UNLOCK YOUR HIP FLEXORS

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Kofi sez

Kofi sez:

No one disputes Israel's right to defend itself "but its manner of doing so is causing death and suffering."

Say what???

So, you can defend yourself as long as you don't hurt anyone...hmmmmmm.

Ah ha!

Kofi's into hypnosis!

Council Deplores Strike but Does Not Demand Cease-Fire
By REUTERS
Published: July 30, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Definition of a charlation: Al Gore

Al Gore's new movie on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," opens with scenes from Hurricane Katrina slamming into New Orleans. The former vice president says unequivocally that because of global warming, it is all but certain that future hurricanes will be more violent and destructive than those in the past.

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It turns out that the man taking an independent stand and refusing to "just go along with the crowd" on global warming is not a lifelong politician rewarded with a fawning documentary and inside-the-beltway adulation--but rather a distinguished scientists who is a global warming skeptic.

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CAPE CANAVERAL - Studies that link a spike in hurricane intensity with global warming are spotting "artificial upward trends" because they rely on bad historical data, a paper suggested today in the journal Science.

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MIAMI -- Scientists linking the increased strength of hurricanes over recent years to global warming have not accounted for outdated technology that may have underestimated storms' power decades ago, researchers said in a report published Friday.

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We have covered many papers in the recent scientific literature that do not support the hypothesis that global warming has led, or will lead, to large changes in the intensity of tropical cyclones.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Life, Liberty and Happiness




An excerpt from the new book


LIFE, LIBERTY, AND HAPPINESS

An Optimist Manifesto


by Frank S. Robinson



Published by Prometheus Books

and reprinted here with permission



ISBN: 1591024269

List Price: $28.00

LFB Price Only $17.50

You Save 38%!








Life, Liberty, and Happiness is the winner of the July 2006 Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing
the Literature of Liberty. For more information about the Lysander
Spooner Awards, CLICK HERE.



To go to our full review, or to go to purchase the book, CLICK HERE.



The excerpt, below, is Chapter 14 of the book, Life, Liberty, and Happiness. Enjoy!



_______________________________________________



LIFE, LIBERTY, AND HAPPINESS

An Optimist Manifesto




by Frank S. Robinson




CHAPTER 14:

INDIVIDUALISM AND SOCIETY




The previous chapter referred to the primacy of the individual as central to a positive vision of society. This merits a little more attention. Some people actually lament the advance of individualism.88 They see it as a bad thing, inimical to societal cohesion and welfare, as though society and its members are somehow natural enemies.



Differing cultures have varied attitudes about individualism. Some Eastern traditions exalt ideas of submission to a deity or to fate, acceptance of one's lot, subordination of the individual to family or collective interests, and even a sort of passivity. But the European or Western tradition, rooted in ancient Greek thought and augmented by Christianity, sees life as being most fully lived through positive rational action, as opposed to resignation or passivity. In the Eastern conception, nothing that happens in one person's mind can matter much; to Westerners, it matters a lot.



The latter seems more consonant with the reality of human nature. We are, at the most basic organic level, individuals. Our place in society is not analogous to that of the cells comprising our bodies, which have no meaningful existence apart from their role in the larger organism. Neither are we like computers hooked up to others forming a network. For such computers, as well as for cells, participation in the larger whole is nonconscious and nonvolitional, whereas we humans have our own motivations, thoughts, and feelings—a sense of self. All these mental phenomena make us self-centered in the literal sense. Everything we do is a response to, and a product of, what happens in our individual minds. Even our most social actions are the products of our individual minds. Thus, individualism is not something to which we can say yes or no, it is a fundamental fact of human existence89.



None of this would mean much if people were essentially all the same, like bees in a hive. They too are individuals in a narrow sense, but what's good for any one bee is equally good for another. Give them identical stimuli and they respond identically. People, of course, are not like that; they have differing characters, affinities, talents, wants, and desires. One-size-fits-all doesn't work for humans. Thus, again, individualism for us is not an option but a fact. And a desire to give expression to one's individuality seems virtually universal in the human character. We cherish our individual "specialness." We rebel at any idea that we're cookie-cutter products; and much though we do conform ourselves to social norms, because we want to fit in with our peers, we don't want to melt in with them. The word "conformist" is not a compliment but a put-down.



Further, because we do have individual consciousness, feelings, and motivations, what happens to us matters to us, and we naturally want to do something about it. This is why philosophies of passivity or annihilation of the self are ultimately ill fitting; it is basic to human nature to instead be proactive in working to enhance our conditions of life. This is, again, the Greek ideal of living through rational action. And for most of our history, we had to work very hard at doing just that in order to survive at all. Life was a tough challenge. Acceptance, resignation, or passivity were characteristics spelling doom for our ancestors and, hence, were weeded out of our genetic makeup by evolution.



And individualism is not in some way at odds with the interests or welfare of society. We participate in it as part of our striving to make the best lives we can. Society is the creation of individuals all rationally desiring its benefits and therefore willingly promoting its success. Moreover, society is better served by such proactive individualists, motivated to improve their own lives and move things forward, than by passive or submissive souls who don't believe in their own power. We don't want a society of drones. Most of our advancement in knowledge, science, and technology, such a boon for society, is the work of people who believed in themselves and followed individualistic visions. Such individuality also makes for a more vibrant, interesting, and stimulating culture, in contrast to one of bland gray uniformity. And in economic life, the free market's "invisible hand" makes self-serving individual action advance the common good too (something we'll revisit).



We must also never forget that society is not the end, but the means. Humans don't exist to serve society—it's the other way around. That is why we value society. It ultimately makes no sense to talk in terms of sacrificing individual interests for society's sake. If we must deny ourselves to serve society, instead of it serving us, then why even have it?



But that's not how it is. Society actually thrives in symbiosis with individual self-realization, not only in the materialistic ways already noted, but also because we are social creatures who are nourished and rewarded by our connections with others. Thus, participation in society and family life is a crucial part of our lives and happiness; indeed, the realization of individuality gains much of its value when it occurs within the context of membership in society and the family. Robinson Crusoe was free to be as individualistic as he pleased, but, being removed from society, that was of scant value to him. Society's paramount importance is that it provides us with the environment in which our individuality can flourish and be enjoyed. That, not any duty for self-sacrifice, is why society compels our allegiance and support, and that's why it's wrong to think in terms of subordinating ourselves to society.



Yet the idea of sacrificing individuals to larger social interests retains a strange allure. That was the basis of totalitarian systems. Likewise, leftist political theories regard people as basically just selfish; hence, these ideologies focus on schemes to coerce individuals into cooperating for the common good. It's ironic that their advocates see such nostrums as somehow promoting human values when they are bottomed on such a negative view of humanity. And it's an incorrect one. As emphasized before, our longtime history of struggling to survive required not only looking out for ourselves but also cooperation, and thus, cooperativeness and social consciousness became deeply embedded in human nature. We get rewards from social cooperation. We don't need to be frog-marched into it. And though people do help each other naturally, they also naturally resent compulsion, so trying to impose social cooperation by force is counterproductive. It does not enhance social cohesion,
but destroys it. Coercion—not individualism—sets man and society at odds.



