edbrooke paid £120 for a sword with a 2.5ft sharpened blade, and said it was "as easy as buying a lotto ticket".



And now for the dumbest argument ever to support banning samurai swords.

Marc added: "There will be some who argue that household knives could be as deadly as samurai swords.

"Try telling that to the family of Matthew Stiling.

"When his killer became aggrieved he didn't reach for the kitchen drawer, he armed himself with a weapon worth hundreds of pounds and murdered an innocent young man.



"There will be some who argue..."?? How about, because it's true.

Let's compare, shall we?

One person in the UK was killed in the last year (probably even longer) by a samurai sword. Where a third of all murder victims in the UK are stabbed with other sharp instruments- like knives, screwdrivers, and so on. So no, household knifes aren't "as deadly" as samurai swords, they are "more deadly." Banning the swords entirely because one person was unlucky enough to be killed by one is insane.


And oh, by the way, when I get my black belt, you better believe I'm getting a real samurai sword. And I'm keeping it sharp, too.

This is Ridiculous

SUSAN BELL IN PARIS FAR-right groups in France are distributing ham sandwiches and pork soup to homeless people in an attempt to discriminate against Muslims and Jews, forbidden to eat pork products.

Food hand-outs, which have already taken place in Paris, Nice and Nantes, and in Brussels and Charleroi in Belgium, have now spread to the eastern French city of Strasboug.


At the weekend, Strasbourg's prefect banned the extreme right association Solidarité Alsacienne from distributing its soupe au cochon (pig soup) to poor and homeless people in the city centre.

On Saturday, police intervened to close the soup kitchen after Solidarité Alsacienne defied the ban and began distributing food in one of Strasbourg's main squares.

Chantal Spieler, Solidarité Alsacienne's president, was escorted to police headquarters and given a formal warning before being joined by her husband, Robert Spieler, a former MP for Jean-Marie Le Pen's far-right National Front party.

Mr Spieler denounced "a totalitarian regime" where soon "they'll be banning salami".

He said: "Pork is a European symbol, whether we like it or not. The day when there are laws forbidding the distribution of pork in Alsace I believe there will be a lot of us who will leave France and take refuge in a country where there is still a certain culinary freedom." His wife said she would appeal against the prefect's decision.

"Pork is part of our culinary culture and we are offering the soup to everyone, so there is nothing discriminatory about it," she said.


Now, I hate political correctness as much as the next person, and the different concessions to it- British businesses baning Piglet and hospitals not offering pork in holiday dinners- pissed me off. But intentionally serving only pork products is stupid, it's vindictive, and it's immature. You can still serve pork to highlight your "culinary culture," but at least give those who don't eat it another option. I mean, we're talking homeless people here. Intentionally feeding some and leaving others to go hungry is deplorable. You're supposed to be a charity- start acting like one.

PS~ So this is like, my seventh post in the last three and a half hours. My knee is sore from physical therapy, so I'm stuck with the computer to entertain myself.

Not sure how much longer that will last. I mean, I just wrote about France, so I'm kinda scraping the bottom of the barrel here. I think I'm going to take a break for awhile and go off in search of some Advil and ice...

More Dumb Statements

Why couldn't more Democrats have been like Jake and spent Martin Luther King, Jr. Day actually reflecting and commemorating (who was it again? oh, yeah) Martin Luther King, Jr.? First we had Hillary's "plantation" comment, and now this.

Oh, fudge.

It's not every day in America that a newsmaker gets a colorful nickname associated with him or her. It's even harder for newsmakers to get two catchy monikers.

But New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, heretofore known as "School-bus Nagin" for failing to use his own buses to save people in advance of Hurricane Katrina, has beaten the odds with his tasty yet distasteful description of New Orleans as a "chocolate" city.


Mayor Chocolate Nagin

Thus, I hereby dub him, "Mayor Chocolate Nagin, America's flavorite racist."

In case you missed the dishonorable mayor's comment yesterday – on Martin Luther King Day no less – Nagin, who is black, promised the Crescent City would become "chocolate" once again.

"We ask black people ... It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans – the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans," the mayor said. "And I don't care what people are saying in Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day."


How can he get away with that crap? If Mayor Joe Schmoe from Nowheresville said he wanted his town to be more "vanilla," the press would have a field day. And yet people are willing to let statements like Nagin's go unchallenged?

She Did NOT Just Say that...

