Al Gore loves the planet...and big houses...and pizza rolls

Former Vice President Al Gore is now the reigning champion in the pseudo-documentary category of the Academy Awards (taking his place along side Micheal Moore) and is well on his way to a Nobel prize for the same work. His mockumentary (I know he intended it to be factual), An Inconvenient Truth has been proclaimed as the savior of the environment if only we rubes (read Americans) take its truths to heart. Unfortunately for his future political aspirations, the cracks in his facade are beginning to show. His film touts potential raises of the sea level of 20 feet, which would indeed be a serious problem for much of Florida and coastal communities worldwide. His Climate Crisis website claims that sea levels will rise 20 feet but he gives no time frame, thereby implying an immediate danger. His source is Washington Post staff writer Juliet Eilperin's story which states that this 20 foot increase will occur over "a couple of centuries." Eilperin in turn sites Michael Oppenheimer, an advisor to an environmentalist advocacy group. This means Gore is quoting a journalist who sites a man whose living is based upon the continuation of the global warming scare. Stay with me on this. The newly released summary by the International Panel on Climate Change, the UN's 6 year old study group (who also make their livings from the climate change scare) claim that this sea level rise (7 meters) will probably occur, if their projections are accurate and if the increase occurs for a millennia. Do you see how dishonest this all is? It goes from being an inevitable disaster if we don't go Prius to a 1000 year process that is kind of likely with a lot of ifs within 3 degrees of separation.

Then there is the issue of "practice what you preach." Gore is the owner of at least 3 possibly 4 homes of which the largest is in the Nashville, TN area. The Tennessee Center for Policy Research has released a statement regarding Gore's energy usage (public documents) at this particular residence, saying that "Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year." I don't know about you, but $30,000 a year in annual gas and electric bills for only one of his houses seems not to be the "energy neutral" lifestyle he trumpets that we should follow. Of course he utilizes the green-chic concept of Carbon Offsets to buy down his carbon footprint. Let me translate that for those of you who have showered this week.

First you pollute a bunch by having a part-time home that costs $30,000 to heat/cool/run. Then you calculate how much pollution you create. I know this doesn't really seem eco-friendly yet, but stick with me. Then you give more money to companies within the environmental movement to assuage your guilt; the more you pollute, the more you give. That's right folks, apparently if you have the money for a $30K utility bill you then have to money to throw away on green companies. That's great for millionaires, but I have trouble meeting my standard bills in my 1000 square foot house. I am not opposed to wealth, but I don't take kindly to someone like Gore polluting prodigiously and then preaching to me about a "carbon neutral lifestyle" simply because he is rich enough to throw his money away.

Thanks for the laugh, Al but you can can blow it out your tailpipe (and I won't even check it for emissions).

Slick Little Shooter

In an attempt to break new ground on topics for my blog and as a favor to my friend Mikey Pikey Stinky Winky (not his given name), I am going to post a little blurb on a firearm. While this may put me on some sort of watch list, I am going to be brave and forge ahead.

This is a Feather USA RAV45ACP. It is made by a Colorado based company and is known as a "takedown gun." While this may sound (and look) suspiciously Jack Baueresqe, it is actually a very useful tool for a certain segment of the population. It is called take down because it is possible to disassemble the weapon quickly into its basic parts for storage and transportation. It only weighs about 3 pounds (my T/C Encore rifle is considered lightweight at about 8 lbs) minus the accessories (scope, etc) and fits into a compact padded carry bag. It is designed for backpackers, pilots, boaters, campers and anyone else who might be in position to need a versatile firearm, but doesn't have space or weight capacity to carry a standard rifle. It has a high capacity for self-defense, but the ammo is not unnecessarily bulky as it is designed as a worst case scenario survival tool. I can foresee a myriad potential uses in this regard. Small plane crash, injury while backpacking, lost in bad weather, backwater boating accident, etc. It is potent enough to be adequate for emergency hunting or for protection against predators (both the 2 or 4 legged variety).
If you or someone you know might be interested in such a gun, let me know. My friend Mike bought it at the urging of a few unnamed family members and has not engaged in any of the above-mentioned activities for which it might be useful, thus leaving it practically brand new.


The men who changed the world

I no longer get the paper. Since I started blogging, I have begun getting most of my news online and when my subscription to the Gazette expired, I figured I’d save a few trees and let it go. That isn’t to say that I won’t read hard copy news. It was this residual enjoyment of newsprint that led me to pick up the “Metro” section today at my brother-in-law’s house during my nieces birthday party. That and the fact that a stirring game of “Freeze Butterfly Dancing”(I don’t know either) didn’t appeal to me.

