Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bread crumbs and parmesan....

You can tell I'm searching for things other than WPE to write about (worst president ever, by the way.)

A quick cooking tip for the beginner. With some bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper, you can do wonders. Take chicken, pork cutlets, fish fillets or shrimp and dip in beaten egg. Cover with the seasoned bread crumbs mixed with the grated cheese and pan-fry just to brown. With thicker pieces, like the pork or chicken, finish in the oven or on the grill and it is ALL GOOD!!!

Things I have learned in life....

Now, I have three kids myself, and they are adorable,I have learned that OTHER PEOPLE I/you encounter in the mall, at a sporting event, at the movies, in a restaurant (and most of all, ON AN AIRPLANE) find my/your children to be just massive butt pains.

2. (not original but oh so true) NEVER CONFUSE ACTIVITY WITH ACCOMPLISHMENT!
At work, in relationships, around the house, in sports--just being busy does not equate to being productive!

3. (a no-brainer, but...) BUTTER IS GOOD.
Enough said. We want butter. We need butter. We DESERVE butter! Not trans-fat free hydrogenated something, but simple, pure, well-shaken cow.

4. This is for the single guys out there, but...WOMEN LOVE POMERANIANS!

I am a reformed anti-dog person. I never wanted a dog, ever, but my daughter insisted on bringing home this pomeranian puppy from the pet store she worked at. Don't have a digital picture handy, but he looks roughly like this:

Needless to say, he is now my dog. Not are they cool little dogs, but members of the opposite sex find them absolutely irresistable said. When my wife finally wises up and dumps me..I'm taking the dog!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Don't look now....

Fearless Leader gave us this gem in Idaho (which makes sense, as Idaho is "The Gem State." And why is Connecticut the "Nutmeg State?" And why is it spelled "Connecticut?" No one says the "Connect" part...but I digress.)

"And when the Iraqi forces can defend their freedom by taking more and more of the fight to the enemy, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned....."

Don't look now, boys and girls, it has been away a long time, we thought it was gone forever, but it's''s...AAAAAAAAAGH

PEACE WITH HONOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shhhhh...listen, listen to the echoes. You can almost hear.........we today have concluded an agreement to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and in Southeast Asia.....The people of South Vietnam have been guaranteed the right to determine their own future, without outside interference.

Or again, back to the future and back to Idaho:

"We owe them something. We will finish the task that they gave their lives for. We will honor their sacrifice by staying on the offensive"

Listen again, what's that sound? It sounds! What is that..The Allman Brothers and "Ramblin' Man?" "Brother Louie?" Billy Preston and "Will It Go Round in Circles?" No, wait, turn up the radio for a second, I want to hear this...."you had the courage to stand for the right kind of peace so that those who died and those who suffered would not have died and suffered in vain, and so that, where this generation knew war, the next generation would know peace....."

Not only is he less popular than Nixon, now he is channeling him!

Good thing we're seeing the "last throws."

At Least 34 Dead, Dozens Wounded
Guerilla Platoon Attacks Police in Baghdad
Bloody Shiite on Shiite Clashes in the South

Entire story at Informed Comment:

Forty guerrillas in Baghdad launched a coordinated attack on police that included suicide bombings, killing 15 and wounding 56. It is always worrisome when you see a whole platoon of guerrillas operating openly in daylight in the capital. It appears that the guerrillas were targeting a visiting high level police commando from Samarra, but missed him.

In Samarra, guerrillas blew up the house of a police commando and executed one of his relatives. I'd guess this is the guy who was visiting Baghdad, and who was targeted there. I don't know exactly what a "police commando" is, but I suspect he is actually a member of one of the elite Interior Ministry security forces, which have recruited especially from the Badr Corps, a Shiite militia.

In Baquba, guerrillas attacked three sites and killed 8.

