Thursday, November 30, 2006
A DEVELOPING WINTER STORM IS FORECAST TO TRACK FROM THE MID
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY THURSDAY NIGHT TO THE EASTERN GREAT LAKES BY
FRIDAY. THE TRACK OF THIS STORM IS FAVORABLE FOR PRODUCING HEAVY
SNOW IN EXCESS OF 6 INCHES FOR MUCH OF SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN. IN
ADDITION STRONG NORTHEAST WINDS MAY PRODUCE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW.
Sitting here without a snowblower, I'm really, really hoping they're wrong about this one.
I bought one and, thanks to my brother-in-law, got it home tonight (special thanks to Chris who offered to help me transport the snowblower as well). So this means that Jefferson County will not see a flake of snow from this storm.
Britney Spears is behaving more like her soon to be ex-husband, Kevin Federline, than a pop princess on the verge of a career comeback.
Fresh from her split from the club-hopping Federline, Spears looked hip and wholesome weeks ago in a surprise appearance on David Letterman's show and while ice skating in New York's Rockefeller Center in a Gap sweater. But now she's unleashing her inner wild child, running around with party girls Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, sporting unflattering hair extensions and flashing her apparently panty-less crotch to the paparazzi. (Be prepared to cringe if you dare to view the uncensored photos, splashed unceremoniously across the Web).
If I've said it once then I've said it a hundred times. Spears ain't a high class gal, and anyone who expects her to be is setting expectations Spears is never going to meet. This is a woman who I really think would have been content to be living in an old trailer park in Louisiana with a guy she married in high school, all the while being almost continually pregnant. If she weren't flashing her cooter to paparazzi, she'd be hanging clothes on a clothesline wearing nothing but a towel that was two inches too short (it happens, I've seen it, folks.)
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
For decades, college gates have opened wider and wider to the American public, with more whites and minorities attending than ever before. But that expansion is under strain in the face of rising costs and faster growth of minority populations long left behind in the march to graduation.
A new report released Monday from the National Conference of State Legislatures sounds the alarm: For every 100 ninth graders, only 18 will enter college and finish within six years.
"These results simply are not good enough," concludes the report, which was compiled by a bipartisan commission over 18 months.
To help more students earn diplomas, higher education and the states that oversee much of the system need to tackle spiraling tuition, poor college preparation, and the lack of help to keep students moving toward a degree, say experts.
Okay, now let's look at some of the particulars that really stuck out in my mind.
The financial burdens appear to be making it more difficult for low-income students to complete a degree. Of students starting at a four-year college in 1996, only 50 percent of those from households making $25,000 or less ended up with a bachelor's degree by 2001, compared with 74 percent of students from households making $70,000 or more.
I don't really get this one. The article discusses how reliant students have become on student loans. I was no different. I had a couple of small scholarships, but the majority of my schooling was paid for with student loans. I did not go to the top school that accepted me but rather the top school I could afford given my financing. I did not feel the pain of the tuition once during my college years. I felt it after my college years, no doubt, but not once during my college years. Still, a college education is one of those assets in life that are worth the debt. Given all of the college options available to students today and the ready availability of loans that do not have to be paid back until after graduation and the flexibility in repayment, I don't see how this can be an excuse unless students are poorly managing the financial options available to them or insisting on going to schools they cannot afford.
Working while in school also depresses graduation rates. In those same years, 65 percent of those who did not work graduated, while only 31 percent who worked full time did so.
Let's make sure we get the cause and effect straight on this one. Is working really the problem, or are students who are less into school more likely to find a job and prefer doing it to going to school? My wife and I both worked full time while in school, and while it was not easy, we made it work. I know other people who could have made it work, too, but they just weren't that interested in going to school and they ended up taking the job over finishing school.
Indiana is striking a bargain with its poor and lower-middle-class eighth graders: Maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average through high school, stay out of drugs and alcohol, and take the right set of classes, and we'll pay your in-state college tuition.
