Friday, March 31, 2006

Leinie's Sunset Wheat

There's a new Leinie on the block, and its name is Sunset Wheat.

“The packaging, with its sunset, lake scene and pier with an Adirondack chair, takes someone to a place that says this is Leinenkugels. This is the northwoods,” Leinenkugel said.

Sunset Wheat is brewed with malted wheat, balanced with pale barley malt and spiced with Cluster hops and natural flavors. It has a golden, hazy appearance typical of wheat beers and is flavored with coriander, a spice derived from the seed of the cilantro plant.

By the sound of it, Sunset Wheat will be hitting the store shelves any day now, my fellow Leinie's drinkers out there. It sounds like an interesting beer, and it thankfully isn't an orange flavored beer, which was a rumor at one point.

New York Post circulation scam

Note to the NY Post: If you operate in a heavily competitive newspaper market such as New York city, you may not want to be quite so brazen in pulling a circulation scam. From the New York Daily News:

Tens of thousands of New York Posts were dumped at two recycling centers yesterday morning, just hours after being printed, in a bizarre circulation ploy that has already come to the attention of newspaper circulation authorities.

An executive at a Brooklyn facility where at least 10,000 Posts were dumped said the papers would be sent to China, still wrapped in their original plastic binders.

Caught red handed.

Questions for the Democratic Presidential hopefuls

Since 2008 presidential politics began about 4 hours after President Bush won re-election in 2004, I have a few questions I'd like to see the 2008 Democratic hopefuls answer right now.

1. Will you voluntarily forego secret surveilance of international phone calls involving individuals who may pose a threat to the national security of the United States?
2. Will you close the terrorist detention center at GITMO? If so, what do you plan to do with terror suspects?
3. Will you cease the effort to try terrorists in military tribunals and instead give them the rights of American citizens and charge them with crimes in civilian courts?
4. Will you inhibit the ability of law enforcement to prevent terrorist attacks by attempting to reverse the Patriot Act renewal?
5. Will you promise to never use American military force in a preventative nature unless given the explicit approval of the United Nations?
6. Will you move to immediately remove American troops from Iraq?
7. Do you see a nuclear armed Iran as a threat to world peace, and if so, how do you propose we prevent it? If not, why?
8. How do you suggest we capture Osama bin Laden? Details only, please.
9. Do you support the troops? If so, will you vow not to cut funding to ther military during your term?
10. If you have any doubt as to whether a foreign nation is complicit with terrorists, will you give the benefit of that doubt to that foreign nation or to the safety and well being of the American people?

If they answer any of the questions honestly, they'll lose so much support from the far left of the Democratic base they'll have no hope of winnig their party's nomination. If they don't answer them honestly, they have no hope of defeating the Republican nominee.

An intern's eye view

I apologize, but I just couldn't resist.

Another winner from Investor's Business Daily

If these guys keep writing smart editorials, I just may have to subscribe. On Thursday they looked at the issue of Iran.

Proliferation: The U.N.'s toothless response to Iran's defiance on nuclear weapons tells Iran it can do what it wants with no consequences. Once again, the U.S. is in the lonely position of telling a rogue state "no."

The so-called P5 — the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia, the five permanent, veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council — on Thursday issued a new set of "demands" to Iran. But calling the weak requests it made "demands" is a bit grandiose. The group really just punted.

This is the keeper statement:

It's beginning to look like High Noon, and the U.S. is the only sheriff in town. We can't look to the U.N. to stare down the threat. We can only hope that, as we stand tall, the other guy blinks.

That's it in a nutshell, folks. With the most recent resolution from the UN Security Council, it became obvious that we have little more than our hopes and prayers standing between an unpredictable Iran and nuclear weapons.


This is disturbing on so many levels. A German man takes us through the process of creating a computer case from a plaster mold of his wife's torso. First off, do you really want your friends ogling your computer? Second, what does it say about you when you find your wife so beautiful that you feel you need to immortalize her as a computer? Third, does she start to get jealous of herself when he spends a lot of time playing on her keyboard?

The post-Jill Carroll release buzz

First off, I am very pleased that Jill Carroll was released by her captors in Iraq and that she appears to be healthy. I've really resisted writing about it thus far though because it seems so odd. There are not enough details right now to do any kind of meaningful analysis, but Carroll's words set off warning sirens for me and for others. Something just isn't right here. It may be because of Carroll's political beliefs, it may be Stockholm syndrome, or who knows, something more sinister, but whatever it is it will pay to watch this story as more details emerge in the coming days. It just doesn' compute that a released hostage who lived for three months under the threat of death would so emphatically point out that her captors treated her well.

This would explain the peculiarity of the story.

Yes it does

Jed is dead on-YouTube does kick ass, although I wonder how they deal with the intellectual property issue. One reason why I love YouTube-William Wallace's Edinburgh Speech. That is one of my favorite scenes in Braveheart, so much so that I have an MP3 copy of it on my computer. Now I can tool over to YouTube and check it out whenever I want.

I wasn't even paid to lavish this praise. I'd tell you all if I were.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Diplomacy: A comparison

Theodore Roosevelt diplomacy: Speak softly; carry big honking stick. Wiggle stick from time to time to remind people it exists.

21st century UN & European diplomacy: Speak loud and obnoxiously. Sell stick to pay for social programs; pretend you are still holding it behind your back. Chatter amongst selves while rogue regimes point and laugh.

Florida woman sells her child's well being

Most parents will tell you that you can't put a price on a child's well being. This Florida woman did, and the price wasn't very high.

A mother confronted a neighbor who allegedly raped her 7-year-old son and threatened to call police, but reportedly accepted $600 to let the man molest her son again, Florida authorities said.

There is a special place in hell for people like this.

Prediction: Favre retires

How did John Derbyshire put it in one of his "Derb Radio" podcasts? It was something like, when everyone is of one opinion, I say bet the other way. That's my take on Brett Favre. Nobody really knows what is going on in his head right now, but the consensus is that "signs" point to him coming back to the Packers next year. Of course, that is always couched with a little statement of some sort that acknowledges that he could retire. I'm not seeing those signs as positively as others, and I'm concerned that Favre knows the Packers will be bad again next year. He's still has gas in the tank and is pretty healthy, but I don't think he'll come back to a team that has no shot.

So my prediction is this: Favre retires this weekend.

Of course, he could always end up deciding to give it one more year...

A little something for the ladies

Okay ladies, you've always thought that guys were a little oxygen deprived. Here's the first step towards proof:
Dead zones — oxygen-starved patches of ocean — may be turning normal breeding grounds into the equivalent of male-dominated locker rooms for fish.

In lab experiments, newly born male zebrafish outnumber females 3-to-1 when oxygen is reduced. And the precious few females have testosterone levels about twice as high as normal, according to a scientific study released Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

CNN reporter defects to Al-Jazeera

Al-Jazeera International is starting to steal on air talent from CNN:

Lucia Newman, CNN's first and only correspondent based in Havana, has jumped to the new Al-Jazeera International network, which plans to begin operations later this spring.

Newman will be based in Al-Jazeera's bureau in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Journalist Mariana Sanchez, a former news anchor for Panamericana Television, will also work for Al-Jazeera International in a Caracas, Venezuela bureau, the network said on Wednesday.

Fill in your own CNN joke here.

UN Security Council to Iran: You're almost in big trouble

You have to give the UN Security Council this: They prevent war through active inaction. Today the members of the Security Council, after almost two weeks of haggling amongst themselves, have agreed on the wording of a statement to be given to Iran. I've yet to see the text of the statement, but I don't expect to say much of anything. After 30 more days of Iran developing its nuclear technology, the Security Council will likely convene again, haggle some more, and lob another warning at Iran. Maybe they can even throw a scary phrase into that statement like "dire consequences." China and Russia simply will not allow any action to be taken against their clients in Tehran. Meanwhile, Iran will get closer and closer to having an operative nuclear weapon that can be used against Israel, Europe, or the United States.

The UN is designed to prevent any nation from taking any kind of action against any other, or to actively do nothing. In that sense, it is doing its job. Unfortunately, the design of the UN does not meet modern needs, and one day its inaction will directly lead to a catastrophic loss of life somewhere in the world, and history will look back in wonder as to how we could let this dinosaur of a global body keep the world mired in dangerous situation after dangerous situation.