In my perusing the paper, I came across the obituary of one Clarence Laudric Shivers. He was a resident of Colorado Springs and died at the ripe old age of 84, but it was the length of his write-up and a small picture of him in what appeared to be a WWII-era pilot’s helmet that caught my eye. I’m aware that in the past decade or so, unfortunately, it has not been uncommon for WWII flyers to appear in obituaries, but it was the fact that Lt. Colonel Shivers was a strikingly handsome black man (in both his younger and older pictures) that peaked my interest. It isn’t that I have any extraordinary interest in black males, but as a bit of a military history buff, I do know that the combo of black skin, pilot wings and the Second World War generally means one thing: Tuskegee.

The Tuskegee program exists in that unique realm of military history where it overlaps with racial, social and cultural development. The Tuskegee airmen were the first group of black men (and only men, the military take its social engineering one step at a time) given the opportunity to become Army Air Corp pilots. They would form their own units as the Army was still officially segregated and were pushed even harder by their instructors to determine if there was any truth to the age-old and bigoted view of blacks as inferior. The Tuskegee airmen went on to prove themselves in battle as some of the most decorated and successful bomber escort pilots of the war. Shivers continued his march of achievement becoming a successful painter and sculptor, a respected activist and a selfless philanthropist in the Colorado Springs area. His sculpture commemorating the Tuskegee Airmen can still be seen on display at the Air Force Academy where it has been since 1988.

Please take the time to read the linked articles commemorating Lt Colonel Clarence Shivers’ incredible and historic life.




My public non-recommendation

These strips are funny but I do not recommend the site overall as many of them are pretty crude humor. I have taken one for the team by making Paul go on the site and get these for me. You can thank me later.

Fridays with Laura

I have now returned from visiting Laura Ingraham this morning and I thoroughly enjoyed it. She was a pleasant person and I enjoyed talking with her and Joe Vollono (producer). They were considerate enough to ask about what Evie and I (and by extension Global Action) do. I assured them that I was addicted to talk radio, which is true. We got autographs and did group pictures. I intend to link to her site if those pics ever make the web. If not, I know for a fact that the radio station will post the pictures.

Funny story...

Breaking News

This morning my co-worker Evie told me that she had won a contest with local talk radio station 1460 KZNT to meet nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham while she is brodcasting from their studio in Colorado Springs this morning. I was excited to hear about this as I am regular listener. Evei called me at around 9am and let me know that if I wanted to come down, I could meet Laura as well. I thought that might be interesting for my blog and I think she's a pretty darn good radio personality so I will be heading out in about 10 minutes to go meet her.

More to come...


Update: Non-binding Resolutions and the Victory Caucus

This is the pictoral representation of my entire non-binding resolution post. Many thanks to Jessica Hagy for her note card truths.


Polls, polls everywhere without a drop of logic

Public Opinion Surveys has come out with a poll of American opinions on Iraq that, if nothing else, shows why I don't trust polling. The poll of 800 likely voters (which slanted slightly Democrat) shows that when given the choice of,
  1. Immediate withdrawal,
  2. Timetable withdrawal,
  3. Originally opposed but see the need to stay until security is achieved,
  4. Have supported the war all along,

Americans chose victory, whatever it takes (3&4) over withdrawal of any kind prior to security is achieved(1&2) by a slight majority but well within the margin of error. However, by 20% Americans feel that immediate withdrawal would be more damaging to US reputation than staying as long as it takes.

The most interesting fact is that while the new Democratic Congress seems feel that they are akin to the second coming, they actually are statistically tied with President Bush in low approval rating at 39% & 38% respectively. In the interests of honesty, it must be noted that prior to the Democratic takeover, their approval was equally low. Some mandate, huh? In fact, 3.5 times more people strongly approve of the President than of congress.

Football Baby!

Having read Slick's post today on the "the world's game" I have been in a soccer mood all day. Thus, when I saw this link to German periodical Spiegel on Drudge Report it caught my eye. It seems that Germany's solid performance in last summer's Copa del Mundo (that's World Cup in English, and don't ask why I used Spanish) has caused a Kraut baby boom. Apparently for this nation of Prussian orderliness it is newsworthy to note that sun, beer, excitement and body paint lead to a greater degree of randiness among the young fans of Deutschland. The real news is that Europeans have discovered a way to correct their dangerously low birthrates. This is great news for the soccer world as, to urge greater child-bearing, there is now a motivation to hold the World Cup ever 2 years. Yea!!