Hoorah for Indiana for its benevolence, but is this really such a good idea? First of all, by setting the floor at a 2.0 GPA, they aren't exactly motivating these kids to excel academically prior to college. Some of those 2.0 students I'm sure could do much better but they can coast and still get their tuition paid for, and coasting just isn't going to cut for them in college. Academically, they'll be totally unprepared for what is expected of them. Secondly, I shudder at the sight of kids that don't have to worry about paying for their own schooling. Many handle it well, and I mean no offense to those that do, but many others never take their college education seriously because they really don't have anything personally on the line. I saw many more kids who didn't have to pay a cent drop out my freshman and sophomore years than kids who had their own money tied up in their educations. Indiana's intentions may be good, but their methods are weak and I don't think this little experiment is going to turn out the way they expect. In fact, it may exacerbate the graduation problem.
Oklahoma offers a similar program. Texas has a variation on the theme: Finish college within five years and maintain a 3.0 grade point average and all tuition loans will be forgiven.
This is better as it incentifies students to excel and finish school, but at the same time I don't think full ride higher education is the responsibility of the taxpayer. There may be a return on investment argument that can be made, but I'm not sure how strong that argument is.
State legislatures also have control over the spending of public colleges and universities, meaning they could in theory drive down tuition increases by curbing spending. But higher education - both public and private - is under tremendous pressure to provide more amenities to students.
That pressure is much more internal and illusory than anyone wants to believe. In other words, most in state Wisconsin students are not going to choose a Wisconsin school over an out of state school because the Wisconsin schools have newer, prettier buildings. They are choosing those Wisconsin schools over out of state schools and in state private schools because of cost, proximity to home, and the programs offered. Instead, that tremendous pressure is in part a myth that university systems are glad to spread not because they are in dire need of these capital improvements but because they really, really want the things that the money is being spent on and the pressure story helps them get them.
I don't have much sympathy for many of the arguments in this story. If students want that college diploma and the career benefits that come with it, then they have to reach out and grab it, period. Even most poor & lower middle class kids should be able to overcome the financial part of the deal. I should know. I was on my own for my schooling. I passed up an opportunity for a full ride because I did not believe it was the right thing for me to do, much to my father's consternation. I worked hard, I accepted that I'd have debt throughout my twenties, got a couple of scholarships, and I made it work. You can only guide people so far towards all of the good things you want for them. At some point they need to want those things, too, and be willing to work hard and guide themselves to those ends. I know that I am brushing in broad strokes here, so you exceptions to some of the things I've discussed should not take it personally, but there are many others out there that probably should. Many people who do not graduate college don't have the system to blame but themselves.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
One squirrel got a fiery surprise when it apparently got curious about a chimney. The squirrel fell down a chimney at a Two Rivers home and landed in a fire in a fireplace Monday night, said Two Rivers Assistant Fire Chief Gary Shavlik.
The squirrel escaped the fire and ran around the house, Shavlik said.
Firefighters later caught it and called Wildlife of Wisconsin, an agency that helps wild animals. The squirrel suffered from bloody paws.
There was no fire damage and the squirrel is alive, Shavlik said.
Never trust a tree rat and always keep a fire going.
Monday, November 27, 2006
1. The election was weeks ago.
2. Gutknecht was running for a seat in Minnesota. This is Wisconsin.
3. He lost.
Gil, the RNC, Charter, somebody please stop showing that ad. Cancel future placements.
Canada's Parliament recognized Quebecers as a nation within a united Canada on Monday, backing a controversial proposal that has already prompted one minister in the minority Conservative government to quit.
The House of Commons, Parliament's elected chamber, voted 266 to 16 in favor of the motion, which the government said it saw as a way to head off pressure from separatists who want to break away from Canada.
But critics said the proposal could actually bolster the separatists, and the pro-independence Bloc Quebecois said it would use the change to demand extra powers, including Quebec's right to speak at international meetings.
This heads off nothing. It is just a feeble attempt to avoid the inevitable, to put off until tomorrow that which would be better dealt with today.
So, a question for all of my readers. Should Canada one day dissolve, and should its western provinces then petition the United States for statehood (a possibility that seems to come up whenever Quebec's secessionist movement fires up), do we accept them?
For more Get Fuzzy, which is typically more left leaning, go here.
THE break-up of the United Kingdom became a stark possibility last night as thousands of English and Scottish voters demanded home rule.
Most people on both sides of the border want their countries to “divorce” after almost 300 years together, according to a poll.
It showed that more than half of Scots and three out of five English folk want the two countries to go it alone. And thousands more want breakaway governments for Wales and Northern Ireland, too.
The survey revealed that backing for Scottish home rule has hit 52 per cent among Scots and 59 per cent south of the border.
