Saturday, July 19, 2003

Discontent Americans take advice from Merle Haggard:
For all they share economically and culturally, Canada and the United States are increasingly at odds on basic social policies - to the point that at least a few discontented Americans are planning to move north and try their neighbors' way of life.

A few of the reasons:
"For me, it's a no-brainer," said Mollie Ingebrand, a puppeteer from Minneapolis who plans to go to Vancouver with her lawyer husband and 2-year-old son.
New York executive Daniel Hanley, 31, was arranging a move for himself and his partner, Tony, long before the Canadian announcement about same-sex marriage. But the timing delights him; he and Tony now hope to marry in front of their families after they emigrate to British Columbia.
Thomas Hodges, a computer systems major at Georgia State University, said his dismay with American politics started him thinking last year about going abroad. He recently wrote an article in a campus journal titled, "Why I Am Moving To Canada."

"I'm thinking about Toronto, though I hear it's cold up there," Hodges, a lifelong Southerner, said in a telephone interview.

TTFN. Ta-Ta For Now! Enjoy the healthcare system.

Three Days to Vacation!

My sister-in-law and I are headed to Colorado Springs, CO next Wednesday to spend a relaxing week in the mountains and visit family. Mr. Guillotine, Valentine, and Viagra all have to work, so it'll just be me and the three youngest kiddos. The most challenging part of the trip will be the 8 hour car ride to North-West Texas on Tuesday.

The first hour usually rolls by pleasantly because they are all alseep.

The second hour will probably pass peacefully since they will be inhaling breakfast, but since we're on vacation, they will ask for a Dr. Pepper at 9 am and since we're on vacation I will give it to them. It will be a huge mistake.

In the third hour everyone will begin to hit their sugar high, voices will creep up a few decibles, and they will also need to go to the bathroom, but none at the same time. After the third pit stop, all will want a Dr. Pepper.

By hour four, which child gets which bag of chips for lunch will be hotly contested, and when the dust settles, all three will open their bag of now crushed chips and the war will be on. They will then bang each other over the head with boxes of fruit roll-ups yelling, "MOM SAID SHARE STUPID!!", displaying a mouthful of partially masticated chip goo, and ask for another Dr. Pepper.

Somewhere during the fifth hour, their relationships will deteriorate to the equivalent of wildcats tied in a sack. Sinking to the maturity level of the Texas House debating re-districting, I will debate swinging by Ardmore, OK and dumping them at the Holiday Inn. Since I'm unfortunately tied in the sack with the wildcats, I'll give them another Dr. Pepper so they will just shut up.

By the sixth harrowing hour, I will begin to fume at the injustice of the my situation. Thirty years ago I could have pulled the car over, snatched them all out of the back seat, blistered their fannies, and peace would be among us. Parents driving by would probably give me two thumbs up. These days some good samaritan with a cell phone would report me to Child Protective Services and I would spend my vacation in jail. I'll spend the remainder of the hour picking cheese doodles out of my hair and trying to convince myself, unsucessfully, that a week in jail would be worse than this car trip. Three potty stops later everyone will want a Dr. Pepper.

Hour seven rolls around and I will plot the logistics of discreetly taking off my flip-flop and swatting a few fannies while roaring down the road at 75 MPH. As an angrily thrown coloring book whizzes by my head I will begin to berate myself for not having my tubes tied after Viagra was born. Just think of all that Dr. Pepper money I could have saved. It would have at least paid for my psychiatric care. Now I'll just have to continue life, and this unending car ride, as a raving lunatic.

When the clock strikes the eighth hour, I'll be dialing information for the number of the closest CPS office so that I can voluntarily turn myself in. I'll ask the kids to have a Dr. Pepper so that I can hear myself talk on the phone. Thankfully we'll pull into Robin's driveway just before I hit send and I will promise myself I will never, ever do this again. Next year I will agree to go bass fishing with Mr. Guillotine in South America on the Rio Negro. Contracting malaria or being kidnapped by guerilla freedom-fighters sounds more relaxing and enjoyable than this car trip. At least the freedom-fighters won't keep asking for Dr. Pepper.