(CBS) NEW YORK The Martin Luther King Day celebration at Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network is a rite of passage in an election year. And with so many big races this year, candidates and controversy were the order of the day...

...There were tough questions to politicians who feel they must attend the event as much to pay homage to Sharpton as to celebrate Dr. King's legacy.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, who had launched into an impassioned attack on the Bush administration.

“We have a culture of corruption, we have cronyism we have incompetence I predict to you that this administration will go down on history as one of the worst that has ever governed out country.”

Clinton actually got an easy question. “I need you to tell us what distinguishes Democrats from Republicans right now,” she was asked.

Clinton's answer was provocative.

Said Clinton, “When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation and you know what I'm talking about..." (emphasis mine)


Wow. That was a really stupid statement. So if you didn't already know it, Hillary Clinton is an idiot.

I'm curious to see whether she'll get a pass on that, or if it'll come back to bite her in the ass later on.

Hat tip to RightWingRocker

Sweetness

Good news for Maryland Republicans!

January 13, 2006--Maryland is proving to be another state to watch in an election year many have predicted will see nationwide gains for Democrats.

In November, Rasmussen Reports observed that just two months after Hurricane Katrina and in the midst of welling controversy over Iraq, the GOP was at a political low point. We also duly noted the good news for the party: the election was still a year away. Now, in blue-state Maryland, the Republicans are making progress in the contests for both governor and senator.

The Senate race got interesting as soon as Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes announced his retirement last March. It soon seemed Democrats had the edge. By July, Democratic Congressman Ben Cardin led Lt. Governor Michael Steele by five points in our poll. Steele, however, was seven points ahead of former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume.

By November, Steele was neck-and-neck with Mfume, but Cardin had widened his lead over Steele to 49% to 41%. Yet since that time, the number of voters with an unfavorable opinion of Steele has fallen from 33% to 25% and the Republican candidate has pulled ahead of both Democrats. He now leads Cardin 45% to 40% and Mfume 45% to 38%.



But wait, there's more!

January 13, 2006--The seesaw in Maryland's Senate race is echoed in the race for Governor. As in the Senate campaign, support for Democratic candidates bulged in November during a politically rough time for Republicans nationally, but has now slackened.

Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich—whose fiscal policies are credited by some with pulling the state out of the doldrums—currently leads Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley 47% to 40%.

That's the mirror-image of November, when Ehrlich trailed O'Malley 40% to 46% among likely voters.

The reversal of fortune is even more dramatic in the case of Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan. Neck-and-neck with Ehrlich back in July, by November Duncan led 48% to 39%. Less than two months later, though, Ehrlich leads Duncan 50% to 41% among voters asked to choose between the two.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of respondents view Ehrlich favorably, 44% view O'Malley favorably, and 36% view Duncan favorably. Roughly one-third of the voters have an unfavorable opinion of each candidate.


Now, granted, there is still quite a bit of time before the election, but so far the numbers are encouraging. Also, Ehrlich and Steele have another major advantage- neither has a major primary opponent. They get to sit back and watch as the Democratic candidates tear shreds into one another in the primaries, and spend lots of campaign money doing so. When it comes time for the general election, Ehrlich and Steele will have full campaign chests, while whichever Democrats do win will start from a weaker position.

All in all, it makes a recipe for a very interesting election year. 2006 is going to be fun.

Can I get a "Red State in '08!" ??

Alito Vote Moved to 1/24

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Judge Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court on Jan. 24, officials announced Monday night, and the full Senate will begin debate the following day.

In a written statement, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said he looks forward to a "fair up-or-down vote" swiftly on Alito, President Bush's choice to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Alito, 55, an appeals court judge, is assured of approval in the committee, where all 10 Republicans have indicated their support.

Prospects for confirmation in the full Senate are strong, as well.

Democrats have not yet ruled out mounting a filibuster to delay or prevent a final vote. But that appears increasingly unlikely in the wake of Alito's testimony at confirmation hearings last week, where he parried sharply worded Democratic attacks on his judicial record and personal credibility without a major stumble.



Though part of me would find it quite amusing to see Senate Democrats attempt a flibuster and fail miserably, I think it would be bad for both parties and for the country in general. People are getting sick of partisan bickering, and the more lawmakers show an inability to work together and get along, the more people lose confidence in the government's ability to do it's job.