This was seen in the collectivism of Soviet Russia and Maoist China, both of which aimed to enforce at gunpoint the ultimate in social cooperation, and thereby actually produced more of an "every man for himself" mentality and far less true social consciousness than in the individualistic West with its supposed culture of selfishness. In contrast to the West, public-spiritedness, personal social activism, community and neighborhood organizations, volunteerism, and charity were all virtually nonexistent in populations under communism.



Some, like Aldo Leopold, have even argued not just for subordinating individual concerns to society but for a "holism" in which the relevant collective is actually all of creation. This rejects the "atomism" of thinking in terms of individual value and rights, holding instead that people have meaning only as parts of a greater whole and not in themselves. This might sound very broad-minded. But we must ask, what is the value or virtue really being served? The biosphere—the god this philosophy worships—exists, but is not alive,90 has no consciousness or sentience, no thoughts, feelings, or desires. In this sense, "holism" is akin to worshipping a wooden idol—and sacrificing living beings to it.



It is only individuals that experience pain, joy, suffering, or love. Some animals also do (we'll return to that), but the inanimate, insensate biosphere does not. Of course, we must keep the biosphere healthy, as we cannot thrive otherwise. But, just as in the case of society, service to it is not the meaning and mission of human life. Holism has actually been labeled "environmental fascism"—the analog of political fascism, where the interests of the state supersede those of the individual (begging the question of what value the state then serves). And, just as fascism will sacrifice individuals to advance state interests, if we actually did similarly subordinate ourselves to the service of the biosphere, then it would be fine to kill people if that were necessary to protect some endangered species of weed. Would Aldo Leopold willingly have thrown himself on that pyre?



But in the last analysis, it is nonsensical and tautological to see individuals only as serving some greater collective or entity, since the only meaningful ultimate purpose to promoting such a collective—whether the state, the biosphere, or society—is for the sake of enabling sentient individuals to flourish. As suggested before, what does it matter if the universe even exists if there's no one to enjoy it?



We must also reject any idea that an individual has value only insofar as he serves some greater good. Again, that's tautological—putting the cart before the horse—because the greater good can be worth serving only if it somehow promotes the welfare of individuals. A person's value is to himself; we all value our own lives, and that's a bedrock human right. Thus, the value of each and every human life is axiomatic, inherent, and not contingent on anything outside that life—that is, "unalienable," meaning it cannot be taken away. Society has no right to judge the value of individuals91—or their lack of value. We have been down that road, and we know where it leads.



For most of our time on Earth, individualism was suppressed—by political, social, and economic structures, and by generally unforgiving conditions of life that required people to behave within narrow confines in order to get by. Only in modern times have all these constraints upon individualism been loosened for much of humanity. Only now can people be all they can be, and attain true self-realization. Only in our era have such human rights at last won a place under the sun.



The day of the individual has dawned. Sing hallelujah!



Footnotes:



88 The word "individuality" refers to the fact of differences among people.
"Individualism" concerns behaviors and attitudes. The word is used with very specific meanings
by certain philosophic doctrines, but it will be used here merely in the general sense of people
giving expression to their individuality.



89 This is what Margaret Thatcher meant in saying, "There is no such thing as
society"—human beings must properly be considered as individuals.



90 The "Gaia" idea of the planet as a living organism is a nice metaphor but certainly
not a literal reality.



91 Criminal justice is a special case, discussed later.




_____________________________________________



To go to our full review, or to go to purchase the book, CLICK HERE.



__________________________________________________




Reprinted with permission from the publisher of Life, Liberty, and Happiness by
Frank S. Robinson, Prometheus Books, © 2006.




CLICK HERE TO GO NOW TO PURCHASE BOOK



Wednesday, July 26, 2006

blind faith

"Dear friends,

It's been a long, slow, crawl through life's interesting changes.  You have to keep remembering to come up for air every little while.  The truth is that things may seem slow and weighty, but big wheels are turning and big changes are happening.  The changes have come so gradually over these last weeks that it could seem like nothing has changed at all.  It's like driving by a mountain range.  You just keep driving and driving, and it's still there, off to the left . . . until it's not.

We have been driving past a vast mountain range, many miles are behind us, and the scenery is looking mostly the same.  But pretty soon we're going to come to the other end and we will find ourselves in a whole new territory.

It can appear, in such a seemingly never-ending period as this one has been, like we're not getting anywhere and wondering what difference does it make.  We're not getting a lot of feedback as we move along, there is little evidence of any progress, and it's still those endless mountains.  So you have to act on blind faith, knowing that you are moving, and that change is happening, and you are getting there, and there is no hurry anyway, and that you've got all the time in the world, and the place that you are trying to get is directly affected by the step you are taking now.

And, that's why our way of moving through the world matters.  It matters to be kind, to stay conscious, to be nice, even if it seems like it doesn't make any difference, because ultimately it makes all the difference in the world.  The step we are taking now affects the outcome of our next one, and our next step is determined by our last one.  Where we find ourselves now is a compilation of all of our recent last thoughts, words and deeds. 

This is a time to keep your vision.  Don't lose sight of the long view.  We are moving through a cycle of tremendous and deep growth.  Don't give up.  We're almost there. 

driving and driving,
Diana Lang
THE WEATHER
©2006 by DIANA LANG

Please feel free to pass these letters along, they are a gift and a service.
If you wish to be added to or deleted from the mailing list, please let me know.

You can see archives of these reports on Diana's blog at:
the WEATHER from Diana Lang
  

Diana Lang
from the City of Angels
818/888-7319
www.DianaLang.com"

A picture worth a MILLION words

Hezbollah and the U.N.
By Michelle Malkin · July 26, 2006 02:38 PM



"The U.N.'s years-long record on the Israel-Lebanon border makes mockery of the term "peacekeeping." On page 155 of my book, "Inside the Asylum," is a picture of a U.N. outpost on that border. The U.N. flag and the Hezbollah flag fly side by side. Observers told me the U.N. and Hezbollah personnel share water and telephones, and that the U.N. presence serves as a shield against Israeli strikes against the terrorists." -- Jed Babbin

**************************************************************************
Mr. Babbin was a deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush administration. He is a contributing editor of The American Spectator and author of "Showdown: Why China Wants War With the United States" (with Edward Timperlake, Regnery 2006) and "Inside the Asylum: Why the U.N. and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think" (Regnery 2004).

U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends

Pecans have it all. Besides being one of the most elegant, versatile and rich-tasting nuts you can put on your plate, they offer up a package of health benefits that’s very impressive. In fact, the new 2005 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend eating 4 to 5 servings of nuts each week.

 

The Mayo Clinic conducted a study which found that all nuts are nutrient dense and naturally cholesterol free. Not only are nuts cholesterol free but, studies have suggested that eating pecans may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, leading to a reduction in the risk of heart attacks and coronary artery disease. The serving size for nuts is about one ounce, which equals about 15 pecan halves. Pecans are a great staple for vegetarians, because one serving of pecans can take the place of the protein found in an ounce of meat.

