Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Surprise, Surprise...

Martha Stark was one of Eliot Spitzer's choices to replace Alan Hevesi as NYS Comptroller.

Wow, someone with terrible judgement overlooking another person's questionable behavior? And, all of this in New York State. I'm shocked!

A couple of months ago, Stark was in the Post for another reason.

Why Didn't He Think Of This A Few Weeks Ago?

Our empty-headed Governor is at it again.

Clueless Dave is touting fiscal discipline now after supporting a budget with an almost 9% spending increase. I can only imagine that he wants New York State families and private industry to tighten their belts because he couldn't mean his own bloated state government.

Here's a laugher:

“I’m not going to sign any legislation that I think has an undue impact on counties, local governments or taxpayers,” the Democratic governor said.

Let me count the ways...

Business groups complained of the tax hits on energy utilities, health insurance companies, farmers, the food and beverage industry and numerous other sectors that, in the end, will pass along the levies to consumers.

But, mainly, critics said the budget’s additional revenues — as high as $8 billion by GOP estimates— come at an especially bad time, given the economy. With the new taxes and the lack of economic development initiatives, the budget, in the words of one of the business lobbyists, shows a “disdain for the private sector.”

Health insurance taxes have soared $800 million in two years, officials said at a gathering near the Capitol that attracted representatives from small and big companies alike, while the new bottle deposit law will cost the beverage industry $230 million. Higher taxes on energy companies will cost consumers nearly $600 million this year.

How about the bottle bill which is expected to add significant costs to consumers.

Where are the signs for Empty Suit Express and Clueless Circle?

The Real Filene's Basement

The only true Filene's Basement store closed a couple years ago and, with that, the brand lost much of its mystique. The chain stores could not hold a candle to the flagship store. And now they are declaring bankruptcy.

Jahan Habib, 27, of Boston, said he's been shopping at Filene's Basement for about five years, but misses the Downtown Crossing store because he found better deals there. Yesterday, he dropped by the store's Boylston Street location, looking for a suit. "It's kind of tough in this economy for most people so it's great having discounts," Habib said. "But in the end, the price has to be significantly lower."

Read some of the reader's comments to get a feel for the real Filene's Basement.

Here's some background on the Downtown Crossing area in Boston.

Stand By Your Man

Megan McAllister's behavior gives new weight to Tammy Wynette's lyrics. Although, I don't think Tammy would have put up with this.

NBC News reported that Markoff answered the craigslist ad of a man seeking a transsexual hookup. In the January online encounter, Markoff, 22, touted his physique, e-mailed explicit photos of himself and asked, "What are you doing tonight?"

The authorities apparently have a good amount of evidence linking Philip Markoff to the crimes for which he has been accused, including, fingerprints, clothes from the victims found at his home, a gun, a computer trail, etc.

At least the wedding has been called off.

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A Photo-Op...?

I wonder if we can somehow blame this on George Bush.

But, really, the "photo op" had to be ridiculously scary to see from below. I was one of those World Trade Center evacuees watching the United Airline's plane crash into the south tower from the base of the building. It's a sight I'll never forget and I can completely understand the panic on the street.

Total incompetence all the way around on this one. Who will be the sacrificial lamb on this one, if any?

Maybe Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office?

"Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision. While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused."

The mayor says he wasn't told. The NYPD was informed about the exercise but told it was classified and not for public consumption.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Most Teachers are Selfish, Surprised?*

If you are a public school teacher, you basically have to kill another person to be terminated.

John Stossel, in his latest book, provided a flowchart illustrating the process of firing an incompetent teacher.

Stossel has an example:

Once, [Joel] Klein [(Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education)] reports, the school system discovered that a teacher was sending sexual e-mails to a 16-year-old student. "This was the most unbelievable case to me," he says, "because the e-mail was there, he admitted to it. It was so thoroughly offensive." Even with the teacher's confession, it took six years of expensive litigation before the school could fire him. He didn't teach during those six years, but he still got paid—more than $350,000 total.

Is it any wonder that our children are clueless when they graduate from high school?

Take a look at this stat-

But by age fifteen, when students from forty countries are tested, the Americans place twenty-fifth. The longer kids stay in American schools, the worse they do in international competition. They do worse than kids from countries that spend much less money on education.

It's not the money we spend per student. It's all about the monopoly that the teacher's union has in education. Obviously, school choice would force the schools to be more competitive. The teacher's unions care nothing about the kids that they teach, only the pensions and the benefits that they believe their members should receive.

The New York Post has an editorial today about the situation.

*Not all teachers are selfish, just the leadership that represents them. I understand that it's the union's job to look out for their members, but it is all at the expense of our future generation. Unforgivable...

And, of course, I need to give props to my good friend Judy, a principal at a local inner city school. Her long hours often preclude her from meeting me out for an occasional drink.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Germans In The Buff

I've done some hiking in Switzerland. I never thought of this as an issue.

Concerning holidays, it does seem that the big spending Germans are taking over much of Europe. The entire Spanish Riveria is littered with them. And, obviously, no one hiking around and about the pristine Swiss Alps wants to be startled by a naked troup of travelers.

Let's save that stuff for the English Garden. Alles klar?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Gurkhas Don't Like Gordon Brown Either

...and Ab Fab actress is pissed off.

Prince Harry served with the Gurkhas in Afghanistan.

Is Al Gore the Cause of Global Warming?

Is fatso Al Gore listening?

