SDSU is almost home (in the Mid-Con)

The NCAA Division I Mid-Continent Conference has decided to visit three institutions in their expansion search:

IPFW (Indiana-Purdue Ft. Wayne)
North Dakota State University
South Dakota State University.

With luck I’ll be watching my Jackrabbits in conference play beginning 2007-08.

U.S. and Vietnam

Say what you will about the Americans, but we’re pretty good at turning former bitter enemies into some of our closest allies.

Vietnam may be taking the first steps down that path, as Fred Stakelbeck observes at TCS Daily[*1] :

What was unthinkable only a decade ago has now become reality. The U.S.and Vietnam realize that beyond the shadows of mistrust and suspicion,lie similar aspirations and values which can be used for their mutualbenefit. Vietnam is determined to take its place among other Asiancountries in the global economy, and views the U.S. as a key partnerthat can help it meet its long-term objectives. New geopoliticalrealities, most notably China’s growing influence in Southeast Asia andthe creation of regional alliances such as the Shanghai CooperationOrganization (SCO), will also continue to bring both countries closertogether.

The continuing growth of China’s power makes a more favorable strategic relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam desirable for both sides–possibly moreso for Vietnam than for America.

Darfur and Iraq

At the American Spectator, Paul Miller observes [*1] (emphasis added):

In Chicago Congressional lawmakers including Jan Schawkowsky (D-IL) and Danny Davis (D-IL) addressed the crowd calling for the murders in Darfur to stop. Neither of them offered any solutions to the crisis. Like every rally in America featuring leftists speakers, the crowd held signs and made statements criticizing the Bush administration for not doing anything. The fact that President Bush is the only world leader to characterize the tragedy in the Sudan as genocide is completely ignored by a crowd who view hating Bush a priority over saving lives.
. . .
I also must ask the following question to the leftists who claim they are concerned about Darfur. Why are the people of Darfur more important that the people of Iraq? You cry for an end to the tragedy and a few go as far as to call for NATO and UN intervention. But when Saddam Hussein was mass murdering Kurds your voices mostly were silent and adamantly opposed to any military action to save the those massacred men, woman and children.

Chinese Death Vans

From GatewayPundit[*1] , a story in USA Today[*2] (additional hat tip: Right on the Right[*3] ):

The country that executed more than four times as many convicts as the rest of the world combined last year is slowly phasing out public executions by firing squad in favor of lethal injections. Unlike the United States and Singapore, the only two other countries where death is administered by injection, China metes out capital punishment from specially equipped “death vans” that shuttle from town to town.

Makers of the death vans say the vehicles and injections are a civilized alternative to the firing squad, ending the life of the condemned more quickly, clinically and safely. The switch from gunshots to injections is a sign that China “promotes human rights now,” says Kang Zhongwen, who designed the Jinguan Automobile death van in which “Devil” Zhang took his final ride.

As GatewayPundit[*1] notes, the Chinese are strongly suspected of harvesting organs from their populace for sale in the lucrative organ transplant business. That they now have killer RV’s is just way too creepy for words.

Oops, forgot the picture . . .

Chinese RV of Death

Lone Pony unloads on a loser

In my new quest to find libertarian/center right bloggers in the greater Kansas City area, I’ve come across Lone Pony[*1] .  Here, she has a personal moment[*2] and decides to move forward rather than live trapped in the past:

I used to blame things on my husband:

I’m ANGRY because youwent drinking and drove home and ended up in the front yard on top ofthat beautiful rose bush I planted. What I should have felt was disgustand pity. (Someone called me out today and made me look at myself andfeel ashamed. Let’s make you mad and see if you do anything about it. Ifeel like fighting with someone smaller than me, so that I can whipthem and feel like a big man again.)

I’m INSECURE because youlike trashy women. Is that the kind of woman I am??? You picked me, youpicked her…am I like THAT??? (Hell no!)
. . .
I act like a BRAINLESS IDIOT because I’ve accepted your lies withoutconfronting you. (It didn’t take you long to train me. No wonder youdon’t respect me.)

Well…*censored* YOU. And shame on me. I picked you and I stuck around when you treated me badly.

I don’t want to be a lonely, angry, insecure, fearful, shameful, brainless idiot.

Good for you, Lone Pony.  Do what you know is right, and do it with optimism and good cheer and without fear.  If only more people learned what you say here, the world would be a much better place:

My friends should be those who make me feel proud of who I am.

They should be the people who make it easier for me to be the person I want to be.

Iused to blame things on other people. I used to think the way I feltwas because of other people. But, didn’t I make those choices myself?Didn’t I choose to be with that person? Therefore, shouldn’t I take theresponsibility for my feelings and my actions?

Once again, bravo, Lone Pony!

(Irritatingly, my fingers persist in wanting to type ‘pony’ as ‘poney.’  Grr.)

Hat tip:  The Chatterbox Chronicles[*3] .

Good Customer Service: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Here’s a letter we wrote to Mark Conroy, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, about our recent Hawaii-Tahiti cruise:


June11, 2006

Mr.Mark Conroy
President,Regent Seven Seas Cruises
1000Corporate Drive, Suite 500
Ft.Lauderdale, FL 33334

DearMr. Conroy:

We are writing to comment on the wonderful cruise we experienced on yourApril 18-May 14 Hawaii-Tahiti cruise aboard the Seven SeasMariner. As you may recall, our previous experience with yourcompany, aboard the Seven Seas Voyager in December, wasunfortunate. Our experience this time aboard the Mariner morethan made up for the Voyager experience.

