Really Big Rubber Band Ball

Posting is light, primarily because we’re in the heart of the college athletics season–but also because I’m utterly burned out on politics and Islamofascism and serious stuff.

So, it is with joy that I present this story from Yahoo News:
Man builds 3,300-pound rubber band ball[*1]

EUGENE, Ore. – With all due respect to The Spinners and T.I., prepare yourself for the new rubber-band man. Steve Milton, through concentration and perseverance, has created a 3,300-pound ball comprised of rubber bands. His creation measures almost 5 feet tall and takes up half his two-car garage. Though it’s not official, the 26-year-old Eugene man believes he has broken the record for the heaviest such ball, eclipsing John Bain’s mark of 3,120 pounds. The Wilmington, Del., man’s record has stood for eight years.

Milton has posted updates of his ball’s growing girth on his MySpace page. He’s also uploaded videos of the ball crushing things, such as using a forklift to drop the ball on an old van.

Politics in the 21st Century

Right Wing News[*1] posts this Internet campaign tactic that we’ll go along with . . . the leftists fire off “googlebombs” all the time. Why not, as RightWingNews says, fight fire with fire?

So, what’s to be done? Well, in my opinion, we should simply fightfire with fire. That’s why I put together a list of key races forRepublican blogs to Googlebomb. How do you do that? Simply view source,grab the HTML below, and post it on your blog or in a forum that youfrequent. Then, once Google picks it up, the links on these candidatesshould rocket up charts and help even the playing field for the GOP inthe key races.


Connecticut: Ned Lamont[*2]
Maryland: Ben Cardin[*3]
Michigan: Debbie Stanbenow[*4]
Missouri: Claire McCaskill[*5]
Montana: Jon Tester[*6]
New Jersey: Bob Menendez[*7]
Tennessee: Harold Ford[*8]
Virginia: James Webb[*9]

Democrat Held Seats

(CO-03): John Salazar[*10]
(GA-03): Jim Marshall[*11]
(GA-12): John Barrow[*12]
(IA-03): Leonard Boswell[*13]
(IL-08): Melissa Bean[*14]
(IL-17): Phil Hare[*15]
(IN-07): Julia Carson[*16]
(NC-13): Brad Miller[*17]
(PA-12): John Murtha[*18]
(WV-01): Alan Mollohan[*19]

Republican Held Seats

(AZ-08): Gabrielle Giffords[*20]
(CT-04): Diane Farrell[*21]
(CT-05): Chris Murphy[*22]
(CO-07): Ed Perlmutter[*23]
(IA-01): Bruce Braley[*24]
(IL-06): Tammy Duckworth[*25]
(IN-02): Joe Donnelly[*26]
(IN-08): Brad Ellsworth[*27]
(IN-09): Baron Hill[*28]
(FL-13): Christine Jennings[*29]
(FL-16): Tim Mahoney[*30]
(FL-22): Ron Klein[*31]
(KY-03): John Yarmuth[*32]
(NC-01): Heath Shuler[*33]
(MN-06): Patty Wetterling[*34]
(NM-01): Patricia Madrid[*35]
(NY-20): Kirsten Gillibrand[*36]
(NY-24): Michael Arcuri[*37]
(NY-26): Jack Davis[*38]
(OH-15): Mary Jo Kilroy [*39]
(OH-18): Zack Space[*40]
(PA-06): Lois Murphy[*41]
(PA-08): Patrick Murphy[*42]
(PA-07): Joe Sestak[*43]
(PA-10): Chris Carney[*44]
(VA-02): Phil Kellam[*45]
(WI-08): Steve Kagen[*46]

Update #1: As an aside, while I was researchingarticles for this Googlebomb, I noticed something interesting: mostRepublican candidates, for whatever reason, already had at least onenegative article up on the front page of Google. On the other hand,again, for whatever reason, it was not unusual for me to go 3 or 4pages deep into some of these Democratic candidates without finding asingle, negative, article about them. So, ironically, we may have agood opportunity to make a much bigger impact than the liberal bloggerswith this Googlebomb. We’ll see.

Here, Google google google? Nice Google. Eat the googlebomb. Good search engine.

Stay the course or up the ante

Word is that G.W. Bush is dropping the term “stay the course.”[*1]

“He’s stopped using it,” said Tony Snow, the White House presssecretary. “It left the wrong impression about what was going on and itallowed critics to say, ‘Well, here’s an administration that’s justembarked upon a policy and not looking at what the situation is,’ when,in fact, it is the opposite.”