Each fat person is said to be responsible for emitting a tonne more of climate-warming carbon dioxide per year than a thin one.

"Where did sex occur in their house?"

Does anyone consider Larry King a serious reporter anymore? If so, his sex questions to Levi Johnston have to make you wonder.

Here's an excerpt:

KING: Where — was — did sex occur in their house?

LEVI JOHNSTON, EX-FIANCE OF BRISTOL PALIN, FATHER OF BRISTOL’S SON, TRIPP: You know, Larry, that I’m a gentleman, you know. And I don’t, you know, kiss and tell. So, you know, I don’t think that really — that really matters. I mean…

KING: And how about the part, though, that — well, first you said you practiced safe sex most of the time, right?


KING: Most of the time.

76 year old wrinkly, dissipated man talking about sex = Ewww

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Lives

We traded friendship pins...remember?

State Sponsored Ice Cream?

Why are we paying these people again?

Even in Rhode Island there has to be more important business, right?

Earth Day Philadelphia Style

Happy Belated Earth Day.

Today is Earth Day, a holiday created to honor the planet and to raise the consciousness of man’s effect on the environment. Philadelphia has a very strong tie to this day. One of its native sons, Ira Einhorn, was a co-founder of the environmentalist jubilee.

But Mr. Einhorn has another line on his resume. In addition to being a environmental guru, he is the Unicorn Killer.

Einhorn was the Master of Ceremonies at the first globally televised Earth Day in 1970. A few years later he killed his girlfriend Holly Maddux when she told him she was leaving him. When the authorities found her body in a trunk behind his apartment wall, he blamed her death on the CIA.

Kooky wannabee girlfriend Barbara Bronfman paid his bail giving him the opportunity to flee to Europe and spend the next 16 years evading justice. (At his bail hearing, a bunch of his delusional friends testified that he would never have killed Holly because he loved Mother Earth.) As the story goes, Bronfman found out that Einhorn was "cheating" on her with another woman in France and turned him in to authorities.

Eventually Einhorn was extradited after Pennsylvania vacated his previous conviction in absentia. Back in the States, Einhorn was found guilty after the jury deliberated for two hours. Presently he's at Houtzdale prison.

And, guess the name of the defense attorney who secured the low bail amount. It was slimy Arlen Spector, one of the 3 Republican goofballs who voted for the taxpayer funded generational bailout.

Another article about Einhorn...

Monday, April 20, 2009

What a Laugh

Russell Simmons is absolutely delusional. What tough choices has Governor Paterson made? Which food product to tax? How to define millionaire? Which private sector industry to suffer through the latest state cash grab?

He is an embarrassment. Let's just try to get through the next couple of years without driving every productive person from the state.

Can We Get a Decent Public Servant in NYS?

Seriously folks, this is like a choice between a douche and a turd sandwich. Can't we do better? Oh, right, it's New York State. Forget it...

Compared to Spitzer and Paterson, Pataki seems almost Churchillian.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hey Al, Ya Ever Kick a Bag of Bolts?

John Madden retires.

I know I'm in the minority, but, for me, Madden was the most overrated color commentator in the game.

For anyone who had a passing knowledge of the game, Madden was simply an irritant that had to be tolerated. His obvious "insights", goofy mannerisms and verbiage, and endless rambling on about nonsense won't be missed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beyond Ridiculous

The French think that we are weak. The shine is wearing off. We know what we have now: an empty suit with a teleprompter. No respect... Seriously though, these are the people that invest every nickel and dime in their crappy welfare system at the expense of their military. And what they do spend on their defense is mostly on incompetent designs and planning. It is absolutely ridiculous, but to be expected from the French.

And, say what you want about George W. Bush, but, I'd rather be respected than liked. No one ever said that George Bush was weak.


When will the Spaniards start goofing on us? What's next? The Belgians calling us out?

Christina Hoff Sommers On Point Again

It almost seems like this is something that The Onion would put out. Apparently President Obama wants to apply Title IX to science and engineering. Yes, that's exactly what we need: political correctness in science.

Here's an example of what Title IX has accomplished:

Consider the situation at Washington's Howard University. In 2007, the Women's Sports Foundation, a powerful Title IX advocacy group, gave Howard an "F" grade because of its 24-percentage-point "proportionality gap": Howard's student body was 67 percent female, but women constituted only 43 percent of its athletic program. In 2002, Howard cut men's wrestling and baseball and added women's bowling, but that did little to narrow the gap. Unless it sends almost half of its remaining male athletes to the locker room, Howard will remain blacklisted and legally vulnerable. Former Howard wrestling coach Wade Hughes sums up the problem this way: "The impact of Title IX's proportionality standard has been disastrous because . . . far more males than females are seeking to take part in athletics."

Here's a newsflash, more men like to play sports than women. So, who cares? Why are we taking sports opportunities away from men? If you want to start a sports team in college, you first start as a club, and then, after several years of interest, you can apply to be a recognized collegiate team. Let the teams evolve based on participation. There have been multitudes of examples of popular men's teams being dismantled in the name of Title IX. Now we have to watch this happen with science and engineering?

Read it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Don't Mess With Texas

Looks like someone's been reading the Constitution.

Gov. Rick Perry today joined state Rep. Brandon Creighton and sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 50 in support of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state,” Gov. Perry said. “That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.”

I would be even more excited to support this if I didn't live in the Peoples Republic of New York. What's worse, the overreaching federal government asshats or the bumbling greedmongers that are destroying New York State? Your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Phil Spector Guilty

Phil Spector is guilty of 2nd degree murder.

