Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 
Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Misperceptions

Barry has a very nice post on this. Go check it out.

Posted by Rich
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So, You Want to Own a Restaurant.

Well, here's your chance.

The owner of Claude's Cafe in Greeneville SC is giving it away to the winner of an essay contest. Just write 200 words or less on why you want and deserve your own restaurant, send it along with the $100 registration fee, and you could wind up with your very own bistro.

I wanted a bistro once. I decided to just eat at one instead. The food is much cheaper that way.

Posted by Rich
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Happy Mardi Gras!

As predicted, the party continues in New Orleans, despite the devastation wrought by Katrina. No, things are not back to normal yet, whatever the new normal may be in the Chocolate City, but that won't stop New Orleanians from ringing in Lent in the traditional style with a mother of a blowout.

As for me, well, I'm going downtown for an Einstein Simplified show.

I'm bringing beads which probably isn't the best idea, since the guys in the group are all, well, guys. But it's tradition, darn it, and if the folks in New Orleans can host a party despite all that's happened, the least I can do to show my solidarity is to look at some man boobs.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, February 27, 2006

Auto Club 500 at California Speedway

Booooring!

It doesn't take wrecks to make a race interesting; but it does take actual racing, and that was in very short supply yesterday.

After a wild and wooly Speedweek in Daytona, the drivers seemed ready to take most of this race off, and were content to just let the laps go by until there were under 50 to go. It was only then that drivers actually started racing one another.

It was so dull, I had to change the channel and watch golf to get a little excitement going.

The only good part of the race was watching Tony Stewart finish dead last due to a blown motor. NASCAR may not have the guts to reign this loser in, but apparently St. Octane, the patron saint of fast drivers and Texas billionaires, has what it takes. It was an added pleasure to see Matt Kenseth, Stewart's victim last week, win the race.

Justice was served.

The drivers get a week off before going to Las Vegas on the 12th, and after that, just three more weeks to Bristol, baby!

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Chappaquiddick and Questions

In comments to a post below, ConservaTim suggests that I am not familiar with the events that occurred at Chappaquiddick, and that I am parroting a right wing line whenever I bring up Sen Kennedy's actions on that fateful day, and that the line is innaccurate, that Kennedy was totally absolved of wrong doing by a grand jury.

Well, he was half right, anyway.

I never did do a lot of research on Chappaquiddick simply because it seemed like a fairly clear case of a wealthy kid getting away with killing a young woman. But maybe ConservaTIm was right. Maybe I was taking too much for granted. Maybe the whole mess was a right wing hatchet job that's been perpetuated for nearly 40 years now.

So I looked into it.

Nope. Ted Kennedy covered up the accident for 10 hours, and then the Kennedy clan went into a full court press to make sure that Teddy didn't go to jail.

  • Kennedy waited over 9 hours to report the accident to police, and he reported it only after the car and body were found.
  • Based on his own testimony and the testimony of witnesses to his drinking throughout the day, Kennedy undoubtably was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.
  • His statement does not match the statements of other witnesses, nor is it internally consistent. It appears that the accident took place around 12:30AM, not 11:15 PM as he claimed. This leaves just over an hour unaccounted for between the time he left the party and was seen driving towards the bridge.
  • After his attempts to rescue Mary Jo, he claimed to have passed out on the beach for 20 minutes or so, then went back to the cottage to get his lawyer/friend/cousin to help him. Even though the cottage had a phone, he didn't call to report the accident.
  • After his friends tried to rescue Mary Jo, he again failed to use a phone available at the ferry terminal to report the accident, instead telling his friends that he was going to swim the channel and report the accident on the mainland. He went back to his motel, changed clothes, spoke to the night clerk, and went to bed. He made no mention of the accident.
  • The next morning, he had breakfast with friends, again, never mentioning the accident, or attempting to report it to police.
  • When his friends who tried to rescue Mary Jo came across the channel to the mainland, they found him neatly dressed and having breakfast. They brought him back to the island, where once again, he failed to use the phone to call in the accident. By this time, the tide was going out, revealing the car. Rescue efforts began immediately. Seeing this activity, Kennedy still failed to report to the rescuers or the police that he had been driving the car.
  • The rescue diver found Mary Jo in a position consistent with a person breathing air trapped in an air pocket. It was his opinion that she asphyxiated when the oxygen ran out, rather than drowned. The coroner's cursory examination revealed very little liquid in the lungs, unusual for a drowning victim, yet he pronounced the COD as drowning, based on the circumstances. No autopsy was ever performed.
  • Kennedy spoke with many people from 2:30AM the morning of the accident through 10:00AM when he finally reported it to the police. At no time did he give any sign to any of these folks that he'd been in a wreck, or that a young woman had drowned. And nobody who spoke with him during those hours characterized him as "in shock" or disoriented." Indeed, most described him as acting normally.
  • Even though state law required a mandatory sentence of at least 20 days in jail for leaving the scene of an accident where there was bodily injury, Kennedy was given a suspended sentence, serving no time.
  • Kennedy was driving on an expired license, a fact the police were unaware of due to intervention at the Motor Vehicle Reqistry.
  • Kennedy had a history of motor vehicle violations, including driving under the influence and driving without a license. This information was also unavailable to the police or the judge.