The Lowdown on my Knee

So I've spent a bunch of the last week dealing with different medical offices trying to figure out what is wrong with my left knee. I injured it in karate two years ago, and it has been bothering me much more than usual lately. I had an MRI yesterday, and sometime today or tomorrow I should get the verdict of what exactly is wrong with it. I really, really, really hope nothing is torn, because then the next few months could really suck.

Also, today I started physical therapy. After half an hour of poking, prodding, and "Does this hurt...how about this...and this?" the PT said that there is "Definitely some inflammation of the medial meniscus." Which, of course, meant absolutely nothing until she explained what the meniscus was (and beyond "this cushion thing in the knee" I still couldn't tell you what it was.) My left leg isn't as flexible as my right, and the muscles are weaker also, becuase muscles can "shut down in response to pain" (which can cause further injury, which can cause more shutting down, and so on.) She ran me through a bunch of exercises to increase strength and flexbility, and then came the fun part.

Electrical stimulation.

It actually wasn't as bad as it sounds. She put an electrode on both sides of my knee, and then surrounded the area with ice packs. The machine used electrical pulses to stimulate the muscles, causing them to work and hopefully get stronger. It didn't hurt, but did feel really weird.

So I have to go back for an hour long PT session two or three times a week for the forseeable future (still have no idea how that's going to work into my schedule.) She also told me that if she had her way, I wouldn't be doing karate right now, but since she knew I wasn't going to go for that, I should make sure to wear the brace to class, and be careful.

Skiing's pretty much a 'hell, no' this year, though, so that sucks.

So that's as much as I know at the moment. I'll post more as soon as I get the results from the MRI.

West Wing Quotes

So Jake put up a list of his favorite West Wing quotes earlier today. I was pretty bored, so I decided to go digging and find some West Wing quotes I liked. The difference is, a lot of Jake's quotes are policy based, which of course I don't agree with. The ones I picked are mostly just funny.


Josh Lyman: All I'm saying is, if you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop to get a beer.
Donna Moss: If you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop for red lights.

Bartlet: We should organize a staff field trip to Shenandoah! I could even act as a guide! What do you think?
Josh: Good a place as any to dump your body.
Bartlet: What was that?
Josh: Did I say that out loud?

Sam: About a week ago I accidentally slept with a prostitute.
Toby: Really?
Sam: Yes.
Toby: You accidentally slept with a prostitute.
Sam: Call girl.
Toby: Accidentally.
Sam: Yes.
Toby: I don't understand, did you trip over something?

Josh Lyman: Victory is mine, victory is mine. Great day in the morning, victory is mine
Donna Moss: Good morning, Josh.
Josh Lyman: I drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land
Donna Moss: It's going to be an unbearable day.

Bruno Gianelli: These are some fliers that are being mailed to potential voters at the Iowa Caucus: "Bartlet-Super Liberal." "Bartlet-Hopelessly Liberal." "Bartlet-Liberal, Liberal, Liberal."
Sam Seaborn: Those aren't coming from our side, are they?

President Josiah Bartlet: We agree on nothing, Max.
Senator Lobell: Yes, sir.
President Josiah Bartlet: Education, guns, drugs, school prayer, gays, defense spending, taxes - you name it, we disagree.
Senator Lobell: You know why?
President Josiah Bartlet: Because I'm a lily-livered, bleeding-heart, liberal, egghead communist.
Senator Lobell: Yes, sir. And I'm a gun-toting, redneck son-of-a-bitch.
President Josiah Bartlet: Yes, you are.
Senator Lobell: We agree about that.

[the President neglected a formality transferring executive power before going into surgery]
Margaret: Can I just say something for the future? *I* can sign the president's name. I've got his signature down pretty good.
Leo McGarry: You can sign the president's name?
Margaret: Yeah.
Leo McGarry: On a document removing him from power and giving it to someone else?
Margaret: Yeah. Or do you think the White House Counsel would say that's a bad idea?
Leo McGarry: I think the White House Counsel would say that's a Coup D'Etat.
Margaret: I'd probably end up doing some time for that.

Leo McGarry: [on the phone with the New York Times] 17 across. Yes, 17 across is wrong... You're spelling his name wrong... What's my name? My name doesn't matter. I am just an ordinary citizen who relies on the Times crossword for stimulation. And I'm telling you that I met the man twice. And I recommended a pre-emptive missile strike against his air force, so I think I know how...
C.J. Cregg: Leo.
Leo McGarry: They hang up on me every time.

