Monday, January 31, 2005
Please Help Me
Attention one and all:

My 2nd Wedding Anniversary is 14 Days away. (I was married on Valentine's Day.)

I have yet to buy my husband a gift. I simply don't know what to get. So, one and all, I put it to you to help me brainstorm. What would you want?
posted by Phoenix | 3:52 PM | 3 comments

Phoenix's Greatest Hits
I've been going through my old posts and wanted to bring a few gems (?) to the attention of my growing readership.

So, without further ado...

Political Poetry 1.0
Political Poetry 2.0
Political Poetry 3.0

What If...
Mary Cheney Brouhaha
Letter to Jacque Chirac


posted by Phoenix | 3:22 PM | 0 comments

This just in....

The senator from the great state of New York, Hillary Rodham-Clinton collapsed moments ago while giving a speech in Buffalo. This story is still developing, but I'm going to hold off from making jokes. It is never lady-like to kick a lady when she's down. Besides, the jokes all seem pretty easy at the moment. I'll give the woman a break.

However, news of her collapse was quickly followed by a giant sucking sound. The US Meteorological Survey was said to attribute the noise to millions of Democrats holding their breath all at once, for HRC is the poster girl of the DNC, their last, best, and only shot in 2008.
posted by Phoenix | 1:27 PM | 1 comments

Front Page Mag Burns Fatty Moore
Front Page Mag has bravely posted an article identifying all of the lies, foibles, hypocrisies, and ironies that are Michael Moore. It is an excellent piece and you should read it in its entirety. However, because I am your humble servant, I excerpt a bit at the end that had me laughing:

Some Democrats watching the show must have wondered whether undermining
their candidate’s campaign to help Bush win had always been Michael Moore’s
secret plan. Is Michael Moore America’s most influential propagandist against
capitalism, or its most cynical, self-serving capitalist? Is Michael Moore
really a closet Republican, the GOP’s most cunning secret agent? Is Michael
Moore an elephant (or a pig) disguised in donkey clothing? He is exactly what he
appears to be: a radical leftist who has grown wealthy by exploiting an economic
system he would destroy in a nation whose founding principles he despises.

It is really good! Read it.
posted by Phoenix | 1:12 PM | 0 comments

Proliferation of Russian Spies in US
Dude. This is scary. Via Drudge, this report of Russia sending spies to the US in Soviet Union numbers.

At Los Angeles International Airport two weeks ago, FBI agents arrested an
Irish businessman they had spent a week tailing all over California's Silicon
Valley, from the offices of two electronics manufacturers in Sunnyvale to a
hotel in Mountain View and down a quiet cul-de-sac to a suburban house in San
Jose. The technology exporter, according to court papers, had purchased
sophisticated computer components in the U.S. to send to Russia through Ireland.
He now stands to be charged in mid-February with "unlawful export of 'defense
articles.'" U.S. officials point to this little-noticed case as one
manifestation of a troubling reality: although the cold war is long over, Russia
is fielding an army of spooks in the U.S. that is at least equal in number to
the one deployed by the old, much larger Soviet Union.

Russia runs more than 100 known spies under official cover in the U.S.,
senior U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement officials say. And those are just
the more easily spotted spies working under the classic guise of diplomat. An
unknown number of so-called nocs—who work under nonofficial cover as businessmen
and -women, journalists or academics—undoubtedly expand the Russian spy force.
"They're baaaaack," says a former senior U.S. intelligence official who worked
against Moscow during the cold war. "They're busy as hell, but I don't think
we've really got what it is that they're doing." The number of Russian spies in
the U.S. is especially surprising, given that it was less than four years ago
that the Bush Administration expelled 50 of them in retaliation for the
humiliating discovery that FBI counterintelligence agent Robert Hanssen had been
spying for Russia for 21 years.

posted by Phoenix | 11:36 AM | 0 comments

Mark Steyn - Peerless
Steyn has weighed in on the Iraqi election. Read it here.

I have excerpted a bit to tempt your appetite.

The ''realpolitik'' types spent so long worshipping at the altar of stability they were unable to see it was a cult for psychos. The geopolitical scene is never stable, it's always dynamic. If the Western world decides in 2005 that it can ''contain'' President Sy Kottik of Wackistan indefinitely, that doesn't mean the relationship between the two parties is set in aspic. Wackistan has a higher birth rate than the West, so after 40 years of ''stability'' there are a lot more Wackistanis and a lot fewer Frenchmen. And Wackistan has immense oil reserves, and President Kottik has used the wealth of those oil reserves to fund radical schools and mosques in hitherto moderate parts of the Muslim world. And cheap air travel and the Internet and ATM machines that take every bank card on the planet and the freelancing of nuclear technology mean that Wackistan's problems are no longer confined to Wackistan. For a few hundred bucks, they can be outside the Empire State Building within seven hours. Nothing stands still. ''Stability'' is a fancy term to dignify laziness and complacency as sophistication.

That's brilliant!
posted by Phoenix | 9:22 AM | 0 comments

Go check it out
Smash has some wonderful pictures posted in re: the Iraqi election. Go check it out!

In particular, I like the last two. The one where the little girl is placing her mother's ballot in the box, because someday now she too will cast her vote. The last one, with the Iraqi woman giving the peace sign, her finger stained to indicate that she had voted, is particularly good. She looks so pleased with herself.
posted by Phoenix | 9:15 AM | 0 comments

Iraqi Vote
Well, it appears democracy wins again. By all reports, record numbers of Iraqis got out the vote. I think it is very cool. Democracy in its infancy, still struggling, finding its way.

How many Iraqis voted...and who they voted for...are not issues of importance to me. It is simply enough that they were free to vote their consciences. I will not do as the World Media Asshats did and bemoan and decry the outcome of the election (ok - they were pissing and moaning at Bush's reelection). I will simply say, "Well done!" and go on about my day.
posted by Phoenix | 8:32 AM | 0 comments

German Government Compels Prostitution
Thank the good Lord that I am an American! This morning, Drudge has a link to this article detailing the situation of a young woman in Germany, an unemployed IT professional, who may lose her benefits if she does not take a job at a brothel.

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex
industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to
its highest since reunification in 1990.

The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral
grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from
bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in
the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.

When the waitress looked into suing the job centre, she found out that it had
not broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turn down a
job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potential employer.

"There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sex
industry," said Merchthild Garweg, a lawyer from Hamburg who specialises in such
cases. "The new regulations say that working in the sex industry is not immoral
any more, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk to benefits."

Miss Garweg said that women who had worked in call centres had been offered jobs
on telephone sex lines. At one job centre in the city of Gotha, a 23-year-old
woman was told that she had to attend an interview as a "nude model", and should
report back on the meeting. Employers in the sex industry can also advertise in
job centres, a move that came into force this month. A job centre that refuses
to accept the advertisement can be sued.
Oh...the humanity! I mean, really, what is next? It almost puts Germany in the same category as Saudi Arabia! Woman has no right except to be a receptacle for a man's lust. Tell me this...would a man have to take a job as a prostitute? Enquiring minds want to know. there no demand for the services of a young man? there no unemployment in that demographic? I'm telling you, this makes me mad as hell.

I am once again reminded how eternally grateful I am to be an American woman and not a German victim of legalized sexual assault.

How do you feel? "Confident and good," she says whimpering and pushing her assailant off of her. "You pay downstairs."


posted by Phoenix | 8:21 AM | 0 comments

Friday, January 28, 2005
This is a fashion trend I just can't get behind...
I did it again! I'm so punny. Check out these horrid images. All I can say is "Ewwww!"

What? Now we're modeling fashion after plumbers? Fashion has reached an all new low.

posted by Phoenix | 9:41 AM | 0 comments

Greenwich Meme Time
See what I did there? I am hi-larious!

The blogmama has given me an order, chores to do, and being the good little girl that I am I must comply. It is a music meme this time, so here goes nothing.

Random Ten

Pure Country - George Strait. The man. The King. He looks amazing in boots and jeans...and that hat! And his voice? It soothes my soul like cold butter on a hot skillet. With cinnamon & sugar.

Who I Am - Alan Jackson. Indispensable.

Horse of a Different Color - Big & Rich. This one is always in the Jeep 'cause sometimes a girl's gotta rock!

Joshua Tree - U2. High school revisited.

Pump - Aerosmith. Memories of running my world on my terms. Heh, heh. Love in an Elevator. Giving it up while you're going down.