So, after looking through all the rports, I'm even more firmly convinced that Mary Jo died because Ted Kennedy tried to cover up an accident caused by his drunken driving.

Posted by Rich
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Ports, UAE, and Nuance

During the election cycle of 2004, one of the battle cries from the left was that the Bush administration lacked nuance, that they were too simplistic in their world view, and unable to implement their core principles in the real world, where there is no black or white, good or evil, just a range of people with different agendas. They said we needed a leader with nuance, who could distinguish between friends and enemies, and treat each group accordingly, rather than lump them all together based on something as grotesque as race.

And now we see that the Bush administration is in fact demonstrating just that sort of nuance by allowing an Arab company that purchased the British company that ran 6 of our ports to keep the contract.

But now these towering lights of intellectual freedom and nuance are objecting to the sale and without exception, their arguments boil down to simple racism and religious bigotry. Because the UAE is an Arab nation, and predominantly Muslim, they can't be allowed to run our ports because they might be terrorists.

After all, even if all Muslims aren't terrorists, most terrorists are Muslim, you know.

Well, except for the Irish ones. And the occasional American. Oh yeah, and the Asian ones. And we can't forget the ones from the former Soviet Republics. Oh, and the Africans, gotta include them on the list.

But other than all those folks, all terrorists have been Arabs.

The argument is almost Buchanian in it's xenophobia. (Reality check for a liberal; if you find yourself on the same side of an issue with Pat Buchanon, maybe it's time to take a step back and re-evaluate you're stance.)

Remember how the folks on the left kept complaining that the Bush administration was creating an atmosphere conducive to an anti-Arab backlash that would spill over and harm innocent Arabs? I guess since that prediction fell flat, they're going to try and make it happen on their own.

It's pathetic.

If we have evidence linking either the government of the UAE or the Dubai Ports World company to terrorism in general or al Qaida in particular, then we have good reason for denying them the opportunity to operate the ports. In the absence of such evidence, then they should be allowed to do their job, with the appropriate oversight of course. To do anything else would be to tell the Arab world that the War on Terror is in fact a war on all Arabs.

Yes, I know there are prominent conservatives against the sale as well; they are every bit as ignorant as their counterparts on the left. For example, here's Lindsay Graham (R South Carolina):
It's unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history, four years after 9/11, to entertain the idea of turning port security over to a company based in the UAE who avows to destroy Israel.

No, what's unbelievably tone deaf is to stand in front of the world and say that no Arab country can be trusted with American ports. Talk about inflaming Arab sentiment! Also, I haven't been able to find anywhere anything that suggests that the UAE has vowed to destroy Israel. The furthest the government has gone is to say that there would be no normalization of relations with Israel until there is a Palestinian State.

That's hardly the same as calling for the destruction of Israel.

But I think the key portion of that quote was "tone deaf politically." That phrase certainly describes why the left is going after this issue so rabidly, even though it shows their commitment to nuance to be so much hogwash. They see an opportunity to weaken the President, and they're taking it. It's pure political opportunism, and nothing more. And most of those on the right, sensing the initial traction the left was getting on the issue, joined in, either out of cowardice, or similar opportunism.

Like I said, pathetic.

Once again, if we have concrete evidence that the UAE government, or DPW is operating with al Qaida or other terrorist groups, then by all means, revoke the contract. However, as long as the only argument is "They're Arabs and can't be trusted," then to block the sale or revoke the contract would be a grotesque mockery of American ideals.

Posted by Rich
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A Sermon from the Book of Stewart

A Reading from The Bible of NASCAR; The Book of Stewart; Chapter 12, verses 1-

1. And so it was that after the early race, the Crown Prince of Racing in Circles did look out over the tri-oval, and saw that it was not good.

2. And he did speak out, and did say, "Tis is not good. So much bumping and banging is dangerous, and someone will die of it forthwith."