Josh Lyman: Toby, come quick. Sam's getting his ass kicked by a girl.
Toby Ziegler: Ginger, get the popcorn

C.J. Cregg: Oh, boy, I like it when "In Style" magazine is issued press credentials. "Mirabella" wanted to know what wine is served with the fish course. So it's a good thing I went to school for 22 years.
Josh Lyman: What wine are we...
C.J. Cregg: It's wine, you'll drink it.

Lord John Marbury: When we had a problem with someone, one solution that we would try is to make him a Maharajah; it's a kind of a regional king, and we would pay him off with an annual tribute and in return he would be loyal to the crown.
Leo McGarry: Lord Marbury, under our constitution the president is not empowered to create Maharajahs.
Lord John Marbury: Yes, thank you for clearing that up, Leo, having been educated at Cambridge and the Sorbonne, I am, as you know, exceedingly stupid.

Leo McGarry: We spent millions of dollars developing a pen that could write in space. Do you know what the Russians did?
Josh Lyman: Used a pencil?
Leo McGarry: Used a pencil.

Toby Ziegler: [holding his twin babies] I didn't realize babies come with hats. You guys crack me up. You don't have jobs. You can't walk or speak the language. You don't have a dollar in your pockets but you got yourselves a hat so everything's fine. I don't want to alarm you or anything, but I'm Dad. And for you, son - for you - this will be the last time I pass the buck, but I think it should be clear from the get-go that it was Mom who named you Huckleberry.

[the Senior Staff are playing a pick-up basketball game with the President]
Josh Lyman: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Who is this?
President Josiah Bartlet: I'm making a substitution.
Toby Ziegler: Who is this guy?
President Josiah Bartlet: Mr. Grant is a Federal employee.
[Mr. Grant is played by real life NBA Forward Juwan Howard]
Toby Ziegler: You know the thing about you, Mr. President? It isn't so much that you cheat. It's how brazenly bad you are at it.
President Josiah Bartlet: I beg your pardon?
Josh Lyman: Toby's got a point there, sir.
President Josiah Bartlet: When have I ever cheated?
Toby Ziegler: Up in Florida, playing mixed doubles with me and C.J. You tried to tell us that your partner worked at the American Consulate in Vienna.
President Josiah Bartlet: And she did.
Toby Ziegler: It was Steffi Graf, sir.
President Josiah Bartlet: Well, I will admit that the woman bore a striking resemblance...
Toby Ziegler: It was Steffi Graf, you lunatic. You think I'm not going to recognize Steffi Graf when she serves a tennis ball at me?

[Sam is addressing a group of students about terrorism]
Sam Seaborn: We jumped out from behind bushes while the British came down the road in their bright red jackets, but never has a war been so courteously declared. It was on parchment with calligraphy, and "Your Highness, we beseech you on this day in Philadelphia to bite me, if you please."

C.J. Cregg: I want you to get with one of your friends in the press room from a conservative paper.
Ainsley Hayes: You really think we have a secret handshake, don't you?
C.J. Cregg: Do you?
Ainsley Hayes: Yes

President Josiah Bartlet: [trying to wake up his wife] Abbie... Abigail... Abbie, the kids are eating sugar.
Abbie Bartlet: Uh...
[wakes up]
Abbie Bartlet: Oh!
President Josiah Bartlet: How you doin. You know I gave the kids candy all the time, right?
Abbie Bartlet: Behind my back?
President Josiah Bartlet: Yes.
Abbie Bartlet: You bought their love.
President Josiah Bartlet: Well, it was for sale, and I wanted it.

And my two favorites funny West Wing quotes:

Bartlet: I don't know, my wife hands me pills. I swallow them with water.
Sam: Sir?
Bartlet: Vitamin C, Vitamin D. Is it possible I'm taking something called euthanasia?
Sam: Echinacea?
Bartlet: Ah, that sounds more like it.

President Josiah Bartlet: I was watching a television program before, with a kind of roving moderator who spoke to a seated panel of young women who were having some sort of problem with their boyfriends - apparently, because the boyfriends had all slept with the girlfriends' mothers. And they brought the boyfriends out, and they fought, right there on television. Toby, tell me: these people don't vote, do they?

Oh, and I found the quotes here.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Why Yes, I Do Kick Ass...

...you wanna make somethin' of it?






Awesome

If only more people were like this (but younger):

CHARLOTTE COUNTY — A Southwest Florida woman says she got an offer to serve her country by signing up for military service, but she's better suited for the AARP than the U.S. Army.