Here for the Party - Gretchen Wilson. Modern day Patsy Cline with an edge.

Unleashed - Toby Keith. Beer for my Horses. Good to Go to Mexico. I know this album backwards and forwards. Love it!

Violator - Depeche Mode

Fly - Dixie Chicks. I hate their politics and their lack of manners, but those girls know their harmonies.

Then there is this random Jazz cd that I bought at Pottery Barn. I absolutely love it! Love it!

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer? Zip. Zero. Nada. I don't even have an ipod. Aren't I deprived? Be sad for me.

2. The last CD you bought is: An 80's rock compilation cd. Huey Lewis and Blondie et al. Good.

3. What is the song you last listened to before this message? Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy by Big & Rich on the radio.

4. Five songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

I will survive - Gloria Gaynor

Valentine - Martina McBride

My Best Friend - Tim McGraw

Pink - Aerosmith

Song for the Life - Alan Jackson

5. Who are you gonna pass this stick to (five persons and why)? Hmm. Well, since I know very few bloggers, I could ask my sister, my aunt, and others, but they'd have to leave it in the comments or email it to me to post. So, I guess I have to turn to the Noble Eagle, but he may be too busy with real life.

Beyond that, you can tell I don't listen to much pop music these days. I like country. Sorry to disappoint.


posted by Phoenix | 9:13 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, January 27, 2005
Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle
I swear to all of you, the World needs the UN like a fish needs a bicycle.

Seriously? What good are they? A bunch of parket-ticket-non-paying lousy Anti-American, greedy, selfish, larcenous, theiving, thugs and bureaucrats who are good at little other than taking credit for the actions of others. They have no credibility. They have no authority (a blessing in disguise). They talk only to hear themselves speak. Increasingly they are a moot point on the world stage.

And this taxpayer is sick and tired of keeping these bloviating New York City Muggers in the style to which they've become accustomed.

Seriously! Somebody tell me why we need these idiots?



Check out this by the Diplomad. It only adds more wood to the fire, but in typical fashion, it is done in a fabulous way.
posted by Phoenix | 11:54 AM | 0 comments

Of Auschwitz & Genocide
Today is a day to think back on the lessons of the past. Kathy has a thought-provoking post up. Click to read it.

It goes without saying that Hitler was evil, the Nazi Regime was evil, and that they perpetrating numerous crimes against humanity. Chief among these crimes was the genocide of the Jewish people of Europe. But, it is important to remember that the Jews were not the only victims. There were at least 11 million victims, 6 million were Jewish. But there were many who were not. The Polish people, as a group, were targeted for extermination. The gypsies were subject to annihilation. Jehovah Witnesses were persecuted. Priests and pastors, homosexuals, and the disabled were all victims. Africans, or those of African descent, also were targeted.

It would be irresponsible not to recognize the evil in all its forms. Much attention is given to the Jewish victims, as is proper, but we should not forget any of the others.

For example, my own family has some concentration camp history. We are not Jewish. In the very distant past, there is some gypsy ancestry, but my great-great uncle (My great-grandmother's sister's husband) was thrown in a concentration camp by the Reich for...speaking out against Hitler and his policies.

How do I know this? Easy. The parties lived to tell the tales. You see, my great-great aunt ransomed him to achieve his release. No, he didn't die. But he was still a victim. (Ah, family lore. On my father's side we have a connection to Paul Revere...what can I say? I love this stuff!) But I digress.

Genocide has not been wiped off the face of the Earth. It is still being practiced by evil men. No, we don't do enough to combat it...but I suggest to you that it will always be thus. Hate is an easy thing for the human race to do. It is human nature to seek to place yourself above others, to see some as better than others. It is the reason for country clubs, exclusive men's clubs, the haves vs. the have-nots. It is the West vs. the East. It is religious zealots proclaiming the only true path. Everybody wants to feel superior to somebody else. Taken to extremes, this can lead to the extermination of one group at the hands of another.

None of which makes it right, merely more easily understood. Humans are really just another subset of the larger group of animals on Earth. Sure, some of are civilized to some extent, but it is very difficult to completely throw off the chains of our cave-dwelling days. We would all like to believe that we are enlightened, and civilized, and controlled in our actions and reactions. But it isn't so. When cornered, even the most domesticated of animals will bite.

Take today and remember the follies of man. For those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
posted by Phoenix | 8:51 AM | 0 comments

Speech Patterns
Here's an odd little thing you didn't know about me.

I was born in Southwestern Kansas where they speak with a bit of a slow's not Texas twang...but it has that flavor. I moved as a small child to Rock Hill, South Carolina, where they have a distinct accent. Then my mother divorced and we moved to Lexington, KY...where they have a beautiful lilting and gentile accent. From there, I moved to the suburbs of Chicago...where they speak through their noses and nasally caterwauling is the norm. Then, I moved to Central and Southern Illinois, which are mixes of the nasal in lessening degrees as you go south and picking up some drawl the farther south you go. Now I live in Wisconsin...where there is quite a bit of strange speech depending on if you are around the river (nasal with Minnesota/North Dakota "yeaah") or other areas where the Minnesota/North Dakota "oh yeaah" exists sans nasal.

Which means that I have been indoctrinated in all of these speech patterns. More than that though, it means that I am highly susceptible to sliding into these speech patterns without even noticing I'm doing it. If I go on vacation for more than 2 days somewhere...I can pick up the accent without realizing it. I simply speak back to people as they speak to me. Interestingly, it doesn't even have to be a speech pattern that I have previous indoctrination to!

For example, I have recently met someone who is from Virginia and speaks with a definite drawl. It is so interesting to listen to her speak, but I worry that in spending time with her I will start to imitate it subconsciously. Then I'm afraid that I will offend or make her feel that I am poking fun. It is certainly not my intent to do so...but the only way to avoid it seems to be paying more attention to how I speak when I'm having a conversation. But I'm afraid that this will amount to me looking like a dolt and stilted conversation.

It can be very easy for me to slip into these accents. If it is someone with a Texas drawl, I can slip into that just by speaking with someone by phone. I don't kow what to do. But if I should run into you, don't think I'm making fun if I pick up your speech pattern. I don't even realize I'm doing it.
posted by Phoenix | 7:17 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Serious Question
Does anybody know how to do pin curls and finger waves?
posted by Phoenix | 3:12 PM | 0 comments

Completely Random

I'm feeling a bit goofy. Newsflash: I'm getting my haircut this afternoon.

And now, a word from our sponsor the Science Guy:

Mineral - A naturally occurring inorganic homogenous substance that usually has a definite chemical composition and a characteristic internal structure evident in its exterior form and physical properties.

Now, back to our show...

I would like to get a manicure. I need a pedicure. I'd also like to have my eyebrows done professionally and get my skunk stripe dyed.

Oh, I put a run in another pair of nylons today. I'm three for three...that's a perfect record of imperfection!

posted by Phoenix | 3:07 PM | 0 comments

Sniff sniff...Smells like Fish
By way of the Badger Blog Alliance, I find this compelling and scary story of Racine, WI election shenanigans brought to our attention by Stranded on Blue Islands.

So, as you might imagine, we were scrutinizing this polling location pretty closely at this point. I noticed one of the poll workers get up and walked over to the OCR scanners. For those not familiar with this method of voting, the device is about the size of a copier, with a large locked box underneath where the ballots stack up after they are scanned. He unlocked the box, which was less than 10% full. He removed the ballots, and placed them in a plastic bag. I asked him repeatedly why he was emptying a machine which was not anywhere close to full, but he refused to speak to me, nor could any other poll workers tell me why he was doing so.

He put the bag of ballots, unsealed, under the table behind the voting table, which held the pastry and coffee pot. I was able to take the attached photos.the first one shows the open bag of completed ballots, as well as another sealed bag which presumably contained ballots as well. Pictures 2 and 3 show the same bags of ballots.

I had to respond to an issue at another polling location, so I asked theHAVA volunteers to keep close track of the bag of ballots. However, they were swamped again with another surge of voters, and lost track ofthe bag. When I returned later, the bag was not there - and none of the poll workers could tell me what had happened to it.

I can't say conclusively that they were entered twice - but I can't say they weren't either. At the very least, they are guilty of very sloppy handling of the ballots. There was no chain of custody for the ballots, and no accountability whatsoever. At worst, these ballots may have been counted twice, in a ward where Kerry beat Bush by nine to one.

