Thursday, February 26, 2004

General Stuff

As infuriating as politics can often get, sometimes it can be just plain funny. The 1950s Democrats, led by Strom Thurmond and former klansman Robert Byrd, back in the 1950s, argued for the protection of the rights of states to decide their own laws and justice. The anti-civil rights crowd used states' rights to justify segregation and Jim Crow laws. The civil rights movement relied on federal legislative action to end those unfair, unjust laws. It took national, across the board action and a couple of Constitutional amendments to foment civil and societal equality. That's why it's so funny to see the liberal Democratic crowd reverting to the states' rights argument in their quest to make same-sex marriages legal.

The New York Times, a bastion of liberal propaganda, in a November 20 editorial, said "The ban [on gay marriage] is simply about prejudice... much like state laws barring interracial marriage."

The Wall Street Journal Opinion Editors asked, "If a refusal to sanction marriages between two men or two women is really as invidious as a ban on interracial unions, how can the Times advocate states' rights vis-a-vis the former?

There's something odd, too, about the notion that any constitutional amendment is an affront to states' rights. Approval of an amendment requires the assent of three-fourths of the state legislatures; it's hard to think of any federal procedure in which the states have more power. And in fact, the reason states' rights failed as a legal argument against civil rights is that Congress and the states had already amended the Constitution to provide black citizens with equal protection under the law (the 14th Amendment) and voting rights (the 15th)."

Personally I'm disinclined to change the Constitution on a whim. It's served us well these past two centuries, although some clarification and tweaking has been necessary. I would have trouble supporting an amendment defining marriage. But if you are interested, here's the text of Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's proposed amendment: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution [n]or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
SENATOR KERRY FLIP-FLOPS (What? Kerry? No way!?!)
This also from the WSJ Opinion page...
Here's John Kerry, in an October speech to the Arab American Institute in Michigan:

I know how disheartened Palestinians are by the Israeli government's decision to build the barrier off of the Green Line--cutting deep into Palestinian areas. We don't need another barrier to peace. Provocative and counterproductive measures only harm Israelis' security over the long term, increase the hardships to the Palestinian people, and make the process of negotiating an eventual settlement that much harder.

And here he is, quoted in the Jerusalem Post, a week before the primary in New York, where the Democratic electorate is heavily Jewish:

"Israel's security fence is a legitimate act of self defense. No nation can stand by while its children are blown up at pizza parlors and on buses. While President Bush is rightly discussing with Israel the exact route of the fence to minimize the hardship it causes innocent Palestinians, Israel has a right and a duty to defend its citizens. The fence only exists in response to the wave of terror attacks against Israel.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

MIRACLE DOG: More than a month after his owner's boat sank in rough seas at the southeastern tip of Alaska, one of the owner's dogs has been rescued from a nearby thickly-forested, uninhabited island. An eight-year-old Labrador retriever, it survived alone on the island until being found by friends of its late owner.

A couple left live ammo and three handguns in their oven before leaving on vacation. Upon returning the wife decided to cook and naturally turned the oven on. You can guess what happened next.

Prison inmates in Georgia find a way to take advantage of their situation - low income tax credits from the IRS.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Here's why I love The Best Of The Web from the Wall Street Journal Opinion Page online. More great business names...

Today brings two more business names that don't exactly inspire confidence:

Rip's Cleaners of Palatka, Fla., and Flatt Tire Centers (slogan: "You too should ride on a Flatt") of Des Moines, Iowa. Bonita, Fla., has a Master Bait & Tackle shop; rumor has it Joycelyn Elders buys her fishing supplies there.

Denton, Texas, has a divorce law firm called Loveless & Loveless. The Lovelesses were more successful eponymists than Dr. Dennis Wiwi, who unaccountably chose obstetrics and gynecology as his specialty. But Benjamin Leak is, as you'd expect, a urologist, and Gary Peed is a plumber.

More funeral homes: Australia has a Life Style Funeral Co., while the House of Diggs, "once called Michigan's largest funeral home" according to the Washington Post, was run by Charles Diggs, who served in the House. Graves Funeral Home & Crematory is an excellent eponym, but the company that owns it, Newcomer Funeral Services Group, isn't. Pinellas County, Fla., has a Moss-Feaster Funeral Home.

