Not Sure What to Say About This...

...except that it really does need to be seen to be believed. I pass it along without further comment:

Go here

Ignorance on Parade

A letter to the editor in tomorrow's WashPost criticizes baseball players:

Paul D. Allen of Sporttyylvania writes:
I was appalled by the article in the Aug. 21 Sports section about Gene Orza, the baseball players union general counsel. This man who "always appreciated the role of working people" earns more than $500,000 a year representing baseball players with an average salary of $2.38 million.

He is part of the reason why the average family cannot afford to attend a Major League Baseball game anymore.

No, he's not. He's not. HE IS NOT PART OF THE REASON!

Ticket prices and concession prices are a very small part of the overall revenue pie for baseball, and all other big sports. The team with one of the bottom 5 payrolls in baseblal, Minnesota, has ticket prices that are, on average, higher than those of the team with the highest payroll, the Yankees.

The reason people can't affort to go to games is that the owners charge whatever the market will bear, and the market bears the current price structure.

All the players want is a fair share of that revenue, since it is their efforts that generate it.

Besides, college athletes aren't paid at all, and ticket prices at Division I football and basketball games are far, frar from free.

It isn't the greed of the players.

Mr. Orza's efforts should be channeled toward returning the respect and support to baseball that it once enjoyed. Instead, his activism has helped drive an even larger wedge between baseball and its fans. Let the players go on strike. Maybe the game will dissolve, and the players will have to go out and compete for a job like everyone else.

They DO compete for jobs! They are in one of the most competitive fields on the entire planet! There are 750 jobs for major league ballplayers. There are 5,000 players in the minor leagues, give or take, and there are tens of thousands of varsity college baseball players. They're all competing for those 750 slots. If they're good enough, they get their chance, and then they have to keep performing at the highest level in order to hold that slot against the thousands of people who are focused on taking that slot away from them.

Yes, they are playing a game for a living, but it is absolutely no game to get to the major league level, or to remain there; they work every bit as hard as the hardest working member of any other profession you care to name.

I know I beat this topic to death, but I can't let that kind of comment pass unanswered.
I Shouldn't Be Surprised By This

Mary McGrory channels Molly Ivins, sort of, in a column for tomorrow's WashPost.

It's all about Texas, of course.

Don't call George W. Bush a unilateralist. He'll get sore at you.

Don't say he's a chauvinist, either. He's just a Texan, dammit.

Don't you love it when Mary tries to get all folksy?

His month-long stay at his ranch -- punctuated by meetings of high moment and oodles of fundraising expeditions -- has brought out the Lone Star in him. He says he'll "go it alone" in Iraq if need be, and he sounds plausible on that dusty plain where the lonesome cowboy is a fixture and you don't find authors of hostile op-eds.

Mary's clearly feeling a little self-important today.

And we can't forget to mention fundraising, can we? You know what? Incumbents in both parties do it. All the time. The process never ends. But it never hurts to get a gratutious dig in whenever you can, I guess.

And his anti-eastern, anti-Atlantic Coast bias breaks out, as in that strange outburst the other day about people who unaccountably prefer sea breezes to the dead heat of central Texas.

If we're talking about the Atlantic Coast as personified by the spoiled yuppies and smug mediocrities who write editorials and columns for the Post and the New York Times, I agree with the President 100%.

The president told Associated Press reporter Scott Lindlaw, who was permitted to follow him on his ranch rounds, that he knew not everybody appreciated the local charm but that more did than you might think -- "Most Americans don't sit in Martha's Vineyard, swilling white wine."

What was that all about? Was it a reflexive lunge at his permanent piñata, Bill Clinton, who used to vacation at Martha's Vineyard -- and forever sullied it for Bush? But island-wide excessive drinking has not been an issue, and so far, at least, Clinton has not been charged with wine-swilling even by Bob Barr.

Clinton vacationed there when his pollsters advised him to. At least Bush is decisive enough to choose where to vacation all by himself.

In Texas, it's okay to be a little bit surly; it adds to the aura of a citizen of a large, assertive state that doesn't think much of the rest of the country. And Bush, who is proudly unassimilated, does not just talk Texan -- dropping his g's and quoting old wanted posters. He walks Texan, too. He throws out his knees and holds his arms bent and away from his body in the classic pose of the cowboy or sheriff who may have to reach for his pistol at any moment.

Stereotype much, Mary?

Maybe that's why the President thinks so little of the "elitists" on the East Coast - because they, as Mary demonstrates here, think so little of the rest of the country themselves, and don't bother to hide it.

