Monday, June 28, 2004
This really chaps my hide...
Hassoun, an American Marine of Lebanese descent, was was shown blindfolded, with a sword brandished over his head in a videotape aired on Al-Jazeera on Sunday. The militants threatened to behead him unless all Iraqis "in occupation jails" are freed. They did not set a timeframe.

"I appeal to the kidnappers and to their conscience and faith to release my son," his father, Ali Hassoun, said in an interview with The Associated Press at his house in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli.

"He is not a fighter. I hope that they will respond favorably to my appeal. May God reward them," he said.

Another of his sons, Sami, talked with worried relatives, who said contacts were under way with politicians and Muslim clerics in Lebanon and Islamist groups in Iraq to secure the Marine's release.

"We are trying to send word through all channels that he is Lebanese, Arab and a Muslim," Abdullah Hassoun, a member of the extended family and head of Al-Safira municipality, told the AP.

Excuse me, but these kinds of statements (bolded) seem to be completely lost on the average westerner. This is basically a KKK mentality-- don't worry if you're a WASP, we won't kill ya!-- that we are dealing with in Iraq and in the Arab world.

What we have here is a very large ethnic/religious group that holds "their own" way, way above anybody different. Why should we approach this problem with politically correct "gentleness"? They want to kill me and probably you, only because you don't subscribe to their beliefs. One thing that is laughable about this is that this culture widely treats women as property with no rights whatsoever, and if you vocally disagree with the "leaders", you face prison or even death. Basically this culture lacks basic humanity. Should we treat this mentality with the humanity it so clearly lacks?

And before you go into the "it's only a small minority who believe this!", presume that, say, 10% believe (even slightly) in the fundamentalist ideology. That's at least 100 million folks around the world who don't think it's a big deal to behead the infidels-- they must have deserved it, after all. Also consider the response by this American Muslim Marine's family-- the route they are choosing speaks volumes about the state of Islam as a WHOLE. Why do they have to even call out his nationality, his ethnicity and his religion? He's American, sure, but the guy is also a human being.

Does this family really believe that they will spare him for labels? Don't they realize that these terrorists first see the uniform he wears and the pledge he has taken? When you serve in our Armed Forces, you don't vow to protect and uphold the Quran or the Bible. It's all about the American Constitution. How sad that this family feels like their only hope is to kick his REAL nationality to the curb.

This kind of appeal to terrorist thugs and the Arab regimes really kills me. And now my rant will get me labelled a racist. The Islamist murderers aren't racist, nor are Arab leaders. I am.

This is the absurdity of Islam today. Why does the majority of the western world not get this?

Friday, June 25, 2004
  Can you tell me why?
Kerry just swooped through my area this week to raise money for his campaign (how many Senate votes did he miss this week? His constituents oughta sue the government for taxation without representation). Other than "he's not Bush", why would anybody vote for Kerry? What exactly does the guy stand for.

Again, any reason other than who he is not. Just curious.

This template is so boring and so old... I need a change. Working from a laptop, so this might be a completely crappy red. Gonna start tinkering with this thing, see where it goes...

  Back off, Bud!!!
Or I'll sick my dog on you!

Schwarzenegger Wants Strays Killed Faster

Considering the state of the state, I'm giving the Governor leeway on a lot. However, this is just pathetic. This ain't no animal rights activist typing here, but under this proposal my sweet, little doggie would be ashes right now. I was starting to wonder where his humanity went...

... and it's no surprise that he has reversed himself. If a rightie such as myself thinks that this is a bad idea, imagine how popular it would make him with the rest of the state.

Kill terrorist freaks all you want. Leave my doggie alone!!!

Road debris causes 25,000 wrecks a year

Two years ago I was driving on highway 101 south of San Francisco. My exit was fast approaching, so I glanced over before changing lanes. As soon as I looked ahead again, there was a one foot long 4x4 in my lane (in other words, it was SMALL). I could have swerved to avoid it and caused a multi-car pile up (it was the tail end of rush hour). Instead, I grabbed the wheel, slowed down as much as possible and ran right over it. The brake pedal immediately fell to the floor, and there was a horrendous noise coming from the wheel well.


The a-hole behind me decided to cut me off as I was trying to get off the road, but a nice guy that happened to be driving a truck with a hazard light blocked traffic for me as I pulled off to the shoulder.

Long story short: the front passenger-side brake caliper --or some funky part like that-- was sheered off, releasing all the brake fluid; the front wheel rim was completely mangled to the point where the inner rim was hitting the spindle (that was the horrendous "ka-thunk" sound); the front tire was knocked off the rim and had a massive bulge on the wall; the rear wheel rim was dented and the tire had a slight bulge in it.

Total cost of repairs: $1500+, taking seven days. To top it all off, I waited for two hours on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.

The PSA part of this post is this:

If you are one of the 25,000 road debris accidents, tell your insurance company that the debris was moving-- bumped by another car, bouncing around the road, etc. They will ask you that, and it's the difference between a fault and no-fault accident. While the CHP officer said I did the right thing and it wasn't really my fault, California Vehicle Code said that it was by way of the "safe speed" law-- never mind that I was driving 45mph in a 65 zone. I had to pay for all repairs out of pocket so that it would not appear on my driving record, resulting in an increased insurance premium for four years.