Note to Robin: Have the beer on ice when I pull in the driveway. Better still, stand on the curb with one in your hand.

Friday, July 18, 2003

The Real Zero Tolerance

Talk about cracking down!
The Muslim leadership in Muheza district has called upon the Government to adopt Islamic (Sharia) Law which provides for the stoning to death of adulterers. This is in an effort to clamp down on sexual intercourse as one way of containing the HIV/AIDS spread in the country.

That is quite an incentive to be faithful to one's spouse. Next time a man cheats on his wife, she can just say "you better never let me catch you again, or I'll inform the government!"

Here is a look at life 100 years ago, in 1903.

The average life expectancy in the US was forty-seven.

Only 14 Percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.

There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144
miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily
populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents,
California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour.

The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births in the US took place at home.

Ninety percent of all US physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were
condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."

Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee cost fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.

The five leading causes of death in the US were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.

There were no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

One in ten US adults couldn't read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Coca Cola contained cocaine.
Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

Eighteen percent of households in the US had at least one full-time
servant or domestic.

There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire US.

That's mind-boggling! Just think about the technilogical, scientific, and practical advances the next hundred years will bring.

In the long line of things I haven't posted, but I loved, here is an old article by Victor Davis Hanson and this is one of the best quotes:

But the lethality of the military is not just organizational or a dividend of high-technology. Moral and group cohesion explain more still. The general critique of the 1990s was that we had raised a generation with peroxide hair and tongue rings, general illiterates who lounged at malls, occasionally muttering "like" and "you know" in Sean Penn or Valley Girl cadences. But somehow the military has married the familiarity and dynamism of crass popular culture to 19th-century notions of heroism, self-sacrifice, patriotism, and audacity.

The result is that the energy of our soldiers arises from the ranks rather than is imposed from above. What, after all, is the world to make of Marines shooting their way into Baathist houses with Ray-Bans, or shaggy special forces who look like they are strolling in Greenwich Village with M-16s, or tankers with music blaring and logos like "Bad Moon Rising?" The troops look sometimes like cynical American teenagers but they fight and die like Leathernecks on Okinawa. The Arab street may put on shows of goose-stepping suicide bombers, noisy pajama-clad killers, and shrill, masked assassins, but in real battle against gum-chewing American adolescents with sunglasses these street toughs prove to be little more than toy soldiers.

So let's find a way to stop screwing up their morale, yesterday!

Sorry I missed this Ralph Peter's column:
Perhaps the greatest failing of the intellectual elite and those elements of the media that pander to it is that they consistently underestimate the American people, imagining that the "common" man or woman might be led by the piques and whims of those who never had to sweat for a living and never will.

College professors, journalists or party operatives who assume that the American people are not smart enough to see into the heart of great matters without the guidance of their betters will always be frustrated by the ultimate common sense, moral force and courage of their fellow Americans.

The elite regard the masses as politically incompetent, yet the people consistently have been right when the intellectuals were wrong.

Americans grasp, intuitively and viscerally, that the War Against Terror, of which our campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq were vital phases, is as justified as it is essential. It is the elite, imprisoned still in their Clintonian fairy-tale worldview, who refuse to see that the United States remains in mortal danger from enemies who cannot be appeased, persuaded or deflected.

Don't miss the first of the column. Well worth the price of admission.


This excellent video saluting all of our fighting men and women is a must see if you've got a box of kleenex handy.

Mr. Guillotine's best friend had an uncle who fought in WWII. That amazing soldier stormed the beaches at Normandy, liberated France, invaded Berlin, and was put on a ship. All the men thought they were going home. Instead, they headed to the Panama Canal and crossed into the Pacific Ocean. And landed on the beaches in Japan. He came home and told at least two little boys what I'm sure was a highly edited version of his exploits. We need to appreciate our soldiers everyday and say a prayer for them as well. They are protecting us all and doing a damn fine job.