As if the problems with the Sunni guerrilla movement weren't serious enough, fighting broke out in six southern cities on Wednesday between followers of Muqtada al-Sadr and those of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. In Najaf, Sadrists attempted to reestablish a political office in the city, from which they were expelled by the US Marines last August. Angry crowds of Najafis gathered and attacked the infiltrating Sadrists. The crowd may have included Badr Corps fighters, the paramilitary of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a rival Shiite party. Sadrists are claiming that 8 persons were killed inside the new offices. Another report said that the building had been burned down. Dozens of persons suffered injuries.

Mr. Popularity

Who is/was more popular...

President Chimpy


Richard Nixon just before his resignation?

You guessed it--A man assured of impeachment AND removal who would have faced serious criminal charges were it not for the grace of Gerald Ford gets higher marks than Bubble Boy.

One note about Nixon. He went down because his party had the decency to do the right thing. If only that was the case now.

I've got something for the inventor of the blister packaging process...

We've all been victims of it because you can't buy anything anymore without getting that lovely atmospherically neutral clamshell of a plastic nuisance. Retailers will tell you that it cuts down on theft and makes things easier to stock shelves with.

I'll tell you that more times than not, your scissors won't open it, you're too damn afraid to attack it with a straight razor or other sharp implement for breaking the contents and once you HAVE cut into it, you may have gashed yourself on a sharp plastic edge enough to require sutures.

Here's a thought: The person (or persons) who invented it should be sealed alive inside one themselves. We can put them on display much like the dead corpse of the dictator or Communist leader of your choice except they won't appear peaceful and sleeping, their faces will be frozen with the rigor mortis of fear and hopefully their fingernails will have left scratch marks on the inside. Think Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

From Maureen Dowd

My Private Idaho

W. vacationed so hard in Texas he got bushed. He needed a vacation from his vacation.

The most rested president in American history headed West yesterday to get away from his Western getaway - and the mushrooming Crawford Woodstock - and spend a couple of days at the Tamarack Resort in the rural Idaho mountains.

"I'm kind of hangin' loose, as they say," he told reporters.

As The Financial Times noted, Mr. Bush is acting positively French in his love of le loafing, with 339 days at his ranch since he took office - nearly a year out of his five. Most Americans, on the other hand, take fewer vacations than anyone else in the developed world (even the Japanese), averaging only 13 to 16 days off a year.

W. didn't go alone, of course. Just as he took his beloved feather pillow on the road during his 2000 campaign, now he takes his beloved bike. An Air Force One steward tenderly unloaded W.'s $3,000 Trek Fuel mountain bike when they landed in Boise.

Gas is guzzling toward $3 a gallon. U.S. troop casualties in Iraq are at their highest levels since the invasion. As Donald Rumsfeld conceded yesterday, "The lethality, however, is up." Afghanistan's getting more dangerous, too. The defense secretary says he's raising troop levels in both places for coming elections.

So our overextended troops must prepare for more forced rotations, while the president hangs loose.

I mean, I like to exercise, but W. is psychopathic about it. He interviewed one potential Supreme Court nominee, Harvie Wilkinson III, by asking him how much he exercised. Last winter, Mr. Bush was obsessed with his love handles, telling people he was determined to get rid of seven pounds.

Shouldn't the president worry more about body armor than body fat?

Instead of calling in Karl Rove to ask him if he'd leaked, W. probably called him in to order him to the gym.

The rest of us may be fixated on the depressing tableau in Iraq, where the U.S. seems to be delivering a fundamentalist Islamic state into the dirty hands of men like Ahmad Chalabi, who conned the neocons into pushing for war, and his ally Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who started two armed uprisings against U.S. troops. It was his militiamen who ambushed Casey Sheehan's convoy in Sadr City.

America has caved on Iraqi women's rights. In fact, the women's rights activists supported by George and Laura Bush may have to leave Iraq.

But, as a former C.I.A. Middle East specialist, Reuel Marc Gerecht, said on "Meet the Press," U.S. democracy in 1900 didn't let women vote. If Iraqi democracy resembled that, "we'd all be thrilled," he said. "I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy."