Clinton Legacy

This morning’s Washington Post explores the unanswered questions regarding former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and his inexplicably light punishment for admittedly breaking national security guidelines during his “review” of anti-terrorism documents from the Clinton White House in the National Archives leading up to his testimony before the 9/11 commission. Berger was accused and convicted of removing, hiding and later destroying copies of a 2001 terrorism study. Unfortunately, these charges are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential damage of Berger’s four visits to the archives. I am not a sky-is-falling conspiracy theorist, but I am also not babe-in-woods when it comes to human nature. I have no doubt that there was a great deal of pressure from Clinton in regards to his legacy and how it might be harmed by revelations that he was negligent in the arena of terrorism. The incontrovertible facts are as follows:
  • Berger did take copies of a highly classified terrorism document and hid them at a construction site for later disposal.
  • Berger was wrongly given unsupervised access to classified, original/uncatalogued, internal documents from the archives that related to the Clinton Administration’s knowledge of and response to anti-terrorism intelligence.
  • Neither Justice Department investigators nor National Archive employees can say with any degree of certainty whether any original documents reviewed by Berger were also taken in the theft to which he has already plead guilty.

These truths, coupled with the fact that the 9/11 Commission was not given this information during the hearings (though it was known by Justice Dept.) when they might have questioned Berger about his actions under oath, makes the investigation’s findings highly suspect.

To add insult to injury, were the official in question named Rove instead of Berger, there would be no end to the attention these “coincidences” would receive in the media and Congress. If you don't think that is a fair assessment see the Libby trial


Appeals Court Determines that Gitmo is legal

Today the federal appeals for the DC circuit ruled that the detainees at Guantanamo Bay are not due civilian court appeals of their detention. It doesn’t seem incongruous that the almost exclusively foreign contingent of illegal combatants in Gitmo is not subject the civil rights of US citizens regarding capture and detention. Since they do not fall into the category of domestic criminals or prisoners of war (due to their lack of adherence to the Geneva Conventions in regard to uniform or use of civilians as battlefield pawns) and since Congress approved the Bush Administration’s Military Commissions Act giving those detainees the capability to appeal their detention, I am perplexed as to what is the rational legal argument behind the continued push to the Supreme Court by the detainees lawyers. In his opinion for the majority of the 3 judge panel, A Raymond Randolph said that the arguments were “creative but not cogent;” a statement which nicely sums up the detainees arguments in their entirety.

As a secondary question to those who still believe that there is a massive governmental conspiracy to jail Muslims simply for their faith, what does the Military/Bush administration gain by holding innocent foreigners in relative comfort in Cuba? Those of a socialist bent might not be willing to accept such a capitalist argument, but the military is losing money that could be used on tanks, bombs and recruiting bonus’ by holding those people. It stands to reason that were these men (I don’t believe we are holding any women) as harmless as their lawyers claim, there would be no point in putting all the effort into keeping them. Until I have received a satisfactory explanation for the Bushies motivation is this cover-up, I will maintain my support of this policy, the congressionally approved military tribunals and the court’s recognition that Gitmo is well within both US and international law.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, doesn't buy my argument judging from the statement he issued saying:
The Military Commissions Act is a dangerous and misguided law that undercuts our freedoms and assaults our Constitution by removing vital checks and balances designed to prevent government overreaching and lawlessness.

Please note that he refers to the Constitutional freedoms for combatants who, as foreigners caught on the battlefield in another country, have no Constitutional rights. Stay tuned for this to be the next battle in the new congress.

I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine

This post is a blogosphere courtesy and a sincere thank you to my good friend Mike. He has added a link to the political side of my blog on his new Running With Scissors page and thus it would be downright rude for me not to advertise another of his myriad talents. Running with Scissors is a local coffee house band which I am ashamed to say I have not yet seen perform. I am thoroughly acquainted with the talents of their frontman, but have not had the pleasure of seeing his current trio. Visit his site often to ensure that you will be in the loop for their next appearance.

Upon further review...

