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October 31, 2006

Kerry won't say he's sorry ('cause he's not)

WITH UPDATES BELOW (Including link to video of full speech)

I've mentioned before that, because of my blog's name, I often get visitors based on searches for "X is an idiot" or "Idiot X," where X is usually Bush or some other public figure. When it's Bush, I usually chuckle to myself, because this photo comic is where they end up.

You'll be pleased to know that today I've reached my one-day record for visitors based on searches for "John Kerry is an idiot." Which took them to this photo comic.

If you've paid attention to today's news, you'll have no question why these people are searching for "John Kerry is an idiot." Three posts, with video, at HotAir will explain it all.

First, Kerry makes an idiotic statement implying the American troops in Iraq are dumb and possibly lazy: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq."

Second, Kerry issues a press release attacking "White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts," and he claims the comment was about Bush, not the troops. You really have to read the whole press release at the link to get the true insane flavor.

Third, under pressure from people well beyond the "right wing nut-jobs," Kerry holds a short press conference in which he adamantly and angrily refuses to apologize. He says he wants to make it "crystal clear" that he won't apologize to anyone, and he says it was just a "botched joke" about Bush, not a comment about the troops.

All of which reminds me of the Tom Chapin kids' song called "Mikey Won't Say He's Sorry." With apologies to Chapin and his lyricist, John Forster, here's an adaptation of the opening of the song:

Kerry said, "You must get educated.
If you don't, you'll get stuck in Iraq."
And they said,"Say you're sorry" but he won't say he's sorry,
No he won't say he's sorry,
(Kerry:) Cause I'm not!

Well, McCain gave him hell for his statement,
So he spoke to the press at this spot.
Kerry won't say he's sorry.
(Press:) You won't say you're sorry?
No he won't say he's sorry,
(Kerry:) Cause I'm not!
He's not. He's not.
Kerry won't say he's sorry,
(Kerry:) Cause I'm not!

UPDATE (11/1): In the comments, someone calling himself Blutscheiss (which means "Bloods**t" in German -- really) takes me to task for not understanding what Kerry really meant. "No offense--and I don't wanna call you an uneducated idiot--but when I heard/saw his first dumb statement, I knew exactly who Kerry was talking about and it wasn't the troops."

Now, I may be an idiot, but I'm not an uneducated idiot, having spent a total of seven years at Ivy League institutions for college and law school, for whatever difference that can possibly make. I've spent some time since reading Bloods**t's comment imagining what Kerry could possibly have been saying, assuming Bloods**t is right that he meant Bush, and not the troops. Here's what I've come up with. I've added the verbiage that Kerry would have had to leave out to make this a comment about Bush. You judge whether this can possibly be what Kerry had in mind:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, and you're the President of the United States, you get our troops stuck in Iraq."

What's wrong with Bloods**t's apologetics for Kerry is that you'd have to include both of the bolded phrases for your comment to make any sense, assuming it's really about Bush. Bush isn't stuck in Iraq; it's our troops (assuming you believe that) that are stuck in Iraq. For Kerry to have been referring to Bush, you'd have to start from "you get our troops stuck in Iraq," proceed to "you get our country stuck in Iraq" (a metaphor), and end up with "you (Bush) get stuck in Iraq" (even more of a metaphor). So if Kerry actually meant Bush, and left out both bolded phrases, perhaps he is the Ivy-League-educated idiot.

And the evidence on my side? Apart from the obvious semantics and syntax, consider Kerry's history of trashing the troops.

(By the way, check out some of Mr. Bloods**t's comments at other blogs.)

UPDATE (11/1): Here's what Kerry's flacks claim he meant to say (via HotAir): "It's great to be here with college students. I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush." This basically includes the two bolded phrases in the update above -- not in terms but in essence. So perhaps, as I said, Kerry is an Ivy-educated idiot.

UPDATE (11/1): Ace has loads of fun. Here are the titles of some of his recent posts:

Breaking: George Allen Claims "Macaca" Slur "Intended As A Joke About President Bush"

Breaking: James Webb Says "Penis In Mouth" Passage Intended As "Critique of Unilateralist Neocon Foreign Policy"

Breaking: Bill Clinton Says Entirety of Deposition In Paula Jones Case "Intended As Elaborate Pun About George Bush's Intelligence"

Breaking: O.J. Simspon's New Book Claims Murders Were "Performance Art Misinterpreted By Critics"

Breaking: Mainstream Media Claims 40 Years Of Biased Liberal Coverage "Meant As First Draft Of Jazz-Rock Update of The HMS Pinafore"

Breaking: Scooter Libby Says Plame Disclosure "Just A Knock-Knock Joke Gone Terribly Wrong"

Breaking: Saddam Hussein Complains "No One 'Gets' Me"

Ted Kennedy: Chappequiddick Intended As Harmless "Pull My Finger" Gag

Breaking: Adolf Hitler's Last Words? "Tough Room"

And this from some troops in Iraq.

UPDATE (11/1): Via HotAir, here's a link to the video of Kerry's speech. In context, it pretty clearly wasn't a "botched joke." I'm even more convinced now that the joke was meant exactly the way it came out. Judge for yourself. It's near the beginning of the video, after two other jokes.

Click here to read more . . .

October 30, 2006

A story too good to check

This is from the annals of "stories too good to check" (see here for an explanation).

Imagine you're a Palestinian terrorist taking a shower and the Israelis arrive to arrest you. Now what do you do? Well, if you're the kind of Palestinian terrorist who's willing to speak to a reporter for WorldNetDaily (on condition on anonymity), then here's what you'd do:

JERUSALEM – A wanted Palestinian terrorist showering at his parents home last week escaped an Israeli arrest raid by jumping out a window and running naked through a densely populated refugee camp.
But that's not all, and here's one reason "the event is now well-known in his city."
"I entered to take a shower and suddenly while I was soaping myself I heard voices and people shouting. I didn't know what they were shouting but I heard the word 'jiash' (soldiers) and I understand that the Israeli army was attacking our house."