 

Pecans are also a rich source of oleic acid, the same type of fatty acid found in olive oil. Researchers from Northwestern University in Chicago recently found in laboratory tests that oleic acid has the ability to suppress the activity of a gene in cells thought to trigger breast cancer. While this area of study is still in its early stages, the researchers say it could eventually translate into a recommendation to eat more foods rich in oleic acid, like pecans and olive oil.

 

Researchers from Loma Linda University in California and New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, have confirmed that when pecans are part of the daily diet, levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood drop. Pecans get their cholesterol-lowering ability from both the type of fat they contain and the presence of beta-sitosterol, a natural cholesterol-lowering compound. Eating 1 ½ ounces of pecans a day, when its part of a heart-healthy diet, can reduce the risk of heart disease.  Moreover, a study published in the June 2004 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that pecans, hazelnuts, and walnuts contained the highest antioxidant levels of all nuts tested.

 

The same natural compound that gives pecans its cholesterol-lowering power, has also been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland in men. About two ounces of pecans provides a dose of beta-sitosterol found to be effective. In addition, a recent laboratory study from Purdue University found that gamma-tocopherol, the type of vitamin E found in pecans, has the ability to kill prostate cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.  Last but not least, despite the widely held belief that “nuts are fattening,” several population studies have found that as nut consumption increased, body fat actually decreased.

 

Pecans, along with their antioxidant packed relatives, walnuts and hazelnuts, can be found in many of your favorite Wholefood Farmacy foods including Phi Plus, Cornaborealis, Corn of Plenty and your favorite Farinas.

 

As always, we are at your service,

The Wholefood Farmacy Team



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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Democrats make the best candidates

Josh Rales, a Democratic candidate for Maryland's U.S. Senate seat, paid a drug-treatment center in Baltimore to drive its recovering addicts to last week's debate in College Park, where they held signs supporting his campaign.

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"Hairstylist Isabelle Goetz...has collected $3,000 in recent months to clip the former first lady’s locks...Clinton paid out another $3,000 to Hollywood makeup artist Barbara Lacy for eye-lining and other makeup work..."

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Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D) failed to appear at two televised debates over the weekend, fueling criticism from two opponents who are challenging the controversial incumbent in a July 18 primary in the Georgia's 4th District.

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Rep. Cynthia McKinney was a no-show this week in the U.S. House, as WSB Washington Correspondent Jamie Dupree reports that the Georgia Democrat missed all four days of legislative business and every vote on the House floor as well.

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MARYLAND: BAD PRESS (REALLY BAD) FOR SENATE HOPEFUL:
Unemployed international business consultant and USAF veteran David Dickerson (D) was a little-known candidate in the open US Senate race. Today, he's finally grabbing lead headlines across the state ... but not for anything good. Baltimore Police arrested Dickerson over the weekend on charges he raped and assaulted his 19-year-old Latvian wife. According to WBAL-TV, police were called to the hospital when Dickerson's wife Anna reported she had been raped. According to the TV station, "the victim said she and her husband met in her home country of Latvia and married last year when she was 18. She told police that shortly after moving back to the United States, she was deprived of food and physically abused -- even after becoming pregnant ... she was forced to have sex against her will many times and was beaten if she did not submit to her husband's wishes. After an alleged assault by her husband on July 16, the victim said she called 911. She said her husband allegedly raped and beat her before medics could arrive." Anna's mother in Latvia is raising the couple's 2-month old child. According to the police report, Dickerson told the officers Anna was "crazy in the head," denied all charges, and said his wife is simply seeking to remain in the US. In response, police charged Dickerson with three sex crimes. After his arrest, Dickerson posted $100,000 pre-trial bond. In a rather ironic twist, retrospectively, Dickerson proclaimed on his campaign website "we need to renew our respect for ... family values ... [rebuild] the moral fabric of our Democratic Party" and proclaims that "violence in our society is beyond worrisome ... we need to stop the strong from taking advantage of the weak."

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VERMONT: DEMS FOR BERNIE (WHETHER HE LIKES IT OR NOT):
Congressman Bernie Sanders (Independent) -- a self-proclaimed socialist -- likes his political independence. He caucuses with the House Dems, but won't join the party. The DSCC is supporting him for the open US Senate seat, but Sanders said he wouldn't accept the Democratic nomination on the ballot. He helped create the Vermont Progressive Party many years ago, and is close to party leaders, but won't run under their banner either. All of this hasn't stopped the Dems from trying to give Sanders the Democratic nomination in the Senate race, over his objection. The Boston Globe reported State Democratic Chair Ian Carleton and other party leaders are organizing a signature drive to place Sanders on the ballot -- against three Dems who are actively seeking the nomination. "Bernie Sanders has by far the best chance of winning, and would work closely with and would respect Democratic leadership in Washington. Anyone who takes a practical look at Vermont politics will say that this is the best thing to do for the greater good here," explained said Carleton. If Sanders wins the nomination but then declines it, the Dems will go without a nominee on the November ballot. Sanders is already expected to win the seat -- and win in a landslide -- but this "No Democratic nominee" move would simply give him an even greater victory margin in November.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Tough Love

"America's black community is now suspended in a moral vacuum. Life is cheap and meaningless, and murder, sex, abortion and robbery are viewed with the same gravity as ordering a Big Mac and fries. There is no accountability, only blame. And this mindset continues to be nourished in both the street language of [Al] Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and now the fancy Harvard prose of Sen. Barack Obama.

In a recent speech of several thousand words about politics and religion, the Illinois Democrat never once mentioned personal responsibility, but did manage to talk about the importance of diversity programs and condom distribution. There is only one hope for pulling black America out of oblivion: Re-instilling a sense of absolutes, of right and wrong, and doing this from the grass roots up, one person at a time. Anyone who thinks there is an alternative is kidding himself.

Blacks can continue to listen to the Sharptons, Obamas and the black intellectuals who have a thousand different ways to say 'it's not my fault.' The price will be a black community lost forever." —Star Parker
**********************************************************************************
With the firm belief that faith and free market principles are key to curing poverty, former welfare mom Star Parker is the founder and president of CURE, the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education, a non-profit organization founded in 1995 that provides a national voice of reason on issues of race and poverty in the media, inner city neighborhoods, and public policy.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

This Gardenia stinks

I'd always heard about the GARDENIA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE--one of those supposedly chic New York-style supper clubs with intimate cabaret entertainers. So I was looking forward to going last night on the request of a friend who was supporting a friend's appearance there.

Our friend said that everyone was meeting there at 7:30 pm (a tad early I had thought) and then my husband and I got there ahead of time. Boy, was that lucky because there is NOT much street parking available, at least not very close to this joint. As we were driving around the block, we saw some people with blankets lying around on the sidewalk and I had visions of getting mugged after the show.

Turns out, it was some rap-type musicians (or friends of theirs) camping out in front of the famous Record Plant. Funny, when I recorded there years ago (next door to an Eagles session) people hung out in the Jacuzzi!