Wow. I thought there were rules and regulations. I thought that was why there were locked ballot boxes. These doors that you open should be locked...with only one key...and only opened when the polls are closed. There are other concerns too. Can't they keep track of how many people vote? Say X number of people show up at the polls and are given ballots. Then, one could total the number of votes for all candidates in any race. If at any time the number of ballots cast for Candidate A plus the number of ballots cast for Candidate B are greater than X, well...methinks you have a problem! Or am I oversimplifying things again?

posted by Phoenix | 2:53 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Mikey Moore's Been Snubbed
Poor Michael Moore. Everybody feel bad for him. Nominations for academy awards were announced this morning and "Fu&%ing Lies and Misrepresentations 911" was brutally snubbed. All together now: PFHPPT!

Michael Moore's gamble to hold his hit film "Fahrenheit 9/11" out of the documentary category - to boost its best-picture prospects - backfired. The movie was shut out across the board.
Moore won the documentary prize two years ago for "Bowling for Columbine."

This makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I mean, it almost makes me feel good about Hollywood. Perish the thought! I guess what makes me feel so...orgasmic...about it is knowing how hard he lobbied for a nomination. He got a haircut, cleaned up his act, and even put on a suit! For the chief binge-eater and trader of videos for panties, this was a HUGE effort. (And I mean huge in all of its possible connotations.)

I feel so badly about Monsieur Moore's embarrassment...why...I might spontaneously dance a jig and then go buy myself a purse or something. Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

Ha ha hahahahahaha!

posted by Phoenix | 10:58 AM | 0 comments

My wonderful weekend
Dude, I just lost an entire post. D*%# Blogger.

So now, the abbreviated version of my weekend.

Tremendous snow storm arrived Friday afternoon, quickly followed by high winds. Combined, they amounted to a traffic nightmare. Friday night I received an intriguing phone call that I am not at liberty to discuss.

Saturday morning, I spent some time on the treadmill, made a perfect omelet for my Prince, then made my way to the grocery store.Thank heaven for 4WD! Seriously, I love my Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. It was more trouble pushing my grocery-laden cart to the Jeep than it was driving my Jeep through the partially cleared roads. Put groceries away while Prince Charming watched basketball game. Started my appetizer for party: Roast Beef Bruscetta. Showered. Finished appetizer, then kicked Prince off of his throne and into the shower.

We walked across the street to Steve and Kristy's house, the site of the evening's festivities. Much drinking! We began by playing 90s Trivial Pursuit, boys vs. girls, and the ladies dominated! We rocked! We were ahead by three pieces of pie when the game was called on account of Karaoke.

I had never Karaoked before. I mean, don't get me wrong, I sing. As a matter of fact, I perform twice daily at the Jeep Grand Cherokee Stage. I just haven't done a lot of karaoke. However, with booze anything is possible. Our "shy" husbands totally blew me away. Shy -- what a laugh! They could start a Kenny Roger's cover band! They were very into it. They performed "Lady", "Gambler", "Lucille", "Ruby", and those are just the ones I can remember! My big act was "I will survive." Yeah, I rocked. People started leaving around 2:30 am. We stayed until after 3:30 talking about neighborhood issues.

Stumbled back across the street around 4 and fell into bed. Unfortunately I was too tired to sleep. So we took turns a-starin', out the window at the darkness. The boredom overtook us...sorry, having a flashback. Woke up very late Sunday morning. Cleaned house and paid bills.

I had a fabu time with the neighbors. Can't wait to do it again. Hope you all had a good weekend too.
posted by Phoenix | 8:20 AM | 0 comments

Site new to me
You must check out Sanity in Mad City. It is a Madison, WI based blog with some good stuff! Also, apparently the Badger Blog Alliance is up and running. Good stuff there too!

Both will soon appear in the Blogroll.

posted by Phoenix | 8:14 AM | 0 comments

Election Day Antics
Do you all remember the brouhaha in Milwaukee on Election Day when those Republican Party vans had all of their tires slashed? Well, it seems that the alleged perpetrators are having their day in court. Guess who was involved! C'mon, I'll give you one guess. Story here.

Five Democratic activists were charged with criminal damage to property in
the election day tire slashing incident, including the son of former mayor
Marvin Pratt and the son of newly elected Congresswoman Gwen Moore. As Moore
passed through a crowd of reporters, she ignored a barrage of questions about
her son's alleged involvement. Republicans say the vandalism cost them more than
just the $4192.35 to repair 25 vans used for transporting poll watchers and
voters on November 2.

Of course it was democrats. C'mon...we knew it was politically motivated 10 minutes after it was discovered. And naturally it was the former mayor's son and the son of a Congresswoman. Of course.

I tell you, I expect better. This is stupid childish antics. They deserve every bit of justice the system metes out...and probably more. If the shoe had been on the other foot, and these idiots had been Republicans, well...I think we all know there would have been a tremendous hue and cry followed quickly by a lynching.
posted by Phoenix | 8:07 AM | 0 comments

Monday, January 24, 2005
Too tired after crazy weekend. Will post tomorrow.

Hip, hip, hurray! Another bad guy in the net!

Will post on weekend soon, but as a teaser I put forth these facts:

Girls are better at 90's trivia
Karaoke can be a real hoot
posted by Phoenix | 3:49 PM | 0 comments

Friday, January 21, 2005
What's that old adage?
You know that old adage about not being able to please all of the people all of the time? I want to put forth a new corollary.

You can't please a Liberal anytime.

Seriously! It turns out the British media is mocking the Inaugural Address. (Via Drudge)

"BUSH: HAVE I GOT NUKES FOR YOU, George Bush pledged all-out global war on terrorists and tyrants," headlines the STAR.

That is a lie. I've read the text. He said nothing of the sort!

I am agog. You would think that something as pie-in-the-sky as the address would please all of those liberal nutjobs. Freedom for all mankind. An end to tyranny and oppression. But nooooo. Bush=Hitler, therefore Freedom=Evil and Tyranny + Oppression= Happy Good Time.

I swear, these people are morally bankrupt. Do you hear me? They have no credibility left. They castigate the USA for having too much power, too much military might, an aggressive foreign policy, an no sense of history. And then, when the President finally gives a speech that highlights the common goals of all mankind, fully recognizing that we can not force people into the same forms of government we choose for ourselves, but merely help them to shed the chains of oppression -- still they scoff. You would think we could all get behind liberty. Liberty and justice for all. But nooooo. Apparently these are offensive concepts to the Left.

You would think they could get behind us using our power for good instead of evil. For criminey's sake, this merely proves that they are intent on being against us. Bush clearly stated that this goal would not necessarily be reached with military might. Next they ridicule us for the pomp and circumstance of the whole thing.

Pot, meet Kettle. Kettle, this is Pot. For heaven's sake, they have a fargin Royal Family! When Charlie rides to hounds it is a fargin' national moment! It is hypocrisy, pure and simple. We are damned if we do anything, damned if we do nothing.

You can't please a Liberal anytime. Ever. And don't even bother trying to please more than one Liberal, unless it involves multiple sexual favors.

On the Madison morning news this morning, some local nut proclaimed he was disappointed with the President's speech because he didn't hear what he had wanted to hear. Namely, he expected the President to announce his resignation. At the Inauguration? He really is an idiot.

Having elected a President, isn't it the rational thing to do to simply move on and get with the program? I mean, it isn't like a bloody coup took place! These idiots make me feel so old, so weary, and very alone in my dinghy, the USS Optimistic, adrift on the Sea of Pessimistic Liberal Whining, Belly-Aching, and Bile.

But, it turns out, you can't please a Liberal anytime.

These people are really starting to piss me off.
posted by Phoenix | 8:36 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, January 20, 2005
Wisconsin Weather
It is snowing...again. More expected tomorrow. The flakes are big and fat and falling fast. No doubt I'll be shoveling in the dark tonight.

You know, there are parts of living in Wisconsin that are decidedly undesirable. Chief among these are the fruits, the nuts, and all the damn snowflakes.

Egad. Enough!
posted by Phoenix | 2:58 PM | 1 comments

Highlights of the Inaugural Address
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.
The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America’s influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America’s influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom’s cause.

My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people from further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test America’s resolve, and have found it firm.
(This part I particularly like...)
Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:

All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.

The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”

The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.

And all the allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom’s enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies’ defeat.
By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well – a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.
When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner “Freedom Now” – they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.

When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, “It rang as if it meant something.” In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength – tested, but not weary – we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.

