May 31, 2005

Remembering Reagan...

Hard to believe that it was almost one year ago that we lost the Gipper. MisterPolitics has a great tribute video. You can watch it here.

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France's "Non" vote throws future of EU into doubt...

Sunday's devastating vote against ratification of the European Union Constitution by the a 56% majority in France may embolden other European nations to follow suit.

While EU leaders called for calm, the Netherlands is now lining up to voice their opposition as well. Polls indicate the rejection by the French has increased percentage of those Dutch citizens registering opposition.

A June 16-17 summit is certain to become a crisis meeting, as the leaders try to stop the "no" momentum ahead of other referendums this year in Luxembourg, Denmark and Portugal.

Nine countries, accounting for almost half the EU's population, have ratified the treaty, but all the members have to approve it for the constitution to gain the force of law.

Britain's Tony Blair speculated that a vote in his country may be post-poned for the time being.
"Underneath all this there is a more profound question, which is about the future of Europe and, in particular, the future of the European economy and how we deal with the modern questions of globalization and technological change," Mr. Blair told journalists during a vacation in Italy. Nine European Union members ratified the constitution before the French referendum.
Add that to a slide in the Euro v. the US Dollar over the last couple of days and things ain't lookin' too rosey on the Continent.

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Dispatches From The Red States (Concluded)...

Thursday (23rd), we took the two older kids to Six Flags' American Adventure in Marietta which is pretty much a kiddy park. But Ryan and Justin had lots of fun. Unfortunately, the city blew a transformer early in the afternoon toward the end of our visit theres and at that point there was only one ride that worked - the one that didn't need power:

But we had pretty much had our fill up to the point anyway.

Later in the evening, Cliff and Lorie treated us to dinner at P.F. Chang's - wonderful Chinese cuisine - and dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. Having been sufficiently stuffed with food, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

Friday (24th) was a "packing" day in preparation for the drive back. Cliff and I played with the kids at the hotel pool while the girls went out to lunch and shopped. I ended up with a cast-iron dinner bell that somehow will manage to get attached to my house.

The last night in Georgia was a barbecue at Lorie's mom's house. We got to meet the girlfriend of Lorie's brother, Grant. Her name is Bogdana, but everyone calls her Bogi. She's originally from Bulgaria and she's here pursuing her Ph.D in economics from Emory University. A really nice girl, she put her au pair experience to good use with the boys. And lastly there were the goodbyes all around.

And of course endless picture taking, copies of which I need to email back to Georgia asap. Here is my youngest, Kevin, with his Auntie Lorie:

At that point, the kids were starting to ask, "when are going home?" God bless 'em, they were really good that whole trip.

So the next day, with my Bush/Cheney '04 carafe filled with coffee and the van loaded up, we got on the road about 8:15am. Our stopover was again in Richmond, VA but at a different hotel. Sunday we were back on the highway headed North and after about 10 long hours (including pit stops) we hit the Connecticut border - happy to be home but missing everyone we left behind.

Hopefully, we'll be able to go back one day soon.

Previous Dispatches: Part 5, Part 4, Part 3, Part 2 & Part 1

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Ex-FBI Official: I am "Deep Throat"...

W. Mark Felt, a former senior FBI official reveals to Vanity Fair that he was Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's source for his investigation into the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard M. Nixon in 1974. MSNBC reports that Felt, now 91, revealed his identity in a recent interview with the magazine.

Not exactly the tasty news we were all expecting, but at least that mystery is solved.

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Democrats undoing their own legacy...

Dan Henninger writes in Friday's about how the current Democrat "strategery" flies in the face of its past successes:

A bluff is an attempt to divert and delay reality. But if you look long enough at the Democratic opposition to Priscilla Owen, Janice Brown and John Bolton, it is impossible not to notice contradictions that undermine the Democratic Party's most basic sense of self.