Ralph Peters points the way to a solution[*2] .  It won’t be pretty.

We did the right and virtuous thing by deposing Saddam Hussein. There’sno reason even now to regret that act. But history will condemn us -justly – for the moral cowardice we revealed after the fall of Baghdad:We would not kill the handful of men who needed killing. Now they’veconverted tens of thousands to their cult of violence.
. . .

Political compromise is not a tradition of the Middle East – life and power are viewed as zero-sum games.

And the ugly truth is that some men love to kill. Torture and murder are addictive. The lifelong loser empowered to kill for a cause becomes a little god. And when the violence ends, the party’s over.

The butchers our timidity unleashed are enjoying themselves. They’rehaving the time of their lives executing unarmed civilians.

How many American – and foreign – lives must we sacrifice to staywithin our privileged comfort zone, clinging to the lie that “all menwant peace”? A compromise peace is the last thing Iraq’s killers want.

Emphasis mine.

Peters thinks it’s too late for American power to salvage the situation, and that the Iraqis must now do it themselves.  I don’t agree.  But it will require a level of aggression and ruthlessness that will scandalize the tender sensibilities of the world’s chattering classes.   I think the majority of Americans actually understand what needs to be done, and would loudly cheer such a crackdown.  But they can’t be heard over the shrill complaints of the media elites.  The American public usually has more common sense than its leaders and “opinion-makers.”

They all hate us anyhow, let’s drop the Big One now — Randy Newman, “Political Science”

(And no, I don’t mean going nuclear . . . )

Michael J. Fox, Liar

The infamous Michael J. Fox commercial (click here to see the video[*1] ) shows him spastically jerking around as he battles his Parkinson’s Disease to deliver a classic Democratic “Republicans Are Evil” message on behalf of the Claire McCaskill for Senate campaign.

There are, at least, two serious problems which undermine the credibility of the Fox ad:

Mr. Fox’s political attack on U.S. Senator Jim Talent is based on Talent’s opposition of “stem cell research.” This is, simply, a lie. Talent opposes embryonic stem cell research–he does not oppose all stem cell research, as he told the Kansas City Star[*2] :

TALENT: I am a strong supporter of stem cell research. I’m stronglyopposed to human cloning. In the Senate, I have already supported morethan $2.2 billion for adult, umbilical and other types of stem cellresearch that does not involve the cloning or destruction of humanembryos.

It would seem that a party which once celebrated the nuances of its Presidential candidate, in 2004, has lost its appreciation for nuance. The evidence is the Michael J. Fox ad, which is as subtle as a sledgehammer to the side of the head. Now, I don’t see human cloning as the boogey-man that manyconservatives do. I voted (absentee) for the Stem Cell Amendment in Missouri, butI also voted for Talent, for reasons that have nothing to do with stemcells or cloning.

The second and possibly more damnable problem is in the non-verbal language of Fox’s jerking body. You see, he has admitted that he has stopped taking his medication in order to elicit sympathetic reaction from a Senate committee in the past. From his own web site[*3] :

Snippets of my testimony were featured on several of the nightly newsbroadcasts. One line in particular from my prepared statement got a lotof play: “In my forties, I can expect challenges most people wouldn’tface until their seventies and eighties, if ever. But with your help,if we all do everything we can to eradicate this disease, when I’m inmy fifties I’ll be dancing at my children’s weddings.” I had made adeliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication.It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about theeffects of the disease, and the urgency we as a community were feeling,be seen as well as heard. For people who had never observed me in thiskind of shape, the transformation must have been startling.

Emphasis mine.

There is no denying that Fox has a terrible, debilitating disease. But there is also no denying that he has in the past willfully exaggerated the effects of the disease by suspending a medication therapy, in order to win sympathy.

Dean Barnett, no stranger to debilitating diseases (he has cystic fibrosis) is not impressed by Fox’s sympathy play[*4] :

If you don’t think that’s manipulative and quite frankly outrageous,we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. It also begs thequestion, why did he make himself suffer? If his goal was to make adisingenuous statement about his condition, he didn’t have to refrainfrom taking his medication. He could have just taken his medication andpretended to be sicker than he was. After all, isn’t that in effectwhat he did?

Just remember, she’s Claire McCaskill, and she approved that message. Of course, pretty much the same ad is also running in Maryland, so it’s not just McCaskill.