That's just very well written!
posted by Phoenix | 2:27 PM | 0 comments

Top Ten Wrong Ideas
Over at Diplomad, there is a must-read list of "Top Ten Wrong Ideas that People Around the World Still Believe." Go read it, it is priceless! My favorites excerpted below.

4) You can't make a country democratic by force. This is anti-Americanism
and anti-Iraq-invasion thinking mixed with historic amnesia. The Brits conquered
India and left it democratic. We bombed Germany and Japan to smithereens,
occupied them by force and left them democratic. We invaded and occupied
Afghanistan and it's on the way to being democratic. We have a better than even
chance of doing the same with Iraq.

5) The United Nations is the hope for the future of mankind,and its
corollary, if we didn't have the UN we'd have to invent it. If this is true,
mankind has a bleak future. Anybody with an IQ larger than his shoe size
(American shoe size) knows that trusting the UN with our hopes for the future is
wrong; we have seen this day after day. But this idea is still out there, and
accepted as politically correct and believable by large swaths of countries.
It's the official line of the whole European Union, which is frightening, since
some of those countries individually are good allies and have intelligent people
who should know better.

posted by Phoenix | 2:23 PM | 0 comments

The Hypocrisy of Fatty Moore
Few things piss me off like this. Drudge and Fox are reporting this morning that Patrick Burke, Michael Moore's bodyguard, was arrested in NYC last night for carrying an unlicensed firearm. He was at JFK -- a freakin' airport!

Michael Moore, as everyone knows, is morally bankrupt. This is the vile bit of trash celebrated by the Left for his "documentary" Bowling for Columbine. The Left criticizes the gun culture and Michaeld Moore is their poster boy. The Left criticizes personal responsibility and sides with criminals having the right to commit violent crime instead of victim's rights to self preservation.

Now, Poster Boy's own bodyguard is found to be carrying an unlicensed firearm in an airport in a post-September 11 world. I just love the smell of burning hypocrisy in the morning. Once again, this seems to highlight the Left's contention that guns are for a special class of special people. "Special People" seems to include rapists, murderers, celebrities, politicians, and big fat liars.

What a surprise! Color me shocked at this news. Shocked!

posted by Phoenix | 8:21 AM | 0 comments

Inauguration Thoughts
Today, January 20th is Inauguration Day. It is the day when we celebrate the beginning of an elected President's term. Today we celebrate the beginning of George W. Bush's second term as POTUS.

The inauguration ceremony requires that the President-elect take the Oath of Office.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office
of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability,
preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.

Isn't that beautiful? Whether or not you supported the candidate, as President he vows to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." This is what I expect from a President. I expect him to abide by the rules outlined by the Constitution. I expect him to act in the best interests of the people and the nation. I expect him to protect us with his actions and those of others that he directs as the CIC. I expect him to defend the Constitution as a written document and as a idea.

Our country does not see much pageantry. We have no monarch, no pomp and ceremony like some. We are a blue jeans & beer sort of nation, not a wait-in-line-to-see-the-royal-guard-ride-by kind of people.

But we do have the Inauguration. It is a time for a new President to speak about the future and the goals of the nation. It is a time to speak of high ideals. From all I have been able to gather, President Bush intends to speak about Freedom and the Spread of Freedom.

Talk all you want about Social Security and the Economy. But Freedom is more important to me. Freedom. Just freedom. Liberty. That sublime right to chart your own course and be beholden to no man, to struggle under no man's yoke. Freedom goes hand in hand with personal rights. Individual human rights. It speaks to a way of being, yes, but also requires a strong dose of personal responsibility. If you want to be free you have to exercise your rights. You have to accept personal responsibility and realize that your first line of defense in every situation is yourself. You simply can not expect the government to wipe your bottom like a nanny would.

Why, you ask? It is simple. Our Founding Fathers believed that "rights" equated to "responsibility." If the government exceeded its boundaries, the People were expected to take back their government. This is why we have a system of checks and balances, term limits, the Electoral College, and a Bill of Rights. This is why the Constitution is written in such plain language, clearly defining the rights of the States, the rights of the People, and the roles of each branch of the government. Our Founding Fathers were men of action. They weren't perfect; being men, they all were flawed. However, they had suffered under the yoke of an oppressive government and believed in their absolute right to self-determination.

Not enough credit is given to these men for the establishment of a government that is by far superlative to any other. We have strayed too far from their ideals, I feel, but the system is in place for us to fix things.

Much is said about how members of the administration "serve at the pleasure of the President." But not nearly enough is said that they all serve at the pleasure of the People. "We the People" begins the Constitution for a reason. Because the government is created by the People for the People, and not the other way around.

Freedom and Liberty should be the rights of all people. It is our duty to spread the seeds of these ideals to the oppressed people of the world. It is our responsibility to help them help themselves. But understand this: there can be no freedom without personal responsibility. It is a chicken and egg kind of thing.

I understand that there are people who are going to Washington, D.C. to protest the reelection of George Bush by turning their backs as the motorcade drives by. I understand that bloggers are going to avoid posting today as a sign of solidarity and protest. So be it. I think it is childish, churlish, and absolutely ridiculous, but so be it. Certainly they are free to do so, I just hope they are also embracing personal responsibility in the same way they are embracing their freedoms.

Oftentimes in history we have seen politicians. Bill Clinton was a consumate politician. Who else would question the definition of "is"? Less often in history have we seen true statesmen. I don't know if George Bush is a statesmen. This is because these determinations can only be made after the horse has left the barn, so to speak. But, I am certain that the goal of freedom is served by a second term for Dubya.

I also think that spreading Freedom is a fine way to start 2005.

Today we inaugurate a duly elected President of the United States. And that is good!

posted by Phoenix | 7:37 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Flu Shots
Just this morning I saw a promo for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Apparently, Brian wants to know who is to blame for the reports of flu shot shortages now that there appears to be a glut of unused flu shots going to waste. Presumably an expose is in the offing.

If you recall, at the early onset of flu season, the media was reporting that flu shots were going to be in short supply this year. Restrictions were announced that essentially limited flu shot availability to the elderly and those considered "at risk." Much was made of the debacle, with some placing the blame on the Bush Administration for not anticipating the shortage and doing something about it. We heard about flu shots going bad because they didn't get refrigerated in a timely manner. The media bemoaned the tragic loss and made it seem that children and the elderly would soon be dropping like flies.

So what happened? People didn't bother to get flu shots so that other people could get them. Either they didn't fall into a risk group, they considered themselves healthy, figured that someone else was more in need, etc. There were so many flu shots available, that they widened the definition of "at risk" to include other people. Now there is a glut of unused flu shots out there.

Brian Williams wants to know why. I'll tell you why! The media over-hyped the shortage. People decided against their annual flu shots because other people were more in need. Even the elderly sacrificed their own flu shots for other people. THE MEDIA IS RESPONSIBLE! They may not have been responsible for the initial problem, but they absolutely fed the beast. They make things sound so dire that people did what the media urged. They gave up their flu shots to others...only too many people gave them up. How do you backpedal now? Simple. The media is going to find someone to BLAME. Because that is what the MSM is all about: Placing Blame.

You want to know who is to blame? Clean the hairspray off the mirror and take a good long look Bri-Bri.
posted by Phoenix | 10:02 AM | 1 comments

My weekend
Hello all.

I will begin posting again after bringing y'all up to speed. It has been horribly cold here in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin and I've been uninspired. More to the point, I've been really busy at work. Blogging doesn't pay, as I've elaborated in a previous post. So, work has to come first.

Saturday I did my grocery shopping and cleaned house a bit. Sunday I did laundry and read a book. I had yesterday off for MLK day (markets closed) so I slept in. Prince Charming made me breakfast then I went to the mall to buy new shoes for the treadmill. I came home and did some more cleaning, worked out, showered, and so ended my day off.

Today I'm back at work. I have a good rant coming.
posted by Phoenix | 9:40 AM | 0 comments

Friday, January 14, 2005
Political Correctness Has Gone Too Far
I swear to you all, today I am absolutely astounded at the new heights of ridiculous that Political Correctness has reached.

As I have written before, I am a resident of The Granola State of Wisconsin. I live half-way between the capital of Madison, and the Wisconsin Dells. The Wisconsin Dells, for those of you lucky enough to be in warmer climes, is the Walt Disney World of Wisconsin. In the Summer they have water parks, camping, and, of course, Tommy Bartlett's water show. In the Winter (which lasts 9 months in Wisconsin) we have Indoor Water Parks, casinos, and skiing.

