Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Let's start with ... his house!"

SCOTUS ruled that local governments can use eminent domain to take away a person's property, even to give over to ANOTHER private concern to build over. The local government need only look at a potential for greater revenue from the new property than they had for the old.

Needless to say, this is upsetting.

One man has proposed that we start with Justice Souter's house:
On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.
It does indeed get better. Go have a look.

Tsunami Hope Chest: SOLD!

It looks like the high bid was accepted for the Tsunami Hope Chest after all, even though it was short of the reserve price.

Here's the thread over at the WWA. Apparently someone who posts there bought it after all!

An open question lingers from earlier: "What color do you s'pose they'll paint it?"
yes... that's a joke

Monday, June 27, 2005

More Than One Way for a Vacancy to Appear on the Supreme Court

A sobering possibility was raised in the comment section of this post over at ConfirmThem.

Commenter "Gray Temples" wrote:
it is possible the CJ is terminal and has been told he has ____ days/weeks to live…..and, now that we are in recess, he will not resume his spot on the bench before his death...
That could explain why there was no announcement of a resignation as well as any other theory.

A Question on the Occasion of SCOTUS's Ten Commandments Decisions Today

SCOTUS has now gotten into the art criticism business.
The Kentucky display featuring the Ten Commandments is just a little too... I dunno... fundamentalist for our tastes. This one... this one from Texas. Now that's good stuff!
Apparently context is the key to having an allowable visual representation of the Ten Commandments.

So here's the question that I take from their two decisions today:

How many non-Judeo-Christian elements must be part of a public building's installation to sufficiently dilute the impact of the Ten Commandments?

Something tells me the answer will be highly variable, not unlike the famous porn definition. If that is the case, has SCOTUS now set themselves up to examine every public building in America, allowing one display, but throwing out another?

Negotiating with Terrorists?

The Sunday shows were abuzz with talk that the US had had "secret talks" with the "insurgents" in Iraq. Rumsfeld said that in fact there had been many more than the two that his interviewer had confronted him with.

Why would something like this come to light? Why would the administration admit it?

Perhaps to illustrate the similarity between the enemies of freedom and certain elements of the United States Congress. Specifically: a demand for a firm timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq. (See Also: Chester)

The administration brings it out thinking that the political hay that could be made comparing the defeatists at home with the terrorists in Iraq would be greater than could be made over "negotiating with terrorists"? Possible. Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin and Ted Kennedy as heads of the Ansar al-Donkey fighting against us in the war from right here in Washington, D.C.? An interesting image.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Stem Cell Discovery

The Stones Cry Out has a story on stem cells--adult stem cells. In a nutshell they have the same ability to multiply as embryonic stem cells--and that has been hailed as a significant reason why embryonic stem cells need to be used.

If adult stem cells multiply just as well, differentiate just as well and can be obtained without killing anyone--something that cannot honestly be said about embryonic stem cells--why wouldn't we just use adult stem cells?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Space Invaded by a Female Revisited

Don't shed too many tears for the supposedly 'devout' Muslims in Guantanamo Bay having their space invaded by women.

It didn't bother the 9/11 hijackers when they visited Olympic Garden Topless Cabaret in Las Vegas. Why should it bother these 'paragons' of Islam?

Morning Reading

Interesting thread brewing over at Jack Kelly's Irish Pennants about potential Presidential matchups in 2008. According to Zogby McCain stomps either Hillary Clinton or John Kerry.

As I commented over there, it will be a long time before I believe Zogby with respect to Presidential polling.

Meanwhile, Carol Platt Liebau has posted what the Left said in the aftermath of 9/11/2001 apropos of Karl Rove's remarks at the Conservative Party of New York the other night:
"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

Patrick Ruffini's got a list, too. Check out Shifting the Goal Posts, especially the comments section where liberals get all defensive-like.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tsunami Hope Chest: Updated Press Release

Here's the latest press release from the keyboard of Tampa Tom Iovino:
For Immediate Release: June 21, 2005
Media Contact: Tom Iovino, Publicity Manager
Woodworker's Website Association www.woodworking.org

Tsunami Hope Chest Proceeds to Help Survivors Rebuild

December 26, 2004 will long be remembered as one of the most tragic days in the World’s history. A massive undersea earthquake spawned a tsunami of epic proportions which ended nearly 200,000 lives in the nations surrounding the Indian Ocean.