Donald Sensing over at One Hand Clapping has several interesting observations and links on sinking troop morale and who ought to fix the problems. I wish I knew more about serving in the military. I'd love to have someone's take, possibly someone who graduated from West Point even, about this situation.

You know who you are. Pull up your socks!

I broke my index fingernail off into the quick this morning and it hurts so badly to type that I've been much more discerning about what I include today. The method I've used: This is so good I feel like sharing it and crying right now! Obviously, not much passed the whine factor. Yes, you may pass the cheese. Thank you sir, may I have another?

My poor, beleaguered finger was also called upon to figure and write payroll checks as this is Friday. For someone who learned 10-Key by touch 20 years ago, 10-Key by pen lid is a long and frustrating process.

In the You Learn Something New Every Day category, however, I've got a hot tip for kindegarten and 1st grade teachers. Yes, it is important that we hold the pen just the right way. After rigorously testing other methods while writing paychecks I want to share some indisputable data. If you scoot the pen down to rest on your ring finger, you not only get the screaming cramp all the way up the under-side of your arm which is normal for taking notes, you also get a screaming cramp all the way up the tendons in the top of your hand extending to your elbow.

So keep insisting that all those little kiddies hold their pens the right way. No point in them having twice the torture in high school and college and blaming it on you!


1.You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up.

2. Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children.

3. Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young.

4. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.

5. The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own.

I know you've all probably read that, but it's good to remind yourself each day!

Sgt. Stryker has a photo-comparison of 4 branches of military service and which might be the best choice. Don't miss it!!

Lots of interesting stuff on the Middle East and Iraq over at Little Green Footballs

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Here's Your Sign

Democrats, like Bob Graham continue to hammer Bush about mis-leading the American people:
"If in fact we went to war under false pretenses that is a very serious charge," Graham, the senior U.S. senator from Florida, told reporters in New Hampshire.

"If the standard of impeachment is the one the House Republicans used against Bill Clinton, this clearly comes within that standard," he said.
Well, gosh Bob. If the standard for impeachment was lying under oath and obstruction of justice, Clinton would have been impeached, but he wasn't. So that isn't the standard, now is it? Even if that had been the standard, Bush hasn't done that. Clinton bit his quivering lip and lied his fanny off to the American people, only to apologize later for his misconduct and that wasn't the standard for impeachment either. Thanks for asking!

I have an idea for the Bush White House. They sit on all evidence of WMD in Iraq until each and every one of the Democrats running for president impale themselves on this issue. Then, summer of 2004, they release it all in a colossal intelligence dump, and cake-walk to victory as the Dems try to explain all their silly comments in the face of overwhelming evidence. Works for me.

Tony Blair addresses the real issues before Congress:

"Can we be sure that terrorism and weapons of mass destruction will join together?

"Let us say one thing. If we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that, at its least, is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering.

"That is something I am confident history will forgive.

"But if our critics are wrong, if we are right, as I believe with every fibre of instinct and conviction I have that we are, and we do not act, then we will have hesitated in the face of this menace when we should have given leadership.

"That is something history will not forgive."

And our children and grandchildren will pay the price for our failure to act.

I realize that we all have concerns about the school system, but this guy needs to be taken out and shot, figuratively speaking of course:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A school board meeting erupted in violence Thursday when a school maintenance worker doused two audience members with gasoline, then fired several shots from an assault-style rifle, wounding one person, police said.
Being above the fray, we should try him in a court of law, convict him, and leave off with the gasoline of course.

The Plaque for 2nd Place is in the Ladies Room

We spectacularly lost both championship games and Viagra can now go from calling little Victory E6 to calling him E8. His fielding in the first game was so amazingly awful that the coaches pulled him at the end of the 2nd inning. As the final score was 14-2, he was not alone in amazingly awful fielding, but we just didn't have a bench long enough to pull every player who was amazingly awful. He did, however, get a great hit in the second game, so they pulled some other amazingly awful player, and our coaches led us to a humiliating 20-2 loss to end the season. I have been voting all season to pull the coaches, but those of you who know me understand that this happens every year and in almost every sport. Well, except for the years that Mr. Guillotine and I coached. Then the coaching was exemplary, we just had crappy refs and silly parents.