On the news this morning, I learn that a water park in the Dells is changing the name of an attraction out of sensitivity. That's right! The Wilderness Resort is changing the name of the wave pool. Until now it has been known as "The Great Tsunami", but they feel that this is offensive and don't want to offend vacationers in the wake (pun intended) of the recent tragedy. On the TV news, they also reported that the ride known as "The Hurricane" will also be renamed.

How ridiculous! What next? Hmm? Really! What freakin' next?

I don't mean to make light of the tragedy, but I don't believe that naming an attraction at a water park for something in nature glorifies it. I don't see that any of the actual victims of the tragedy are ever going to travel to the Wisconsin Dells, and if they did, chances are they would not be offended.

What next? Will we have to rewrite history to write "someone did something" so as to avoid offending anyone? I can't help but think a more powerful message for the Wilderness Resort to send would be to keep the name and host a benefit. Something like all park admissions on some weekend will be donated directly to relief work in the affected region.

I have personally survived 3 tornados. Do I get offended at every "cyclone" and "tornado" to be found at amusement parks across the nation? Of course not. I don't think that naming the equipment as such either glorifies the destruction or pokes fun at the victims. I don't think it is insensitive. If you were a roller coaster aficionado, which would you rather ride? "The Medium Size Wind" or "Texas Tornado"? Which sounds more thrilling? "Ride in the Agrarian locales with Age-Advanced Females" or "Ride to Hell"?

I think this PC crap has gone too far. Someone will always be offended. You may sometimes be offended. I may sometimes be offended. But you know what? We have to suck it up, be adults, and come to the realization that we don't have to be soo sensitive. Yes, you should strive to be polite. But if someone goes off the deep end on you, like Cavuto recently experienced, just tell them you are sorry. You were trying to be civil and polite. Leave it at that.

They can get glad in the same pants they got mad in.

I pledge to you, here an now, not to sugarcoat stuff for you. I'm gonna call 'em like I see 'em, damn the political correctness.

h/t Kathy & ASV
posted by Phoenix | 8:03 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Just for the record
Nobody ever paid me to be a pro-Bush Blogger.

I do this to give myself a taller soapbox. I do this in my own free time. I get nothing from it except the rare complimentary comment or email, and the rush of watching my sitemeter climb.

Apparently someone is saying we all got paid.

But I didn't. Let them prove it, I say!

h/t Four Right Wing Wackos

Oh and this bit of stupidity was brought to my attention by them as well.

So, I'm going to retaliate in some way. I'll be brainstorming.
posted by Phoenix | 8:08 AM | 1 comments

Memogate Cartoon
Cox & Forkum have a fab cartoon today on Memogate. Check it out!
posted by Phoenix | 8:04 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Two Questions
I'm still working through the report on Memogate. I have a real job, what can I say? As I've been reading, two major questions have been occurring to me.

1. While the report is strongly worded and seems to place blame on the entity of CBS News as a administrative issue, it fails to identify the fact that the documents were forgeries or that there was obvious bias by the reporting parties. If you read the report, these two facts jump out at you. You don't even have to hardly ponder much about it, it is laid out pretty squarely for the reader. You don't even have to leap to come to the conclusion, it is the logical result at which you arrive. Despite this, the reasonable person rule doesn't seem to have applied to the panel. So my question then is this:

If what they have essentially handed CBS is "plausible deniability", what good are journalistic ethics anymore? When I was in school, we were taught that "balance" in reporting a story meant giving time to both sides. To begin with there is an obvious showing in the evidence that the story was sewn together only of the facts that served the endgame. All other facts were pushed aside as irrelevant or not tidy enough to fit in the box. Does this not add to the bias issue? Moreover, since Mapes continues to contend that stories are frequently made on documents that are copies, what is to keep me from creating documents that say George Washington, while crossing the Delaware, dictated a note to my great-great-great-to the nth degree uncle that I should be crowned Queen of the Western Territories in the year 2006? If they are copies, then what is to be argued? It would have been dictated, so no Geo. Washington signature, only the handwriting of a man in a boat (which one would expect to be somewhat sloppy). How would one authenticate such a document? Simply put, you can't.

Furthermore, I believe we expect a higher standard when we are discussing the Leader of the Free World. The original 60 Minutes spot was little more than character assassination. As such, somebody ought to be held responsible, and I don't mean by losing their job! The dangerous precedent has unfortunately already been set. Now, all you need is Microsoft Word 2000, a photocopier, and some creativity to make the news.

Maybe I wrote Gone With the Wind and Margaret Mitchell stole it from me and changed the names. That's all I'm saying. The standard set forth by the panel actually slides away from responsible journalism. They should have said, flat out, the documents were phony, and we expect a high degree of certainty from a news organization like CBS News, unless they are changing their image to a scandal rag. You know the types...Hillary Clinton gives birth to Elvis's Alien Love Child.

2. While the report isn't exactly a whitewash, it certainly fails to call a spade a spade, despite overwhelming evidence. That being said, suppose this same panel were to judge Sandy Berger over the Trousergate scandal. Would they similarly find Sandy didn't knowingly stuff those Federally protected documents into his pants and socks? Would they contend there was no proof he knowingly then destroyed some of the documents? What would they say to the National Archive Sting that caught Sandy Enquiring minds want to know.

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posted by Phoenix | 2:35 PM | 0 comments

Good morning!
Well, I'm back in my chains. I'm about 1/2 way through the 224 pages of report on Memogate. I may have more commentary on that later. Anyhoo, I'm going through my morning surf and wanted to point out a few things to you, my faithful readers.

First up, The Noble Eagle has a lengthy essay on one Col. Hackworth, (Memogate figure) from the soldier's perspective. It is good, so point and click. Besides which, the Noble Eagle is well-positioned with his opinions as being both Air National Guard and the Army. Click here.

Chrenkoff is posting today on one of the most fascinating things, in my view, of getting older and being a fan of history. Today's central question is whether today's world leaders will ever compare to Roosevelt and Churchill. You should be reading Chrenkoff everyday, but be sure to read what he has to say and consider the question yourself. I agree with him. I think a leader is best analyzed 15-20 years after he has gone. Plenty of time for the fog to lift, personality clashes and petty politics to fade, and for the real work to be analyzed along with the results.

Cox & Forkum have a don't miss cartoon up today. It made me laugh out loud. "Does Bush eat Kittens?" Nah, no bias there. Click here.

Update: Sorry...if the markets get crazy I actually have work to do. Back to it...

Thanks to the Llamas for pointing out this news. It is high-freakin-time that somebody stuck it to Sandy Berger's pants for stealing documents from the National Archives. Too little has been done about this.

The criminal probe into why former Bill Clinton aide Sandy Berger illegally
sneaked top-secret documents out of the National Archives — possibly in his
socks — has heated up and is now before a federal grand jury, The Post has
Berger admits removing 40 to 50 top-secret documents from the archives, but
claims it was an "honest mistake" made while he vetted documents for the 9/11
commission's probe into the Twin Towers attacks.

Berger has also acknowledged that he destroyed some documents — he says
by accident.
Some Republicans, such as House Speaker Dennis Hastert, have charged that
Berger pilfered the documents because they were embarrassing to Clinton and
Clinton aides such as Berger.
The probe was touched off last spring when stunned archives staffers
reported seeing Berger sneak classified documents out of a top-secret reading
room in his pants and socks while vetting Clinton-era items for the commission.

They then ran a sting operation in which they coded some documents and
confirmed they were missing when Berger left.

The documents were classified Code Word, the highest security
classification, above Top Secret.

The commission report makes clear that Berger had a habit of writing
candid notes in the margin of memos, sometimes flatly rejecting plans for

He nixed a plan to capture Osama bin Laden with one word: "No."

INDC Bill has must read commentary on MemoGate. Get that here.

TKS has a good laugh. Mapes has responded to the report and Les Moonves. My favorite part:

I believe the segment presented to the American people facts they were free to
accept or reject, and that as those facts were presented, there was nothing that
was false or misleading. I am heartened to see that the panel found no political
bias on my part, as indeed I have none.

I respond to this drivel by saying, "Dude, we frickin' did reject it! Ya'll continued to hold by the "story". No political bias? Did you even read the report? Lady, you are wacked! Stop smoking your lattes."

And, naturally, no coverage of Memogate would be complete without Power Line. Too much to link. Read it yourself.

