TurningWheels

Monday, November 24, 2003
  Hope
 
There are several reasons why I've fallen to the right side of the fence over the past few years. It started when I worked at a bank in San Diego 10 years ago and watched as non-English speaking people with $5 in their accounts walked out with thousands of dollars in cash, c/o Uncle Sam. They always used Resident Alien cards for identification, they always had multiple checks written out to dependent after dependent, and we all knew that that money was heading straight to the mailbox, out of the country. Meanwhile, I made $10/hour, got no benefits and was in the process of accumulating a sizable college debt. That's when I started to believe in welfare reform.

The next big apocalyptic moment came on, you guessed it, 9/11. I've always been acutely aware of terrorism, to the point where I have always "profiled" my fellow passengers on flights-- would that person have packed a bomb in their suitcase, etc? Nice thoughts, eh? Over time I came to the conclusion that it's the conservatives with whom I trust my safety. It seems like conservatives are willing to fight for some things, making sacrifices now for the future of this country.

So here we are in 2003, and if I hadn't already fallen to the right, the past few months certainly would have pushed me there. One thing that has made an impression on me lately is the total negativity that comes from the left side of the aisle. The candidates for the Democratic nomination have been campaigning on nothing but Bush bashing. Look how he's destroyed this country, they say. He's squandered the goodwill of other nations so we can conduct our oil-grabbing war for his rich friends, they say. He ruined the economy, they say. I don't buy any of that.

Add to this negativity a complete lack of ideas on how they would fix these obscene problems we supposedly have in this country. Apparently, getting Bush out of the White House would fix everything. I don't buy that, either. The icing on this cake is the fact that the other party is seriously lacking any cohesion in their platform and their message. This is on full display during each of the Democratic debates. Their flip-flopping on issues is making me dizzy, and Al Sharpton is the only candidate that I can believe-- what you see is what you get with him. Hello! This lack of a cohesive platform/message is also apparent with every "peace" demonstration. The groups that the "anti-war" left have joined forces with to protest have been questionable at best, downright anti-American at worst. Let's just say that I don't see the folks on the right demonstrating in full force with the KKK any time soon to protest against abortion or gay marriage, but that's exactly what I see the left doing. They've lost all credibility with me-- they are guilty by association.

So imagine my delight this morning when I saw the latest news on the economy. Our government does not deserve full credit for turning the economy around. Everybody knows that the capitalist system we enjoy has its ups and downs. That's why you're supposed to save for that proverbial rainy day. This news gives me hope. While I was relatively unemployed for over two years, I never felt bitter towards some invisible force for putting me there. It happens. I'm looking forward to the next few years when we can take advantage of a good economy to save save save.

And don't even throw the unemployment "disaster" into this argument. 6% unemployment is a drop in the bucket, and far off the unemployment rates of other recessions. That will turn around, too. It'll take time for businesses to be comfortable making human capital investments, but they will.

So today gives us another little glimmer of hope in a string of good news on the economy lately. Hopefully this will start to eat away at people's negativity and hopelessness. Somehow, I doubt it. Instead this will fill a certain group of people with despair. How sad is that?

Economists Predict Strong Growth in '04




  Justice served
 
If anybody deserves the death penalty, it's this depraved human being (if he's really a human being at all, as he shows no characteristics whatsoever.) Justice will be served the day he meets his maker.

Sniper Mastermind Receives Death Sentence




Friday, November 21, 2003
  WTF?!
 
What is wrong with the media? Two Islamist suicidal murderers packed with explosives kill dozens of people in Turkey in an attack much like the Oklahoma City bombing, with images eerily resembling those of 9/11, and all they can report on is MICHAEL JACKSON?! Literally, it was the top story on every freakin' news channel. Are they telling Americans that his meaningless life is more newsworthy than this:

A victim is helped in front of the HSBC Bank in Istanbul November 20, 2003. Shattered bodies and rubble were strewn across the streets of Turkey's commercial capital Istanbul as the second pair of bombs in less than a week sent the city into a state of shock. (Reuters)      A wounded man is carried to an ambulance after an explosion outside of the HSBC Bank building in Istanbul, Turkey, Thursday Nov. 20, 2003. Explosions hit the Turkish headquarters of the London-based HSBC bank and the British consulate, killing at least 25 people and wounding about 400, health officials said. The blasts came days after the city was hit by two synagogue bombings. (AP Photo/Cihan)

A wounded man is carried to an ambulance after an explosion outside of the HSBC Bank building in Istanbul, Turkey, Thursday Nov. 20, 2003. Explosions hit the Turkish headquarters of the London-based HSBC bank and the British consulate, killing at least 25 people and wounding about 400, health officials said. The blasts came days after the city was hit by two synagogue bombings. (AP Photo/Cihan) 
     People walk in the debris of the bombed British Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Nov. 21, 2003, a day after the explosions hit the Turkish headquarters of the London-based HSBC bank and the British Consulate, killing 27 people and wounding more than 400. (AP Photo)

As long as Americans are overly concerned about Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson, Laci Peterson, and are not at all concerned about the Islamist threat, we're in big trouble. And as long as people blame Bush and Blair for horrific terrorist acts like those yesterday, instead of placing the blame where it belongs, we'll never rid ourselves of the real cause. Yesterday was a sad, sad day.