Over the years, I have two observations about coaching. One, if you don't have a good cop/bad cop thing going, you'll lose. Someone needs to be concerned about winning and someone needs to be concerned about the little darlings self-esteem. Since I've always believed that self-esteem is something you earn, I don't believe you can pass it out with drinks after the game. I'm from the bad cop school and have always applied the Grandpa Hogan dictum to our household: Start or Plow. While we were losing 14-2, some mothers were yelling things like, "Ya'll smile and have fun. It's just a game!" I was thinking, but didn't yell, "There's nothing as fun as winning!" Ask Saddam.

Two, if you don't start the season with the intention of winning the state championship, you're not going to win district. Our silly coaches lolly-gagged here, lolly-gagged there for the entire season, and then they got all serious this week. As if discipline or fundamentals could be found like an arrowhead in the dirt beside third base.

Or wait, make that three observations. Being involved in a sports program at a Christian school can be a self-esteem building, loving, and affirming experience if you don't mind losing and don't question stupidity. If you care at all about winning, I don't recommend it. But hey, I'm the bad cop!

Real Sports Heros

Just in case you haven't heard about Pat and Kevin Tillman:

Pat and Kevin Tillman have returned to the United States after serving in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom and both have been selected by the Army to participate in a three-month-long elite Ranger training regimen, the Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.....

....Pat Tillman turned down a three-year, $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the Army in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Kevin gave up a minor league baseball career to join Pat.

Saudi's continue to wake up and smell the coffee??

Following the al Qaeda suicide bombings of apartment buildings in Riyadh on May 12 that killed 35, including eight Americans, Saudi security and intelligence organizations reported what the royal family was loath to hear: Almost 1,000 Saudi clerics are either linked to, or in sympathy with, al Qaeda. They have been fired or banned from addressing worshippers after Friday prayers. Acting in the name of King Fahd, who is too ill to rule, Crown Prince Abdullah has issued new regulations prohibiting any reference to jihad, or holy war, in radio and television broadcasts.

Looks promising.

More excellent news from Iraq:

"This is the best July 17th I've seen so far because there is no Saddam and no Baath," said Fadil Amin, an out-of-work translator. "We're better off without them, even if we don't have any electrical power or water and security is abysmal."

There are many optimistic quotes in the article. Read it all!

I've been AWOL for two days and based on the avalanche of email I've received (2), I thought I'd explain. Mr. Guillotine's parents appeared on my doorstep Tuesday afternoon after fleeing the coast and Claudette. So, I've been entertaining in part and my youngest son's baseball team is in the district play-offs. (For reasons that will become clear I'm going to nickname my youngest son Victory.) We've had games every night and will play the championship game tonight. If we win, we will go to the state tournament, again, for the 3rd time in Victory's 4 year baseball career. Victory had more trophies on his shelves after his first year of T-Ball than Viagra had when he graduated from high school. His T-Ball team took state that first year, came in second the next year, and now we may be going back.

Every team Victory has played on, whether it be football, basketball, or baseball has been amazingly sucessful and we've got the trophies collecting dust to prove it. If things keep going this way, we're going to be faced with adding a trophy room to the house before he's in Junior High School or decorating our living room like a Sports Bar.

And last but not least, two books that I've been dying to read were available in bookstores Tuesday, but now I've read them and the in-laws headed home yesterday, so I'm back on-line.

I found this excellent story about what's really happening in Iraqi over at InstaPundit :

THERE are two Iraqs today: One as portrayed by those in America and Europe who wish to use it as a means of damaging Bush and Blair, and the other as it really exists, home to 24 million people with many hopes and aspirations and, naturally, some anxiety about the future.

"After we have aired our grievances we remember the essential point: Saddam is gone," says Mohsen Saleh, a geologist in Baghdad. "A man who is cured of cancer does not complain about a common cold."

I encourage everyone to read the whole article. It is well worth the time.

Nice to know that some Palestinians are taking the peace process seriously:

An Israeli woman has told how a Palestinian car thief changed her tyre after a puncture left her stranded at night on a West Bank road.