3. And his loyal subjects, the Officials of NASCAR did bow low before his wisdom, and they did make changes to the rules of the contest, to lessen the dangerous bumping and banging whereof the Crown Prince had spake.

4. And the Crown Prince surveyed his kingdon, and saw that is was good, and he was pleased.

5. And the Court Jesters French and Helton did caper with glee that the Prince was pleased and their bells did ring merrily.

6. And the following week came the big race, and all the knights were charged with obeying the new law, lest they face penalties great and severe, and they did all vow to do so, or forfeit their honor.

7. And it came to pass that during the race, the Crown Prince did cross over three quarters of the track, and did drive a fellow knight off the track, sending him spinning into the infield, then through traffic and into a wall. It was only through great good fortune that the knight was not injuered, nor were other valient knights caught up in the incident.

8. And the crowd did cry "Foul!" and "Fie upon the Prince!" and the mages in the booth did cry "Foul," but the loyal subjects of the Crown Prince did remain silent, ruling only that the Prince should move towards the rear of the race, perchance to have more targets fro his aggression.

9. And when the race was through, the Crown Prince did deign to speak to the multitudes, saying "He started it; I finished it!"

10. And the multitudes did speak unkind words to the Prince, and did toss offal and refuse at him, except for those serfs wearing his livery, who did say "Whooo-Hooo" and did contemplate returning to the double wide to beat their children and abuse their spouses.

11. And after the Crown Prince did admit to deliberately wrecking his fellow knight, placing all the competitors in jeopardy, the Officials of NASCAR remianed silent, while the mages in the booth, seeing which way the wind was blowing, changed their tune, and cries of "Foul" became amused chuckles as they labelled the Prince "Boisterous."

12. And the Court Jesters French and Helton did caper with glee that their master escaped unpunished and their bells did ring merrily.

So ends the reading.

In case you can't tell, I'm not a big Tony Stewart fan.

How would you like to be a Nextel Cup driver, knowing that one of the guys on the track with you, strapped in to a 3500 lbs car capable of speeds exceeding 200mph had the emotional stability of a spoiled 5 year old brat?

And I may owe the brat an apology.

He deliberately forced another car of the track while coming up on a turn, placing the lives of many of his fellow drivers at risk. He admitted publicly that it was an intentional move on his part. NASCAR needs to sit the man down for a few races do he understands that that sort of driving is not accceptible.

Either that, or stop penalizing everybody else for it.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Bryant Gumbel Post

The black is the better athlete, and he practices to be the better athlete, and he's bred to be the better athlete because this goes way back to the slave period. The slave owner would breed this big black with this big black woman so he could have a big black kid. That's where it all started.

Jimmy the Greek; 1988; Fired
I will have to be niggardly with this fund because it's not going to be a lot of money.

David Howard; 1999; Fired
What happened was they [CBS management] got the willies, they got the Buckwheats.

Dan Rather; 2001; No Consequences
The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team.

Rush Libaugh; 2003; Forced to resign
[Lynn Swann is the] rich white guy in the campaign.

James Seif; 2006; Fired
So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.

Bryant Gumbel; 2006; No consequences

My heart wants to believe that the reason Gumbel hasn't been fired is that we are growing as Americans, and getting past hyper sensitivity to race, but my head tells me that there is another, less pleasent explanation, one that relies on good old fashioned hypocrisy.

It appears that there are two stories here, one centering on Gumbel, and his incredible remarks, and the other around the reaction (or lack thereof)of his colleagues and bosses.

If Gumbel keeps his job, that will be a clear demonstration that, as far as the MSM is concerned, there are different standards of behavior that apply to different people, depending on their political leanings.

That would be sad, but not too surprising.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dick Cheney and The Coverup!

OK, I admit it. I farted in the line at McDonalds today.

Hey, the public has the right to know these things, right? After all, as a blogger, I'm a public figure; the people have a right to know every mistake, every blunder, every oops I commit.

Yes, yes, I know, accidentally shooting your hunting buddy is more serious than farting in a fast food restaurant, but on the scale of serious screwups, I'd have to rank it somewhere below, say, driving a young woman off a bridge and leaving her alone to drown while you do...whatever the hell it was he did for several hours.

But that may just be me.

Quite frankly, I'm not going to get on the horn and announce my screwups to all and sundry as soon as they happen either; I'm fully confident that they will come to light on their own.

They usually do.

So why should Cheney have rushed to spill this news? Why is he obligated to report his private life to the press corps? Does this incident have anything to do with National Security, or the performance of his duties? How exactly is quail hunting related to the job of being the Vice President? Are we worried that he may accidentally shoot somebody while presiding over the Senate?