Yesterday, the president hailed the constitution establishing an Islamic republic as "an amazing process," and said it "honors women's rights, the rights of minorities." Could he really think that? Or is he following the Vietnam model - declaring victory so we can leave?

The main point of writing a constitution was to move Sunnis into the mainstream and make them invested in the process, thereby removing the basis of the insurgency. But the Shiites and Kurds have frozen out the Sunnis, enhancing their resentment. So the insurgency is more likely to be inflamed than extinguished.

For political reasons, the president has a history of silence on America's war dead. But he finally mentioned them on Monday because it became politically useful to use them as a rationale for war - now that all the other rationales have gone up in smoke.

"We owe them something," he told veterans in Salt Lake City (even though his administration tried to shortchange the veterans agency by $1.5 billion). "We will finish the task that they gave their lives for."

What twisted logic: with no W.M.D., no link to 9/11 and no democracy, now we have to keep killing people and have our kids killed because so many of our kids have been killed already? Talk about a vicious circle: the killing keeps justifying itself.

Just because the final reason the president came up with for invading Iraq - to create a democracy with freedom of religion and minority rights - has been dashed, why stop relaxing? W. is determined to stay the course on bike trails all over the West.

This president has never had to pull all-nighters or work very hard, because Daddy's friends always gave him a boost when he flamed out. When was the last time Mr. Bush saw the clock strike midnight? At these prices, though, I guess he can't afford to burn the midnight oil.

Important Then....Important Now

Ah, those carefree days I spent as a younger man! What was important then....

Cindy Crawford

What's important now....
Cindy IN Crawford!!!!

Vehicular Lunacy...or Idiocy

So, I'm driving to work today and fall in behind one of those phenomenal gas-guzzling Ford Explorers being driven by someone, undoubtedly American and damn proud of himself.

How to tell? Well, in today's tough political, divisive and Lee Greenwood's resurrected career times, there are a few simple hallmarks.

He's got the special Illinois license plate for being a veteran.
He's sporting one of those stickers featuring a demonic looking Calvin taking a whiz on the word "Imports"

But, here comes the healthy dose of ignorance. Immediately to the left of the Calvin sticker, he's got an Apple sticker.

Has this tool not stopped in his local Apple store and checked the packing on EVERY box in there? If you can find me something made at their headquarters other than the designs for their nifty gadgets propelling them back to success, I'd like to know what it is.

Perhaps I'll be criticized for not drawing the linear link that some would make of, "Hey, stupid, the 'imports' he is talking about are CARS." But you know what? An import is an import and if you're going to be panning one, you had damn well better keep it consistent.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Think how many SECONDS it takes you to read this. Think about those seconds, because for EVERY SECOND your government spends $3,927 on Chimpy McFlightsuit's (thanks Schmidlap!) Excellent Adventure. Take a deep breath and count to three---one ($3,927), two ($3,927), three ($3,927).

How was that? Twelve grand more toward our subsidy of the creation of a fundamentalist Shi'a theocracy. Congrats, Chimpy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Who would Jesus whack?

Pat Robertson's prayer for death was creepy, but funny in a bizarre way.

However, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez
is absolutely beyond irresponsible. When we're already facing record oil prices, raise your hand if you think it is a good idea to antagonize one of the world's leading petroleum producers?

Ands such a Christian message too!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Pat Robertson--Hiring a Hit (M)an???

Pat prays:

“Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court, and we ask for additional fine people like John Roberts. Lord, speed this hearing process; may there be no rancor. May the Senate comport itself as it should, and may we see peace, harmony and a rapid confirmation process. Do miracles, Lord. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

So--Pat Robertson is asking God to off John Paul Stevens? To ramp up Ruth Ginsburg's colon cancer?

And of course in the midst of war, famine, pestilence, disease, hurricanes, tornadoes, bankruptcies, murders, genocide...please God, clear the decks for a court appointment!

I would like to think God is both better and too busy for that!