Google zaps own blog

Fellow Blogger users, know that your blogs are not the only ones vulnerable to being deleted and then taken by someone else. Google did it to its own company blog:

The latest gaffe was acknowledged Monday at about 11:15 p.m. Pacific Time, when a Google product manager confirmed that the Google Blog, as it is officially called, had earlier been deleted by mistake and that the blog address was temporarily claimed "by another user."
So far, Google's only official reaction to the mistake is the official note posted Monday night. "The blog was mistakenly deleted by us (d'oh!) which allowed the blog address to be temporarily claimed by another user. This was not a hack, and nobody guessed our password. Our bad," reads the posting in part. The Google Blog is hosted on the Blogger service, which Google owns.

Yeah, you may want to back up your work now. They can't even protect their own blog.

The GM layoff v. a typical layoff

Beyond Madison Avenue tells laid off GM workers that they should be thankful for how much better they have it than most Americans, and does it through a handy little comparison of fictional layoffs:

The GM Salary Worker Layoff - "Hank, we need to let you go. As part of the agreement, you will recieve one month severence pay for every year you worked, which ads up to nine months. In addition to this severnece, GM will continue to pay your health insurance premiums, and let you keep your company car. You will also be eligible for unemployment"

The GM Hourly Worker - "Jim, Here is $140,000 to walk out today. We lost 10 billion dollars. Take it or leave it"

The Advertising Agency Layoff - "Hey, Bob. Thanks for the five years. Business is slow. We need to lay you off. We will provide a good reference, and you can keep your laptop"

Hey! Ad guys get to keep their laptops when they get fired? Lucky bastards.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

To Walker and Green supporters: It is time to settle down

Okay, it has been 4 days since Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker dropped out of the running for the Republican nomination for Governor of Wisconsin. Today, the call went out to Walker supporters to relax and come into the fold. I agree whole heartedly. We aren't accomplishing anything by grumping at this point. If you have your concerns about Mark Green, fine, but give the guy a chance first. The election is still a long way away, and he has barely begun telling the entire state what he is about. Set aside the ethanol issue for now and just listen for a while. If it looks like Green is off base, we'll all have plenty of time to discuss it.

Now, on the flip side of this, I understand that Green supporters are fiercely loyal to their guy. I hope you all understand that Walker had supporters that were just as passionate as you. Walker just gave Green a gift-an unopposed nomination. Keep in mind, it has only been four days. If the shoes were on the other feet, you'd still be grumpy about things, too. So for God's sake, be a little magnanimous to Walker supporters, and a lot more welcoming.

Kevin, I'm sorry to single you out, but your comments are the most recent that I've read, so I am going to use them to push through my point:

I sympathize with the Walker supporters, truly I do. But as a Green supporter since his 2005 Convention speech (My first time to see the two of them, measure their responses and tone.), the idea of Green as a moderate or RINO is beyond the realm of reality. Grow the hell up, realize that Doyle is vulnerable and your aid is needed.

Green supporters, switch Walker's and Green's name in that passage. If Green had just dropped out and a Walker supporter told you to grow the hell up, would you be as willing to come into the fold peacefully? I'd wager not. The call went out for Walker supporters to relax and join the fold today, but it also needs to be said that some Green supporters need to relax and do a better job of welcoming the Walker supporters with wide open arms. Green needs a unified party to beat Doyle, and that means Walker supporters, you need to set aside your differences with Green supporters, and Green supporters, you need to show a little more patience with Walker supporters as they get used to their new reality as Green backers.

I feel so strongly about this that, if necessary, I will don the Green Team t-shirt and do cartwheels if it helps defuse this animosity.

In heaven there is no beer...

..but there is beer in the Czech Republic, my new vision of heaven:

A family brewery in the Czech Republic has opened the world’s first beer health centre in its cellar. The Chodovar Family brewery in Chodova Plana offers beer baths, beer massages and beer cosmetics.

The cellar has seven huge Victorian style baths where visitors can swim in beer while enjoying a pint poured at a bathside bar.

I worked at a brewery (guess which one) for a brief time in college, and I believe the brewery's claims that beer is healthy. I would get cuts from broken bottles and burns from the hot glue used on 12 packs and cases, and they would heal much faster than normal cuts and burns did, and I attribute that to the antiseptic effects of the beer that spilled on them.

Investor's Business Daily asks tough questions of Islam

Wow. The editors of the IBD have done something that few publications are willing to do these days. They singled out CAIR and asked some very tough questions that need to be answered. I'm not sure I can do the editorial justice without excerpting much of it, so go there and read the whole thing.

Nina does Northwest Wisconsin

Nina Camic immortalizes her trip to Northwest Wisconsin with a posting on it.  It is an amusing read, especially if you are familiar with the area around Bloomer and Turtle Lake.  She even gives us a glimpse of a hot fashion that never goes out of style.  And she’s a Leinie’s drinker!  (HT:  Althouse)

Caspar Weinberger, 1917-2006

This is turning out to be a tough week for former Reagan administration officials. Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger died today from pneumonia.

As a young kid, I was pretty up to date on the news, especially for my age group. I read the newspaper everyday and watched the evening news every night. Because of the TV news's habit of continually piping out stories about how bad the Reagan administration was, I will admit that I was occasionally frightened by President Reagan and his administration (that of course changed as I got older). Still, I can remember liking Caspar Weinberger, if only because his name conjured up memories of a cartoon for me.

Weinberger will be remembered for overseeing the rebuilding of the American military after the ugly 1970's. At this point, I think it is only appropriate to let Lyn Nofziger tell the story of Reagan's decision to appoint Weinberger:

It turned out that Clements, who had served a hitch as Deputy Secretary of Defense, had something specific on his mind. "I think you should name Cap Weinberger secretary of defense," he told Reagan.

Reagan replied noncommittally that he'd consider it and the two went on to other subjects. After Clements left, Reagan said to me (I had sat in on the meeting), "You know, I was lying in bed last night thinking about who should be secretary of defense and all of a sudden it came to me that it should be Cap."

He went on, "But I didn't want to say anything and have Bill think I was upstaging him. If he wants to think it's his idea that's all right with me."

As far as I know no one ever did tell Clements that Reagan had come up with the idea on his own. And in the long run it didn't matter. What mattered was that it was a good idea and that Reagan acted on it.

Rest in peace, Caspar.

One word for the ethanol industry


I guarantee that if the ethanol industry can find a way for ethanol to provide more value to the average car owner, ethanol will win against gasoline in the marketplace without any government intervention. It ain't happening yet, though:
According to the Web site, 35 FFV's (Flex Fuel Vehicles) exist in 2006 models. Each model receives less fuel economy in the ethanol version. For example, the popular eight-cylinder Ford Crown Victoria sedan is estimated to get 25 mpg on the highway with regular unleaded, but 18 mpg as a FFV. This is a 28 percent drop in gas mileage.

Lampert told United Press International it is necessary to account for this drop in fuel economy with a subsequent drop in price per gallon of fuel to entice users to buy. The price reconfiguration should be relative to the change in fuel economy, he added. For example, with the Ford Crown Victoria receiving 28 percent fewer mpg, the price per gallon of ethanol-blended fuel should be 28 percent cheaper.

Once this industry finds more cheaper, cleaner, and more efficient ways to produce ethanol and they address their supply issues, it may have a bright future-without government interference.

Babs & Bubba

If this doesn't make you wail for the horrible days when the images that involuntarily entered your head were of Bill & Monica, I don't know what will (HT- RWN):

(Streisand) was perhaps the most famous FOB (Friend of Bill), but was President Clinton more than a friend? Hillary banned Babs from the White House, according to Andersen, after Streisand stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom while Hillary was away.

Ick, ick, ick, ick, ick.

About that time of the year for a New Madrid story

Every single spring, the major media outlets run with a scary story about how the New Madrid Fault is about shift and kill thousands in the nation's heartland. The media has had plenty of pet horror stories to run with this year, from bird flu to civil war in Iraq, but you can bet on it; sometime between Easter and June they'll be bored and will pick back up on this traditional spring horror story.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Moussaoui's "fifth plane" claim

Today Zacarias Moussaoui claimed that he and shoe bomber Richard Reid were to hijack a fifth plane and fly it into the White House. The story is generating a lot of interest, but I wouldn't put a lot of stock into it. Moussaoui has very little to gain from being co-operative, and I suspect that he is just having 'fun' with the whole, much like when he signed his guilty plea with "The Twentieth Hijacker." I also have extreme difficulty believing that Richard Reid would be trusted with any such operation.

Just the same, Moussaoui was kind enough to seal his death penalty with this exchange:

Prosecutor Spencer asked: "You knew on Aug. 16 that other al-Qaida members were in the United States?"

"That's correct," Moussaoui replied.

Spencer: "You knew there was a pending plot?"

"That's correct."

Spencer: "You lied because you wanted to conceal that you were a member of al-Qaida?"

