Thursday, October 03, 2002

Pretty busy, though - haven't had time to post anything, and there is of course so much to say.

I am so glad that Cynthia McKinney will not be representing the good people of Georgia anymore. She has blamed everything possible for her loss - except maybe her own big mouth. This is the kind of stuff she says on the floor of Congress - really...!,1002-mckinney.shtm

As always, more later.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Firefly is one of the new sci-fi series that is in the Fall lineup. It’s peculiar in that it tries to treat the distant future straight, with regard to space travel. This is no Star Trek. No phasers or teleportation. No aliens. Just colonized worlds. No alabaster cities, there, either. This is a slightly dark future where these colonies resemble the Wild West, right down to the oxen used to haul goods and farmers just trying to scratch out a living. Any scifi context comes through the space travel between these planets, which is where ‘Firefly’ comes in. Firefly is a class of starship dedicated to ferry goods and occasionally people from planet to planet.

The series centers around one ship, Serenity, which is a Firefly-class ship. In the scheme of things in this future, Serenity is a small ship, with no apparent weapons. Serenity’s crew is headed up by Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion). While he’s not exactly a white knight, there s a lot of good in him and he keeps the rest of the crew together. There is a rather varied cast here, but all that needs to be said is that each of them has an extremely peculiar personality, especially the enigmatic River, a young girl who is apparently far more than she appears.

The collision of Wild West and space colonization is an interesting concept. I’m intrigued by the prevalence of both American and Chinese cultures on the show (one scene features a bar, with signs written out in English and Chinese). Even the costumes are faithful to the western 1800’s theme, with outfits reflecting that genre, as well as pistols.

I do have a few problems with the series. Since everything happens away from Earth, that aspect is explained by the narrator at the beginning of every show: "…in the future when the Earth was all used up...." that’s the best premise we can come up with? It just shows a woeful ignorance of basic economics.

Some moral aspects of the show also bother me. Mal lost his faith in God from when he joined the Browncoats against the established Alliance. The Browncoats lost, and he has questioned Him ever since. Also, one of the passengers on Serenity is a beautiful "Companion" which is more-or-less a high-priced, well, you know. Hopefully I’ll get over these qualms.

I think the ships and the effects are pretty cool, and the storyline looks a bit intriguing. I can live with the shortcomings for now.

Sunday, June 30, 2002

Opinion Journal has a great article on Bush vs. the Federal Bureaucracy today. But don't let the word bureaucracy scare you off - this link gives you the big picture.

The permanent bureaucracy, which Henry Kissinger once accurately described as the fourth branch of government, resists change. Harry Truman knew this well. When he turned over the presidency to former Dwight Eisenhower, he remarked that Ike, who was accustomed to having his orders obeyed, was going to get a big shock when he issued an order from the Oval Office and nothing happened....

President Bush, faced with multiple crises, is no doubt learning this sobering lesson. His Forest Service, taken over by "environmentalist" dilettantes during the Clinton years, is helpless as dead wood accumulated through years of neglect fuels fires that are destroying many thousands of acres of forests, endangering people, animals and homes. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission lawyers, emboldened presumably by recent corporate scandals, are having atavistic spasms, hunting down companies that are either competing too little or too much....

And so it goes. Mr. Bush is somewhat in the position of trying to steer an 80,000-ton supertanker with nothing more substantial than a sailboat rudder. He is rueful about the difficulties. When the Environmental Protection Agency undercut his Kyoto policy with a report asserting that the globe is certain to be warmer than now in a hundred years, he brushed it off as yet another vaporous emanation from the EPA bureaucracy.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Things are stranger and stranger. The circuit court judge who voted to ban "under God" from the pledge has just issued a stay of execution order - against his own decision. Apparently public opinion (and a 99-0 vote in the Senate condemning the decision) made some impact. It appears now that the decision will go to an 11-judge appellate court panel.