Antonina Henry received a big surprise in her mailbox this week.

"'We can take the strengths you already have and build on them. That means mental strength as well as emotional and physical.' That's for me! I'm going," said Antonina...

...Antonina is two years younger than her 89 year old husband George. They've been together more than six decades and still have a wild side.

"I started to laugh. It was ridiculous. Her being 87 years old gets a request to join the US armed services. Kind of weird isn't it?" said George.

She doesn't think so. Antonina rushed to the recruitment office down the street to make her enlistment official.

Sergeant George Yokus was more than a little surprised, although he did like her enthusiasm.

"I see personal courage, selfless service. I see loyalty. This is what we are looking for," said Yokus.

Antonina got some nice gifts, but no job. Yokus explained her age is an instant disqualification.


Her recruitment may have been a simple oversight, but the feisty grandmother made sure to leave her number – just in case...



The funniest thing is that I can actually picture my great-grandmother doing this...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Another Open Letter to Congress

I wrote yesterday about signing onto "An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers."

Well, this blogger has an appeal of his own to "Congresscritters," and it's a pretty interesting read, though I don't entirely agree with him. My favorite part:

Actually adhere to the oath of office you take upon swearing in. It would help if you would actually read the fucking Constitution. As a matter of fact, you must be able to pass a test on the Constitution before being allowed to hold office. Failue of the test would result in you election opponent assuming the office. After seeing you fail miserably, damn straight he/she'd pass the test. If that person fails too, congresscritter is appointed by the Governor of the state. Tests will be administered until a congresscritter is found who actually knows what is written in the Constitution.


Members of Congress who actually understand the Constitution. What a concept...

Well, if he insists...

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmanutjob is finally thinking exactly what we're thinking.

Brrrr....

When I said I wanted it to get colder so I could go skiing, this isn't quite what I meant.

It did get colder last night, much colder. And with the cold came wind, which knocked the power out for a few seconds around midnight.

Well, apparently, when the power went out, the pilot light in our heater blew out. My brother ran into my room at like eight this morning yelling, "Get up, get up!" So I get up, throw back the covers, and oh. my. god. It was 58 degrees in our house!!

So I yelled at my brother for a minute, then burrowed back underneath my blankets until the heat was fixed.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

John Shadegg for Majority Leader

The blogosphere is abuzz with speculation about who will replace Tom DeLay as the House Majority Leader. From the information I've been able to gather, I believe that Congressman John Shadegg would be best for the job.

Here's his bio:

John Shadegg has represented Arizona's Third Congressional District since 1994. He has established a reputation in Congress as a leading advocate for reduced government spending, federal tax relief, and the re-establishment of state and individual rights.

Shadegg was recently elected Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, the fifth-ranking position in the House Leadership. He is the only member of the Republican Class of 1994 currently serving in Leadership.

From 2000 to 2002, Congressman Shadegg served as chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest conservative organization in the House of Representatives. Under Shadegg's leadership, the organization grew from 40 to more than 70 members, and became the most influential and respected force in the U.S. House shaping conservative policy for the country.

John Shadegg is a leader on health care issues, energy issues, and environmental policy.

He has introduced several bills to address the problem of the uninsured, lessen the bureaucracy of Medicare, give patients the right to hold HMOs accountable and strengthen the doctor/patient relationship.

Shadegg has also worked to promote greater choice, ownership, and portability in health insurance. His two bills – the Patients Health Care Reform Act and the Health Care Choice Act – offer comprehensive, free-market solutions to the rapidly rising cost of healthcare by allowing individuals to choose a health care plan that best meets their needs.

On energy policy, Shadegg has been a key player in shaping the comprehensive national energy legislation, which has passed the House four times, but remains stalled in the Senate. He has also actively supported the advancement of hydroelectric power - the cleanest, non-polluting renewable resource available. His efforts to promote hydroelectricity have spilled over into his fight to save and preserve Lake Powell. Radical environmental groups have called for Lake Powell to be drained, which would have devastating economic and environmental consequences throughout the Southwest. Shadegg helped form the Friends of Lake Powell to fight efforts to drain the lake.

As a subcommittee chairman on the Homeland Security Committee in the 108th Congress, Shadegg led an investigation into how state and local homeland security grants are dispersed, advocated a threat-based system for allocating federal money for first responders, and worked to address the issue of bio-terrorism through the “Project Bioshield” legislation, which was signed into law by President Bush on July 21, 2004.