"I felt lost standing next to my vehicle, south of Hebron, not knowing what to do and fearing the worst," Guishra Schwartz told the Ma'ariv newspaper on Wednesday.

"Suddenly a Palestinian came out of the shadows and offered to help. He got out of a vehicle he said he had stolen in Beersheva (southern Israel), and I was terrified," Schwartz said.

"But he immediately told me not to worry and started changing the wheel, explaining that it was his duty to help Israelis because of the truce," she said.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Some Really Sweet Girls

Click here to see pictures of one of my best friend's two youngest daughters. They went on a mission trip last week to Mexico and this is a picture of both of them working and smiling in Mexico. Ten of my dollars supported this mission trip's fun money through slave labor provided by Miss Nissi who helped me clean my kitchen before our 4th of July party. On the 3rd of July, I was convinced she was a special blessing from God to me because you should have seen my kitchen, so I'm sure she was a blessing to everyone in Mexico. I'm not sure if they gave her ten dollars or not.

Her sister, Aimee, however, has been a mixed blessing bag. (They've spelled her name wrong at the website, but she's the red-head, at least for the present.) Aimee, while also very sweet and beautiful, crushed me one day as I was driving her home when she was much younger and not as tactful as she is today. I was belting out some song I've blocked out because the memory is still much too painful and when the song was over I said, "I've always wanted to be a singer!"

Aimee looked at me like I'd lost my ever lovin' mind and said, chuckling, "Lana, I think you should be a commedian!"

And so, my dreams of becoming the next Cher, except with more clothes on, were dashed by a 12 year-old. Hopefully, while Aimee was painting desks in Mexico, no one with amibitions to become the next Cher, but with more clothes on, crossed her path.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

From the avalanche of email I've received (2), I gather that some of you were worried that we didn't have a good day. The parade was a serious BUMMER but the rest of the day was excellent. I had a one year-old foster child last winter for 3 months and we all just fell in love with him. His daddy brought him to the cookout and then to the fireworks later on that evening, so we had a huge silver lining in our black rain cloud of a parade. He was leery of us at first, assuming perhaps that he was going to be left again, but then he saw my purse. He perked right up, pointed at the purse, and said, "Lana!Lana!" In a world of instability, it's nice to know that I can bring love and comfort to those I love and do it with leopard skin.

The parade this year did have some lighter moments. Since the area of the sidewalk and curb is technically public, we always get up at 8 am and spread quilts on the public area so that when our guests arrive at 10 am they have a place to sit. Then we assemble the lawn chairs behind them on the hill for prime viewability. Around 9:30 am a family of four rank strangers just strolled up the five concrete steps of our sidewalk that leads toward our front door, sat in the dead middle of the steps and proceeded to make camp right smack in front of our lawn chairs. And when I say make camp, I do not mean they spread a blanket. They parked a stroller the size of a PT Cruiser in the grass on one side of the steps in front of two families of invited guests. They unloaded and stacked enough supplies for Y3K right in front of another family and then they actually hammered a pole into our grass on the other side of the steps and erected a large, red and white striped beach umbrella right in front of my face.

Still, the final straw was the fact that they did all of this wearing tube socks and velcro beach sandals. Now I can handle rude and I can handle tacky, but handling both is asking just way too much.

The beach umbrella was dismantled, the PT Crusier was banished to the sidewalk down the hill, but unfortunately the socks and sandals remained for the duration.

There was also an new float in the parade that caused a stir. A large group of disconcertingly large women called "The Big-Haired Ladies of Texas" strutted and slinked past with blonde wigs reminiscent of nothing so much as Dolly Parton from the Porter Wagner years, except even larger. The wigs. Some of the ladies seemed to have trouble slinking in their four inch spike heels, maybe lack of practice, but their gold lame micro-dresses were very attractive, in a Ru Paul sort of way.

The rank strangers didn't disappoint me. They were breathtaking presumptuous right down to the end. They'd waved six other families over to my yard to sit with them and spent the last hour of the parade taking turns asking if they and all their children could please use my bathroom. I told them of course, but you'll have to lose the socks.