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posted by Phoenix | 8:01 AM | 0 comments

Monday, January 10, 2005
Breaking News
I have just received a breaking news flash from Fox News...


I will post more as it becomes available. It seems likely, to me at least, that this move is being made in anticipation of the report on the Memogate Investigation being released.

Stay tuned, kiddies!

Update: Ummm. Sorry. Apparently the report has already been released, though when and what is said I'm still trying to discover. According to MSNBC, the following people got the axe:

The story, which aired on Sept. 8, relied on four documents allegedly
written by one of Bush's Texas Air National Guard commanders in the early 1970s.
Questions about the authenticity of the documents were raised almost

The investigators also said CBS News had compounded that failure with
“rigid and blind” defense of the report, which aired on the “60 Minutes
Wednesday” news magazine.

A statement detailing the network’s response to the investigation said
that network executives had asked for the resignations of Senior Vice President
Betsy West, who supervised CBS News primetime programs; “60 Minutes Wednesday” Executive Producer Josh Howard; Howard’s deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer MaryMurphy. The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was terminated, it said.

The correspondent on the story, CBS News anchor Dan Rather, is stepping
down as anchor of CBS Evening News.

I'll see if I can't find more out for you.

Update II: Okay. The report was just released, though it is 224 pages in length. It may be a while before we've waded through it completely. In the meantime, see this.

While the panel found that some actions taken by CBS News encouraged such
suspicions, “the Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing of the segment or its content.”
Their findings were contained in a 224-page report made public on Monday.
While the panel said it was not prepared to brand the Killian documents as an outright forgery, it raised serious questions about their authenticity and the
way CBS News handled them.
The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was also faulted for calling Joe
Lockhart, a senior official in the John Kerry campaign, prior to the airing of the piece, and offering to put Burkett in touch with him. The panel called Mapes’ action a “clear conflict of interest that created the appearance of political bias


A key factor in the decision to broadcast the piece was a telephone
conversation between Mapes and Maj. Gen. Bobby Hodges, Killian’s commanding
officer. Mapes told the panel Hodges confirmed the content of the four documents after she read them to him over the phone.

Hodges, however, denied doing so. He also told the panel he had given Mapes information that should have raised warning flags about the documents, including his belief that Killian had never ordered anyone, including Mr. Bush, to take a physical.

Hodges said that when he finally saw the documents after the Sept. 8
broadcast, he concluded they were bogus and told Rather and Mapes
of his opinion on Sept. 10.

Hmmm. So essentially this report seems to be a slap on the wrist and a whitewash. The panel cannot conclude the piece had a political agenda, but also points out Mapes' call to Lockhart and her offer to put them in contact with Burkett. BULLSHIT! I'm sorry, but it had to be said. It is patently clear that there was an agenda...that is unless Lockhart served in the TX Air National Guard with Bush and she was calling for a comment. Or, did Lockhart know Burkett and she was merely trying to hook up two old highschool buddies? Sorry, I have to call BULLSHIT again.

Moreover, the panel is still not willing to come out and call the documents forgeries. Come on! They had access to the originals! Again...BULLSHIT!

So clearly, this "investigation" and the resulting "report" are worth more as toilet paper than they are as an "investigation" and a "report"!

Anybody surprised?

Update III:

Read the report here.

h/t to Fox News (nobody else is linking it).

Update IV: Am currently reading the report. I already have one question.

Under section E: The Vetting Process, a Chief Warrant Officer Conn is mentioned as the (Mapes-alleged) ultimate source of the documents -- deliverer of said documents to Burkett. But no mention is made that the investigative panel attempted to reach Chief Warrant Officer Conn, though they are quick to point out that Mapes didn't reach him. Seems to me they ought to have tried, considering they did in fact contact other people who worked at Ellington AFB with Killian, namely a Lieutenent Colonel Doug Via and a Colonel Rufus Martin. (By the way, neither Via nor Martin believe the documents to be authentic or correct in content.)

They probably didn't bother contacted Conn because Burkett retracted his statement identifying Conn as the ultimate source. But, did the panel search for Lucy Ramirez or the mysterious man at the livestock show?

Still reading. It seems the Panel did contact Burkett, but he initially refused to participate citing the unprofessional and unethical way he felt he had been treated by CBS. He later offered to participate, but only if his comments were left out of the report. The Panel refused. Good for them! They also attempted twice to contact Chief Warrant Officer Conn, but he didn't return calls.


posted by Phoenix | 9:24 AM | 1 comments

Sunday, January 09, 2005
My Saturday Night as a Zoo Animal
Last night, my husband and I went out to dinner at a major chain dining establishment. This particular establishment is known for a prominent red & white decorating theme and having Americana all over the walls. The name of this establishment features initials and a day of the week. Now you know the establishment of which I write.

Ordinarily, I really like this place. The food is good, the prices are reasonable, and the wait-staff is friendly and eager to please. Last night, though, I had one of the worst dining experiences I've ever had.

I've never gone to this place on the East side of Madison that I didn't have to wait. Last night was no different, with people stacked 3 deep everywhere waiting to be seated. Prince Charming and I waited 25 minutes and were finally seated in the bar. (We had chosen first available seating.) I wish to point out at this time that it was just the two of us. Despite this, they seated us at a quasi-table that actually seats 8. I call it a quasi-table because it was bar-height, with bar stool chairs, and the table surface was only so deep -- I could actually reach the opposite edge of the table by extending my arm from my seated position. It was actually as shallow as a bar. All of this was fine, except for the obvious fact that we were two people seated at a table for 8.

In any event, we were seated. Before our waiter even arrived, people began to descend at our table in the vacant 6 seats. In addition to the seated squaters, we also had numerous people standing around these people, all overflow people looking for somewhere to wait for their own tables. I thought it was a bit weird to be sharing our table with all of these strangers, but I figured some member of the staff would fix the situation. To be perfectly clear, this was a table, we were not seated at the bar.

Lo and behold, our waiter comes and takes our drink orders. As he is departing, he dutifully tells the 10 usurpers that this is our table and that they will need to move along. They all seemed offended, seeing as how there was not an abundance of space and clearly we weren't using all of the seats. Nevertheless, they seemed to move off and leave my husband and I to our relative privacy.

That is, until the waiter had departed, whereupon they reclaimed their previous spots. Although, technically they did not actually sit, they were still crowding around our table and using the surface to hold all of their drinks. They leaned against the chairs, leaned against our table, and essentially made our table feel as a community trough.

As though the space were some sort of secret mission, they all made to turn their backs, appearing to play by the rules, each time our waiter visited the table. But of course, this must get worse. Eventually, one part of our gaggle left, their own table being ready. However, now other people came in and decided to join us, and now we had people who were unaware that this was our "table".

Of course, it should have been a big clue, the fact that our waiter took our order and nobody else's, that he was defering to our every whim, and that...hello!...he brought food to the "table". But no, these people continued to play their little game, adding a new feature. Yes! It is zoo time! They watched us eat. I kid you not! It was like some wildlife program or something. I could hear Robin Leach narrating,

"See heah. The wild male of the chapman species prefers the meat of the pig. See how he tears the flesh from the ribs? He is trully making a mess, but the male chapman seems to be enjoying his meal! See how he relishes the sauce with his fried potato? That is a signatory characteristic of the feeding young male chapman. Turn your site now to the female of the species. It appears her diet is somewhat different. She has chosen more greenery for her meal, with some fowl on the top for protein. She too has her sauce, but this appears to be some sort of a hot bacon dressing. She is somewhat more skittish and shy than her male companion, so be careful not to get too close. She also appears to be somewhat more careful in the partaking of her meal and is making nearly no mess. Perhaps she is aware that we spy. In any event, watch as they masticate. Also note that the female partakes of what is known in the wild as an "appletini". You are really getting a treat now!"

They watched us like we were the floor show! It was so rude! I can't even begin to describe it! Ordinarily when one dines out there are other diners, but they are consumed with their own food and their own companions. In this instance however, we were bugs under glass. They watched us and they resented us.

Nearing the end of the evening I nearly lost it. One lady was there with her husband and son. When her husband pointed to our table and suggested that they sit, she said "no. that is their table." They continued to stand in front of our table with their backs to us (except for their son who stared me down like he wanted to slit my throat and steal my salad). However, about 20 minutes later, as we were about 1/2-way into our meal, they decide to sit anyway. They seat their son across from us and use the table space to store their drinks. The kid continues to stare. That's when I really got pissed off.

