Date: 10/31/2007 12:04:30
The Democratic debate last night was significant and trivial, inspiring and infuriating, focused and chaotic. In short - it was a microcosm of our political system.
Personally, I found the constant focus on Hillary distracting and aggravating. At least half the debate was Hillary being attacked or Hillary defending herself. While it's true that the media and the Republicans have already dubbed her the winner, the intense focus on her set up an atmosphere of "trash Hillary" (which was pointed out by Bill Richardson). She's certainly my least-favorite candidate, but I thought the moderators and some of the other candidates could've done better to spread the time and topics around.
In fact, one of the most aggravating things about the debate was how little time was afforded the non-front-runner candidates.Continue reading...
Ask a Vet
Date: 10/30/2007 10:49:31
Today is our 1,686th day in Iraq.
We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures, courtesy of antiwar.com:
Since war began (3/19/03): 3839
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3700
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3378
Since Handover (6/29/04): 2980
Since Election (1/31/05): 2402
Other Coalition Troops: 303
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 451
We find this week's cost of war
standing at:$464, 298, 600, 000.00
Ok, folks... do you have something you want for the blog? I am a little partial for the want of a little piggy one... so far this is the best I can find...
but I am going to look into it a little more find something better pigger more porky!
... so this begs the question....What emoticons will make your blogging more pleasurable?
And yes, I know that damn
doesn't always dance... I am gonna look into that. It is a truly fickle fruit.26 comments
Back when I was a young Mondo, I had a big time fascination with all things war. Tanks, guns, small arms, uniforms all that jazz. I was a big time military history buff. I still am, but since after about the age of sixteen the need to get laid was greater, I had to tone this stuff down. I still am really fascinated by the military history to this day. There is a lot of it and some of it is very important.
Unlike many of my liberal pals, I believe in a strong military. We need to have that ability to project force and protect American interests overseas. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a raving militarist, just a guy who sees a need for a standing army ready to do its thing at a moment’s notice. We need these people with the special training and disciple to do these things we don’t really want to think about.
When I was in Alabama at the beginning of the month, we were only mere miles from Fort Benning, Georgia. So we decided to make a trip to the Infantry Museum there. The first thing I noticed about our new look military, was the folks guarding the main gate were not eager young MPs, they were civilian contractors. You see all the MPs are overseas. In Iraq. Or they are in the reserves who if they are. Anyway no soldiers there; as a mater of fact, soldiers are pretty thin on the ground there period. There we a few folks in uniform at the Museum. It is a nice little one at that, good displays; lots of stuff to see from the founding of the US Army until the Waronterra and everything in between. As we looked at the displays from the Waronterra we noticed that there was a very subtle conflation of 911 and shenanigans in Iraq. Strike two for the new look military. As Mort Milfington (look it up!) Shameful! Ignominious! Surprisingly, there was not a third strike.
Do I have a point here? Yes the point is don’t hate on the Army because it is the Army. They have a job to do to do and up until Bush’s folly they did it very well. You might not like what they are trained to do, but they are part of the modern world. We used to have the best trained, best motivated, best educated most professional army in the world. I say used to because the war is breaking the back of the Army. The recruiting standards are lower. People with criminal records are getting into the ranks. The Army has lost its way thanks to Bush and Rummy. We can have once what we had again. We need to stop this madness.
Mondo, out! 220 comments
Looking for a sweep
Date: 10/28/2007 23:28:05
Well, here it is. After 86 years of futility, heartache, and disappointment, it sure is odd to be looking at a second world series win in 3 years. But since Red Sox Nation is the most superstitious of all sports fans, I have my own theory about that. "The Sweep" erased all that angst in neat fashion thusly:
Game 1: 1946
Game 2: 1967
Game 3: 1975
and Game 4, the clincher, erased that monstrous insult on The Nation in 1986.
My friend Dennis still has the best story from that tortured evening 21 Octobers ago...
I had just pulled up in front of my apartment. I had the radio on and I figured that I had just enough time to run upstairs and see the last out. I shut off the radio and took two steps towards the door, and then I heard my roommate let out the most anguished cry of horror you could possibly imagine. I don't know what happened, but I knew it wasn't good...
Well, let's hope all the old demons have been swept away and recent history can repeat itself again....