John Shadegg remains committed to his fights for fiscal responsibility in government, access to quality and affordable health care, and balanced energy and environmental policies. He will also continue his efforts to draft and pass wildfire prevention legislation that will help protect the Arizona's forests and rural communities from the type of fires that devastated our state last year.


But wait, there's more!

Washington, May 19, 2005 - The Enumerated Powers Act, H.R. 2458, requires that all bills introduced in the U.S. Congress include a statement setting forth the specific constitutional authority under which the law is being enacted. This measure will force a continual re-examination of the role of the national government, and will fundamentally alter the ever-expanding reach of the federal government.

For too long, the federal government has operated without constitutional restraint. In doing so, it has created ineffective and costly programs, massive deficits year after year, and a national debt totaling nearly $7 trillion. The Enumerated Powers Act will help slow the flood of unconstitutional legislation and force Congress to reexamine the proper role of the federal government. For these reasons, every Congress since the 104th Congress I have introduced the Enumerated Powers Act (H.R. 2270 - 104th, H.R. 292 - 105th, H.R. 1018 – 106th, H.R. 175 — 107th, H.R. 384 — 108th).


Great concept, isn't it? Before a bill can be passed, Congress must first establish that it has a constitutional right to exist.

I have added my name to "An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers."

An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers
We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.

But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.

As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.


Signed,

N.Z. Bear, The Truth Laid Bear
Hugh Hewitt, HughHewitt.comGlenn Reynolds, Instapundit.com
Kevin Aylward, Wizbang!
La Shawn Barber, La Shawn Barber's CornerLorie Byrd / DJ Drummond , Polipundit
Beth Cleaver, MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Jeff Goldstein, Protein Wisdom
Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
John Hawkins, Right Wing News
John Hinderaker, Power Line
Jon Henke / McQ / Dale Franks, QandO
James Joyner, Outside The Beltway
Mike Krempasky, Redstate.org
Michelle Malkin, MichelleMalkin.com
Ed Morrissey, Captain's Quarters
Scott Ott, Scrappleface
The Anchoress, The Anchoress
John Donovan / Bill Tuttle, Castle Argghhh!!!



Other endorsements, which carry just a bit more weight than mine, include:

The National Review:

There are three imperatives for the House GOP in the current environment that threatens its majority: Can it clean up its image? Can it reform practices that have at best made for sloppy governance and at worst contributed to corruption? And can it pursue policies that restore the trust of its political base and restore a purpose to an often direction-less majority? Shadegg is the best candidate on all counts>



John Hawkins from Right Wing News(scroll down):

John Shadegg is exactly the type of guy conservatives should want running things in the House of Representatives. He's honest, he's conservative, and he has proven that the principles we believe in really mean something to him.

That why I endorse John Shadegg for Majority Leader.


Exactly.

The UN's New Peace Ambassador

UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Kofi Annan said world renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma will take on a new role as a U.N. peace ambassador.

Annan met the 50-year-old musician on Thursday and told reporters afterward "he will be a peace envoy."

Ma was born in Paris to Chinese parents and was a child prodigy on the cello when he moved to the United States at the age of seven. By the time he graduated from Harvard University in 1976, he was already an internationally acclaimed cellist.



If he is half as skilled at being a peace ambassador as he is at playing the cello, then he will do very well indeed.

Have you all ever heard Yo Yo Ma's music? He definitely kicks ass.

The Birthday Report

So I never did manage to post last night, but oh well.

My birthday was pretty awesome. I spent part of the day in Annapolis with people from the Student Political Involvement Network (SPIN@UMBC- Jake, Rachel, and Alan. We spoke with legislators about the cost of tuition at Maryland public colleges, and why it is important to make sure the tuition costs don't keep rising more than 20% in a year, like it did in 2003-2004.

Then they all took me to lunch, which was sweet of them. Of course, they then felt the need to loudly start singing "Happy Birthday to you" in a restaurant frequented by delegates and state senators. Everyone sitting near our table joined in. I was torn between glaring at my friends and laughing my head off. I think I ended up doing a bit of both.

Then later that evening my parents took some friends and I to a hibachi grill. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a Japanese restaurant where they cook the food in front of you- it's as much of a show as it is dinner. As the birthday girl, in addition to my own dinner, I got a bite of everything else- scallops, steak, chicken, and shrimp. It was all delicious, but the best was what I ordered. I ate the most delicious calamari I have ever had. It was awesome, and very tender, which is rare in calamari. And I ate it all, including the fried rice, using only chopsticks. Because I have skill.