Walking in, it was smaller and "boxier" than I had imagined--kind of an odd, squashed L-shape room. The air seemed dead, too--not that great in our 100 degree plus heat wave.

I was so hungry that I didn't really want to have a drink on an empty stomach...was there, by any chance, some peanuts or something from the bar? Not a chance, but we did get some bread and butter.

As the room started to fill up a bit, I noticed that I was starting to sweat which is something I don't really do a lot of. Using the small paper menu as a fan, I asked the only waitress there (who was also doubling, so far, as the bartender) to please turn up the air conditioning.

Nope, not possible, she said. It was on an automatic and unadjustable program. Our friend, who once came to our house and threatened to leave if we didn't crank up the air-conditioning when we weren't even hot, started to look like he was going to pass out. He asked if please, could something be done. Nope, it's on an automatic and unadjustable program.

I again asked if I could call the owner who, the waitress said, had already gone home when I first asked around 7:45 pm--presumably to a nicely air-conditioned retreat. (I used to play in clubs and the owners never went home before 7:30 pm on a Saturday night--NEVER!!!).

Gradually people started fanning themselves all over the tiny room and I started hearing some grumbling, pleading, and confusion as to why we were paying all this money to sit in a steam bath. In fact, since most people were friends of the singer, people said that they would have normally walked out if it weren't for her.

Finally, somebody said the waitress had called the owner at home and, finding out that another singer he knew was sitting in the audience, started an argument with her and her husband that we could all hear--they were so insulted that they almost walked out.

The air conditioning worked a little bit, so we sweated through our dinner, drinks, and show, fans fanning throughout. Thinking that we'd like to feel that the owner, comfortably at home in his air conditioned house, might be somewhat concerned about all these people sitting in his club sweating (the elderly pianist, loosening his shirt and tie, had gotten a personal fan from someone concerned about his health) my friend asked for a "comp" on a drink or something: Nope, can't be done--sorry.

The food was OK, not great. One person in our party sent his pasta back and got something else and a few other people complained that their martinis were watery.

I have a feeling that most of the people who show up at this place know (or really want to know) the entertainers personally and the location was probably nicer a long time ago. Maybe the club owner was too.

GARDENIA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE
An intimate New York-style supper club that has hosted cabaret performances for over 20 years: Tom Rolla, Proprieter
Address: 7066 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90038
Phone: (323) 467-7444
Directions: On the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and La Brea Ave. Street parking.
Costs: Variable cover charge and 2-drink minimum. Minimum waived with dinner reservations.
Food: Dinner served from 7 p.m. Full bar - Showtime: 9 pm.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Do Peace Movements bring peace?

"...there have been more cease-fires in the Middle East than anywhere else. If cease-fires actually promoted peace, the Middle East would be the most peaceful region on the face of the earth instead of the most violent.

One of the many failings of our educational system is that it sends out into the world people who cannot tell rhetoric from reality.

If "peace" movements brought peace, there would never have been World War II. Not only did that war lead to tens of millions of deaths, it came dangerously close to a crushing victory for the Nazis in Europe and the Japanese empire in Asia. And we now know that the United States was on Hitler's timetable after that."

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How to become an illegal alien

The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes
309 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC, 20510

Dear Senator Sarbanes,

As a native Marylander and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Immigration and Naturalization Service in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.

My reasons for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stem from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, what I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years.

I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out. Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.

Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications.

If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative. Thank you for your assistance.

Your Loyal Constituent,
Pete


Good joke: A Letter from a Taxpayer

The most blogged war?

"It looks as though the Israel-Lebanon are-we-calling-it-a-war-yet of 2006 is the first conflict to be blogged from day one. Bloggers from both sides of the border - some of whom were already aware of one another before this tragedy began - have been providing live updates, commenting on one another's blogs and sometimes linking to posts by bloggers on the other side of the border. Will this turn out to be the first time that residents of "enemy" countries engaged in an ongoing conversation while missiles were falling?"

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"Haaretz published an article about the online conversation between Lebanese and Israelis here (Hebrew).

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bush's Ratings: Letter to the Editor
(The Daily News)

President Bush's approval rating is below 50 percent. Is it low because:

  • There have been no terrorist attacks on our homeland for almost five years.

  • Federal income tax rates have been reduced or eliminated for all workers.

  • The war against terrorists is being fought on foreign soil.

  • Illegal immigrants violated our laws and borders.

  • Iraq had sufficient time to hide its WMDs while the president was negotiating with the United Nations.

  • The first responders in New Orleans did not respond properly.

  • Most homeowners in our history.

  • Low unemployment.

  • Fewer American soldiers have been killed in Iraq than individuals killed by gang members.

  • He's a senior citizen and baby boomer.


Bill Zelenka (Granada Hills, California) July 20, 2006

Obsession



OBSESSION: Radical Islam's War Against The West

"Obsession is one of the most powerful, expertly crafted and undeniably important films I've seen this year. This courageous, utterly gripping expose' deserves the attention of every American -- and merits serious consideration for the Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary."

Michael Medved: Nationally syndicated radio host, film critic, and "Eye on Entertainment."

Want to get more involved? Click on "6 things you can do" at the bottom of this page.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

An inconvenient truth: Al Gore Spins Global Warming

This blockbuster edition of NewsMax Magazine on newsstands across the country (including many Barnes & Noble, Hastings, Follett, and other major bookstores) addresses the key questions surrounding the controversy: Is global warming caused by human activity - and is it really happening at all?

Or, as Sen. James Inhofe has said, is global warming "the greatest single hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"?


This exclusive NewsMax report explores:

  • The real reason the media is hyping the dangers of global warming.

  • Al Gore's real agenda: 2008.

  • The Aral Sea and Mt. Kilimanjaro issues - two glaring "convenient lies" in Al Gore's film.

  • The myth of a man-caused sea level rise: why Florida and California will remain dry.

  • How modern temperature-measuring techniques could be giving a "false positive" to global warming.

  • Why computer models predicting climate change are necessarily flawed.

  • The former Democratic senator who brazenly says he pushes the global warming theory - "even if it's wrong."

  • What implementation of the Kyoto Protocol would really cost the U.S.

  • The optimistic global temperature rise projection that Gore ignored.

  • How a leading doomsayer admits exaggerating the global warming threat.

  • The increased tornado activity in the U.S. - is it really linked to global warming?

  • An expert's four common-sense "alternative cures" for global warming.

  • Why a prominent MIT professor says global warming is an out-and-out fraud.

  • Time magazine and Newsweek's dire warnings in 1974 - of another ice age!

  • How the global warming scare is cool in Hollywood.

  • What a leading U.S. expert told the Senate about the "science fiction" of a disappearing Arctic.

  • Why we could actually be heading for a cooler, and not warmer, period.

  • Vice President Gore's "reign of terror" against global warming skeptics.

  • Why America's top hurricane expert doubts the hurricane-warming connection.

  • How a clean energy source - which already exists - could eliminate the threat of global warming.

  • And the bottom line for you: How global warming policies will mean more government, higher energy prices, and more costs and taxes to you!

  • And much, much more.