Missouri Voter’s Guide

Here are my recommendations for who to vote for, in the 6th Congressional District of Missouri where I live. None of this makes me very happy at all, but I guess that’s life in a democracy (which is really a republic, but let’s not argue, OK?)

U.S. Senate

Jim Talent (R), Claire McCaskill (D), Frank Gilmour (L), Lydia Lewis (Progressive)
U.S. Representative, 6th District
Sam Graves (R), Sara Jo Shettles (D), Erik Buck (Lib), Shirley Yurkonis (P)

At the top of the ticket, its high time for a lengthy rant.

You probably aren’t going to believe this, but I don’t believe that politics should be treated like sports. I’m not a “fan” of the Republicans in the sense that I root for their victory against the other team. I don’t think that’s at all healthy.

I try instead to look at what politicians are actually saying about the issues that are important to me. I can’t tell you how much I crave the emergence of a wing of the Democratic Party that would emphasize the importance of economic as well as personal liberty, that would unabashedly come out for a strong national defense, that would recognize the fundamental challenge to Western civilization from a resurgent, militant, totalitarian Islamist movement headed by Iran.

As far as I can tell, there isn’t one. Instead we get Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Jack Murtha, and Howard Dean.

I do not want to see the next two years wasted in partisan witch-hunts organized by the Democrats, hunting down and assassinating the character of political opponents merely because they have an (R) following their name. The ridiculous overreaching in the wake of the Mark Foley non-sex with non-minors “scandal” (especially in comparison to the silence about the Harry Reid million-dollar profit on real estate he didn’t own) gives any objective observer ample warning of what is to come with Democratic control of either house of Congress.

I do not want to see a former U.S. judge who was impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate for bribery (only the sixth judge in the history of the U.S. to be removed from office)–Alcee Hastings–to be Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Read that again. I do not want someone impeached and convicted of BRIBERY to be Chairman of the freakin’ House Intelligence Committee!!! Yet that is exactly what will happen with a House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

I do not want to see the United States abandon Iraq to chaos and anarchy. Yet this is what Jack Murtha stridently advocates, while ridiculously suggesting that the U.S. troops in Iraq should pull back to Okinawa (which is not quite half way around the world from Iraq. Germany would be closer.)

I do not want to see an ethically challenged milquetoast rising to be the Majority Leader of the Senate. But that’s what will happen with Harry Reid if the Democrats should gain a majority in the Senate.

This year, it really doesn’t matter how good a Democratic candidate looks, or how bad a Republican candidate looks. Neither Talent nor Graves are particularly bad candidates, but this election isn’t about them.

The Democratic Party is a shadow of its once proud heritage. Once, leaders like Truman and JFK could be counted on to defend America and freedom and liberty throughout the world. Domestic politics truly ended at the water’s edge. No more. Now, the national Democratic Party led by Howard Dean and Markos “Kos” Moulitsas, in their single-minded campaign to regain political power by any means necessary, would appease North Korea and Iran, abandon Iraq to the barbarians, and hope that expressions of good-will and friendliness would keep the enemies of the West from again murdering thousands of Americans.

Ignoring, misunderstanding, and downplaying the Islamist threat is why 9/11 happened in the first place. This is not purely a Democratic failing, but it was borne from the “End of History” period following the collapse of the USSR and the defeat of world communism. Those few who saw the Islamist threat coming failed to warn those who could do something about it–Democrat or Republican. But after 9/11, it was the Republicans who realized that the Islamists were serious about challenging and defeating Western civilization. The Democrats, so focused on simply regaining power, show every sign that they are willing to doom millions in the Middle East to tyranny and oppression, and feed the resurgent dreams of Islamic fundamentalists, simply to score political points in the U.S. There can be no more damning indictment of a once noble political party founded by Thomas Jefferson.

This country needs a serious, engaged opposition party. The Democrats are certainly engaged, but they have not demonstrated to me that they are serious about anything but returning to power. With the notable exception of Joe Lieberman, there is no prominent Democrat who appears capable of consistent, sober and thoughtful critiques of the policies of the Republican majority and President.

There are thoughtful Democratic voices out there. A large number of thoughful political commentators and bloggers are Democrats, including Armed Liberal at Winds of Change[*1] , Tammy Bruce[*2] , Glenn Reynolds[*3] , and Victor Davis Hanson[*4] . There are, I’m sure, many other reasonable, thoughtful Democrats–some of whom may actually hold national public office today. But we can’t hear them through the cacophony of the Netroots, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Hate-America-First crowd.