* * * * *

Continued the Brigades leader: "I went out of the bathroom and from the second floor I jumped to the roof of our neighbors. From this roof to another one and than to the street. Soldiers were already far from me at my parents house. I started running almost 200 meters (about 650 feet) in the camp street naked trying with acrobatic gestures to hide my buttocks and my sexual organ.

"If I saw somebody in front of me so I put one or two hands on my sexual organ; if there was nobody in front of me and I heard people speaking or laughing behind me I put my hands on my buttocks," related the terror leader.
Here are my questions for any of my readers who are scholars in Islamic law: What is the punishment for a guy who "put one or two hands on my sexual organ" -- in public? What is the punishment for a guy who "put my hands on my buttocks" -- in public? Something has to be lopped off, I would venture.

But as with all stories that are too good to check, this story has a lesson for the protagonist. Next time, he said, it will all be different.
He said he did not have his gun in the bathroom while taking a shower, but that he would never make that "mistake" again.

"Also next time I will be more careful and I will have my shower when I am wearing my clothes," he said.
Chalk this up as just another Israeli atrocity.

UPDATE: The Al-Aqsa Penis Brigade??

Click here to read more . . .

The World Series of Crime

After the St. Louis Cardinals stumbled into their World Series victory against the Detroit Tigers, it was announced today that the city of St. Louis beat out Detroit for the top violent crime rate in the country.

This actually might have happened last year, but the St. Louis police were refusing to accept reports of certain crimes and were writing informal "crime memos" to the files instead. This kept the rate of reported crime down. I wrote about it here. (The news article link at my earlier post doesn't work, but you can get the flavor of it from this article.)

Dan Collins, guest blogging at protein wisdom, makes the same connection. I commented over there that more dead people vote in St. Louis than in Detroit, too.

Click here to read more . . .

October 29, 2006

Ex-SAS soldier kicks mugger butt

If I ever have to walk through a tough neighborhood, I want to make sure this 70-year-old's got my back.

Click here to read more . . .

The demise of the Ford Taurus

The Ford Taurus, which ended production forever this past week, has been receiving some generally favorable press. Here is an obit for the Taurus published in the New York Times.

The Times says the debut of the Taurus was a big boost for Ford.

The Taurus broke the old mold of car development in Detroit, where designers passed off their ideas to engineers, who threw them over the wall to manufacturing experts, who never talked to the marketing staff. Instead, Taurus got everyone in a room together, creating a new paradigm that companies rushed to copy.
The Taurus and its cousin, the Mercury Sable, sold millions during its 20 years on the market.

Speaking as a Taurus owner for 13 years, and as someone who actually had an emotional attachment to the car, I can only say: GOOD RIDDANCE! GOOD FREAKIN' RIDDANCE!

Fact is, the car sucked eggs. Major eggs. My 1993 Taurus LX had less than 75,000 miles on it, but I have a thick file with all the repairs I had to have done on it. Just by way of example, I went through 5 or 6 starters and starter relays. The water pump and various other parts of the cooling system failed on me. And my all-time favorite (cue scary music): the head gasket. The head gasket failure, which Tauruses were extremely prone to suffering, cost about $3000 to fix and took a week or more at the dealer. Ford agreed to pay for the repair for some owners, but limited that offer to certain model years, thus stiffing a large number of us whose head gaskets survived a few months too long.

If anyone from Ford happens to stumble on this post, I just want to say that I bought a new car this year. It was a Toyota. Feel free to send me your apology by email: pillageidiot -at- hotmail -dot- com. I still won't buy another Ford, but at least an apology will make me feel the company is not malevolent but simply incompetent. Oh, and enjoy your evening.

Bonus question: I've written a couple of posts recently about Doug Gansler, the State's Attorney for Montgomery County and the Democratic candidate for Maryland Attorney General. What is the connection between Doug Gansler and my Ford Taurus? Click on the photo for the answer.

Click here to read more . . .

Image altering at CBS

CBS News has an article entitled "The Art Of Image Altering / Today's Technology Allows Picture Manipulation Into Images Very Different From The Original." The Lebanese smoke photoshop makes an appearance in the article.

I was really hoping that the article would also contain a mea culpa about Dan Rather's use of altered documents, but I guess that was really too much to expect.

Click here to read more . . .

Doug Gansler at the bar -- Part 2

A lawsuit challenged Doug Gansler's eligibility to become Attorney General of Maryland, alleging that he did not practice law in Maryland for at least 10 years. See here for background.

On Friday, a state trial judge ruled in Doug Gansler's favor.

[Judge] Silkworth wrote that the bar membership is a "crucial factor." He also counted Gansler's volunteer work for the Montgomery County Commission on Aging and the county's NAACP criminal justice committee, as well as work for family and friends.
Gansler or no Gansler, here's my problem with that analysis: I'm a lawyer for a federal agency, as you know. Federal law requires government lawyers to maintain at least one active bar membership, and it doesn't matter which one. I've retained my New York bar membership. New York now has a mandatory CLE program (which in my view is institutionalized corruption, but that's something for another day). The CLE requirements apply if you practice in New York; if you don't practice in New York, you're subject to the CLE requirements of your local jurisdiction. Washington, D.C., has no CLE requirement. So if Judge Silkworth's analysis is right, and bar membership is controlling, federal lawyers in Washington who are New York bar members are probably practicing in New York and are subject to New York's CLE requirements. In my job, I have absolutely nothing to do with New York, and it verges on absurdity to suggest that I'm practicing in New York.

UPDATE (11/3): Perhaps the final word on this matter comes from the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, which dismissed the appeal from Judge Silkworth's order on the ground that the case was brought too late. No ruling on the merits.

Click here to read more . . .

October 26, 2006

But they support the troops?

I was driving late this afternoon and turned the AM radio on. Sean Hannity's show was winding down, and a woman calling from California mentioned something so appalling that I wrote her local TV station's call letters on my finger when I reached a stop sign, and I looked this up at home.

Here's a video from the news on KMPH in Fresno about Cindy Sheehan's visit to the city. The news report interviews Robin Butterfield, the mother of Tony Butterfield, who was killed in Iraq a few months ago. Ms. Butterfield and others were protesting Sheehan's visit. She says, "I want to make sure people know how proud I am that my son was out there defending us, how proud I am to live in America."