This is essentially a follow up to my previous post and the comment conversation with Coach and Slick (is it surreal that I'm using pseudonyms in a 3 way conversation?). I am certainly taking your advice under consideration, but I am not yet ready to break into another, politically focused blog. Were I to take that step at this point, it would be an even greater temptation to spend too much of my workday writing and/or checking blogs. On top of that, I would post much more frequently to a political blog (to create a readership outside of people that know off the top of their heads what my middle school's mascot was) and it would require more research time. I am discussing with Sarah getting Internet at our house to give her more flexibly in work communications and maybe at that point I will make the leap into online political punditry. All that to say, at least for now, I am sticking with the current format. Thanks guys for your comments and encouragement.

Post Script: As an interim solution to my eclectic topics of interest, I have designed a labeling system that breaks my posts into Politics, Family and Commentary(essentially anything that doesn't fit into the other two categories). If you are only interested in one or two types of posts, you can check only those by clicking on the label titles listed under my profile. Some items of discussion such as this one may fit into more than one category.


Honest Assessment

I consider myself a good (if not really good) writer. I have been told by my wife and family(though they are sort of required to support me) that I have a gift and I should find a way to make use of it. Being as I am basically an office chump and part-time warehouseman, blogging is my outlet in this regard. Thus the question is: How should this look?

In an earlier post, I made a plea on behalf of Victory Caucus in which I laid out the basic argument that we must pressure our leaders to see the conflict in Iraq through to a successful conclusion. Soon after joining VC, I began to realize the power of one voice in this information age. The blogosphere has created underground celebrities out of average (though admittedly talented) Joes who take the time to comment upon current events. This is not true for people like Hugh Hewitt, Michael Yon or others who already had or would likely have achieved popularity on their own. The purveyors of blogs like Little Green Footballs or Captain's Quarters have moved from a set-up not unlike mine, to national cyber-fame. Both now have actual websites and Ed Morrissey (CQ) has jumped media into talk radio.

My dilemma is that I enjoy politics as sort of a three-piece-suit spectator sport. This is not to say that I am not passionate about it. I love to debate and my wife gets tired of me fervently lobbying her to accept a view she already holds (blogging has become an outlet for this personality quirk as well). I would like to have an informative and substantive political blog and given the opportunity, I believe I could. I have a better than average grasp of the constitution and current events coupled with a historical perspective (I guess the degree in history does have its uses). I do not, however, have the time and energy to invest into the research necessary to make a truly great political blog. Crap, I don't even have an Internet connection at my house.

People who simply talk are a-dime-a-dozen, particularly on the internet. My fear is that I will be a great writer without anything useful to say. For that, the world has The New Yorker magazine. As an added disincentive, I don't think the 4 of you that read my blog enjoy my longer, politically themed posts as much as the short, pithy cultural commentary. I seem to have fallen into the Internet version of the Daily Show niche. Thus, no matter how well done my blog is, it will still be mostly politically tainted comedy (complete with its fair share of bathroom humor). Oh well, I suppose with only 4 of you, I ought not worry too much about my internal conflict over creative control (politics vs poop jokes).

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any helpful advise.


New Campbell Pics

Check out the link to Campbell's pictures or just click on his name.


"A blue-eyed boy meets a brown-eyed girl" (and made another blue-eyed boy)

Well, technically my sweet Sarry has hazel eyes, but since our first married dance was to "The Sweetest Thing", I am taking artistic license. I started this post with high hopes, but I am finding that it is extremely difficult to distill a 7 year relationship (3 1/2 in marriage) down to a few paragraphs. I guess the best thing I can do is to explain how she has changed my life.

She moved to Colorado in '99 and as her friend, I was not a good influence. During those years I drank too much and had no goals or aspirations above making it to the next weekend, shooting guns and working on my truck. If I ever wore a shirt, it was usually a wife-beater (the mention of which in this context seems inappropriate, but I have no other name for this article of clothing) and I felt no shame in lobbying to keep a sofa on our front porch. I think she was partially attracted to my bad-boy persona, while able to see the better man I could be. That summer holds a special place in my heart, not just for our budding relationship, but for the time with all my friends. After Sarah left, I was put in a position to analyze my life and its direction and it was not a Yellow Brick Road. At Lake Havasu, AZ I was confronted directly with the life I was leading and its affect on the soul of a person. As I looked at the debauchery of Havasu and juxtaposed that to Sarah, I all but cried as I realized that I was heading away from, not towards my heart's desires, being needed and respected, and my sweet Sarry.