We got used to having a Texan in the White House personalize a war -- just think back to Vietnam and Lyndon Johnson, a graduate of Southwest Texas State Teachers College who decided fatefully to take over Harvard grad Jack Kennedy's unfinished business in Vietnam.

Vietnam had to come into it sooner or later, didn't it?

I'd go on, but I don't have the heart. It's all drivel. It's all hateful, pointless, and pretentious, which is pretty much par for the course for McGrory.
Oh, For God's Sake...

WashPost columnist Colbert King dishes out a truly amazing load of idiocy in a piece for tomorrow's paper.

He quotes from the Bible:

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

And applies that sentiment to the U.S. - arguing that the decision by an Islamic court to uphold the death sentence of a woman in Nigeria for the crime of having sex is the mote in our brother's eye, while U.S. detention of "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla and captured fighter Yaser Esam Hamdi is the beam in our own.

Yes, criticism of the Justice Department's handling of the Padilla case is in order. Fair enough. But let's be honest here. He's a suspected terrorist, who voluntarily joined up with a foreign organization that has publicly declared war on America. And he's not going to be executed out of hand; he will get a trial, sooner or later.

That isn't good enough, I agree, but it's still a hell of a far cry from killing a woman for simply having sex.

And as for Hamdi, King notes that our:

government has declared (him) to be (an) "enemy combatant."

Well, he was captured in Afghanistan while fighting against our troops. That pretty much by definition makes him an enemy combatant, doesn't it?

More madness; but then, it is the Post, after all...


Well, I Respectfully Disagree

The OmbudsGod doesn't approve of the firing of New York radio idiots "Opie and Anthony", for their cute little St. Patrick's Cathedral stunt.

He credits/blames:

William Donohue, and the 350,000 member Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, for transforming two “shock jocks” into First Amendment Martyrs.

His take on it:

What caused all the fuss? In what was intrepreted as a sacrilegious act, Opie and Anthony were broadcasting live reports of a couple having (probably simulated) sex in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Police were summoned and the couple was charged with public lewdness. One only wishes the Church had been as intolerant of pederasty among the priests.

I also wish the Church had been as intolerant of pederasty among its priests. But that's entirely beside the point. It's still within the Church's rights to protest crimes committed on its property (which public lewdness is in New York).

The two idiot "shock jocks" ran their promotion and goaded the couples into having the public sex (simulated or not). They encouraged the couple to commit a crime. That's grounds enough for pulling the station's license if they're not taken off the air.

I also disagree with his assertion that Opie and Anthony are protected by the First Amendment because their show was making a political statement:

Moreover, a sacrilegious act, intended to shock, is inherently political, despite being muddied by obvious pandering to a lowbrow audience.

It wasn't "inherently political." It was inherently commercial. The idea that these two morons were somehow making a stand for freedom and the First Amendment is frankly laughable. And in any case, commercial speech is subject to some regulation; at least that's how the courts have interperted the law in the past.

Also, putting aside the government, the Catholic League is well within their rights to complain in general, and to call for the two idiots to be fired. If the radio station decided it wasn't worth the trouble to keep the two idiots employed - the bad press, and so on and so forth, well, that's a part of business. The First Amendment doesn't guarantee you a microphone, and it doesn't shield you from all consequences to your speech.

Opie and Anthony are assholes who went way too far and got themselves fired. It's not a First Amendment matter, and they're not martyrs; they are simply idiots who thought they could get away with anything, and found out that there is some limit to the tastelessness and vulgarity that society is currently willing to tolerate. I'm not shedding any tears for them, and I really don't think anyone else should be, either.
If They Were Doing Their Jobs, He Wouldn't Have to Write the Book

The Administration is upset with Washington Times columnist and bestselling author Bill Gertz.

Gertz's new book, "Breakdown: How America's Intelligence Failures Led to September 11", "details a stunning collapse of intelligence on terrorists."

A senior Administration official said of the book:

"Do we really need a book for sale in every store in America that outlines our weaknesses?" asked the administration source, who asked not to be named for this report. "If Mr. Gertz is trying to embarrass the country, I would simply ask, 'What is to gain?' And where is his loyalty?"

Since there's been no independent probe of 9/11; and since not one single person at CIA, FBI, State, or anywhere else in the federal government has lost their job in connection with 9/11, yes, we do need that book for sale.

And yes, the country - or more accurately, those whose job it is to ensure our security - does need to be embarrassed, obviously.

We've already seen seemingly endless parades of highly paid bureaucrats at the various agencies engage in a festival of finger-pointing that would have been funny if it weren't so tragic. We've seen how the inability to get information to the right people, and the unwillingness of some bureaucrats to believe or act on the information they did receive helped ensure that we were unprepared for 9/11.