Toward the end, you see a man identified as a member of Peace Fresno confronting the protesters. It's a little hard to hear exactly, but as far as I can tell, this is how the confrontation goes.

Man: How many people have lost somebody in the military?

Crowd: [Affirmative noises.]

Man: Died?

Voice: Yes.

Man: How?

Voice: He saved a hundred other marines.

Crowd: Yeah!

Man: Well, that wasn't hard. They go out and kill and rape. They sodomize children in front of their parents.
But he supports the troops. Right.

UPDATE: HotAir has a link to Tony Butterfield's obit and another link to the Peace Fresno press release about Sheehan's visit.

Click here to read more . . .


Today's assignment: Use the word "infill" in a sentence.

Correct answer: "Lookee over thar at that guy Albert Poojoles, who for all them bucks cain't even hit that ol' ball outta the infill."

Or else, read this AP article from Starbucks has a plan to have a total of 40,000 stores worldwide, and the company is concerned that you might have to walk an extra block to get that latte and possibly burn a tenth of the calories. So it's using a strategy of "infill," defined thus:

The coffee chain's aggressive growth also hinges on what the company calls “infill” — adding stores in cities where its mermaid logo is already commonplace. In some cases, that means putting a Starbucks within a block of an existing store, if not closer.
Which sounds as if Starbucks is imitating an episode of The Simpsons (fragment of audio in MP3 format here).

Click here to read more . . .

Jewish baseball roundup

According to this article, there are 13 Jews who have played major league baseball at some time this season. How do we know? To some extent, you have to rely on self-identification. It would be pretty unseemly to say, "Let me see your clippings."

The article is headlined, "2006 wasn’t bad for Jewish players." Yes, and 1912 wasn't bad for the Titanic. Eh, you read it and decide. Seems rather slim pickins to me. You're certainly never going to get a list like Jewish Nobel Prize winners. "Great Jewish baseball players" would be the title of one of those really thin books.

All I can say is that with the influx of talented Latino ballplayers, now's a good time to be a Catholic.

Click here to read more . . .

October 25, 2006

Doug Gansler at the bar

I've had my share of fun with Doug Gansler, the Montgomery County State's Attorney, now running for Attorney General of Maryland. But who knows what to make of this latest allegation that he is ineligible to serve as Attorney General, because he hasn't practiced law in Maryland for the requisite 10 years? (That was the requirement that led Maryland's highest court to strike Tom Perez, Gansler's challenger, from the Democratic primary in August.)

Stephanie Dray, our newest member of the Maryland Blogger Alliance, brings you the basic details of the controversy. As far as I can tell, the problem in the Perez case was that he was a member of the Maryland Bar for only 5 years. In the Gansler case, the question is whether time spent practicing in D.C. and as a federal prosecutor while a member of the Maryland Bar counts as practicing in Maryland.

The Washington Post quotes the Republican opponent, Scott Rolle, as saying, "It's a constitutional question that must be resolved." Rolle's campaign manager is the attorney for the plaintiff who's challenging Gansler's eligibility. What a small world!

To add to the merriment, Rolle claims that Gansler has referred to Rolle's home county, Frederick, as "Fredneck." Gansler's denial is peculiar: "Gansler denied ever uttering the phrase. 'The reporter knows it,' he said during the debate. 'It's rank hearsay.'" Objection overruled.

For more background, see the MoCoPolitics blog, which sees a real problem for Gansler, even though the writer supports him.

UPDATE (10/29): A judge rules in Gansler's favor.

Click here to read more . . .

Men and sex: the other 46% are lying

Big news (not): "A study released Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists found 54 percent of men and 19 percent of women admit they think about sex every day -- or several times a day -- in a society where they are bombarded with subconscious erotic images."

But if you believe this chick -- "pop psychiatrist Louann Brizendine, author of the best-selling new book 'The Female Brain'" -- "Men think about sex every 52 seconds, while a woman does only once a day." And the one time a day the woman thinks about it is when the man is asleep.

I don't know how that 52-second figure correlates with the figures in the first paragraph, but apparently if you were to examine the log of the male brain, this is what you'd get:

07:14:21 "I have a meeting at 5:30, so I'll be a little late for dinner, dear."

07:15:13 Nice butt there!

07:15:42 Huh? Drop Junior at school this morning? Thought that was tomorrow.

07:16:05 Look at the hoohahs on that babe in the lingerie ad!

07:16:34 "Sure, I'll put that old rug at the curb for garbage collection."

07:16:57 Boy, did we have some good times on that rug. Whoa, babeeee!

Every 52 seconds. Just like clockwork, we are.

But at least in England, thinking may be all a lot of them do: "Britons not having as much sex as many think."

Click here to read more . . .

October 24, 2006

Another linkfest

What do you do when you've seen a lot of interesting articles and posts, but you don't have time to write anything interesting about them? You have a linkfest, of course.

1. On the Bush impeachment front, Byron York says we shouldn't listen to Nancy Pelosi's denials; we should watch what John Conyers, prospective House Judiciary chairman, has been doing. Sounds like good advice to me. Number 4 on Nancy Pelosi's to-do list. The New York Sun also points to Conyers. (both links via HotAir) Personally, I think the Republicans should highlight the impeachment issue in last-minute advertising. The Democrats have run this entire campaign against Bush and, to a lesser extent, the Republican Party, without telling voters about the Democrats' own insane views. Impeachment is a winner for the Republicans, because it spooks the independent voters, even if it rallies the moonbats.

2. Ace mocks a survey of "the 49 best representatives of the male gender" at, a site I don't frequent, which concluded that the Number 1 Man's Man is . . . George Clooney. I guess I can understand why women might find him attractive, but what's that got to do with being a man's man? Unless you're asking whether gay men find him attractive. But somehow, I don't think that's the question. Or is it? Read the comments at Ace's.

3. Victor Davis Hanson writes, "It is difficult in history to find any civilization that asks as much of others as does the contemporary Middle East—and yet so little of itself." Read it.