And, while stories such as the death of Pope John Paul II, rising oil prices and the re-election of British Prime Minister Tony Blair have replaced tsunami news on world headlines, millions still struggle every day to rebuild their communities, families and their very lives.

To assist with this effort as we approach the six-month anniversary of this tragedy, the Woodworker’s Website Association’s (WWA) is teaming up with the Mercy Corps’ tsunami relief efforts ( http://www.mercycorps.org/items/2288/ ) to bring relief to those who need it most.

An exquisite handcrafted chest, built by Dave Shaw of Australian Wood Art ( www.australianwoodart.com ) is now available to bid on at eBay.com, and will continue through Sunday, June 26 – the six-month anniversary of the tragedy. WWA members donated nearly $3,000 to purchase exotic woods and supplies. The fine workmanship and creative development of this beautifully crafted piece can be seen in a series of photographs posted on the Internet at http://www.australianwoodart.com/tsunami.htm .

For auction previews and bidding, the chest may be seen at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5401393185 . All proceeds will be donated to assist the Mercy Corps’ relief fund in the tsunami-affected areas.

The WWA, a worldwide association of woodworkers, was established in 1997, and currently has nearly 5,000 registered members. The site features an interactive discussion forum, an expansive tool accident survey, tool reviews, numerous articles written by members and many other useful links to other woodworking sites. The site does not accept advertising from outside corporations, and is funded solely through membership fees. Notable members include the late woodworking author Danny Proulx, John Lucas of woodshopdemos.com and Tom Hintz, Webmaster of newwoodworker.com. For more information on the WWA, visit http://www.woodworking.org .

Editor’s Note: Photos available digitally upon request

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Durbin Apologizes. More or less.

Here's the link to Durbin's statement on his site.

I'm still not buying the "sorry if you were offended" rhetoric. That's not an apology.

Oh, and his schedule's pretty tight, so he won't be joinging me for an afternoon at the Holocaust Museum.

Not So Christian After All

World Magazine has a short article online called "A Nation of Deists." According to social science researchers at the University of North Carolina, it isn't just 'deism' it is "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism."

The summation of the researchers' findings is as follows:
(1) "A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth."
(2) "God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions."
(3) "The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself."
(4) "God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem."
(5) "Good people go to heaven when they die."
Where are they getting this? What are all these Church-going kids actually learning? Read the article.

Going to Washington

I'll be heading out for Washington, D.C., in a few days. I thought I'd ask my senior Senator if has time for a tour of the Holocaust Museum with me. It does require a timed-entry pass, but I'm willing to work around the Senator's schedule.

His Washington office number is busy and his Chicago office won't open for another 10 minutes or so.

We'll see what the staff says.

Happy Midsummer!

Throughout Scandinavia, Midsummer is the most popular festival this side of Christmas. Last night was Mid Summer Eve or Jonsok ([St.] John's Wake) in Norway, Sankt Hans aften (St. John's Eve) in Denmark.

Here's a nice one-page summary.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Coalition of the Willing in Pictures

Chrenkoff has photos of the Coalition of the Willing. Along with the photos (nations in alphabetical order) there are some inspiring stories such as this one under the photo of the Salvadoran contingent:
One of his friends was dead, 12 others lay wounded and the four soldiers still left standing were surrounded and out of ammunition. So Salvadoran Cpl. Samuel Toloza said a prayer, whipped out his knife and charged the Iraqi gunmen. In one of the only known instances of hand-to-hand combat in the Iraq conflict, Cpl. Toloza stabbed several attackers swarming around a comrade. The stunned assailants backed away momentarily, just as a relief column came to the unit's rescue.

There's a lot more. Check it out!

(via the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler)

Chester has a few suggestions for Bush's June 28th Address

For the first anniversary of the return of sovereignty to the people of Iraq, GWB has planned a major address. Chester has some good points from the history of warfare and some suggestions for how to follow up and educate the American people.

(See also: This post from last Friday.)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Vietnam War Hero Killed; Killer About to Be Set Free

Colonel James Rowe had been a POW in Viet Nam during the war, and was scheduled to be killed. Why was he about to be killed? Because his identity as an American Special Forces officer was given to the Viet Cong. And who gave it to them?