It is not unpatriotic to point out that the FBI and CIA are not doing their jobs correctly, when they really aren't doing their jobs correctly. It is not unpatriotic to point out that many, if not most, of the same problems that contributed to our inability to detect or prevent the 9/11 attacks are still unaddressed (like the FBI's woeful technological backwardness, or the still-terrible state of airport security, or the lack of coordination between different agencies, etc).

The "senior Administration official" and everyone else in the Administration, as well as the folks at FBI, CIA, and so on, are our employees. They are public servants who have voluntarily taken on jobs that make them responsible for our security. If they don't want to be embarrassed by public recountings of their failures, they can (1) shape the hell up, or (2) get the hell out.

Whining about it when someone calls them on their mistakes is not an acceptable option.
Partners for Peace

Here's what the peace-loving, tolerant, reasonable leaders of the Palestinian Authority are up to today.

They're forcing PA employees to participate in anti-U.S., pro-Saddam Hussein rallies, which feature burnings of the American and Israeli flags, and exhortations for Saddam to launch missile attacks against Israel. The rallies are sponsored and led by Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization.

It's just another reminder, not that we need one, of why the Palestinians as they are currently governed, and as they currently behave, cannot be negotiated with, dealt with, compromised with, or treated as reasonable people. Because they're not. They are barbarians who have no positive agenda; only a wish to see Jews and Americans die.

They have made their views well known, both in word and in deed, and it's well past time that we believed what they have been telling us for decades: they want no compromise, they want no treaty, they want only to drive the Jews into the sea, and kill as many Americans as they can in the bargain.

To believe anything else, at this point, is madness.

Hear for Yourself

The Smoking Gun has the an audio clip of the radio show featuring the now-fired "Opie and Anthony" and the wonderful sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral adventure.

All I have to say is, my God, these guys are first class assholes, and I can't imagine how any decent person could possibly find this filth entertaining.

The Dangers of Cultural Relativism

Check out this column from Mark Steyn, about the problem with the all-pervading multi-culti nonsense our society is wallowing in. As he puts it:

The old-time commies at least used to go to a bit of effort to tell the Western leftie intellectuals what they wanted to hear. The Islamists, by contrast, cheerfully piss all over every cherished Western progressive shibboleth. Women? The Taleban didn’t just ‘marginalise’ women, they buried them under sackcloth. But Gloria Steinem still wouldn’t support the Afghan war, and Cornell professor Joan Jacobs Brumberg argues that the ‘beauty dictates’ of American consumer culture exert a far more severe toll on women. Gays? As The New Republic reported this week, the Palestinian Authority tortures homosexuals, makes them stand in sewage up to their necks with faeces filled sacks on their heads. Yet Canadian MP Svend Robinson, Yasser’s favourite gay infidel, still makes his pilgrimages to Ramallah to pledge solidarity with the people’s ‘struggle’. Animals? CNN is showing videos all this week of al-Qa’eda members testing various hideous poison gases on dogs.

Radical Islamists aren’t tolerant of anybody: they kill Jews, Hindus, Christians, babies, schoolgirls, airline stewardesses, bond traders, journalists. They use snuff videos for recruitment: go on the Internet and a couple of clicks will get you to the decapitation of Daniel Pearl. You can’t negotiate with them because they have no demands — or at least no rational ones. By ‘Islam is peace’, they mean that once the whole world’s converted to Islam there will be peace, but not before. Other than that, they’ve got nothing they want to talk about. It takes up valuable time they’d rather spend killing us.

Slow News Day

But there's always something to talk about. This morning, I recommend this article on PostWatch, taking the irritating E.J. Dionne (I suppose that's redundant; as a Post OpEd writer, he's pretty much by definition irritating) to task for his equating of Bob Barr with Cynthia McKinney in today's annoying bleating.

As PostWatch points out, there really isn't much of a comparison. While Bob Barr could be irritating, and occasionally (well, more than occasionally) over the top, he did do a lot of good, especially by fighting the good fight for civil liberties, and by being the first to call for the removal of the felonious former Narcissist-in-Chief. As PostWatch puts it:

Barr was the first to call for Clinton's impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky episode, which if it happened to any middle-manager in the rest of America would automatically get you fired and your company sued for creating a hostile work environment for other women. You would not be defended by sophisticated Washington Post columnists.

I'd take issue only with the word "sophisticated", because that's far too generous to Mr. Dionne.

