Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New Airline to Be Formed

In response to complaints by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) concerning treatment of imams on a US Airways flight in Minneapolis, CAIR is planning to form a new airline to be called “Air CAIR.” The airline will offer modern flight conveniences in a manner not to be considered offensive to Muslims or their advocates. Features include:

  • In flight prayers five times a day
  • Portable rugs at ticket counters to be used for pray-in protests at other airlines
  • Lots of extra seat belt straps
  • No Federal air marshals
  • Free Michael Moore movies or pay-per-view beheading and dismemberment videos
  • Halal food
  • Flight attendants who wear stylish black burqas
  • Quran readings before takeoff
  • Free hair styling for passengers from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, or other “H-deprived” countries
  • Guaranteed no pigs, monkeys, or Jews (er, Zionists) on flights

Initial service is expected to start between Detroit, Paris, and Damascus.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Upcoming Event

OK, this is actually a serious scientific conference, but it's still kinda funny:

National Carcass Disposal Symposium 2006

Now, obviously, real sanitation issues exist with animal carcasses, whether they are on farms, roads, large urban areas, etc. Disease and contamination are legitimate environmental concerns, probably more so than things like "global warming." However, some of these session titles may cause the uninitiated to shake their heads a bit:

"Road Kill Composting in Montana - a Seasonal Rotation Approach"

(Can't they just send road kill to Kentucky to make burgoo?)

"Marine Animal Strandings & Carcass Disposal"

(In the Tidewater region of Virginia they call it "Hampton Road Kill.")

"Co-firing Animal - Tissue Biomass in Coal-Fired Boilers to Dispose of Specified Risk Materials and Carcasses: An Overview of a University/Industry Collaboration"

(OK, I thought the whole ethanol fuel additive business was a waste of taxpayers' dollars, but this is ridiculous!)

"On-farm Fermentation of Poultry Carcasses"

(If you fermented cow carcasses, would you be making MOOOOOOnshine?)

So anyway, if you have nothing better to do on December 4-7, 2006, you can hang out in Beltsville, Maryland and learn all this exciting stuff. Sorry, I will not be able to make it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Not only is it Thanksgiving, but today is my 10th wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe time flies by so fast.

So anyway, happy anniversary to my wife, who is still as beautiful as she was the day we got married. She has always stood by me, gave me two beautiful boys, calmed my nerves, introduced me to lots of new music and culture, and generally kept me out of trouble. Let's hope and pray for many more.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Car Maintenance Lessons

I had this great idea that one way to save money is to learn how to do some car maintenance myself instead of going to the stealership. Over the past few months, I have been accumulating tools, manuals, etc. This past weekend, I tried something ambitious -- changing the fuel filter on our 1999 Saturn. There were some important lessons from this endeavor:

  1. It's helpful to have a neighbor who is handy and has a lot of tools.
  2. NOTHING is as easy as it looks!
  3. Some things aren't where the Haynes Manual or the Saturnfans web page say they are.
  4. Bolts that have been in place for seven years and 90,000 miles are going to be really difficult to remove, and may very well shear off.
  5. If you lie down on a cold, hard, concrete floor for any period of time and do not have a pad, you may experience some back pain for a few days.
  6. Make sure the maximum height the floor jack lifts your car is greater than the minimum height of the jack stands you bought.
  7. Keep receipts from Sears Hardware, or at least all the original packaging.
  8. Gasoline can make your jacket smell.
  9. A beginner can jack the car up, support it on stands, and not have it fall on him. Then again, maybe that's beginner's luck.
  10. That dirt and grime can stay on your hands for quite a few days, even if you wash them vigorously.
  11. Maybe I should try learning to do brakes instead. At least I won't be under the car!
  12. It's helpful to have a neighbor who is handy and has a lot of tools.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bush Considers New U.N. Nominee

Inside sources at the White House are leaking information that President Bush is considering nominating outgoing Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele as Ambassador to the United Nations. In a closed meeting, the President is rumored to have said, "Well, Michael's mustache is not so ferocious, but he's tall and can squish those North Koreans like bugs."

The White House may note other positive attributes of nominating Steele, such as his appeal to many different ethnic groups, his legal background, and perceived ease of achieving confirmation in the Senate. The White House has been looking for a way to placate Steele after denying him the top spot at the Republican National Committee. However, a White House aide sums up what may be the real motivation for nominating Steele: "That dog of his is going to scare the merde out of the French."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Democrats Channel Henry A. Wallace

Senate and House Democrats, fearing the advice they received from former Senator George McGovern was “too militaristic,” today decided to call upon the spirit of Vice President Henry A. Wallace (1888 – 1965). According to sources, Henry Wallace provided the best example to them in dealing with foreign threats. “The idealism Henry A. Wallace expressed during the 1940s serves as an example to the entire Democratic Caucus,” future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was heard to say. “His willingness to negotiate with Josef Stalin gives us a strong precedent to open negotiations with Iran. We also plan to seek his counsel on health care policy.”