On the Owen and Brown nominations especially, the Democratic faith system falters badly. Yes, we know Priscilla Owen has ruled "in favor of corporations" and Judge Brown went the wrong way in a lead-paint decision and both are a threat to "privacy" concerns. And for latter-day Democrats all this matters. But I don't see how the Democrats get around at least some voters noticing that obliterating both Priscilla Owen and Janice Brown bears false witness to the party's foundational achievements.

Above all else, from FDR onward, the Democratic Party leveled the American playing fields. We can argue the details and methods for getting there, but it's a done deal. Whether Title IX, women in the professions or blacks in formerly all-white industrial unions, this is the party's legacy, its crown jewel.

But if a smart white woman from good-ole'-boy Texas and a smart conservative black woman from California pose an unacceptable threat to national equilibrium, then years of Democratic moral claims on behalf of "all" women and minorities were hooey. There never was any intention to let conservative women or blacks advance into positions of public authority, not then or now.

The Democrat Party of Howard Dean and Teddy Kennedy bears little resemblance to the party of FDR and John F. Kennedy. Which is why they keep losing.

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Quote of the Day...

"Bernie can call himself anything he wants. He is basically a liberal Democrat."
- DNC Chair Howard Dean, when asked by Meet The Press's Tim Russert about whether there's room in the Democrat party for a self-declared Socialist.

So if - according to Dean - a Socialist is "basically a liberal Democrat" then doesn't that make a liberal Democrat basically a Socialist?

Hat Tip: Best of the Web (second item)

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Dispatches From The Red States (Part 5)...

Wednesday (25th).

"Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee,
It gets hotter than a hoochie coochie..."

Well, that's all well and good but once you get in the Chattahoochee it's colder than a witch's teat in a brass bra. As I discovered...

We headed down to Jones Bridge Park along the Chattahoochee river that day. The water was pretty cold. In fact, I don't think I'll have to worry about birth control anymore as I may have permanently disabled myself. Actually, it was refreshing and I think I surprised the heck out of everybody when I submerged myself.

My four-year old, Justin, had a blast too:

The biggest problem we had was avoiding the poison ivy which grew wildly along the river banks.

After dinner, the two old married couples got together to watch the season finale "Lost" (babysitting courtesy of the grandparents). I only started watching this part-way into the season at the insistence of my sister-in-law and had to catch the older episodes in repeats. But it was worth it because it's become my favorite TV show (after "Battlestar Galactica", of course).

It was margaritas all around, topped off by a rather tasty red wine called "Fat Bastard". Unfortunately, I found out it was from France, so I can't like it too much.

Slept well that night. Good thing I didn't have to get up early the next morning.

Next up: Dinner out, a barbecue and saying goodbye...
Previous Dispatches: Part 4, Part 3, Part 2 & Part 1

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May 30, 2005

Diane Lane Photo of the Week...

Very late. But since I missed two Saturdays in a row...

I know how much Steve over at The Llama Butchers looks forward to it. Enjoy!

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Dispatches From The Red States (Part 4)...

Tuesday (24th). We all headed up to Stone Mountain Park that morning. Below is a carving in the huge precipice of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General "Stonewall" Jackson. Students of history need no explanation. Suffice to say that these are the biggest heroes of the South.

I had to explain to my son that Abraham Lincoln was NOT in the carving and it was probably better to just leave it at that.

Later we explored the amusement area of the park and got a bite to eat. This is me with my son, Ryan.

Notice the "W - Still the President" hat. One of the few places I can wear this without getting dirty looks.

Later that night this Mets fan headed into enemy territory - Turner Field.

In all honesty, it was one of the nicest ball parks I had ever been to. It also has lots of attractions that Ryan really enjoyed. Lorie was all decked out in Braves red, so I kept close to her and Cliff because I figured they neutralized my Mets shirt and hat. And of course, the Braves threw the Mets an old-fashioned 4-0 ass-whuppin'. But we had fun anyway.

At least I think we did. Went through a lot of cash on the $6.25 Icehouse beers that night. Hmm.