Anyway, check out the rest of it, because it's all good.


What She Said

Check out this discussion of Senator Macbeth of Chappaqua's performance at the Democratic Leadership Committee meeting on July 29th, on Rachel Lucas' blog.

She says everything that needs to be said about Senator Macbeth and how truly loathsome, not to mention utterly wrong, she is. Check it out.
So Much For Clarity

Check out this headline on Yahoo News:

Bush Calls Musharraf a 'Terror Ally'

Does that mean Bush called him an ally in the war against terror, or an ally of terror? Given what's been going on with Pakistan, either one is a reasonable possibility; methinks someone needs to take a refresher on good writing...

The actual article explains that President Monkey Boy still considers Musharraf an ally against the terrorists; he is: "still tight with us in the war against terror," whatever that means.
How Can They Get Away With Saying This?

In today's NY Times, there'a an article about reactions to the Georgia primary results:

"I definitely have some feelings about any outside group exerting this kind of influence in a race, and I've been receiving angry calls from white voters all day, saying they should rally against Jewish candidates," said Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Texas Republican who is the chairwoman of the Congressional Caucasian Caucus.

"To have non-whites from around the country putting millions into a race to unseat one of our leaders for expressing her right of free speech is definitely a problem," Ms. Johnson said.

Of course, in the actual Times article, it's "black voters" and the "Congressional Bkacl Caucus" and a "Texas Democrat".

But that sounds just as ugly and racist as the above, and I'd bet any amount of money that, if a white Republican had said the above, it would be on the front page, above the fold, in the Times and the Washington Post, and the lead story on CNN. And we'd hear it in every Democratic campaign ad from now until Doomsday.

But it's OK; no, it's a good thing for black Democrats to be openly racist. Perfectly acceptable.

And when one of their own is targeted, outside influences are bad. But when individual candidates for the House and Senate hold fundraisers and seek out money from outside their own district or state; when Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle exhort citizens to contribute for races outside their state "so we can keep the Senate/take back the House" it's OK. Outside money and influence is good, as long as you control it.

And of course the Times continues the bias against Israel and Jewish donors:

Ms. Majette also outraised Ms. McKinney by nearly two to one, pulling in more than $1.1 million in campaign funds, much of which came from pro-Israel political action committees and individual donors outside of Georgia.

Nowhere in the article do they mention that much of Ms. McKinney's money came from outside sources as well, and in large part from pro-Arab and Muslim donors.

I hate to keep harping on this, but it has to be fought. This sort of bias is subtle, and insidious. At least with the Times' editorial page, you know up front that they're almost all liberals. In what are purported to be straight news articles, you expect a bit more objectivity, and that's sadly lacking in the Times and in the Washington Post, which unfortunately are the two most influential papers in the country.

Do They Have the Slightest Idea What They're Doing?

Well, President Monkey Boy is back again. His latest, idiotic comments re: Iraq have, in our eyes, lost him the priviledge of being called by his name.

Monkey Boy said yesterday:

"Regime change is in the interests of the world," Mr. Bush said, standing on a dusty road with a hot wind blowing in his face and his secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, at his side. "How we achieve that is a matter of consultation," he said.

He added: "When I say I'm a patient man, I mean I'm a patient man and that we will look at all options and we will consider all technologies available to us, and diplomacy and intelligence. But one thing is for certain, is that this administration agrees that Saddam Hussein is a threat."

If they're so much of a threat as his Administration has repeatedly said (and which I agree with); if they're constantly pursuing their goal of building weapons of mass destruction (which I also agree with), then how can we be patient?

And does President Monkey Boy have the slightest idea how foolish he looks with this vacillating, and with the public infighting going on among his advisers?

I thought this Administration was supposed to be a "tight ship"; I thought it was supposed to be competent. But they can't even come up with a halfway coherent message about one of the most dangerous regimes on the planet, a avowed enemy of the United States which has dishonored every agreement it signed since the Gulf War, and which stands defiant against us, making us look like week and feckless fools to the world.

This is a complete embarrassment, and if the President had the common sense that God gave the average cocker spaniel, he would understand that, and do something about it. But he doesn't, and he won't, and it's probably going to take a few hundred thousand dead Americans in a Saddam=sponsored or supported attack before he or his Administration does get it.
Diamonds Really Are Forever

This came up via a mailing list I'm on: it seems that you can now have the ideal rememberance for a lost loved one.

A company based in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village has accepted its first deposit for manufactured diamonds made from carbon captured during the cremation process so that loved ones -- family members or even pets -- could be mounted into a ring, pendant or other jewelry.

