Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Then what are we arguing about?

At opinionduel.com, there is a debate going on over--what else--the NSA surveillance program and the legality thereof. David Rifkin is arguing the affirmative position and Richard Epstein argues the negative.

So what of it? These discussions have been going for over a month since the initial publication of the programs existence by the NY Times. Why is todays worthy of comment? Because Epstein, in the course of his initial post, undercuts his own argument as well as that of his fellow travelers:

In addition, FISA does not deal with any effort to track calls that begin against al Qaeda cells outside the United States, which then lead to the United States. FISA only deals with situations where the target of the surveillance is a U.S. person or where that surveillance is "acquired in the United States." The debate over the legality of president's action covers only those last two categories of cases, not everything done by the NSA.

So essentially, Epstein agrees that the topic of the debate (surveillance of al Qaeda originated calls from outside the US) does not require authorizations under FISA, in that he clearly articulates that the targeting of al Qaeda originated calls from outside the country does not fall under the authority of FISA. This is precisely the position articulated by the White House.

So then, what are we all arguing about anyway?

My Dogs for Cindy '06

Are you kidding me? Christmas may be very, very, very,very,very, very, very early this year.

--This Is Fantastic! I feel the earth rumbling tonight in California and it is not the San Andreas fault. It is the Sen. Feinstein campaign staff quaking in their boots! They can see, right here on this webpage, the grassroots support Cindy is receiving. Keep the votes coming in!

Run Cindy, run!

--Tomorrow, Cindy will return home to California from Washington. She has to make her decision on entering the primary by Feb. 14 which is the first filing date to be eligible to run. I will get these poll results to her and possibly they will help her in making her decision.

I will leave this page up for any visitors that happen to pass and for nostalgic purposes. This has been a great effort from all involved. I know you feel the way I do that maybe, just maybe, this is the thing that will push Cindy to where we want her to go.

"I will not risk open war!"

"Open war is upon you...whether you would risk it or not."

Our Right to Security

One of the most excruciating images of the September 11 attacks is the sight of a man who was trapped in one of the World Trade Center towers. Stripped of his suit jacket and tie and hanging on to what appears to be his office curtains, he is seen trying to lower himself outside a window to the floor immediately below. Frantically kicking his legs in an effort to find a purchase, he loses his grip, and falls.

That horrific scene and thousands more were the images that awakened a sleeping nation on that long, brutal morning. Instead of overwhelming fear or paralyzing self-doubt, the attacks were met with defiance, unity and a sense of moral purpose. Following the heroic example of ordinary citizens who put their fellow human beings and the public good ahead of themselves, the country's leaders cast aside politics and personal ambition and enacted the USA Patriot Act just 45 days later.

A mere four-and-a-half years after victims were forced to choose between being burned alive and jumping from 90 stories, it is frankly shocking that there is anyone in Washington who would politicize the Patriot Act. It is an insult to those who died to tell the American people that the organization posing the greatest threat to their liberty is not al Qaeda but the FBI. Hearing any member of Congress actually crow about "killing" or "playing chicken" with this critical legislation is as disturbing today as it would have been when Ground Zero was still smoldering. Today we know in far greater detail what not having it cost us.

Critics contend that the Patriot Act was rushed into law in a moment of panic. The truth is, the policies and guidelines it corrected had a long, troubled history and everybody who had to deal with them knew it. The "wall" was a tortuous set of rules promulgated by Justice Department lawyers in 1995 and imagined into law by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Conceived as an added protection for civil liberties provisions already built into the statute, it was the wall and its real-world ramifications that hardened the failure-to-share culture between agencies, allowing early information about 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi to fall through the cracks. More perversely, even after the significance of these terrorists and their presence in the country was known by the FBI's intelligence division, the wall prevented it from talking to its own criminal division in order to hunt them down.

Furthermore, it was the impenetrable FISA guidelines and fear of provoking the FISA court's wrath if they were transgressed that discouraged risk-averse FBI supervisors from applying for a FISA search warrant in the Zacarias Moussaoui case. The search, finally conducted on the afternoon of 9/11, produced names and phone numbers of people in the thick of the 9/11 plot, so many fertile clues that investigators believe that at least one airplane, if not all four, could have been saved.

In 2002, FISA's appellate level Court of Review examined the entire statutory scheme for issuing warrants in national security investigations and declared the "wall" a nonsensical piece of legal overkill, based neither on express statutory language nor reasonable interpretation of the FISA statute. The lower court's attempt to micromanage the execution of national security warrants was deemed an assertion of authority which neither Congress or the Constitution granted it. In other words, those lawyers and judges who created, implemented and so assiduously enforced the FISA guidelines were wrong and the American people paid dearly for it.

Despite this history, some members of Congress contend that this process-heavy court is agile enough to rule on quickly needed National Security Agency (NSA) electronic surveillance warrants. This is a dubious claim. Getting a FISA warrant requires a multistep review involving several lawyers at different offices within the Department of Justice. It can take days, weeks, even months if there is a legal dispute between the principals. "Emergency" 72-hour intercepts require sign-offs by NSA lawyers and pre-approval by the attorney general before surveillance can be initiated. Clearly, this is not conducive to what Gen. Michael Hayden, principal deputy director of national intelligence, calls "hot pursuit" of al Qaeda conversations.

The Senate will soon convene hearings on renewal of the Patriot Act and the NSA terrorist surveillance program. A minority of senators want to gamble with American lives and "fix" national security laws, which they can't show are broken. They seek to eliminate or weaken anti-terrorism measures which take into account that the Cold War and its slow-moving, analog world of landlines and stationary targets is gone. The threat we face today is a completely new paradigm of global terrorist networks operating in a high-velocity digital age using the Web and fiber-optic technology. After four-and-a-half years without another terrorist attack, these senators think we're safe enough to cave in to the same civil liberties lobby that supported that deadly FISA wall in the first place. What if they, like those lawyers and judges, are simply wrong?

Meanwhile, the media, mouthing phrases like "Article II authority," "separation of powers" and "right to privacy," are presenting the issues as if politics have nothing to do with what is driving the subject matter and its coverage. They want us to forget four years of relentless "connect-the-dots" reporting about the missed chances that "could have prevented 9/11." They have discounted the relevance of references to the two 9/11 hijackers who lived in San Diego. But not too long ago, the media itself reported that phone records revealed that five or six of the hijackers made extensive calls overseas.