  This offer won't last!

Think the House of Saud can't control its militants? Think they didn't know where to find Mr. Johnson before he got his head cut off? Get your head out of the sand. This offer is a PR job, designed to make the ignorants scream "See!! They're fighting terr'ism!" Umm, I don't think so.

Think about Saudi Arabia for a moment. Big Brother is always watching. The religious police are out in full force, and the intelligence boots know what's going on in the country all the time. Somebody, somewhere, in the the Saudi government has a hand in the recent attacks within the country. The Saudi mouthpieces are only pissed because the holy are being killed with the infidels, and they don't want the light shined within.

Realistically speaking, the Sauds have no interest in capturing "militants", they just want them to be "militants" elsewhere, such as target-rich Iraq or Israel.

Something stinks in the house, and people are pretending it smells like roses.

Thursday, June 24, 2004
  One Small Step
Kudos to Anne Bayefsky for having the cojones to state the truth about the UN condition. Some believe that the UN is the compass of legality and equity in the world. I believe that the UN has rendered itself irrelevant, and is fast approaching illegitimacy. Much of my opinion is rooted in the power granted to vicious dictatorships-- in the UN they are elevated to positions of "legitimacy" where in reality they should have none. With this power, a country like Israel is raked over the coals time and time again, and context is tossed to the wind.

The rest of my opinion stems from what appears to be systemic corruption throughout the ranks. Of course, the latter problem is a direct result of the former.

One Small Step
Is the U.N. finally ready to get serious about anti-Semitism?

Monday, June 21, 2004 11:15 a.m. EDT

(Editor's note: Ms. Bayefsky delivered this speech at the U.N. at a conference on Confronting Anti-Semitism: Education for Tolerance and Understanding, sponsored by the United Nations Department of Information, this morning.)

I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you at this first U.N. conference on anti-Semitism, which is being convened six decades after the organization's creation. My thanks to the U.N. organizers and in particular Shashi Tharoor [the undersecretary-general for communications and public information] for their initiative and to the secretary-general for his willingness to engage.

This meeting occurs at a point when the relationship between Jews and the United Nations is at an all-time low. The U.N. took root in the ashes of the Jewish people, and according to its charter was to flower on the strength of a commitment to tolerance and equality for all men and women and of nations large and small. Today, however, the U.N. provides a platform for those who cast the victims of the Nazis as the Nazi counterparts of the 21st century. The U.N. has become the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism--intolerance and inequality against the Jewish people and its state.

Not only have many of the U.N. members most responsible for this state of affairs rendered their own countries Judenrein, they have succeeded in almost entirely expunging concern about Jew-hatred from the U.N. docket. From 1965, when anti-Semitism was deliberately excluded from a treaty on racial discrimination, to last fall, when a proposal for a General Assembly resolution on anti-Semitism was withdrawn after Ireland capitulated to Arab and Muslim opposition, mention of anti-Semitism has continually ground the wheels of U.N.-led multilateralism to a halt.

There has never been a U.N. resolution specifically on anti-Semitism or a single report to a U.N. body dedicated to discrimination against Jews, in contrast to annual resolutions and reports focusing on the defamation of Islam and discrimination against Muslims and Arabs. Instead there was Durban--the 2001 U.N. World Conference "Against Racism," which was a breeding ground and global soapbox for anti-Semites. When it was over U.N. officials and member states turned the Durban Declaration into the centerpiece of the U.N.'s antiracism agenda--allowing Durban follow-up resolutions to become a continuing battlefield over U.N. concern with anti-Semitism.

Not atypical is the public dialogue in the U.N.'s top human rights body--the Commission on Human Rights--where this past April the Pakistani ambassador, speaking on behalf of the 56 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, unashamedly disputed that anti-Semitism was about Jews.

For Jews, however, ignorance is not an option. Anti-Semitism is about intolerance and discrimination directed at Jews--both individually and collectively. It concerns both individual human rights and the group right to self-determination--realized in the state of Israel.

What does discrimination against the Jewish state mean? It means refusing to admit only Israel to the vital negotiating sessions of regional groups held daily during U.N. Commission on Human Rights meetings. It means devoting six of the 10 emergency sessions ever held by the General Assembly to Israel. It means transforming the 10th emergency session into a permanent tribunal--which has now been reconvened 12 times since 1997. By contrast, no emergency session was ever held on the Rwandan genocide, estimated to have killed a million people, or the ethnic cleansing of tens of thousands in the former Yugoslavia, or the death of millions over the past two decades of atrocities in Sudan. That's discrimination.