A small number of U.S. funeral homes, including four in the Chicago area, have signed up to offer memorial diamonds produced by Life Gem. The cost will depend on the size of the gem, starting at $4,000 for a quarter-carat.

It gives a whole new meaning to those horrible "buy her a diamond and she'll love you forever" commercials you see on TV all the time, doesn't it?


Some Good Sense

From John Hawkins at Right Wing News.

He's discussing America's "hegemony":

If you want put it in perspective, it's like we're the guy who ended up being the designated driver for the planet. Sure we'd love to sit back and drink ourselves into a stupor with the rest of the globe but we're responsible for getting as many people home safe and sound as possible. Every so often while we're sitting around wishing we could kill a few beers like the rest of the planet, a sloppy drunk, drooling, Europe comes over to where we're sitting. Then they take another swig of Vodka straight out of the bottle and tell us not to worry about a thing because they'll drive everyone home in their 'international law' van. But we know if we go ahead and drink up that we'll just get a call at 4 am asking us to bring our tow truck and the 'jaws of life' to clean up the bloody mess on dead man's curve. That's the burden of being an American.

There's more, and it's all good. Go read it.

The Usual Slander From Alterman

Eric Alterman continues to slander both President Bush and Ariel Sharon, painting them as the primary obstacles to Middle East peace:

Arik Sharon says “Thanks” to President Bush for backing his war policy to destroy any hope of peace with the Palestinians.

Of course. If only Israel's government - and ours - would willingly bare their throats to the wolves, our enemies would be so overcome with kindness and joy that their hatred would simply disappear and all would be right with the world.

Sorry, but I'm not willing to put that to the test. The Palestinians, as well as Saddam Hussein, as well as Al Qaeda, as well as Islamic fundamentalists generally,have made it clear, repeatedly, in both word and deed that they wish no compromise, no peace except that of the victor for them and the grave for us.

To believe otherwise is suicidal. If Alterman wishes to commit suicide himself, so be it. But to demand that the rest of us join him is wrong, and unacceptable. It is, to put it in a word, madness.
More About Dowd

Just wanted to pass this along, from Norah Vincent's new blog, via Juan Gato.

Ms. Vincent says of La Dowd (and, unsurprisingly, I agree):

As one (nameless remaining) pundit I respect said to me the other day, “She’s wasting the primest real-estate in journalism. She’s been writing since the mid-90s, and I can’t tell you a single thing she stands for.” I concur. I haven’t heard a whisper of praise about her from any quarter in at least two years, and with good reason. She was an occasional mover once, an equal opportunity, though always at bottom DNC faithful gadfly to be reckoned with, but now she’s become little more than a formulaic stock pot cooking up the same tired stone soup every week. The recipe never varies: splice in the latest first run movie she’s seen, add one heaping tablespoon of the usual snider-than-thou palaver, a cup or two of that week’s Beltway rehash, and a dash of the good old Hibernian salt that she used to get by on, but can’t anymore. Sadly, she isn’t likely to get the steel toe of Howell Raines’ boot before she reaches Russell Baker’s age, so we’d better start bracing ourselves for menopause.
How Dumb Is She?

She being Maureen Dowd.

There is no answer because she continues to display new depths of stupidity with almost every column she writes. Today she bleats about the President and his "coup" against generals and advisers opposed to removing Saddam hussein.

It's more whiny nonsense from a self-described "spoiled yuppie" who hasn't ever displayed anything more than a tangential conection to reality.

And of course it's not as though she has anything useful to contribute; any ideas of her own about what a better foreign policy might be. No, she just trots out the same tired, cutesy "witticisms" that pass for editorial writing in the Times these days.

Sad. Just sad.
Ding, Dong, The Witch Is Dead!

It's official! Cynthia McKinney is out!

McKinney was defeated in the primary by Democratic rival Denise Majette.

Of course, it's worthwhile to note the bias in the Washington Post's description of fundraising in the race:

Jewish donors and pro-Israel organizations from around the country poured money into Majette's campaign, while most of McKinney's contributions came from donors with Muslim or Arab American surnames who live outside the district.

See it? "Jewish donors" and "pro-Israel organizations" versus "Arab-American surnames" - Majette's donors were definitely Jews; McKinney's donors may have been Muslim. "Poured money into Majette's campaign" versus "contributions came from donors". And "around the country" versus "live outside the district".

And of course the Jewish donors are mentioned first. It's subtle, but it's also typical of the Post.

Oh well. At least McKinney is out. It's a small victory, that's worth something at least.


Goodbye, Cynthia?