I wasn't aware that he carried a shotgun in chambers.

During the whole Clinton impeachment, we heard endless babble about how the entire Lewinski affair was part of the President's private life, and should be off limits to the press and legal review. Do we hear them saying the same about Cheney's private life?

Nope.

Of course, this isn't really a surprise. I remember wincing when John Kerry referred to Mary Cheney during the last Presidential debate. I remember reading blogs breathlessly telling the story of Laura Bush murdered her ex-boyfriend in a drunk driving accident. No, the practice of digging up sordid trach from politicians' personal lives is one of the few bi-partisan activities left in Washington.

It stinks, but that's the way the game is played these days, and I don't see either side stopping anytime soon.

As for Cheney, I've been hearing rumbles that he was on the way out anyway, to make room for Bush/Rove's pick for the next Republican candidate. The VP slot could give a candidate a nice running start for 2008. It would certainly vault someone like, say, Bill Frist, to front runner status.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Cheney resign over this, not because of any real wrong doing, but to clear the way for the next Republican candidate.

We'll just have to watch and see...

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine’s Day

Feh.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bits and Pieces

Busy week in progress so I'm going to hit the highlights.

Cartoons of Mohammed

For those who insist on comparing Christian fundamentalists to Islamic fundamentalists, may I point out that when their religion is mocked and or ridiculed, Christians are not known for burning embassies and calling for the murder of those who did the mocking or ridiculing.

King Funeral

Has anyone else noticed that democrats/liberals can't hold a funeral or memorial without turning it into a campaign rally? It reminds me of the Robin Williams movie , where the Williams character tries to sell a used car to a widow on her way home from her husband's funeral.

Super Bowl

The Steelers won, although that first touchdown looked pretty questionable to me. I had flashbacks to the Florida touchdown here a few years back. However, it was nice to see a city celebrate a victory without the resident's feeling the need to burn things.

Superbowl commercials

On the list of things I never thought I'd hear coming from one of my kid's mouth, this ranks right near the top:
Play that one again, Daddy. I missed the naked sheep.


On the whole, I'd prefer they go back to flashing Janet Jackson's breast.

UT Men's Basketball

This is a year in which the UT men's teams are defying all expectations. While this was a bad thing for the football team, it's nothing short of outstanding for the basketball team, who went into Rupp arena and dominated the Mildcats tonight. When was the last time the basketball team polled higher than the football team? When was the last time the men's team had only one more loss than the women's team?

3 Days to NASCAR

Yeah, I know. It's just guys driving around in circles really fast. It's just for rednecks. It's low brow entertainment. Men drink beer and women get nekkid.

I don't see the problem.

I'll put it this way; I'll take watching fast cars, and nekkid women with 100,000 other rednecks over watching a movie about gay shepherds every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Only this week, it's Saturday for the Bud Shootout.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, February 03, 2006

Worse than Lays Potato Chips

I have sore wrists and blistered palms.

No, this isn't a comment on my social life, or lack thereof.

I've been scraping up the old linoleum from the kitchem floor in order to put down flooring that A) isn't godawful ugly, and B) covered in slimy black mildew. The good news is that the job is nearly done. The bad news is that the new floor looks so good it makes the carpet in the living room look like crap.

So guess what's coming up next?

Yep, the carpet. And I'll be done after that, I swear.

Although, the upstairs carpet is looking kinda tired...

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, February 02, 2006

State of the Union

Apparently, in order to be a serious blogger you have to talk about certain things, one of them being the State of the Union speech, which I generally consider to be nothing more than poor street theater.

But in order to maintain my blogger creds, here goes.

President Bush said that the State of the Union is strong.

Democrats disagreed.


How's that?

Posted by Rich
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The Oscars

Last year, I made it a point to see as many movies that were nominated for major awards as I could.

This year, I'll pass.

Let's just take a look at the Best Picture nominees:

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
CAPOTE
CRASH
GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
MUNICH

I sense a theme here. It appears that since audiences are abandoning Hollywood, Hollywood has decided to return the favor. In order to convince themselves that slumping box office numbers have nothing to do with the quality of their product, they're highlighting "serious films" instead of low brow entertainment for the masses. As far as I can tell, not one of these movies appealed to the general public. They certainly didn't make an impact at the box office.

"Oh Rich, popularity has nothing to do with Art!"

Yeah, right.

Here's the thing about art; without an audience, it's nothing but an exercise in self gratification. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as long as you do it in private and wash your hands afterward. Just don't expect me to pay to watch it.

Posted by Rich
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