Wednesday, November 19, 2003
  The New Anti-Semitism
 
My brother has started a new project that I think is worthy of much attention.

My way of documenting what I believe to be a clear surge in attacks against Jews, Jewish organizations, and Jewish places of worship. While the list is small now, it will grow larger in the weeks and months ahead as the attacks, both verbal and physical, continue to mount.

This now has a place in my nav bar.




  Dumb Americans
 
If I was a Michael Moore fan...
During his engagement at London’s Roundhouse Theater, Moore, in the role of Amerikanshe Kapo, delighted the crowd when he proclaimed that "the dumbest Brit here is smarter than the smartest American”...

I would think twice about forking out my hard earned cash to buy his books or movies. It would seem that the only dumb Americans he can speak of are his fans, who consistently defend his hateful, baseless arguments. Essentially, they're also defending his argument that they themselves are really stupid, in fact dumber than the dumbest Brit. The irony is probably lost on them....

Anyway, the entire post at The Politburo is worth reading. This guy is a lunatic, and anybody who defends him deserves the ripping they should get-- the joke's on them, and they don't even realize it.

[Link via Moorewatch, via Right-Thinking]




Tuesday, November 18, 2003
  Winter baseball musings
 
Isn't an MVP supposed to be somebody who brings the level of their team up a notch, taking them further than they would have gone without said player? Ya know, like Michael Jordan. If that's the case, how the heck did Alex Rodriguez win the AL MVP award? In the three years since joining the Texas Rangers, his team has finished at the bottom of the AL West. He won with the fewest first place votes since Mickey Mantle in 1947. Looks like the AL just didn't have a shining star this year...


The A's are killing me. When will they stop the madness?! They've dealt their #4 pitcher, and now they're looking to dump their catcher. What's up with that? Barry Zito said at the end of their series against Boston: there's only so much their pitching staff can do when the team keeps dumping their run producers. It's time for them to take a different approach and start showing some willingness to pony up for a championship. Isn't winning the point of professional sports? Aren't teams supposed to do whatever it takes to win? Well, apparently that's lost on my team, as every player they bring up that becomes a star player ends up on the free agency block. It's gotten old. Perhaps it's time for Billy Beane to be put up for auction....

I sure miss the Eddie D. days of the 49ers. No championship cost too much for him. Those were the good ol' days...




  Is this really news?
 
Palestinian Militants Set for Truce Talks

Would the media take seriously talks of Al Qaeda "truce talks"? I mean, honestly, what do people expect from this? Tangible results? Is Israel expected to take a Hamas "hudna" seriously? (Pardon my hysterical laughter...)

Fat chance.




Monday, November 17, 2003
  Pander pander pander
 
It's amazing. Assembly and Senate Democrats in California have had it easy for the past few years. Every statewide office, until today, was held by a Democrat, and the majority of the state Legislature is Democratic. Finally, with the swearing in of a Republican Governor, we'll have some checks and balances in place and an end to this legislative, one party free-for-all.

Arnold says he plans to get to work immediately to fix the state's problems, including the pathetic anti-business environment for which we are now well known. He's also going to reverse a few things that are bad for California, yet slipped through during the period of Democratic legislative chutzpah that preceded Davis' exit in Sacramento, starting with drivers licenses for illegals and the tripling of the car tax.

Driver's licenses for illegals: this one really gets my goat. This was nothing but pure pander to the Latino voters in the run-up to the recall election. Davis had previously vetoed similar bills for various reasons, then turned 180° when he saw the walls closing in on him. Davis effectively alienated many voters, and Bustamante's refusal to make any distinction between legal and illegal immigrants turned many voters off to the Democratic platform, especially those voters like myself who put national security ahead of the "wants" of illegals. Now members of the legislature who vocally supported this bill are backpedaling, due to the political fallout of the move. Davis and Bustamante did not get a majority of the Latino vote. As a matter of fact, many Latinos who have gone through the system the proper and legal way to become voting citizens were firmly against the bill and were offended by the obvious pander. It backfired, and it will be repealed-- if not through the legislature, then through the voters. I'm on the lookout for the petition to get it on the March ballot. Luckily, it looks like Schwarzenegger has no intention of negotiating this one.