Two-thirds — 68 per cent — of English people quizzed want their own parliament, an idea supported by 58 per cent of Scots.
And almost half of English voters — 48 per cent — want complete independence.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
The lovely Mrs. Jib and I had purchased a couple of strings of LED Christmas lights for our backyard. I had anticipated that LED lights would be hot, and we bought ours early. We put them up the day before Thanksgiving and we were pleased with how bright the pine cone shaped lights were. Then on Saturday night one of the strands did not turn on. I found that one of the dumb assed squirrels thought the lights were actually a pine cone or nut of some sort and it had chewed one of the lights off of its wire. Unfortunately, it did this during the day and not when the lights were on. We've searched 3 Walmarts, only to find that they were all sold out of this variety of light.
I have since done a little amateur electric work to get the string lit again, but I consider this a direct violation of the truce. The furry, chattering little rats are going to regret the day they let the idiot amongst them try to eat my Christmas lights.
Friday, November 24, 2006
As a former retail employee and manager in a small town, I thought that if I went to a big box like, say, Best Buy, in a small city an hour and fifteen minutes before it opened, I might have a shot at a ticket that they were handing out for their big bargains. I knew I'd have no shot in a bigger city, but I was confident I'd do okay in a smaller city. I was oh so wrong.
We came rolling up on Best Buy in Janesville at 3:50. I already had a bad feeling because there was a lot of traffic and stores like Shopko had about 30 people in front of them. I was stunned at what I saw at Best Buy. The parking lot was full and the parking lot at the adjacent outlet mall was busy with cars. The line started at the front door and went down the side of the store. I still thought maybe there was a very outside chance I might get a ticket for what I was looking for. We parked and started trudging towards the end of the line. Little did we know that what we thought was the end of the line really wasn't. Towards the back corner of the store, the line made a turn and stretched behind the outlet mall. I'm not kidding when I say that the line was almost a quarter of a mile long.
As it turns out, and I'm sure some of you were already aware of this, at Best Buy the tradition is to ruin your family's Thanksgiving by starting to line up at the door during the mid-afternoon. The first guy in line at the store that we were at got there at 3:30 the previous afternoon. We ran into someone we knew who got tickets for all three (two?) computers that they had on sale, and they had gotten into line at 5 pm the previous afternoon. We talked to another person who had driven by the store at midnight and the line had already turned its first corner.
We stuck it out, though. The lovely Mrs. Jib got one of the doorbusters that she was looking for plus a slew of other things. As for me, I managed to maintain a pleasant attitude...until I got inside of the store. My temper started to flare as I got jostled, so I went to the car until the lovely Mrs. Jib called me to come back in and run the store for some things while she stood in line for one product.
One other notable thing about standing in that line. An enterprising gentleman had set himself up in line yesterday and he got tickets for almost all of the big sale items. As soon as he got them, he started up the line, selling the tickets to people further back in line for $50 a ticket. I'll give him credit for finding a way to make a little not-so-quick cash, but he is lucky that the Janesville crowd was in generally a good mood. A number of people were not so fond of his enterprising spirit, especially considering that he couldn't sell the tickets for some of the more expensive items because those who wanted them didn't bring cash, and thus didn't have the $50 for the ticket. He ended with several items that nobody ever got a crack at.
After that, my inside the store experience was nearly complete. I caught up on some sleep in one parking lot, went into one other store, and patiently listened to talk radio while the lovely Mrs. Jib did her bidding at other stores. We have both agreed that this may be the last time we do the Black Friday thing together again.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
In the end, the Islamicists' best way to blow up the world's Starbucks or to turn off freewheeling American television is ultimately with a whimper, not a bang. They need not plant a hundred thousand bombs across the Westernized globe, but simply to cauterize its very spinal cord in the United States--the willingness of the American public, as in the past, to confront only the latest challenge to their freedom and all the ripples from it.
The sad part is that they've been succeeding at that, Hanson knows it, and that's why he wrote the above. On 9-11 Islamists slapped us in the face hard. As the sting faded, so did our stomach for the fight. Unfortunately, the battles are still being waged against us, and pulling the blanket over our heads and pretending that they aren't may be the biggest threat to the way of life we and our predecessors have been building since 1776.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Example: Charlie Rangel calling for the reinstation of the draft and other proposed legislation by the new Democrat Congress that will only prove to be wildly unpopular.
