December 15, 2006

Fidel Fading Fast

So says U.S. Intelligence chief John Negroponte. It'd be ironic if he assumed room temperature in the early hours of January 1, which would be the 48th anniversary of Fulgencio Batista's fleeing the island nation from Castro's insurgency.

And, as all devout fans of the "Godfather" films will recall, it would also be the moment in the story when Al Pacino delivered his famous line:

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"I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!".

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December 14, 2006

Amanda's Back

Former RocketBoom.com videoblogger Amanda Congdon has signed on with ABCNews.com for a weekly video segment.

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For those of you not familiar with Amanda, she's smart, funny, irreverent and...yes...aptly fits my definition of eye candy. Her link is here.

More Amanda below the fold... more...

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December 13, 2006

SD Senator Suffers Stroke

Democrat Senator Tim Johnson has been hospitalized after apparently suffering a stroke. No word on his condition, but the political buzz is already making the rounds: South Dakota's Governor, Mike Rounds, is a Republican.

Should Johnson be incapacitated, Rounds would appoint a replacement (presumably a Republican) to finish out his term which expires at the end of 2008. In other words, there's a chance that the Senate could be tied at 50-50 with Dick Cheney being the tiebreaker - effectively giving control of the Senate to the GOP for the next two years.

This could get ugly. And it's probably the last thing this country needs right now.

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December 12, 2006

Listening To The Troops

Sean Hannity had an impromptu conversation with our soldiers in Mosel. AllahPundit at HotAir.com clipped the video.

Some people believe the media. Some people believe the "Iraq Surrender Group".

I believe these guys. Case closed. God Bless 'em.

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The Political Polarization Of America

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the many conditions that have created the highly partisan environment that we live in today. Ever since the end of Ronald Reagan's term, it seems that there has been a constant ratcheting up of negativity between the two opposing sides. Yes, politics has always been a contentious subject and of course you can find plenty of examples throughout American history to support an argument that "it's always been this way". But I disagree.

When the next Presidential election arrives, the U.S. will have spent the previous twenty years with an occupant of the Oval Office with either the name Bush or Clinton. Many point to the first term of the elder Bush as about the time that things started to get really nasty. And I tend to agree. But I don't agree that blame lies with Bush 41, Clinton or Bush 43. During this time, a lot of changes have been taking place in the arena of politics. more...

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Christmas: 1, PC Bullsh*t: 0

Two cheers for the Port of Seattle commission who pulled their heads out of their asses and put those beeyooteefull Christmas trees back up at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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I don't blame Rabbi Bogomilsky for requesting a lighted Menorah. I just can't stand the fact that we live in such a litigious, knee-jerk, CYA, politically-correct age that the commission's first reaction was to take them down in the first place (which is why they only get two cheers).

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December 11, 2006

Why Do We Love Jack Bauer?

I've heard a lot about the appeal of "24" over the years, but this quote over at Libertas really nails it:

Jack Bauer is a hero in the oldest and truest sense: He believes in something bigger than himself and is willing to die for it. He believes in America, our government, and the office of the President. HeÂ’s not some reluctant figure pushed to heroism. He enters the breach willingly. He is a patriot and heaven help those who are not.
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And that's so damn refreshing in a world of crappy, narcissistic, politically-correct "entertainment".

34 more days until the premiere of Season Six.

But who's counting?

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December 09, 2006

Diane Lane Photo Of The Week

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And this week's Diane Lane Netflix Pick of the Week:

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Must Love Dogs (2005)

Synopsis:
Divorcée Sarah Nolan (Diane Lane) isn't ready for romance. But when her sister (Elizabeth Perkins) signs her up for an online dating service, love-seeking mates come calling. While one Mr. Maybe (Dermot Mulroney) is rife with possibilities, another (John Cusack) is even more intriguing. Still, there's just one problem: While this second eligible bachelor's ad states that his dream woman "Must Love Dogs," neither he nor Sarah actually owns one.

Gary's take: Total chick flick about middle-aged dating from hell. But lots of fun and an ideal date movie. Cusack reprises the awkward, insecure (and quick-witted) type of leading man that he played in the film that made him a household name, "The Sure Thing". The photo above is a shot from the movie.