Then, of course, came the presents. I got a lot of cool stuff, but by far the best was the mp3 player my parents gave me. It's the Zen MicroPhoto from Creative Labs, and it is awesome. It's smaller than my flip phone, and has 8 gigs of storage space. In addition to music, it can also store and display photos with pretty decent quality, considering the screen is so small. It also has an fm receiver and recorder, a voice recorder, and can act as an external hard drive, so I can back up computer files on it.

So all in all, a very awesome birthday. And they say Friday the 13th is unlucky...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

I probably won't be posting anything today, as I'm going to be pretty busy. I'm speaking with some delegates in Annapolis during the day, and then my parents are taking some friends and I out to dinner. If I do get around to posting, it won't be until later in the evening.

So have a good Friday the 13th everyone!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Weird...

Scientists in Taiwan say they have bred three pigs that glow in the dark.
They claim that while other researchers have bred partly fluorescent pigs, theirs are the only pigs in the world which are green through and through.

The pigs are transgenic, created by adding genetic material from jellyfish into a normal pig embryo.


Hmm... glow in the dark pets. It would certainly decrease the risk of tripping over them if you have to get up in the middle of the night.

They grow up so fast...

My senior year of high school, I founded a Teenage Republicans (TARS) club. Since graduating, I've kept in touch with the club, helping out with my connections to others in the party, as well as with planning.

I hadn't been able to do much with them at the end of the semester, because of an insane course load and finals. However, I've been using the time I've had off for winter break (Dec 20-Jan 29) to catch up with what they've been up to.

I'm so proud. Many of the members noticed that students in their first period class were not standing to say the pledge. The TARS knew that this was perfectly within their rights, but were nonetheless disgusted with their peers. So rather than confronting the students directly and risking a confrontation, they devised another way of convincing students to say the pledge.

They, with the help of the school's friendly administration, have dubbed January "Patriot Month." Signs around the school have pictures of Liberty High Alums currently serving in the military, an image of the American flag, and the phrase "January is Patriot Month. Stand and be proud!"

In addition, they make an announcement each morning. Normally, the first thing on the announcements is "Please stand for the pledge to the flag." Now, the announcements start each day with a short bio of one of the Liberty alums serving in the military. For example, they might say, "Spc. John Smith joined the marines after graduation in 2004. He is currently serving in Iraq, 50 miles outside Baghdad, where his duties include...." Immediately following the bio of the day, students are asked to please stand for the pledge to the flag.

Hopefully, this will convince more students that saying the pledge is a good thing, and that it is perfectly fine to be proud of their country and the people serving to protect it.

This was an awesome idea. I'm very proud of them for coming up with it.

Update: Oh, and I almost forgot- this is my 100th post since starting my blog!

Oh, Joy

I had a doctor's appointment this morning about my knee, which has been bothering me a lot lately.

About two years ago, my knee was kicked out when I was sparring in karate. For some reason I don't recall, I never managed to go to the doctor about it. I wore a brace and walked with a limp for a few weeks, and then eventually things went back to normal.

Well, for the most part. Every once in awhile my knee would act up again, normally after a period of heavy physical activity.

But lately, it's been acting up a lot, to the point that, even wearing a brace all the time, the pain is pretty much constant. So I finally made an appointment to see my doctor. She's sending me to get an MRI on my knee, and to have physical therapy.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

A Birthday Wish

Everyone should go over to Right Wing News and wish John Hawkins a happy birthday by clicking on all his ads so he gets money.

You could probably leave a nice note in the comments section of his blog too, but the whole helping-him-get-money thing is more practical.

Hawkin's has a very cool birthday. It's one day before mine.

Yes, my birthday is on Friday the 13th this year. Insert bad-luck joke here.

Let it Snow!!!

Now, I'm not one who is normally fond of the cold for its own sake. However, we are weeks into winter (so they say) and I have yet to go skiing even once. Why not? Because IT'S 56 DEGREES OUTSIDE!!! The overnight low is supposed to be 40, well above freezing. Even after making snow on the mountain it's still upper 40s- lower 50s there.

That sucks. It needs to get cold and snowy so I can go skiing at least once before I go back to school. And before I see a doctor that tries to tell me I shouldn't ski on my bad knee.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Alito Hearings

I watched a bit of the Alito hearings today at around four. He seemed to be holding his own.

