May 31, 2005
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.
Britain's Tony Blair speculated that a vote in his country may be post-poned for the time being.
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.
"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.
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:
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.
Not exactly the tasty news we were all expecting, but at least that mystery is solved.
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.
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.
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)
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...
My four-year old, Justin, had a blast too:
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.
May 30, 2005
The Llama Butchers looks forward to it. Enjoy!
Later we explored the amusement area of the park and got a bite to eat. This is me with my son, Ryan.
Later that night this Mets fan headed into enemy territory - Turner Field.
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
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!...
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.
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!!
And here's the stretch Hummer used by the wedding party:
Click Photo to EnlargeAin'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..."
May 29, 2005
May 18, 2005
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!
And the moonbats did not let me down. The LA Times reports today:
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".
In a new television campaign to be launched this week, MoveOn.org 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)...Sad, really. But amusing. Another golden opportunity for average Americans to see just how loony these folks really are.
...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.
May 17, 2005
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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