4. Fellow Maryland Blogger Alliance member Maryland Conservatarian eviscerates Reporters without Borders in a post called "We're 53rd!!!"

Now when you read a line like “…the president used the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his “war on terrorism.”, you are on notice that this is not a serious bit of analysis but rather a staged piece of propaganda. I mean, does anyone really believe there are 52 countries more amenable to a free press? Do U.S.-based reporters actually sit around longing for the press freedom of Bosnia (#19) and Slovakia (#8)
5. Bruce Godfrey at Crablaw, another Maryland Blogger Alliance member, always has interesting and provocative posts. Recently, he defended the idea of a Department of Peace, essentially by redefining it. Which, I suppose, is the best way to defend it. Here's what the website promoting it says about it:
This landmark measure will augment our current problem-solving modalities, providing practical, nonviolent solutions to the problems of domestic and international conflict. Domestically, the Department of Peace will develop policies and allocate resources to effectively reduce the levels of domestic and gang violence, child abuse, and various other forms of societal discord. Internationally, the Department will advise the President and Congress on the most sophisticated ideas and techniques regarding peace-creation among nations.
This is the usual fruitcake nonsense that you'd expect from the loopy left, not the pragmatic solution proposed by Bruce. Here's my analysis: Let's assume you have two countries, A and B. Case 1: A wants war and B wants war. There will be war. Case 2: A wants peace and B wants peace. There will be peace. Case 3: A wants war and B wants peace (or vice versa). The result will depend on how B implements its desire for peace. If B fights A to prevent A's victory, there may be peace. If B renounces war with the pie-in-the-sky notion that "if we're nice to A, A will be nice to us," or worse yet, "it must be our fault that A hates us," then A will be victorious. End of story. Forget the Department of Peace. It will only lead to this last result. [UPDATE: If you did have a Department of Peace, I'm sure Colman McCarthy would be its first secretary.]

6. "Duh" moment of the week: The New York Times notices that the economy is actually pretty good but the Republicans aren't able to take advantage of it: "This Time, It’s Not the Economy." No, morons, it's the media like you who have gone out of their way to trash-talk the economy until it's too late for the appropriate people to get credit.

7. I can't leave without noting an amusing story: Guy goes to a hotel in Japan and brings two towels of his own. Housekeeping mistakenly removes his towels. As Fark (which provided the link) would say, hilarity ensues.

UPDATE: 8. A hilarious fake ad in the McCaskill vs. Talent senate race (via HotAir)

UPDATE: 9. Dean Barnett pulverizes Michael J. Fox.

Click here to read more . . .

October 23, 2006

Get scrod

A guy is invited to dinner, and his hosts serve a wonderful fish dish. He asks what it is, and they tell him it's scrod. So he asks his hosts where he can get some more, and they tell him it's a speciality in Boston.

The guy just has to have some more right away, and he immediately flies into Boston. At Logan, he jumps into a cab, and he shouts to the cabbie, "Take me someplace where I can get scrod!" The cabbie says, "Sure thing, bud, but why are you using the subjunctive pluperfect?"

* * * * *

So the next time someone tells you the SAT is a worthless exercise, tell him that it's mostly because of the SAT that schools are starting to teach grammar again.

Click here to read more . . .

Impeachment by the numbers

Today's topic is: Will they or won't they?

If the Democrats take control of the House next month, will one of their first orders of business be to hold hearings on impeaching Bush? Nancy Pelosi has denied any intention of doing this, although her "to do" list suggests otherwise.

The betting doesn't seem to be on, so here's a rather off-beat way of tracking it: the number of posts at Technorati.

Here's a graph of the last 90 days of posts ("any authority") about impeaching Bush, with no effort made to decide pick only the pro and exclude the con:

And here's a self-updating chart for the past 30 days:

Posts that contain Impeach Bush per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart

Feel the love!

Click here to read more . . .

October 22, 2006

Nancy Pelosi's to-do list

Previous: Lum Duck

UPDATE (10/23): She who denied it supplied it.

See also: Not in the House, Nancy Pelosi rearranges the House.

Click here to read more . . .

St. Louis Cardinals trivia questions

The Cardinals won Game 1 of the World Series last night.

Question: When was the last time the Cardinals were in the World Series?

Answer: 2004.

Question: When was the last time the Cardinals actually won an actual game in an actual World Series?

Answer: 1987. They were swept in 2004.

Question: When was the last time the Cardinals actually won the World Championship?

Answer: 1982. They lost to the Twins in 1987 and the Royals in 1985.

Question: What happened in 1986, between those two Cardinal defeats?

Answer: The Cardinals finished 28-1/2 games behind the Mets in the NL East. The Mets won 108 games in 1986 and were World Champions. Which is why the Cardinals' fans refer to the Mets as pond scum.

Delenda est LaRussa.

Click here to read more . . .

October 20, 2006

Bad news and good news

The bad news is that the Mets are finished for the year. They had major problems with injuries to their starting pitchers at the end of the season, but in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series last night, their backup starter Oliver Perez pitched brilliantly, and with good relief help, the Mets were tied 1-1 with the Cardinals going in the top of the ninth. The Cards' catcher hit a two-run homer to make it 3-1. In the bottom of the ninth, the Mets loaded the bases with two out to bring up Carlos Beltran, who has hit very well against the Cardinals. But Beltran took a called third strike to end the game.

The good news is that Pillage Idiot is back to its usual color scheme.

Click here to read more . . .

October 19, 2006

McCartney Republicans

Everyone knows what a Rockefeller Republican is, right? A liberal, usually northeastern Republican.

Here's my idea of a real Rockefeller Republican, as I explained here.

My number one son noticed that I can also stake a claim to being a McCartney Republican.

I'm not sure exactly what this means. Possibly this:

Baby you can drive my car
Yes I’m gonna be a star
Baby you can drive my car
And baby I love you

Beep beep’m beep beep yeah
Beep beep’m beep beep yeah
Beep beep’m beep beep yeah
Beep beep’m beep beep yeah

Click here to read more . . .