You never want to be the minority party, but it sure is going to be fun to watch the Democrats destroy their majority and recreate themselves as the minority party again. They are acting with the confidence of a party that just won an overwhelming landslide, which they dd not. At this rate, they are going to burn through their political capital faster than President Bush did. And I'm really going to enjoy tossing their rhetoric back at them.
Aww, dem sum'da birches yust knocked out Favre! Git me da Jagermeister!
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Seeking the perfect holiday gift for the golfer who has everything? Try flavored golf tees.
U.S. inventors John Packes and Ramon Peralta have come up a product line called Tasty Golf Tees in various flavors including mint, cherry, strawberry, and grape.
Mint is the strongest-tasting flavor in the range.
"It will knock out the foulest of cigar, beer breath within five seconds," Packes of Norwalk, Connecticut, told Reuters on Tuesday.
I go through more tees by gnawing on them then hitting them. If you saw me golf, you'd know how many thousands of dollars in dental work those tees save.
I still don't get the entire story.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I blame the new Democrat Congress.
Nevermind, I don't want to know. But I will probably will know. I should have brought earplugs.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who served as Health and Human Services Secretary in President Bush's first term, said Wednesday he intends to form a committee to explore a possible run for the White House in 2008.
"I intend to do so after the first of the year," the Republican said in reference to establishing an exploratory committee.
This is why he wouldn't run against Herb Kohl this year? Clearly his ego knows no bounds.
I have been considering putting my picture up on this blog, and I was debating whether I'd use a picture with or without the new glasses. Then I got freaked out because while my identity is no secret, it is still not obvious. I was getting comfortable with that until a search result came to this site that freaked me out a bit because of the IP and the exact words used-Jiblog and my full name. That search string and that IP address shouldn't have happened together. So for now, no picture. Perhaps soon, though.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Iran's university campuses are falling silent. Student activists, once at the vanguard of a movement seeking political and social change in the Islamic Republic, say they are increasingly afraid to speak out.
"I used to take part in so many protests. I was arrested twice, once in 2001 and once in 2003," said student Mehdi Aminzadeh, describing his role in rallies during the tenure of pro-reform former President Mohammad Khatami.
"The situation has changed a lot since that time. The pressures have pushed us to be more cautious," said the 29-year-old, who says he has been barred from registering for a masters in political science.
I no longer do this to sturdy resolve. I'm beginning to think we are past that point. Instead I do it to illustrate how unwilling and unable we are to wage war anymore. Don't get me wrong, our troops are amongst the most able and willing soldiers this world has ever seen. It is here at home where we are lacking. I don't think we understand what war is anymore, and I don't think we will again until something truly stomach turningly devestating happens to us. And unfortunately that day will come, be it tomorrow, 100 years from now, or a thousand years from now. History is replete with days such as that, and we are not an exception, contrary to popular belief. My concern is that we are hastening that day with our weakness here at home.
Monday, November 13, 2006
The first cracks in the united front over Iraq between Tony Blair and President Bush appeared last night as the Prime Minister offered Iran and Syria the prospect of dialogue over the future of Iraq and the Middle East.
I'm not so sure. These four paragraphs are why.
Mr Blair said that Iran’s “genuine fear” that America sought a military solution was “entirely misplaced”. It did not, he said bluntly.
Mr Bush ducked any direct confrontation with Mr Blair, saying that he had not read the speech. But, in a White House press conference alongside Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, he gave warning against cracks appearing in the united front with which the West has approached Iran.
“I think it’s very important for the world to unite with one common voice to say to the Iranians that, if you choose to continue forward, you’ll be isolated,” Mr Bush said.
Although Robert Gates, the new US Defence Secretary, is also among those who have advocated a more open approach to Iran, Mr Bush said that the regime’s nuclear ambitions were a “threat to world peace” and went on to discuss the prospect of economic sanctions against the regime.
President Bush has nominated a man to the post of Secretary of Defense who believes in dialogue with Iran. I don't approve, but this was not a mistake. The decision has been made to engage Iran. Blair is paving the way and the Baker Commission will provide the cover. There is no split here, just an evolving game of good cop, bad cop.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The Baker commission seems to be doing a lot more than just re-thinking Iraq. It appears to be copiously a Vietnam-type cut-and-run plan that will leave the Gulf far more dangerous than it is now. The Vietnam model looks like a “face-saving” retreat by the United States—just like that one that left Vietnam a Stalinist prison state with tens of thousands of boat people fleeing and dying, and next door in Cambodia, two or three million dead at the hands of Pol Pot.