Not all members of the Democratic Caucus were happy initially. Representative-Elect Keith Ellison (D-MN) expressed outrage over the glorification of “a Southern segregationist.” Eventually, he had to be taken aside and told that Henry Wallace was not to be confused with former Alabama Governor George Wallace, and that Henry Wallace had originally been from Iowa. “Well, you learn something new every day.”

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Coming Back to Life

Hi everyone!

Sorry I haven't posted for a week, but things have been pretty busy. I did my volunteer work at the polls (in a lot of rain). I had more volunteers than my Dem counterparts, and Frank Wolf (R-VA-10) won in my precinct and his re-election. The Virginia Marriage Amendment passed got the biggest vote in my precinct and won statewide, 57 - 43%. George Allen lost (narrowly) in my precinct and his re-election, apparently. The basic upshot is that I've been busy, followed by being tired, followed by being depressed.

So anyway, I've been piecing together what happened. It's not like I am as "learned" as those paid pundits, but still, I got to get this out of my system just like everyone else. So what do we have?
  1. The six-year curse. It hits everyone (except Bill Clinton, right?)
  2. The scandals. Yes, Abramoff didn't do anyone any favors, and neither did Mark Foley or Randy "Duke" Cunningham. From some of the trends I was reading, the President and the Republicans were rising in public approval before the Foley scandal hit. The GOP never really recovered, or whatever happened was too little too late (even with John Kerry's gaffe).
  3. The war. Yeah, people are weary. A lot of debate is going on about how right or wrong outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been. We will have to look back in another ten years to decide. However, this is one area in which I put some blame on the press. Our troops and supporting civilians have done heroic work over in Iraq and have gotten precious little recognition from the mainstream media. You have to be insane political junkies like us just to know where to look. Well, we saw the results, didn't we?

Today's Wall Street Journal had an interesting opinion piece by former Congressman Dick Armey (now chairman of Freedomworks). He talked about how the GOP had lost its purpose from when it was elected in 1994. Here is a great passage:

Eventually, the policy innovators and the "Spirit of '94" were largely replaced by political bureaucrats driven by a narrow vision. Their question became: How do we hold onto political power? The aberrant behavior and scandals that ended up defining the Republican majority in 2006 were a direct consequence of this shift in choice criteria from policy to political power.

Nowhere was this turn more evident than in the complete collapse of fiscal discipline in the budgeting process. For most Republican candidates, fiscal responsibility is our political bread and butter. No matter how voters view other, more divisive issues from abortion to stem-cell research, Republicans have traditionally enjoyed a clear advantage with a majority of Americans on basic pocketbook issues. "We will spend your money carefully and we will keep your taxes low." That was our commitment. This year, no incumbent Republican (even those who fought for restraint) could credibly make that claim. The national vision--less government and lower taxes--was replaced with what Jack Abramoff infamously called his "favor factory." One Republican leader actually defended a questionable appropriation of taxpayer dollars, saying it was a reasonable price to pay for holding a Republican seat. What was most remarkable was not even the admission itself, but that it was acknowledged so openly. Wasn't that the attitude we were fighting against in 1994?

I would take what he said another step: Growing government does not endear anyone, not even the beneficiaries, to Republicans. All the Republicans have managed to do is enrich bureaucrats, grantees, and contractors, who in turn lean Democratic. Republicans need to shrink government not only to reduce taxes, cut unnecessary regulations, and to boost the economy, but also to cut off the left financially.

When will we ever learn? Let's hope we don't have to wait 40 years to get another chance!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kerry Is so Very . . .

. . . in charge of a few things if the Democrats win a Senate majority. Here is a list of his committee assignments from his own Senate web page:

Committee on Finance
  • Health Care
  • Social Security and Family Policy
  • Long-term Growth and Debt Reduction Ranking Member

Committee on Small Business Committee, Ranking Member

Commerce, Science and Transportation
  • Fisheries and the Coast Guard
  • Trade, Tourism, and Economic Development
  • Technology, Innovation, and Competitiveness Ranking Member
  • Global Climate Change and Impacts
  • National Ocean Policy Study

Committee on Foreign Relations
  • East Asian and Pacific Affairs Ranking Member
  • International Economic Policy, Export and Trade Promotion
  • International Operations and Terrorism
  • Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Narcotics Affairs

So for every Senate Committee or Subcommittee in which Kerry is listed as Ranking Member, John Kerry potentially becomes Chairman. Now admittedly, he has less potential to do damage compared with many of his other Democratic Senate colleagues, but do you even want to trust him with this much policy responsibility? Kerry in charge of debt reduction, small business, innovation and competitiveness, or East Asian policy? Spare us!

One other thought: I wonder what Teddy Kennedy (or, for that matter, Teresa) thinks of Kerry's use of the term "doughy." Aren't portly Americans going to take offense? And what about WWI veterans and their families?