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Wide White: February 2006

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

No bias?

Any time a poll comes out showing Bush's approval rating close to 50% (which, by the way, is where it was the week before he was re-elected), the media is quick to point out that "it's just one poll. You have to compare that one poll with all of the other polls and figure the average."

However, a poll comes out - by CBS, no less - showing Bush's approval ratings very low, and it becomes a headline reading, "Bush job rating falls to all-time low: poll".
President George W. Bush's job rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, amid strong opposition to the Dubai Ports World deal and increasing pessimism over the war in Iraq, according to a CBS News poll released on Monday.
According to the poll, 70 percent believe the Dubai Ports World transaction should not be allowed to go through while only 21 percent did not see the ports deal as a problem.
The only reason 70% of Americans are against this UAE ports deal is...hmm...THE MEDIA!!! The media created the story and started asking questions on it. The media - who is so culturally sensitive and "progressive" - decided that it wasn't okay for us to give Arabs a chance, despite the fact that these particular Arabs (the UAE) have repeatedly demonstrated competence in handling numerous ports around the world.
One surprising bright spot for the administration in the polls was that Americans appeared ready to move on after Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident. Seventy-six percent said it was understandable that the accident could happen.

Why was this bright spot "surprising"? It's "surprising" because the media doesn't expect any bright spots in the Bush administration. And if they see a bright spot, they're sure not going to admit that it's something to be expected from the first president in 16 years to be elected or re-elected by a majority of Americans.

However media coverage of the accident may have made the public's generally negative view of Cheney a bit more so, CBS said. The poll found that 46 percent hold a negative view of Cheney and 18 percent hold a favorable view, down from a 23 percent favorable rating in January.
Huh. You mean the media made the administration look bad? I can't believe they'd do something like that!

Oh well. At least they (sort of) admitted it.


Avoid the lottery mistake

The lottery - better known as a tax on the poor - is just a horrible idea.

I'll let this story speak for itself.
William "Bud" Post, who won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania Lottery in 1988, had a brother who tried to have him killed for the inheritance. Post lost and spent all his winnings. He was living off Social Security when he died in January.

Two years after winning a $31 million Texas Lottery in 1997, Billie Bob Harrell Jr. committed suicide. He had bought cars, real estate, gave money to his family, church and friends. After his death it was not clear whether there was money left for estate taxes.

Victoria Zell, who shared an $11 million Powerball jackpot with her husband in 2001, is serving time in a Minnesota prison, her money gone. Zell was convicted in March 2005 in a drug- and alcohol-induced collision that killed one person and paralyzed another.

Evelyn Adams, who won the New Jersey Lottery twice, in 1985 and 1986, for a total $5.4 million, gambled and gave away all of her money. She was poor by 2001, and living in a trailer.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Oh, the wondrous game of football

Is this really how you want someone to describe how you play a sport? In commenting on Lynn Swann's bid for governor of Pennsylvania, Democrat Roger Wilkins, a professor at Virginia's George Mason University who specializes in black politics, said, "He was just the most graceful wide receiver ever. It was just wondrous to watch that man play football."

It doesn't get much more out of touch than that!


Hotter than a pistol

I wish I could have seen this.

Autistic Teen Scores 20 in Basketball Game

Jason McElwain had done everything he was asked to do for the Greece Athena High School basketball team — keep the stats, run the clock, hand out water bottles.

That all changed last week for the team manager in the final home game of the season. The 17-year-old senior, who is autistic and usually sits on the bench in a white shirt and black tie, put on a uniform and entered the game with his team way ahead.

McElwain proceeded to hit six 3-point shots, finished with 20 points and was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders.

"I ended my career on the right note," he told The Associated Press by phone Thursday. "I was really hotter than a pistol!"

In recent days, McElwain's phone has hardly stopped ringing. When his family went out for a meal, he was mobbed by well-wishers. A neighborhood boy came by to get a basketball autographed.

