Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Moeursalen Rails Against Big Cliche: The Democratic Debate

I watched part of the Democratic forum last night on MSNBC. As many of you know, I’m virtually clueless when it comes to the politics of the presidential primaries, but I was an English Major and I have stayed at a Holiday Inn.

Both those things, of course, qualify me to render this commentary on the use of cliché. The first thing an English Major is taught is to avoid the cliché in writing and in oratory.

“Walk through the world of the cliché as you would a minefield,” said my 8th grade English teacher.

So I noticed that many of the Democratic candidates must have taken electives (in social activism?) in lieu of English. And the unfortunate thing is that all these viral clichés are now spreading through the universe of media.

CNN reports one of John Edwards’ clichés:

“The American people ... deserve a president of the United States that they know will tell them the truth…blah, blah, blah….etc. “

We’ve heard that one before. God, I hope he’s not serious though. Telling the American people the truth is likely to cause mass hysteria.

Hand it to Hillary, though. She knows the power of the cliché. I don’t know how many times she used the now time-worn and dusty phrase “George Bush and his failed policies.” Taking the advice of her handlers, she repeatedly bludgeoned the high notes in a broad attempt at spiritual communion with the nutty Bush haters.

That roly poly and jolly guy from New Mexico, Richardson? He knows how to turn a phrase, excoriating the other candidates for their “holier than thou” attitudes in daring to criticize Hillary C. Wow, exhilarating. Philologists are still dazzled by the subtle irony of the governor’s verbal flourishes.

That horrid little dwarf, Kucinich, was not to be outdone in reciting his litany against “Big Health, Big Oil, Big Banking, Big Legal, Big Polluter, Big Everything” but you’ve got to hand it to him. There was nothing cliched in his thrilling narrative of chilling at Shirley MacClaine’s house and watching Big Flying Saucers hover in the sky. Where does Shirley MacClaine live anyway? Was that in Big Hollywood?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Million Dollar Woodstock Memorial Project Okayed By Hillary Clinton

I guess I would still be a Democrat if the party I had supported for many years would have made Joe Lieberman their candidate for president. However, the fuzzy drift that was occurring in the Dem Party was not what I signed on for.

Yeah, now I'm registered Republican and supporting John McCain for President. McCain's tough. You've got to be tough to be president. Every president since I've been alive has been challenged in the first months of their term. Who's going to answer the call? Who's going to talk tough, fold the cards, and then spoon-feed you pablum? Some of the dinosaurs on the Democratic side are showing signs of soft-headedness. They're hoping that the millions of baby-boomers set to retire just next year will wax nostalgic about their lost youth and vote for a "return to Woodstock..wooohooo!" Cut us a break, Hillary...we're not ready for Pampers-Gate, not just yet. We don't need to spend a million dollars of tax money for a monument to a music concert a couple of million people couldn't go to because they were in the Army or the other military services.

Besides, John McCain's funny as hell. I got a big kick out of his response to Hillary's support of the Woodstock monument. McCain didn't make it to Woodstock.

"I was tied up at the time," said the presidential candidate wryly.

Tied up in the Hanoi Hilton, the notorious North Viet communist prison camp. Tortured.

McCain's his own man. He likes the things I like: Boxing. Serving his country. America. He's always been inclined to go his own way. As a tortured prisoner of war, he's vocal about decent treatment of prisoners. He's even inclined to poke fun at President Bush when the conditions warrant it. He recently jabbed at the President for the Bush comments about "looking into Putin's eyes and into his soul."

"I looked into Putin's eyes, too," he says, "and I saw three letters: K - G - B."

If McCain's service to America isn't enough for y'all, you ought to donate him some money just so he can keep those wry remarks coming on an otherwise dull campaign trail. Get on over to and help yourself and America out.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bank Smelli and the Russian-Iran Pact

Melli Bank in London: Proudly Supporting Terrorists Since 1967

What’s up with Comrade Putin? Yesterday, when the U.S. announced new sanctions against Iranian banks, companies, officials and agencies, Putin mounts the dais in some kind of hyperbolic diatribe to attack the U.S. for “running around like a madman with a razor blade, waving it around” and saying the new sanctions are “not the best way to resolve the situation."

Putin ought to have a shot at the Jerry Springer show in reaching for that metaphor. Since when is applying financial pressure akin to “running around like a madman with a razor blade…” ? Apparently, he’s worried about an interruption off trade and weapons deals with the Iranian Nazi Party and its Revolutionary Guards and Quds Subsidiaries.