Tripling of the car tax: repealing the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) was the first thing the Governor had on his agenda. Many would argue that Californians already paid the fee a few years ago, so why not just go back to it for the good of our budget and economy? I happen to think that the more money you put into the pockets of Californians, the better. We pay sales tax when we buy our cars, we pay tolls and gas taxes every time we drive our cars. How many taxes and fees must we pay to drive our cars? The VLF was inflated, and the "rollback" was hardly a favor by our government-- it was a correction of an overcharge. This state has a bigger spending problem than revenue problem, so it's high time that the government start making tough decisions and cut their out of control spending habits instead of making us pay for their mismanagement. I, for one, am relieved this tax is being repealed.

Arnold also plans to concentrate on making this state more business friendly, starting with worker's compensation laws. California is probably the most business unfriendly state in the nation, with taxes, workers comp, utility, healthcare and other overhead costs that slowly tighten the noose around the necks of business owners. They've been slowly but surely driven from this state, taking with them valuable revenues that we seriously need. Attracting business back to California will go a long way in relieving us of our budget woes.

The most exciting thing that Arnold will likely do here is draw much needed attention to the legislative process in this state. Representatives have been going about their business, virtually unchecked by their constituents, and aided by a power monopoly at the state government level. Californians need to hold a fire to the feet of the people who supposedly work for us in Sacramento. They've been getting a free ride for too long. Maybe now we Californians will start to get involved again. It will be interesting to see which way Californians will go in the next few elections.




  winds of change
 
Tonight we have a new Governor. Strange, but I didn't think this would make me feel as optimistic as it has. Is it because Arnold is Governor, or because Gray is out? Mostly the latter, but a little of both.

Hopefully he'll clean house and shine a spotlight on the legislative process, where our "representatives" have been passing bills left and right with little to no attention from us, their constituents. Having a state that is dominated by the Democratic party has not been a good thing (ex: passing legislation that made it legal for ILlegals to get CA drivers licenses.) Spending is out of control and nobody in the Capitol is being held accountable. The legislature is understandably nervous tonight.

This should be an interesting couple of months. Can't wait to see how it pans out, and thank goodness it's not going to be more of the same.




Thursday, November 13, 2003
  What's the purpose?
 

Ted Rall wrote an Op/"Ed" that poses as a letter to the folks whose goal is to kill as many American forces as possible in their efforts to run us out of Iraq (or should it be a letter posing as an op/ed?) It is a rallying letter, complete with a quote from Che Guevara and the usual swipe at Israel. It's appalling, sickening and pointless. It will undoubtedly be picked up by the Arab press as an "example" that the American people want the terrorists to keep up their attacks and run us out of there.

This article is the kind of document that could be copied and distributed to the "insurgents" for a little motivational kick. When will people like Rall realize that this kind of tripe is dangerous and unacceptable? More importantly, when will the folks on the left start to criticize or condemn this kind of radical garbage? The fringe have been dragging the entire left side down into the crapper.

I wonder how our troops would feel about this piece of garbage. I wonder how our veterans feel about this kind of message on Veterans Day...

[Link via Citizen Smash]




Wednesday, November 12, 2003
  PS
 
(Kudos to those whose lives are consumed by hatred of the man in the White House. You didn't disappoint with your decision to politicize and bash on the day reserved for Veteran gratitude.)



  Catching up...
 
Being offline most of the day yesterday, I didn't have the chance to give a public "thank you" to all the Vets out there who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so that we Americans can continue to work, vote, read, talk, go to temple, scream at each other, scream about our government, and generally do what we want to do in the best country on earth.

Thank you. You have my undying gratitude.




Monday, November 10, 2003
  Happy Birthday!
 
Today the United States Marine Corps turns 228 years old. They don't look a day over 20.



  Name that tune
 
Be responsible
Respectable
Stable, but gullible

Sound and caring
Help the helpless
But always remain ultimately selfish

... words to live by.




Sunday, November 09, 2003
  Oh the humanity!
 
Team USA will not play for gold in Athens next year. How can this be? How did it come down to ONE game for arguably the best national baseball team today? How strange is it that the US won't be playing America's game, while Italy and the Netherlands will?!

I'm trying to understand one thing: Team U.S.A. was 3 - 0 going into Friday's game with Mexico. Mexico was 0 - 3, and advanced to play the U.S. because Bahamas forfeited.