McElwain, 5-foot-6, was considered too small to make the junior varsity, so he signed on as team manager. He took up the same role with the varsity, doing anything to stay near the sport he loves. Coach Jim Johnson was impressed with his dedication, and thought about suiting up McElwain for the home finale.

His performance was jaw-dropping: 20 points in four minutes, making 6-of-10 3-point shots. The crowd went wild.

"It was as touching as any moment I have ever had in sports," Johnson told the Daily Messenger of Canandaigua.
On the varsity, he never misses practice and is a jack-of-all-trades.
"And he is happy to do it," Johnson said. "He is such a great help and is well-liked by everyone on the team."

Even though McElwain was in uniform for the Feb. 15 game, there was no guarantee he would play — Athena was battling for a division title.

The fans, however, came prepared. One section of students held up signs bearing his nickname "J-MAC" and cutouts of his face placed on Popsicle sticks.

The Trojans opened a large lead against the team from the nearby Spencerport. With four minutes left, McElwain took the court to deafening cheers.

The ball came to him almost right away. His 3-point shot sailed completely off course, and the coach wondered if he made the wrong move. McElwain then missed a layup. Yet his father, David, was unruffled.

"The thing about Jason is he isn't afraid of anything," he told the newspaper. "He doesn't care what people think about him. He is his own person."

On the next trip down the floor, McElwain got the ball again. This time he stroked a 3, all net.

He was just warming up.

"As soon as the first shot went in that's when I started to get going," he said.

On the next attempt, he got another 3-pointer. Then another, and another. In fact, he would have made one more 3, but his foot was on the line, so he had to settle for 2 points.

Greece Athena won 79-43, and pandemonium reigned. McElwain signed autographs, posed for pictures and was hoisted by his teammates.

The Trojans begin sectional play Saturday and McElwain will be on the bench again, wearing his usual shirt and tie.

It doesn't bother him. More important, he said, is "trying to win a sectional title for the team."

McElwain will soon be done with high school basketball, then enroll in business management this fall at Monroe Community College.

"I'll go on to college and I'll try to hoop there," he said. "I just love it, it's one of the greatest sports in the world."


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

If only...

Wouldn't you like to see Judge Alito and Chief Justice Roberts questioning the DemocratIC Senators to determine their qualifications for Public office? Just imagine matching the responses of the Senators with those of the Judges!

The questions might go like this.....

Judge Alito (JA): "Senator Kennedy, I see from your official resume that you attended Harvard University...

Senator Kennedy (SK): "Yes, your honor, I certainly did.

JA: "Did you graduate?"

SK: "Your honor, I respectfully ask that you not pry into my personal life..."

JA: "Is it not true that you were expelled from Harvard for violating the honor code, to wit, you hired someone to take an exam for you?"

SK: "Mr. Chairman, I want to go on record that I disagree with this line of questioning. I ask the chair to order the Judge to refrain from asking questions about my private matters.."

Senator Arlen Specter, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee: "Answer the Judge's questions. He answered all of yours.."

JA: "Senator Kennedy, we have on hand a transcript of the session of the university's honor council attesting to your fraudulent examination and subsequent expulsion from the university..."

SK: "I have had all I can take of this line of unreasonable questioning."

JA: "Wait, Senator Kennedy, I want to ask you about the 26 phone calls you made from a motel room the night Mary Jo Kopecne drowned in your car at Chappaquidik, when you said you were asleep all night..." [Kennedy leaves the hearing room]

Senator Specter: "Chief Justice Roberts [CJR] will now interrogate Senator Joe Biden [SB], Democrat from Delaware..."

CJR: "Senator Biden, is it not true that you were expelled from law school for plagiarizing another student's work?"

SB: "Wait, Ted, I am going with you..." [Biden leaves the hearing room]

Senator Specter: "Judge Alito will now interrogate Senator Feinstein, Democrat of California..."

JA: "Senator Feinstein [SF], why did you vote for the former Grand Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan of West Virginia [Robert Byrd] to be the Democrat Senate Majority Leader in 1986, 1988, 1990, and 1992?"