By her own admission this woman knew her behavior was wrong. For god's sake all of these people knew that they were being inordinately rude. Did that stop them? Hell no! So I tried to eat my meal, but in the end discovered it difficult to eat when you are being watched so closely. Literally, I felt the enmity and the jealousy. I felt as though they were chasing me from the place!

To be fair, I can't blame my waiter. He did mention it to our first wave of squaters. He didn't seat us at a table for 8. He didn't really scare anybody else off, but I know we weren't his only table. No. I blame the fool manager who seated us there to begin with. Seating two people at a table for 8 is really stupid! I blame the restaurant owner as well, who would be advised that the space would give itself to two booths easily and would give him another table to rotate and would also free the unlucky temporary denizens of these tables from the constant watching of the other customers. There are other booths in this bar area and none of them receive this kind of treatment from the other patrons. It is simple. Those tables are recognized as tables and are given respect. And that simple fact seems to be enough to keep people's manners in check.

Mostly I blame those rude individuals who took advantage of the situation. They knew their behavior was wrong. They knew they were being rude. They did it anyway. I felt their enmity directed my way. I certainly was made to feel uncomfortable and like a zoo animal. Why didn't I say something? Believe me, I considered it. I didn't feel I should have to police a table that I was essentially renting. I didn't feel it was my job, I was a guest afterall. I felt that it would have availed me nothing, knowing these people already knew better. What good is my admonition, that of a 5'3" brunette? So I was terrorized by the tyranny of the fact that quite clearly I have the better manners.

And the cretins took advantage.

If I ever go back I will be sure to make it plain that I will not sit at that table. And, I'm still considering writing a scathing letter to the local owner and the corporate headquarters.

What do you think? Am I overreacting?

posted by Phoenix | 10:06 AM | 0 comments

Friday, January 07, 2005
Must Read
Stop what you are doing and go read the Diplomad's post on the UN.

It's absolutely fabulous!

Here, a description of the UNocrats:

...I decided that, no, labeling them mafiosos or mercenaries was much too
kind. They seemed more to be the progeny resulting from a mating between a mad
oracle and a giant carrion-eater. They were akin to some sort of ancient
mythical Greco-Roman-Aztec-Wes Craven-Egyptian-bird-god that demands constant
sacrifice and feeding, and speaks in riddles which only it can solve. Yes, I
decided, the UNocrats are great hideous vultures, roused from their caves in the
European Alps and in the cement canyons and peaks of Manhattan by the stench of
death in the Turd World. They leisurely take flight toward the smell of death;
circle, and then swoop down, screeching UNintelligble nonsense. They arrive and
immediately force others, e.g., the American tax payer, to build them new
exclusive nests in the midst of poverty, and make themselves fat on the flesh of
the dead. My friends, allow The Diplomad to present to you The High Priest
Vulture Elite (HPVE).

These genuinely repulsive, arrogant creatures survive only because the
world's rich countries, the non-Turd World, allow them, too. We in the First
World find it politically impossible to reveal their pronouncements as the cant
they are. For many in Europe and among the New York Times crowd, helping
maintain these mad vultures substitutes for genuine action, "The UN is on the
job!" In addition, for many senior bureaucrats and minor politicians, there is
always the hope that if they play the game right, they, too, can join the High
Priest Vulture Elite: We see the ranks of the HPVE full of Scandinavians and
leftist Americans, and the occasional pompous Euro-Brazilian, all of whom
parlayed mediocre domestic careers of lip-biting humanitarian symbolism into
well-paying tax-free sinecures in the HPVE.

I swear, I soooo wish I had written that! I was spewing Propel all over the desk and nearly peed my pants I was laughing so hard.

Read the rest of it!

posted by Phoenix | 2:11 PM | 0 comments

Crocodile Tears and an Appeal
First, check out the smarmy Barbara Boxer, Representative of California, as she wipes away a tear. It is soooooo traumatic for her. Poooooor baby. President Bush was reelected. If you are having problems dealing, there are some specialist therapists in Florida that can help you work through the pain.

California, please, I entreat you, stop voting for this joke.

h/t Drudge

Final thought:

I failed to consider fully. Perhaps she is crying because she is just now realizing that this is what she will be remembered for...or realizing it could end her career. What do you think?
posted by Phoenix | 1:26 PM | 2 comments

The Magic Time Machine
Jim Geraghty's TKS (formerly known as The Kerry Spot) was an essential thrice daily read for me in the run-up to the election. Few other sites get read by me as often. (Kathy & The Llama Butchers get read this regularly too.) Since the end of the election, the site has changed names but is still essential reading.

Most of the recent coverage has been about how the Dems went wrong, the new DNC chair, and of course the "Bush stole another election" meme.

Interestingly enough, today Jim points out that the brouhaha over the 2000 election still hasn't been put to rest. Give it up already people!

A group called Patriots for Gore is still trying to overturn the 2000
election, as it outlines in a press release dated Jan. 3, 2005:

As the rightful President of 2000, Al Gore should have been allowed to
serve the term the people and electorate of America elected him to serve for
them. We then also have been working to investigate if there is a legal and
constitutional way to restore that term to Vice President Gore, and a petition
to that effect is on our site. The petition will remain there as long as it
takes to see justice, if that day ever comes.

Ridiculous! Jim asks at the end of his post just what method would be employed to restore that term to Gore. I personally believe that they will have to spend 14 months smoking their breakfasts and attempting to resurrect Albert Einstein. Then, after spending 24 months bringing Albert up to speed on the new technologies established since his death and teaching him the history he missed, they will have to spend another 12 months showing him around town and introducing him to Legos and Fruit Roll-ups. Then, Albert will knuckle down and spend another 24-36 months inventing the technologies to fill the gap and bring into being time travel. It will take another three years or so to work out the kinks and test the machine to a satisfactory result. Then of course someone could go back and "fix" the election. If they start smoking and studying the Dark Arts now, I figure the Magic Time Machine will be ready somewhere around Mid-March 2014. Of course, this does give Congress plenty of time to outlaw time travel, but we'll just assume a bunch of potheads can keep the secret and the ambition for that long. (Them being potheads by the very nature of needing to smoke that many breakfasts; and potheads not being especially known for being driven or for their achievements, or for being all that reserved. Speaking in generalities here. I do not mean to malign the hordes of over-achieving, conservative, tight-lipped potheads out there.)

You heard it here first, folks. Albert Einstein will invent the Magic Time Machine after Old Scratch and his pothead followers resurrect him, introduce him to the munchies, then put him to work. After all of which we will finally have a President Al Gore. It takes a village, don't it?

While the idiots are working on this, I will form a crack team of super scientists who will have 5 years to invent a time machine for me, beating Einstein to the punch, though all in super-secret stealth mode. When completed, I will send them into the future to prevent Einstein and the Potheads from completing their mission. I will therefore have saved democracy and prevented them from stealing the elections of 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 from the rightful winners.

How do I come by this? Anyone who has seen "Back to the Future" knows that if you tamper with history everything skews off course. Therefore, I will be awarded a Special Medal by Speaker of the House Britney Spears-Federline.

Hey, if they can dream, so can I!


posted by Phoenix | 1:25 PM | 0 comments

Malaise & Ennui
Deet, deet, deet,...deet

This is your intrepid reporter, filing an off-the-cuff expose from here in the field.

Here in the wilds of Wisconsin, a general malaise has taken over! Yes, in an alarming coup d'etat, General Malaise, with his faithful right-hand Lieutenant Ennui, has taken over large areas of the suburban area surrounding the capital.

We will have film at 6:00 and 10:00 as this story develops.

I'd just like to close by saying that our hopes and prayers are with the victims.
posted by Phoenix | 1:19 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
I am not the only cynic
Thank you , thank you Mr. Free Market.

For saying more of what I was thinking.

Read this. Mr. Free Market at Free Market Fairy Tales has a comment to make about all of the charitable donations being made.
posted by Phoenix | 7:41 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Sometimes I think
that all those people who say,

"It would be one of the biggest breakthroughs mankind has ever experienced
if we pooled our wealth in order to look after the poorer people of the world.
Sadly, I don't think it will happen."
- J G Ballard, Novelist

"It may make people realise that the UN needs to be well-equipped and funded. If people diverted money from weapons and war, we have the technology and money to be able to help - if we decide to do that."