You’ve got to get a big kick out of the Iranian denials of active support of terrorism and the killing of U.S. troops. A recent ABC Frontline special featured an interview with an Iranian propaganda flak. When questioned about Iran’s pernicious and murderous meddling, the guy just clams up and tells the interviewer that the question wasn’t in the agreed upon script. A highly indignant little prig, too. Of course, they can afford to be smug, having no queers in Iran as Ahmadinajad said during his U.N visit. I suppose that’s why the Iranian government is so stupid, dull, and Soviet looking. If they’d let personal freedom ring in Iran, perhaps some persecuted people would emerge to lend some creativity to governance. Of course, they’d have to begin worshiping life instead of death.

Another fine result would be if Comrade Putin and his FSB/KGB cronies were to take his money out of Bank Smelli.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wall Street: Which Way are the Bulls Running?

The big news over the last week has been Wall Street and the World Markets. Investors who enjoy roller coasters have gotten lots of thrills lately as the investor market dropped in July, rebounded in August, and now is heading once again for the tank.

Self-annointed predictive geniuses have been talking up how America’s influence in world markets has diminished. Well, yeah!... I guess it’s that diminished influence which pulled down stock markets around the world from London’s FTSE to Tokyo’s Nekkei.

The big difference between the July drop and last Friday’s close was that the July drop was mostly blamed on the credit mortgage meltdown, slow housing starts, and defaulted home loans. Friday’s drop of 366 Dow points was indicative of a deeper worry, that the economy is slipping toward more permanent status in the form of recession. For the week, the Dow was down about 500 points. The air is full of dire predictions and people are worried.

As of this moment, the Dow’s down another 100 points and investors are on the sideline, withholding actions until they’re more certain of the direction.

Fox News picked a great time to launch their new business network. I guess Roger Ailes must be a fortunetelling genius of JIT, or “just-in-time” production. That’s a corny joke, I’m sure, but the Fox network financial news is aimed at a market that CNBC Squawk and the Bloomberg channels often ignore. Bloomberg and CNBC Financial are aimed at a small but wealthy demographic whereas the common people (me, for example) need to learn about what they can do protect themselves in a fast-changing world economy.

Fox has some financial mainstays like Neil Cavuto and Charles Payne. But while it has a bevy of unknown but entirely competent (and sometimes pretty) heads, it does not have Street Sweetie Erin Burnett or Money Honey Maria Bartiromo. Not yet, at least, but you can expect some engaging and comely woman of finance to emerge foremost from the pack.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

West Memphis Three: The Documentary

I just watched an old documentary film called “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills.”

The liner notes for the DVD call it a “gripping documentary...of the West Memphis Three, a trio of boys arrested for the murders of three children…” The documentary was produced by HBO films and directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. It won a few awards and appeared on several top ten lists for 1996 when it was released.

It wasn’t so much gruesome as it was macabre. The version we saw had the look of home video. The gruesome opening sequence looks like a mini-Auschwitz with the three pre-teen boys strewn nude upon the banks of a shallow creek in Arkansas. One of the boys was sexually mutilated.

Most everyone interviewed in the documentary is from Arkansas. The victim’s families are ostensibly poor and marginally educated; so are the families of the arrested trio. Absent any other scapegoats, the viewer is presented with two choices. Blame it on the “crackers” or blame it on the “Goths.” The police blamed it on the Goths and all three of the alleged murderers are in prison, with Damien Echols sentenced to die.

Newspaper accounts and locals described Echols as an outsider type of individual accoutered in black trench coat, with black, chopped hair which he repeatedly combed on camera. One of his alleged accomplices is a bona fide borderline dysfunctional personality named Jessie Miskelly.

The third person imprisoned for the child murders is Jason Baldwin. Jason Baldwin is striking for his lack of personality. He smiles from a void. I suppose it’s a good thing that the documentary fumbles around a great deal in developing a point of view that begins with a belief in the arrested trio’s guilt and than tails off into a seeming belief that the convicts are innocent.

One fact that stands out in favor of the accused and convicted is that the case against them is entirely circumstantial. No blood evidence, no DNA, no eyewitnesses except the retracted statement of Jesse Misskelly who says his confession was coerced after a 12 hour endurance interrogation. It is that lack of evidence more than anything else that argues for a new trial.