It looks as though vile, racist loon Cynthia McKinney may be out of a job. At this moment, with 145 out of 161 precincts reporting in, she trails in the Georgia Democratic primary by 46,918 votes to 32,096.

Barring a "miracle" (or massive fraud, something we clearly can't put past Cynthia), she'll be finis tomorrow morning.

And then we can listen to the excuses and the blame, and based on this comment from McKinney's father, we can guess what will spew forth from the hopefully-soon-to-be-defeated McKinney camp:

(local TV broadcast) 11Alive made a point of re-running the footage where Billy McKinney responds to a question about his daughter's "fudging" of Andrew Young's endorsement: "That ain't nothin'. Jews have bought everybody. Jews. J-E-W-S."

Funny, when the Republicans had a candidate who said things like that in public, the whole party was vilified (remember David Duke?). But from the Dems, I guess it's just par for the course.

Anywaay, if these results hold, all we here in the Empire can say is, good riddance, Cynthia, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!
Whatever Happened to Sanity?

Check this item out. You may have read about the Virginia couple arrested for having sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

What you may not have read is that they did it as part of a contest by two WNEW radio DJs, "Opie and Anthony". The two shock jocks broadcast a live play-by-play of the proceedings, and have subsequently been temporatily taken off the air.

The First Amendment is a good thing; but it does have, and I think legitimately so, some restrictions, including obscenity on the airwaves. I'd have to say that this certainly qualifies.

I'd say further that, even for "shock jocks", there ought to be some lines. I mean, in St. Patrick's Cathedral? Isn't there any line that these adolescent jerks won't cross?

No, apparently not:

In 1998, they were fired from a Massachusetts station after announcing on April Fool's Day that Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino had died in a car crash.

Yes, that's really funny. Hilarious.

Assholes. I hope they lose their jobs. It's too much to hope for that no one else will hire them; there's always some bottom-feeder ready to further stretch the limits of public taste.

Baseball and Greed

One more baseball post. PostWatch asks, regardless of who's right or wrong, is baseball committing suicide is it allows a strike to happen?

Yes, I think.

But I'll try one more time to make the case for the players, and why they should not be blamed for a strike.

First, there's the facrt that the owners still won't be honest, woj't open their books, etc.

More importantly, to dispell the "players are greedy" issue. I say, so what? The reason there's so much money in baseball is that people pay to see the players play. Why are they greedy for wanting to see the profits resulting from their performance?

It's the same as big-time musicians and actors. In an objective, "moral" sense, maybe the latest pop star isn't worth $20 million. But that's the profit from their songs; that's what people have paid to listen to their music. I mean, nobody's going to pay $15 to buy "Jim DiBenedetto screeches off-key for 72 minutes" on CD (excepting possibly a few blood relatives, and probably not even them). But lots of people will pay to buy (God only knows why, but there you go) Britney Spears' latest album.

Similarly, nobody's going to pay to watch me attempt to play centerfield in Yankee Stadium. But they'll pay $20 to watch Bernie Williams do so, or pay a premuim to watch him do so on cable. Why shouldn't Bernie Williams get the lion's share of that money (along with his teammates)? He's the reason the money's there at all.

And that's the beginning and the end of it. The players want the money that results from their performance. The owners want to pay as little as possible (understandable enough) and keep as much of the profits for themselves as possible.

But when they say that they're negotiating "for the good of the game" or for "competitive balance", that's simply not true. Most of the owners - and all of the "hardline" owners - want only one thing: more cash in their pockets, and rules that will make it possible for them not to have to try and compete with the bigger market owners at all.

OK. Enough baseball for the moment; back to other topics...

Madness Everywhere

The business trip continues, so entries will remain somewhat sparse and short until Thursday or Friday.

But I did want to pass on Jeff Durkin's commentary on the decision by a Nigerian appeals court to uphold a death sentence for a woman charged with having a child out of wedlock.

Jeff's take on this (which I agree with):

A barbarian...sorry...Nigerian court has upheld the death sentence for a woman who had a child out of wedlock. That's right, in Northern Nigeria, where Islamic law holds sway, having babies can get you executed. According to the Reuters article, when the appeals court announced they were upholding this verdict, the men in the audience cheered. I'm certain that some of you think that my pro-American Empire stance is too harsh. That we need to learn to understand the other cultures of the world and value what they have to offer. However, any belief system that raises men to applaud the state sanctioned murder of a woman for absolutely nothing must be expunged, first from existence and then from the memory of Man as anything but an example of how not to order one's society. Okay, that's my soapbox for the day.

I think that says it all, really.