That day, September 5th of 1999, I quit drinking, turned back towards the God I had been vigorously ignoring and resolved to return to college. Sarah was the catalyst that God used to convince me that his way was best for me. I can't think of a much better complement than to say that a girl not only makes a guy want to be a better man for her sake, but also convicts his heart to be a better human in the image of God. He (with her support) has led me to correct many of the above areas in my life (though I confess I still like weekends, guns, trucks and can think of few things more pleasant than a Colorado evening sitting on a front porch couch with no shirt on).

What else can I say? I've been so blessed with a girl that is enough like me to be amazingly compatible, yet unique enough to challenge me. She has simple tastes. She is pleasantly surprised by nice gestures, but is content enough not to demand them. She is the amazing mother of my boy and gives him more than I ever could. She married a guy who wasn't a hunter, but understood when I became one (plus she likes venison). She'll gleefully watch 24 or Gladiator with me but still reminds me that life is precious. So on Valentine's Day we don't need to go crazy because we so frequently enjoy lovely nights together that we don't yearn for an evening of unrealistic entertainment which we can't afford.

To Sarry: I love you and always will. Happy Valentine's Day and I'll be home around 5:00.

Non-binding Resolutions and the Victory Caucus

I am, if not addicted, at least a heavy user of political news. Typically I satisfy this craving with conservative talk radio (1460am & 740am in C/S) with an occasional Internet/blog chaser. To illustrate how serious this has gotten, let me give this example. My favorite band of all times is probably Pink Floyd. I can’t even remember the last time I listened to Floyd and given the choice between Micheal Medved and Another Brick in the Wall, I’d probably take Medved. I understand that this is an uncommon affliction among people my age, but it is what it is. It is because of my prodigious consumption of political news and others lack thereof that I write this.

I have been a supporter of President Bush’s policy on Iraq from the beginning. Please don’t believe the caricature that this means a blind belief that we can do no wrong (as people like me have been portrayed). I understand that some strategies have been poorly planned and others poorly executed. I understand that WMDs were not found in the volume that was expected. I understand that Abu Ghraib was at the very least a PR nightmare and at worst a tipping point for the negative in the hearts and minds campaign. I understand that the disbanding and de-Baathification of the Iraqi Army led to a larger more virulent insurgency and slower advancements in the capacity to deal with it. Here is my rebuttal to these mistakes: That’s war, folks. The science of destruction that is the military’s specialty is inexact at best. Volumes can be and already have been written about strategic errors and outright stupidity just within US military history.

What I cannot understand is how past mistakes justify making a bad situation worse. A cynical person, opposed to the war from the start, should at least be able to couch their criticisms in “you break it, you buy it.” Here are the facts:
  1. Despite their current spinelessness, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to authorize the use of force (the "we were duped by cooked intelligence" excuse is a cop-out).
  2. Whether or not you believe that Saddam was a supporter of international terrorism, Iraq is currently the central front for the Jihadist movement.
  3. Those Jihadist are not offended by our presence in Babylon, they are offended by our existence.
  4. If they are not fighting us there, they will come here (a la 9/11).

I am disappointed, but not particularly surprised by the current congressional trend toward non-binding resolutions of disapproval for the troop surge. Once again, here are the facts:

  1. The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed General Patraeus as the commander of forces in Iraq after he explained his vision and goals for the surge.
  2. Now they have audacity to complain about lack of oversight (not a constitutional authority of that body).
  3. They are determined to pass a resolution that expresses their disapproval.
  4. Ironically, the Democrat majority will only allow votes on resolutions that do NOTHING in order to sit on the asinine fence between disapproval and de-funding the troops in Iraq(their only constitutional power in war).

This overly in-depth post all leads to my recommending the Victory Caucus. It is an online source of news on the backpedaling legislators who feel the need to publicly express their a pointless opinion that encourages the enemy to stand firm and in doing so, discourage our brave fighting men and women. By registering at the VC (not Viet Cong), you can add your name to the group that vows to hold spineless politicians' feet to the fire.

"The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it."

-- George Orwell

Update: Dean Barnett, poster on Hugh Hewitt's blog was kind enough to point out something that I missed on Victory Caucus this morning. Movecongress.org trumpets their exclusive briefing with Congressman John Murtha in which they state.

Chairman Murtha will describe his strategy for not only limiting the deployment of troops to Iraq but undermining other aspects of the President’s foreign and national security policy.