I Feel The Need, The Need For Speed

According to this New York Times article we can put the pedal to the metal:

For anyone who has ever undergone such Western automotive agonies and reacted by putting human law aside and heeding natural law instead (Thou Shalt Reach Old Faithful Before Dark), no news could be more intriguing than the following: according to a recent academic study, raising speed limits to 70 miles per hour, and even higher, has no effect whatsoever on the death rates of young and middle-aged male drivers. That's right, guys: if you're under 65 and you find yourself cruising the great wasteland somewhere between Denver and Portland, say, you can rev things up with a clear conscience -- soon maybe even in Oregon, whose Legislature is considering upping its maximum speed limit from a poky, painful 65 to a brisk and wholesome 70.

Unless you drive like a girl!

higher speed limits do increase the death rates of women and the elderly.

Selective Editing?

I've read at least 6 accounts about the new Iraqi Council, but not a single US news organization included this tidbit:

Iraqi council blasts Arab media:

THE new 25-member Iraqi Governing Council savaged the Arab media today for romanticising deposed dictator Saddam Hussein and turning a blind eye to the atrocities he committed against his own people.

"I say this to the Arab media: stop advising the Iraqis to fight the Americans," Nasseer al-Shadershi, the Sunni Muslim head of the Iraqi Democratic Current, told reporters to a roar of applause.

More Proof We're Making an Impression in the Middle East

Watchdog Set Up for Charities in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH, 14 July 2003 — The Shoura Council yesterday approved a bill setting up a new body to oversee Islamic charities as part of the Kingdom’s bid to clear its name over terror-funding charges by Washington.

NAACP Chairman Julian Bond slamming the GOP comes as no surprise:
Republicans appeal "to the dark underside of American culture, to that minority of Americans who reject democracy and equality," NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said yesterday at the civil rights group's 94th annual convention.

But he also inadvertently reveals the major problem facing the Democrats:

If the Democrats were doing anything, we'd criticize them, too," Mr. Bond said.

Found at InstaPundit More good news:
I see Iraqis risk their safety and the safety of their families to inform on rogue elements. I see soldiers who've never left places like Kansas City understand and use the word inshallah. I've seen food distribution that was slow and methodical because U.S. soldiers there wanted to make sure that older mothers got what they needed first. Afterwards community leaders and elders who normally would have cursed these foreigners thank them for treating their people with dignity.

Scroll down to letter #10 and read the whole letter to the editor from one of our soldiers.

Here's Your Sign!

Before the 4th of July parade in 2003, our town council was threatened with legal action over two issues. The first was the throwing of candy from the floats. Some mothers were worried about their children dashing into the streets to get a piece of bubble gum and being run over by a float. At first glance this sounds reasonable, but even if the candy throwing is banned, who is going to keep these toddlers from dashing into the streets for myriad other reasons the other 364 days of the year? That's a parent's job. Why can't their silly parents make sure they don't get hit by a float on the 4th of July? At one time I had 5 children under the age of 10 and not one was mashed by a parade float. In a show of great courage, our intrepid council members banned candy from the parade.

Now imagine you had an expensive camera at a parade, were looking through the view finder, and saw a group of kids shooting water guns at spectators. Would you (a) move your camera out of harm's way so that it would not get wet or (b) continue to take pictures anyway and risk damage figuring that you could always sue someone later? Nit-wits who chose (b) are the reason the city council also banned Super Soakers from our parade. I think the council should have called their bluff. In our town it is not against the law to carry a water gun. They should have offered to round up the entire youth baseball league and put 'em in a line-up. If you can pick out the freckled-faced, smiling, 6 year-old T-ball player who drenched your camera because you are such an abject moron that you kept it right out there to get sprayed, we would be more than happy to allow you to be laughed out of a courtroom, down the courthouse steps, and back to your vehicle.

Sadly, there is a good chance that they wouldn't be laughed out of court. These two issues may sound trivial, but they illustrate a much larger problem in our country. When we make laws and policies that shield people from the logical consequences of their behavior, those people lose the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and make better decisions. We all lose just a little more freedom.