NewsMax Magazine

NewsMax.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"The Federal Reserve was responsible for the Great Depression"

The Fed's new chairman, Ben Bernanke, admits that the Federal Reserve was responsible for the Great Depression. "We did it," Bernanke said, adding, "We're very sorry."

From the Great Depression, to the stagflation of the seventies, to the burst of the dotcom bubble" in 2001, charges U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, "every economic downturn suffered by the country over the last 80 years can be traced to Federal Reserve policy."

But the Fed's sins go way beyond the Great Depression. "Since the creation of the Federal Reserve, middle and working-class Americans have been victimized by a boom-and-bust monetary policy," said Paul, the congressman best known for his steadfast commitment to the U.S. Constitution.

"In addition," said the Texas Republican, "most Americans have suffered a steadily eroding purchasing power because of the Federal Reserve's inflationary policies. This represents a real, if hidden, tax imposed on the American people."

Read more in the July issue of WHISTLEBLOWER MAGAZINE

Titled "THE FEDERAL RESERVE: FRAUD OF THE CENTURY," Whistleblower documents authoritatively and with uncommon clarity how the "Federal Reserve" – which is neither part of the federal government, nor does it rely on monetary reserves – is an unconstitutional, unelected cartel that literally creates the devastating problems it was supposed to prevent.

"For this issue of Whistleblower," said David Kupelian, managing editor of WND (WorldNetDaily.com) and Whistleblower, "we tried to remedy John Adams' concern over Americans' 'ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.' So we worked very hard to come up with the most credible, most understandable, yet comprehensive analysis of the Fed possible."

Kupelian added "This issue will go a long way toward giving you the understanding you need – not only regarding this nation's extraordinarily deceitful banking and money system, but also, to help you make better financial and life decisions for the sake of yourself and your family."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Letter from Israel

"I wish I could calm you and that I had good news .. . but things are awful here .. . just awful.  Seriously, there is this heavy atmosphere, less people go out, nobody is smiling. ..  when I walk down the streets in Tel Aviv, all I hear through open windows are TV's and radios that people are listening to in order to hear about the latest threat and the latest death toll in the north.  I can't read the newspapers without starting to cry  . ..  listening to news updates every hour there is another name read of someone else who has been killed by a rocket attack.. .  it is actually getting a bit scary with all the talk of what if ...  what if Syria, what if Iran, what if the entire area .. . where will the rest of the world be .. .  the katusha rockets are awful and they have ones that can reach Tel Aviv.  In fact, Tel Aviv has just been raised to a higher alert level by the Homefront Command and I just got an email from my work in order to inform us where the bomb shelters are in our building. Many of my friends are up north in the army and I two of my friends' friends' have already been killed. More so, many of my friends are in the army up north and I can't focus at work worrying for their safety and future. The strike on the navy ship is becoming a national tragedy.. .  we feel like we underestimated our enemy and that we weren't ready . . . that we don't have the intelligence that we need.  Iran and Syria seem to be trying to drag us into a war. To be honest, the scariest thing is not, what if a missile attack hits Tel Aviv, its the meaning of it.  If or when a missile hits Tel Aviv, it will be all out warfare in the middle east and we, not only us Israelis, but the entire Jewish population will be fighting for our existence.  These are countries that want us (Jews, Israelis and Westerners) dead and wiped off the map . ..  and it seems as if they have the capabilities to do so.  What is even scarier, is that other countries are saying that we are acting disproportionately . . . hearing those statements makes it easier to understand how the world stood by as the Nazis murdered 6,000,000 Jews. I am telling you this for one reason, so that you will not feel so far away from what is happening here. The fact of the matter is, that this does affect you. Iran has not only said that he wants to destroy Israel, but that it wants to create Europe into a Pan-Islamic state and destroy the U.S. Don't be foolish, don't think it can't happen . ..  and don't think that the U.S. is untouchable and invisible.  There are Hezbollah factions in the U.S., they have been arrested. . . watch where you are going and what you are doing .. .  because it would not be surprising if Hezbollah decided to wake up sleeper terrorist cells abroad.  Do NOT underestimate them .. . the biggest mistake is to not respect the power of Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. I do not mean to scare you, but to move you to action. Write to your senators, write to the news media ...  force the U.S., the U.N. the G8, etc .. .  to support Israel .. .  force news media to accurately and unbiasedly cover the war .. . and to correctly verbalize the threat upon Israel, its people and its very existence. Force news agencies to show the Golan Heights accurately as part of Israel and NOT Syria . ..  Please, just do something!"


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The Plame game: over and out

"When one thinks of the oceans of ink and acres of paper that have been wasted on this mother of all nonstories, one wants to weep for the journalistic profession as well as for the trees."

"Robert Novak's July 12 column and his appearance on Meet the Press Sunday night have dissolved any remaining doubt about the mad theory that the Bush administration "outed" Ms. Valerie Plame as revenge for her husband's refusal to confirm the report by British intelligence that Iraqi officials had visited Niger in search of uranium."

The End of the Affair
Novak exonerates the Bushies in the Plame case.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, July 17, 2006, at 4:58 PM ET

Beware of 'Vishing' E-mail Scam

"Breaking from NewsMax.com


Experts are warning against the latest Internet scam: "vishing.”


Vishing, or voice phishing, occurs when a scammer sends you an e-mail hoping to get victims to telephone a voice mail box to disclose sensitive financial and personal information.


Many computer users are already aware of so-called "phishing e-mails" linking to counterfeit Web sites that ask computer users to enter account numbers or other personal information.


Many of these scam e-mails look like they were sent from companies like American Express, Bank of America, and other major companies, informing customers they need to update their records.


When they do so, the customer unwittingly provides some criminal enterprise their most sensitive financial and personal information.


Already such phishing scams cost consumers an estimated $929 million.


However, new tools – including software that helps locate phony Web sites – have made the scam more difficult to pull off. But the new "vishing" scam gets around computer safeguards by using the telephone instead.


In a typical case of vishing, customers of a California bank received e-mails informing them that their online banking accounts had been disabled because the bank detected unauthorized access, according to The Wall Street Journal.


The customers were told to dial a telephone number with a local area code, where an automated voice asked them to enter their account numbers, personal-access codes, and other information.


Armed with that data, vishing scammers could access the online accounts and transfer money, or make fraudulent purchases with a stolen credit card number.


These schemes are made possible by Internet telephone services, "which allow computer users to quickly establish phone numbers, often without undergoing some of the verification checks used by traditional telephone companies,” the Journal reports.


"Also, Internet phone companies dole out numbers with a choice of area code, regardless of where in the country – or world – the user is located, which makes it difficult to locate the scammers.”


What’s more, automated voice prompts have become common on customer service lines, "and many people have become accustomed to keying in their account information and other details before being able to speak to a representative,” Adam O’Donnell, a senior research scientist at the online security firm Cloudmark Inc., told the Journal.


The bottom line: Experts stress that customers should never turn over private information based on an e-mail request.


Remember:

--Please forward this email to your friends and family to warn them.

--Secure your identity with this tremendous service praised by the Economist Magazine -- Go Here Now



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Let's have tea!