The anti-war Left:
Acting on a request from the North Vietnamese, students in a so-called anti-war organization in the United States researched public records and formulated biographies on Americans captured in Vietnam. After reading Lt. Rowe's biography, his Viet Cong captors became furious. They marched him into a cramped bamboo hut and forced him to sit on the damp clay floor. Several high ranking Viet Cong officials were staring down at Lt. Rowe. They held out a piece of typed onion skin paper.
"The peace and justice loving friends, of the National Liberation Front, who live in America, have provided us with information which leads us to believe you have lied to us," they informed Lt. Rowe. "According to what we know, you are not an engineer . . . you have much military experience which you deny . . . You were an officer of the American Special Forces."

He managed to escape that time, only to be shot dead in 1989 in a Quezon City traffic circle by members of a radical organization known as NPA.

One of those men was tried and convicted. His sentence is over in less than two weeks. Read the whole thing.

Thanks, Wretchard, for sharing the story of Col. Rowe, as well as for reminding us how the acts of the anti-war Left were used by the enemies of this nation.

Torture Center Discovered in Western Iraq

Powerline has a little article up about a torture center that our Marines found in western Iraq. John Hinderaker asks the question:
"What do you think; do you suppose we need a lot more news stories about how a guard at Gitmo accidentally touched a Koran?"

I think not, but a story like this is only going to stoke the Left's fire a little hotter. "See?!" they will shriek, "They saw the pictures from Abu Ghraib and now they're doing it to Iraqis!"

To which I would answer: "I think the people doing this in Iraq already knew how." Or I could point not to Abu Grabass photos, but to a movie called "Three Kings" wherein a US service man was captured and tortured by Iraqis during the 1991 Gulf War. Looks more similar to that, based on the article's description.

By the way, aren't these "insurgents" the guys that Mike al-Moore called 'The Minutemen'? When I was in school, I never read about Paul Revere torturing his fellow colonists--even the Tories. I must have missed that day.

Abstinence Education Really Does Work

Rush is fond of saying that 'Abstinence education works everywhere it is tried'. The Washington Times had an article dated June 18 showing that in the case of a program called Best Friends, Rush was Right. According to a study in the journal Adolescent & Family Health kids from the Best Friends program were:

• Six-and-a-half times more likely to remain sexually abstinent.
• Nearly twice as likely to abstain from drinking alcohol.
• Eight times more likely to abstain from drug use.
• More than twice as likely to refrain from smoking.

Here's the Washington Times story, which includes the opposition of Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) to such programs.

(Hat tip: Carol Platt Liebau)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Trodwell rocks

I love this line from the end of a piece on Canadians desiring a private choice in healthcare:
"Your job is to shut up, pay your taxes, try not to get sick, and keep pushing the Liberal lever every few years in hopes of getting a food pellet instead of the "2,000-volt gotcha."

That defines, I think, the hopes of Socialist-leaning officials everywhere, including American Democrats. Keep voting for us or the Bad Guys will take away your cake!

Edit: Now that I reflect on it, shouldn't the 'Democrats' in this country take a different name, given their utter contempt for the people?

Another Thought in Passing re: Dick Durbin's Statement on the Floor

When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here—I almost hesitate to put them in the RECORD, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report...

The thing that bugs me is this: is he REALLY quoting from the FBI memo? Or is he ahem elaborating from it? This last has been whispered already.

Turn over the memo, Senator. Let's see it.

Senator Dick's Non-Apology Apology

I caught this portion of Senator Dick Durbin's non-apology apology over at the Potbelly Stove:

"I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood."

"And over-used like a common, hackneyed cliche, cheapening the meaning of true attrocities. And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

Okay, the last part is mine. I didn't really see an apology to the families of Holocaust victims, concentration camp survivors--ESPECIALLY survivors--residents of the actual Soviet Gulag, Cambodians lost to Pol Pot's Killing Fields.

And how about a straight-up apology to John McCain, while we're at it. Senator McCain's stay in the Hanoi Hilton is well-known. How can Senator Durbin look the senior Senator from Arizona in the eye after this?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Kos Stands Up for Durbin Slander; Jawa Shows Him Where He's Wrong

Kos is read by thousands every day. The other day his readers got this:
The torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command. And Dick Durbin had the balls to say it so on the Senate floor.