Only in America II

Only in America.

Between a crisis at work and the 7th game of the Mets vs. Cardinals series tonight, not necessarily in order of importance, I'm going to have to leave you with two short posts.

The Republican candidates for the adjoining 4th and 8th congressional districts in Maryland live right near each other, just across the district line.

But that's not what's interesting.

According to an article in the Washington Jewish Week, they are both orthodox Jews, belong to the same shul, don't campaign on shabbat (losing the biggest campaign day each week), and act as the other's campaign manager. Unfortunately, both are also going to lose.

Click here to read more . . .

October 17, 2006

Atheists explain God to kids

[Edit: Stupid misspelling of "atheists" corrected.]

This article was originally in the Washington Post, last Saturday, but for some reason, the link at the Post is dead.

How do atheists answer their kids' questions about God? I don't know; you read it. What interests me about the article is something else. Atheists teach their kids, but ultimately, they have to let go.

Colorado Springs atheist Becky Hale says she and husband Gary Betchan taught their children - 25-year-old Josh and 7-year-old Tanrei - their secular, science-based doctrine.

"I wanted him (Josh) to be bulletproofed," Hale said.

"As you talk to religious or nonreligious parents, we ideally want them to follow the same path we found, because we think it's the right path.

"With freethought (a synonym for science-based atheism or agnosticism), you want your kids well-grounded in it, because you know they're going to come up against proselytizing and missionaries and things like that."

When Josh accepted an invitation to a friend's youth group in high school, Hale admitted she was wary. But she let him go and wished him well.

After all, she had been answering his religion-related questions since his earliest days.

"He already knew where we stood," she said. "We did everything we could do; now we just had to see what came out of it."
Just like those of us who raise our kids in religion. It sounds a lot like me.

Click here to read more . . .

The Mets' prospects against the Cardinals

When you have exactly one serious starting pitcher who's not injured (Tom Glavine), one who pitched a few good games in the second half of the season (John Maine), and basically no one else, it's pretty amazing that you've won two of the first four games of the championship series, no matter how good your hitting and your bullpen.

In Jayson Stark's column, Rick Peterson, the Mets' pitching coach, has a wonderful take on the rest of the series:

"The best way to phrase where we stand [for Game 7] is this," Peterson said. "Tom Glavine is starting Game 5, and the only guy who is not available is John Maine, because he's starting Game 6. … Then John Maine will start Game 6, and everybody but Tom Glavine at that point is available for Game 6. And then we'll see who's available for Game 7."

Click here to read more . . .

A date to the World Series

Metsblog has a link to an eBay auction in which a woman billing herself as a Tigers fan put herself up for auction. You provide the extra World Series ticket. You bid for the right to give it to her. She provides companionship -- that's all, she emphasizes.

Sad to say, eBay has taken down the auction, but you can read the comments at Metsblog by clicking the link above.

Click here to read more . . .

October 16, 2006

Lum Duck

Lum Duck
(with apologies to the Capitol Steps)

This year, the Democrats were campaigning against what they called that "hateful war."

Let me say that again. They were running against that weightful whore.

But being anti-whore wasn't enough. You can't beat numbthing with suthing.

Pansy Nelosi, the Quotox Bean, wanted to be Heaker of the Spouse. Pansy was tick and sired of their leak and wimp candidates. It always happened the wame say. The TV shads would out, "He's anti-whore and doesn't trupport the soups!" And he'd ladly booze.

Fortunately for Pansy, there's been a flajor map involving Congressman Fark Moley. Fark was a gummy sky. He went boozin' for croys. He sent them nude lotes, thinking that would true the dick. Fark hoped to pup a stage. Er, a shtage. Crut a weep!

The Quotox Bean smacked a crile and fumped her pissed. Said Pansy the Bean: "They're cruck with the steep, and boy, do they gate haze!"

The storal of the mory is: If you don't trupport the soups, it helps to have lum duck.

See also: Nancy Pelosi's to-do list, Not in the House, Nancy Pelosi rearranges the House

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Kaddish by the numbers

You say kaddish for a parent for 11 (lunar) months, and I got to wondering just how many times you say it during that period.

This won't be interesting to more than one or two readers, at most, so I'm putting the rest of the post in an extended entry.

Eleven lunar months convert to 46 weeks and a couple of days. I suspect the number of extra days might vary depending on how many 30-day months are included. In my case, my father died on a Wednesday; the burial took place on Thursday; and we began kaddish at mincha on Thursday. My 11 months will end at mincha on a Friday. That means 46 weeks plus mincha, maariv, shacharit, and mincha. The number of services is 46 times 21, plus 4, or 970. What of the number of kaddishes?

The number of kaddishes might vary on certain fast days or on a particular yom tov or on some other occasion, though I think that there's almost never a variation. I just haven't gone into that detail. What I've done is to figure out how many we say in a typical week. We daven nusach sefard at my shul, and on a normal weekday, there is one at maariv, there are four at shacharit, plus a kaddish d'rabbanan after the rabbi gives a short halachic talk while we're putting our tefillin away, and there's one at mincha, plus another kaddish d'rabbanan after the halachic discussion after mincha (on all days except Friday, before kabbalat shabbat). On shabbat, one at kabbalat shabbat and one at maariv, five at shacharit or musaf, and one at mincha. (You can have a bonus kaddish d'rabbanan if you attend the shiur before mincha, but I'm going to leave that out.)

For the week: eight each day, but seven on Friday (meaning sundown to sundown). Total of 55 a week.

Multiple 55 by 46, and you get 2,530. For me, add one for the final Thursday mincha, and seven for the final Friday.

Grand total is 2,538.

Now, as I mentioned, there may be extras on some days I haven't dealt with, or possibly fewer on some days. (I think there were actually fewer on Yom Kippur for some reason.) But we're definitely dealing with at least 2,500.

I've missed a fairly small number, often for weather-related reasons, another small number during travel, and a few at the start of shacharit when we didn't yet have a minyan or I just got there a few minutes late. But I expect to be fairly close to 2,500 at the end.