NBC News aired an "exclusive" story in 2004 that dramatically recounted how al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, the San Diego terrorists who would later hijack American Airlines flight 77 and fly it into the Pentagon, received more than a dozen calls from an al Qaeda "switchboard" inside Yemen where al-Mihdhar's brother-in-law lived. The house received calls from Osama Bin Laden and relayed them to operatives around the world. Senior correspondent Lisa Myers told the shocking story of how, "The NSA had the actual phone number in the United States that the switchboard was calling, but didn't deploy that equipment, fearing it would be accused of domestic spying." Back then, the NBC script didn't describe it as "spying on Americans." Instead, it was called one of the "missed opportunities that could have saved 3,000 lives."
Another example of opportunistic coverage concerns the Patriot Act's "library provision." News reports have given plenty of ink and airtime to the ACLU's unsupported claims that the government has abused this important records provision. But how many Americans know that several of the hijackers repeatedly accessed computers at public libraries in New Jersey and Florida, using personal Internet accounts to carry out the conspiracy? Al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi logged on four times at a college library in New Jersey where they purchased airline tickets for AA 77 and later confirmed their reservations on Aug. 30. In light of this, it is ridiculous to suggest that the Justice Department has the time, resources or interest in "investigating the reading habits of law abiding citizens."

We now have the ability to put remote control cameras on the surface of Mars. Why should we allow enemies to annihilate us simply because we lack the clarity or resolve to strike a reasonable balance between a healthy skepticism of government power and the need to take proactive measures to protect ourselves from such threats? The mantra of civil-liberties hard-liners is to "question authority"--even when it is coming to our rescue--then blame that same authority when, hamstrung by civil liberties laws, it fails to save us. The old laws that would prevent FBI agents from stopping the next al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi were built on the bedrock of a 35-year history of dark, defeating mistrust. More Americans should not die because the peace-at-any-cost fringe and antigovernment paranoids still fighting the ghost of Nixon hate George Bush more than they fear al Qaeda. Ask the American people what they want. They will say that they want the commander in chief to use all reasonable means to catch the people who are trying to rain terror on our cities. Those who cite the soaring principle of individual liberty do not appear to appreciate that our enemies are not seeking to destroy individuals, but whole populations.

Three weeks before 9/11, an FBI agent with the bin Laden case squad in New York learned that al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi were in this country. He pleaded with the national security gatekeepers in Washington to launch a nationwide manhunt and was summarily told to stand down. When the FISA Court of Review tore down the wall in 2002, it included in its ruling the agent's Aug. 29, 2001, email to FBI headquarters: "Whatever has happened to this--someday someone will die--and wall or not--the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain problems. Let's hope the National Security Law Unit will stand behind their decisions then, especially since the biggest threat to us now, [bin Laden], is getting the most 'protection.'"

The public has listened to years of stinging revelations detailing how the government tied its own hands in stopping the devastating attacks of September 11. It is an irresponsible violation of the public trust for members of Congress to weaken the Patriot Act or jeopardize the NSA terrorist surveillance program because of the same illusory theories that cost us so dearly before, or worse, for rank partisan advantage. If they do, and our country sustains yet another catastrophic attack that these antiterrorism tools could have prevented, the phrase "connect the dots" will resonate again--but this time it will refer to the trail of innocent American blood which leads directly to the Senate floor.

Another example

Of why lawyers make the best bloggers. Powerline destroys Sunday's NYT editorial on the NSA surveillance program.

All without breaking a sweat.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Blogging 101

Now, I'm not much of a blogger these days. I mean, to use that terminology you have to actually write with some kind of regularity. But with the new job, new location, new housing, etc. I just don't have the time to do as much of it as I'd like.

But despite my dearth of posts lately, I do know this much: if you're going to blog it might behoove you to try to provide some analysis and insight that is not provided in the mainstream media. Like any proposition, the idea is encourage people to come to your site because you're offering something unique. Some people, it seems, haven't learned this lesson.

Like this cat.

If I was that concerned about what was in The Washington Post, I'd simply buy one.

More of the life in sales

Rule #2: Don't complicate easy, straight-forward negotiations.

It was my very own Chris Farley moment ("IDIOT!! That's so stupid! " ).

I have five or six contract negotiations going on right now for '06 Advertising. One of the supervisors I'm working with told me a week ago that she was finally ready to start talking about '06. She gave me very simple and straight-forward specs to work with.

The other day I put them together in a proposal and emailed it off to her.

In an attempt to keep management in the loop, as any good salesperson does when he's making long-term commitments on behalf of his firm, I cc'd my manager on the email and didn't think twice about it.

What I had done without realizing it however was give my counter-part in the negotiation a reason not to accept my proposal. Only when my manager's reply came did I realize it:

"You might not want to give her a reason to say no. She probably would have taken the offer, no questions asked."


[ smacks himself even harder ] GOD DANGIT! That sounded stupid! I knew I'd screw up!


Friday was huge. The Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer product--to be marketed as Exubera--that looks to transform insulin therapies forever:

The first inhalable version of insulin won federal approval Friday, giving millions of adult diabetics an alternative to some of the injections they now endure.

The Food and Drug Administration said the Pfizer Inc. insulin, to be marketed as "Exubera," is the first new way of delivering insulin since the discovery of the hormone in the 1920s.

As a diabetic who has shown a great aversion to pumps, this development does my heart good.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ignorant and irrelevant

Lots of people have taken shots (this being the hardest in my opinoin, though it goes beyond dealing with Stein alone) this last week at Joel Stein and his column in the LA Times. I haven't, in part for the same reason I haven't done a lot of things around here--I don't have the time.

I've had thoughts I wanted to post but couldn't get the opportunity to write them down. Frankly, I think thats turned out to be a good thing. As the week has progressed I've come to think it undeserving of much of the attention it's gotten.

Why is that? Well, the utter ignorance of the subject matter renders him, and the piece, completely un-serious. This profile of Stein as well as the much-publicized interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt reveal a character that is entirely ignorant of the subject matter and doesn't appear to try and hide the un-serious nature of his commentary.

Dealing with it as serious commentary is pointless. The author didn't, why should we?

It would be like me, who hasn't taken a math course since my junior year of high school writing a piece pontificating on the merits, or lack thereof, of Einstein's theory of relativity. My ignorance disqualifies me from serious consideration on the matter.

Why copy editors matter

I like a good pun as much as the next guy but this one seemed a bit much to me, all the more because it appeared unintentional. It comes from an AP-brief run on Friday discussing the cancellation of auditions for 'The Biggest Loser' in San Diego last week:

Hundreds of people were turned away Thursday from an open casting call for NBC's hit weight-loss show "The Biggest Loser" because the venue couldn't accommodate the immense crowd.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The blogger's world view

Q: How is it that after blogging, multiple times on some days, that you can have anything left to complain about?