Did this testimony put a nail in his coffin?

Spector was also done in by his chauffeur, Adriano DeSouza, who vividly recalled Spector standing in the mansion doorway, gun in hand, announcing: "I think I killed somebody."

Seriously, this guy is nuts, but an incredible talent. Evil genius?

No matter, he should spend the rest of his life in jail.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thrill Seekers or Insane Drunks?

Another case of swimming while drunk leading to complications. Usually it's a banal practice unless, of course, you are swimming in the Northern Territory coastal region. The amazing part of the story is that this guy was a local; in March there was another fatal attack in the Darwin area. Shouldn't he have known better?

This sort of behavior is expected from the New South Wales nutters.

About those crazies from the south:

Southern tourists drank beer and swam in the Daly River several hundred metres upstream from where a four-metre crocodile is believed to have taken 20-year-old Keith Parry hours earlier.

The five tourists from New South Wales were on a working holiday to Daly River - camping and working in the local pub.

The group was aware of the suspected attack but still stripped off and entered the croc infested waters holding cans of beers.

"We heard about the attack that happened last night. It's very sad," one of the tourists said.

The tourists said they had seen numerous crocs swimming in the river during their three-week stay in town, but they still felt it was safe to swim during the day.

"They really come out at night. If you come down at night with your headlights, you can see their eyes light up," one tourist said.

The tourists refused to leave the water, even after they were warned off by police and croc expert Tommy Nichols.

Daly River locals said the waters were infested with crocs of different sizes and most refused to go near the water.

These people are insane. And, for the record, saltwater crocodile attacks in Australia are not solely nighttime occurrences.

There will be more calls for a crocodile cull soon.

Here we go.

Bragging Rights: My Taxes Are More Than Yours

New York is the tax capital of the country.

Not that anyone is surprised, but our acting Governor Sheldon Silver has been wanting to soak private sector wage earners for years. He calls it the "millionaires' tax", except that it hits those who make $300,000 per annum. Further, it is called a "temporary tax" because it is supposed to expire after three years. Are we suckers or what? Remember, we elected these hacks.

In the past, only George Pataki and Joe Bruno prevented Shelly from the cash grab. Now Shelly has free reign because the other 2 "men in the room", accidental Governor David Paterson and invisible Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, are ineffectual doofuses.

Silver has the backing of the Working Families Party, a group comprised of community organizers and labor unions which advocates the redistribution of wealth and a bunch of other principles that tend to favor a big centralized government operating at the expense of the private sector. These people really know how to kill economic growth. Two of the state senators that tipped the control of the NYS Senate to Democrats, Craig Johnson in Long Island and Darrel Aubertine in the North Country, were bankrolled by the WFP. With no opposing bulwark in place, Shelly runs roughshod over Smith and Paterson. It's Shelly's world, we're just living in it.

...it isn't just high earners who get smacked. The new budget raises another $2 billion or so on top of the $4 billion in income taxes with some 100 new taxes, fees, fines, surcharges and penalties to be paid by all New York residents. There are new charges for cell phone usage, fishing permits, health insurance (the "sick tax"), electric bills, and on bottled water, cigars, beer and wine. A New York Post analysis found that a typical family of four with an income below $100,000 would pay more than $800 a year in higher taxes and fees.

This is advertised as a plan of "shared sacrifice," but the group that is most responsible for New York's budget woes, the all-powerful public employee unions, somehow walk out of this with a 3% pay increase. The state is receiving an estimated $10 billion in federal stimulus money, and Democrats are spending every cent while raising the state budget by 9%. Then they insist with a straight face that taxes are the only way to close the budget deficit.

Here's the article.

I love the part where Shelly holds New Jersey up as a model. New Jersey!?!?!?!?

The Revamped Robe

Just in time for Easter, Jean Simmons and Richard Burton are restored in the DVD version of The Robe.

The restoration of the film was not easy.

"The original camera negative was badly faded and damaged, and beyond that, it was largely incomplete," Shawn Belston, the studio's [Fox Home Entertainment] vice-president in charge of preservation, said in a phone interview.

Fortunately, the film was restored with minimal inconsistencies. It is amazing that many of these classic films can be restored. Some of them are beyond repair because of years of neglect.

A few films still waiting for a DVD release:

The Blue Dahlia (1946)
Kitty (1945)
Jane Eyre (1944)
The Farmer's Daughter (1947)
Female on the Beach (1955)
Midnight Lace (1960)
Rachel and the Stranger (1948)
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
When Ladies Meet (1941)
The Light in the Piazza (1962)
Idiot's Delight (1939)
North West Mounted Police (1940)

There are many more, including a bunch of Joan Crawford films. Could Christina be behind the snub?

Friday, April 10, 2009

French Wines Sales Dropping

Italy and Spain are exporting more wine than France.

Excuses, excuses...

"France has suffered from a series of unlucky harvests," OIV Director General Federico Castellucci said. "Last year, was the worst harvest since 1991."

As an aside, everyone has been drinking more wine except the cheap Brits.

The Steal of the Century?

Dave Roberts retires and has a radio gig.

I was at this game. Everyone at Fenway Park knew he was running. Amazing...

One of the greatest post-season moments ever. The atmosphere at Fenway was incredible. And, don't forget Kevin Millar who drew the walk, and Bill Mueller who hit the single.

Trouble On The South Fork?

Movin' Out?