More information:

I don't like to buy into a slippery slope, but pundits are already predicting that "In God We Trust" might be next to fall if this decision is upheld. I'm thinking in even starker terms. Our own calendar is based on Christian and Catholic precepts - will contracts be invalidated? And speaking of dates, the Constitution itself makes a reference or two:

Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.
(Thanks to Opinion Journal for the last bit)
As to be expected, Atlanta talk show host Neal Boortz has written up an extensive review on yesterday's Circuit Court decision. I think the comments about the plaintiff, Michael Newdow (well, he is actually the plaintiff's father) are on target:

First and foremost, this man seems to be a publicity hound. He’s a professional victim and guilty of emotional and psychological child abuse. He professes to be an atheist...his animosity toward religion in general, and Christianity in particular, is probably based in some sort of an association he makes between people with deeply held religious beliefs and conservatism. Conservatives are more open about expressions of their religious beliefs and their love of God. Michael Newdow can’t figure out how to use our laws and our Constitution to suppress conservative speech, so he concentrates his efforts on trying to suppress expressions of faith. Further – he has decided to use his daughter as a tool in the furtherance of his efforts.

This morning Michael Newdow was asked whether or not his daughter came to him and asked him to pursue this case on his behalf. His response was that he would rather leave his daughter out of this. “This is my case,” he said.

Wait a minute! This isn’t his case! He wasn’t a student in that school. He wasn’t required to sit there while that pledge was being recited in school. His daughter was enrolled in that school, not him. Now he says that his daughter should be left out of this?

Get real! This man has used his daughter as a tool in his fight against religious conservatism. Now he wants to protect her from the backlash. Someday she may well hate her father for this exploitation.
That said, however, Neal actually comes around to agreeing with the court. I see the point in his arguments, but regardless of the reasons of the original legislation, I think the phrase is perfectly valid in the context of what I said below.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstituional.

What a crock. The GOOD news (considering) is that the 9th Circuit Court rendered the opinion. It has a reputation as being the most liberal federal court in the country and has been overturned by the Supreme Court more than any other Circuit Court. (The 9th Circuit covers the 9 western states, including California, where you might guess some of the more loony court cases turn up.)

Actually, the meaning of "under God" in the context means that man is subordinate to a higher calling - not even a creator, necessarily. The alternate would be to assume that MAN is the highest authority, which would mean that all "rights" would be from mankind - which would of course make them subject to revision. There would be no such thing as "inalienable rights," and additional rights (to welfare, to free lunches, etc.) could be added at any time. But then I'm waxing philosophical.
(thanks to Brian Ross (again!) for the notice)

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

One of my MANY readers, Brian Ross, told me about this site:

I found a couple of errors, which I attribute to sheer exuberence, but the concept seems sound. But there are plenty of pictures and even video to check out. Something to look forward to. Maybe.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Almost a year ago, Vermont senator James Jeffords departed the Republican party, thrusting control of the Senate to the Democratic Party and causing damage to Republican prestige and dashing hopes that something useful could come from this Congress. In an interview, Jeffords mentioned that the Senate Democrats joined in singing “Consider Yourself,” from Oliver!, when he joined their caucus. (“Consider yourself – at home – consider yourself – part of the family….it’s clear – we’re – going to get along…”) I’m not the first Oliver! fan to note that in the musical, that song welcomed Oliver Twist into a gang of pickpockets.
OMB director Mitch Daniels gives an example of philosophical conversations with his college-age daughter: “If James Carville and Geraldo Rivera were both drowning, and you could only save one, would you read the paper or eat lunch?”
Bush made a speech in Miami a couple of weeks ago: “Nearly a half century ago, Cuba’s independence and the hopes for democracy were hijacked by a brutal dictator who cares everything for his own power and nada for the Cuban people…For 43 years, every election in Cuba has been a fraud and a sham. Mr. Castro, once, just once, show that you’re unafraid of a real election. Show the world you respect Cuba’s citizens enough to listen to their voices and to count their votes. Start to release your chokehold on the working people, and on enterprise. Then – and only then – will we talk about easing sanctions, and not before…Viva Cuba libre!
(Source: National Review Magazine)

By the way, press reports indicate that Carter did happen to mention the Varela Project (see my original note by clicking here). Not that Castro will actually do anything, but it's something.

Monday, May 27, 2002

From a news teaser on TV just a few minutes ago:

"Want to know what the rest of your morning will be like? Weather forecast at noon."

Saturday, May 25, 2002

Those who know me know my views about the Gateway Test. For those who don't know me or who tuned in late, I have a problem with a test that is the SOLE criterion on whether a student goes on to the next grade. The law of unintended consequences kicks in: Teachers will start teaching how to pass the test, and more subtle yet also essential aspects of education will be bypassed. The Gwinnett County School Board lightened the standards the first year it came out, to keep the outrage to a minimum in case there was a parents' revolt.