TIME: 08:00 P.M. EST
VENUE: Coors Field
Boston: John Lester
Colorado: Aaron Cook
And did you happen to notice our brethren to the south? The Patriots racked up another monstrous win this week, setting up the showdown with the also undefeated Indianapolis Colts next weekend....I may open the Sunday NFL blog myself next week!
Finally....I've directed quite a few citizens of Red Sox Nation to check out our World Series blogs over the past few nights. (you know who you are.) Please take a moment to visit our message board
and read our new user guidelines
, including our mission statement and rules of conduct. I hope to see you all back here when the series is over!102 comments
Date: 10/28/2007 15:40:29
Good morning... (is it still morning?) Looks like it was a great day for Georgia fans yesterday... Even bigger for boston... they are now 3-0 in the World series... I am sure Tri will give us a new bloggie for the game tonite . The game starts at 8:29
in colorado... :scratch:
Today tho, I plan on watching
The Giants are second in the NFC East with a record of 5-2... And Miami , well they are 0-7... 4th in the AFC east.
It should be fun to watch, the weather is supposed to be rainy or overcast... chance of rain about 60%, about 60 degrees. It starts here in the east at 1 pm, but at 6 pm in England. Sounds like football weather to me!
Also , for our Nascar Fans... Today is the PepBoys 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
And finally, for our hunting fans... Dick Cheney is scheduled to be arriving Dutchess County NY tonite, for tomorrow's Fowl Dick Faceoff
... It's not a spectator sport for everyone...
Alright, well, the beer is on ice... we are making some jalpeno cheese dip for lunch... and as always coffee is on! See you inside!
Everyone ready for another fun-filled evening of baseball and blogging?
If memory serves, this is the first time in their history the Red Sox have visited Coors Field. Their counterparts to the south have never had much luck in the other stadium out there, so we'll see.
The big difference tonight is going to be the atmosphere. No, I don't mean Rockies Nation, or whatever they call themselves out there. Friendly Fenway Park sits on the shore of the Charles River Basin in this city...right at sea level. Coors Field is at 5,280 feet, and the thinner air in Denver is already known to wreak havoc
on this game of inches.
At 5,280 feet above sea level, fastballs will possess more zip but less lift as they streak toward home plate.
Curveballs, meanwhile, will fly less curvaceously, while sliders will lose snap - tending to fly straighter than pitchers would wish.
Baseball is about physics as much as physical coordination and conditioning. And the atmospheric physics of mile-high Denver are markedly different from those of Boston-by-the-Sea.
"There will be a definite effect" on World Series games played in Denver, said Alan M. Nathan, a physicist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Maine native, and ardent citizen of Red Sox Nation. "It probably won't be a decisive effect, but it will be a real factor."
It's well known that Colorado's thinner air makes for longer hits, although scientists disagree over how much farther a ball walloped in Coors Field will travel than would the same slam at Fenway Park. Baseballs used at the Rockies' home field are these days stored in humidors to prevent drying that would make them even more defiant of gravity, but oft-cited calculations claim the gain remains on the order of 10 percent - meaning a ball slugged 400 feet at Fenway would travel 440 feet in Denver.
Nathan believes a 5 percent gain is more accurate. "That's a lot, but not as much as they like to say out there," he said.
Date: 10/27/2007 13:40:17
A fine time was had by all last night at Pack 250's annual Halloween party and pumpkin carve. We're a bit sluggish this morning, and another late night is in the offing thanks to baseball's bizarre playoff schedule. Checking today's weather in Denver, it looks like there's going to be clearing skies and a pleasant fall like temperature near 60º. So why isn't this game being played in the glorious sunshine?
Turning to the news of the day, did you see that the "president" has slapped more sanctions on Iran? Did you see the price of oil immediately spike over $90? (Just in time for the winter heating season, I might add). Well, here's a thought. Do you think the sanctions are a threat to national security?
Washington, D.C. – The Libertarian Party has criticized the Bush administration's new sanctions on Iran, saying the sanctions only worsen an already delicate situation. Libertarian Party Executive Director Shane Cory says "the United States should pursue more dialogue and less saber-rattling when dealing with Iran."