A: There's always something to bitch about.

--From a conversation with my wife.

Friday, January 27, 2006

New Addition

To the blogroll. The mission, in their own words: Go camping every weekday for a Mega-Dose of stuff about the U.S. military's humanitarian side.

At Camp Katrina, we're telling the good news about our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines!

From the horses mouth as it were.

This little feature though is what makes it a daily-check.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Stick to Growing Beards

ALGORE2000, the world's first bionic politician, continues to befuddle, bemuse and bamboozle his way to...a career in infomercials?

On the heels of "digital brownshirts" and all the rest, SweetAl is now attacking Canadian conservatives.

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has accused the oil industry of financially backing the Tories and their "ultra-conservative leader" to protect its stake in Alberta's lucrative oilsands.
Canadians, Gore said, should vigilantly keep watch over prime minister-designate Stephen Harper because he has a pro-oil agenda and wants to pull out of the Kyoto accord -- an international agreement to combat climate change."The election in Canada was partly about the tar sands projects in Alberta," Gore said Wednesday while attending the Sundance Film Festival in Utah." And the financial interests behind the tar sands project poured a lot of money and support behind an ultra-conservative leader in order to win the election . . . and to protect their interests."

Does anyone pretend to think that he thinks he knows what he's doing? Clearly he's not running again. Clearly he can't go back to laying cable and setting up routers to build the Information Superhighway. Clearly he's persona non grata in China. He's done Saturday Night Live. We know he's written Earth in the Balance Two: Revenge of the Son of Mothra Electric Boogaloo. We know the "Lockbox" was a sham...and by the way, completely unnecessary since Social Security is totally solvent. He can't go back to his farm in Tennessee since he grew up watching the duck parades at 11a and 6p at the Peabody Hotel. So what then?

So what do you give to the man with nothing and nowhere to go? A bong and a blintz? A subscription to Ducks Unlimited? A pony? Cyanide capsules embedded in pinkie-rings embossed with Swastikas?

So on to real content. Yeah, those Canadians. They've been duped. That's the only explanation. Their very nature would indicate that they'd simply vote for the guy closest to Michael Moore. We mourn the loss of democracy in Canada and celebrate its triumph in Palestine.

Anyway, I find the article itself comical. Like here

While John Bennett, senior policy adviser for Sierra Club of Canada, isn't certain of how much oil companies and their executives donate to the Conservatives, he's noticed their language on Kyoto is similar. "They've talked about the need for a made-in-Canada plan, which is exactly the terminology Stephen Harper used," Bennett said. "They've talked about targets for Kyoto being unreachable -- that's similar."

Oh......wow. W-O-W. That's tremendous logic. I don't know if John is aware or not, but the overwhelming majority of rabid-Kyoto EU nations are not in compliance with their obligations under Kyoto. And if that's similar language, that's clearly the fault of these wacko conservatives.

And uhhhh...for any of you who actually KNOW what happened on this issue, do u find this fair and bananced?

Gore warned that Harper wants to remove Canada from the Kyoto accord, which the United States signed under former president Bill Clinton, but has refused to ratify under President George W. Bush.

Lying? No. The lingo of the competition.

Sweet Justice

The matron of Entitlement without Justification speaks.

Thu Jan 26 2006 15:42:32 2006

President Bush today again avoided taking a question from White House doyenne Helen Thomas during his 45-minute press conference, even though he took questions from every reporter around her front-row, center seat."He's a coward," Thomas said afterward. "He's supposed to be this macho guy. He'll take on Osama bin Laden, but he won't take me on." Thomas, who worked as the UPI White House reporter for 57 years and is now a columnist, raised her hand every time the president was concluding an answer to a reporter's question, but he never called on her. She had a few questions in mind, though. "I wanted to ask about Iraq: 'You said you didn't go in for oil or for Israel or for WMDs. so why did you go in?' " She also had another question at the ready, just in case, this one about the president's contention that a 28-year-old wiretapping law known as FISA is out of date, which prompted him to order the National Security Agency to conduct a secret electronic surveillance program that Democrats contend is illegal. "You keep saying it's a 1978 law, but the Constitution 200 years old. Is that out of date, too?" Afterward, Thomas sat sullenly in her chair in the White House press work area, huddled in her leopard-print winter coat. But as she left, she made a prediction: "He came on to my turf. I'll bet the next press conference will be in Room 450 of the EEOB," a theater-style room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where she would not be in the front row.

In a society where people become celebrities for no reason, does anyone question why this woman has been more resilient than the cockroach? She might be "lovable" through the miracle of her survival through so many administrations, but have we ever heard her contribute, well, anything?

The only question I struggle with more is "How many licks to the center of a "Tootsie Pop?"

Instant Karma's Getting Him

Paul was at least somewhat right. This partially coaxed me out of what he calls semi-retirement, but what I call semi-reclined and resting my eyes.

But not before this.

And this:

...and this

And, well, this.

But these would-be-posts all fell prey to the whims of Blogger and I wasn't able to get them up.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

Just a few short months ago Curious George was the darling of the Unhinged Left following his Tour de Force performance before Norm Coleman's Oil-for-Food investigatory committee. He was on Bill Maher. He pimped his book Mr. Galloway goes to Washington with Jane Fonda. He invoked the name of Mother Sheehan to squeals of adolescent contrarian glee. And, yes, he actually shared a stage at Baruch College with Christopher Hitchens debating US policy in Iraq.

Back then, Galloway was basking in the glow of adoration from a legion of arrogant, uninformed, leftist, nutjob fellow travelers. Today he's getting kicked off of Big Brother with no less than Dennis Rodman. Dennis f*****g Rodman. And trannie Dead or Alive singer Pete Burns (sexy aqua tights in the picture above). Are you kidding me? This Galloway spins me right round, baby. At least everyone is now able to see what he's always been (a whore) and what he's always been about (the Benjamins). Though it's plain for everyone to see, I feel quite certain that all of those who were carrying his water won't waste the oxygen, bandwidth, newsprint or airtime to admit they bet the wrong horse.

But I suppose Galloway should live it up. He's got nothing to lose. As Paul's article points out, he's going bye-bye for a long, long time. Hitch was right about him. He WAS a friend of Saddam. He WAS courting every bust-out dictator who could line his pockets. He WAS a fascist in a Socialist's clothes. He WAS a friend of terrorism. He WAS embroiled in a shocking hypocrisy of profiting from the Oil-for-Food skimming game, all the while bashing American- and British-sponsored sanctions on humanitarian grounds. I cannot conceive of a more loathsome creature.