The latest news reports on the Gateway Test are not encouraging:

Of course, we voted on the public school system by putting our children in private school this year. But getting a good education is one of our least concerns with the Gwinnett School System. My oldest would have been in Duluth Middle School, and then eventually at Duluth High School:

Atlanta-Journal Constitution, May 24, 2002: Teens Charged With Sexual Assault At Party

This isn't the kind of culture I want to deal with. Can you believe I have friends who think I should have my children in public schools so they can be exposed to this? As if school was a training ground for building sexual mores. I don't think so. As a parent, I want to be in control of my children through high school. I can limit the amount of television my children watch. I can limit and monitor their computer usage, and I have a say on who they choose to be their friends. That's called responsible mentoring. To turn my back on this role is to put them in a social vacuum where they have to discover their own morals and high ideas. Where you get situations like The Lost Children of Rockdale County.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

An interesting article by Robert Novak covers what we DO know about Cuba's biological warfare program:

And this is the last I'm going to say about Cuba (and Carter) for a while.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Really. But I've just moved and I'm swamped at work - getting in too many hours here.


Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Last week the Atlanta Jewish Times featured an article on Atlanta’s premier talk show host: “Neal Boortz: Does He Really Get It?” In the issue, the article waxes incredulous that Boortz would actually take the trouble to defend Israel in the Middle East conflict. The author, Jill Jordan Sieder, cites numerous other radio hosts and their questionable loyalty to Israel’s Palestinian question.

Neal Boortz himself seems bemused by the attention:

[It’s] interesting how some Rabbis just couldn't stand the very thought that I wasn't actually siding with the Palestinians me being so full of hate and all…And by the way, can someone [tell] me why I would be such an unlikely champion of Israel? Am I supposed to be anti-Israel or anti-Semitic just because I'm not a left winger?
I personally found the article poorly titled, and revealing of the liberal bias that has permeated the magazine. A better title might be, “Liberal Jews Stunned by Conservative Support: Do They Really Get It?” The fact is, historically, conservatives have always been supportive of Israel and its need for self-determination. [Point of clarification: Neal Boortz is a libertarian - which is not-too-far-off the conservative beaten path.]

Just look at the media coverage on Palestinian war crimes. Hello, nonexistent. Where were the protests when Palestinians stormed the Church of the Nativity and took the clerics inside hostage? Why is the outrage – so prevalent when IDF troops stormed Jenin and carried out a “massacre” (which turned out to be exaggerated to the point of deliberate fabrication) – muted when yet another suicide bomber strikes Israel? Where are the howls of outrage over anti-Semitic activities in Europe?

The answer is, if the Jews want to find American media support, they have only to look at the conservative magazines and websites. Reporters there dug beneath the CAIR and PA press releases and found out that – surprise! – the Israelis are not bent on Palestinian destruction. (On the other hand, numerous examples can be found of Palestinians lusting to kill Jews and push the country of Israel into the sea.)

Back to my point – why don’t American Jews get it? Why do 4 out of 5 Jews support Democratic candidates, when Democrats have an obvious lack of sympathy for Israel? On the flip side, a strong majority of conservative Christians overwhelmingly support Israel’s right to exist and defend itself.

American Jews need to realize who their friends are. Like Neal Boortz.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Carter is accusing the Bush Administration of "undermining his trip" to Cuba by accusing Havana of developing weapons of mass destruction. According to AP dispatches, John Bolton, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, charged a week ago that Cuba was working to develop biological weapons and had shared such technology with other rogue states. But Carter, shewd detector of bioterror technology that he is, personally toured a research facility to see for himself. From the Houston Chronicle:

Dr. Luis Herrera, who runs the lab, told Carter that Cuba has 38 biotechnology projects in 14 nations, including China, Russia, Iran and the United Kingdom.

"And you have no plans for agreements with Libya or Iraq?" Carter asked.

"No," Herrera said.
Ah ha. Another Right Wing Conspiracy Plot exposed. Carter, with Perry Mason-like mendacity, gets to the heart of the matter. Yes, one lab visit, a few questions, and a serious researched accusation by a major superpower is all cleared up. Thanks, Jimmy.
The Washington Times weighs in on Carter's visit to Cuba:

It's a pretty harsh indictment.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Oh, goody – Ex-president Jimmy Carter is in Cuba this week, giving ol' Castro the what-for. Yeah, right.

Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the Camp David accords back in 1979. Never mind that Sadat and Begin had the peace deal worked out before they ever bothered to call Washington. And peace has sure broken out all over the region since then, hasn’t it?

He is supposed to be a “human-rights crusader” (his quotes, not mine), yet he seems to have a funny idea of what “human-rights” really are. Mr. Carter, call Amnesty International. Better yet, check out Jay Nordlinger’s article in the May 20, 2002 issue of National Review, which quotes a 1994 The New Republic piece:

While in office, Carter hailed Tito as “a man who believes in human rights.” He said of Ceausescu and himself, “Our goals are the same: to have a just system of economics and politics…We believe in enhancing human rights.” Since leaving office, Carter has praised Syria’s late Assad (killer of at least 20,000 in Hama) and the Ethiopian tyrant Mengistu (killer of many more than that). In Haiti, he told the dictator C├ędras that he was “ashamed of what my country has done to your country.”

While in North Korea, Carter lauded Kim Il Sung, one of the most complete and destructive dictators in history. Said Carter, “I find him to be vigorous, intelligent, … and in charge of the decisions about this country (well, he was absolute ruler). He said, “I don’t see that they [the North Koreans] are an outlaw nation.”
Carter has praised Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega, and was downright bitter when the Sandinistas lost power in 1990.

The bottom line is that there is little hope for those yearning for freedom in Cuba will see any positive moves from Carter. Especially with Fidel Castro. The old Cuban dictator is apparently a charmer, and I’m skeptical that Carter will make any further headway than anyone else has. More likely that Castro will massage Carter’s ego, make lame assurances that peace is and prosperity will forever be a part of the Cuban people, and prove Carter to be an even bigger fool than since he stumbled into the White House.

Free Cuba activists still hope, however, that Carter will say something about the Varela Project, which is a petition drive in Cuba to force a referendum on whether the current government should continue. This was the means by which Chileans got rid of Pinochet in the 1980s. The petition – a legal and Constitutional mechanism, by the way - has more than the required number of signatures, but Castro regime is harassing those who signed and failing to follow its own law. Carter could put out some strong words – given his history of election monitoring – and possibly unblock the holdup and get things rolling for a shakeup in Cuba.

I’m pessimistic that anything positive will in fact come out of Carter’s trip this week. But anything can happen.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Taking a quick lunch break....I received this link from a friend:,2933,52076,00.html
Apparently more and more parents are taking their children out of public schools. Of course, I'm one of those parents.

Gwinnett County schools, once the hallmark of Georgia Public education (such as it is), have been going downhill even faster in the past year alone, in my opinion.

My daughters are both going to a Christian School now. The odd thing is, if you took out chapel and the daily bible class, I believe that you would have only a marginally improved environment than the one I went through at my old high school in the 1970's. (I didn't know a whole lot of Christian School people back then, so it's kind of hard for me to compare....)

Sunday, May 05, 2002

John Leo of US News and World Report has published a great column on blogging - Click Here to check it out.
Sigh. After such auspicious beginnings, I'm just swamped - new work assignment, still cleaning up another assignment, and home chores have all added up to very little time to play here. I hope to get a handle on things soon. I'm also working on my website and hope to get it in a presentable format soon as well. We shall see...!

Friday, April 26, 2002

Not much to post right now - have a lot to say but never enough time to say it in.

Have you seen or heard the Saudi Arabian ads on the TV and radio? Apparently the government of Saudi Arabia is concerned that their relationship with Washingon is disentegrating and they're taking their case directly to the American people. WGST's Kim Peterson has aired his own version of the ads - and I think they're a lot more accurate (not to mention pretty funny). If I can find them online I'll post the link.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Go to the Yahoo Health web site (, then do a search for "anorexia." Click on the link for "anorexia nervosa." Read and learn all about this sad disorder. Then, while you're at it - check out the ad on the right. Need I say more?
(Tip courtesy of OpinionJournal's Best of the Web)

UPDATE: The Yahoo folks have finally caught on and fixed the situation - it just didn't seem appropriate to have an eDiets "Lose 10 pounds by May 28" ad next to a description of anorexia....

20 points as described by Bill Bennett, Jack Kemp and Jeanne Kirkpatrick. Study and impress your friends!
This is my first entry! How cool!

My web site was looking a bit lack-luster, so I've decided to spice it up with a blogger (a chronological list of musings that is becoming almost annoyingly popular on the Internet).

I'll keep you posted on how this goes.