The Jawa Report has a graphic (I wouldn't count on it being safe for work, nor for those with more delicate sensibilities. In other words, this stuff that Saddam had done is revolting) comparison of Durbin's accusation and what really went on in Saddam's Iraq.

Here it is and don't say I didn't warn you.

(Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt, Froggy Ruminations)

The Bidding Has Begun for the Tsunami Hope Chest

Bidding for Dave Shaw's gorgeous Tsunami Hope Chest has begun on EBay! The proceeds from the auction are going to Mercy Corps.

Here's the updated press release from Tom Iovino:

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2005
Media Contact: Tom Iovino, Publicity Manager
Woodworker's Website Association www.woodworking.org

Tsunami Hope Chest Goes to Auction

The Woodworker’s Website Association’s (WWA) Tsunami Hope Chest is going to auction, and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to help the victims of last December’s Indian Ocean Tsunami while owning a piece of history.

The exquisite handcrafted chest, built by Dave Shaw of Australian Wood Art (www.australianwoodart.com) is now available to bid on at eBay.com, and will continue through Sunday, June 26 – the six-month anniversary of the tragedy.

All proceeds will be donated to assist the Mercy Corps’ relief fund ( http://www.mercycorps.org/items/2288/ ) efforts in the tsunami-affected areas.

For auction previews and bidding, the chest may be seen at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5401393185 .

WWA members donated nearly $3,000 to purchase exotic woods and supplies. The fine workmanship and creative development of this beautifully crafted piece can be seen in a series of photographs posted on the Internet at http://www.australianwoodart.com/tsunami.htm .

The WWA, a worldwide association of woodworkers, was established in 1997, and currently has nearly 5,000 registered members. The site features an interactive discussion forum, an expansive tool accident survey, tool reviews, numerous articles written by members and many other useful links to other woodworking sites. The site does not accept advertising from outside corporations, and is funded solely through membership fees. Notable members include the late woodworking author Danny Proulx, John Lucas of woodshopdemos.com and Tom Hinz, Webmaster of newwoodworker.com. For more information on the WWA, visit http://www.woodworking.org .

Editor’s Note: Photos available digitally upon request

Now with Trackback!

So I went ahead and installed the haloscan comment and trackback system. Unfortunately it has blown away all the comments from before. Sorry about that.
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Chris Muir's Day By Day Takes a Poke at Durbin

You want the June 17th strip here. Thanks once more to my fellow Illinoisians for making us ALL look like freakin' moonbats in the eyes of the world.

Ralph Peters on GTMO

"Has the Bush administration made mistakes regarding Guantanamo? You bet. The biggest one was attempting to placate the critics."

Here's the link to Ralph Peters's "Gitmo Cocktail", but registration is required.

The nut of the article is this: Democrats (he doesn't use the name, but I will) and the terrorists have in common a deep-seated urge to see the United States fail, and becasue of that neither can be appeased.

GWB didn't try to appease "the evildoers" in this world. So why in the world does he perpetually try to appease carping Democrats? Perhaps this goes back to the rumored "Big Plan" of Karl Rove to take away chunks of the Democrat's platform in an attempt to undermine their coalition of support for years to come. If so, it may make Congressional Democrats all the more determined to drum up support for Impeachment hearings. (The GOP did it to Clinton, and you can take it to the bank that the Democrats are going to stop at nothing to attempt to do it to Bush.)

Heard earlier on the Bill Bennet's Morning in America, an emailer wrote that George Bush needs to get back to communicating to the American people why it is we fight, what he stakes are. It is far from obvious to the mass of people in the United States what the scope of the war is--that includes Congress, as well.

The Democrats may never shut up, but if they do it would only be because the polls have changed to show that opposition to the global war is still a big loser in the 2006 midterm. That won't happen without a serious education effort.

The nature of this conflict may well be etched as clearly as Waterford crystal in the President's mind. I just urge him to share "that vision thing" with us, clearly and plainly. No one else is going to do it.

(Hat tip: Jack Kelly over at Irish Pennants)

Jed Babbin talks with "Non" Reagan on MSNBC

or... 'You can tell which dog's been hit, cuz its the one that barks loudest'

Writing for the American Spectator, Jed Babbin recounts his time talking with Non Reagan on his new MSNBC show. The topic of the question was the Downing Street memo, something that the left has been flogging for the better than a month now.