"That's correct."

"You lied so the plan could go forward?"

<> "That's correct."
Enjoy your 72 white grapes, Zac.

Lyn Nofziger, 1924-2006

Lyn Nofziger, a former advisor to President Reagan, passed away today from cancer. I wish I could write a more eloquent tribute to Nofziger, but I have to admit that I'm too young to remember much of Nofziger's time in the White House. It can be difficult to read about Ronald Reagan's political years though without encountering something about, said, or written by Nofziger.

The demographics of bloggers tend to skew even younger than me, so I'm sure that many more conservative bloggers will have much less than the fleeting memories that I have. Hopefully bloggers better versed on Reagan's political years will be able to pay him an appropriate tribute. Rest in peace, Lyn.

The al Qaeda beer plot

Those nefarious bastards.
An alleged al Qaeda terrorist plotting a bomb attack on Britain told accomplices to sell contaminated beer at soccer games or poisoned hamburgers from street vending stalls, an FBI informant told a court Friday.

Waheed Mahmood, 34, accused with six other British men of plotting a terror strike, claimed during a meeting in Pakistan that he had already tested the poison plan, said the witness, Mohammed Junaid Babar.

Talk about easy, no fault divorces

I suspect men are going to be moving to India in droves with this news:

A Muslim couple in India have been told by local Islamic leaders they must separate after the husband "divorced" his wife in his sleep, the Press Trust of India reported.

Sohela Ansari told friends that her husband Aftab had uttered the word "talaq", or divorce, three times in his sleep, according to the report published in newspapers on Monday.

Now if single guys can just find a country where uttering "Scarlett Johansson" 3 times in their sleep actually works...

Cat burglar

A couple of times a year we give Delilah cat the freedom to roam the great outdoors. Some cats just can't handle their freedom and always seem find themselves behind bars.

The birth of a pet peeve

I just finished watching the Sopranos with the lovely Mrs. Jib, and I witnessed something that I know is going to be a pet peeve for me for a long time to come. Towards the end of the show, there was a saying posted in Tony's room. I barely heard the saying, but my wife pointed out to me that the note said that it was an Ojibwe saying. The characters on the show pronounced it O-jib-wee. Ojibwe is a word that most Americans have zero familiarity with, as the more common American term is Chippewa. So for most of the country, they will now be known as the O-jib-wee thanks to this episode of the Sopranos.

For the record, if you find yourself in Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, or Canada and you ever have to grapple with the pronunciation of Ojibwe, Ojibwa, or Ojibway, remember one thing. The smartest thing you can do with unfamiliar Native American names and words is to make them as phoenetic as you can. The fact is, Chippewa, Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Ojibway (and various other spellings) are all the same word, just written down by people of different languages. The Ojibwe variation was used by French fur traders and missionaries, whereas Chippewa was how the English and American ear heard the same word. Ojibwe is actually pronounced O-jib-weh or O-jib-way, but if you soften the 'o' and the 'j' while clipping the 'way', it starts to sound an awful lot like Chippewa.

Phoenetic side note: There is nothing tricky about the name of this blog. It is how it looks: Jiblog. Take my nickname, Jib, make it a compound word by adding blog, and drop a 'b' so it flows off the tounge nicely. And Jib is not pronounced Jeeb. I take no offense to any confusion and/or mispronunciations. Mispronunciations are a way of life for me. I just think that now is as good a time as any to put that fact on the record.

If you are interested, the Ojibwe saying was, "Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky." Thanks to KateSpot for copying that down.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A hat for the Illinois sport fan

First, there was the cheesehead for Wisconsin sports fans. Finally, there is a suitable version for Illinois sport fans.

I kid, I kid. Unless you're a Bears fan.

(Note: The link is safe for work. Some links from that page are probably not safe for work.)

The armor-mobility balance in danger

This is a news story because people just don't understand a foot soldier's job:

Extra body armor — the lack of which caused a political storm in the United States — has flooded in to Iraq, but many Marines here promptly stuck it in lockers or under bunks. Too heavy and cumbersome, many say.

Marines already carry loads as heavy as 70 pounds when they patrol the dangerous streets in towns and villages in restive Anbar province. The new armor plates, while only about five pounds per set, are not worth carrying for the additional safety they are said to provide, some say.

Everything is a tradeoff in combat. You can pile armor on everyone and everything, but in doing so you will crush mobility and range of soldiers and vehicles, making them sitting ducks for heavy enemy fire. You can make everything light and ultra-mobile, but that makes the soldier or vehicle vulnerable to lighter weapons.

To the extent that it got body armor to soldiers that needed it, I'm glad that the media originally shone a light on the shortage. Unfortunately, in their attempt to make a statement they've latched onto the body armor story so hard that they threaten to make life more dangerous for soldiers by robbing them of mobility:

Many Marines, however, believe the politics of the issue eventually will make the plates mandatory.

"The reason they issued (the plates), I think, is to make people back home feel better," said Lance Cpl. Philip Tootle of Reidsville, Ga. "I'm not wishing they wouldn't have issued them. I'm just wishing that they wouldn't make them mandatory."

More isn't always better, sometimes it's just more. If additional plates are made mandatory because the Defense Department ends up bending to the incessant harping of the news media in regards to body armor, the media will have succeeded in making some soldiers jobs more difficult, and thus more dangerous.

Case in point (HT Instapundit)

Saddam's Camelhadeen

It looks like this old cartoon from the Gulf War wasn't too far off in its estimation of Saddam's conventional weapon of choice:

Saddam Hussein planned to use "camels of mass destruction" as weapons to defend Iraq, loading them with bombs and directing them towards invading forces.

The animals were part of a plan to arm and equip foreign insurgents drawn up by the dictator shortly before the American-led invasion three years ago, reveals a 37-page report, captured after the fall of Baghdad and just released by the Pentagon.

Camel bombers. Will this revelation bring PETA into the fold of war supporters?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Cohen means can't

Sasha Cohen fell again:

After a silver medal at the Turin Olympics, a pair of runner-up results at the worlds and four second place finishes at the U.S. championships, Cohen had finally looked poised to shed her unwanted tag of figure skating's perennial bridesmaid and make the final step to the top of the podium.

First among the last group to skate, Cohen got her routine to Romeo and Juliet off to an unsteady start and never found her rhythm and confidence.

Shaky on almost every jump, Cohen crashed to the ice on her final triple Salchow and then as the music finished stood dejectedly at center ice, head bowed knowing she had let another gold medal get away.

Poor kid. Some people just won't let themselves succeed.

Marines recruiting older women

A California TV station is reporting that the Marines tried to recruit a 78 year old woman for her unique language skills. Methinks the Marines bought a bad mailing list somewhere along the line, because in January my 49 year old mother received that exact same letter. We all got a laugh out of it at the time, seeing that my mom is 5 feet tall, has a mild form of MD, and outside of English she knows about 8 words in Spanish or French.

Friday, March 24, 2006

We still have one Walker to pin our hopes on, Wisconsin

Paying dividends in the future

As for the Scott Walker campaign, he clearly just made his party much stronger in the Governor's race. It was a smart, unselfish, and good move, one that strenthens Green for the Governor's race and one that hopefully puts Walker in place as a very strong candidate for higher office in a few years (cough-hint-cough). I'd have loved to have seen Walker as Wisconsin Governor, but there will be other opportunities for him.

Declaring for Mark Green

Okay, this is a no brainer, but I am now fully on board with Mark Green's candidacy for Governor of Wisconsin. Not half on, not half off, but fully on board. As I've told several people via email, though, nothing irritates me more than the "Green Team" concept. I'm 100% a Green supporter, but I'll kneecap anyone who even insinuates I'm part of the "Green Team". It sounds like a college pep group or a 5th grade dodgeball team.

The Russian double cross

This doesn't really surprise me:
The Russian government collected intelligence from sources inside the American military command as the U.S. mounted the invasion of Iraq, and the Russians fed information to Saddam Hussein on troop movements and plans, according to Iraqi documents cited in a Pentagon report released Friday.

The Russians relayed information to Saddam during the opening days of the war in late March and early April 2003, including a crucial time before the ground assault on Baghdad, according to the documents.

Yeah, we had a period during the Boris Yeltsin era when we felt all warm and squishy towards Russia, but they were never really our friend (and I really hate using the term "friend" in re international relations). You can count on a few things in life-death, taxes, and Russia playing on both sides of the fence, whatever fence that may be. Don't ever think for a moment that Russia is a reliable ally in anything unless Russia's survival is on the line. And even then, watch your back.