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December 08, 2006

Tonight...On BSG

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"I missed you, Lee."
"I missed you too, Kara."
"Sorry about kicking your ass in that boxing ring."
"Um, if memory serves, Starbuck, I believe I kicked your ass."
"Yeah, in your dreams."
"Shut-up and look serious for the camera."
"Wuss."

Okay, bygones...

Tonight's episode: Soylent Green is Cylons!

"The Passage"
9pm on Sci-Fi

I'm going to have to DVR this one and watch it late. Holiday stuff at the parent's condo, ya know.

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Boy Could We Use Someone Like Her At The U.N. Now

Former U.N. Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick has passed on at the age of 80. What a breath of fresh air she was at Turtle Bay.

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Another Ex-Donkey, Kirkpatrick gave a speech at the 1984 GOP Convention where she coined the term "blame America first" to describe the appeasement movement of squishy self-hating American Liberal Democrats who gathered for their own Convention in San Francisco one month before. A big chunk of that speech is posted at It Shines For All.

Here's a sample:

When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the "blame America first crowd" didn't blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn't blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When Marxist dictators shoot their way to power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of 100 years ago.

But then, they always blame America first.

The American people know better.

The charge against the Liberal Democrat Party as blaming America first is now a generation old. As a not-yet-registered 17-year old Democrat in 1984, it made me wince. I didn't want to believe that. But the charge has stuck. Why? Because it's true. And it's rare to find anyone nowadays - not even most Democrats - who can credibly deny it.

When America loses such strong advocates for liberty and freedom throughout the world, it becomes a weaker nation unless others stand up to take their places.

R.I.P.

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"Combating Autism Act" Passes Both Houses Of Congress

Heads to the President's desk to be signed into law.

The summary of the bill can be found here. The full text is here. In a nutshell, this act provides $1 Billion for research, screening, intervention and education on this mysterious condition.

Special thanks goes to Senator Rick Santorum of PA who personally championed this effort.

As some of you may already know, Autism is an issue that touches me and my family personally. Autism and Austistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are currently being diagnosed at a rate of 1 out of every 166 children.

Think about that for a moment. 1 in 166. Even if you suspect this is an overestimation, the odds of an ASD possibly affecting your child is extremely high in proportion to those of any other diagnosed illness.

Take from my personal experience that the key to facing this challenge is early detection and early intervention. I urge all parents to educate themselves about autism. And if you even remotely suspect that your child may be affected, I strongly recommend that you get an evaluation. Don't let the fear of a label deter you. Every month, every week, every day that passes is critical.

Find out more at AutismSpeaks.org.

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Buck "Frogers" In The 21st Century

I couldn't resist that one for this week's Friday WTF?.

A tree frog has miraculously come back to life after being accidentally frozen solid in a freezer in Australia.

The tiny frog was found covered in a layer of ice in a walk-in freezer - at -18C - at a Darwin cafeteria.

But - after defrosting - it fully recovered and started breathing again, reports the Australian Daily Telegraph.

Amazing.

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Is The Moonbat Brigade Going Soft On Bush?

I suppose the Democrat takeover of Congress has dealt a healthy dose of realism to the unhinged Left, but some of them seem to be actually...I don't know...mellowing? Remember that the one dream that united all the Bush-hating rutroots was impeachment, impeachment, impeachment.

Chris Bowers at MyDD.com yesterday:

Do I think that Bush has committed impeachable offensives? Probably. However, I would rather pursue a course of legislative action that would keep our caucus close to united, help large numbers of actual Americans, have a legitimate chance of passing both branches of Congress, conduct actual investigations and oversight and, if those investigations prove worthy, close by censuring Bush. I think is the appropriate and responsible way to act, a way that will help people, tarnish Bush, keep us popular, and keep our majorities. That is why you won't see me pushing for Bush's impeachment on this blog, or anywhere else, over the next two years.
Certainly there's dissent among the ranks when you read through the comments that follow. But other than possible censure based on investigations, Bowers is essentially "cutting and running" from his previous support for getting Bush at all costs.

Interesting. When finally presented with a chance of Democrats exercising power, some in the nutroots may be succumbing to the fear of losing it. The big question is: will the ground troops who have invested so much of themselves into this effort buy it? Most of them have never been all that concerned with what was the "appropriate and responsible way to act." We shall see.