SF: "Wait, boys, I am going with you..." [Feinstein flees the hearing room ]

[end of hearing]



If you're going to get into an accident, this is a bad way to do it.
A car carrying Gov. M. Jodi Rell was broadsided by another vehicle Tuesday morning, but neither the governor nor anyone else was hurt, officials said.

A car driven by 17-year-old Juliet Ben-Ami struck the driver's side door of the governor's car just after 7 a.m., according to Brookfield police.

"It seems like everything happened so fast," Rell told WTNH-TV. "She got out of the car. She said, 'I always wanted to meet the governor, but not like this.' So I said, 'It's OK,' and I hugged her."
And when she thought things couldn't be worse, it just had to be a state trooper driving the vehicle with the governor.

Big ouch.


To abort or to teach, that is the question??

This is pretty bizarre. To sum it up: A woman gets her first teaching job at a Catholic school, where the teachers' handbook states that teachers must convey Catholic teachings. The woman isn't married. The woman gets pregnant. The woman gets fired.

Now the ACLU isn't the only group defending her. Feminists for Life are defending her as well, saying that the church is only encouraging abortions for fear of losing a job.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Smart 12-year-old

Want an easy junior high science project? Test anything - yes, anything - at a fast food restaurant and compare it with anything else. Chances are, whatever you find at the fast food restaurant is dirtier and has more germs.

Feb. 20, 2006 — Jasmine Roberts never expected her award-winning middle school science project to get so much attention. But the project produced some disturbing results: 70 percent of the time, ice from fast food restaurants was dirtier than toilet water.

The 12-year-old collected ice samples from five restaurants in South Florida — from both self-serve machines inside the restaurant and from drive-thru windows. She then collected toilet water samples from the same restaurants and tested all of them for bacteria at the University of South Florida.

I'll spare you the rest of the dirty details.


Racist politicos

Democrats, Republicans, and - leading the charge - the media, have lambasted the Bush administration over the last few days because port security for six US ports has been sold by a British company to a tiny Arab country in the Middle East: the United Arab Emerates (also known as UAE).

What's racist about the complaining? They're assuming that by turning control of the security of a port over to Arabs, we're succumbing to terrorism. They're assuming that all Arabs are terrorists, or at least have the potential for terrorism.

I don't know who the actual employees in these security operations are. I'd assume many are Americans, but I don't know. I'd prefer that the company under contract be an American company. But to argue that the UAE shouldn't control our port security simply because they're Arab is racist.

The UAE already controls port security in many other countries. They're experienced at it. Additionally, this is a $7 billion investment in the United States that they're making. Why would they have any interest in bombing a country in which they have an enormous investment?

The Democrats, media, and many Republicans have insisted that we be tolerant of these Muslim countries since that will, of course, bring peace. I wouldn't exactly call their response to this latest development tolerant.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More federal $ down the toilet

The main point of this "news story" by ABC was to talk about how moderate Republicans in the Senate have distanced themselves from Bush. However, what I noticed most was this comment, in reference to Condoleezza Rice defending herself and the Bush administration:
Rice tried to take the offensive by announcing an administration request for $75 million this year to build democracy in Iran, saying the U.S. must support Iranians who are seeking freedoms under what she called a radical regime.
I can't help but wonder where we're going to get this magical $75 million. Even if we get it, what will it really accomplish? So we "support Iranians who are seeking freedoms." I'm all for that. But I'm also reminded of Cuba, the Bay of Pigs, and...well, you know the story. If Bush is trying to mimick John F. Kennedy, he's making a big mistake. I'm also reminded of the Afghanis we supported in the 1980s. Can anyone say "bin Laden?" Those weapons we bought them have now been turned on us.

Throwing more money at the problem just won't fix it. That money should be used to put body armor on the troops who will be heading into Iran if the problem gets that bad.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Give us the line-item veto!