(HT: Backyard Conservative)

Next, Jib gets a computer implanted in his arm. With Wi-Fi

Ugh. On the way home from work, I heard the news that the Republican candidate for Wisconsin Governor that I was strongly leaning towards, Scott Walker, had dropped out of the race. I pulled into my garage, scooted into the house, and fired up the laptop in order to comment on it. And I don't feel odd about that. No, instead I found myself wishing I had a computer in my car.

Future leaders of Europe

Oliver North has an interesting column today on his recent experience in France while filming a doucmentary on Patton. North had the opportunity to speak with some young, self-styled revolutionaries. These are young adults who are college eductated, participating in the protests/riots in France, and likely future leaders in their home countries (in this case, Germany). Here's a sample of the of what North had to say:
Though hardly a scientific sampling of European public opinion, these students' perspectives on the U.S. role in defeating fascism, communism, in bringing down the wall, of standing up to Islamic terror were both shallow and twisted. According to them, Germany would have rid itself of Hitler without "terror bombing German civilians"; the Americans "created the 'Red-Scare' to divide and punish Germany; the wall would have come down decades earlier but for the presence of U.S. bases in Europe; the Sept. 11 attack was concocted by the Bush administration; German troops should never have been sent to Afghanistan, and -- because this is much on the news here right now -- U.S. troops in Iraq routinely commit atrocities and human-rights violations. They were unaware of this week's forceful presidential speeches, press conference and question/answer sessions -- perhaps understandably, because they have been little covered in European TV and newspapers.

Interestingly, none of them had particularly strong views on the threat posed by radical Islamic terror. Several expressed a belief that Madrid and London were attacked solely because their respective governments supported U.S. policy in Iraq. None of them could explain why there had also been attacks in Bali, the Philippines and Casablanca, Morocco. Nor did any of them perceive that nuclear weapons in Iran were a threat to them -- only to the United States.

North is correct in saying that you can't judge all of Europe's young adults by these six. You can probably just as easily find 6 American college students with equally contorted beliefs. The current student riots in France are indicative that the rot in their colleges may run pretty deep, though.

Dave Checketts to buy the St. Louis Blues

I actually don't care about this story at all. I just think it would be cool if he fired all of the Blues players, replaced them with mean, nasty female hockey players, and renamed the team the Checkettes or the Hip-Checkettes. The team couldn't do much worse than they already are.

To jump ship or go down with it

I feel for the GM workers who have been offered a buyout by the company. I'm sure that this is a very stressful time for them. Unfortunately, I think some are taking the viability of GM for granted:
"We were promised a future with these companies. We've spent our lives at these factories. So have our parents, and so are our children," said Shotwell, 55, a machine operator at Delphi's fuel-injector plant in Coopersville, Mich. "We have to fight, any way we can."

Age 55 is a hell of a time to have to go through something like this. Just the same, this isn't a world where you get a job for life anymore. They can fight if they want to, but all they will succeed in doing is sinking the ship and going down with it.

Autoworkers should face up to a couple of realities. First, their corporate executives are partially to blame for this, because they haven't insisted upon creating and selling compelling products that can compete with the Japanese automakers. Secondly, and most importantly, the autoworkers are to blame, too. The Japanese automakers have had much more flexible work forces that have allowed them to adjust to the markets and maintain costs. That has given them an advantage in the marketplace and also allowed their workers to have a lot of job security. The U.S. automakers, on the other hand, have had a very unflexible unionized workforce that has been downright greedy. Yes, that led to job stability and incredible wages in the last few decades, but it has also lead directly to GM and Ford becoming the plodding, debt ridden giants that they are today.

Does Photoshop come with a spell checker?

This evening I worked on making a little graphic (see sidebar) that any interested bloggers can use to promote the Wisconsin Blogosphere Spring Fling. It should be noted that I gots no Photoshop skillz. So after teaching myself how to make, combine, and flatten layers, I was quite pleased with myself. I made the lovely Mrs. Jib look at the ad, and out of pity she lavished some praise on me. So I started working on how I was going to work it into the sidebar of Jiblog and the BBA. I posted it in a test post so it was hosted by Blogger, and then I went to work on the code. After spending a couple of hours on something a graphic artist could have done in about 10 minutes, and done better at that, I nearly cried. I made an error. The graphic said "Wiscosnin". That would have worked if it was about the accents of Wisconsin drunks.

The real (current) threat from bird flu

It's the third world economies, stupid:
The bird flu epidemic may cause significant political instability in some countries, and add to the unrest that terrorist organizations thrive on.
Consider Egypt. Long a major poultry producer, with an internal consumption of some 800 million birds a year and an export market of several hundred million more, Egypt has just been hit by bird flu and has initiated massive slaughter of suspect flocks. The epidemic could result in losses of $3 billion, easily 1-2 percent of the country's GDP. It will also lead to widespread bankruptcy and destitution among the 2.5-3 million people employed in raising poultry. Worse, malnutrition may become a serious problem, as poultry accounts for about half of the animal protein the average Egyptian consumes. Actually, poultry has become an even more important source of food because of a recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease. Egypt is already coping with widespread Islamist agitation, and the fallout from bird flu could readily lead to further internal problems. And with reports of at least two cases of human infection, this situation could easily deteriorate further.

You don't see most American media reporting on this aspect of the bird flu. They're too busy scaring people into buying papers and watching segments on the evening news with scenarios we aren't even sure will play out.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bird flu rumor

Hugh Hewitt will write a post with tick...tick...tick in the title.

Glenn Reynolds will write a slightly terrified post but hedge his bets with comments in an update.

I yawn.


Bird flu rumored to be on U.S.-Mexico border.

Could the bird flu be a terrible threat to millions and millions of people? Yes. It has some hoops to jump through before it gets to that point, though.

Unbearably cute photo

Boy and dog pray. HT: Hugh Hewitt.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Random Wisconsin Cheese thought

With the advent of and me having too much free time tonight, a question popped into my head. Why is cheddar cheese synonymous with Wisconsin? Cheddar originated in England. Colby cheese, now there is a homegrown Wisconsin product, and, as President Bush said during a campaign stop in Appleton in 2004, "That's good cheese!"

As for, good luck with your venture, guys. I still prefer calling it the Badgersphere, though.

Charlie Sheen on 9/11

Well, this settles it. Charlie Sheen thinks that we perpetrated 9/11 ourselves.
Actor Charlie Sheen has joined a growing army of other highly credible public figures in questioning the official story of 9/11 and calling for a new independent investigation of the attack and the circumstances surrounding it.
Speaking to The Alex Jones Show on the GCN Radio Network, the star of current hit comedy show Two and a Half Men and dozens of movies including Platoon and Young Guns, Sheen elaborated on why he had problems believing the government's version of events.

Sheen agreed that the biggest conspiracy theory was put out by the government itself and prefaced his argument by quoting Theodore Roosevelt in stating, "That we are to stand by the President right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

"We're not the conspiracy theorists on this particular issue," said Sheen.

"It seems to me like 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75% of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions."

Ahh, I have a comment about syphilis and paranoia, but I think I'll just keep it to myself.

The night of the icy stare

Something tells me that wife on husband domestic violence in theaters is about to increase:
When Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek told Robert Towne she didn't want to do his movie,"Ask the Dust," it wasn't because of the nude scenes. It was because she didn't want to play a Mexican.
Which is why that scene has no coyly-turned-away-from-the-camera or body-hidden-by-artfully-computer-animated-mist moments: "I'm protective of actors' nudity in love scenes, but not in a scene like this, where the characters absolutely have to be naked for it to be real."

Expect Dennis York to "retire" again when this movie comes out on DVD.

Bush on blogs, internet

I doubt that this comment by President Bush is going to endear him to the media, but I enjoyed it:
I just got to keep talking. And one of the -- there's word of mouth, there's blogs, there's Internet, there's all kinds of ways to communicate which is literally changing the way people are getting their information. And so if you're concerned, I would suggest that you reach out to some of the groups that are supporting the troops, that have got Internet sites, and just keep the word -- keep the word moving. And that's one way to deal with an issue without suppressing a free press.
There is a lot to the abrasiveness between new media and old media. Expect to see the chips swell on the shoulders of some press corps members.

Republicans are slowly and tentatively engaging the political blogs on the right. As an observer and a blogger, I look forward to watching the ups and downs of the courtship.

Do they have tanning beds in prison?

I don't know. I'm askin'.

Beer. It saves lives.

Well, maybe it doesn't save them so much as it might make them a little healthier:
Researchers in Austria and the Czech Republic -- two nations that drink more than their fair share of suds -- have just released studies that suggest that beer is an anti-inflammatory and can slow the aging process.