-Tony Benn, Former cabinet minister

Really mean that they wish everybody was poor and miserable. As far as I can tell, that would be the only result of the grand redistribution of wealth plan that the UN has.

Socialist Commie Bastards.

h/t Robert El Llama Butcher
posted by Phoenix | 3:02 PM | 1 comments

I've been keeping this quiet
I am ill. I am very, very sick. I have this horrible syndrome known as HPA. It flares up now and then, but it is particularly virulent at the moment.

I have...Harry Potter Anxiety.

The symptoms, currently, are anxiety over how best to plan my purchases so that I am reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince very early in the morning on July 16, 2005. My mind is spinning, you see, it is hard to concentrate. Do I order online and hope for the best? Neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble is promising delivery on the release date, though both did this last time. I could get my name on a list at my local book store, but then I'd have to go get it at midnight on July 15.... I know myself, this means that I'll be reading it through the night. I could wait, I guess. It wasn't until late in the ordering that B&N and Amazon made the promise to deliver on Saturday. But what if they don't subsequently make the promise? Will I be able to wait, or did having it on Saturday for Book 5 totally spoil me? I worry that if I don't get it as soon as possible that I'll have to call in sick to work...with full-blown that I can stay home and read it. Do I call my local bookstore and find out if they will be selling the books at midnight on July 15? I mean, if I'm going to get it at my local bookseller, I want some assurances that I can have the book at one minute after midnite and that they won't run out.

I told you it was a sickness.

It is much like my sister's angsting over pass rates on this actuarial exam or that one. "50% is the normal pass rate, but everyone I've talked to says it was easy. So maybe only 40% passed this time. I didn't answer three questions and I know of two that I got wrong. So the highest I could score is 70%. And those are just the problems I know of off the top of my head."

It sounds ridiculous until you live through it.

Other symptoms of HPA include watery, tired eyes. Eyes that won't close. Paper cuts from turning crisp pages too quickly. Overtiredness from staying up late to finish the book or "one more chapter" after "one more chapter". Occasionally shouting out "Muggle" in your sleep, trying to open doors with "Alohamora". Expecting lights to turn off by saying "Nox."

There is no cure. And quite clearly it is not something you outgrow.


posted by Phoenix | 2:01 PM | 0 comments

I'm Back...with a rant
Hello my lovelies. Didja miss me? I've actually been back a couple of days but it took me a while to dig out. Anyhoo, more on my travels later. I have to get something off of my chest.

The tsunami. Dude, that's gotta suck. I don't mean to make light of it. It was a horrible thing and many people lost their lives. Mother Nature is a b$*ch. The loss of so many lives is a tragic thing and we could wish it were otherwise. However...

Something about it has me really p-o ed. That is, in the "coverage" of the "relief" and the "aid" I happened to see some man opine on Fox News, (imagine a heavy accent) "Where are the Americans?" Then I hear about how the UN is angry that the US wants to direct its own activities, that we haven't given "enough aid," that La Belle France has only donated some small pittance, and of course, this incredibly stupid question, "Gulf Arabs wonder if they are being stingy with aid."

Argh. Where to begin? We didn't react quickly enough? Dude, when you are opening your purse to look for $350 million, sometimes it takes a while to count. Nevermind the fact that we are currently fighting a multi-fronted war to free the world from the scourge that is Terrorism. Nevermind the fact that, having been bad-mouthed all around the world and generally treated like the red-headed step-child of the world, perhaps we wanted to make certain of our approach? Suppose we had jumped head-long into the fray...wouldn't the world have called us presumptuous busybodies intent on controlling the entire world? I certainly think so. And let's get back to that ignorant SOB who opined "Where are the Americans?"

You are an ass. I realize that your home, country, and family have all been ripped asunder, so I'll give you a small break. But, don't you think it wiser to ask what your own country is doing? How about your neighbors? I realize that it impacted more than just Sumatra, so extrapolate out to other neighbors in waves. You are beseeching the USA as though you have a RIGHT to our assistance. Hoo-Boy is that rich. Sure, badmouth us for being the world's policeman, badmouth us for our evil way of life, for being soft and sinful, then badmouth us because we didn't impose our will on your problem. Unless you are an American taxpayer, you have absolutely NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER to American Aid. If we choose to help you out, fine. But don't be so presumptuous as to imply it is your right. We give it graciously and likely expect no return. Don't be an ass!

Each country should be able to give what it feels able to give. If France can give a pittance on not be called on the carpet for it, the US shouldn't be badmouthed by UN bureau-rats (miss-spelled on purpose) for not giving more. The UN won't be happy until the US is a colony of France...wake up boys...that ain't gonna happen.

Who the F*** thinks it a good idea to put the UN in charge of $2 billion worth of aid? Shit, they can't seem to manage the petty cash, let alone a world-wide relief effort focused on a specific region. How many Iraqi children died of starvation on the UN's watch again? Dude...If I'm ever in need of assistance, PLEASE, don't send in the UN for criminey's sake. I'd rather be raped by the villain I know than stabbed in the back and then raped in perpetuity by the UN!

Which brings me to my next point. Yeah, yeah, the USA is a wonderful place. We have our problems, but yes, we are among the wealthiest nations in the world. We are good people of good heart and good intention. But when the F*&$ have any of the other nations of the world come to our aid? Let's keep our discussion to natural disasters for the moment.

(crickets chirping)

(frogs ribbeting)

Yeah, unless I missed it, natural disasters in the USA fall on the USA exclusively. Or did I miss a bunch of "help" from La Belle France when hurricane after hurricane after hurricane were turning Florida into oatmeal?

So why, when anything happens somewhere else is THAT also our problem?

For heaven's sake. That guy invoked the USA in the same way that other people say, "Dear God, Why ME?"

The USA is not your savior. Allah forbids it. Seriously! If you click on the link above to the NY Times article, you will see that Muslims are being directed by their imams not to send aid. The tsunami was the will of God and a punishment for the depravity practiced in those areas.

Who are these sick bastards?

To the victims of this horrific catastrophe I say my prayers are with you, I'm sorry this horrible thing happened, and that while it may take decades for your to rebuild your lives and countries, I suggest you do the bulk of the work yourself. Do not expect to be helped, but be grateful for all of the assistance the world gives. Why? I don't mean to be flippant, harsh, or cold, I'm just saying when the media and the news cycle shifts, you may find your well has dried up.

And to the jackass wearing the Osama bin Laden t-shirt: Soddy Chawlie.
posted by Phoenix | 1:19 PM | 0 comments

A few comments to the people in the airport...
As I was traveling, I ran into a few people in airports and didn't say the things I felt like saying, out of courtesy in a place where the discourteous get visited by the TSA.

1. To the guy taking my order in DFW at the Food Court: Dude, when I order two items, repeat my order, then act surprised that the total is so low, then ask if that covers both items, and you say "yes" it is really BAD form to get snippy when I point out that you only put one item in the bag and I'm not going to through the line again for your mistake. Ring it up, Idiot. I'll pay for it.

2. To the lady who wasn't keeping tabs on her two 8-year-old girls in the DFW concourse: Lady, you are proof that they'll let anybody be a parent. Do you think you could, I don't know, FREAKIN' PARENT? Do you want them to be abducted by white-slavers or was I wearing a sign on my forehead that says "Free Public Babysitter"?

3. To the TSA agent searching my bag: Dude, I've already been in line for 30 minutes waiting behind 7 people. 7 people! If I point out other possible compartments you may need to check on my bag it is not because I am a terrorist, but because my flight leaves in 5 minutes and you've only screened 7 people in 30 minutes, with a team of 8 people helping you!

4. To the TSA agent who let those other people get in front of us in line: ARRRRRRGH! My plane leaves in 15 minutes!

5. To the girl in front of me in line at security: If you have to warn the TSA agent that you have multiple piercings all over your body, including places the TSA agent can't see...a) you have too many piercings and b) do the rest of us a favor and take some of them out next time. It is not pleasurable waiting in eternity for your "style" to clear security. Jacko could get through a room of 6-year-olds faster.
posted by Phoenix | 1:07 PM | 1 comments

I just re-read that post on the tsunami and realized a warning is in order for new readers. Perhaps I can work it into a tagline.

Villains Vanquished...If you wanted political correctness you should have gone to CNN.

Seriously. That post is a bit...vehement. Watch your boots. I just felt that it needed to be said. I know it isn't a popular viewpoint. Deal!
posted by Phoenix | 1:04 PM | 0 comments


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