I am increasingly concerned by the Bush Administration's potential turn in Iraq policies. Iraq is in a crucial strategic location in the Middle East. If the administration loses its nerve and bails on Iraq, in effect handing it to Iran and Syria in some grand deal, they best have someone on hand to take the saif out of our backs.
I was at an area watering hole on Friday night, and at one point the conversation turned to the schools. To be specific, the conversation turned to the goings on at a smaller south central Wisconsin school district. I learned of some small programs for difficult children that disturbed me. For instance, at the elementary level, the school has in place a couple of policies. For angry children there is a room set aside. In this room there are pillows. The kids with anger management problems can go to this room anytime they feel angry and take out some of that anger on the pillows. They can stay there until the anger in them subsides. I'm sure that some genius bleeding heart thinks that this is a great way to get these kids to vent their anger without hurting anyone. Unfortunately, these kids need to learn how to control their anger and deal with it. This kind of pillow therapy does neither. All it does is forestall the day when they will be confronted with their own anger. Second, one would have to think that this teaches those kids how to game the system. Don't feel like sitting in class? Say you are angry and go off to the pillow room for a while. These kids aren't stupid. The second thing I was told about was the gum policy in the school. It is not allowed. Well, it isn't allowed for the well behaved kids, anyway. The not so well behaved, that's another matter. If they are chronic pen chewers, then in order to discourage that behavior, they are allowed to signal their teacher when they need to chew on something. They may then go up in front of the class and get a piece of gum from the teacher's desk. Nothing like signaling to the well behaved kids that their good behavior comes with fewer immediate benefits than bad behavior does.
Now I know these are both small little issues, but I find both troublesome. They are both weak-kneed policies that were not in place not so long ago when I was going through the public schools. I'm sure that there are other policies at other schools that will upset me more. That is what is concerning me now, many years ahead of when I'll need to worry about. I want my kids to go to a school that teaches kids that there are serious and significant consequences to bad behavior. I have no confidence that public schools are capable of this. I realize that this is only partially the school's problem. We also discussed how many parents refuse or are incapable to instill discipline in their children and the schools get stuck with problems and how, in many of those cases, the parents come to expect the schools to somehow 'fix' these kids when they've made no effort themselves. I'm sympathetic to what school employees have to deal with, but at the same time I don't want my kids learning the bad lessons examples like the above can teach. Perhaps I'll give private schools a little more thought in the coming years.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Who could be the most politically damaged by a 43 turn to 41? The most conservative member of the family, Jeb Bush. His odds of running and winning the presidency were already slim, but something like this could crush any future chances he would have.
A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service said: "We received a call stating there was a male who had a firework in his bottom and it was bleeding. He was attended to and taken to Sunderland Royal hospital."
The man, whose injuries include a scorched colon, is still in hospital.
Here's a couple of tips for you. First, don't shoot fireworks from your bum. Second, if you are dieting and looking for a effective appetite suppressant, talk to someone from an ER about the things they've seen.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Note: This post was recreated yesterday. This is the original version that hung up in the ether for 36 hours before it kicked loose. I'm leaving it up to make a futile point about Blogger.
-I think Fair Wisconsin’s intentionally misleading campaign against the marriage amendment backfired in some regards. I’ve talked with a number of people who were undecided and sympathetic to gay marriage who ended up voting yes to the amendment. The reason? They disliked Fair Wisconsin’s tactics and that pushed them from on the fence to yes. It didn’t necessarily change the outcome, but it widened the gap.
-I’m tired of hearing about bi-partisanship. Issues and ideas are not like porridges. You cannot mix a hot bowl with a cold bowl to come up with a tasty warm bowl. Issues and ideas usually don’t have utopian middle grounds, and when middle ground is found, the result is usually worse than the original ideas.
<>-Every Blue Dog has its day. In fact, right now a number of Blue Dogs find themselves in very advantageous positions. <>
-This election, soon to be discovered by the nut roots, dragged the Democratic party towards the center. With no strong conservative Presidential candidates in the wings for 2008, will that election drag the Republican party towards the center, too?
Just as the Republican Party can't win without conservatives, conservatism cannot win without the Republican Party. When the Republican Party cratered on Tuesday, the ability of conservatives to shape and influence government policy cratered with it.
