Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Protesters lose excuse, skeedaddle: Media in Mourning

"Anti-war demonstrators leaving Bush's Texas ranch to take their message to the people, leaving media short of story ideas"

That was the subhead on the San Francisco Chronicle's story on the war protesters leaving Crawford -- since President Bush left to tend to the Hurricane Katrina crisis.

If ever there was any doubt that this was a media-made spectacle, there is no more.

Interesting to note that this article goes on to praise the protesters for 25 paragraphs, and barely mentions the military families who support the president and the war.

Tribune columnist Kathleen Parker comments on the ridiculousness of the celebrity-fattened spectacle, noting:"Indeed, recent events surrounding the war protest led by Cindy Sheehan have added a new dimension to the definition of tragicomedy. Not just tragic, not just comedic, but also ridiculous. The theater of the absurd has found pay dirt in central Texas."

Parker is not without sympathy for the antiwar cause, but at least has the integrity to admit the Crawford protest was becoming increasingly absurd.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

YEEEEEE-HAAA!: Sharpton Driver on "Hazzardous" Thrill Ride

One wouldn't expect a member of Al Sharpton's entourage to be a fan of redneck humor.

Yet one must wonder whether it was inspiration from the recent "Dukes of Hazzard" movie remake that drove Rev. Sharpton's driver to take local cops on a nine-mile, 110-mph chase through the rural Texas.

The Chicago Tribune reports that driver Jarrett Mauphin was seen weaving in out of traffic at high speeds in a 2005 Lincoln, apparently taking Rev. Sharpton to the airport after his visit with famed war protester Cindy Sheehan.

It gets better -- apparently, after police detained Maupin, Rev. Sharpton THUMBED A RIDE from a passing motorist and made his flight.

You know, you just can't make this stuff up. I can't wait to see what other celebrities show up in Crawford and do goofy things.

Oh, Martin Sheen was there, but *sigh* he didn't do anything.

(A-neerder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder neerderder needer-neer) Son, you're gonna drive me to drinkin' if you don't quit drivin' that hot * rod * Lincoln...

Apologies to Charlie Ryan -- I couldn't resist.

Friday, August 26, 2005

It's a Zoo out there

It's off to the Bronx Zoo today for the family.

My five-year-old discovered zoos this year and loves them. Ashamed to say in five years of living back in the Northeast, we have yet to make it to the Bronx Zoo.

Should be a lot of fun -- weather is supposed to be gorgeous.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

And here it comes....the backlash

Media are starting to report -- in small doses -- about the backlash against the Sheehan antiwar protest at the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas.

In story titled "Families Angered By Crosses At War Protest," the AP reports today that the father of one fallen soldier yanked out of the ground three crosses the protesters had erected at the site bearing his son's name.

You would have thought the protesters would have gotten the message the first time, but then that lot isn't known for its sensitivity.

"It wasn't our intention to upset anyone," said one protester.

Sorry, but I'm afraid I'm gonna have to call "bullsh*t" on that one. They don't give a rip who they upset, and to say otherwise is as pathetic as it is disingenuous.

It will be curious to see how much coverage these developments get. The media have pretty much positioned this as a one-sided issue, illustrating what they describe as waning public support for the war and implying in spades that Cindy Sheehan is the surrogate for every military family member everywhere.

But the "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy" caravan of military families, who have denounced her in the broadest terms possible, is quickly making its way from California to Crawford this week, undermining the conventional wisdom promulgated by the press.

Will they report it or ignore it?

On the one hand, most major media are disinclined to cover events that don't square with their viewpoint if they can get away with it.

On the other hand, they like nothing more than a foodfight.

They Printed My Letter!!! III

News-Times printed it today -- here's the link.

To be honest, this is becoming a little dull. I hope this doorstop doesn't respond again -- I'm getting a little bored.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pat Robertson -- He's Nuts!

Judas H. Priest -- just to prove that not all the lunatics are on the left, "evangelist" Pat Robertson is now advocating that we assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the AP reports.

Chavez's wears his commie cred as a badge of honor, and he's certainly no friend of the U.S. But Assassination?

Venezuela is also a major oil exporter to the U.S., at a time when oil supplies are sagging and prices are soaring. Translation: we need them.

Good grief, what is this man thinking?

Someone please get Pat off the air and back on his meds.

Monday, August 22, 2005

R.I.P. Moog

Robert A. Moog, inventor of the electronic synthesizer died as a result of a brain tumor this weekend in Asheville, NC, the Associated Press reports.

From Rock to Bach, the Moog was a fave among musicians throughout the late 60s and 70s. The Beatles, the Who, Stevie Wonder and others used this new musical technology.