The convicted youths are themselves were not of the type who would gain your sympathy. On many occasions afforded the filmmakers, Miskelly revealed himself to be stupid and vulgar, consistent with his IQ which is on the short side of room temperature. A videotaped film sequence of a conversation with his former girlfriend reveals his idiotic and somewhat perverse sense of sexuality. Miskelly was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were tried together. The prosecution mustered three witnesses who heard one of the suspects brag he’d participated in the killing of the three elementary school children. Two of the witnesses were teenage girls supposedly unassociated with any of the principals. The third witness who testified against the alleged (and now convicted) murderers was a young man who had been incarcerated with one of the murder suspects.

The three men arrested for the murder of the three second-graders are still in jail. Defense funds have been established and celebrity concerts have been held to raise money to pay defense lawyers conducting the appeals. The case is widely known and continues to attract attention with videos on YouTube and concerts by Metallica, one of the favorites bands of the WM3, as they’re known. A website devoted to the defense has been visited nearly five million times.

Other recent and wrenching developments have taken place in the fifteen years the trio has been imprisoned. The families of two of the victims were never models of family values and cohesion in spite of the bible-thumping antics of some of the principal characters this documentary drama. Step-fathers have acknowledged beating their kids with leather belts for in-school misdemeanors.

“I spanked him three times with my belt with his pants up,” recalls the stepfather of one victim.

The remark is particularly notable because the marks were apparently still on the buttocks when the bodies were pulled from the shallow creek. Another disturbing recent development is that DNA from another step-father, Terry Hobbs, was found on one of the bindings that was used to restrain a murder victim. Mr. Hobbs confirmed in July of 2007 that he had again been interviewed by the police. Indeed, there is scant evidence of Mr. Hobbs whereabouts on the evening of the murders, and Mr. Hobbs estranged wife, Pamela Hobbs, suspects her former husband.

Suspicions and leads to other directions do not in themselves exonerate the three men who are in prison for the murders. It may well be that the three are guilty. But when a man is sentenced to die for committing a murder, and the circumstances of the investigation and the evidence are so questionable as they stand in this case, it would be reasonable and serve justice better to have a new trial for the three defendants.

This is especially important since the West Memphis police department so badly bungled the crime scene and subsequent investigation.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Battle of Algiers: A 1966 film worth watching

The Algerian National Flag

From Netflix, I rented “The Battle of Algiers” exactly a month ago. I hadn’t had the chance to see it until last night, however, and almost returned the film without watching it. At long last, I found someone who didn’t mind watching a political film and so I finally watched this much recommended classic.

Circa 1956, the French must have been having hard time. They’d just had their butts kicked at Dien Bien Phu and their Indo-China venture was doomed. Now they were facing a growing uprising in yet another French colony, this one in Algeria. Pan-Arab nationalism had been ignited and wouldn’t stop until Algerian Independence in 1962. All of this occurring not too long after a Vichy government and the ravages of WWII.

In the crowded streets of Algiers, policemen are being shot in the back by terrorists and bombs go off in cafes, airport lounges, and dance halls. A hardened veteran of the French campaign in Vietnam is called in to disassemble the uprising by all means necessary. Colonel Mathieu knows how the guerilla insurrection game is played.

Colonel Mathieu is honorable enough but not squeamish about applying a measure of physical punishment to the terror squads. He dissects and analyzes the terror cells with methodical precision and eliminates them one by one. The problem posed by the film is that, even though Mathieu is successful in his anti-terror campaign, a later uprising forces the French to acquiesce to Algerian Independence.

The desire for independence and freedom strikes a chord throughout the western world. Yet, the very freedom that people seek is endangered by fundamentalist and extreme Islamist movements which represent submission to the Mullahs. Moderates in the Middle East have not failed to notice.

The Algeria government has battled the Islamic extremists for control of the government ever since achieving independence. Since the seventies, the Pan-Arabism which swept the Middle East has been seriously challenged by the religion-as-government mentality of the Islamic fundamentalists.

This has been an interesting inversion which has led neither to prosperity nor to stable governments. Tragically, this shift of emphasis has led to the widespread murder of moderates and to a perpetuation of violence and cruelty against men, women, and children.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Putin Assassination Plot Thwarted in Iran

Who on earth would want to kill a nice guy like Vladimir Putin?

Has Putin’s Iran diplomacy backfired? Iranian officials are sweating a report that Russian intelligence has uncovered a plot to assassinate Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. The source of the report is Interfax, a news agency with strong ties to the Russian government. A government spokeswoman also confirmed the report.

Two other recent plots intended to kill the Russian president were thwarted, and these were thought to be the work of Chechen Islamic terrorists. In this latest plot, Putin was to be assassinated by a team of suicide bombers in the typical pattern of not giving a damn who else might be killed besides the intended target.