According to the New York Times, Hillary Clinton recently told the Arkansas Federation of Democratic Women that "we need to get back to building partnerships and alliances, to making friends so we can influence decisions that other people make and have people working with us to stem the tide of terrorism and the threats that we confront."

Maybe she'll even start baking cookies!

All the busy little buzzing bees in Demo land are going to get very busy, busy, busy making friends, building partnerships, forging alliances.

That way, we'll be able to influence their decisions!

Never mind all those countries that hate, really hate Israel. They'll be oh so very, very happy that we are their friends now, they'll want to stop gouging out peoples eyes and sawing off their heads. Why, nobody's going to believe how really sweet these so-called terrorists are once you get to know them. It's only that we pissed them off that they got so mad. Gee whiz, can't we just give them a chance?

And, hey, Hillary's gonna bake some cookies--betcha can't eat just one!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lie of the Land

By now, just about everyone has heard about Bush's candid remarks caught accidentally (one just has to wonder, though) on tape during a G-8 luncheon:

Mic picks up Bush: 'get Hezbollah to stop this s***'

People seem to be really focused in on the "s" word, too--adults never really outgrow their potty-talk fantasies do they?

But here's something I just had to check out due to the obviously unintended double entendre:

Blair: "I don’t know what you guys have talked about, but as I say I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is, but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral."

In this spirited discussion on the UK site The Phrase Finder we discover that 'The lie of the land' means 'the way the land lies' which is grammatically correct. 'The lay of the land' is found in usage too, although 'the way the land lays' is grammatically incorrect. It's a good example of the confusion between the two verbs.

and

From www.bartleby.com: "lie of the land, lay of the land". Both locutions are Standard, meaning "the way things are literally or figuratively positioned with respect to other things," as in "As soon as we get a look at the lie [lay] of the land, we'll decide what to do next."

I also found yet another UK site which definitely convinces me that Blair was speaking in some kind of secret code :)

This site Lie of the Land: The Secret Life of Maps poses some very strange questions like "Do you believe in maps?" or "Do maps lead or mislead?" and "Do maps unite or divide?"

Well, do they???

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Replace the United Nations?

"Instead of the responsible, moral and effective leadership promised in 1945, the UN is mired in corruption, an absence of leadership, and an anti-democratic majority that has destroyed its legitimacy."

"...the G-8 - as the institutional embodiment of the responsible world powers - has a narrow window in which to act responsibly, not as a supplement to the discredited UN, but as a replacement."

Very interesting idea! If the G8 guides us through these churning waters into calmer seas, maybe this will be the UN's well-deserved fate.

"Can the G8 succeed where the UN failed?"

Friday, July 14, 2006

It's Always Israel's Fault

This article by Alan Caruba at MichNews.com is a hard-hitting account of blatant double standards and years of U.N. discrimination against Israel.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, “Warning Signs”, posted on the website of The National Anxiety Center. In September, Merril Press will publish his newest book, “Right Answers.”

Divide and conquer

It's starting, apparently, in Detroit:

In May, Sterling Heights, Mich., Councilwoman Barbara Ziarko asked the city's attorney to prepare an ordinance requiring businesses with foreign language signs to have identifiers such as "bakery" included, the Detroit News reports.

According to the News, Michael J. Steinberg of the ACLU said the proposal is unconstitutional "because it singles out businesses with signs.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has asked officials in a Detroit suburb to reject a proposal that would require businesses with foreign language signs to add English translations.

Read more

A Detroit News blog reader recently left this comment pointing out the lunacy of the situation:

"Paramedics, police officers and firefighters, who don't happen to read Arabic, Farsi or Hindi, probably are going to have a tough time differentiating which squiggly lined sign is the business in need of an "emergency response"."

Looks like the answer to this previously posed question

Whose Detroit is it anyway?

just might end up with a brand new answer!

The Bifurcation Widens in the Arab World

Posted on WindsOfChange.net
by Yehudit at July 13, 2006 07:29 AM

The first half of this was posted at Kesher Talk by my co-blogger "Alcibiades." I added to it later this evening.

Here are the accounts of what is going on from the posts of a few Arab bloggers, all of whom are opposed to Hezbollah's incursions. These accounts are all very poignant, as the writers are conscious of the idiocy of Hezbollah's long planned attack and filled with details we would not otherwise come across so easily. It is quite sad what Hezbollah has instigated, at this moment, with Lebanon well along in its economic and political recovery.

Read more

Will Senate Amnesty Bill Trump State Efforts To Curb Illegal Immigration?

"Special Report

By Steve Elliott, President Grassfire.org

 

The real impact of illegal immigration is not felt in Washington, D.C. It is felt in the states -- the cities and towns across the nation being forced to foot the bill for the runaway costs and local impact of illegal immigration.

 

That’s why it should be no surprise that, with the Senate and the President pushing through an irresponsible blanket amnesty plan, our state legislatures are taking matters into their own hands. As USA Today and others are reporting, 30 states have passed legislation this year to crack down on illegal immigration. Go here  to see if your state is taking action.

 

State laws with teeth

These laws are wide-ranging -- from cracking down on employers hiring illegals to requiring state contractors to ensure that their employees are legal. There are laws against human trafficking, requiring citizenship or legal status to receive health benefits, making English the official language, establishing fines for counterfeiting documents, and more. One law in Texas has real economic teeth -- it prohibits businesses from deducting as a business expense wages paid to illegals.

 

In all, some 57 laws have been passed in these states, with more pending. I believe if left to our own devices, “we the people” would eventually solve this illegal immigration crisis. The 57 laws are evidence of that.  Just one problem....

 

Senate Amnesty Bill Will Trump Your State

If the Senate amnesty bill passes, virtually all illegals  will quickly migrate to some form of legal status, and ultimately the “path to citizenship” that the President is touting. Which brings us to one of the most damaging possible consequences of a federal amnesty bill -- what happens to the state efforts to control illegal immigration.

 

Once an illegal is granted legal status, how can state laws against illegals apply? It is clear that these laws will not apply to the 12-20 million who get legal status, or the tens of millions more who will be coming to our nation under the Senate amnesty plan.

 

Hidden danger of Senate amnesty plan

This is one of the least advertised dangers of the Senate amnesty bill. Yes, the very idea of granting amnesty to millions of illegals is repugnant. Yes, our porous borders are a national security threat. Yes, many communities are literally being torn apart by the influx of illegals. Yes, our hospitals and schools are being stretched to the breaking point.

 

As if these factors were not bad enough, our fearless leaders in the nation’s capital are trying to trump everything we can do at the state level and totally federalize another issue. Undoubtedly, this outrageous amnesty plan will concentrate more power at the federal level. Further emasculate our state and local governments and ultimately result in more taxes and spending at the federal level. Just to make the problem worse.

 

Once again, Washington, D.C., is on the wrong side of an issue, totally out of touch with what most Americans want. If the situation were reversed and 30 states had passed bills supporting amnesty, you can bet that the pressure would have already forced the House to cave in to the Senate amnesty plan. The President and some in the Senate are out of touch. But unless we stand strong, their amnesty plan will trump our state-level efforts to control this crisis.