Explain-- how is a team that went 3 - 1 out, while the 1 - 3 team advanced? It's hard to comprehend that this came down to ONE game for them. I'm crushed that Team USA won't be there, and think that the Olympics baseball tourney will be a rip-off absent the defending gold medalists.

The qualification standards have to change-- the rules should ensure that the best teams make it to play in the Olympics, and no team should be eliminated based on one game after playing perfect baseball. This is an outrage-- I demand an investigation, darnit!

PS- have I mentioned how exciting it was to see the Yanks lose in the World Series? Love Roger Clemens, but enough already!




  As usual....
 
.... complain complain complain..... criticize criticize criticize....

But don't bother sharing any original ideas, make no suggestions. Is repealing the Patriot Act, which has been roundly criticized on both sides of the aisle, all you can come up with, Mr. Gore?

Dunno, none of my civil liberties have been taken away lately; I have nothing to hide in my library records (for which a search would require the blessing of a judge). Tighten up our borders and implement a national ID card, complete with biometric records (which would also go a long way in fighting crime.) Allowing illegals drivers' licenses in my state amounts to a serious security breach on a national level. Is my state government making us safer?

One can ask if the Bush administration has made us safer. Knock on wood, we haven't had another attack on our soil in over two years. And this week in Saudi Arabia, our government shut down American interests in light of warnings of imminent terrorist attacks. The Saudi government seethed and whined-- we were overreacting, just like after 9/11, they said-- and just days later 17 were murdered in a suicide attack in Riyadh. Could our intelligence have worked here? Is it possible that they are now having to attack their own because they are having more trouble getting to us? (On that note, our intelligence is warning of more possible attacks in Saudi Arabia. I wonder if the Saudi government will again accuse us of overreacting, instead of maybe looking into it and trying to prevent further attacks.)

It's a bit dishonest to celebrate Bush for single-handedly preventing attacks, just as it is to hold him responsible for the attacks that do happen. And it's pretty disingenuous that some people will jump to blame him for all things bad, then find excuses for all things good, because good things happen despite Bush.

Wonder what it's like to live in such a doom and gloom world, where the solution to the most complicated of problems involves simply ousting the man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Do people like Gore have anything positive to say? The negativity is draining, to say the least, and it's amazing that these people have the will to carry on. This is why I had to stop checking the "D" on my voter registration card-- it's become impossible to identify with that. Depressing.




Friday, November 07, 2003
  Exhibit A
 
Israeli Troops Kill Boy, Three Militants in Gaza

When reporting in the Middle East, here are the rules you must follow:

1. When Palestinian terrorists militants are killed by Israeli troops in their security operations, be sure to identify the parties by their nationality/ethnicity/religion, and only in the active voice. [Exhibit A]

2. When Israeli citizens are killed on their way to work, at a cafe, in their homes, etc., do NOT identify the parties by their nationality/ethnicity/religion, and ALWAYS use the passive voice. I mean, busses spontaneously combust all the time-- let's not jump the gun and just assume that a Palestinian suicide bomber would do such a thing! [This would be Exhibit B]

Exhibit B will come eventually. It always does.

It's no mystery that some "enlightened" folks find that Israel is the greatest threat to world peace. One look at media portrayal of the situation and I expect nothing less than a broken moral compass.




Thursday, November 06, 2003
  Name that tune
 
My sister and I were talking about a certain band from many years ago that, by some people's logic, should have driven angst-filled teens to suicide. They didn't. One look at their lyrics and who can help but be filled with humor and laugh?
Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
when I said I'd like to
smash every tooth in your head

Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking
when I said by rights you should be
bludgeoned in your bed

And now I know how Joan of Arc felt
now I know how Joan of Arc felt
as the flames rose to her Roman nose
and her Walkman started to melt

Name that tune!




  Oh no!
 
The news keeps getting worse and worse for the Bush haters of America. Wonder what will happen next... drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? (For the record, I'm neither here nor there on drilling in the ANWR. I can understand both sides.)

Jobless Claims Plunge, Productivity Soars

I lost my job in April, 2001, and remained relatively unemployed (was underemployed off and on) for two years. The market was awful back in 2001. This past summer it wasn't even close to that bad-- it was getting better and continues to get better (I got a job back at my previous employment level with a moderate pay raise.) There is only so much productivity growth a steady workforce can handle, and it's only a matter of time before employment catches up with the rest of the economy.

Was Bush responsible for my job loss in 2001? Heck no. Was he responsible for getting me a job in 2003? Uh, no. (Mr. Clinton was no more responsible for my employment during his tenure.) Jobs come and go, the economy expands and contracts. Perhaps the "record" job losses we've seen over the past few years were simply the result of companies shedding the fat after over-hiring during the previous five+ years. I've known more than a few people who got jobs for which they were far from qualified-- some companies just needed a warm body to fill a job req.