Several readers pointed us to the Eikenberry-Eddy Funeral Home in Peru, Ind., but we didn't get the joke until someone raised the question of what happens if someone other than Eddy dies.

A press release from the California Wine Club notes that "Bruce and Pam Boring founded the Ventura, CA-based Club in 1990 and travel the wine country to sample and select wines for their members." Well, they may be Boring winers, but at least they're not haughty or French-looking.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Where Has The Time Gone?

I can't believe it's been ten days since I've added anything here. Shannon was down this weekend, so I had better things to do than sit down and write. We walked some of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, along the river in downtown Macon. If you get the opportunity, check it out. If it's constructed according to their plans, this thing is going to be incredible. Lots of families, kids and pets on the existing section now.

We also did some walking and talking at the Ocmulgee National Park (referred to here in Macon as "The Indian Mounds"). The weather was perfect, and we had a fun time. Shannon got her first introduction to Geocaching. I hesitated bringing her into the fold, so to speak, for fear that she might object to the nerdy-ness of the hobby. Maybe she faked it, but she seemed to enjoy herself. If you aren't familiar with Geocaching, it's like a giant scavenger hunt, with items to be found all over the world. Just here in Georgia, there are over 1,000 caches to be found. I warn you, it can be addictive.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

From The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Web Page...

Readers keep sending us e-mails about scholars, medical professionals and others with funny names, so here's another list of them:

Astoria, N.Y., has an optometrist named Anastasios Fokas. Writes reader George Lenz: "We all got a laugh when my wife started going to a new optometrist and the receptionist said: "Dr. Fokas, Mrs. Lenz."

In Fort Collins, Colo., there's a urologist named Peter Standard. San Francisco dentist Les Plack "lives up to his name," Wired News reported in 2000. Let's hope Eagle River, Alaska, orthodontist Eldon DeKay doesn't live up to his.

If you needed your cornea reshaped, wouldn't you worry a bit if Dr. B. Stuart Trembly were conducting the procedure?

Along similar lines, would you go to a chiropractor named Alan Bonebreak? And then there's Stubbs Prosthetics & Orthotics of Chattanooga, Tenn.

Assembling the following list proved quite an undertaking:

the Bruce & Stiff Funeral Home, Appomattox, Va.; the Amigone Funeral Home, with 12 locations in the Buffalo, N.Y., area; Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, Amarillo, Texas; the Cease Funeral Home of Minnesota; Knell Mortuary, Carthage, Mo.; and the Deadman Funeral Home of Manchester, Tenn.

It's not clear if that last one is related to the Dedman Life Sciences Building at Southern Methodist University. And check out this 1999 announcement from International Jeweler magazine:

The American Gem Society's Jewelers Education Foundation, Las Vegas, NV, has named Lynn Diamond, executive director of the Diamond Promotion Service, to its board of governors. Diamond was formerly editor in chief and associate publisher of National Jeweler magazine. She has received the American Defense League's Torch of Liberty Award and the ORT Community Achievement Award.

Finally, there's this twofer--come to think of it, their first names make it a fourfer--the authors of the 1997 book "The Imperial Animal" are Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox

Friday, February 13, 2004

Not So Fast...

Forget what I said Wednesday. This Democratic nomination might not be wrapped up just yet. Looks like there's a skeleton trying to crawl out of John Kerry's closet. It's another of the Drudge Report's exclusives. Seems JFKerry was stepping out on Mrs. Heinz Kerry with a 20-ish young woman who worked on his campaign. Apparently she's fled the country and the media spotlight, "hiding out" in Kenya. Drudge says news networks are feverishly working to confirm details and get the story out.

What will this mean to the Democrats, who so strongly supported Bill Clinton through his adultry scandal? A lot of seemingly moral and ethical people at that time were making excuses and refusing to condemn the man. Why should we expect them to take the right road now? Apparently what happens in the bedroom (or Oval Office floor) doesn't reflect on a Democrat's political character.

This is going to get interesting.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Smoking Gun

Seems we've found a "smoking gun" in Iraq, evidence linking Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. This from William Safire in the New York Times (the Times is not, incidentally, a big fan of the President)...

"That Kurdish militia [the Pesh Merga] has for years been waging a bloody battle with Ansar al-Islam, the terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and supported by Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It captured a courier carrying a message that demolishes the repeated claim of Bush critics that there was never a "clear link" between Saddam and Osama bin Laden.