That's an important thing to understand because a lot of people on the right, I'm not talking about Ivy here, seem to have the mistaken impression that the fate of conservatism and the Republican Party are not intertwined. So, they errantly believe that if the Republican Party loses an election, conservatism isn't affected or if they go off and vote for some loser Third Party, that they're still doing their part to move conservatism forward. Sorry, but that's just not true.Although merely having Republicans in power doesn't guarantee that a conservative agenda will be enacted, for a conservative agenda to be enacted, Republicans need to be in power.
I think a lot of conservatives understand this, but many others don't. Hitting the self destruct button on the GOP does not really help conservatism all that much unless your goal is to
perpetually be the minority party. If a Republican truly does not deserve his or her job, you get rid of them, but getting rid of Republicans out of ideological spite is petty and unproductive. If you want to make a change within the party, you had better get it done in the primaries because the general election is exactly the wrong time. As hard as it is to beat an incumbent in a primary, it is even more difficult to rebuild and regain the majority and then hold it.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
*I was wrong in my prediction that Republicans would hold slim leads in both houses of Congress.
*It is now put up or shut up time for Democrats. The floor is theirs and they can no longer merely oppose Republicans.
*I'm optimistically hoping that a little ownership in dealing with the threats this nation faces sobers the Democrats and creates a little healthier rhetoric from them.
*The whole "united country" idea is largely a myth. I don't think I've ever seen this country united in my 30 years.
*You can remove George Allen and Bill Frist from your 2008 Presidential hopefuls list. They still might be hopeful, but they both have no chance.
*How long before Justice Ginsburg or Stevens (or both) retires? They don't have to wait out President Bush anymore.
-I think Fair WisconsinÂs intentionally misleading campaign against the marriage amendment backfired in some regards. IÂve talked with a number of people who were undecided and sympathetic to gay marriage who ended up voting yes to the amendment. The reason? They disliked Fair WisconsinÂs tactics and that pushed them from on the fence to yes. It didnÂt necessarily change the outcome, but it widened the gap.
-We are a strange people, we Americans. A recent survey said that something like 60% of us think government does too much. This in a country where the majority of people criticized the Federal government, not state and local governments and individuals, for not doing enough before and after Hurricane Katrina. This is also a country that just placed the original party of oppressive government back in legislative power.
-IÂm tired of hearing about bi-partisanship. Issues and ideas are not like porridges. You cannot mix a hot bowl with a cold bowl to come up with a tasty warm bowl. Issues and ideas usually donÂt have utopian middle grounds, and when middle ground is found, the result is usually worse than the original ideas.
-Every Blue Dog has its day. In fact, right now a number of Blue Dogs find themselves in very advantageous positions.
-This election, soon to be discovered by the nut roots, dragged the Democratic party towards the center. With no strong conservative Presidential candidates in the wings for 2008, will that election drag the Republican party towards the center, too?
*I don't think this election was a base turnout election. With turnout what it was at the polls, I can't help but think that this election was decided by those occasional voters who don't follow politics closely but do watch the evening news and read newspapers, and they broke heavily Democrat.
*A note to Republicans...some of you poorly executed the robo calls. 4 or 5 calls in two days is inexcusable. After the 3rd you just start burning any good will you may have developed on the first two. Next time, ask yourself this: Would I personally call a complete stranger 5 times in 2 days to convince them to vote for me? Your answer should be no.
*I'll say this much, I think Democrat leadership has taken on a very even tone over there victory...so far. I wouldn't expect that to last.
*As for the politics, President Bush must be careful not enter lame duck territory too quickly.
*On those ornery, disenchanted conservatives out there. Their desire for ideological purity, while admirable, is fool hardy. It just isn't possible here in the real world, not when conservatives are much less than a majority in this country and votes are needed from non-conservatives. That's not to say that I'm pleased about the Republican performance the past two years because I'm not. But those disaffected conservatives helped start last night's forest fire. Now they better be out in the field planting the seeds for the regrowth before the weeds sprout and choke everything out.
*I'm more than a little stunned that Wisconsin sent Jim Doyle back to the Governor's mansion by such a wide margin. He must have dominated the creepy, bald, white guy vote.
*Another thing about Doyle. I hope my fellow Wisconsinites come to understand that this election showed that Doyle has no compunction about building a political machine out of the capital.