"The recent sanctions of the Bush administration on Iran indicate the United States is preparing for a war with a country it knows very little about," Cory continues. "The talk of a potential 'World War III' and other harsh threats President Bush has used against Iran are extremely similar to the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. The last thing the United States needs is another war. Nothing has been worse for the national security of America than Bush's aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East."
"Tough talk from Iran has been a trademark of their foreign policy for the last few decades," says William Redpath, national chairman for the Libertarian Party. "But it rarely goes further than words. This being the case, it would be a tragic failure on the part of the Bush administration to enter into another war after misinterpreting what may be nothing more than Iran's push for more geopolitical power. Should this be true, a political resolution may be available that can avoid the use of military force, saving countless lives and billions of dollars."
"A basic premise of warfare is to 'know thy enemy,' and I'm afraid that the President is rushing to war with an enemy he knows nothing about," says Cory, a U.S. Marine Corp veteran. "These newest sanctions are a precursor to more wanton violence in the Middle East that will eventually cripple our economy and endanger our national security."
You're probably aware that the SCHIP program has been in the news much in recent weeks. Ron Paul (R-TX) voted against the override recently, so he must hate children, right? Well, no. It's big government that he hates, and it might just be worth reading why congressional control of health care is dangerous for children.
This week Congress is again grasping for more control over the health of American children with the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Parents who think federally subsidized health care might be a good idea should be careful what they wish for.
Despite political rhetoric about a War on Drugs, federally-funded programs result in far more teenage drug use than the most successful pill pusher on the playground. These pills are given out as a result of dubious universal mental health screening programs for school children, supposedly directed toward finding mental disorders or suicidal tendencies. The use of antipsychotic medication in children has increased fivefold between 1995 and 2002. More than 2.5 million children are now taking these medications, and many children are taking multiple drugs at one time.
With universal mental health screening being implemented in schools, pharmaceutical companies stand to increase their customer base even more, and many parents are rightfully concerned. Opponents of one such program called TeenScreen, claim it wrongly diagnoses children as much as 84% of the time, often incorrectly labeling them, resulting in the assigning of medications that can be very damaging. While we are still awaiting evidence that there are benefits to mental health screening programs, evidence that these drugs actually cause violent psychotic episodes is mounting.
Many parents have very valid concerns about the drugs to which a child labeled as “suicidal” or “depressed,” or even ADHD, could be subjected. Of further concern is the subjectivity of diagnosis of mental health disorders. The symptoms of ADHD are strikingly similar to indications that a child is gifted, and bored in an unchallenging classroom. In fact, these programs, and many of the syndromes they attempt to screen for, are highly questionable. Parents are wise to question them.
As it stands now, parental consent is required for these screening programs, but in some cases mere passive consent is legal. Passive consent is obtained when a parent receives a consent form and fails to object to the screening. In other words, failure to reply is considered affirmative consent. In fact, TeenScreen advocates incorporating their program into the curriculum as a way to by-pass any consent requirement. These universal, or mandatory, screening programs being called for by TeenScreen and the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health should be resisted.
Consent must be express, written, voluntary and informed. Programs that refuse to give parents this amount of respect, should not receive federal funding. Moreover, parents should not be pressured into screening or drugging their children with the threat that not doing so constitutes child abuse or neglect. My bill, The Parental Consent Act of 2007 is aimed at stopping federal funding of these programs.
We don’t need a village, a bureaucrat, or the pharmaceutical industry raising our children. That’s what parents need to be doing.
Lastly this morning, as we head into the holiday season, you'll probably be seeing a few drunk-driving checkpoints on your state roads. You might want to make sure you have your pocket guide to the constitution handy, particularly the fourth ammendment. Not that it would do any good, of course, as the supreme court has already decided that every driver is guilty.
Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are stopped each month at police checkpoints that treat every driver as a criminal. These checkpoints, supposedly started to target drunk drivers, have expanded to give police more intrusive power over citizens in many areas.
The demonization of alcohol is leading to a growing nullification of the constitutional rights of anyone suspected of drinking — or anyone who might have had a drink anytime recently. In 1925, the Supreme Court declared,
It would be intolerable and unreasonable if a prohibition agent were authorized to stop every automobile on the chance of finding liquor, and thus subject all persons lawfully using the highways to the inconvenience and indignity of such a search.