The record of the Secretariat is more of the same. In November 2003, Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a report on Israel's security fence, detailing the purported harm to Palestinians without describing one terrorist act against Israelis which preceded the fence's construction. Recently, the secretary-general strongly condemned Israel for destroying homes in southern Gaza without mentioning the arms-smuggling tunnels operating beneath them. When Israel successfully targeted Hamas terrorist Abdel Aziz Rantissi with no civilian casualties, the secretary-general denounced Israel for an "extrajudicial" killing. But when faced with the 2004 report of the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions detailing the murder of more than 3,000 Brazilian civilians shot at close range by police, Mr. Annan chose silence. That's discrimination.

.... the rest

Link via Naomi Ragen

Monday, June 14, 2004
  The Democratic (big D) way
I got a chuckle out of this:
Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites), D-Mass., because of his status as a presidential contender, released his forms last month. Kerry reported between $430,000 and $2.1 million in four separate trusts. But his fortune was overshadowed by that of his wife, Teresa Heinz, who is worth about $500 million.

Heinz Kerry inherited her wealth from her first husband, Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., heir to the Heinz food fortune who was killed in a 1991 plane crash. She earned more than $5 million last year from investments and paid about $750,000 in taxes.

Isn't it appropriate? Republican money finding its way into the hands of a Democrat. Couldn't resist the laugh. I need one, Monday and all....

  No news...
... is good news for the Bush haters.

Why hasn't this been widely reported?

So this isn't solid proof that there were WMD in Iraq, but that goes both ways. Prove to me conclusively that they weren't there. Regardless, I still believe we did the right thing for reasons beyond WMD. Time to start the blanket searches in Syria and Lebanon. This story isn't over, people.

More later...

  I've had it
I've had it with extremists of all stripes. Monotheists and Atheists, the Christian Coalition and the ACLU/Planned Parenthood/etc., far lefties and far righties.

I'm sick and tired of the mud and insult slinging. Since when is politics so freakin' personal? No one person has the power to singlehandedly destroy America or make it the shining star on earth-- it takes all of us collectively. People want to point fingers and lay blame for the division in this country, when they need only look in the mirror.

Right now American politics are in the gutter and I've had it. I'm tired of even trying to debate reasonably with those who have different ideals. I don't idolize or hate any politician-- I'll save the disdain for the murderous thuggeries across the ponds. Maybe some Americans don't realize how good they got it, maybe they've never faced real evil. Those who suffered under the likes of Hitler or Stalin would probably choose different adjectives than those used lately for American Presidents with whom they disagree. Is it really a relative thing??

Most of all I've had it with the constant painting with a very wide brush of all people who disagree with your ideologies, beliefs and opinions. If I believe what I read, then I'm a very rich, corporate-kissing, Christian-bible-thumping red neck. Either that or I'm dumber than horse manure. Oh, and Bush = Hitler and Michael Moore is our generation's Mark Twain.

It's hard for a person who does not see the world in black and white to hang with those who do. I'm finished with it. I'm not going to debate my beliefs any more, I'll merely state them. And I'm not going to defend against off-the-scale, black and white representations of "truth". It's not that simple.

I'm done.

Friday, June 11, 2004
  Farewell, Ronnie

Watching the Reagan memorial at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., I'm moved by the words of Margaret Thatcher and Brian Mulroney-- clear, heartfelt, genuine words. The eulogies of both Presidents Bush were equally moving. If you didn't see or hear the service, go read the eulogies:

Former President George H.W. Bush

President George W. Bush

The entire week was touching, and it reminded me about what's missing in politics today. Bush 41 was correct when he said "Politics can be cruel, uncivil." Reagan separated politics from his incredible humanity. His greatest political foes were some of his best personal friends. His optimism, conviction, strength, selflessness, humor, moral clarity, and love of country were his most defining characteristics. These are the characteristics that are sorely lacking in most politicians today, politicians who are driven by selfish motivations.

Regardless of how one feel about his policies, it's hard to not like the man. His sense of humor was infectious, and his manner of soothing millions was amazing. The relationship he had with his wife was all too rare, and it's hard to imagine how she felt this week. Just seeing her touching his casket and talking to him at every opportunity nearly brought me to tears. The scenes from this week have been a testament to the man. Who would have imagined Mikhail Gorbechev sitting next to Lady Thatcher? The memorial service was the ultimate mish-mash of ideologies and personalities.

Through all of it, I wondered when we might have another ex-President who will bring so many together like Reagan has. Four former Presidents were there: Ford, Carter, Clinton and Bush. Of them, I can't imagine any evoking this kind of outpouring from the U.S. and the world. Who will give their eulogies, and what will they say? If the outpouring of emotion and respect at one's death is an indication of their character, then Reagan was clearly one of the most charismatic leaders of our generation. History will decide the legacy of his Presidency. His legacy in my mind is already clear.

Rest in peace, Mr. President. God bless.

Sunday, June 06, 2004
Just read a comment that it's sad that host countries have to brace for violence whenever our President travels overseas. Funny thing is that those who hate our President the most are self-described "peace-loving" pacifists. Those who are driven to this violence are supposedly anti-violence.

I wouldn't describe this phenomenon as sad. Ironic? Maybe. Hypocritical? Definitely.

Saturday, June 05, 2004
  Rest in Peace

1911 - 2004