*I was very stunned by the turnout here in Wisconsin's 37th Assembly District. It wasn't going to be an easy election for the Gasper campaign, but the results were not what I expected.
*Perhaps the Founder's should have set the Presidency up as a single 6 year term. American patience seems to wear thin at 6 years.
*I can't help but think that voters reacted to being tired of the fighting, the negative news stories, and the war. I wonder if they realize that they probably just made all three of those things even worse.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Britain's lawmakers Tuesday granted posthumous pardons for soldiers executed during World War I, ending years of campaigning by the families of men condemned to death for cowardice.
"(The act) recognizes that execution was not a fate that the servicemen deserved," the Defense Ministry said.
"The executed soldiers deserve better treatment than to be remembered as cowards; instead, they should be remembered as brave men who were willing to fight for their country in difficult conditions," Dubs said.
Look, under the norms of the day, the actions of these soldiers earned them a death penalty. We can look back decide that something like that should not occur in the present, but you can't as a nation try to assuage your feelings of guilt by issuing a pardon. They were condemned to death and then they were put to death. Live it with it, remember it, and if you really think it was wrong, don't do it again. These postumous pardons 80 plus years later don't really do much for the dead except to hide their history under another layer of information.
Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.
Under the rule being considered by the city’s Board of Health, which is likely to be adopted soon, people born in the city would be able to change the documented sex on their birth certificates by providing affidavits from a doctor and a mental health professional laying out why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex, and asserting that their proposed change would be permanent.
If this is socially acceptable, then I think that if I can prove that in my mind my house is only worth $37 and that I've thought that way for at least two years and I get two people to testify to my mindset, I should be able to go to the assessor's office and change the valuation of my property.
Monday, November 06, 2006
And withdrawal from Iraq would be vastly more dangerous than withdrawal from Vietnam turned out to be.
To be sure, our withdrawal from Vietnam was bad for the Vietnamese. There was, contrary to Kerry's prediction at the time, a bloodbath, and the Vietnamese lived under a cruel communist dictatorship. But the dominoes did not fall beyond Indochina because, unnoticed by war backers and opponents, other East Asian states -- South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia -- were launching a free-market economic boom. The Vietnam War gave them time to get started. These countries had rule of law and in time developed democracies.
Iraq is not in such a good neighborhood.
Nearby are Iran, the leading supporter of international terrorism, busy developing nuclear weapons; Syria, headquarters of many terrorist groups; and Saudi Arabia, where petrodollars are used to disseminate totalitarian Wahhabism around the world. Premature withdrawal from Iraq would give terrorists more space and time to plan and prepare attacks on us beyond Iraq, and a visible defeat for the United States would exhilarate the followers of Osama bin Laden and other Islamofascist terrorists. It would leave unprotected the brave Iraqis who risked death to vote in three elections and held up their purple fingers in triumph.
It should be noted that Vietnam was not in the strategic location that Iraq is. In abandoning our allies in South Vietnam, we gave the country to our enemies but it did not harm us in the big picture of the Cold War. The same would certainly happen to Iraq if we tucked tail and ran, only it would seriously harm us in our fight against Islamism. Iran would easily be able to control a belt across the Middle East, and with nukes in a couple of years they would likely be able to dominate the rest of the region. He who controls the Middle East controls the primary energy source of the world economy. Period. And he who commands that much control over the world economy also controls you and I.
We needed a president who could act firmly back then, and we'll need one in the next two years. But we're not going to have one. President Bush will be dodging document requests, defending his administration's integrity and battling each day's sensational headlines supposedly uncovering scandal after scandal.
The Democrats will use their majorities to conduct a two-year campaign for the presidency. Most likely, it will work.
Like it or not, agree with it or not, we are on a war footing right now, as we have been since September 12, 2001. It is a war that was brought to us, not the other way around. The job is far from done, and the elimination of an enemy leader here or there will not be enough to end this war. Is the above really what we want? A party leading Congress not with this war in the front of their minds, but rather the 2008 Presidential election? If Democrats take majorities, we will be looking at two years of political gaming that will distract the nation from the more pressing issue at hand, which is defending against and rolling back radical Islamism. We'll see how serious Americans are about this fight tomorrow.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
(Cross posted at The Wisconsin Sports Bar)
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I just thought I'd go on the record with that.