But just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. You see a striking resemblance between Curious George and one of his dear old friends:

Fortunately, Uday's dead. Galloway's still got his fangs in the neck of humanity. But his day is coming. Book it.


No. Absolutely not. I'm just resting my eyes.

Truth be known, part of the issue is the technology known as Blogger. There have been at least five occassions in the last 3 weeks in which I headed over here to post a little something and the damn thing wouldn't upload the pictures, wouldn't post my entry, etc. I kept fooling with it only to finally throw my hands up in disgust.

Now, let's see what happens when I push "publish"...

Coaxed out of retirement

I had lots of things I was going to discuss last night, 'til I was reminded yet again how limited blogger is. Just sad, but true.

They went down at 4 PM PST for scheduled maintenance and as of 2 1/2 hours later, were still not back up. In the meanwhile, my window had closed. Oh well.

They've made a lot of nice upgrades in recent months but still seems their biggest selling point is the price--it's free.

Moving on...I'd hoped that this might coax Sim out of his semi-retirement but it seems not. Well then, what about today's 'welcome to the world' headline: Hamas wins majority in Palestinian elections. Now up is down and down is up, as this perhaps calls into question the future of US involvement in the so-called Middle East peace process.

President Bush is still in the middle of his press conference as I write, and unfortunately I did not catch any of his comments on the issue. Must wait 'til later.

For my money, the best answer he hasn't given was to the question about the NSA surveillance program, and what would his response be if Congress re-wrote the FISA or even new legislation that granted him the power he's claimed in this program.

What he said: Long defense of the program and a non-committal "I'd think about it," in reference to Congressional action.

What he should have said: A simple "Yes." Followed by a huge grin and a statement, something to the effect of, "I'm always glad to have Congress on board."

To have such a thing happen would, no doubt about it, be a victory for the President.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I've been eavesdropped!

In a world where America outsources every job from basic customer support to hunting down Osama Bin Laden, is it any wonder that an average citizen like me would be ensnared by the NSA surveillance program? Not really; more like just a matter of time.

Two nights ago I received a telemarketing call. The gentleman on the other end of the line had a pronounced foreign accent, one that was unmistakably emanating from a foreign country. And you know what that means.

I was being surveilled. I guess the good news is that now not only Lowes understands that their credit department can't keep simple things like my current address straight, but so does the NSA.

Is there no place I can go, no one I can turn to over this outrage!? Of course there is.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The science of graphs and wavy lines

Today's economics lesson on the cost of war comes to us from the desk of Robert Whaples, professor of economics at Wake Forest University. Professor Whaples has compiled the above graph which represents the cost of every major war the U.S. has fought in since the Civil War as a percentage of GDP.

Operation Iraqi Freedom has cost America in the last nearly-3-years, the equivalent of 2% of one-year's GDP. Say what you will about the Iraq war, as Jerry Bowyer is right to point out: any attempt to discredit this war based on its effect on the U.S. economy is an unnecessary distraction.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Missing the mark

"Venomous invective."

I've been listening and to/or reading Hugh for over 5 years now; Armando knows nothing if he truly believes that.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nationalize '06

In reading Karl Rove's speech yesterday to the RNC, I saw nothing concrete; only a hint of something I've been thinking for a few weeks now as I've watched the left drooling all over themselves about the implications of the Abramoff mess for the '06 midterms.

Democrats and Republicans have deep differences about our nation, where it is going, and what needs to be done to make it stronger, better, and safer. Those differences should be debated this year, openly, publicly, passionately.

Karl's three-pronged strategy appears to hit on National Security, the economy and the courts:

And so today I want to talk about three issues: national security, the economy, and the courts. There are many other topics we need to address, but these should be at the center of our attention.

He then proceeds to point out the WH strategy and positions for each while contrasting them with the Democrats positions.

I've begun to think for a few weeks now as many attempt to make hay at Republican's expense in Congress that the best defense against the blanket "corruption" charge is to nationalize the election a la 1994. Make it about national security and the Democrats will lose.

They can't help themselves.

What is forgiveness?

No one took my father's life, he gave it.


This guy's post-title says it all. That's gonna leave a mark.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Obligatory Sports Post


I admit, one fantasy league aside, I'm pretty out-of-the-loop as far as 'Inside the NFL' goes, but...who?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The life in sales

Rule #1: The day will never go according to your Outlook calendar.

Invariably true, regardless of what the day looks like. Doubly true on busy days because there is a direct relationship between the amount of time you have booked-up and the last-minute demands placed on you from outside (often unexpected) sources.

Have an 8:30 A.M. meeting on top of an afternoon sales call? Well then of course the meeting will go an hour over. Manageable as long as your email and/or voice mail is not overloaded when you return. Though as Murphy will attest, it most certainly is.

Do you need to confirm your afternoon sales call because the client, in an act that epitomizes the
nature of the rep-client relationship, did not return your call from yesterday afternoon? Then of course you must call again.

Imagine though that, as if part of some larger cat-and-mouse game, your client is not in. Underlings promise that he'll be back in the office well before you need to leave for the meeting.

Yet, you find yourself calling three more times only to find yourself ultimately canceling because the window has closed and you can't make the meeting work for today. What a wonderful development.

Now that the whole day has been blown and psychologically you're completely thrown off your game (everything that the day was devoted to blew up when the call was canceled), what do you do? How do you recover?

There is a tonic for such things. You retreat to a safe haven; a place where there are no clients, no deadlines and no such thing as percent-to-goal.

You run to the neighborhood Starbucks and order a big old Cup 'o Joe!

Further thoughts

Arnold Kling speaks to liberals about the Walmart legislation in Maryland:

Liberals see the market as an arena in which evil corporations inflict their greed on innocent victims. I wish you would see that motives matter less than consequences. I wish you could see that greed is at work when laws are passed that regulate markets, because regulations always produce winners and losers. I wish you could see that those winners and losers are often not who you think they are. I wish you could see that competitive behavior and free choice are forces that operate in the market as a check against greed. Finally, I wish you could see that greed is most difficult to restrain when it is exercised through the medium of government.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Vacation time?

Interesting little blurb at the Corner today about the Plame investigation:

one thing we haven't been hearing much about in the last few weeks is the Patrick Fitzgerald CIA leak investigation. Neither, apparently, have some of those who have been most affected by it. Sources close to Karl Rove say they have not heard from Fitzgerald since December, when there was public speculation that Fitzgerald was going to make a decision on Rove's future fairly soon. So far, however, there's been nothing, and while reporters have been keeping an eye on the courthouse in Washington, there apparently haven't been any Fitzgerald sightings there recently.