Can you imagine waking up next to this hack every morning? Sure, he's a multimillionaire, but could you endure him singing those cheesy songs all the time? He probably has all the alarm clocks in the house programmed with The Entertainer.

Ron Rosenbaum, from January in Slate Magazine, penned a great column about the "awfulness of Billy Joel."

Rosenbaum's main gripe, outside of Joel's incredibly goofy lyrics, is the "unearned contempt" manifested in his songs.

For example:

First let's take "Piano Man." You can hear Joel's contempt, both for the losers at the bar he's left behind in his stellar schlock stardom and for the "entertainer-loser" (the proto-B.J.) who plays for them. Even the self-contempt he imputes to the "piano man" rings false.

"The Entertainer": Entertainers are phonies! Except exquisitely self-aware entertainers like B.J., who let you in on this secret.

"She's Always a Woman": First, has there ever been a more blatant—or blatantly inept—case of attempted artistic theft than "She's Always a Woman"? It's such a lame imitation of Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman." (B.J.'s woman "hides like a child" where Dylan's "breaks just like a little girl.") B.J.'s woman also: is prone to "casual lies," "steals like a thief," "takes care of herself," and "carelessly cuts you and laughs ..." Poor B.J., recycling every misogynist cliché in the book.

Read the whole article.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What To Do About Somali Pirates?

Let's follow the Indian example.

This happened last November-

An Indian warship came under attack on Wednesday from a suspected pirate "mother ship," but managed to destroy the pirate ship, sending three speedboats packed with pirates fleeing for safety.

With ransom demands, loss of cargo and increasing insurance costs, sending Somali pirates and their transports to the bottom of the sea is the best plan we've got.

More Goofy Political Correctness

Brown University, one of the most politically correct (read censored) universities in the country, will use the term "Fall Weekend" instead of Columbus Day.

Many of the great figures in our history are flawed. George Washington kept slaves. Will Brown now refer to President's Day (Washington's Birthday) as "Over Halfway Through the Winter Weekend?"

Give me a break.

Science Is Never "Beyond Dispute"

A great article about "settled science."

"Settled science" is an oxymoron, and anyone who characterizes science as "settled" or "indisputable" is ignorant not only of science, but also history and philosophy.

Everyone knew that the science of astronomy had been settled "beyond dispute." When Galileo insisted that the Earth revolved around the sun, he was castigated by the church for advocating an idea that was not only heretical, but also "foolish and absurd in philosophy."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hall of Famer, Red Sox great Doerr turns 91

Happy Birthday Bobby Doerr.

On April 16, 1918, Babe Ruth pitched the Boston Red Sox to a 7-1 Opening Day victory over the Philadelphia Athletics.

Nine days earlier, another Red Sox great -- Bobby Doerr -- was born. And on Monday, Doerr lived through his 92nd Opening Day, including that first one in 1918.

Doerr turned 91 Tuesday and joined 10 other Hall of Famers who have reached that age -- a group that includes less than 4 percent of the 289 members of the Hall of Fame. Of those inducted as a player, he is the oldest living Hall of Famer.

Leslie Howard Before Gone With the Wind

The Petrified Forest is on TCM. It's one of Bogie early films where he plays the heavy (Duke Mantee) in a supporting role. Bette Davis and Leslie Howard are the leads.

The Petrified Forest is one of the great Warner Brothers' gangster films. Leslie Howard plays the intellectual dud that intrigues Bette Davis.

The studio wanted Edward G. Robinson for Duke Mantee, but Leslie Howard wouldn't sign unless they gave Bogart the role. Bogart later named one of his children after Leslie Howard.

Leslie Howard died in 1943. He was shot down by the Luftwaffe over the Bay of Biscay, north of Spain. It was rumored that he was on a secret mission for Winston Churchill. No matter, Howard was one of Britain's most vociferous critics of Nazi Germany. Conspiracy theories run amok...

Move Over Danielle Steel

How badly does she need the attention? Couldn't this have stayed in her "personal collection?"

Here's an excerpt:

"I will begin, softly at first so that you can sleep a few more minutes, the long, slow, delicious process of licking your ----, and since I must have your honey milk . . . I will struggle to stay quiet . . . Master, I whisper as you surrender to our ecstasy."

Just how embarrassed are you, Anderson Cooper?

He's Making A Move

He really may be coming back. He has a chance in New York. We elect felons and deadbeats all the time. It's old hat.

Here's the latest in the New York elected official felon "free for all."

Which One of These Is Not Like the Other?

Obviously, President Obama has never been to Turkey.

There needs to be many improvements before they are admitted to the EU.

Anyone who has spent a couple hours in the country would come to that realization.

Enough said...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Full Frontal

The newest in hotel design is the open view shower.

With obesity rates at an all time high, I'm not certain that this is a good idea. We've all shared bathrooms with strangers, but...

Indeed, some travelers appreciate the voyeuristic kick. Bryce Longton, who stayed with her boyfriend at the Tides in Miami late last year, is a fan.

“I thought it was sexy,” Ms. Longton, a 29-year-old freelance writer from Los Angeles, said of the glass shower in their suite. “The steam from the shower obscured a lot, but showed a little. You could watch each other from the other room.”

Transparency allows travelers to multitask in the tub, she [Morgane Rousseau, the designer of the glass-and-steel-framed bathrooms at the Hôtel Particulier Montmartre, a Parisian hotel that opened in 2007] explained: watch television, chat with a companion or simply gaze out the window.