We have documented our Mariner voyage extensively on our website, which you can find at cruise was, in short, everything we expect from a six-star luxurycruise, and we hope that our cruise journal posted online reflectsthat.

Therewere so many Regent crew and staff who made our trip remarkable, thatit’s difficult to know where to start. Our suite stewardess, Evi,was very attentive and enthusiastic, and was a delight from thebeginning of the voyage to the very end. She left Regent at the endof the cruise to go back home to Indonesia since her contract was up.During our voyage, she had expressed interest in coming back foranother contract with Regent, although in our discussions with bothEvi and with Hotel Manager Giuseppe Ginanneschi, we learned that shereceived a “DNR” due to her housekeeping performance. I wouldhope that, should she ever wish to return to Regent, that yourcompany could find a place for such an energetic and bubblypersonality as Evi, perhaps in a different customer-facing role.

Theship’s crew, under the leadership of Captain Guillou, wasexceptional, friendly and helpful, and going about the business ofmaintaining and running the Mariner with unobtrusivecompetence. Captain Guillou himself was every bit as personable as wehad been told before we sailed. We look forward to many more cruiseson the Mariner because of the talents of the ship’s crew. Wealso enjoyed the fact that it seemed like everyone knew our names andgreeted us frequently.

Thewait-staff in the restaurants and lounges were uniformly excellent—somuch so that it is very difficult to single anyone out. Arnel in theCompass Rose Restaurant was maybe the best waiter we encountered. Wehad him as a waiter once, early in the cruise, and not again untiltwo weeks later, but he still remembered such details as my wife’spreference for ice water with lemon and a straw. Marinela, asommelier in Compass Rose, was also excellent. The service wasoutstanding in every Mariner venue. This is a credit to thevery attentive head waiters and maitre d’s, and restaurant managersunder the leadership of Hotel Director Ginanneschi and Dining RoomManager Gary Roberts. Mark Stanton in La Veranda was particularlygood, and we were sorry to hear that this was his last cruise as hewas retiring. We enjoyed our dinner with Ivar Drageseth, and foundChef Cornel Ruhland’s tour of the galley particularly fascinating.Having canapés delivered to our suite every afternoon was alsoan unexpected surprise.

(Onenote—we had asked for the recipe for an excellent Indian carrotpudding, gajjar ka halwa, but we instead received a recipe for“traditional” carrot cake. We would still love to have thatgajjar ka halwa recipe but didn’t receive it by the time wedisembarked.)

Wefound the entertainment organized by Barry Hopkins and his staff tobe very entertaining, amusing, and informative. Entertainers MarkHaslam and Rodi Alexander were particularly good. We had anopportunity to chat with Ms. Alexander at length one morning andfound her to be as personable off the stage as she was talentedon-stage.

Pleasepass along our appreciation to all of the crew and staff of theMariner and to all the Regent employees who made ourHawaii-Tahiti cruise so memorable. We enjoyed this cruise so muchthat we did something we have neverdone before: we booked another cruise while on the Mariner fornext year. We will be traveling with my wife’s parents on the PanamaCanal transit beginning April 27, 2007, and we all look forward toexperiencing the exceptional service we received on the Mariner.

Sincerely, etc.

cc:Mr. Gair O’Neill, Manager of Guest Relations

Coffee and Alcohol

Good news for those drinking way, way, way too much beer to stave off cancer!

CNN reports that coffee limits liver damage[*1] from too much alcohol.

“Coffee is a complex substance with many potentially biologicallyactive ingredients,” the study said. “The fact that coffee is alsofrequently taken with added cream, milk, sugar or other substances addsmore possibilities for health effects.”

Other studies withsimilar findings have led to speculation that caffeine could play arole. However, the protective effect was not found among tea drinkers,though the authors said they were not nearly as numerous in the study as coffee users.

KC Metro Subdivision Prohibits Sex-Offenders

The Kansas City Star has an article reporting that a subdivision planned in Kansas City suburb of Lenexa, Kansas will as a part of its homeowner’s agreement ban sex offenders[*1] from living in the neighborhood:

In August, construction will begin on the Kansas City area’s firstsex-offender-restricted subdivision, probably only the second suchdevelopment nationwide.

“Certainly, there are things you can do to improve a neighborhood,like pour better streets or build a park. But this is more,”Texas-based developer Clayton Isom said. “We can keep one little girlor boy safe.”

This is one of those issues where I’m a bit torn.  Mostly I think that people should be free to enter whatever agreements they want with each other–even neighborhood covenants.  On the other hand, even sex offenders have to live somewhere (or do they?  he asked, chuckling evilly).

On the third hand, it seems to me that good old back-alley whuppins by the men-folk of the victim upon the offender would control sex offenders much more decisively and completely than our law enforcement system.  Perhaps that should be legalized as a part of the punishment meted out by judges to child molesters:

“I sentence you to be beaten within an inch of your very life by your victim’s dad, the victim’s uncles Joe, Ken, and Michael, her two brothers Victor and Ivan, and her grand-dad Pops, and after that, should you survive, then spend ten years in the State Pen taking it up the wazoo from Big Bubba the Cellblock Boss.  Oh, by the way, any relative of the victim shall also, for the rest of your natural life after your sentence is served, be allowed by Law to beat the holy bejeezus out of you if they ever, EVER lay eyes on you again. Bailiff, take the convict out back to the alley.”