I felt bad for him though. He looked soooo bored while Senator Feinstein was taking forever to get around to actually asking a question.

My little brother, who is twelve and for the most part couldn't care less about politics, came in the room at one point and looked at the tv. Normally, when he catches me watching political shows, he makes a comment about it being boring and leaves. This time, on the other hand, after seeing the look on Alito's face, he asked, "Is it just me, or does it look like he wishes he could tell her to shut up?"

I disagree. Alito actually looked like he wished he could tell her to shut the hell up.

That's Just Sad

A new poll shows that 57% of Americans can not name at least one sitting member of the United States Supreme Court.

In any given year, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a broad range of high-profile legal and constitutional issues. But in this past year, even greater attention was focused on the Court following the announced retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and President Bush's subsequent nominations of John Roberts, the new chief justice; Harriet Miers, who eventually withdrew her nomination; and Samuel Alito, whose confirmation hearings began this week. Interest groups have spent millions of dollars to sway public opinion on the nominations.

Still, the FindLaw.com survey finds a majority of Americans cannot name even one U.S. Supreme Court justice...

...The percentages of Americans who could name each current justice were as follows:


27% Sandra Day O'Connor
21% Clarence Thomas
16% John Roberts
13% Antonin Scalia
12% Ruth Bader Ginsburg
7% Anthony Kennedy
5% David Souter
3% Stephen Breyer
3% John Paul Stevens


But wait, there's more:

Incorrect responses from those surveyed as to who is currently serving on the U.S. Supreme Court included George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Thurgood Marshall and Arnold Schwarzenegger.


This is just pathetic. I mean, at the very least, people should be able to name O'Connor and Roberts. I just don't understand how people could be so clueless about the government of their country.

Oh, and for the record- on a good day, I could rattle off all nine justices. But even on a bad day I could still name six or seven of them (most likely, I would forget Breyer and Stevens.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

LOL!!!

This is by far the most clever blonde joke I've ever seen! Scroll down to the second post on the page.

A New Disclaimer

I've rethought the wisdom of my flippant tone at the end of my last post, and decided to write a nice disclaimer. Only, I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know much about disclaimers. Tell me how you think I did:

Disclaimer: In mocking humble deference to new legislation, I hearby declare that pretty much everything nothing in this blog is at all intended to annoy, humiliate, or harass anyone who might be a moonbat, crazed liberal, or general dumbass of a slightly different opinion than myself. If you are a moonbat, crazed liberal, or general dumbass of a slightly different opinion than myself, and something written within this blog annoys you, get over it you big baby I didn't mean it, honest. Offer only valid until the Supreme Court declares this law to be a pile of festering dog crap unconstitutional. This offer not valid outside the US. If you are a foreigner and something in this blog annoys you, I may or may not have meant for it to do so. You have to determine my intent yourself. If doing so annoys you, too bad, because the new legislation doesn't protect you because no one cares you don't live in America, and I have to annoy somebody, don't I?

So, how was that for a disclaimer? I really do want to cover my bases, but I'm worried my lack of legal knowledge might keep me from doing so.

Being a sarcastic smartass probably doesn't help either.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Hahaha... Annoy Me and Rot in Jail!!!

Apparently, the title is at least partially true.

Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.

It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.



Are you kidding me? This is absolutely ridiculous, and incredibly unconstitutional. The exact wording is:

Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.


There is some speculation over at Ace of Spades about the veracity of the story. I can't say for certain, because none of the links to THOMAS people are putting up to prove it one way or the other seem to be working for me. I certainly hope it isn't true, but Congress certainly is crazy enough to try something like this.


Anyway, so I would just like to take the time now to say that I think that the following people, in no particular order, suck: Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Kerry, Martin O'Malley, John McCain, Jack Abramoff, my Brit Lit teacher from my junior year of high school, and the Stat professor who gave me a B in his class.

I do hope that doesn't annoy them. Or have I annoyed you all? Someone on my list you don't agree with? Or have I left someone out? Would you be more annoyed if I started saying that you guys suck? (Not that I would ever say that...)

Or what if, like, I started, like, talking, like, you know, like, the stereotypical, you know, like, teenage girl. Doesn't that, like, grate on your nerves? Would it, like, be something that, like, you would consider, like, annoying?

Okay, I'll stop now. That was annoying me just typing it.

Any other suggestions for how I could make an annoying nuisance out of myself by completely and totally ignoring this law?