Here's a quote:
After Ron Reagan pressed me to admit our casus belli was a tissue of lies, I told him that the fact we haven't found Saddam's WMD proved precisely nothing. That's so, I said, because while we fiddled and diddled in the U.N. for six months before military action began, Saddam almost certainly moved all his WMD and scrubbed away all the evidence of it.

When Reagan pressed me further, contending that none of the commissions investigating the missing WMD said they had been moved, I cited the report of Charles Duelfer's Iraq Survey Group, which spent many months searching for WMD in Iraq. That report, I said, showed the substantial body of evidence that a lot of people, money, and materials, possibly including WMD, were smuggled out of Iraq in the months before March 2003. The destination of these cargoes was Syria. I had touched a nerve: by the time I got home, the "Media Matters for America" blog had accused me of lying, and dozens of nearly identical e-mails (on the intellectual plane of, "liar, liar, pants on fire") were pouring in. I quickly stopped reading them and just hit "delete" when I saw them.

I hadn't merely touched a hyperlib nerve. I had challenged the basis for the hyperlibs' existence: to discredit George Bush and the war at any cost...

(italics are Jed's, the boldface is mine.)

Read the whole thing, which includes a link to the Duelfer Report.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

My Senator's Remarks on the Senate Floor

On behalf of the people of Illinois, I offer an apology for our Senator Dick Durbin. I wish I could say that it won't happen again, but the Senator is somewhat of a loose cannon.

Here's a verbatim transcript straight out of the Senate record:

We still would have the ability to hold detainees and to interrogate them aggressively. Members of al-Qaida would not be prisoners of war. We would be able to do everything we need to do to keep our country safe. The difference is, we would not have damaged our reputation in the international community in the process.

Stand by for some real damage...
When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here—I almost hesitate to put them in the RECORD, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

Hold on! Gotta get my really, really tiny violin. Okay. Here we go. Some sad, sad music for this dramatic reading by Senator Dick:
On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18–24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee
was shaking with cold. . . . On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees.

The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

Tough interrogation? Sure. Is it torture? I don't think so. If we had plucked the mans hairs out one by one? Maybe, sure. But here's the money quote:

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime—Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.

I would have to say... no, I wouldn't assume this was any of the above. The people above might have gassed them or given them over for medical experiments, worked them to death planting turnips in the permafrost (to borrow a line from Lileks), or massacred them while they tried to run away.

By using this kind of over-the-top hyperbole on the floor of the Senate, I believe Senator Durbin has just encouraged the worst kind of anti-American sentiment in the world, and made life ever more difficult for our armed forces abroad. And for what? Well, I can't say for sure, naturally, but if I had to take an educated guess, I would sum it with "fund raising". Red meat for the left-wing, Blame-America-First crowd.

That's right. He's impugned the character of his own country for filthy political gain.

Here's another little bit:

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator’s time has expired.

Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 3 additional minutes.

Senator A: Should we stop him?
Senator B: Forget it. He's rolling

Mr. DURBIN. It is not too late. I hope we will learn from history. I hope we will change course. The President could declare the United States will apply the Geneva Conventions to the war on terrorism. He could declare, as he should, that the United States will not, under any circumstances, subject any detainee to torture, or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Oh! Like beheading? Making them beg for their lives and showing the videos on al-Jazeera TV?
The administration could give all detainees a meaningful opportunity to challenge their detention before a neutral decisionmaker.

Yes, friends, the Geneva Conventions. If we really applied the Geneva Conventions, these men, not fighting under the flag of any country and without uniform, would have been summarily executed right on the field of battle. Not what he means, I'm sure. He admitted earlier that al-Qaeda members wouldn't count under the GC. I'm not sure who else he had in mind. Bring them before a neutral decisionmaker? If I know my Democrats like I think I do, that could only mean a Federal judge appointed by Clinton or Carter.

Supposing that we let them go, what does he believe would happen? They'd go back to a quiet life in the suburbs of Riyadh or Islamabad or Amman?

Sure. Or maybe they'd go back out and attempt to kill Americans. Like this. (Hat tip: the Jet Set Chick, via Rantburg)

9/11/01 Ground Zero Memorial

The Blame-America-First crowd has taken over the Ground Zero site.