Wither Patrick Fitzgerald and his all-seeing, all-knowing powers of investigation?

Um, you're wrong

The Guardian UK's "analysis" of the US strike aimed at Ayman al-Zawahiri leaves something to be desired, in my humble opinion. I couldn't get past the lede without calling "BS" on the entire piece:

The attack was precise, the intelligence was flawed, and the strained relation between Pakistan and the US has been pushed to breaking point[.]

The intelligence was flawed? Why? Because Zawahiri decided to decline the dinner invitation at the last minute?

In the meantime, upwards of 4 or 5 terrorists are dead in the attack. From ABC: Midhat Mursi, 52, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, was identified by Pakistani authorities as one of three known al Qaeda leaders present at an apparent terror summit conference in the village of Damadola.

The United States had posted a $5 million reward for Mursi's capture. He is described by U.S. authorities as the man who ran al Qaeda's infamous Derunta training camp in Afghanistan, where he used dogs and other animals as subjects of experiments with poison and chemicals.
"This is extraordinarily important," said former FBI agent Jack Cloonan, an ABC News consultant, who was the senior agent on the FBI's al Qaeda squad. "He's the man who trained the shoe bomber, Richard Reid and Zacharias Mousssaoui, as well as hundreds of others."

And from AP: One of the dead was said to be Abdul Rehman Al-Misri al Maghribi, a son-in-law of al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri. Maghribi was responsible for al Qaeda's media department.

Another was Midhat Mursi al-Sayid 'Umar, an expert in explosives and poisons who carried a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head under the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Rewards for Justice program...

The third man identified was Abu Obaidah al Misri, al Qaeda's chief of operations in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province, where U.S. and Afghan forces regularly come under attack from militant groups.

The very fact that known al-Qaeda operatives of such importance were present easily refutes that ridiculous Guardian lede.

Thought for the day

Freedom's skeptics must understand that the democracy that hates you is less dangerous than the dictator who loves you. Indeed, it is the absence of democracy that represents the real threat to peace. The concept of the friendly dictator is a figment of our imagination because the internal dynamics of nondemocratic rule will always require external enemies.


Daniel Drezner elaborates on stupidity involving the favorite past-time of Paul and myself.

A truism.

There will never be harmony among blacks and whites and we will never see an end to the scourges of discrimination and racism in this society so long as moronic race-baiters like Ray Nagin and Hillary Clinton use the MLK holiday in feeble attempts to feather their own political nests. Along with Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and other so-called "friends" of African-Americans, they are; in fact, enemies of black America.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

California, tied for fourth

As reported locally, California State Senator Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria has submitted a bill that raises California's minimum wage from $6.75/hr to $7.25 later this year, and another .50 cents next year. The bill it seems--in an unsurprising turn of events--enjoys the support of Governor Schwarzenegger as well (but that's a whole other story).

So why am I not jumping up and down at the prospect of better wages for low-income Californians? Let the businessmen explain:

Opinions vary on what impact a raise in the minimum wage could have on local businesses.

“It is kind of an interesting dilemma, because how can you be against people getting more money?” said Kirk Spry, chief executive officer of VTC Enterprises.

“But in our business of getting people jobs ... our history is, one of the first things businesses will do is cut back. Entry-level positions that we might be able to place people into might be cut. It makes our job of placing people more difficult because there are less jobs.

“If the minimum wage goes up, businesses' labor costs go up and ... they may respond by cutting back on labor. That is a concern I have about raising the minimum wage. That can and does happen historically.”

Spry's concerns mirror those of another local businessman, George J. Majoue: “It would have a big impact on my business. We try to keep our prices very reasonable for our guests,” Majoue said.

“If we have to raise the minimum wage, I don't know what impact this would have on the price. I would assume that if a minimum wage increase is approved, we would possibly look at raising our prices. And I think many businesses are going to be the same way - especially if they employ several people.”

In addition to the hourly wage increase, workers' compensation insurance and benefit costs would increase, he said.

“I can't see how - if we are going to continue to provide the service we do - we could cut the staff,” Majoue said. “Outstanding service is really paramount to what we do. We can't cut employee numbers and maintain service.”

But he is divided.

“I think people deserve a fair wage and the cost of living is extremely high in California,” Majoue said.

“To survive here people need more money. But how do you do that without jeopardizing the cost of services (businesses provide)?

Too often this question of what is a reasonable wage devolves into debates over who hates business vs. who hates poor people; a discussion that serves no one.

The real question is why have minimum-wage jobs become "bread-winning" jobs? As a kid I don't ever recall regularly seeing adults working fast-food counters (aside from the obvious--as store managers/asst. managers). These entry-level jobs were held by other teenagers as first-jobs, things designed to pay for gas and some funny money.

By their very nature, such employment isn't meant to feed and clothe a person, much less a family. Yet in some cases, people attempt it out of necessity.

Why then do people depend on these un-skilled low-paying jobs for their livelihood and how do we move them into work that better meets their needs? As to the answer, I think the The Washington Examiner gets it right, as far as that example can be applied here. You don't help people by destroying job opportunities.

Anybody with a semester of macro-economics can graph the results of a minimum-wage increase and the decrease in jobs it leads to. No one is served when you force employers to choose between fewer employees and higher wages.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ahead of the curve

Notice the date on this post here. Then check the date on this, and finally this.

I was sold halfway through the Fox interview. This guy's the real deal (Even admitted Democrat activist Barbara Boxer's Intern agrees).

On a personal note, it's a good thing I saw the chiropractor today because all this self-congratulatory, patting myself on the back is gonna make me sore.

Well, they actually did it

The State of Maryland fired a shot last week aimed directly at Walmart when the state legislature passed a bill that directs employer's operating in Maryland with more than 10,000 employees to pay a minimum of 8 percent of their payroll on health care.

They did it despite the warnings of many:

The Washington Post: The Maryland bill is a legislative mugging masquerading as an act of benevolent social engineering.

The Baltimore Sun: Attacking real or imagined health care villains, though sometimes necessary and always fun, will not make health care more affordable today or tomorrow unless we also face hard facts and reform our system. It is broken and our leaders know it, but courage to talk about real solutions is scarce, so most stick to diversionary tactics.

The Examiner: It would also make Maryland the first state in the nation to impose government-mandated health benefits, a shakedown masquerading as concern for the poor. If legislators really want to help those at the bottom end of the economic ladder, they won’t destroy the first rung up: a job.