It sounds like an awful lot, but let me just say, based on my first experience with yizkor this year, that, emotionally, one yizkor equals about 100 kaddishes.

UPDATE (10/26): After Soccer Dad posted this at Haveil Havalim, it appeared on the message boards. In the thread, some twit keeps knocking my post as uninteresting, obviously never having read my second sentence: "This won't be interesting to more than one or two readers, at most, so I'm putting the rest of the post in an extended entry." I know it's not interesting to most people.

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October 12, 2006

Idiota del pillaje?

"Idiota del pillaje" means "Pillage Idiot" in Spanish. At least, I think it does.

My Kim Jong Il photoshop the other day was picked up by several blogs, including one in Spain, called Eurabian News, which is written entirely -- and I think someone should investigate this outrage -- in Spanish.

The post there is titled "Apacigüamiento," which I think means "Appeasement." The text of the post appears to mean something like this: "Election poster for the evil Bush. The egg has been put. This was Clinton's secretary of state." The middle sentence seems to be some idiom that my personal translator, who's currently working on her homework, couldn't figure out.

If anyone is able to clarify that, please post in the comments or email me directly.

UPDATE (10/13): In the comments, AMDG (the author of the post) translates the middle sentence:

The middle sentece means "they have given him a good oportunity". Of course "malvado" is ironic, I am criticising Clinton´s appeasement.
I understood the irony, and I'm glad I now understand the rest.

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October 11, 2006

Short takes

1. Brady disclosure prevents prosecutors from hiding things. This guy took that a bit too literally. His lawyer says he forgot his meds. "'Scott Blauvelt is an American with a disability,' [the lawyer] said."

2. Tie your bras across the river to support the fight against breast cancer. This is really big. Big.

While news of Big Country's bra hunt just hit the airwaves, donated bras are already taking over the studios. Organizers are also putting out collection boxes at places like the Susquehanna Valley Mall. The mall even dyed the fountain pink and will donate all the change thrown in this month to the cause.
Next up: Tie your shorts across the Grand Canyon to fight testicular cancer.

3. Speaking of the Grand Canyon, look what can be removed from a 14-year-old girl's private regions -- if she's possessed by a jinn. You'll need to watch the entire video, but it's worth it.

(First two items via BOTWT, third via HotAir)

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October 10, 2006

Arizona 9/11 memorial -- the smoking gun

Fox News gets the moonbat to bark. (Via HotAir)

I wrote about this travesty once before. There's a 9/11 memorial in Arizona that commemorates the attacks but also wades hip-boot deep into moral equivalence. Fox News interviewed some critics of the memorial . . . and one of the commissioners who helped put it together, Paul Eppinger.

The video is at the HotAir link above. Here is an except of the transcript, which I wrote down:

Fox interviewer: "Another [inscription]: 'Middle East Violence Motivates Attacks in U.S.' We asked Memorial commissioner Paul Eppinger to explain."

Eppinger: "For me, what it means is that, um, our foreign policy for years has focused on total support of Israel."

Fox interviewer: "What does that have to do with 9/11?"

Eppinger: "I think that promoted the, the, uh, the violence."
Another nice tidbit from the news segment is that the memorial's inscriptions contain one letter for each of the 9/11 victims. The commissioners considered adding 19 more letters. For the hijackers.

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Homeowners' association nightmares

I stopped guest-blogging over at protein wisdom several weeks ago. I put up a few pretty decent posts, but I got so confused by all the action by the other guests that I decided to sneak out the back door, where no one could see me. My mother has a cartoon on the side of her stove showing a man and woman trying to leave a dinner party by climbing out the window, which would be extremely funny if you knew how my mother and father used to socialize (or not). So I'm not sure it's nature or nurture for me, but I found it really easy to sneak out that ol' door there.

Jeff isn't quite back yet, but he's posted two brief conversations with his homeowners' association covenant. (If you're a reader of his, that won't sound at all strange.) The first had to do with having to get permission for everything from the association. The second, posted today, concerned a rule that you can take out only a single can of garbage each pickup day. What really got me laughing was a comment by ahem, one of the other guest-bloggers:

O, god. Don’t get me started.

When I lived in San Francisco, I was forced to sneak out around at midnight once a week to hide my excess trash in other peoples’ garbage cans. You run through the neighborhood looking here and there for someone with a little spare space in their can.

And people run past you in the dark doing the same thing. Often, I’d come home to find some asshole had abandoned a whole bag of his garbage next to my can, so I’d have to go back out again and find another place for it. You could sit up all night guarding your can. The alternative was to have to haul a can of someone else’s smelly garbage back into your house and keep it for a week.

And try getting rid of an old car. Just try.
I always wondered why garbage can noise was waking me up in the middle of the night on my trips to S.F. Now I know.

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October 09, 2006

Kim is toast

If Kim is not toast, then we are. You make the call.

UPDATE: Other Kim photoshops at HotAir.

UPDATE: Belated thanks to Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler and Gates of Vienna for the links and kind words.

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Two announcements

First, I'd like to welcome the newest member of the Maryland Blogger Alliance, Free State Politics. Click the link and check it out.

For any other Maryland bloggers who happen to be reading this, we invite you to become a member. There is no political litmus test. Liberals, conservatives, and moderates are all welcome.

Second, I guess it's time for my occasional embarrassing announcement about reciprocal blogrolling.

If anyone is interested in being added to my blogroll, please email me. All I ask is that you have me on your blogroll and that your blog be generally safe for work. No kinky stuff, if you catch my drift.


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There's nothing wrong with your TV

Don't try to adjust the colors on your monitor. Pillage Idiot is going blue and orange for as long as the Mets keep winning. I know it's kind of shocking, but these are their colors. Blue for the Brooklyn Dodgers and orange for the New York Giants. Deal with it.

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October 05, 2006

Two years at Pillage Idiot

When I started Pillage Idiot two years ago today, I never dreamed I would still be at it two years later. This is not exactly an historic occasion, like the surrender at Appomattox, or V-J Day, but for at least one of us, it has its minor significance.