That's right. The site where more than 3000 people lost their lives for no other reason than they were at work the day that crazed Islamists plowed jet airliners into their offices is going to be a place that "will host debates and note points of view with which you–and I–will disagree." So says Richard Tofel, the COO of the so-called International Freedom Center that is scheduled to open on the site in 2010.

Debra Burlingame is the sister of the pilot of the AA flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon. Her website, Take Back the Memorial contains an action list for fighting the construction of the IFC which will be more of a Leftist 'why America deserved it then and really deserves it now' type of attraction than an exposition on those that fell that day.

(See also: this Powerline article for more links)

New Blogroll Entry

I've been remiss in updating the blogroll up until lately. I've added Kory O, the Jet Set Chick to the list. It's a cool blog featuring an eclectic mix of subjects from travel to the Cocktail of the Week. Go forth and check it out.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Lileks in great form

6/13 Screedblog shows Lileks in great form, fisking the recent Time mag story that purports to talk about 'harsh treatment' of detainees in GTMO.

Items such as "Invasion of Space by a Female" don't sound like torture to me... but then I wasn't raised to believe that women are icky.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Charitable Giving to African Nations

The G-8 just approved a $40,000,000,000.00 debt forgiveness package for about 20 African nations. Supposing for a moment that the $40,000,000,000.00 was owed equally to the 8 nations, that would amount to a $5,000,000,000.00 charitable write off for the US alone.

Further supposing that there are 50,000,000 individual Federal Income Tax payers, that would amount to a charitable gift of $100.00 per tax payer, taken on a flat rate. If we did this in proportion to the amount of income tax paid, some folks wouldn't be eligible for as much as others--Heavens forfend.

It is my considered opinion that we, the tax paying public, deserve to add this to our annual charitable donations! It can be called the African Debt Relief Write-Off Act of 2005 by an enterprising Congressman. And that's something everyone can feel good about.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Janice Rogers Brown Confirmed: 56 - 43; Pryor Confirmed 53-45

Congratulations to Janice Rogers Brown on her confirmation to the DC Court of Appeals!

The vote fell pretty much along party lines. Ben Nelson joined the Republicans in voting to confirm. The rest of the Democrats stood on the proverbial court house steps to try to keep her out. (Yes, even Barack Obama.) Dim Jim Jeffords abstained.

Next up: William Pryor.
Update: William Pryor remains in after a 53-45 vote. Not voting this time were Dim Jim and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The Yeas and Nays were a bit more of a mixed bag this time.

Dems voting for Confirmation:
Ben Nelson (NE)
Ken Salazar (CO)

Heffalumps voting Nay:
Lincoln Chaffee (RIno)
Susan Collins (notice ME)
Olympia Snowe (notice ME)

Maybe Pryor is too Southern for these Northeastern Liberals? There's nothing on any of their pages to suggest why the 'No' vote. Given that Pryor has already been serving on the Appeals court via a recess appointment without controversy, I'm at a loss.

Monday, June 06, 2005

A Power Tool Accident of Another Kind

A relative newcomer to the WWA forum describes a collapsed table under his brand new Delta planer here.

That being a tool on my wish list, I'll learn from his story and build its support table stout. (A cool technique for flattening a wide board using a planer can be found here at Ken Kyler's joint.)

Hopefully the story will end well, but I'm not going to stay up tonight to find out.

UPDATE: It did. The subject piece was pine, but importantly nothing went shooting out of the planer.

Former AI Activist Smacks Down Irene Khan's Gulag Remark

(hat tip: Carol Platt Liebau)

It isn't often that you see a Brookings guy writing in the Washington Times, but here is such an occasion. Michael O'Hanlon, a former Amnesty International activist and volunteer puts Irene Khan's Gulag remark in proper perspective.

The reason he comes forward is because he fears that Ms. Khan's remarks are hurtful to AI and its cause. I'm not too concerned about their brand damage, but he's absolutely right. AI looks like nothing more than a bunch of knee-jerk anti-Americans.

Lileks launches new blog

Want to read about the goings on around Jasperwood? Then you want The Bleat. But if you want to read James Lileks with a good head of steam up about the War on Terror, then my friend, you want Screedblog.

The first post is up and it's a particularly good one.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Gap in the tape

Has all of the Deep Throat coverage on the 'news' got you all nostalgic for Watergate? Well, take a look what's going on up in the Great White North. They appear to have their own version of the infamous 18 Minute Gap.