In a study published in the March issue of International Immunopharmacology, scientists at Austria's Innsbruck Medical University found that hops, a key ingredient in beer, affect the production of neopterin, a telltale sign of inflammation, and levels of the amino acid tryptophan (low levels are associated with more inflammation.)

Somebody do a study on the effect of beer on the bird flu, stat!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Taking PSA's a lot too far

We've entered a grotesque, shock value age of PSA's and public social messages. I guess you could say it started with PETA and some of their antics. Some pro-life groups picked up on it with their terrible placards that graphically show the results of abortions, something no child should have to accidentally view. Now some group is encouraging people to not speed in school zones by placing posters on the windshields of parked cars. The posters give the car owner the potential view through their windshield if they do speed.

These vile public ads/PSA's serve to horrify children and to numb people to things that they really should never become numb to. In a way, the groups that use these tactics are only making it more difficult to sway people to do/believe like they do.

Sarandon, the soul of the Democratic party

It's hard for me to take her seriously, but Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins may actually be the mainstream of today's Democratic party. That doesn't bode well for Hillary:
Susan Sarandon, longtime liberal maven and in talks to play peace activist Cindy Sheehan in a film, is irked by another liberal maven: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Hollywood actress doesn't think the New York Democrat lives up to her expectations.

"I find Hillary Clinton to be a great disappointment," Miss Sarandon told More magazine, for publication today.

"She seems to be a very bright woman. I've met her. But she's lost her progressive following because of her caution and centrist approach. It bothers me when she voted for the war," Miss Sarandon said.
I'm getting to the point where I think if something doesn't bode well for Hillary, it doesn't bode well for the Democratic party. I still loathe Hillary, but she has been trying to attach herself to the more sane segment of Democratic voters. The far left has become large and influential enough that they effectively split the party and reduce the electability of its candidates. As it pertains to Hillary, they'll either pull her left and cost her with regular Democrats, or she'll continue to court the center and lose her money and support on the far left, which has plenty of wealth like Sarandon's.

Self destruction through the quest for power

Russ Feingold, in his quest for the Presidency, could end up destroying his political future.  In Wisconsin, Russ Feingold has cultivated a strong brand for himself, namely that he is a principled ‘everyday guy’.  As he ramps up his Presidential campaign, that brand is wearing thin in places.  More and more people in this state who at least respected the guy are starting to see the opportunist behind the brand.  Feingold likely could have been a Wisconsin Senator for life-his brand was just that strong in this state.  The further he gets into Presidential politics, though, the more likely it becomes that the Wisconsin public sees that the everyday guy is just a self interested politician, contrary to the bill of goods they’ve been sold all these years.  State Republicans should start looking at that 2010 Senate race now, because it may end up being their golden opportunity to unseat him.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ethanol revisited

Okay, this is the post where I brag a little. In this AP story, reporter Brad Foss covers many of the short term challenges facing ethanol that I've already touched upon here at Jiblog. Okay, now that I've patted myself on the back, I'll move on to other issues.

Oh, and if anyone is keeping track, the Wisconsin ethanol price closed at $2.54 today. That's the highest price in the upper midwest.

Trapped in the closet

Something tells me this post will get me sued by the L. Ron Hubbardists.

When the news broke last week that Isaac Hayes had quit South Park over the epsiode titled "Trapped in the Closet" (a story now in dispute), I noticed that several bloggers who had missed the original airing were looking forward to watching the rebroadcast. Then Tom Cruise flexed his MI3 muscle and got the episode yanked (allegedly). Well, there is good news for all those who missed the episode: YouTube is hosting it. You'll need a broadband connection, and you'll probably want to check it out ASAP before Cruise & Co. throw a temper tantrum and get it pulled from YouTube.

Conan does Chicago

This hurts. I think I'm going to cry. Conan O'Brien is going to be broadcasting four live shows in Chicago from May 9-12. The week before, the lovely Mrs. Jib and I will be spending some time in Chicago for our anniversary, seeing the musical Wicked. During Conan's visit, I'll even be escorting my bride and her sister to Chicago to see Depeche Mode, much to my dismay. But I can't justify spending the dough to make a third trip to the flat lands in a week. If I don't post for a couple of days, it's because I'm in my attic, rocking back and forth and sobbing.

If you want to see one of the shows at the Chicago Theatre, go here to get your tickets.

A stance hardens

I'm glad the President did this.
US President George W. Bush said he hoped to resolve the nuclear dispute with Iran with diplomacy, but warned Tehran he would "use military might" if necessary to defend Israel.

"The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. That's a threat, a serious threat. It's a threat to world peace," the US president said after a speech defending the war in Iraq.

"I made it clear, and I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel," said Bush, who was apparently referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for the destruction of Israel.

Some will try to play it up as the United States being in the pocket of Israel, but that line of argument will just expose its adherents as anti-Semites. It is illogical to condemn a nation that vows to help protect another in the event of a devastating nuclear attack. This statement by the President will also make the nervous clerics and moderates in Iran even more nervous about the path their President is taking them down. Teddy Roosevelt said speak softly and carry a big stick. In this instance, Bush is twirling the stick to remind Iranian moderates that it is still there and to encourage them to use their influence to moderate Ahmadinejad's line.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

That's just not right

Nobody wants to hear or read about the wild bedroom exploits of AARP members, but misery loves company, which is why I'm passing this along to all of you.
When Italian police pulled over the vehicle, they found a completely naked 70-year-old woman who had been trying to have sex with the driver -- 11 years her junior.

Good Monday morning, everyone. Enjoy your week.

Dennis Pork Dead; Funeral details leaked

Wisconsin blogger of the year, Dennis Pork, has died tragically on the evening of his greatest accomplishment. General funeral details have been released at the blog of his alter ego, Dennis York. Exclusive to Jiblog, though, is a leaked map of the funeral procession of Dennis Pork.
**Must credit Jiblog**

The Washington Post tells a postive Iraq story

With outlets like the Post and the Times obsessed with the mantra "If it bleeds, it leads," it is always nice to see them run something that is positive. This article by David Ignatius would have to qualify as positive:
Three years on, the U.S. military is finally becoming adept at fighting a counterinsurgency war in Iraq. Sadly, these are precisely the skills that should have been mastered before America launched its invasion in March 2003. It may prove one of the costliest lessons in the history of modern warfare.

I had a chance to see the new counterinsurgency doctrine in practice here this week. U.S. troops are handing off to the Iraqi army a growing share of the security burden. As the Iraqis step up, the Americans are stepping back into a training and advisory role. This is the way it should have happened from the beginning.

Go to the Post and read the rest. Show them that their readers will read positive stories.

Peace rally in Madison

On a normal Satruday, I'd have probably gone to Madison to observe the peace rally and take some pictures. Madison and Milwaukee are about equal distance from me, but I know Madison so much better than Milwaukee. Due to the blog summit, I missed the opportunity, but Uncle Jimbo has some great photos from the protest. My favorite? The schlub with cold hands holding the sign that said Feingold: Ethics & Balls. That's great, Feingold has balls. Now if someone can find his nuts that have come loose...

You can still call me Jib

I think my pseudo-annonymity is a thing of the past. I'm pleased that Chris had the honor of being the first to publish my picture, though. Better it be a friend than a foe.

You can still call me Jib, though.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Wisconsin Blog Summit

I'd like to thank WisPolitics/WisOpinion for their efforts in setting up today's enoyable blog summit in Waukesha. A couple of weekends ago this summit was a little bit controversial, but I think they ended up pulling off a successful event.

I am going to pass on summarizing the event, mostly because I just got back to my computer now and the summary will be anything but timely. When you have dozens of bloggers at an event and you haven't gotten your two cents in within a couple of hours, you are on the tail end of the story. I would like to say that everyone did a good job. I will pass along a couple of observations, though. First, it seemed like Ann Althouse may have been a little uncomfortable, seeing that she is a national blogger and not necessarily up on the very Badger-centric Wisconsin blogosphere. Still, her keynote speech was an interesting look at blogging.

Next, I was underwhelmed by the occasional comments from attendees who are employed by the mainstream media. One of these individuals, who I believe was Mandy Jenkins, I thought was going to make a decent point, but it seemed to descend into the usual condescension with a comment about bloggers relying on MSM reporting. The vast majority of us make no bones about the fact that we use MSM stories as seed for our commentary. The fact is that most of us have real jobs of our own and don't have 40 hours a week for original reporting. Having said that, though, I think most of us could have pointed to original reporting that we have done in our free time. We aren't saying that the role the MSM plays isn't necessary, what we are saying is that they aren't playing that role well.