While the legislature insists that it didn’t specifically ‘target’ Walmart, it seems fairly clear that, in fact, they did: Lawmakers said they did not set out to single out Wal-Mart when they drafted a bill requiring organizations with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits -- or put the money directly into the state's health program for the poor.

But as debate raged in the Senate yesterday, it was clear that the giant retailer, which has 15,000 workers in Maryland, was the only company that would be affected.

State Senator EJ Pipkin’s analysis is spot on: "This is crossing a bridge,"[…] "Annapolis is telling private business in the private marketplace what to do."

All of which begs the question, what will the state of Maryland do when Walmart, now faced with this new restriction, runs head-long into the immutable laws of Economics and begins shedding jobs or otherwise curtailing their business in the state?

More NYT fun

Could this publication sink any lower? Jayson Blair, Judy Miller, Paul Krugman, MoDo, Howell Raines. More blown coverage than the San Diego Chargers' secondary? They make pre-war intel look solid.

This is no longer "the paper of record." It's a deeply flawed institution which is so arrogant that after all of these failures, it still hasn't reached bottom.

A Theme to Follow

In a piece written for London's Sunday Times, Andrew Sullivan reviews the post-war strategy in Iraq by synthesizing information from new books by L. Paul Bremer and Fred Barnes. The implications are staggering. But in particular, I was struck by two easy to gloss-over but entirely true paragraphs.

What deeper conclusions can we draw? The post-invasion plan was all but non-existent, an act of recklessness. The reason, however, was not just incompetence; it was a deliberate decision by Rumsfeld and Bush not to commit sufficient resources for nation-building.

Rumsfeld, after all, had never been a neocon. He loathed the idea of using large numbers of American forces to reconstruct a broken society.

And there, in my opinion, you have it. The underlying theme of our very conflicted and troubled engagement in Iraq is that an invasion undertaken on behalf of neoconservative ideals has been left to be implemented by those who are almost completely disinterested in those ideals. The critics who have droned on and on about a "neocon cabal" which has co-opted the White House and run the war repeatedly miss the point that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld (among other key policymakers) are not neoconservatives. Thus, when it came time to implement the war and post-war occupation strategies, these folks simply weren't interested in the nation-building agenda. Rumsfeld's mantra has always been about military transformation, not about turning Iraq into a democracy. So naturally, he has recommended; and we have done, more with less. Even though that is at odds with what probably needs to be done in order to make Iraq a success story. In my opinion, Iraq should already be a success story. In some respects it is. But it has been at an unnecessarily high cost and has been so messy as to literally call into question the wisdom of the invasion in the first place.

And again, what this illustrates is a failure of leadership on the part of the president. Bremer and Barnes portray a master delegator, but a disinterested leader. In the case of objective / implementation disconnect, it should have been /should be, George W. stepping into the breach. But he's not interested in the details, and so this enterprise lurches on...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Life with a diabetic

Most work is measured in terms of the man-hours required to complete it. Whether that be at the office, on a job-site or even at home with your favorite home-improvement project. Early on in our marriage my wife and I developed a new metric for such measurements.

One night we were working to put together a set of storage shelves--much like this, only metal requiring numerous screws and bolts--together. What should have been an easy job turned into a long, drawn out affair that took twice as long as it ought.

When asked the next day about how long it took to put together, my joking response was "Three hours, two arguments and one hypoglycemic reaction." Ever since, this particular metric has served us well in measuring just how effective we are at accomplishing things around the house.

Diabetes can be a messy disease. Despite best efforts to control it, there will be highs and there will be lows. When they come, the quicker the recognition of what the problem is and why it is will do most to ensure getting through it without major difficulty. If the subtler signs are missed you will often find yourself in the middle of an Ugly Diabetic Moment.

Today was the ugliest such moment we've had in quite a while. Not as ugly as watching my diabetic uncle screaming at my aunt about how he was going to kill her while in the middle of a particularly bad hypoglycemic moment when I was 9, but ugly enough.

It was something that resulted in lots of screaming and more than one thing said in anger that would never have been uttered otherwise. In short, one of those ugly moments that you're glad aren't more common.

Despite the best efforts of doctor and patient, hypoglycemic episodes are an inevitable fact of life for a diabetic. I do as much as I can in the face of circumstances to navigate through high blood glucose values, the effects of stress and work and even a walk with the dogs on my body.

For the most part, I do a pretty good job. Much better than I was doing the night we put together our first set of two-argument shelves. Even so, there are moments and they often come at the least-expected times, where I simply can't avoid the problem and an Ugly Diabetic Moment ensues.

As much as I dislike the position I am in as patient, I do not envy my wife's position and role in my care. I'm the one that must act, she can only watch while encouraging and trying to help when necessary.

When days like today happen, the level of frustration she must feel, I think escapes me. The real question isn't, "Why doesn't it overwhelm her more," but rather, "Why doesn't it overwhelm her more often?"

I wish there were a way to totally eliminate the issue; there just isn't.

Unfortunately, such is nature of life with a diabetic.

Shadegg for Majority Leader

Arizona Congressman John Shadegg appeared on Fox News Sunday this morning with his two rivals for Majority Leader, Roy Blunt and John Boehner. Shadegg was far more likable, more straight-forward and presented--by far in my own opinion--the better case for the job.

Conservatives in Congress need to pay attention to what he's saying about the public's perception. We ignore it at our peril.

What is justice?

What with all the hullabaloo this week over the Senate Judiciary hearings, it seems only right that we ponder for a moment the meaning of true justice.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Letters to the editor, January 11th, 2006

Not sure what William exactly was getting at here. Something about lamenting the environmental impact of his hours-long, bi-weekly commute from Santa Barbara County to Los Angeles and the evils perpetrated upon us all as thousands of daily commuters unwittingly prop-up Evil Oil while working to kill us all with their smog-inducing emissions. Or something like that.

What he doesn't explain is why exactly all these people drive such distances (Hint: In SB County, people fled the high-cost of living in SB only to drive up housing prices in Lompoc and other North County communities and are now stuck with an hour-plus commute to all points South).

Never mind also that stretches of the highway he speaks of have seen 20-plus years of wear since their last widening, while experiencing exponentially more traffic.

But what I'd really like to know is why our Prius-driving hero still bothers with this commute. Or does his ownership of a hybrid vehicle exempt him from the same contempt he hurls at the rest of his fellow commuters?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A swing and a miss

An interesting bit of news about the Dems attempted exploiting of Alito's involvement with CAP...Ed Whelan at Bench Memos reports that: ...Senate Judiciary Committee staffers have reviewed the entirety of William Rusher's CAP documents at the Library of Congress and have determined that those documents make no mention at all of Alito.