RightThinkingPeople's Trodwell has assembled a pretty convincing case against PM Paul Martin.

LAT: Potential Arms Matieral Missing in Iraq

Here's a link to the story that Jack Kelly posted over at his site.

Unfortunately the story doesn't explicitly state "since when." As in: This material has gone missing since... March 2003? Some later time?

It is interesting to note that the determination that material is missing has been made by UN satellite imagery experts. With respect to vessels that could host all manner of chemical reactions, acting chief weapons inspector Demetrius Perricos said, "Due to its characteristics, this equipment can be used for the production of both commercial chemicals and chemical warfare agents."

Does that mean that it definitely was used for chemical weapons. No, of course not. Does that mean that it could have been? Naturally. Is that good enough for me? I think so.

Would it have been good enough information for a hoard of Democrats to come swarming out of the woodwork with torches and pitchforks, claiming 'George Bush was asleep at the switch!' had some of that material had gone BOOM on American soil?

Tsunami Hope Chest auction moving forward

Here's a copy of a letter from "Tampa Tom" over at woodworking.org describing the THC:
After the news of the Tsunami Disaster in the Indian Ocean last December, the nearly 5,000 members of the Woodworker's Website Association (WWA) agreed we had to do something in order to help the relief effort.

It was decided that one of our most talented members - Dave Shaw of Australian Wood Art (www.australianwoodart.com) - would be commissioned to build a hope chest to be auctioned off - with all proceeds to be given to assist the International Red Cross' efforts in the affected areas.

Nearly $3,000 U.S. was voluntarily collected from our members to purchase the exquisite woods and necessary supplies to build the piece.

As far as the woodworking process was concerned, the work was fascinating to watch. Mr. Shaw certainly has talent!

The final productis a sight to behold. Crafted of native Australian timbers, the piece features a hand-carved dove - the international symbol of peace - created from individual pieces of natural wood.

Here is the link to the site to show the progress:

And, here are some photographs of the completed piece:

We are currently planning on listing the piece on eBay for an auction to end June 26, the six month anniversary of the tragedy. Again, all proceeds of the project will be donated to the International Red Cross to assist with Tsunami relief efforts.

At the WWA, our membership is international, with members from five continents. When the news of this tragedy broke, it affected us all. This effort, while small in comparison to other financial contributions, is what some humble craftsmen and women have to offer to help put people's lives back in order.

Thank you for your time, I will follow up with more information as the auction begins.
It's a gorgeous piece of work and for a worthy cause. Take a look at the pix if you haven't seen them yet. Stunning!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The EU Constitution

The EU Constitution has gone down in flames in both France and the Netherlands (Big time, to paraphrase VP Cheney). Is it because the people of those nations do not want to be talked down to by the elite classes of Europe? The document was so huge and detailed that it effectively told everyone not only to eat cake, but the specific kind of cake, and the particular types of icing that would be allowed on the cake.

Actually they are already eating cake in the form of 34-hour/4-day work weeks, extraordinarily liberal leave policies for the people who actually do work, cradle-to-grave health care paid for by their fellow tax payers, month-long vacations.

Why would they give that up?

Jim Mattson, sufferer of BDS

JimM is one of the administrators of woodworking.org, home of the Wood Workers of America. It is a place I frequent and even support monetarily.

He's been away for awhile. Why? Because he's pissed off about the War. Here's his "Enough already!" post.

Now come on, Jim. I know how you feel. I dropped a lot of dollars to get the entire sordid bunch of Clintonistas out of the White House in 1996. It didn't work out. I got over it. And I most certainly did NOT isolate myself from all others on the off-hand chance they MIGHT have an opinion different from mine.

Are you really going to stay away from your own site until the War is over? How do you reckon when that will be? If we keep troops stationed in Iraq, as we have in Germany and Japan since the end of WWII, will that keep you away indefinitely?

Or do you mean you will be away until the larger war against violent Islamism? If you are going to wait for the last suicide bomber ever blows up, I'm guessing you'll be away at least 20 years.

Life's too short to live constantly pissed off. Ask me about it. I spent a good 4 years of my life lamenting the sorry state of a country that would re-elect a man to the Presidency who would certainly have been hounded out of a corporate boardroom for using a female intern as just another office supply.