Next up: A dip in the 'hootch and getting "Lost" over margaritas...
Previous Dispatches: Part 3, Part 2 & Part 1

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Dispatches From The Red States (Part 3)...

On Monday (23rd), we took the kids to a cool children's museum in downtown Atlanta, then headed over to Centennial Park. There were fountains that the kids could run through and cool off. I got cooled off myself. I was feeling a little nutty. CNN.

News Channel of choice for Fidel Castro.
And FoxNews...

News Channel of choice for most of the American people.

Later was the big night! Star Wars: Episoded III Revenge of the Sith. My one word review: AWESOME! Everything I'd hoped it would be. I'll save commentary and review until after I've seen it at least one more time.

Here was one little Jedi who was psyched up for the show - my oldest.

Up Next: Stone Mountain Park and Play Ball!...

Previous Dispatches: Part 2 & Part 1

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Dispatches From The Red States (Part 2)...

Sunday (the 22nd) wasn't a long drive but it probably took more out of us because of the busy days leading up to it. At the is point in the trip we switched gears and stayed for six days straight. It was nice to be settled for a little while.

Ever since they got married, my wife's brother and sister-in-law had been begging us to come down and visit them. With three young kids, this would be a challenge. But the trip down to the wedding made it a must. And they got what they asked for - we came down in full force!

We had a fantastic time and they got to spend some quality time with their nephews. Cliff and Lorie live in the Atlanta 'burbs just outside the perimeter. They have a gorgeous house and hosted the brood that first night for dinner. The kids were bouncing off the walls after being cooped up in the van all day but we managed to get the tour.

I took no photos that day because it was pretty hectic. When my head hit the pillow that night at the hotel, sleep instantly took me. Unfortunately, Kevin (my youngest) had a tough time getting used to the new digs and had us up a little that night. But the next morning we started our Georgia adventure.

Next up: Downtown Atlanta and (at last!!) Star Wars...
Previous Dispatch: Part 1

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Dispatches From The Red States (Part 1)...

Well, as it turned out it wasn't the nightmare I'd feared it would be traveling over two-thousand miles round trip with a family of five. We had our share of rough patches on the road but all in all the kids were great.

First let me say that it's been almost five years since I had been down South and I was reminded of what I'd always come to know whenever I travel in that part of the country - the people are nicer. I don't mean that in every case folks in the North are not nice. Usually in the privacy of their own home we're quite friendly. It's in public where we seem to change.

Generally speaking, once you cross the Mason-Dixon line, people tend to be much friendlier to strangers. They make eye contact, they asked you "how're ya doin' today?" and when you talk to them they don't automatically assume you're an a-hole to be avoided. I don't know if it's the density of the population or its diversity but it seems that in the Northeastern section of the U.S. the people can be as cold as the winters. It's very sad. And it's one of the reasons I found myself constantly turning to my wife and saying "tell me again why it is we live up there and not down here".

I encourage everyone up North who has never or rarely been out to see the rest of this great country of ours to pay it a visit. A little interaction will bring a profound change of perspective. OK, off the soapbox and on to the trip...

Thursday and Friday (19th & 20th) were travel days. Day One: Over the Tappan Zee bridge and down through New Joisey to pick up I-95 for the rest of the day. Stopover was in Richmond, VA. All in all a pretty big accomplishment with a nine-year old, five-year old and two-year old in tow. Day Two: Continue down I-95 with a right-turn towards Raleigh, NC. Then good old Route (pronounced "root") 1 to Sanford.

Saturday was a down-home wedding celebration for my nephew and his new bride. Congratulations Sgt. and Mrs. Jeffery Armstrong!!

It was the best picture I could get. Her head was down to avoid the bird seed being hummed at her face.

And here's the stretch Hummer used by the wedding party:

Click Photo to Enlarge

Ain't she a beauty?

At the reception the groom sang a romantic song to his new wife and the D.J. did something different - he had all the single guys circle the bride, get on one knee and sing a rendition of "You've lost that lovin' feeling" to lament the fact that Trish is now off the market. Nice touch.