I Had To Read It Twice to Be Sure It Was Real

...and sure enough, it was. There's an OpEd in today's NY Times from Nick Kristof entitled "Harvest the Whales".

And it's not a sarcastic or ironic title; Kristof actually comes out in favor of allowing the hunting and harvesting of some species of whale that are no longer endangered.

I have no problem with this; it's just amazing that a reliably liberal Times columinst would write in favor of something like that...


Another Quagmire?

In case you're wondering if our coming removal of Saddam Hussein will end up as "another Vietnam", this helpful chart from Mike Silverman (via Instapundit) will set you to rights. Check it out...
The Luddites Are At It Again

Instapundit points out this piece in today's NY times, about growing opposition to nanotechnology.

The opposition comes from the same opposed-to-human-advancement luddites that oppose biotechnology. They include:

the ETC Group (so named for Eco-Equity Erosion, Technology Transformation and Corporate Control), based in Winnipeg, Manitoba (and formerly known as the Rural Advancement Foundation International) and the Science and Environmental Health Network.

What they all want, of course, is to impede progress, to impose massive government regulation; in general, to do everything possible to slow or entirely prevent improvements in our quality of life.

These groups all champion the "Precautionary Principle", which requires proponents of, well, almost anything good, really, to prove beyone any doubt that the activity/deveopment/technology in question can't possibly cause anyharm to anything, anywhere.

What it's really designed to do is to give its proponents regulatory power over everything.
The Death of Western Civilization, Again

It seems that the tearing down of our civilization from the inside out is continuing apace. Check out this article from today's Washington Times, detailing National Education Association guidelines for helping students remember the events of September 11, 2001.

Highlights include addressing the issue of blame:

terrorist situations because someone is at fault. In this country, we still believe that all people are innocent until solid, reliable evidence from our legal authorities proves otherwise."

Of course, when responsibility is actually claimed, as it was by Al Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks, fixing blame wouldn't seem to be terribly difficult. But maybe that's just me.

The NEA is also concerned about teaching our students how we brought the attacks on ourselves:

urging educators to "discuss historical instances of American intolerance," so that the American public avoids "repeating terrible mistakes."

"Internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor and the backlash against Arab Americans during the Gulf War are obvious examples," the plan says. "Teachers can do lessons in class, but parents can also discuss the consequences of these events and encourage their children to suggest better choices that Americans can make this time."

That's wonderful.

As if more reason were needed to keep kids out of the public schools and away from politically motivated NEA bureaucrats...

Appalling Beyond Words

That phrase could apply to lots of things that appear in the Washington Post, but also to things that don't appear there.

PostWatch points out the Post's lack of honest coverage about the "reparations rally" that took place on the Mall this weekend (featured speaker: Louis Farrakhan).

As PostWatch puts it, it was an event featuring:

People who aren't slaves who want other people who aren't slaveowners to give them money

I can't put it any better than that; check his article out.


So Much for Elevating the Tone of Political Discourse

Check out this item from Drudge.

It's a report about the Connecticut Democratic Party Convention. Here are the words of the invocation speaker:

"Death to the prince of darkness!" the invocation speaker publicly declared at the state's recent Democratic Convention.

"In fact, I know things about him that I don't choose to bring out in public today, that I have observed with my own eyes. He is a snake!" the speaker said of Rowland.

He also said...

"This guy is a glorified thug. He's about as honest as his eyes and when you take a look at John Rowland's eyes, be careful you don't regurgitate... All I can do is to look forward to the debate. They are going to have to drag him out of those debates.

"Let us look forward to waking up the day after election knowing that massive greed and sin has lost and our sacred state has come home to God... Team Democrat... start your engines!"

Wonder if we'll see this item in the Post or the Times. And I also wonder, if a featured speaker at a Republican event takled about defeating the Prince of Darkness and bringing his state home to God, if we'd see that in the Post and the Times.

I think we all know the answer...

Cluelessness Taken to a Whole New Level

Some people really and truly Don't Get It. One of them is actress and occasional liveral activist Susan sarandon, who had this to say recently, in Edinburgh:

The actress said one of the positive results of the September 11 attacks was that it gave America something in common with other countries who have fallen prey to terrorism.

"Afterwards, I said to my kids: 'We've joined the rest of the world now'," she said.

"You're so lucky in Ireland, England and Spain. Everyone there already knows what it's like to have inexplicable terrorist violence."

This is psychotic. There really isn't another word I can think of. It's "lucky" to have to deal with "inexplicable terrorist violence"? I'd think that people who never have to learn what it's like to deal with inexplicable terrorist violence would be the lucky ones.