Slime the Nominee v. 5.2 (Or, Fat Man overboard!)

Way overboard.

First, the Fat man falls into the water while wandering around in a stupor attempting to make an issue of Vanguard:

His silly focus on this trivial issue starkly shows that the Dems have no ammunition. Kennedy somehow doesn't understand Alito's clear explanation. Silly badgering about length of "initial service" (term in Senate questionnaire), even though Alito has made clear that his recusal decisions did not turn on this phrase.

Once in the water, the Fat man begins flailing about trying to tread water, hopeful of keeping himself afloat long enough to be rescued. It doesn't happen:

Senator Kennedy wants the Judiciary Committee to issue a subpoena for the private papers of William Rusher. Although those papers are currently in the custody of the Library of Congress, they remain Rusher's papers. There is zero chance that Specter will let Kennedy pursue his silly game, but it's telling that Kennedy is so eager to invade a private citizen's right of privacy in his private papers in his attack on Alito.

Truly ironic since, as on-lookers let slip, such a move is the equivalent of issuing yourself a subpoena:

Was Senator Kennedy demanding that the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoena records from the Library of CONGRESS? If so, doesn't that amount to sending a subpoena to yourself?

As the Fat man bobs back to the surface a second time, the boat's captain in a rare fit of pique refuses to throw out a life preserver:

Things really got ugly -- really ugly -- between Sens. Kennedy and Specter. Kennedy (D-Mass.) asked further hostile questions on CAP -- the Princeton University concerned alumni organization that, among other things, opposed co-education at the university.

Kennedy said he did not think Alito's responses to the committee on CAP "add up." Kennedy proposed issuing a subpoena to the owner of the organization's records and go into executive session to do so.

Specter reacted angrily, asking why Kennedy had brought this up in public as opposed to consulting with Specter on it in advance. Kennedy claimed he sent Specter a letter. Specter, angrily, said he never got one.

"If you're going to rule it [a subpoena] out of order, I want to have a vote on that," Kennedy said.

"I take umbrage at you telling me what I received," Specter said, with growing anger.

Kennedy: "I would appeal the ruling of the chair."

Specter: "There's been no ruling of the chair."

Kennedy said he was moving for an executive session and "we're gonna have votes of this committee again and again and again" until Specter goes along.

Specter: "I'm not going to have you run this committee," Specter said. "I will consider it in due course."

Now sinking for a second time, hoping to come back up for a third-and-final time, our water-logged Senator goes all out and joins other on-lookers in one final attack:

One senior Republican in the hearing room said of the situation: "After three full days of attacks against her husband's character, Mrs. Alito had enough. Democrat behavior during this hearing has not only been wrong, it's been embarrassing. Ted Kennedy is nothing but a bully."

Of the incident, CNN's Jeff Greenfield said this: The temptation for some of these witnesses must be enormous, particularly if it's a more hostile situation, to just lean over the table and just let some of the senators know what you're really thinking about their intellectual capacity, their hypocrisy. If they attack him for, I don't know, being the member of a club, to say 'Well really? Where'd you spend your time? How many restrictive clubs have you golfed at?' They can't do that. It's not part of the ethic, um-- I have a lot of sympathy for these people no matter where they come from on the ideological scale.

In a just world as that moment faded our Fat Senator would sink a final time with nothing left to show for all his churlishness but the last few gurgled air bubbles that reach the water's surface. Sadly, we're forced to endure yet another day of this garbage.

The observation of the lone Republican about Fat Teddy is true. He's a bully who thinks that being loud and obnoxious makes up for what he doesn't know. It doesn't.

And nobody likes a bully:

Sen. Graham's apology on behalf of his Democrat colleagues was generous, but women calling us from around the country want the offenders to apologize themselves. And for the abuse to stop.

Too bad

That's a shame.

I first found him as a resource in combating the Bush-was-AWOL meme as it made a comeback in early 2004. Adios, Bill!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Slime the Nominee, v. 5.1 (Or, Larry, Moe & Curly go to Washington)

Today's carnival of ridiculous Senatorial hijinks includes Joe Biden, Russ Feingold and Chuck Schumer.

My favorite line from today is Pat Leahy's melodramatic query: "How on earth could you be proud of being a member of CAP?"

Just another observation

In light of this exhortation to pay attention to judicial history, I found it odd that neither of the two televisions in our newsroom were on at any point today other than to check the local newscasts and the obligatory parusing of ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNews by the sports editor.

Meanwhile, some bloggers don't seem to think that anything else is going on this week.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Slime the Nominee, v. 5.0 (Or, Fat Teddy outdoes himself!)

The newest release from Senatorial Democrats. Michelle Malkin runs down day 1 of the Alito (no, not Alioto) hearings.

Just when you think you can't be surprised at the garbage that comes out of the Fat man's mouth, you have him completely mischaracterizing the writings and opinions of Judge Alito while attempting to create the impression that the man is somehow racist.

My favorite line: I find Judge Alito's support for an all-powerful executive branch to be deeply troubling...

Not nearly as troubling as I find your very presence in the US Senate, however.

Just an observation

I don't know about anyone else, but I have yet to forget all the proclamations about Big Media's superiority over the musings of pajama-clad bloggers. I scoffed then because, well, I read blogs and I could already see in many an instance where a blogger had done the reporter's job and done it better.

Now that I work at a newspaper, I must say I have regained a certain amount of respect for these folks and what they do. Though I must also say that many criticisms of Big Media are plenty valid.

With that in mind, I've made an interesting observation at work in the last week or so. I've spotted one of the junior staff writers reading at lunch the last few days. What, I wondered, was this smart, insightful gal diving into?

Surely something important, something stimulating and provocative. Well, not so much.

Don't get me wrong; I love a good yarn as much as the next guy. Just color me surprised.

Meanwhile, a number of bloggers are pushing this tome. Personally, it's on the reading list for yours truly. Had I had it with me this last week, I'd have read a great deal of it I imagine inbetween family visits and taking care of business. As it was, I picked up a copy of Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy, and started in on it while we were in the desert.

This is strictly anecdotal, but it strikes me as awful funny that us pajama-wearin', no-editorial-oversight-havin', head-on-a-bloody-stick-hoisting bloggers are the ones making the attempt at some intellectual weight-lifting.

What no one will be talking about

And for no good reason, either.

The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes has the goods on Saddam's ties to terror based on the fraction of official Iraqi documents that have so far been translated and de-classified:

THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

But don't forget--Saddam was never a threat!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The definition of Irony

Fat Teddy pontificating on television about Congressional ethics. That man makes me sick.