In any case, it will definitely be fun to watch.

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December 07, 2006

Mary Cheney Expecting, Activists On Both Sides Take Their Cheap Shots

First of all, I'd like to extend my congratulations to Mary Cheney and her partner, Heather Poe, on their happy news. Too bad so many people see this event as a political football. And CNN is joyously stirring the pot.

On the Left, we have a gay activist group beating the drum about how sad it is for Mary that her father's evil boss and his Right-Wing minions are denying her and Heather the right to be happy.

Family Pride, which advocates on behalf of gay and lesbian families, noted that Virginia last month became one of 27 states with a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

"Unless they move to a handful of less restrictive states, Heather will never be able to have a legal relationship with her child," said Family Pride executive director Jennifer Chrisler.

The couple "will quickly face the reality that no matter how loved their child will be. ... he or she will never have the same protections that other children born to heterosexual couples enjoy," Chrisler said. "Grandfather Cheney will no doubt face a lifetime of sleepless nights as he reflects on the irreparable harm he and his administration have done to the millions of American gay and lesbian parents and their children."

A couple of points here. First, beyond the President's support for a Constitutional Amendment legally defining marriage as between one man and one woman (which probably doesn't have a prayer of ever happening), the Administration has done nothing to deny Mary Cheney and Heather Poe anything. The people of the Commonwealth of Virginia made that call.

Secondly, if groups like Family Pride weren't so aggressive in pursuing a redefinition of marriage, then bans such as the one that passed in Virginia would be viewed as unnecessary as a defensive measure. Support for the kind of legal rights afforded under a civil unions statute would be much easier to achieve. But anything short of complete legalization and validation of gay marriage is unacceptable to these folks.

And notwithstanding Family Pride's protestations, I'm sure "Grandfather Cheney" will be more likely facing a lifetime of joy at the prospect of another grandchild, rather than the "sleepless nights" that Ms. Chrisler no doubt hopes will plague him.

On the Right, there are some expressing dismay:

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America described the pregnancy as "unconscionable."

"It's very disappointing that a celebrity couple like this would deliberately bring into the world a child that will never have a father," said Crouse, a senior fellow at the group's think tank. "They are encouraging people who don't have the advantages they have."

"Unconscionable" is not exactly the word you should expect about a pregnancy from someone who claims to champion the value of human life. And Ms. Crouse might be surprised to find that Mary Cheney's desire to have a child probably has nothing to do with "encouraging" people who don't even need encouragement if they truly desire the same thing.

My point here is that people can have differing opinions on the issue of gay marriage. But when public policy advocates on both sides are more focused on treating such occasions as opportunities to advance their own cause than allowing Cheney and her family to enjoy the moment and repecting their privacy, it really disgusts me. And shame on CNN for seeking these people out to give them that opportunity.

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December 06, 2006

Three Cheers For Norway!

No taxes on lap dances!

Especially good news for the men of neighboring Sweden, who may be quite interested.

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Dear.God.Please.NO!

Paris Hilton wants to have kids:

Paris Hilton says she wants to have children — soon.

The partying heiress says that hanging around with her new best friend, Britney Spears, and Spears' two tykes has made her want to reproduce.

“It’s been my dream to have four babies by 30,” the 25-year-old heiress announced, reports Life & Style Weekly. And Hilton thinks she’s highly qualified for motherhood, explaining: “I look after animals, so I’d have a lot to give my kids.”

GO AWAY! Far away.

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Dem Shocker: Pelosi's Hand-Picked Intel Chair Actually Wants To Win In Iraq

OK, so Hastings was not a viable choice. Harmon lost out because the Speaker-to-be has personal issues with her. Now the man who Nancy Pelosi has chosen to Chair the House Intellingence Committee - Rep. Silvestre Reyes - states we need more troops in Iraq and we need to defeat the insurgency?

This one will have many Dems scratching their heads and the nutroots screaming at the top of their lungs. Don't get me wrong, I'm pleasantly surprised that he won't be pushing "Operation Cut And Run", but who saw this coming?

Well, Pelosi for one.