Surely this is driving the doomsayers close to suicide. They'll just keep wishing death on our soldiers in Iraq, unemployment on their struggling fellow Americans, and continued videos from the ashes and bones of OBL. The sacrifices will be worth it just to get Dubya out of that house on 1600 Pennsylvania. Wonder what it's like to live in such a cold, dark world. Some advice: sunshine is good for ya. Lifts the spirits and is a source of Vitamin D. Trying letting some shine in!




Monday, November 03, 2003
  Telling
 
With the tragic downing of a U.S. helicopter in Iraq over the weekend, resulting in the deaths of 16 U.S. servicemen, we get this from our "friends" in the Middle East:

Arabs Celebrate Strikes on U.S. in Iraq

And in typical AP (and Reuters/AFP/major news network) fashion, the situation is glossed over as simple Arab disagreement with our operation in Iraq:

CAIRO, Egypt - Across the Arab world, strikes like the deadly downing of a U.S. helicopter are applauded by many as resistance to occupation and proof that Iraqis were not completely humiliated by the ease of the U.S.-led victory over Saddam Hussein.

The reaction is not surprising given prewar opposition among many Arabs to the invasion of Iraq. At a meeting in Damascus Sunday, foreign ministers from countries bordering Iraq and others in the region repeated calls on the United States to restore order in Iraq. [emphasis added]

So this aggression against our troops has nothing to do with the total hatred of so many in the Arab world, urged on by their leaders, towards America and the West. AS IF they didn't celebrate the various attacks on our interests abroad over the past ten years, or the attacks here on September 11. Nope, they celebrate because they disagree with our policies, unless our policy is to protect their interests, of course (hello Kuwait and Saudi Arabia). I'd like to re-write that bolded sentence: "The reaction is not suprising given the unaldultered hatred towards everything having to do with America or western civilization in general, fomented by the tyrannical dictatorships and their leashed media."

Much better.

And from our "allies" in "moderate" Egypt and Saudi Arabia, we have the media rallying to restore peace and advance the Iraqi mission of freedom and democracy:

"Iraq is now building the glory of the (Arab) community," Mustafa Bakri, editor-in-chief of the Egyptian weekly Al-Osboa, wrote Sunday, referring to the resistance.

Samir Ragab, editor of the Egyptian daily Al-Gomhouria, lauded the Iraqis in his column for fighting back.

"Every citizen who lives in Iraq, be they Baathist or anti-Baathist, whether they support or oppose Saddam, will stand up and shout at the top of his lungs: `We will chase the Americans and their followers until they leave our home ashamed and defeated.'"

In Saudi Arabia, Al-Watan newspaper said last week that U.S. war planners did not foresee that although "the Iraqi people hated Saddam Hussein, they also hate having a foreign presence on their land."

"Even though such attacks are not welcomed because they took innocent Iraqi souls, they have, however, delivered a strong message to decision-makers in the White House that they are no longer in control of security in Iraq, and that the victory in the classic war does not mean total control over Iraq," Al-Watan said.

See what $2B+ will buy you these days in the Middle East?

When you have friends like Egypt and the House of Saud, who needs enemies?

Finally, we get some sound advice from other media sources around the region, encouraging the "insurgents" to pick their targets a little more wisely, lest they run their friends in the UN and the ICRC out, leaving them exposed to the murderous Americans. They'll need those organizations around during the next tyrannical dictator's reign, after all:

Under the headline: "More than a crime: a political mistake!" Talal Salman, publisher of Lebanon's As-Safir newspaper, urged Iraqis to choose their targets carefully after the Red Cross attack.

"There is a huge difference between the bombing which targeted a hotel known to be the base for occupation officials and their followers, and the crimes of mass murder that took place ... against the Red Cross and Iraqi police stations and groups of Iraqi citizens," Salman wrote. "Precision in specifying the target is the sharpest resistance weapon."

The Emirates' Gulf News said attacks that do not target coalition forces cannot be called resistance.

"To attack humanitarian organizations, which are trying to help Iraq recover, is an exercise in trying to create terror and confusion, with purely destructive intent," the newspaper said. "These attacks will not help Iraq, and will not solve the country's political future. They should stop."

(My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the soldiers who have died in Iraq, and those who are wounded and recovering. My fury and wishes of a slow burn in hell go to the people-- Arab leaders, especially-- who are using terrorist means to try to run us out and leave a vacuum to be filled with more of the same.)