Wisconsin has it. Representative Clifford Stearns (R-FL) wants the president to have it. It's called the line-item veto. It (H. J. Res. 77) gives the president the authority to "reduce or disapprove any appropriation or authorization of new direct spending in any bill presented by Congress." In other words, the president (any and all presidents) would be able to reduce or elminate any spending in any bill presented to him.

In this system, the president would have to take full responsibility for all spending approved, and therefore for all deficits. As it is, he has the option of either passing the whole pork-barrel-laden piece of garbage, or not passing a budget at all.

This would require an amendment to the Constitution. It would be nice, but don't count on it.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Like it or not, Newt's back

Newt Gingrich is back in the public eye. Actually, he's been working his way up there for a while now, starting with a book release that has lead to speaking tours, talk show appearances, and more. Many consider him to be a contender for president in 2008.

I have a problem with his inability to keep his personal life in order, but I think America still respects his success with the 1994 Contract with America that gave Republicans control of the House, and in a time of corruption in Washington, I think a lot of people actually believe Newt when he talks about change. Even I think he'd do a better job than the current House leadership. He's talked the game of change before. He's delivered results. People respond to that. Besides, Bill Clinton's continued popularity following his own personal scandal(s) shows that - like it or not - Americans look past that. We seem to have an increasing tendency to say "you do your thing, I'll do mine" in politics, unprecedented in American politics until sometime within the last ten years.

Here's a bit from Newt's latest stop at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference).

Newt Gingrich, who led the Republican Party to power a dozen years ago, told cheering conservatives Saturday it is time to overhaul a balky, slow-moving government locked in the last century.

Citing multiple government failures after Hurricane Katrina, the former House speaker said the government meltdown at all levels illustrated how badly government needs to be updated in all of its operations.
Gingrich's appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference was scripted like a presidential campaign stop, with young supporters in red T-shirts passing out buttons and pamphlets.

"We clearly need the Republican Party to reacquire a movement that designs a 21st century Contract with America," Gingrich said, recalling the set of proposals at the heart of his successful 1994 strategy to win congressional races.

Gingrich, who has been on a promotional book tour, said he isn't currently running for president, though he hasn't ruled it out.
The former lawmaker from Georgia was accorded "rock star" treatment by those in the crowded hotel ballroom. He was interrupted frequently by standing ovations, hailed with cries of "Newt, Newt, Newt and besieged by young fans eager for a photo with Gingrich.

Conservatives at this conference expressed mounting frustration with the expansion of government and increased spending [I'm frustrated too!] in the last five years, even with Republicans in control of the White House and Congress.

The Republican Party has not been conservative over the last six years. Oh, they've held the line on moral conservatism. But their fiscal policies have run amuck. Newt's been out of the game for a while, and went out pretty disgraced. But if he could prove to me that he's serious about fiscal discipline, there's a small chance he could get my vote.


They waited too long?

Cheney is now in the doghouse with the media (I know, you're shocked) over something the media takes very personally: how fast the information reached the media.

That's right. People aren't upset about the fact that Cheney was shooting a gun. At least that's not the big issue. The issue is that the American public didn't know immediately!

Bush Knew Saturday About Hunting Accident

WASHINGTON - President Bush knew Saturday evening that Vice President Dick Cheney had accidentally shot a hunting companion, but the information wasn't made public until the next day by a private citizen the White House said Monday.
The White House did not inform the national media of the accident....

The media does not have a right to be informed. They have a right to search for and find information, but they don't have the right to receive all information they decide is (or was) interesting.


Cleaning up in Madison

It's about time this guy saw jail time.
Chvala starts his nine-month term in jail on Monday

Once one of the most powerful men in state government, former State Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala will begin a nine-month jail term Monday for his role in the Capitol corruption scandal.

Chvala is due to check in to jail early Monday morning, but unlike his colleague and fellow disgraced senator Brian Burke of Milwaukee, he will not immediately be released to home detention with electronic monitoring.

"Not here," said Dane County Sheriff Gary Hamblin. "He will be booked in and assigned to a housing unit, either in the Public Safety Building or the Huber Center," said Hamblin.