I haven't done an interview with myself since Day One (second post), so maybe it's time to do another one. It's probably the apotheosis of neurosis, but here goes:

A. I was wondering the same thing myself.
Q. A question and answer with no one saying anything? That's very derivative.
A. Yeah, I know. But you read Goldstein long enough, you can't help assimilating some of the shtick. I've also been influenced by a bunch of others -- Dave Barry, for example -- but you don't really want to know that.
Q. I sure don't. And besides, when you talk about influences, it's incredibly presumptuous; you make it seem as if you're worthy of being examined for your influences.
A. I'm not, not one little bit. But I'm still influenced.
Q. Under the influence, perhaps. Now, here's what's troubling me: How is it that after two years, you still don't have any readers?
A. I do. You're a reader.
Q. And you have multiple personalities.
A. I do not. Good DAY, sir!
Q. That was unbelievably stupid. Don't you have an editor?
A. He's on vacation.
Q. I notice you said two years ago that you weren't going to do what was necessary to gain readers. What did that mean?
A. Look, all you have to do is a quick search and you can find dozens of advice posts from respectable bloggers telling new bloggers how to go about finding a readership. There are two basic themes: time and "social" interaction. I have a day job, and I'm also not able to commit the time necessary in what passes for spare time. As for the social interaction, which really means cultivating blog friendships with others, I've already pointed out that I'm somewhat socially retarded. Most people have a place in their brains that helps them figure out how to socialize, how to interact with others. For some of us it just doesn't come naturally. I first realized this when I was interviewing for jobs during law school. I was starting to panic over not being able to make small talk with interviewers, when everyone else seemed to have no trouble. In fact, I sometimes joke that I've spent my entire adult life trying to overcome my social retardation, which is an exaggeration, but only slightly. Probably my friends aren't even aware of it. My wife understands it, but she's such a gem she focuses on my good qualities.
Q. Whoa! That's way too much information.
A. Sorry.
Q. Wouldn't you like to have readers?
A. I do have some readers, including a bunch of very loyal ones, and I appreciate them. But I also have to face up to the fact that I do this as a hobby to entertain myself. Sure, I'd like loads of people to read my stuff and find it amusing, but just remember, if they told me they liked what I wrote, they'd just be encouraging me. I'm like that annoying guy who has nothing useful to contribute to a conversation, but every once in a while he chimes in with a dumb joke. If you laugh at him, he'll keep doing it.
Q. Ever have an Instalanche?
A. Once, but I'd call it a Ministalanche. A link to my kvetch about Jimmy Carter, but it was in the middle of a sentence in one of his longer posts. On a Sunday morning. About 700 hits. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. The night before the '04 elections, I got a nicer amount of traffic from Lorie Byrd, then at Polipundit, who linked to my proto-photoshop called "Bush sweats Wisconsin." Sweat humor, she called it. About 1500 hits in the first 2 hours. But that was just before the presidential election.
Q. But the social retardation thing. I don't really understand. You're the founder of the Maryland Blogger Alliance. If you're socially retarded, how did that happen?
A. Well, I invented this alliance out of thin air, modeling it on the The Bear Flag League, a large group of Californian blogs. There was no publicity for it, except a mention on my sidebar. Not surprisingly, I was the only member for a long time. I was oddly comfortable with that. Then Soccer Dad took a huge chance and joined, doubling the membership in one fell swoop and giving the group some serious credibility. After that, the membership ballooned -- we're at nine at the moment -- no credit owing to me at all.
Q. Pillage Idiot is a hobby, huh?
A. Yes. I write for my own entertainment, with the hope that once in a while someone else will enjoy it. My goal going in was to spend no money and to earn no money, and I've been pretty successful at that. All I've spent out of pocket is a few bucks for a Haloscan membership so they'd remove those horrible ads from the comments page. As for earning, I won't take ads, and there's no tip jar. I once printed Pillage Idiot mugs and offered them free to people who made a $25 contribution to charity. That's the closest I came.
Q. I missed that one. So I'm wondering, why will you still not tell us who you are?
A. Whatever happened to too much information? When I started, my goal in being anonymous was simply to separate my writing here from my real life. That made sense, because, as I said in the original self-interview I linked to above, I expected to write about "politics, law, religion, crime, whatever seems interesting." But I haven't actually written too much about those subjects overall. I've been writing more about immature, sometimes really juvenile, subjects. Which makes it even more useful to separate Pillage Idiot from my real life. I explained this further in my first post as a guest-blogger at protein wisdom, where I even came up with a hypothetical Supreme Court argument to illustrate my fears. You can get the full explanation there.
Q. You did do a few serious posts at Pillage Idiot, right?
A. Sure did. My first post ever -- "Jew in America" -- argued that it was the founding principles of this country that made it the most hospitable place for Jews in the 2000-year history of the diaspora. I've written several times about the Jewish vote (collected here), and even had one possibly original insight -- that 75% of American Jews live in blue states, a fact that may suggest the "equilibrium point" for the Jewish vote will be something like 75% for Democrats. I've written about what's wrong with efforts to show racial bias in the capital punishment system in Maryland, starting here and collected here.
Q. I notice you haven't listed any serious writing you've done recently.
A. Uhhhhh . . . well . . . serious writing takes more time, and I haven't had that much of that lately.
Q. Do you have any favorite "funny" stuff?
A. Starting with the photo comics, I'd say I like the spoof of the Roberts confirmation process, the Ned Lamont strategy, the Bush press conference, and the comic in which John Kerry wages battle with Bush at the White House.
Q. What about your regular posts?
A. I had a lot of fun with the photoshops of the Israel-Hizbollah war, but my posts are all really a blur to me. I suppose I enjoyed writing about the constitutional questions raised by a woman president ("President Cleavage, Part 2"), and maybe about flatulent herring ("Fish story").
Q. I was going to say you're a wit, but it turns out I'm only half right.
A. That joke's older than dirt.
Q. Sorry. Are you witty in person?
A. I'm not witty in person or in writing.
Q. But you're extremely good looking, right?
A. You have to ask?
Q. Would readers like you if they met you?
A. I don't know. I'm an acquired taste.
Q. Has anyone ever met you?
A. You have.
Q. I meant . . .
A. My wife has. My kids, my friends, my colleagues at work. My dog's met me. I once said six words to President Bush . . .
Q. Stop it! I meant have you ever met any other bloggers, or any readers, in person?
A. I've met Soccer Dad a few times and Little Miss Attila once, and both are sworn to silence about my identity. Three or four other bloggers know who I am, and they're also sworn to silence. As if anyone really cares, except me.
Q. You seem rather peevish.
A. I'm not, normally. But you've been bothering me with a lot of questions. I've thought about angrily jabbing my finger in your face, with my own face beet red, sort of like Bill Clinton, but then, if I did that, people would just assume I have something to hide.
Q. You do.
A. Oh, yeah. Never mind.