That's right, Murtha's goal is to undermine the foreign policy of the elected head of the US government. The most damning aspect of this story is that, caught in the act of honesty, movecongress.org removed the blurb that was quickly becoming popular ammunition for Iraq war supporters. Too late, kids.


What exactly is Pucky?

Ok, I'll admit it; I often get lazy, however, that is not the case in this instance. Without TV, I was not able to subject myself to the atrocity that was Sunday night's Grammys. Luckily, I was able to put my top reporter on this story and he gave us an insightful and poignant assessment of this culturally incestuous event. Check out Slick's report from behind enemy lines and learn what exactly "pucky" is.

Also see The Coach's assessment of the event, or at least the first 4 minutes of it.


That's my boy!

I have no intention of making a coherent point in this post. I just wanted to write about Campbell.

My son is now officially hilarious. It isn’t really anything specific that he does; he just has the gift of a good sense of humor. I know it seems a bit premature (he’s not quite 10 months old) to crown him the world’s next great comedian, but I can already see the glimmer in his eyes. He has started to do funny things “on command” that can bring a smile to even the most dour face. His “Mimi” (my mom) has been singing the “Hurray for Campbell” song to him almost since birth and he now recognizes it and does the clapping and cheering motions along with the singer (we have all taken up his theme song). He now has begun giving a friendly smile that is entirely different than the excited, open-mouthed version that he has been doing the past 6 months or so. He utilizes this new smile when you call his name or offer a smile of your own. Just a sweet, non-verbal, “I’m glad to see you” grin.

Sarah says he’s just like me, but I hope not. I wonder if all fathers feel this way. I realize that in appearance and some facial expressions there is a definite resemblance, but unlike his father, he is pure and untainted by this horrible world. I guess I can’t prevent him from experiencing real life, but I don’t want him to be me. I’d rather he be like his grandfathers or my grandfather. I wonder if my dad felt this way about me.

I guess all I can do is pray, give it my best and let the Lord handle the rest.


Speaker update

I hate to continue beating this drum, but my normally witty commentary is being squelched by my political frustrations. Consider this a purge that will cleanse this scribe's pallet.

Once again Speaker Nancy Pelosi has proven why party politics are vital in the American federalist system. According to the Washington Times, Pelosi is embroiled in a struggle against the White House and the Pentagon over her access to the coveted Air Force VIP fleet. She is demanding to be given regular access to one of the 3 largest and furthest ranging planes in the fleet. She claims that it is necessary for her to have Presidential-type range and passenger capabilities so that she and her entourage can fly non-stop between DC and the left coast. This may seem reasonable if you did not know that prior to September 11th, the Speaker of the House traveled commercially and post 9/11, the previous Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), utilized a much smaller (and more common) aircraft. Hastert only used the type of jet that Pelosi requested one time (for Congressional business) before the USAF determined this wasn't proper and denied further access.
What frustrates, but doesn't surprise me is that no major media outlets (The Washington Times online is small potatoes) have decided to point out that this "friend of the environment" claims to NEED a plane that guzzles 100's more gallons of AvGas simply so that she doesn't have to actually touch the ground in the heartland to refuel.
Back to my original point. Why does this bolster my belief in party politics and partisanship? Because no matter how reasonable a Democrat seems in comparison to their Republican opponent, their election places Congressional power in the hands of those who are decidedly unreasonable.


Our Thrones Are No Longer Sacred

I will preemptively apologize for what may seem to be my perpetual infatuation with childish bathroom humor. This is, however, more of a cultural update that is indicative of more serious issues.

I am shocked and dismayed that I am forced to bring you these updates on bathroom etiquette and design. I have just read in The Sun that at London's Brixton Prison, as part of an "on-going refurbishment," toilets are being reoriented to face away from Mecca at the cost of thousands in taxpayer pounds (that's twos of thousands of dollars after the exchange). A full quarter of the prison's population is Muslim and apparently it is a longstanding feature of Sharia not to face the holy city while on the can. Maybe I'm just speaking for myself here, but in the past I have been known to sit a little sideways in order to play solitaire while on the toilet; can they not do the same to honor their strongly held religious convictions? As one of the prison guards at Brixton pointed out, if they hadn't committed crimes, they would be free to poop facing any direction they please.

As an afterthought and transition, don't males face opposite directions depending which business they are handling? That makes it tough to face away from Mecca unless.....you sit when you pee. Read this excerpt from John Leo's piece at townhall.com.