But as the 20th century progressed, judges and prosecutors gained a more rarefied understanding of the Bill of Rights.
In the early 1980s, police departments began setting up checkpoints to stop and check all cars traveling along a road to see whether the driver was intoxicated. As law professor Nadine Strossen wrote, checkpoint “searches are intensely personal in nature, involving a police officer’s close-range examination of the driver’s face, breath, voice, clothing, hands, and movements.” The checkpoints were extremely controversial. In 1984, the Oklahoma Supreme Court banned the practice in that state, declaring that drunk-driving roadblocks “draw dangerously close to what may be referred to as a police state.”
In 1988, the Michigan Court of Appeals, in a case involving driver Rick Sitz, also concluded that the practice was unconstitutional. The Michigan Department of State Police appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. As professor Strossen observed,
The Sitz plaintiffs argued that mass, suspicionless searches and seizures at drunk driving roadblocks violate the Fourth Amendment because they are not based on any individualized suspicion.
But the Supreme Court disregarded the privacy concerns and approved the checkpoints. In a statement that epitomized some judges’ blind faith in police officers, Chief Justice Rehnquist declared,
For the purposes of Fourth Amendment analysis, the choice among reasonable alternatives remains with the government officials who have a unique understanding of, and a responsibility for, limited public resources.
Justice John Paul Stevens dissented, stating,
On the degree to which the sobriety checkpoint seizures advance the public interest ... the Court’s position is wholly indefensible.... The evidence in this case indicates that sobriety check points result in the arrest of a fraction of one percent of the drivers who are stopped, but there is absolutely no evidence that this figure represents an increase over the number of arrests that would have been made by using the same law enforcement resources in conventional patrols.
A Michigan officer who questions a motorist [seized] at a sobriety checkpoint has virtually unlimited discretion to [prolong the detention of] the driver on the basis of the slightest suspicion.... [The] Court’s decision ... appears to give no weight to the citizen’s interest in freedom from suspicionless unannounced investigatory seizures.
He characterized the checkpoints as “elaborate and disquieting publicity stunts.”
In the Sitz decision, the Supreme Court concluded that since checkpoint searches were equally intrusive on all drivers, no individual had a right to complain about an intrusive search. But that stands the Bill of Rights on its head — reading the Fourth Amendment to require the government to equally violate the rights of all citizens, rather than to restrict government violations of any citizen’s rights.
Naturally, once the Supreme Court sanctioned drunk-driving checkpoints, police expanded their use. As long as the car is stopped and the policeman is there, why not check to see whether the driver is wearing a seatbelt — or has his registration with him — or has any open containers of alcohol in the car — or has any guns hidden under the seat or in the glove compartment? And why not take a drug-sniffing dog and walk it around the car to see whether the pooch wags his tail, thereby automatically nullifying the driver’s and passengers’ constitutional rights and entitling police to forcibly search the vehicle?
So....some food for thought on this dreary Saturday. Hey, at least it's rain. We're not anywhere near in as much trouble as other parts of the country, but every little bit helps.22 comments
Okay folks, strap on your tinfoil hat - it's going to be a bumpy ride...
It seems that every day the news is more jaw-dropping than the previous day's... the Administration's gall increases, and our country seems to slip further and further into chaos. With natural disasters of Biblical proportions, a missing nuke, and members of an Administration looking at a cutoff date of 14 months when they have to vacate the Halls Of Power and their crimes may finally be brought to light, one has to wonder what sort of contingency plans are already in the works. It would only require six easy steps to take us from Democracy to Dictatorship, and none of them are far-fetched:
1) Major event ("natural" or terrorist)
2) Bush taken out of office
3) Cheney assumes the Presidency
4) Blackwater brought in surreptitiously
5) Marshall Law enacted, enforced by Blackwater
6) Elections suspended, complete coup d'etat
So let's break this down step-by-step...
TriSec is indisposed tonight, so the game blog is going to be short and sweet... :shrug:
TIME: 8:29 pm EDT
VENUE: Fenway Park
Boston: Curt Schilling
Colorado: Ubaldo Jiménez
It's the World Series, fer chrissakes. So blog already!141 comments
|Order by most recent comment Complete Blog Entry List|