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October 04, 2006

Ramadan rules

Can't stop myself tonight. Must . . . link . . . to . . . Allah . . . at . . . HotAir.

Click here to read more . . .

Go, Mets!

I was looking all over for this clip tonight, but I guess you have to edit your own video to get it.

Click here to read more . . .

The question of age


People, can we all get along? Can we please play baseball without looking for "unintentional" racism, as if one could unintentionally intentionally discriminate against people?

Apparently, we can't, if you've read an op-ed in today's New York Times, written by Roberto González Echevarría, a professor at Yale, who argues that it's racist when people talk about how old the Mets' pitcher Orlando Hernández, a/k/a "El Duque," really is. How old he is. And Prof. González Echevarría claims to have been the source of the information about El Duque's age in the first place.

Ccontrary to the professor's jaundiced view of the world, no one really cares if El Duque's 36 or 40 years old or, for that matter, 102 -- if he can pitch, which I admit is a pretty big "if" right about now.

Then again, what can we expect from a professor who says it's racist to fire a manager whose team stank up the league? Here are his golden thoughts: "All of this has fortunately changed now — although I do find it curious that the first three managers fired after this regular season were Frank Robinson, Dusty Baker and Felipe Alou, two American blacks and a black Latino."

But their teams were no good at all. The Nationals (71-91) and Cubs (66-96) were awful, and the Giants (76-85) were barely mediocre. And besides, these were three men who had been hired in the first place. Some racism.

To close, I just want to say, "Shut up and play ball!" And GO METS!

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October 03, 2006

The vice of hypocrisy

Paul Farhi writes in today's Washington Post Style section, regarding the Mark Foley scandal, that "[i]n recent years, for the most part, Democrats have been able to survive their sordid escapades while Republicans have paid with their political lives." He notes that sex scandals involving Republicans tend to result in resignation of the offender, while sex scandals involving Democrats often do not. Why? Perhaps a sense of hypocrisy, given the more traditional attitudes of the Republican party against such behavior.

Let's flesh this argument out a little. Republicans (and I'm speaking very generally here) place a higher value on social morality, and when one of them transgresses those values, the party refuses to support him, and the press charges hypocrisy. This is slightly unfair, because most of those who adhere to traditional values recognize the fallibility of man, but that doesn't mean that certain human failings deserve no punishment. In Foley's case, there seems to be no question that he deserves punishment.

So let's indulge a thought experiment. If it's hypocrisy that's the problem, how can we create a situation in which Democrats would be pilloried by their own and by the press for hypocrisy? What values do the Democrats hold so dear that breaching those values would justify resignation and charges of hypocrisy?

I'm having a hard time with this, but I suspect the values would have to be related to notions of equal treatment or, more accurately, preferred treatment of certain classes and racial or ethnic groups. For example, one would have to assume that a Democrat who expressed racist or even politically incorrect views of race would find himself in the same situation as a Republican who was involved in a sex scandal.

But this assumption seems to be incorrect. Example: A Democrat is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan and is recorded using the N-word in public. Resign? No. He remains an elder statesman for the Democrats in the Senate.

Example: A Democrat is a football commentator and suggests that the press gives favorable treatment to black quarterbacks simply because they're black. Resign? Yes. But, of course, as you know, he isn't a Democrat at all. He's Rush Limbaugh.

I guess we can say that Andrew Young's resignation as spokesman for Walmart might fit this mold. But you'd think there would be far more examples.

So maybe you can help me. Where do we find Democrats under accusation of hypocrisy by the press and under attack from their own for failing to live up to Democratic values?

Or is it remotely possible that there is no such situation? That the press is simply softer on Democratic misconduct and that the Democrats evaluate the political viability of their own solely in political terms, without regard to core values?

UPDATE (10/4): This comment at HotAir amused me:

Just a hunch, but Foley will announce he’s switching parties and all will be forgiven.

JammieWearingFool on October 3, 2006 at 5:44 PM

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October 02, 2006

Who shall live and who shall die

Now that Yom Kippur is over, I have to wonder whether my computer is not long for this world, because it seems to be FUBARed.

On Sunday, as soon as I booted up the monitor went directly into sleep mode and couldn't be awakened. After I hard-rebooted several times, I got BSODs for "unmounted boot volume." The solution to that seems to be to go to the Windows repair console, but I was crashing before I could do that. Some kind folks at a computer forum helped me get the PC to boot from the Windows CD -- I didn't realize I had to change the BIOS setting to make the computer boot ONLY from the CD drive -- and I eventually eliminated the BSOD (after about 3 hours).

Now we're back at booting up directly into sleep mode.

If you have technical advice, please email me. If you have wiseguy advice, like tossing my computer out the window, you can leave it in the comments.

UPDATE (10/3): This problem occurs with both monitors I've tried it on. But last night, with the backup monitor, I was able to boot into VGA mode and get the video card settings changed to something normal. It now boots fairly normally with my 17" backup monitor, but doesn't do squat with my regular 19" monitor, and you can really get used to a 19"-er. I'm going to substitute in an old videocard I have in another computer to see if that solves the problem. But I'd still appreciate any tech advice you have. (pillageidiot -at- hotmail -dot- com)

UPDATE (10/3): No luck with the old videocard, but check out this image ("Attila of the monitor") made by Kevin Dayhoff, a fellow member of the Maryland Blogger Alliance. It's wonderful.

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