And now, as Commissioner of baseball....

I am officially changing the scoring rules by fiat. Under current rules, the pitcher who allows a runner to reach base is charged with the run if that runner eventually scores.

Henceforth--if a relief pitcher enters the game with a man on FIRST and allows that runner to score, the reliever shall be charged with the run. For the runner to score, there must be an extra-base hit or multiple hits/walks/errors/HBP for the runner to score. The reliever will have done more damage than the pitcher who allowed the runner to reach first (a pitching corollary of the no RBI on a DP rule).

Let it be written, let it be done.

(I'm still working out the kinks--say the starter walks a man, he advances to second under Reliever #1 and scores on Reliever #2. )

And then I have to deal with the steroid-era record book!

Worst presidential blunder?

Bartcop was wondering whether Dick and Chimpy's Excellent Adventure represents a worst presidential blunder than LBJ's Viet Nam buildup. I responded as follows:

It is apparent that Johnson's decision to escalate the war in Viet Nam was a colossal blunder, a mistake that we paid dearly for in lives and treasure. However, one key difference was that Johnson's folly was played out in the very tightly drawn paradigm of the Cold War. The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were content to play out their proxy wars across the globe, with none of them really altering the fundamental political structure of the balance of power.

Obviously, that is not true today. While (for the time being) we have squandered fewer American lives, I would assert that the damage to the U.S. internationally has been far worse than Viet Nam. We have alienated allies and radicalized populations that are far more threatening than in the 1960s. Oh, and don't worry, if Bush has his way, we will soon be catching up in terms of both body bags (oh, I'm sorry--"transport tubes") and empty coffers.

Just think, when Clinton was president, coffers were full and coffins were empty...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

From the dictionary:

We did cognitive dissonance, how about

: Rising in revolt against established authority, especially a government.

Why do the news media/talking heads/Bushies always use this term to describe the chaos in Iraq? It is completely inapplicable. For one thing, this is not a "revolt," it is armed resistance. The majority of those fighting are Sunni Muslims, who were in power before our unprovoked invasion. This is the same enemy that U.S. troops confronted on Day 1. Oh certainly they have been supplemented by foreign jihadists and others with similar ideological motivations, but make no mistake, these are local fighters engaged in what they see as self-defense. That makes them very dangerous.

On the second part--"established authority?" Please, that doesn't even pass the giggle test. Representatives selected in a sham election imposed by force of arms and conducted at gunpoint haggling over a "constitution" inside a U.S.-protected "Green Zone" while outside the country lurches toward civil war. And a "government?" The only "governing" authority in country is based on 130,000 brave Americans being abused by their government.

Cognitive Dissonance

An interesting article...

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation. It therefore occurs when there is a need to accommodate new ideas, and it may be necessary for it to develop so that we become "open" to them. Neighbour (1992) makes the generation of appropriate dissonance into a major feature of tutorial (and other) teaching: he shows how to drive this kind of intellectual wedge between learners' current beliefs and "reality".

Beyond this benign if uncomfortable aspect, however, dissonance can go "over the top", leading to two interesting side-effects for learning:

  • if someone is called upon to learn something which contradicts what they already think they know — particularly if they are committed to that prior knowledge — they are likely to resist the new learning. Even Carl Rogers recognised this. Accommodation is more difficult than Assimilation, in Piaget's terms.
  • and—counter-intuitively, perhaps—if learning something has been difficult, uncomfortable, or even humiliating enough, people are less likely to concede that the content of what has been learned is useless, pointless or valueless. To do so would be to admit that one has been "had", or "conned".

Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger and associates, arising out of a participant observation study of a cult (Dittos, Rush!) which believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones who had given up their homes and jobs to work for the cult — when the flood did not happen. While fringe members were more inclined to recognise that they had made fools of themselves and to "put it down to experience", committed members were more likely to re-interpret the evidence to show that they were right all along (the earth was not destroyed because of the faithfulness of the cult members).

Note: See below