...Chvala [will be allowed} to leave jail every day to tend to affairs in his law office and real estate interests.
Chvala was charged with 20 felony counts in October 2002, more than a year after Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard began an investigation into how legislative caucus staffs were being used illegally to run partisan political campaigns. That investigation quickly mushroomed into more serious allegations, however, that Chvala and other legislative leaders were essentially shaking down lobbyists for campaign contributions in exchange for getting their bills scheduled.

Eventually Chvala entered guilty pleas to counts of misconduct in public office for using staff for partisan campaigns, and of violating campaign finance laws.
This proves something that many have known for a while: if Republicans simply sit back and watch the Democrats self-destruct, they usually win (I cite the Republican majority in the Wisconsin state senate since the Chvala scandal as evidence). Unfortunately, all too often they're just as guilty.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Can anyone say "flat tax"?

Get rid of property taxes (and income taxes), institute a 23.5% flat sales tax (some even say 16 or 17 percent would work), and this whole problem would never have happened.

A house erroneously valued at $400 million is being blamed for budget shortfalls and possible layoffs in municipalities and school districts in northwest Indiana.

An outside user of Porter County's computer system may have triggered the mess by accidentally changing the value of the Valparaiso house, said Sharon Lippens, director of the county's information technologies and service department. The house had been valued at $121,900 before the glitch.

County Treasurer Jim Murphy said the home usually carried about $1,500 in property taxes; this year, it was billed $8 million.

...the $400 million value ended up on documents that were used to calculate tax rates.

Most local officials did not learn about the mistake until Tuesday, when 18 government taxing units were asked to return a total of $3.1 million of tax money. The city of Valparaiso and the Valparaiso Community School Corp. were asked to return $2.7 million. As a result, the school system has a $200,000 budget shortfall, and the city loses $900,000.

Officials struggled to figure out how the mistake got into the system and how it could have been prevented. City leaders said Thursday the error could cause layoffs and cost-cutting measures.

The flat tax may do away with CPA's, but that may not be all that bad. Besides, it works in Iraq.

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Shot by the Vice President

How many people can say they've been shot by the Vice President of the United States? 78-year-old Harry Whittington can.

Whittington shot a bird and went to look for it in the tall grass, while Cheney and the third hunter walked to another spot and found a second covey.

Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself," Armstrong told the Associated Press in an interview.

"The vice president didn't see him," she continued. "The covey flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. ...Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good."

Those who understand guns know that being hit from a shotgun from a distance pretty much just breaks the skin. However, I'm wondering what kind of reaction this will get from gun control advocates. When people read, "The Vice President shot someone...", I hope they read past the headline.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

If I had $20 to spend...

...I'd buy this shirt.


Republicans need a wake-up call

Lauderback and Pence hit the nail on the head.
"What conservatives have realized during the last five years is that we have not elected a conservative president," said Bill Lauderback, executive vice president of the American Conservative Union. "Nor do we have a conservative majority in either the House or Senate."
"We are in danger of becoming the party of big government," said Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
Pence said he and his allies in Congress plan to make sure that trend is reversed.
"The era of big Republican government is over," Pence said....
Just as Republicans needed Jim Doyle to win the governor's seat in Wisconsin in 2002 to send them a wake-up call, Republicans just might need to see their Congressional majority in the US House of Representatives up-ended. War or no war, 9/11 or no 9/11, Hurricane Katrina or no Hurricane Katrina - the "spend, spend, and spend some more" policy has got to stop!


First Shot

This represents my attempt at communicating to others what's going on in the world and what I think about what's going on in the world. I receive a lot of forwards from friends regarding current affairs, and I forward a lot of things that I find regarding current affairs. I eventually decided that maybe blogging would be the best way to communicate these things.

I'm probably dead wrong, and that's okay. Most blogs fail quickly, and this one is probably no exception. But I've flirted with trying it for a while, and you never know until you try....

Let me hear your thoughts.