Fortunately for me, I was sober that evening but the kids wiped me out. And early the next morning it was back on the road again.

Next up: "Ex-Donkey went down to Georgia..."

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Happy Memorial Day...

Remember the sacrifices of the fallen.

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May 29, 2005


I'm back from down South!
But I'm TOO DAMN TIRED to post anything substantial. I know a lot of stuff has gone down over the last week and a half but I was pretty much "unplugged" from the goings-on that made the news.
When I left Atlanta, some crazy bastard was perched atop a crane for the last four days because he's a wanted murderer and running from the police. Tied up traffic with rubber-necking something awful. Hope the little turd falls asleep and then...just falls.
I'll catch up with all the news of the day soon enough. My first batch of posts tomorrow will be a series called "Dispatches From The Red States". Lots of pictures. Stay tuned.
I need some sleep....

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May 18, 2005

Away On Vacation, Gandalf Is....

Until Return He Does, To These Blogs You Must Go:

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Red-State Bound...

Well, before the sun rises tomorrow, I will have loaded up my EM-50 Tactical Urban Assault Vehicle (the mini-van) and will be heading down South with the wife and kids for a short while. First stop: North Carolina for my nephew's wedding. Then I'm continuing down to Atlanta to visit my wife's brother and sister-in-law.

This is a family-centric trip so I will not be posting while I'm gone. Also, I have shut down comments so my e-mail inbox doesn't get bloated - nothing personal. I'm sure a lot will be going down during this time - the final Bolton vote, the "nucular" option, Howard Dean's stupid-comment-of-the-week and assorted moonbat outbreaks.

Due to traveling and the wedding and stuff, I'm probably not going to see Revenge of the Sith until early next week. Hey, I've waited twenty-seven years, what's a few more days?

Oh...and apparently I turned 38 today. Blast, even my Blogger Profile won't let me forget!

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I said it would happen, and it did...

Last month, I said that the moonbats would use "Revenge of the Sith" as anti-Bush and anti-GOP rhetoric:

But mark my words, I guaranty that when this movie comes out, there will be people on the Left who will seize upon some of its themes and try to concoct an analogy for the War on Terror, the Patriot Act and the popularity of Bush among the "dopes" in fly-over country - as well as the current "evil" Republican majority in the "Senate".

And the moonbats did not let me down. The LA Times reports today:
In a new television campaign to be launched this week, is drawing parallels between "Star Wars: Episode III The Revenge of the Sith" and the bipartisan battle over the confirmation process for federal judges. The television spots will compare the film's plot, specifically the intergalactic power grab by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, with the rise of Senator Bill Frist (R-Tenn)...

...In a related part of its campaign to preserve the filibuster, which allows Democratic senators to block votes for President Bush's judicial nominees. MoveOn also will send volunteers to some of the more than 3,700 theaters showing the film. Once there, the volunteers will urge moviegoers to call their senators to endorse the filibuster.

Sad, really. But amusing. Another golden opportunity for average Americans to see just how loony these folks really are.

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Vincente Fox - Diplomat...

New blog buddy, WuzzaDem, takes a satirical look at the Mexican President's recent controversy.

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Darth W. Vader?

Patrick Ruffini has some fun with Photoshop...
Embrace the dark side!
I admit I'm getting a lot of enjoyment over this whole brouhaha.

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May 17, 2005

$50 to read Dowd and Krugman?!?

The NY Times, facing flagging circulation for its print edition, has announced that it will make it's online op-ed and columnist pages a subscription service - $49.95/year. Great idea, huh?

This is so funny because Liberals looking to check out Maureen Dowd's latest snarky schoolgirl rants or Paul Krugman's fantasy economic theories will most assuredly pony up the half a C-note to feed their Bush-hating addiction. Of course, regular folks who normally check out the columns will no doubt seek other outlets of opinion for free.

Hat Tip: Best of the Web (8th item down)

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