Until rational Democrats re-take control of their party from the likes of George Soros and Markos Moulitsas, it is simply too dangerous to vote for any Democrat for national office.

This is a circumstance where while I’m not completely happy with the Republican choices for the House and the U.S. Senate, a vote against them is a vote for an orgy of partisan witch-hunts and gotcha politics that will make the years since Bill Clinton first was elected look like nursery school. No thanks.

It’s entirely possible that I’m pissing into the wind here, but it’s also possible that the Democrat/Media Complex has peaked too early.

My votes go, with fingers lightly holding nostrils closed, to Republicans Jim Talent and Sam Graves.

State Auditor

Sandra Thomas (R), Susan Montee (D), Charles Baum (Libertarian), Terry Bunker (Progressive)
After looking over the web sites of Thomas and Montee, I’d ordinarily have to give the nod to the Democrat Montee. But I think I’ll indulge my rebellious mood and vote for the Libertarian, Charles Baum.

State Senate

Matt Bartle (R), Jason Norbury (D)
I suspect I agree with Bartle on a number of things – – – so it’s easier to talk about the things with which I disagree with him. Let’s start with human cloning. I just don’t buy the bogeyman aspect of the human cloning debate. I tend to be a libertarian on the subject of sexually oriented businesses. I’m skeptical of campaign finance limits, preferring instead greater transparency of financial support of political campaigns. Generally I think that Bartle gives in too often to his inner busybody.

On the other hand, I don’t really now a damned thing about Jason Norbury. He’s a lawyer, so that’s one strike against him. His Q and A with the Kansas City Star[*5] reveals that there may be some hope for him. But, given the uniformly disgraceful performance of the Democratic Party on the national stage, I’m loath to pull the handle for any Democrat candidate. This will probably be a last-minute decision. I just might go Norbury, to slow down the Missouri religious fundamentalists a bit. Or I might re-pinch my nose and vote for Bartle. But I won’t enjoy it a bit.

State Representative

Brian Yates (R) unapposed
Well, that makes it easy . . .

County Executive

Bob Gough (R), Mike Sanders (D), Richard Tolbert (Reform)

Jackson County government tends to remind you of that saying from the Star Wars movie: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” I think much of it spills over from that other hive of scum and villainy–the City of Kansas City. If ever a governmental unit cried out for a “None of the above” ballot selection, Jackson County would be it. It probably doesn’t matter. I guess I’ll vote for Gough.

County Legislature

Bob Spence (R)
Again, that makes it easy.

Missouri Supreme Court (retain in office)

William Ray Price
Mary Rhodes Russell
Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr.

Missouri Court of Appeals W. District (retain in office)
Joseph M. Ellis
James M. Smart
Harold “Hal” Lowenstein

I never, ever vote to retain judges. I’m just funny that way. Throw them all out! Let ’em go find honest work.

Amendment 2: Stem Cells

I am unconvinced by the opponents of Amendment 2 that all the evil horrible nasty things they say will happen, will happen. However, I am also not happy that this the subject of a State constitutional amendment in the first place. If it really rises to the level of public policy at all, it should be handled through the legislative process. My inclination is to vote Yes, but really, do the terms “blastocyst” and “somatic cell nuclear transfer” have any business being included in the text of a Constitutional Amendment? Or, for that matter, a law in the first place? Damn, people make me angry sometimes. Yes on 2, but it really pisses me off.

Amendment 3: Cigarette Tax

“Make it legal, then tax the hell out of it” is my basic prescription for drug, alcohol, tobacco, prostitution, heck, pretty much vice that people really, really want to do despite all attempts to dissuade them from doing them. I’ll be consistent here and vote Yes on 3.

Amendment 6: Tax exemption for Veteran’s organizations

Oh, sure, throw the VFW and the American Legion a bone, I’ll vote Yes on 6.

Amendment 7: Office holders forfeit pension on felony conviction; 2/3 legislative vote required to reject citizens’ committee pay recommendations.

The opponents of Amendment 7 are up in arms about the provision of this amendment where the Legislature would have to vote down the recommendations of the “Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials” by a 2/3 vote to refuse the commission’s recommendations rather than the current majority vote now. First, did you know there was a “Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials?” Me neither. Seems like a pretty silly and typically weasely politician thing to set up. But it’s already there in the State Constitions. I’d prefer that the “Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials” be done away with, but since we have it, I don’t have a problem with making it harder for the Legislature to turn down its recommendations. Yes on 7.