Say what you will about a Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay; guilty of whatever they may be, it is certain that neither ever left a girl for dead in a submerged vehicle.

We're off to see the Wizard...

What a week to miss...

We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!

Wait and see

We got home about 7 o'clock last night, after a long, boring 7-hour drive through some of the more desolate parts of Arizona, Nevada and California. I am glad to be home.

Given the nature of the visit, our 3 days with family in Kingman and Laughlin was enjoyable. Yet the cloud of sadness over the death of my grandfather's wife and concern for his future could not be fully shaken. That of course is normal and expected but no less difficult for it's familiarity.

Mari's memorial was short but very sweet. Family spoke of her love for Fred, her talent with paint and brush as well as her innate gift for music. Many of the observations were similar to my own remembrances of visits to La Conchita and weekends spent there with other cousins.

My uncle talked, as though surprised, about her ability to pick up any tune and play it as written on the piano. I remember as a 9-year old standing around the piano in their home, hearing her play and realizing that she was not reading sheet music but playing by ear, and playing perfectly.

Some also spoke of how she worked with my grandfather--even well past retirement age for both of them; she in her 60's and he in his early 70's--on his work projects. Climbing on tanker trucks to prep them for the paint that my grandfather would then apply.

I was reminded of the time I was invited to work alongside them one summer. They had a project in Santa Paula and invited me to join them. To this day, it is probably the hardest single-day's work I've ever done, yet both outlasted the 17-year old.

Much was also made of her painting and her flare for watercolors. We'd seen on each of our recent visits to their home evidence of that talent hanging on their walls.

She was a remarkable woman, no less so for enduring the roller-coaster ride of life with my grandfather. For nearly 50-years they spent no more than a handful of days apart and the pain of separation for my grandfather is obvious to all. Mari will be missed.

As for Fred, the family of course worries. Next month we expected again to gather in Laughlin for another birthday celebration. This time around will of course be far less joyful, though we hope will provide enough evidence as to whether he is able and still willing to keep up his own household on his own. Many of us fear he is not and the greatest concern is that he will simply give up in Mari's absence.

I imagine that at nearly 95 years old, he is tired of life at times. Especially now in the absence of the one that brought him the most joy of all. As to where the family and he goes from here, I guess we just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

When it rains, it pours

Pardon the bad pun but it is so very fitting, despite the serious nature of the post. On top of discovering a leaky roof yesterday, we learned last evening that my grandfather's wife passed away earlier in the day.

Today's round of good news included the fact that the roof is not under warranty and that on top of it all, we're also dealing with an ant problem after the rain. All while trying to make all the travel arrangements so that we can help my 95 year old grandfather bury his wife of 40+ years.

Needless to say, we're going dark for a while. In other circumstances I would be frustrated by that but right now I'm too frazzled to care. Have a good week.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy freakin' New Year!

Say it here, it happens there. Last night's soaker has left us a New Year's gift. Something small, but memorable and sure to remind us for quite some time of laying awake New Year's night listening to the howling wind and heavy rain.

When I got up this morning, I was greeted by a puddle on the tile floor of the kitchen. Upon a thorough investigation, water has been found seeping in and dripping from the seal around one of the kitchen lights.

Happy freakin' New Year everybody!


Mike Martz is done.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

"Extra! Extra! Read all about it!"

New traffic signal boosts Village safety

One of the adjustments to this new life is realizing I live in a small town. It is getting bigger, and perhaps more importantly, feeling bigger in terms of the amenities and retailers that have come to town. Despite all of that, there are days where it is impossible to escape the smallness.

A week ago-Friday was one of those days. There, big as life in the local paper on December 23rd sat a local story about the newest stop-light in town. Front-page, above-the-fold.

My wife accuses me of being cruel as I have referred to this incessantly in the week since. I had a grand old time with it with her relatives, former long-time residents themselves. I just can't help myself.

It feeds into every bad stereotype about Small Town, USA that there is.

It never rains in California!

Everybody knows that it doesn't rain in California. I mean, come on...we've all watched the Rose Parade and we all know that while the rest of the country is up to it's eyes in bad weather, California is nothing but blue skies.

'Least that's what the state board of Tourism would have you believe. As a once and future native, I know better. Growing up I was annually reminded of this little-known truth while I drowned like a rat running from class to class across one of California's hundreds of open, outdoor high school campus'.

So when I wrote this the other night, I was hoping against hope. It hit overnight and greeted us yesterday morning, though by late afternoon she was done for the day. This morning however, it picked up and has not let up at all.

As of this writing, we're well into what should be a two-day soaker, replete with flood watches and warnings of various sorts:


Local weather reports have called for anywhere between 2" to 4" of rain today into tomorrow(I am appreciating the irony of it all the more today after having caught Roman Polanski's dark masterpiece, Chinatown this afternoon. A dark and messy tale of human depravity surrounding one man's desire for control over depression-era Los Angeles' supply of, you guessed it, water).

When I got home the other night, I noticed that our neighbor had moved their RV out of the driveway. "Wonderful," I thought, until I noticed this morning that he'd replaced it with what looked a lot like the keel for an awfully large boat.

  • Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels
  • Evangelical Outpost
  • One Hand Clapping
  • Camp Katrina
  • TPMCafe
  • Dodger Thoughts
  • Boy of Summer
  • Irish Pennants
  • tabletalk
  • Fire McCain
  • My Sandmen
  • Galley Slaves
  • Michelle Malkin
  • myelectionanalysis
  • Iraq the Model
  • Mystery Pollster
  • A Bellandean! God, Country, Heritage
  • Right Truth
  • The Fourth Rail
  • Counterterrorism Blog
  • Just One Minute
  • Broken Masterpieces
  • Kudlow's Money Politic$
  • Econopundit
  • Tapscott's Copy Desk
  • The Blue State Conservatives
  • Palousitics
  • Christian Conservative
  • Outside the Beltway
  • The Belmont Club
  • Froggy Ruminations
  • The Captain's Journal
  • Argghh!!!
  • Chickenhawk Express
  • Confederate Yankee
  • Reasoned Audacity
  • Taking Notes
  • ThisDamnBlog
  • Three Knockdown Rule
  • Dogwood Pundit
  • Dumb Looks Still Free
  • Unfettered Blather
  • Cut to the Chase
  • Alabama Improper
  • Austin Bay Blog
  • Michael Yon-Online
  • The Trump Blog
  • A Lettor of Apology
  • GM Fastlane Blog

  • Powered by Blogger

    Listed on BlogShares Who Links Here