My last observation will be brief. I've never seen Ed Garvey in person before, but after today it is quite clear to me the reason why he was pasted by Tommy Thompson in the 1998 Governor's race. He lacks in the "likeability" category.

It was great meeting bloggers that I had not met before as well as seeing Badger Blog Alliance bloggers again. Having an opportunity to sit down in an informal setting for a little while with them and Charlie Sykes, Jessica McBride, and Jeff Mayers was fun as well, even if I had to get going a little early. Thanks to everyone who put in their time and hard work to make this afternoon possible.

Side note: I'll be posting a few pictures on Sunday. I haven't had the chance to edit them yet.

Update: I put the photos up at the BBA.

Peugeots: French bonfires

Maybe the disgruntled Muslim youth of the Paris suburbs have been more Francofied than we originally thought. When they protested by burning cars, many were disturbed by the events, including myself. It now looks like burning automobiles is a French protesting tradition. Students who are upset that they may actually have to work to keep their jobs are protesting a new law that allows employers to actually fire young workers who don't do their jobs, and one of the protestors' tactics is, you guessed it, lighting cars on fire. It doesn't appear that they are torching cars with quite the verve or in the same volume as their unemployed Muslim counterparts in the suburbs, but what do you expect from lazy, comfortable, well to do native French kids?

Off to the blogger summit

I haven't been around for the last 24 hours or so, and I I won't be around for a few more. I'm off to the WisPolitics/WisOpinion blog summit. I'll take some embarrassing pictures of your favorite bloggers and post the later.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The latest in Bin Laden death rumors

There is a new rumor of Osama bin Laden's death. This time it comes from Rep. Curt Weldon:
Rep. Curt Weldon, who broke the Able Danger story last year revealing that military intelligence had identified lead hijacker Mohamed Atta as a terrorist threat before the 9/11 attacks, now says that Osama bin Laden has died.

I have a very wait and see attitude towards these rumors. It seems like everytime one prominently appears, the Islamists dig up a new audio tape of Osama's.

(HT: Blogger Beer)

Southern California on the Edge of Civil War

Special Correspondent to the AP

Backwoods, WI- Tensions are high today in Southern California as a third day of breakfastaerian violence continued in and near the state's Denny's restaurants.

Since Wednesday, three have died in violence apparently linked to factional frictions between supporters of the Grand Slam Breakfast and those loyal to Moons over My Hammy. Reports coming out of Southern California are that the tension began on Tuesday when a waitress, rumored to be a My Hammian, dropped a Grand Slam Breakfast in a Los Angeles area restaurant.

While only three deaths have been attributed to the violence so far, dozens have developed stomach discomfort. Officials are saying off the record that they fear this violence may spread to other factions, such as the Perkins Deli Ham and Lotsa Cheese-ites and the normally stable Sausage McMuffin with Egg-ians.

As Southern California descends into total chaos, critics have taken aim at California Arnold Schwarzenegger for not taking control of the situation.

"Southern California is at the brink of a disaster that could easily spread to other unstable breakfast states in the region," said French economist Claude Van Damme. "If the Governor and President Bush don't do something quickly, this could very well also extend into lunch."

Governor Schwarzenegger's office refused to comment on this story.

The Problem with France

France has, *gasp*, passed a law which makes it easier to fire young workers. This is France we're talking about, so the fact that students are protesting and sometimes rioting at this introduction to the real world isn't surprising. The Sydney Morning Herald has a quote from a student that nicely sums up why the French economy is weaker than even their military:
"They're offering us nothing but slavery," said Maud Pottier, 17, a student at Jules Verne High School in Sartrouville, north of Paris. "You'll get a job knowing that you've got to do every single thing they ask you to do because otherwise you may get sacked."
Umm, yeah. That's why they call it a job. There isn't some magic frog along the Seine that is creating those Euros you use to take your yearly holiday in Spain, kid.

Translating Arianna

Arianna Huffington was caught red handed faking blog posts of celebrities this week. I've been anxiously awaiting a post from her on the matter, and it has finally arrived. I must warn you, it is written in Arianna-ese, but fortunately that is a language I've grown familiar with. I will translate her post for all of you.

First of all, is the blogosphere powerful or what? As has been endlessly noted, the Clooney blog was drawn from answers he had given in interviews with the Guardian and on Larry King. Neither of which garnered much, if any, reaction.

But when the same words and ideas were repackaged in the form of a blog, they were suddenly exposed to a new audience, infused with a new currency -- and exploded into the public eye, drawing an overwhelmingly positive response and provoking a great deal of valuable discussion.

Translation: Wow, I got freakin' busted, didn't I? Amazing how Clooney's stupid comments were ignored by the world until I made the ethical lapse of passing them of as his original post here, isn't it? Big oops!

It was a testament to the power of blogging, and it's why I remain, despite the dustup, an unrepentant evangelist for the value of bringing to the blogosphere some of the most interesting voices of our time that are not already there.

Translation: I really screwed up here, but I'm going to kiss the asses of all you bloggers and blog readers so you give me the benefit of the doubt.

So while this is definitely the last time I'll rely on an okay-to-publish from a publicist, it most assuredly won't be the last time I'll recruit for the blogosphere and try to get the uninitiated to blog. Even folks who don't know a hyperlink from a permalink or who need a Blogging 101 tutorial and a lot of hand-holding in the process.

Translation: I'm not going to admit to my breach of blogging etiquette. I'll blame some no name lackey, and pretend to be a hero of the blogosphere for my attempts to make it more mainstream.

But, some have asked, is a blog still a blog if it contains repurposed material? My answer is: absolutely. Who cares if the ideas were first expressed in a book, a speech, a play, or an interview? The medium isn't the message; the message is the message. With the right medium providing the needed amplification.

We live in an age of information overload. We're bombarded with words and images from our 500-channel universe and the infinite Internet. We're obsessed with the newest, the latest, the freshest. And what was said yesterday is old news. In this kind of atmosphere, it's all-too-easy for important ideas to be lumped in with the disposable ones and deleted from our internal hard drives. Lost in the cacophony and the ether. Which is why the gems need to be plucked from the pile and put on display.

Indeed, that was the reason I asked George Clooney to blog in the first place. Not in order to add a celebrity to our blog roll but because I felt the ideas I'd heard him eloquently express in interviews bore repeating in a different, new, and contagious forum. Particularly his critique of Democratic cowardice in the run up to the war.

Translation: Blah, blah, blah... look! Shiny keys!

We would not be in Iraq if it were not for that failure of leadership. And the ongoing horrors coming out of Iraq show just how high a price we continue to pay because of their fear of being criticized.

That's a message that needs to be repeated again and again. From high and low, on TV, in print, and, yes, in blogs. If this drumbeat is not kept up, Democratic leaders will continue to falter, and continue to fail to provide leadership on Iraq. This lesson of repetition is one the other side has learned to great effect (witness the 46% of the public that still believed, as late as February 2005, that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11).

Translation: Can't you all see that my breach of etiquette and ethics is the fault of George Bush and the Red States?

So, for those of you who missed it, here is what George Clooney had to say in the Guardian:
In 2003 I was saying, where are the ties [between Iraq] and al-Qaida? Where are the ties to 9/11? I knew it; where the fuck were these Democrats who said, 'We were misled'? That's the kind of thing that drives me crazy: 'We were misled.' Fuck you, you weren't misled. You were afraid of being called unpatriotic.
Wow, rereading that, I have the same reaction I had the first time I read it: I'd love to see him blog about that!

Hmm, where did I put that publicist's number...?
Translation: Laugh you fools, laugh. Look! Shiny keys!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone. To all my readers, you have a virtual green beer coming to you on me. The best part of virtual green beers is they don't turn, well, other things green.

Suspicious behavior in Chicago

Okay, that could very easily be the title for a humor piece, but this isn't going to be a humorous post. Chicago may be in the heart of FIB land, but it is still the megacity in our back yard here in Wisconsin. ABC in Chicago is reporting suspicous activities have been witnessed at the Sears Tower and Boeing:
Sears Tower employees Thursday reportedly received bulletins from building management reassuring them that there is no terror threat. But those bulletins failed to explain the incident ABC7 reported, that three suspicious looking men in a rental car pulled up to the building recently, got out and began studying the building. According to law enforcement sources, they took pictures before building security ran them off, but they never got their identification. Those sources tell ABC7 the car was rented to a fake name.
Sources also say a second suspicious incident at the Boeing corporate offices is also under investigation. This time a lone man, reportedly suspicious looking, was seen sketching the building. Security questioned him and took pictures of his sketch, though they never got his ID. A Boeing spokesman Thursday confirmed they reported it to authorities who have been conducting an investigation.
There have been numerous sightings of odd behavior around high profile locations in the last 4 plus years, but it is concerning when people have the opportunity to get identities of those behaving strangely and they do not.