And just think -- without Moog's invention, there would have been no Pink Floyd.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Father of Fallen Soldier Speaks -- Offers Another View

Like Cindy Sheehan, Ronald Griffin lost a son in Iraq. But he takes a position diametrically opposed to hers on the war and the president in today's WSJ.

He comments on NY Times Columnist Maureen Dowd's statement that the parents of fallen soldiers have "absolute moral authority" on the subject of the war, asking how that can be true since not all parents of fallen sons and daughters agree.

It's worth reading in its entirety.

It's an important reminder that while Cindy Sheehan lost a son in Iraq, she is not the only one who has, and she does not -- as the media and her friends have portrayed -- speak for them all. In fact, she may not speak for most of them.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Office Marathon

NBC ran a mini-marathon of it's adaptation of the British series "The Office" tonight.

I watched the first two episodes again.

Still very funny, although I still prefer the original series -- the British series just worked better.

Even so, the stapler in the Jello transcends every culture.

I believe NBC is renewing the series this fall.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Revenge of the Eggtimer

John Schneider comes back for more.

I have to give him a little credit -- it looks like he actually did a teensy bit of homework this time.

But he's still wrong.

So I'm gonna drill him again.

Hey, everyone needs a hobby -- mine is puncturing gassy, misinformed liberals.

And I can keep this up as long as he can.

Loved him as "Bo" in the original Dukes of Hazzard though -- okay, that was gratuitous, but I couldn't resist.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tech Support. Yeah, right

I somehow lost all the bookmarks in my Firefox browser.

Hunted around for it -- couldn't find a folder on the hard drive. They're just gone.

Called tech support for my company.

Their response -- you'll have to manually reload them. Maybe you got a virus or something.

Wow, we pay people for keen technical insight like that.

Uh huh.

I Went Down to the Crossroads...

Wife and kids away this week, so I watched videos. Both disks from the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas last year.

Awesome stuff. I mean, the Clapton stuff is always great, but put him beside folks like Carlos Santana -- Awesome!

Interesting and diverse group of performers. James Taylor put in an endearing set, with Joe Walsh backing him -- odd, but cool. Walsh later did a set of his own -- with Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn as his sidemen!!!

Newboy John Mayer was entertaining. Country guy Vince Gill ripped it up on a Tele -- who knew?

One of the most entertaining bits was Steve Vai's performance -- him and Tony MacAlpine, Billy Sheehan, and youngster David Weiner just shredding it to pieces like a bunch of first-graders amped up on caffeinated soda and chocolate ice cream. Playing at lightning speed, all at once -- it was audacious, incredible, a little wanky and hysterical all at the same time.

I also watched "Heist" -- your usual caper flick, starring Gene Hackman and Danny Devito. Total genre stuff and the plot didn't hang together all that well. But Hackman is just such a great actor.

And the dialogue was incredibly good -- pitch perfect.

"Is that the thing?" "Yeah, that's the thing."

"Don't you want to hear my last words?" "We just did."

"I try to imagine what someone smarter than me would do, and then I do that."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Pimping the Dead: Cindy Sheehan and the War

Okay, first rule: people who've lost a loved one in Iraq get to say anything they want.

Whether we agree with it or not, we all have to understand that in grief people are entitled to make whatever statements they wish, and we'll respectfully and politely give them room to grieve.


And here's the big but...

That doesn't mean what they have to say is necesarily true, relevant or rational.

In fact, it's just because they ARE grieving they the may be irrational, and therefore say things that are untrue or irrelvant.

Such is the case for Cindy Sheehan, who has staked out the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas, demanding that he meet with her to discuss her views on the war. Ms. Sheehan's son, Casey was killed in Iraq last year.

You can read her comments on the issue here, but in essence, she's demanding that the U.S. pull out of Iraq immediately.

An understandable position for someone who has lost a son in the war, but hardly a reasonable one. Can you imagine the chaos that would erupt if we just pulled up and went home now?

Not to say that the outcome in Iraq is guaranteed if we stay -- so much must be done to stop the terrorist attacks and get the fledgling nation on its feet.

But the outcome pretty much IS guaranteed if we leave now -- it will be a disaster.

Ms. Sheehan also asks what "noble cause" her son died for.

I think he died so that 27 million people could live under the same freedom we enjoy. I believe he died to stop a madman who subjected those 27 million people to unspeakable torture and murder administered in the cruelest methods possible. I think he died to stop a maniac who repeatedly threatened and attacked his neighbors, persecuted minorities, refused to comply with international demands that he completely dismantle his WMD programs, and who was an ardent advocate and sponsor of global terror.

That may not seem like a very good answer to Ms. Sheehan -- it wouldn't to me either.

But it's a lot better than the one she gets from liars and cowards who call themselves her friends and supporters -- that Casey died for a a lie and it wasn't worth it.

Those same supporters have taken this grieving mother's vigil and turned it into a publicity stunt -- there's good press to be had, after all, in pimping the dead.