Proposition B: Raise minimum wage

Not just no but HELL NO. Raising minimum wage has been proven over and over again to do NOTHING for the people it purports to help–low income workers. What it does do is reduce the number of entry-level jobs in the economy by making them more expensive. Remember Economics 101? Supply and demand? Make something more expensive and you reduce demand. There’s nothing magical or special about jobs from an economic point of view. Calls for minimum wage hikes are calls for CUTS IN JOBS AVAILABLE. That’s just not a humane thing to do. NO on B.

Lee’s Summit Ordinance–Ban smoking in all bars and restaurants?

I really hate cigarette smoke. It sends me into coughing spasms–it really does. I’ve done my anti-smoking thing by voting yes on Amendment 3. I need to satisfy my libertarian inner anarchist by voting NO on this one.

There you have it. Something to disappoint almost everyone. At least I hope so.

The only surprise is that the BBC admits it

Key BBC personalities admit there is an overwhelming liberal bias in the BBC[*1] , not only in the news room but in the entertainment programming:

At the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteranbroadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation isdominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities,deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American,anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims thanChristians.

One veteran BBC executive said: ‘There was widespreadacknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction ofpolitical correctness.

‘Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC’s culture, that it is very hard to change it.’
. . .
Nearly everyone at the summit, including the (BBC comedy show Room 101)’s actual producer andthe BBC’s head of drama, Alan Yentob, agreed they could all be throwninto the bin, except the Koran for fear of offending Muslims.
. . .

Washington correspondent Justin Webb said that the BBC is so biasedagainst America that deputy director general Mark Byford had secretlyagreed to help him to ‘correct’, it in his reports. Webb added that theBBC treated America with scorn and derision and gave it ‘no moralweight’.

Former BBC business editor Jeff Randall said he complained to a’very senior news executive’, about the BBC’s pro-multicultural stancebut was given the reply: ‘The BBC is not neutral in multiculturalism:it believes in it and it promotes it.’

Randall also told how he once wore Union Jack cufflinks to workbut was rebuked with: ‘You can’t do that, that’s like the NationalFront!’

Quoting a George Orwell observation, Randall said that the BBC was fullof intellectuals who ‘would rather steal from a poor box than stand toattention during God Save The King’.

If you’re getting all of your news from the “mainstream media” you’re not getting the full story.  If everything you know about what’s going on comes from “Law & Order” you’re even worse off.

The diversity problem in universities

. . . has nothing to do with ethnicity or skin color.  The Chronicle of Higher Education[*1] reports:

Among other findings, the report, “A Profile of American College Faculty: Volume 1: Political Beliefs & Behavior,” says that:

    * Professors are three times as likely to call themselves “liberal” as “conservative.” In the 2004 presidential election, 72 percent of those surveyed voted for John Kerry.

    * Almost one-third of professors cite the United States as among the top two greatest threats to international stability — more than cited Iran, China, or Iraq.

    * Fifty-four percent of professors say U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is partially responsible for the growth of Islamic militancy.

    * Sixty-four percent say the government’s powers under the USA Patriot Act should be weakened.

Professors, says the report, are at the “forefront of the political divide” over U.S. foreign policy that has developed since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Faculty members have “aligned themselves in direct opposition to the political philosophy of the conservative base voting for the prevailing political power” in America, it says. Unlike most Americans, it adds, faculty members “blame America for world problems” and regard U.S. policies as “suspect.”

The report labels the faculty’s overall stance as liberal “groupthink,” and says it is dangerous because faculty members “are supposed to provide a broad range of … approaches to addressing problems in American society and around the world.” Professors are role models for students and frequently are called upon to act as “pundits” by the media and as experts on foreign policy, it adds.

Diversity has been an overriding priority for years in higher education.  But, as studies such as this demonstrate, only a certain kind of diversity is being promoted.

Stephen Hawking getting divorced?

The story from Yahoo News[*1] :

LONDON – Renowned astrophysicist and best-selling author Stephen Hawking is getting a divorce, according to media reports Friday.

British newspapers reported he and his wife, Elaine, have lodged divorce papers at Cambridge County Court.

I didn’t even know he was married!  Well, I guess it just goes to show . . . (that’s just one of those phrases people throw out, you know?  It doesn’t really go to show anything, it’s just, you know, like, a kind of thing to say, you know?)