"The terrorist courier with a CD-ROM containing a 17-page document and other messages was Hassan Ghul, who confessed he was taking to Al Qaeda the Ansar document setting forth a strategy to start an Iraqi civil war, along with a plea for reinforcements. The Kurds turned him over to Americans for further interrogation, which is proving fruitful."

Is this going to get much mainstream media attention? Don't count on it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Back From A Break

It's been a few days since I've had the opportunity to write. What's going on...

Looks like it's all over but the crying in the race for Democratic Presidential nominee. John Kerry has pretty much locked up the nomination. This means things should start getting really interesting. Now that the Republicans have a specific opponent to focus on, the campaigning will begin in earnest. We're already seeing some of John Kerry's past coming out, and it ain't pretty.

First, there's the picture of Kerry in an anti-Vietnam War protest with old "Hanoi Jane" Fonda. Seems they became fellow protestors once he returned from service in Vietnam. This isn't sitting well with his fellow Vets. It's not sitting well at all.

Second, we have interviews Kerry gave after returning from Vietnam in which he said he wanted to "eliminate the CIA." He also stated his belief that control of the U.S. military should rest with the United Nations. "I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations," Kerry said.

Then there is the picture of a young John Kerry being arrested at one of those anti-war rallies.

On this page you'll find plenty of information about John Kerry's voting record on Defense Issues. Check it out... it's actually frightening to look at the list and see what tools our military would be without if Kerry had his way.

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the World that still survives.


Survivor: The Comic Series

Shards O'Glass - As seen in their 2004 Super Bowl commercial.

The Forgetting - Web site for the PBS special on Alzheimers. If you've had a loved one experience it, you'll appreciate what this site offers.

Friday, February 06, 2004

It's Friday...

What an ugly day outside - rainy, windy, just plain nasty. Supposedly it'll be a clear, cold weekend. Good news, though. Not only is Spring just around the corner, but so is spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report in two weeks. NASCAR gets started tomorrow night, and the Daytona 500 is next Sunday. It's so nice having football end one weekend and racing start the next. But it seems to me like this football season just flew by.

I'm in a good mood, so no rant today. Instead, some fun stuff...

In Germany, a cow escapes from a wedding (?) and
takes a stroll through a bank.

You really can buy just about anything on eBay.

The invention of Skittlebrau. The science of mixology, mixing beer with Skittles. Some people have too darn much time on their hands.

One of the funniest videos I've seen on the web. If you're a cat lover, don't worry. The cat's okay. If you're not a cat lover, it's funny as heck!

I have no use for this whatsoever, but it's still neat. The random name generator.

I'm probably wrong for finding this game fun... but I did! Click the snow monster and bat the penguin.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Rambling (Today's Links Are Below)

(I started this entry with the idea that I’d write about the loosening of moral and ethical standards in society in light of a recent Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. As I wrote, it evolved into a something unexpected. Forgive me, but it’s more a stream-of-conscious, thoughts-on-paper kind of thing with no clear direction. Sorry!)

The Massachusetts Supreme Court recently issued an opinion clarifying their landmark November ruling that said denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated the state constitution. The idea of gay marriage has sharply divided supporters and detractors, especially in battleground states like Massachusetts.

In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney expressed his dismay at the decision. Here are a few of his comments…

“Contrary to the court's opinion, marriage is not "an evolving paradigm." It is deeply rooted in the history, culture and tradition of civil society. It predates our Constitution and our nation by millennia. The institution of marriage was not created by government and it should not be redefined by government.

“Marriage is a fundamental and universal social institution. It encompasses many obligations and benefits affecting husband and wife, father and mother, son and daughter. It is the foundation of a harmonious family life. It is the basic building block of society: The development, productivity and happiness of new generations are bound inextricably to the family unit. As a result, marriage bears a real relation to the well-being, health and enduring strength of society.

“Because of marriage's pivotal role, nations and states have chosen to provide unique benefits and incentives to those who choose to be married. These benefits are not given to single citizens, groups of friends, or couples of the same sex. That benefits are given to married couples and not to singles or gay couples has nothing to do with discrimination…

“It is important that the defense of marriage not become an attack on gays, on singles or on nontraditional couples. We must recognize the right of every citizen to live in the manner of his or her own choosing. In fact, it makes sense to ensure that essential civil rights, protection from violence and appropriate societal benefits are afforded to all citizens, be they single or combined in nontraditional relationships.”