Quote of the day

“For years it had been suggested by some opinion-makers that all would be well in the world if only the United States lowered its profile. Some of them would not only have us lower our profile -- they would also lower our flag. I disagreed. I thought that the 1980's were a time to stop apologizing for America's legitimate national interest, and start asserting them.” ~Ronald Reagan, November 9, 1990 at Westminster College. Audio

Bloggers, back up your work

Some Blogger blogs went down tonight because of a filer problem. This blog was one of them. I had chalked it up to Blogger being Blogger until I read this at Instapundit:
I'm writing you because you seem to have a finger on the pulse of the blogger world and maybe know some way to help me or at least to get the word out so that maybe Blogger will help me.

My blog disappeared from Blogger some time Tuesday. All I ge is a message that my blog wasn't found on their server. When I go to my Edit page, it doesn't show Betsy's Page as one of my blogs anymore. It's as if my identity was erased.
That inspired me to back up everything here at Jiblog. It's probably a good idea for all Blog*Spot bloggers to do so. You never know when Blogger is going to commit hara-kiri and destory all of your work.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

NYT: "Wisconsin-Milwaukee Does It Again"

If UW Milwaukee isn't careful, they're going to become as annoying as Gonzaga:
Wisconsin-Milwaukee wavered, but never cracked. The Panthers almost never do at this time of the year.

Once again showing why they've stopped surprising themselves in the NCAA tournament, the Horizon League champions pulled off their third upset in two years by eliminating No. 6 seed Oklahoma 82-74 in the Minneapolis Regional on Thursday.
Wisconsin 1 for 2 in this year's tournament so far with UW yet to play. My gut says UWM will be making the deepest run in the tournament, mostly because Wisconsin will be joining Marquette and the other losers.

Cox Arena evacuated

620 WTMJ reported that the Cox Arena in San Diego, the venue that will be hosting the Marquette game this afternoon, was evacuated. The only report I can find thus far is from ESPN, which is reporting that a bomb sniffing dog got a hit at a hot dog stand. Hopefully this will just turn out to be a hungry dog.

CBS is reporting that a "suspicious canister" was found.

Final Update
The mystery container held the following:
The contents of the package turned out to be non-food items related to the condiment stand – plastic eating utensils, napkins and Styrofoam cups, said Fire Department spokesman Maurice Luque.
All's well that ends well.

Hazy shade of winter

Such is March in Wisconsin. 60 degree temps and thunderstorms at the beginning of the week, a winter storm by the middle of the week. Sigh.

Presidential line item veto

George Will takes an excellent look at the idea of a Presidential line item veto. He touches on what I find to be the two biggest problems with the idea: First, it is probably still unconstitutional, and second, Presidents are just going to use the threat of the line item veto to get Senators on board with bigger spending plans. In a perfect world, I like the idea. I'm too much of a realist to think that Presidents will not use the line item veto as a bargaining chip for more spending, though. Ultimately, the responsibility for reigning in runaway pork spending lay with two groups of people. The first is Congress. The second is with the voter. If we quit rewarding out representatives for the pork they bring home and punish them for it instead, the line item veto won't matter or be needed. It is irresponsible on our part to think that a responsibility that we, the voters, won't take will somehow be taken by a President who is vulnerable to political pressures.

Side Note
In the last transportation bill, a large sum of money was earmarked to build up bike trails in some Wisconsin counties. I haven't checked back in on that, but I don't believe Jefferson county was a recipient of those dollars. You can bet I'll be double checking on that, though. Last year my adopted hometown built a nice bike trail through town, and near the river they built a nice little shelter. I noticed this week they are building another shelter not 3/4 of a mile from the first. It is excessive, and I'm going to be looking into where the funds came from for this redundant and unnecessary shelter.

University of Alaska Fairbanks, National Rifle Champs

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is the NCAA's 2006 NAtional Rifle Team champions. That's a pretty mundane story until you see who they beat:
Final Team Scores – Total Agg.:
1. Alaska Fairbanks – 4,682
2. Nebraska – 4,666
3. Army – 4,650
4. Navy – 4,625
5. Murray State – 4,621
6. Mississippi – 4,616
7. Kentucky – 4,600
In other news, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Nebraska rifle teams were called up for active duty in Iraq today. Suckers.

The invasion begins momentarily

It's about time we put Canada in its place:
For the first time since 1817, U.S. Coast Guard vessels on the Great Lakes are being outfitted with weapons – machine-guns capable of firing 600 bullets a minute.

Until now, coast guard officers have been armed with handguns and rifles, but the vessels themselves haven't been equipped with weapons.
I say we have the National Guard start lining tanks up at the border, just to see what they do. We'll laugh, they'll laugh, we'll exchange beers...

Paint My Pixels from Jon Baas

I receive a fair number of emails from bloggers who want me to link to something, and the majority of them ends up dying in my inbox. I received an email tonight from a blogger on the Jiblog & BBA blogrolls who has an interesting idea, so I'm actually going to pass this one along. I'll let Jon explain it as he did to me in the email:
"Paint My Pixels", is a creative art experiment that attempts to answer the following question, "Can thousands of artists all over the world work together to create a single painting, using only small blocks of colored pixels?"

For $1, anyone can choose a 100-pixel block and have it colored with one of 140 colors from a predetermined color palette. This block can also be "signed" and have a link to the website of the buyer's choice. But unlike the now stagnant idea of pixel advertising (currently sweeping the internet), the final result of all 5400 color blocks will be something more than just a random clash of tiny little ads. Buyers will have the chance to directly influence the direction of an actual work of art that will be painted on canvas (by me) and auctioned off at the end of the project.
Jon is an artist, so this could end up being an interesting project. He's also offering to share the wealth, if you will, with a couple of contests. If you are interested in reading more on his project, the details can be found here.

Nobody is safe from PETA

Nobody. Not even the Humane Society:
The ``No Animals Were Harmed'' disclaimer at the end of the movie has been part of the popular vernacular since 1989, when it first showed up in Paul Newman's ``Fat Man and Little Boy.'' It's even trademarked.

But animal-rights activists say the official-sounding phrase is nothing more than a hollow slogan when it comes to the great ape. Some are accusing the Denver-based American Humane Association, which grants the disclaimer to filmmakers, of failing to protect our closest animal-kingdom relative.

PETA must be running out of new enemies. The Humane Society takes the disclaimer so seriously that it denied it to "The 40 Year Old Virgin" because a fish died.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

You too can be as big as HuffPo

I had no idea this blogging thing was so simple.
So imagine his (George Clooney's) ire when Arianna Huffington used some of his recent answers to political questions in a way that makes it look as if he wrote one for her Huffington Post blog site.

"He doesn't object to the quotes," says Stan Rosenfield, Clooney's rep. "He said those things and those are his views. Arianna asked for permission to use the quotes and he gave it to her. What he didn't give permission for was the use of his quotes without source attributions to make it appear that he wrote a blog for her site.
Next week at Jiblog there will be a guest posts from George Washington, Babe Ruth, and Ronald Reagan. I'll get this site over 200 visits a day yet!

I received an email from Donkey Cons, informing me that they already have Reagan blogging at their site. I guess they aren't willing to share him. They also told me that they have Lindsey Lohan scheduled to blog in the nude.

On blogging, and the breathless waiters

Spivak and Bice today highlighted a post on the nature of blogging by Elliot. It is a good post on Elliot's part, but S&B picked it up largely because they think they are jabbing at bloggers by doing so. I particularly enjoy this line from the S&B post:
We expect this may offend a few bloggers, particularly those who think the world is breathlessly awaiting their thoughts about everything from the Iraq War to their favorite breakfast cereal.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I know for a fact that 3 of my 7 readers breathlessly await my next brilliant analysis. I know this because they've been parked in their cars out in front of my house, stalking me for months. When I post something new, their windows fog up. When it has been a while since I've posted, the fog clears from their windows, I can see their faces, and they are inevitably blue from waiting, breathlessly. Don't believe me? Read the comments on this post. Tee Bee once had to give Dean CPR when I snuck off on a business trip and couldn't post for a week.

On top of that, everyone clearly knows by now that I don't eat breakfast.


The anti-McCain primer

Are you a conservative who has found yourself slightly seduced by John McCain's recent turn to the right? If so, do yourself a favor and head over to Right Wing News. Now. John Hawkins has a detailed post that should remind you why McCain is not to be trusted.