Australian Actor Wants a Crocodile Hunt (for spiritual reasons)

...[David] Gulpilil will on Monday present Environment Minister Peter Garrett with a proposal to relax Australian laws that reflect the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), so big-game hunters can travel to the Northern Territory, shoot large problem animals and take the trophies home.

It seems that whenever sport shooting of game animals is regulated, their population stays healthy.

Apparently, this whole movement has to do with Aboriginal culture.

Farrah's Son In 'Drug Bust'

What a screw up.

Picture this: Your mom is in the hospital and you get busted for drugs while visiting a friend in jail?

As his cancer-stricken mother, Farrah Fawcett, fought for her life in a Los Angeles hospital, wild child Redmond O'Neal was busted today for alleged drug possession in the parking lot of a prison, police said.

I've never been the smartest person in the room, but I wouldn't be carrying drugs while trying to get through a prison checkpoint. Common sense?

Locked Up Abroad

Sometimes I feel badly for these people, but most of the time their stupidity solicits no sympathy.

The season premiere focused on a Brit, Sarah Jackson, who tried to smuggle cocaine out of Peru to pay off her loan shark. She was told to travel with another person to make her less suspicious. The dupe that she found (Simon Burke) was after a piece of ass and easily swayed.

Jackson is still in a minimum security Peruvian prison (Santa Monica Women's Prison) whilst Simon is living in Peru waiting for his charges to be dropped.

Simon did spend 10 months in Sarita Colonia, a hard core prison by the Lima Airport.

Here's the facebook group to get Simon home.

The next episode is titled, "Ecuador." Here's the summary:

Down, out and broke in Miami, Daniel Van De Zande decided to make a run for a drug smuggler that had cash-infused his pockets in the past. Daniel's task to smuggle cocaine from Ecuador to Europe. But he and his partners are busted and Daniel is eventually sent to one of Ecuador's most notorious maximum security prisons. Depressed by his life and the choices that had led him to jail, Daniel turned to drugs. He was released from prison after serving three years, and is currently in rehab, trying to rebuild his life.

Parents to see detained US journalist in Iran

The Iranian mullahs are imprisoning the journalist for working in the country with expired press credentials.

These crazies were the recipients of President Obama's weirdo Nowruz holiday greetings.

As an aside, Shimon Peres sent a much more appropriate greeting, specifically drawing attention to the mullahs' call for the destruction of Israel.

Here's an update from another nutter regime.

RSF [Reporters Sans Frontieres] in a statement said that if convicted the pair [Euna Lee and Laura Ling] could be sentenced to between five and 10 years of forced labour. A South Korean expert has given a similar assessment.

Rain Out?

It doesn't look good for Opening Day at Fenway.

The rain aside, I've always wondered why MLB doesn't schedule most games at the start of the season in warmer locales.

Remember this?

One week after their home opener at Jacobs Field was postponed by blizzard-like snow squalls and a weekend-long storm that wiped out an entire series, the Indians were buried by the Chicago White Sox 6-4.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sycophant, Thy Name is Alan Chartock

This guy won't stop carrying water for Eliot Spitzer. Regardless of Spitzer's intelligence and "guts", the @#$%^&%$ steamroller ex-Governor does not have the temperament, or moral clarity to be serving the public in any capacity. (Obviously, the current asshat triumvirate is not worthy either. But, why pile on?)

Alan Chartock, what don't you understand about how the serious character shortcomings of this unbalanced nut limit his options?

Some examples:

From Charles Gasparino:

As a reporter covering him - and then becoming the target of one his office's no-holds-barred intimidation games - I saw Spitzer's shortcomings first hand: his zealotry, his wild temperament and his penchant for sleazy tactics.

... Spitzer became governor largely thanks to his many hyper-publicized cases against Wall Street titans like Dick Grasso and Hank Greenberg- cases that he pursued by going after everything and everyone connected with his targets, no matter how personal, by leaking constantly to the press and by making his own nasty, off-hand public comments.

Keep in mind, Spitzer was charging Dick Grasso with making too much money. Yet, as chronicled in my book on Grasso, "King of the Club," when Grasso refused to settle, Spitzer's "investigation" wound up probing whether Grasso had had sex with his secretary and fathered a child out of wedlock. The apparent effort to beat Grasso into submission included threats of tawdry press leaks about alleged personal indiscretions - allegations Grasso denies, and for which little evidence ever materialized.

The press downplayed Spitzer's early brush with scandal - his lying about how his father helped finance his campaign, a possible violation of campaign-finance laws. Reporters largely ignored the implications of this prosecutor threatening to put a "spike" through the heart of one of his targets - as he bullied Ken Langone, because Langone had decided to fight Spitzer rather than cave.

Kimberley Strassel:

Consider the report in the wake of a 2005 op-ed in this newspaper by John Whitehead. A respected Wall Street figure, Mr. Whitehead dared to criticize Mr. Spitzer for his unscrupulously zealous pursuit of Mr. [Hank] Greenberg. Mr. Spitzer later threatened Mr. Whitehead, telling him in a phone call that "You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done." Some months later, after more Spitzer excesses, Mr. Whitehead had the temerity to write another op-ed describing what Mr. Spitzer had said.

Within a few days, the press was reporting (unsourced, of course) that Mr. Whitehead had defended Mr. Greenberg a few weeks after a Greenberg charity had given $25 million to the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation -- a group Mr. Whitehead chaired. So Mr. Whitehead's on-the-record views were met with an unsourced smear implying bad faith. The press ran with it anyway.