And as for "joining the rest of the world", that's the same as saying, "Mommy's cancer is good, because now she's joined millions of other people who have a terrible disease."

Psychotic actually isn't nearly strong enough to describe Sarandon's words. I'm not sure the language possesses a vocabulary to properly express the madness of what she's saying here...

Administrative Note

The management here at the Empire is doing the business trip thing, starting later today, until Thursday.

So blogging will be very light; maybe one or two articles a day, during that time.

Just so y'all know...we wouldn't want you to think we were falling down on the job here...
Tommy, Tommy, Tommy

Tom Friedman writes about (mostly) the Palestinians and the rcent Wash Post story about negotiations among different terrorist groups to come up with a common strategy:

Let me repeat that in case you missed it: two years into the Palestinian uprising, Palestinian factions were meeting to determine why they are fighting and whether their means are legitimate.

I can't say I'm surprised. From the moment this uprising began, I, and others, argued that it was a reckless, pointless, foolish adventure. Why? Because at the time the Palestinians had before them on the table, from the U.S. and Israel, a credible diplomatic alternative to war — a peace offer that would have satisfied the vast majority of their aspirations for statehood.

We know why it happened. First, Arafat wanted the new Intifada to distract the attention of his people from the deeply entrenched corruption of his Palestinian Administration. And second, because the desperate and reckless offer that former Narcissist-in-Chief forced Ehud Barak to put on the table (in a vain effort to win himself a Nobel Peace Prize regardless of the cost to Israel) was proof to the Palesininans that murdering Israelis was working; kill enough of them and you force them to ever more concessions.

What they didn't bank on was a new administration in Washington that didn't care so much about winning a Nobel Peace Price; and September 11.

But the Arab and European "friends" of the Palestinians, instead of confronting them on this issue, became their apologists and enablers, telling us why the Palestinians' "desperation" had led them to suicide bombing. It was their enabling that helped produce this situation where the Palestinians, two years into a disastrous war, are meeting to decide what it is about.

Thank you! Too bad none of the apologists will stop to think for even one second whether this is true or not. More's the pity.

And where was Yasir Arafat's leadership? Resting as usual on his motto: "It doesn't matter where my people want to go, even if it's into a ditch. All that matters is that I get to drive."


But then Friednam likens current U.S. rhetoric towards Iraq to the Palestinian madness:

When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there — just ask the Palestinians. But when you're talking about an unprovoked war to dismantle a government half a world away, any road just won't do. You need a clearly focused end, means and rationale.

Sorry, Tom. As noted in the previous posting, there is more than sufficient provocation to remove the Iraqi regime.

The means and rationale are clear. I will agree that the end must be better defined; how will we ensure that the post-Saddam Iraq behaves more acceptably? That's the only piece of the puzzle the Administration has yet to make clear. Everything else is there, except for those who refuse to see it.

Maureen Dowd, Psychic

Yes, the amazing Maureen Dowd apparently has the power of telepathy! She knows precisely what former President George H.W. Bish is thinking.

She opines that it's him behind the recent artcle by Brend Scorcroft opposing an attack against Iraq, because Daddy Bush "could not bear" to say it himself.

(Bush Senior's) proudest legacy, after all, was painstakingly stitching together a global coalition to stand up for the principle that one country cannot simply invade another without provocation. Now the son may blow off the coalition so he can invade a country without provocation.

"Without provocation?" Iraq has violated every condition of the cease fire it signed in 1991, and which still applies today. That alone is justification for going in. It has supported terrorism, both against Israel and against the U.S. And it continues to work feverishily on weapons of mass destruction. Any of those by itself is sufficient provocation for the removal of the current regime.

Junior could also have made the case that Dad's tax increase, which got him into so much trouble, led to 10 years of prosperity. Instead he has philosophically joined the right-wingers who erroneously think that the tax increase caused a recession.

Well, thanks, Maureen. As a member of the Times editorlai staff, she never met a tax she didn't like, so this is hardly surprising. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

She closes with:

(Bill) Kristol writes in the upcoming Weekly Standard that Mr. Scowcroft and Mr. Powell are "appeasers" who "hate the idea of a morally grounded foreign policy that seeks aggressively and unapologetically to advance American principles around the world."

Poor Mo disapproves of this. Advancing American interests is somehow wrong. Basingpolicy on our principles of what's right and wrong is offensive to her.

Well, sorry, Mo, because the last few years when Administrations cared more for what EU leaders and liberal editorial boards thought than for what was best for the American people are long gone.