Imperfect solutions and unintended consequences

The New York Times has an article today that is a useful reference point for Wisconsinites. It is on Iowa's attempt to ban sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of schools. On the surface, I would applaud this effort by Iowa. There was a sex offender living in my neighborhood, just blocks from an elementary school, and at first I was incensed that this was possible. As I started to think about it, though, I started to see what the Times reports as Iowa's problem:
The men have flocked to the Ced-Rel and other rural motels and trailer parks because no one else will, or can, have them. A new state law barring those convicted of sex crimes involving children from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care center has brought unintended and disturbing consequences. It has rendered some offenders homeless and left others sleeping in cars or in the cabs of their trucks.

And the authorities say that many have simply vanished from their sight, with nearly three times as many registered sex offenders considered missing since before the law took effect in September.

"The truth is that we're starting to lose people," said Don Vrotsos, chief deputy for the Dubuque County sheriff's office and the man whose job it is to keep track of that county's 101 sex offenders.

I had looked at the situation in my town. If sex offenders were forbidden from living within 1000 or 2000 feet of a school (let alone daycares, playgrounds, etc), it would virtually force them out of the city. While that is appealing, it only serves to pass the problem off on somebody else.

The other problem with laws like this is that they motivate sex offenders to disappear. Even sex offenders have to live somewhere, whether we like it or not. When living space becomes difficult to find because of government regulation, you are going to lose track of a lot of sex offenders who want to be lost so they can find a place to live. Believe me, I have zero sympathy for sex offenders, but I would much rather that the government not force them underground because that reduces the authorities' ability to keep track of them, which is an important part of prevention.

As I looked at my neighborhood's problem, I decided that the best way to handle the issue is to be involved in your own neighborhood. Know who the sex offenders are and where they live. Keep an absolute eagle eye on them. If you get a bad feeling about anything, don't hesitate to report it. This was influenced by what did happen in my neighborhood. The closest sex offender to my home (and his wife) seemed to have a lot of kids at their house, many more than their own. Somebody noticed and reported it. It turns out they were running an illegal daycare and both are now up on charges (no children were abused, thankfully). Government should be done as close to the individual as possible, and I believe that the montoring of sex offenders is one thing best done at the neighborhood level. Shucking the problem off to rural areas does not solve the problem, and it does not prevent sex offenders from re-offending. It only hands the problem off to others and in a way lessens the local observation of these depraved criminals.

I don't want these people in my neighborhood any more than the next guy, but there are a lot of them out there. It is a practical and geographic impossibility to segregate them from the community. Just look at the Times graphic on how few locations there are in Dubuque for sex offenders to live. Given that, the only realistic solution that I can see is very active and involved neighborhoods.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Can you break a billion dollar bill for me?

I should give this guy my Red Forman Dumb Ass Award (TM):
U.S. Customs agents in California said on Tuesday they had found 250 bogus billion dollar bills while investigating a man charged with currency smuggling.
Fake billion dollar bills? That ain't even trying, it's a cry for help.

Gay marriage amendment ambivalence

Wisconsin is sending a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the ballots for voters to decide on. If you haven't noticed, I've been pretty silent on the matter. I'll address it here, but I need to start with a quote from a post that I wrote on August 11, 2004:
Ultimately I think the current marriage problem is much deeper than the gay marriage issue. Marriage is ultimately a religious institution. Marriage's role in today's society is a direct result of its historical role in religion as the joining of a man and a woman as one, creating a union to meet the needs of each spouse, as well as the needs of children. Two things have happened which have begun the erosion of marriage. First, marriage became more of a legal union than a spiritual union. Legal bonds are much easier to break than spiritual. The second is the decline of religion. There is little fear of God today and even less regard for the ultimate spiritual consequences of ones actions. These two trends have combined to unravel the institution of marriage.

I'm opposed to gay marriage, but it is merely a symptom of a deeper illness for the institution of marriage. We can allow states to regulate marriage as they please, we can pass a constitutional amendment, or we can do nothing and allow the Supreme Court to dictate gay marriage legal to us. No matter what we do in that regard, it will not begin to solve marriage's deeper problems.
That's my position. To me, a gay marriage amendment is just a band aid. I know it is not realistic, but I'd actually prefer to see government get out of the marriage business. If government wants to endorse civil unions that run parallel to marriage as defined and supported by churches/synagogues/mosques/etc, I'm fine with that, but as it stands now government has crowded faith out of marriage, and that is one of the root problems.

I have a deep sense of ambivalence on the gay marriage ban. From a conservative standpoint, I have a few issues with using a constitutional amendment to strengthen what should be a legislated matter. At the same time, I do not support gay marriage and I don't really care to see Wisconsin's activist Supreme Court re-writing the laws on the book. For the time being, my ambivalence prevents me from really being strongly pro or con on the issue.

Beware the Ides of March, Starbucks Edition

Hey, are you addicted to ultra caffeinated $3 coffee yet? No? Well, consider tomorrow your downfall if you work/live near a Starbucks:
Customers are invited to visit Starbucks coffee houses tomorrow (March 15 ~ed) between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. for a complimentary tall (12-ounce) Starbucks® brewed coffee. The Company estimates it will serve more than 500,000 cups of coffee in its more than 7,500 U.S. stores during the two-hour event. Starbucks partners will take coffee to some who can't make it, using innovative, mobile-sampling, "Venti Vans" and insulated coffee backpacks. Starbucks Coffee Masters, certified coffee experts, also will be available to introduce customers to coffees from around the world and to offer tips on how to brew great coffee at home.
Personally, I avoid Starbucks like the plague except when I travel. The thought that there is a coffee stronger than that pot that has been on the burner at the local gas station for 16 hours somehow scares me. If Starbucks is your thing, tomorrow is your chance to take 12 ounces of their flesh after the $187,963 you've invested in their coffee. This year.

A crack forms in Iran

Iran has seemed very unified and impossible to dance with through out this nuke ordeal. Might internal economic woes finally contribute to a crack? The Washington Times is reporting that the Iranian elite are losing patience with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
Iran's clerical and business establishments, deeply concerned by what they see as reckless spending and needlessly aggressive foreign policies, are increasingly turning against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mr. Hadian predicted that senior Iranian clerics would continue to support Mr. Ahmadinejad -- or at least not move against him -- for about a year because of that popular support. But privately, he said, they feel he is isolating Iran internationally and putting its economy at risk.

Also at the back of their minds is the fear that his anti-corruption drive ultimately threatens their own considerable privileges.

Mr. Ghaninejad was one of 13 experts in economics who warned, in two petitions to the government just before Mr. Ahmadinejad was elected, that his populist, short-term policies would spell disaster for Iran in the long term.
The Times article also sheds some light on why Iran may be forcing this stand off, namely to mask internal problems in Iran and to also blame them on the West.

GOP Bloggers Straw Poll

Last weekend the Southern Republicans Leadership Council got to have all the fun with their 2008 Presidential Straw Poll. Now bloggers and blog readers can make their own hay. GOP Bloggers is hosting its own straw poll. Head on over there or vote right here at Jiblog. And don't forget that the 2006 Presidential March Madness has begun.

A thought on the Kos crowd

What would happen if the Democrats acquiesced to the wishes of the Kos crowd and made them the mainstream of the party? My sense of the "net roots" is that they get all of their energy, anger, and motivation from fighting the fights they can't win. When they fail, they are reinvigorated. What would happen if the Democrats actually gave into them? I think all the wind would be taken out of their sails and they'd start fighting with each other, just to have someone to fight with.

Feingold's folly

As everyone is now aware, on Sunday Senator Feingold called for a censure of President Bush on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. In his young campaign for the presidency, this is the most ham handed thing Feingold has done yet. With this one move, Feingold laid out his playbook for everyone to look at. He is going to try to ride the Kos Kids to the nomination. To hell with every Democrat to the right of San Francisco, to hell with stradling the line between far left and just plain left, Feingold is going to take a page out of the Howard Dean book and try to ride the "net roots" wave into the White House. It might get him into the top three come the spring of 2008, but the Kosites out there don't have the juice to propel anyone to the Democratic nomination. To your average Democrat, the one who doesn't think much about why they are a Democrat, Feingold's pandering to the "net roots" is going to reduce his stature. Oh, it will help fill his coffers and get plenty of activists in his corner, but when it comes to primary time, Democratic voters will step into their voting booth and vote for someone that they see as more serious and stable for the Presidency. Senator Feingold, you are about to waste the next two years of your life. Enjoy the ride.