In 2005, Mr. Spitzer went on national television to suggest that Mr. Greenberg had engaged in criminal activity. It was front-page news. About six months later, on the eve of a Thanksgiving weekend, Mr. Spitzer quietly disclosed that he lacked the evidence to press criminal charges. That news was buried inside the papers.

My former boss John Faso fought an uphill battle against Spitzer in the 2006 New York Gubernatorial race. Every media outlet was bowled over by the "Sheriff of Wall Street" and no one thought to ask the important questions about his duplicitous budget plan and obvious temperament issues. Throughout the campaign, John always remained steadfast in his characterization of his opponent and proved to be prescient in the end.

When asked for his reaction after Spitzer's fall from grace, Faso opinied, "I really don't feel vindicated. But I do feel when you look at the things I tried to raise in the campaign, one of the many things I said was that Eliot Spitzer had one set of rules for himself and one set for everyone else. I never would have imagined it could be so glaring."

John wrote a New York Post editorial shortly after Spitzer's resignation.

Some highlights:

Spitzer didn't seem to care who or what he ran over, so long as it advanced his political career. Yet many New Yorkers thought that was just fine, so long as he was going after "rich guys" or "big business."

What I didn't count on was the credulousness of the media in simply buying - hook, line and sinker - the claims made by Spitzer's campaign. The spin, buttressed by millions in TV advertising, created the absurd notion of one man able to change everything on "Day One."

There was little critical analysis of his record, including the fact that Spitzer had lied about the source of the questionable millions poured into his earlier campaigns. Apparently, lying about political money wasn't relevant, since he was standing up for truth and righteousness.

Newspapers endorsed him (even ones that knew better, like The Post), paying little attention to Spitzer's tactics as AG or the fiscal house of cards created by his proposals. News "analysis" was often no more than reporting the latest polls or which candidate had raised the most money.

The media treated the race as a foregone conclusion. One prominent New York journalist even addressed an open letter to the new governor the day before the election.

And, we should be cheering for this guy to make a comeback as a public servant?

I Want My Non-Red Meat Meal and Fruit Only Dessert, and I Want It Now!

Via Debbie Schlussel

Another entitled government blowhard acting true to form. This time it's Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Mr Rudd, who had attended the Pacific Islands Forum, was told by the 23-year-old flight attendant that his request for a "special" meal - he is on a meat-free diet - could not be met.

Sources said the PM reacted "strongly" and a heated exchange followed. The attendant burst into tears and reported the matter to the senior cabin attendant.

Apparently, it's happened before:

During a flight between Sydney and Canberra last June he became "extremely irritated" when the only food on offer was gourmet sandwiches, rather than a hot meal, a source said.

These trips are costing the Australian taxpayers $28,000 an hour.

Where's the humility? Kevin Rudd works for the taxpayer, not the other way around.

Tragedy in Binghamton

Without a doubt, one of the reactions to the spree killings in Upstate New York will be the advocacy for stricter gun laws.

As always, John Lott, brings clarity to the situation


You would think that it would be an important part of the news stories for a simple reason: Gun-free zones are a magnet for these attacks. Extensive discussions of these attacks can be found here and here. We want to keep people safe, but the problem is that it is the law-abiding good citizens, not the criminals, who obey these laws. We end up disarming the potential victims and not the criminals. Rather than making places safe for victims, we unintentionally make them safe for the criminal.

At some point, you would think the media would notice that something is going on here, that these murderers aren’t just picking their targets at random. And this pattern isn’t really too surprising. Most people understand that guns deter criminals.

If a killer were stalking your family, would you feel safer putting a sign out front announcing, “This home is a gun-free zone”? But that is what all these places did.

Read the whole article.

From an earlier article:

...attacks... at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb., or Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City or the recent attack at the Tinley Park Mall in Illinois or all the public schools attacks, all these cases had one thing in common: They took place in “gun free zones,” where private citizens were not allowed to carry their guns with them.

The malls in Omaha and Salt Lake City were in states that let people carry concealed handguns, but private property owners are allowed to post signs banning guns and those malls were among the few places in their states that chose to post such signs. In the Trolley Square attack an off-duty police officer fortunately violated the ban and stopped the attack. The attacks at Virginia Tech or the other public schools occured in some of the few areas within their states that people are not allowed to carry concealed handguns.

Most people understand that guns deter criminals. The problem is that instead of gun-free zones making it safe for potential victims, they make it safe for criminals.

Letting civilians have permitted concealed handguns limits the damage from attacks. A major factor in determining how many people are harmed by these killers is the amount of time that elapses between when the attack starts and when someone with a gun is able to arrive on the scene.

In cases from the church shooting in Colorado Springs, Colo., last December, where a parishioner who was given permission by the minister to carry her concealed gun into the church quickly stopped the murderer, to an attack last year in downtown Memphis, to the Appalachian Law School, to high schools in such places as Pearl, Miss., concealed handgun permit holders have stopped attacks well before uniformed police could possibly have arrived.

Twice this year armed Israeli citizens have stopped terrorist attacks at schools (once by an armed teacher and another by an armed student). Indeed, despite the fears being discussed about the risks of concealed handgun permit holders, I haven’t found one multiple-victim public shooting where a permit holder has accidentally shot a bystander.

With about 5 million Americans currently with concealed handgun permits in the U.S. and states starting having right-to-carry laws for as long as 80 years, we have a lot of experience with these laws, and one thing is very clear: Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding and lose their permits for any gun-related violation at hundredths or thousandths of one percentage point. We also have a lot of experience with permitted concealed handguns in schools.