The Iranian plot to kill Putin is ironic and embarrassing to the Tehran government. Putin has interceded on behalf of Iran with the international community. Russia is currently providing the technology and infrastructure for building a nuclear plant in Iran.

Maybe it’s time for Putin to rethink his position in doing business in Iran. Iranian moderates are not likely to keep the Islamo-nazis in check, and this latest assassination plot is just one example of the perils of a fatuous Russian “diplomacy.” But then again, the Russian president’s appetite for world power is uncontrollable and, like a fat man at a banquet, he cannot stop eating.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The New Mount Airy Casino Is a Pennsylvania Gamble

Casino Slot Machines are already in place in a famous Pocono resorts favored by vacationing urban dwellers from Philadelphia and New York. Clicking on the title (above) of this note will link to the complete article.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sandy Berger Sanitation Hire: Hillarity and Hubris

Clintonite Whiz Kid Sandy Berger Gives How-To Advice to Hillary Campaign.

I’m astonished that Hillary Clinton chose to resurrect the disgraced former national security adviser Sandy Berger by appointing him as an advisor to her campaign. What the hell’s he going to do for Hillary? Show her how to properly sanitize a crime scene?

I guess Republicans should be glad of Hillary’s latest act of hubris (and indifference to law) in making the appointment. Berger’s not only a thief and a threat to national security; he’s a bungler as well. Here’s a brief outline of what happened:

1) National Archives employees spotted Berger stuffing documents into his socks, a classy and clever maneuver which would be too cheap to put into a trashy movie script. So was a later theft when he shoved documents into his pockets and stuck them under a construction trailer.

2) When Archives employees asked about the missing documents, Berger gleefully lied to them saying he did not take them.

3) When Berger realized that the Archives staff people were on to him, he “panicked” and cut up four documents into tiny pieces.
The Hillarity (sic) doesn’t end there. According to the Inspector General’s notes, Berger tried to contact the trash collecting company to retrieve the shredded documents but had “no luck”. Unh-hunh, again!
An inspector-general report in December 2003 described Berger’s theft of documents. The theft occurred while 9-11 Commission was getting ready to hear Berger’s testimony on the Clinton Administration’s policies concerning the terror attacks. By the time the IG’s office completed its final report on Berger, Berger had already pleaded guilty and received a slap on the wrist criminal sentence. Stealing classified documents from the national archives gets you a $50,000 fine if you’re a Clinton Democrat and a free press pass in the liberal indoctrinated media.

Berger and the Clintonites stick to the story that he was merely reviewing the documents to make sure the 9-11 Commission got the “correct” classified material. Unh-huh. So that’s it!

But I guess that’s a good enough reason, given the context of the surrealistic fiasco of the 9-11 commission in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. After the gullible public was able to accept Jamie Gorelick sitting on the Commission side of the table rather than on the witness side, the stage was set for all manner of preposterous assertions, assumptions, and outright lies.

Now, I want you to testify honestly before the Commission, Sandy..(wink,wink)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Australia Prime Minister John Howard Pulls No Punches

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia , as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament. "If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you", he said on National Television

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia : one the Australian law and another Islamic law that is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option", Costello said.

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should "clear off. Basically people who don't want to be Australians, and who don't want, to live by Australian values and understand them, well then, they can basically clear off", he said.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote: "IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians."

"However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the 'politically correct' crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia ." "However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand." "This idea of Australia being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. And as Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle."

"This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

how to survive college: a guide for parents

a half-serious look at a stressed parent of a recent college graduate.

read more | digg story

Monday, October 1, 2007

Angry Iraquis Reject Partitian Plan of Desperate Democrats

Clueless Democrats have once again found themselves caught flat-footed by the Iraq government’s angry rejection of Joe Biden’s plan to split Iraq into three parts. I think Biden’s intentions too much resemble the desperate attempts of other Democrats (including the presidential candidates) to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Democrats of character and standard intelligence should line up behind Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman. He’s one of the few Democrats who understands the implications of handing Iraq over to the insurgents. Lieberman’s a statesman, a man not afraid to stand up for what he knows is right, a man who has paid the price for standing tall and maintaining his integrity.

Iraq’s government may not be completely united but they sure stand together on this issue. Bringing up the idea of partitioning Iraq within the current milieu is just another example of the hapless defeatism which continues to characterize current Democratic party leadership. The notion that the U.S. congress should draw up such plans, inspired by congressional Democrats, smacks of colonialism and arrogance.

Somebody should tell congressional Democrats that a stable Iraqi government in the Middle East is more important to our soldiers and our people than Democratic Party chances for winning an election.