 

Other resources: Christian Science Monitor - States target employers."



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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stop federal overspending now!

"You worked 193 days this year to support the cost of government
This week, Americans for Tax Reform released its annual Cost of Government Day report. The results show that the cost of federal spending and regulation continues to increase faster than the growth of the income produced by American workers. In 2006, the average American worker will need to labor 193 days of the year to pay for the costs imposed by federal, state, and local governments. In other words, you had to work to until July 12th to pay for the costs of government, more than half the year.

The 2006 Cost of Government Day increased 1.4 days compared to last year and is up 12 days since 2000. Federal spending represents 67 percent of the increase in the total cost of government since 2000.

Clearly, reform is needed.

Fortunately, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) recently introduced legislation called the Stop Over-Spending Act of 2006 which will begin the process to slow the growth of federal spending.

S.O.S will begin to fix this process by instituting new budget reforms which will protect American taxpayers. More specifically the legislation will:

1. Create a line-item veto which will better enhance the President’s ability to root out wasteful spending.

2. Institute new mechanisms which will slow the growth of mandatory spending.

3. Reinstate statutory caps on discretionary spending, enforced with across the board cuts if Congress exceeds the caps.

4. Finally allow analysis of the effectiveness of government programs which enables policymakers to better determine what programs are working and more importantly which programs are not.

Given the large increases in federal spending and the appetite for Congress to continue spending your money, it is vital you contact your member of Congress and tell them to support the Stop Over-Spending Act of 2006."

Support S. 3521 - Sen. Gregg's Stop Over Spending Act ==>Find your representatives and contact them Here

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Letter from a friend: Mississippi...before and after

"Hi Linda,

I just wanted to let you know that I'm back from Mississippi, alive and in one piece - although definitely a bit sleep deprived and feeling the backlog of being without an Internet connection for ten days.

I left on July 1st along with two busloads containing adult sponsors and 88 teenagers from our church to see what we could personally do to help the victims of Hurricanne Katrina rebuild their houses and their lives in the area of Mississippi where the eye of the hurricane crossed leaving a path of incredible destruction that is still very visible to this day.

Here is a link to some pictures before and after the Hurricane in the area that we were working in:

http://www.ad-alyzer.com/727/Damage

When you first pull into the area, you think, "There doesn't seem to be as much damage as I expected," but that feeling goes away quickly. 

The church were we camped out at was almost an hours drive from our work site because there were no facilities to handle our group that were closer.

Then as you move closer to the coast, the impact starts to hit.

Finally as you reach what looks like a one lane gravel and sand road -- which you later find out was a 4 lane highway before the hurricane - the first of a series of waves of impact begins to hit you.

We were working in an area the was relatively sparsely populated, but later in the week as we traveled to Biloxi and later New Orleans the massive spread of the damage was overwhelming.

As we approached New Orleans, we pass block after block of buildings that were empty, open sores on the face of the city. 

It literally looked like what you would imagine would be the result if an atomic bomb had gone off.

We were warned before we started that we would be overwhelmed with the great need and the fact that we wouldn't be able to even make a small dent in repairing the damage, but it was impossible not to be overwhelmed.

Over and over again residents told us the "starfish story" in various versions.

The starfish story first appeared in The Star Thrower, a collection of essays by the naturalist and writer Loren Eiseley that appeared in 1978, a year after Eiseley's death.

Variations abound, but here's the basic story:

An old man was picking up objects off the beach and tossing them out into the sea. A young man approached him and saw that the objects were starfish. "Why in the world are you throwing starfish into the water?"

"If the starfish are still on the beach when the tide goes out and the sun rises high in the sky, they will die," replied the old man.

"That is ridiculous. There are thousands of miles of beach and millions of starfish. You can't really believe that what you're doing could possibly make a difference!"

The wise old man picked up another starfish, paused thoughtfully, and remarked as he tossed it out into the waves,

"It makes a difference to this one."

So, over and over throughout the week we tried to "make a difference" to a few of the people that crossed our paths.

We divided our group up into teams.  Some groups did drywalling, some groups did trash removal and general cleanup.

As you can imagine, there are countless people with needs of all kinds, but most of the work fell into two categories.

First, there is a lack of people with select skills like drywallers, electricians, plumbers and roofers. 

If you had those skills you could be gainfully employed for the next 10 years in those areas.

The other need was for trash and debris removal.

Imagine mountains of trash, no tax base to cover removing it and mile after mile of rotting junk that has been sitting there for the last 11 months.

So we tried to do what we could.

The people were incredibly grateful - almost embarrassingly grateful.  You can see that they are worn out to core, but most were thankful that they were among the lucky who lived.  Everyone knew someone that had it worse than they did.

It's with a bit of guilt that I come back to my air conditioned house, swimming pool and 2 minute commute to work.

There is so much more to be done.

I know that there is a lot to be done here too.  I have people counting on me and promises to deliver on.  Forgive me if I've been a little slow getting back to you.

There is so much that I want to do.

The fact is that we are all going to die sometime, so if we are going to do something with our lives, now is the time to do it.

More soon!

All the best,

Ken

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

No news is no news

Were you listening, by any chance, to KABC radio early in the evening on Saturday, July 8th? Or on Monday night around 8pm or so? Or tonight (7/11)?

If not, then you probably never heard of the march protesting illegal aliens that occurred on Saturdy, July 8th organized by homeless activist Ted Hayes and the founder of the Minuteman Project Jim Gilchrist!

I did hear, on KABC Monday night, that Gilchrist was interviewed on CNN afterwards but I was only able to locate one item on the Internet about this march:

Minuteman Project and Save Our State Immigration Rally and March-Hollywood, CA-July 8, 2006

By now, I really hope you're wondering why the two newspapers in Los Angeles didn't even mention it. If not, you need a wake up call, big time: NEWSPAPERS TODAY HAVE A POLITICAL AGENDA!!!

Can you really imagine ANY newspaper in years past that wouldn't cover this? It's news! The were hundreds of counter protesters, people got arrested, a policeman even got hurt...and not a single news story.

Do you feel well-served by your local newspapers?


Good books that discuss bias in the media

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Surprise, surpise

On December 8, 2005, Secretary of The Treasury John Snow delivered his "Prepared Remarks to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2005 Global Tax Symposium."

"In just the last week, we've learned that GDP growth was a robust 4.3 percent in the third quarter. That's strong growth for any time, and it happened when the country faced devastating natural disasters."


"We also learned on Friday that 215,000 jobs were added to the payrolls in November. Job creation is the reward of strong economic growth, and November's employment report brings the total of jobs created since May of 2003 to four and a half million -- with 1.8 million new jobs created this year alone."


In today's surprising New York Times article "Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit" there is a fleeting reference to the fact that "contrary to a popular assumption, a disproportionate [emphasis mine] share of income taxes is paid by wealthy households"--something that runs counter to the prevailing "wisdom" on the left--and, as the sharp Power Line analysis of this article points out, this chart (see below) that John Snow also presented last December directly contradicts the Times' statement that overall revenues have "barely climbed back to the levels reached in 2000."