Prior to the 1995 Safe School Zone Act, states with right-to-carry laws let teachers or others carry concealed handguns at school, and several states still allow this today. And there is not a single instance that I or others have found where this produced a single problem. There are today even some universities, including large public universities such as
Colorado State University and the University of Utah, that let students carry concealed handguns on school property.

With all the news media coverage of the types of guns used and how the criminal obtained the gun, at some point the news media might
begin to mention the one common feature of these attacks: they keep occurring in gun-free zones.

Remember this tragedy at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, TX in 1991?

Dr. Suzanna Hupp talks about the Virginia Tech massacre: another "gun free zone" tragedy.

Additionner des Carottes et des Navets*

Can the Baseball Tonight crew please stop referring to Jason Giambi as "The Giambino?"

The real Bambino was a baseball icon, who despite being a drinker, a philanderer and gambler, still managed to hit an amazing amount of home runs and rank in the top 5 in 7 different batting categories.

On the other hand, Jason Giambi, while being everyone's favorite teammate, is a juice-ridden has been whose claim to fame is his "non-apology" apology and incredible shrinking head.

The before/after:

* In support of the Francophonie and their plight.

The Globe Gone?

As reported by its competitor, the Boston Globe is under fire from its parent company.

The New York Times [NYT] Company has threatened to shut down the Boston Globe if the paper doesn’t come up with $20 million in cuts within 30 days in a dramatic act of brinksmanship at the beleaguered broadsheet.

Like many other newspapers, the Globe has been in decline for years.

The sports section, once the most respected in the business, featured, at different times: Peter Gammons, Will McDonough, Bob Ryan, Bud Collins, Leigh Montville, Jackie MacMullan, Ron Borges, Gordon Edes, Lesley Visser and Peter May.

The editorial page is hard left: conservative Herald columnist Michael Graham refers to the newspaper as the Boston Globe-Democrat.

Boston Globe editor, Martin Baron, recently spoke of the current crisis at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Like their amis across the pond, our French speaking neighbors to the north are desperately trying to retain their language. They have recently instituted French language rules for video games.

French language rules on video games come into force today prohibiting the sale of new English-only video games in Quebec if a French version is available.

Of course, the business world is concerned that the new law will lead to lost profits and bankruptcy.

Ronnie Rondeau, co-owner of the eight Game Buzz stores around Montreal, said he even fears bankruptcy.

"I'm afraid it's going to cost me my business," Rondeau said. "If it really was going to make a difference, I'd be for it, but only a small number of people want to play in French. The rest don't care.

Raffy Boudjikanian, who writes a gaming column for the West Island Chronicle, agrees. "Why am I going to wait for five more months when the next big game is right there in Plattsburg?"

This is typical French behavior. Who cares about crippling someone's business, as long as they're speaking French in the unemployment lines.

France has been battling the encroachment of the English language for years.

French was the lingua franca in diplomatic circles from the 17th Century until the post-World War I period when it was usurped by English. Up until very recently, French and English were the only two languages on passports. Presently, the UN Secretariat uses two working languages, English and French, and French is still the official language of the Universal Postal Union.

Regardless, native French speakers are fighting an uphill battle. In 2005, French was the 18th most practiced language when taking into account native speakers. Considering France's incredibly low birth rate, la langue française is certain to drop even further down the importance scale.

The Texas Con Man Strikes Back (Weakly) - UPDATED

This couldn't have happened to a more deserving person. Clemens has always been a first rate ass. The whole "family man who outworks everyone" image was shattered when we found out he was two-timing Debbie with a 15 year old and doing all those high octane workouts whilst juiced to the hilt.

Of course, Clemens only played because he loved the game; it had nothing to do with money. Remember when he left Boston because he wanted to be closer to Texas and then signed with the Toronto Blue Jays? And, of course, his ridiculous spectacle in the Yankee Stadium owner's box:

"Well, they came and got me out of Texas, and I can tell you it's a privilege to be back," he said. "I'll be talking to y'all soon."

They came and got him out of Texas for a mere 4.5 million a month and 6 wins. Great bargain...

Listen to the Ethel Merman wannabee Suzyn Waldman make a fool out of herself.

Does John Sterling still think that the Texas Con Man will be a Hall of Famer?

Kudos to Will McDonough for calling him out to his face. And, of course, a shout out to Dan Duquette for being right all along.

The final indignity: snubbed by the Yankees.

Is he the Antichrist or just a over hyped choke artist?

Limp Wristed Turds

Regardless of the legal requirements of MTA workers, this proves the existence of an underclass that I like to refer to as the "limp wristed turd." Yes, they are still around. You know the type. Men that watch women struggling with heavy bags without making a move to help. Limp wristed turds always are the ones that turn their heads when an elderly or handicapped person is having trouble crossing the street. My sister and I once watched two limp wristed turds step over the head of an elderly woman who had fallen by the side of the road.

This story from the NY Post takes turdom to a new level.

Maria Besedin told her terrifying story two days after Queens Supreme Court Justice Kevin Kerri gan tossed her lawsuit -- ruling the booth clerk and conductor who saw a pervert drag her off in 2005 had no obligation beyond calling cops.

"I held his gaze for at least five seconds, yelling, screaming, 'Help! Help!' " Besedin said of station agent John Koort.

But all he did was press the panic button to notify his bosses of trouble.