Webster’s Online Dictionary defines marriage as, “(1) the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law; (2) the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage

I may fall out of the mainstream conservative crowd when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. I’ve had the opportunity to know a few people living so-called “alternative lifestyles”, and personally I’m convinced that their sexuality was not a matter of choice. This is just who they are. I never made a conscious choice to be “straight”, it’s just who I am.

Why should we prevent people who love each other from expressing that love in a committed manner? Frankly, we should not. First, it is truly no one’s concern but the two persons in question. Second, in a world where commitments seem to mean less and less, if two people are truly willing to commit to each other we should honor them for it (regardless of gender).

Do I believe the traditional rights and benefits that married couples receive (spousal benefits, social security, etc.) also carry over to same sex unions? I want to say no, but that’s where I run into problems. In discussing this issue with Shannon, I wasn’t able to adequately defend my feelings. Governor Romney is correct: marriage is a universal social institution. As a lover of history, I am hard-pressed to say that such a concept needs to change after thousands of years. I’m also unable to accept the discrimination argument put forth by some homosexuals. Sometimes we have to accept things we don’t like, rather than arguing that someone is trying to oppress us because we can’t have everything our way. (Great argument, huh?)

I think an ideal solution, which is easy to offer up since I’m not directly affected, would be to allow civil unions, be they hetero- or homosexual, but not civil marriage. Allow the benefits of marriage to be conferred on these unions, but keep the understanding that marriage is between one man and one woman. If gay couples want the benefits, this should be perfectly acceptable to them. If it's just the word "marriage" that they want to apply to their union, that's different. This solution would allow traditional couples who don't choose to marry to still enjoy the same benefits of their married counterparts.

These arguments are so polarizing, how can we possibly find a settlement that most people on both sides can accept?


From Greenville, SC a man on a bicycle outruns policeman in patrol car.

If you thought gay marriage was a touchy subject, how about interspecies marriage.

Again from Greenville, SC... Man tries to rob liquor store boldly pretending that his hand is a gun.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

What's Going On...

Seems a jury in Escondido, California has ruled against a man who was suing the city for $1.5 million dollars after a cat scratched his assistance dog at the city library. He claimed the scratch TO HIS DOG caused him "significant lasting, extreme and severe mental anguish and emotional distress including, but not limited to, terror, humiliation, shame, embarrassment, mortification, chagrin, depression, panic, anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, loss of sleep [and] loss of full enjoyment of life as well as other physical and mental afflictions and pain [and] suffering." He also claimed that, because the cat was black, the "attack" was a hate crime!

If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's gift, the Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton, NY has the answer for you.

This might be taking the "honor system" one step too far. The city of East Point, GA Police Department has placed on their web site a Self Arrest Form, allowing criminals to turn themselves in for arrest. You've got to wonder what the results have been like so far...

The sun is shining again in Barrow, Alaska, ending their 66 day winter darkness.

In Kansas, a 33-year-old woman has been arrested after posing as a 13-year-old boy. Apparently, she's done this more than a dozen times all across the country.

Monday, February 02, 2004

The Day After...

A pretty good game, no classic commercials, Janet and Justin's pitiful publicity stunt... what a night.

It wasn't the best Super Bowl ever, but the game did have us on the edge of our seats during the fourth quarter. Congrats to the Pats; they are certainly worthy of the championship trophy. While I think we were all rooting for the underdog Panthers, it was nice to see a close game. It was also sweet to the the Playstation 2 pregame prediction streak end.

The commercials were mediocre, with just a few worth mentioning (gaseous horses, a clydesdale mule and, our favorite, the beer fetching dogs.). We all agreed that the halftime show pretty well sucked, even with the infamous "wardrobe malfunction". Beyonce, though, impressed us with her rendition of the National Anthem.

As for our get together, we had a really great time. James made it up for the weekend, and Shannon (my lady) got to see what it's like when the guys get together for a big game. Pretty tame, actually, I believe she'd say.


Unique Residential Properties Available - Be the first in your family to purchase a retired nuclear missile bunker and make it your new home!

Build Your Own Stonehenge - Why don't we have a henge in the US?

British automobile company invents first car that can "drive, swim and fly".