"But that's not the Times' only blooper," states Power Line's John Hinderacker!

Read more

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Windows













Fooled ya! You don't realize your mind has beenre-programmed do you? Traditionally, windows were, well, windows! This one's in Greece.


So's this one. I want to crawl through one of them into that world I see. One without computers and Windows. But how long would it take for me to start looking at my watch? Before I'd be trying to crawl back into that Window so I could log onto Windows? Which Window is real?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Iraq Was Hiding Chemical Weapons Facilities in 1999

"The conventional wisdom about Iraq's WMD programs is that they were moribund after the First Gulf War, and the hundreds of chemical weapons that have been found in Iraq are merely detritus which was most likely lost or forgotten by Saddam's government. That narrative flies in the face of a great deal of physical and documentary evidence, much of which we have discussed on this site. But a newly-translated Project Harmony document, CMPC-2003-00011084-HT-DHM2A.pdf, provides some of the most definitive evidence yet that Saddam's government continued its illicit weapons programs long after the conclusion of the Gulf War."

Read more

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Animator vs. Animation


Click Here to watch "Animator vs. Animation."

(it's safe to watch!)

Happy Birthday Mr. President

Forget Cyrano

Remember the 17th Century Parisian dramatist Cyrano de Bergerac? He loves the beautiful Roxane, but Roxane loves the handsome Christian de Neuvillette because, unfortunatley, Cyrano's nose is too big! But Cyrano can communicate so well, that Christian uses him to woo Roxane...or so the 19th Century French poet Edmond Rostand wrote in his play about Cyrano.

Truth be told, Cyrano was a gay science fiction writer with a small nose.

Be that as it may, and in the spirit of the play, I want to point out that there is now a modern, more automated, system you can use and you have your choice of David, William, Frank, or Lawrence.

Phone Trick

Although you'll have to compose your own message (unless you have a friend as gifted as the legendary Cyrano) someone else will deliver the goods.

Or, you could have Diane, Emily or Millie deliver the message.

There's even the opportunity for French, German, Spanish or Italian!

But here's a real nice trick for deaf and hard of hearing people that lets them place relay calls over the Internet between locations in the United States called "Sprint IP Relay."

Future thinker as he was, I'm sure Cyrano would be pleased.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Is there a Psychologist in the house?


I remember when I used to draw clothes for my Mom to make for me--fancy stuff too, not your everyday junk--and then later, in fashion design school in downtown Los Angeles (7th and Broadway) making patterns from scratch or draping fabric over my very own Dress Form.

I so wanted to be able to afford to buy the beautiful clothes coming out of Paris just like the beautiful stars in Hollywood always wore. Haute couture in the 1950's and 1960's was something to aspire to, to dream of, to covet.

But, sadly, it is not that anymore. What it is seems to be an indulgence of the designer, in this case British designer John Galliano for French fashion house Dior and not something to dream about or aspire to.

But hey, if someone's making money from this stuff, someone's got to be shelling out the dough for it! (God, wouldn't you love to know who the heck these people are and if they look as weird as these clothes?)

Our troops deserve better than a Vietnam-era press

"The Buffalo News’s denigration of patriotic — what the News calls “pro-war” — veterans reminds me of a media-military symposium that took place some years ago in the aftermath of Vietnam and went a long way toward cementing the military’s negative image of the press. The moderator of a panel that included Peter Jennings of ABC News, Mike Wallace of CBS, and Marine Col. George Connell, offered a hypothetical scenario: In wartime, you are invited to accompany an enemy unit that says it will prove that an ally of the United States is committing atrocities. While accompanying the enemy patrol, you find yourself in the midst of preparations for an ambush that may very well cause the death of Americans. Do you try to warn the Americans?

After hesitating, Jennings replied that he would try to warn the Americans. But Wallace responded that he would regard it as just another story and that he would not feel a “higher duty” to warn the Americans. Col. Connell watched this exchange in what can only be described as a cold rage. When asked to comment, Col. Connell said of Wallace, “I feel utter contempt. Two days later those same two journalists [could be] caught in an ambush and are lying 200 yards from my position, and they expect that I’m going to send Marines to get them. They’re not Americans. They’re just journalists.”"
Read more

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Speaking of autocrats

Thinking of how Kim Jong-il, who obviously has a very high opinion of himself, is brutally raping the people he forcibly rules, I was reminded of a proclamation by Howard Dean recently:

"We know that no one person can succeed unless everybody else succeeds."

Since this is observably not true, we must assume that he simply wishes it to be true, and that, like Karl Marx, he would be in favor of a government that would see to it (by whatever means necessary) that it becomes true.

In Howard Dean's ideal world, therefore, no one would be allowed to succeed unless the government decided it was ok and how, for God's sake, would they determine that and enforce that?

If I were you, I'd think real hard before electing anyone to public office that Howard Dean endorses.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day!



The flag code composed in 1923 and adopted by Congress in 1942 states:

"The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing."

I was immediately reminded, of course, of the mystical doctrine of "transubstantiation" in the Catholic religion:

"...by the consecration of the bread and wine a change takes place in which the entire substance of the bread is changed into the substance of the Body of Christ our Lord, and the entire substance of the wine into the substance of His Blood."

Rather than get into any debates, I simply wish to celebrate the miracle of our great country and it's truly unique history and purpose in the world today as a beacon for everyone who believes in freedom (people wouldn't die trying to come here if that weren't true).

The defeat of the recent "flag burning amendment" certainly proves that not everyone believes our flag is actually a "living thing" but do not think that the desecration of this symbol means nothing either: it means that those who desecrate do hate what it stands for and of those, some will actively seek to end this country as we know it.

Is that a good thing? Unfortunately, we hear the voices of many in this country who believe it is. But then someone should tell all those people who die trying to come here not to bother.



Monday, July 03, 2006

Whose Side Is The Left On?

"Have we reached the point where the greatest threat to the lives and safety of civilian populations may be--not the increasingly clumsy operations of the terrorists--but sabotage by internal opponents of counter-terrorist operations?"



Yes.

More Gore

WSJ Opinion Journal: Don't Believe the Hype
"Al Gore is wrong. There's no "consensus" on global warming."
Richard S. Lindzen (Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT) Sunday, July 2, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science...

Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam...

Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition...

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AP INCORRECTLY CLAIMS SCIENTISTS PRAISE GORE’S MOVIE

The June 27, 2006 Associated Press (AP) article titled “Scientists OK Gore’s Movie for Accuracy” by Seth Borenstein raises some serious questions about AP’s bias and methodology.

AP chose to ignore the scores of scientists who have harshly criticized the science presented in former Vice President Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”

In the interest of full disclosure, the AP should release the names of the “more than 100 top climate researchers” they attempted to contact to review “An Inconvenient Truth.” AP should also name all 19 scientists who gave Gore “five stars for accuracy.” AP claims 19 scientists viewed Gore’s movie, but it only quotes five of them in its article. AP should also release the names of the so-called scientific “skeptics” they claim to have contacted.

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