John Koort, the station agent, stays in his booth while a young defenseless woman is dragged away to be raped. He does nothing but call the police from his booth. I realize that chivalry is dead, but how about just being a man?

More witnesses:

Harmodio Cruz, a conductor on a train leaving the station while the attack was under way, called in a trouble report but never stopped the train.

New York has its share of good guys and heroes, but this is disturbing.

And, of course, if New York City didn't have some of the most restrictive gun laws on the books, this woman could have protected herself. But, remember, we don't need to carry guns to protect ourselves, we have the police. And, when they can't get there on time, you'd better hope that you don't have to rely on a limped wristed turd.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Myth vs. Reality

Could this be true? Are political partisans really lying about gun statistics to advance their anti-gun rhetoric in the hopes of eroding 2nd amendment rights?

Hard to believe

A Rare Flash of Common Sense?

Connecting the line between charitable giving deductions and the willingness to give to charity, the United States Senate has seen the light.

Here's what it boils down to: If you limit deductions for charitable contributions, you limit the contributions given.

Of course, our President was hoping for a cash grab to subsidize his socialist health care plan.

David Axelrod: The Prequel

Over in Massachusetts, there exists a Governor who may be as out of touch as our empty-headed David Paterson.

Was it simply happenstance that four ex-staffers of Governor Deval Patrick found highly lucrative positions at quasi-public agencies that he recently vowed to reform?

Patrick ordered up a probe of salaries at quasi-public agencies last week as taxpayer outrage peaked over his tapping of Sen. Marian Walsh for a long-vacant $175,000-a-year post with the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority.

Of course the agencies are defending their benefactor.

At MassTech, spokeswoman Emily Dahl said the agency received “zero pressure from the governor’s office to hire Mr. Anderson. He has a unique combination of state policy experience and expertise in international law. He was perfect for this job and we are lucky to have him.”

I'm certain that voters in Massachusetts will be happy to know that Patrick plans to run for re-election. The numbers don't look good though; he may go down in history as Massachusetts' most unpopular Governor. Of course, these are the same people who voted against repealing the state income tax. Masochists?

Apples and Oranges

Miley Cyrus, the new Judy Garland?

Yeah, right, and Jessica Simpson is the new Tammy Wynette.

Judy Garland was a performer that had a multi-generational pull. What is the demographic makeup of the typical Hannah Montana concert?

As far as films go--Hannah Montana: The Movie vs. The Wizard of Oz... Hmm...

What will Miley Cyrus do to top Meet Me in St. Louis and Easter Parade? Hannah Montana: Behind the Blow? (apologies to Terrance and Phillip)

Give me a break.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sodom By The Sea

This could be the last year for Coney Island. It's hard to believe. Can you imagine a world without the Mermaid Parade? Where will Marty Markowitz hand out his palm cards?

If you haven't been to Coney Island and experienced its glories: the Cyclone, the Freak Show, frog legs at Nathan's, the Mermaid Parade, etc., plan to take the subway to Stillwell Avenue this summer.

I always liked to test my nerves by walking on the pier and dodging the fish hooks. Seriously though, an American treasure is on its last leg. Make the trip if you can.

The best book about Coney Island is the still out of print "Sodom by the Sea" by Oliver Pilat. For something available, check out, "Amusing the Millions" and "Good Old Coney Island."

Her Majesty Already Has One

NEWSFLASH: Everyone who wants one, already has one. Can't our underwhelming President come up with a unique gift to give to one of the most distinguished public figures of our time?

It's pre-loaded with songs, photos, videos and audios including two of President Obama's speeches. The audacity...

God help us, this goofball can't even master the basic protocols when dealing with foreign heads of state. How embarrassing. What's worse? Dissing one of our oldest and most loyal allies with the stupid Region 1 DVDs, the "special partnership" terminology instead of "special relationship", the no state dinner and non-invite to Camp David or the weirdo Nowruz holiday greetings to Iran's mullahs?

Four years seems like a very long time.

Naivity Is No Way To go Through Life

I wasn't planning on blogging on this, but a friend (hat tip - Al) sent me the link in utter disgust.

I can't believe that we are so politically correct in this country that we can continue to open ourselves up to danger time and time again.

Simpleton Quiz:

What border poses the most problems?

A. The Mexican border with the highest number of illegal crossing in the world
B. The Canadian border with effete French cheese connoisseurs and hockey players

Here's a statistic:

The Border Patrol says its 1,500 agents along the 4,000-mile northern border were involved in the arrests of 7,925 individuals last year. During the same time, 705,005 people were arrested on the southwestern border with Mexico, where 16,500 agents are assigned.

The new ignorant Homeland Security Chief wants to treat each border with parity.

...she (Janet Napolitano) stressed the "need to be sensitive" to concerns in Mexico - and among lawmakers from southern U.S. border states - that there be parity in the security measures taken on both frontiers.

Napolitano said there's still a feeling among some U.S. lawmakers that "we shouldn't go light on one (border) and heavy on the other," despite their vastly different security challenges.

Can you believe that these people are supposed to protect us?

Another kernel of wisdom from Napolitano via the Investor's Business Daily:

It was not terrorism, at least in the eyes of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. It was a "man-caused disaster" — you know, just like Pearl Harbor.

In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Napolitano said this word game was "perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear."

When a nuclear, biological or chemical device is detonated in or over an American city, will that be a matter of "nuance"?

Read the whole article. You'll be afraid, very afraid.