When the 4th of July parade came down the street in 2003, we didn't even bother to roll out our hoses. It wouldn't have been fair to shoot anyone. In fact, it would have been depressing. All of the parade entrants had been informed by officials that if they shot any type of water gun their float would be immediately escorted off the parade route. My son's float, while strictly following the rules, heaved cups of water over the side for a few blocks, but it just wasn't any fun and they quickly gave up their small rebellion. One poor group of baseball players had bubble machines on their float. It was pretty pathetic. None of us got to suck on half-melted Tootsie Rolls or fight over the cherry Tootsie Pops and a great deal of the joy of the day was stolen from all of us by a small minority of stupid people.

RALPH PETERS has an excellent column in the New York Post today regarding the media's coverage of Iraq:

If we took the criteria for instant failure that the media and our most self-interested politicians apply to Iraq and applied them here at home, the U.S. government would be obliged to evacuate California and abandon Mississippi, since two shooting incidents in those states last week killed more Americans than did the low-level violence in Iraq.

Clearly, our 150-year-old annexation of California has been a failure - likewise, the reintegration of Mississippi in the years since our Civil War. Let's just pack up and go home.

Read the whole article.

al Qaeda behind attacks in Iraq?
DUBAI (Reuters) - A group claiming links to the al Qaeda network has released a tape saying it, not Saddam Hussein loyalists, was behind attacks on U.S. forces, but offered no evidence to back up the claims.

This story may be true, but the reality is that al Qaeda wants to kill US citizens. They will not stop, they will not be appeased, they can't be reasoned with, and unless and until we hunt them down and send them to the 9th circle of hell, people are going to die.

President Bush issued this challenge:

"There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there," Bush told reporters at the White House. "My answer is bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."

and he was right on the money. Our soldiers are ready for a war. The cashiers at 7-11 down the street are ready to ring up a Slurpee. I know which of the two I want facing the terrorists. Our soldiers are in Iraq, ready and supremely capable of doing the job, and issuing an engraved invitation to any terrorist would like to join the party is exactly the right thing to do. If they are busy in Iraq fighting our soldiers, they aren't somewhere else blowing up innocent civilians.

That is why statements like this by Democrats are wrong:

At an event in Concord Thursday morning Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt responded to a question on national security by bringing up the "bring it on comment" and said, "What is this? He’s president. You don’t taunt the enemy. You try to keep the troops safe. It isn’t helpful. This phoney macho business is not getting us where we need to be."
Our troops will never be safe until the terrorists are dead or too scared to ever show themselves again. Bringing the troops home to "protect" them only issues the terrorists an engraved invitation right back to the US to attack civilians.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

The Issue of Nicknames

In response to the avalanche of email I've received (2), I'd like to clarify the business of nicknaming my children for the purposes of the site. Mr. Guillotine is somewhat leery of sharing personal information on the World Wide Web because of all the horror stories about people being stalked or attacked after being noticed by kooks on the internet. My position is since everyone in the family old enough to shoulder a shotgun has their own weapon and is quite proficient in hitting what they target, we needn't worry about such individuals. If they'd like to be shot in a proficient manner, they need look no further than us to do the job of ridding the internet of stalking scum.

However, my middle daughter chose the name Veritas with which to post her thoughts and my two oldest decided to join the party. So now everyone has a nickname that begins with V and for the record, my oldest son Viagra chose his own name as a joke. Yes, we all have a warped sense of humor. Yes, we like it that way.

Just A Little Elbow Grease

If you sometimes feel, as I do, that one person can't really make a difference, read this article and learn how one high school student actually managed to change his school.

According to this Washington Post article the Democrats will continue to hammer President Bush over his State of the Union speech comment:
The White House's belated admission that the president relied on bum information in accusing Iraq of trying to buy uranium from Africa for a nuclear-weapons program has crystallized all the doubts and resentment that has been building in the liberal psyche.

Fortunately, Bush is a crafty politician and has already become an agent in the CIA to avert further criticism.

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