Young women in Sweden, Germany and Australia have a new cause: They want men to sit down while urinating. This demand comes partly from concerns about hygiene -- avoiding the splash factor -- but, as Jasper Gerard reports in the English magazine The Spectator, "more crucially because a man standing up to urinate is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity, and by extension, degrading women." One argument is that if women can't do it, then men shouldn't either. Another is that standing upright while relieving oneself is "a nasty macho gesture," suggestive of male violence.
A feminist group at Stockholm University is campaigning to ban all urinals from campus, and one Swedish elementary school has already removed them. In Australia, an Internet survey shows that 17 percent of those polled think men ought to sit, while 70 percent believe they should be allowed to stand. Some Swedish women are pressuring their men to take a stand, so to speak. Yola, a 25-year-old Swedish trainee psychiatrist, says she dumps boyfriends who insist on standing. "What else can I do?," said her new boyfriend, Ingvar, who sits.
I highlighted the parts that baffle me in this one. Stand-peeing is "suggestive of male violence?" I thought it is just more fun because aiming at floaties has many similarities to playing video games (see The Coaches post about the Nintendo Wii). My wife made a great observation about Ingvar and others like him. If he can be cowed by his girlfriend into sitting to pee, he probably already sits to pee. Of course, this simply proves the feminist's point that standing is an inherently macho act; one with which my wife has no problem.


Identify these quotes: Part 1 of 2

I like writing about curious news stories (see http://coloradogaws.blogspot.com/2007/01/re-posting-is-like-re-gifting-but-with.html). I am also politically minded and follow national politics closely, however, I have no intention of becoming a political blogger. Unfortunately, it is common for political issues to intrude upon the freak-show current events on which I like to comment. For those of you who keep an eye on the rarified air inside the beltway, this might be a tedious rehash. See if you can identify (or make a wild guess at) the national politician quoted.

“…I love this quote. It’s from Mahatma Gandhi. He ran a gas station down in St Louis for a couple of years.”

“You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts if you don’t have a slight Indian accent.”

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

"This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great,"

"My old mom told me, 'Robert, you can't go to heaven if you hate anybody.' We practice that. There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I'm going to use that word. We just need to work together to make our country a better country, and I'd just as soon quit talking about it so much."

If you know (or can guess) 3 of the 6 identities of the quoted speakers, you spend too much time watching the news; 4 of 6 means you listen to too much talk radio; 6 of 6 means you are freakishly addicted to internet news. See part 2 for the answers http://coloradogaws.blogspot.com/2007/02/identify-these-quotes-part-2-of-2.html

Identify these quotes: Part 2 of 2 (the answers)

If you haven't read Part 1 of this post duo, hit it first.

“…I love this quote. It’s from Mahatma Gandhi. He ran a gas station down in St Louis for a couple of years.” Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) 2004 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1Mq8kOXV_E&mode=related&search=)Speaking at Democratic event

“You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts if you don’t have a slight Indian accent.” Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) 2006
Expressing his commitment to the growing South Asian population in Deleware.

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.” Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) 2002
Comment at Senator Strom Thurmond’s birthday party

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." Sen. Biden 2006
When asked to comment about fellow perspective Presidential candidate Barack Obama

"This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great," Senatorial candidate George Allen (R-VA) 2006
Pointing out opponent Jim Webb’s representative S.R. Sidarth at a rally (macaca being an obscure French slur meaning monkey)

"My old mom told me, 'Robert, you can't go to heaven if you hate anybody.' We practice that. There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I'm going to use that word. We just need to work together to make our country a better country, and I'd just as soon quit talking about it so much." Sen. (and former Klansman) Robert Byrd (D-WV) 2001
Comment (ironically) made to explain his past segregationist political positions and history with the Klan

I personally think these statements run the gamut from kind of funny (Clinton) to pretty much offensive to people of all races (Biden 2007), but there is an important distinction. All those with a ‘D’ after their name suffered no repercussions and very little media scrutiny for their statements, while Lott lost his leadership position and Webb’s gaff was on the front page of the Washington Post for 4 days straight and received at least 10 times that much total ink in the Post during the 2006 campaign (which likely lost him the election). How can a pass be given for use of the N word by a former Klansman and segregationist (regardless of its context) on a major news outlet and yet the PRIVATE comments for Thurmond (also a reformed segregationist) at the 100 year olds birthday party finishes Lott’s political career.