To their shame. But then, they probably have no shame.

One final thought. Interesting to note that Ms. Sheehan's own family has refused to endorse her position and has actually asked her to stop.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Business Travel: It Still Sucks

Got the the Atlanta airport yesterday for my flight home.

Flight delayed 90 minutes -- American Airlines and Amex Travel clueless and unhelpful. They didn't know what was happening, but I suspect the thunderstorms that rolled through Atlanta earlier had bolluxed things up.

By the time we actually had a plane and boarded, it was two hours. Then we sat at the gate for 20 minutes -- had to wait for them to push planes out of our way so we could taxi.

Then we taxied for 40 minutes -- a gazillion planes ahead of us. So we're now three hours late getting out.

Get to LaGuardia, go to baggage claim -- baggage coming out on wrong carousel. Again. I suspect they use monkeys to do this work.

In the car, headed out. Traffic on the Whitestone Bridge and all the way up the Hutch -- construction.

Finally got home and crawled into bed at 12:30 a.m.

Business travel sucks.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Business Travel: It Sucks

Two days back from vacation, I was once again reminded of the "glamour" of business travel.

I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to catch an early flight. The car service dropped me at LaGuardia at about 6:20.

Inside the terminal, it was chaos. You ever see one of those movies where there's a civil war in an third world country, and everyone is at the airport trying to get out? It was kind of like that.

It took me over an hour to get through ticketing, baggage drop and security -- I love the whole "take your shoes off" thing, but hey, they gotta do it.

Barely had time to hit the head and grab a cup of coffee before it was time to board.

I turned on what little charm I have with the the flight attendent, and she moved me to an exit row, aisle seat -- sweet, legroom!

Then we sat on the tarmac for a half hour. Apparently they only had one runway open. Finally took off, made up some of the time in the air.

Landed in Atlanta, and we sat on the tarmac for a half hour. Apparently they were slow getting planes off the gates, and there was some construction holding us up.

Hey, no big deal -- it's not like I had anything important to do today. Like, oh I don't know... GO TO WORK!!!!!!!

Got into the terminal, went to baggage claim. I'm standing at the carousel 1, which has a marquee very specifically stating that bags from my flight are coming there. I wait about 15 minutes. I glance over at carousel 2, and think "wow, that sure looks like my bag over there." It was.

Thirty minutes and a smelly cab ride later, I finally made it to the office.

Business travel sucks.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings Signs Off

ABC Newsman Peter Jennings passed away yesterday from lung cancer.

Not a particular fan of network news, but I thought Jennings made more of an attempt to be balanced than his competitors Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw.

In particular, I thought his coverage of 9/11 was noteworthy, not only for it's content but for his constitution. NPR reported this morning that Jennings was on-air pretty much non-stop for four days.

Best wishes and prayers for his family.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

They printed my letter!!! Part 2

Been away on on vacation, as you know, but the News-Times printed my letter pointing out the obvious flaws in John Schneider's claims about the Downing Street memo.

Those darn liberals -- for a bunch of people who are so much smarter than the rest of us, it's amazing how they can't manage to put together an intelligent argument. I'm surprised some of them can finish a sentence.

Note: I do actually know many very smart people on the opposite side of my political views. It just seems that none of them write letters to the News-Times.

Note 2: They archived the letter after seven days, so here is the text of it:
To the Editor: Poor John Schneider (Letters, 7/19). So overcome with emotion. So incapable of seeing past his own rage and hysteria that he continues hurling accusations he can't support.

Mr. Schneider returns to his claim that the Downing Street memo proves the Bush administration guilty of lying -- this time not because of its substance, but rather its context.

His argument is: this is an "official" British Government document, and he knows in his "heart of hearts" that the Bush administration is "full of war criminals."

Serious charges, but not a particularly compelling argument. Frankly, I could easily produce an "official" document declaring Mr. Schneider is an Irish Sheepdog. That doesn't prove he actually is one, even if I really, really believe it's true.

Shaping so-called evidence to a predetermined conclusion and wrapping it all up in an emotional outburst is not proof, Mr. Schneider. It's a tantrum.

Sound familiar? That's right, you're doing exactly what you accuse the Bush administration of. Again.

So let's focus on what the document actually is and says. And just for fun, let's make it interesting.

If Mr. Schneider can point to anything in the document -- anything at all -- that would be legally admissible as PROOF of guilt of any crime by any member of the Bush administration, I'll donate $100 to the humanitarian charity of his choice.

If he can't provide such proof, he pays 100 bucks to one of my favorite charities -- the International Justice Mission (, which fights child prostitution and slavery around the world.

"Clever" solution, huh?

What do you say, Mr. Schneider? Care to put your money where your overwrought emotions are?