But when asked what he told Pelosi about his thinking on Iraq, Reyes replied: “What I said was, we can’t afford to leave there. And anybody who says, we are going pull out our troops immediately, is being dishonest … We’re all interested in getting out of Iraq. That’s a common goal. How we do it, I think, is the tough part. There are those that say, they don’t care what Iraq looks like once we leave there. Let’s just leave there. And I argue against that. I don’t think that’s responsible. And I think it plays right into the hands of Syria and Iran.”
So how do you anti-war Lefties like your Speaker now? Inquiring minds want to know.

***UPDATE: Curt at Flopping Aces clipped some reax from the peanut gallery at DU. As expected, vile and frothing at the mouth.END UPDATE***

Ed Morrissey points out that this is yet another example of how Pelosi has spent the last month seriously undermining her own credibility:

"Pelosi stripped Harman of the chair that she gave Reyes primarily because of her support of the war in Iraq and a lack of partisan animus on Harman's part. While Reyes promised to vigorously pursue the issues of the warrantless NSA surveillance of international calls and other counterterrorism efforts by the Bush administration, clearly the Democrats expected someone less inclined to keep troops in Iraq, let alone add to the contingent. Even Harman has not gone on record in support of an expansion of troop levels.

So why did she replace Harman? It seems obvious that the decision had much more to do with personal issues than with policy. Democrats may want to rethink her Speakership in light of the series of strange decisions she has made in the wake of their victory. The rule of personal whim has just about destroyed their momentum and may have set up the House caucus for a devastating split at the moment of their greatest unity in a generation."

This is pretty significant. Because the more split this thin majority is over the next two years, the less damage they can do.

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December 05, 2006

The Internet Is A Wonderful Thing, But...

The overwhelming speed with which information gets reported and reacted to around cyberspace leads to so many people (usually under anonymous terms) acting in ways that are truly awful: angry, hostile, arrogant, defensive, incoherent and sometimes just outright nasty.

Consider the lastest episode with Gwyneth Paltrow. Here we have an actress who is quoted - possibly erroneously - by the international media as saying something that is considered by probably a majority of her fellow Americans to be somewhat insulting.

OK. Now here's my reaction. Are you ready? more...

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December 04, 2006

Tom Returns To Mets

This news is a little stale but as a Mets fan I wanted to weigh in on it. I'm really happy Glavine will be coming back to New York for what will likely be his last year in MLB. Just ten wins away from number 300, he's considered his options (in the context of his family who lives in Atlanta) and will be taking the mound for the Mets come April.

Not only is Glavine a solid arm in the rotation but I've always liked him, even when he was striking out Mets as a member of the Braves. Some fans hold a bit of a grudge against him because of his role with the player's union and the strike of '94 but Glavine has always been a class act. The head office in Flushing entered into a gentleman's agreement with the future Hall-of-Famer last year when they renegotiated his contract (something Glavine was not obliged to do), in which both parties would not act on their respective off-season options in order that Glavine could consider an opportunity to sign with Atlanta, if there was one.

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The Mets had asked Glavine to give them a definitive answer before the start of the winter meetings in Orlando so they'd know whether or not they needed to pull the trigger on a deal for his replacement. Glavine could have reneged and waited for Atlanta to clear some salary, but he acted in good faith with the Mets and re-signed last Friday.

The strain caused by Tom's separation from his kids during the school-year portion of the MLB season has been tough. As a father, I can completely sympathize. And if the team had just given him some more run support a couple of years ago, he may very well have already hit his 300-win goal which is his stated trigger for retirement. It's extremely likely that number 300 will occur sometime this summer and it'll be nice for him to hit it as a Met, making his years here in New York that much more meaningful.

Welcome back, Tom. We would have missed ya.

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"Toot, Toot, Chugga, Chugga...WTF?"

Greg Page is officially leaving The Wiggles. Permanently. The original word was that he would be taking an extended leave of absence from touring, due to illness. But now it looks like the torch (and the Yellow Jersey) is being passed on to a replacement.

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Here you go. Now you can sing those songs, over and over...

OK, full disclosure here. I have a six-year old who is an absolute Wiggles freak. So a major change like this is going to have a profound ripple effect in my home life.

I hope that Greg's health issues are not serious. Clearly the grueling schedule has taken its toll. And I wish Sam Moran the best of luck. He's got big shoes (and a big shirt) to fill.

The biggest winners in this situation: eBay sellers. Take my word on that one.

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