Saturday, April 16, 2005

A View from Babalu

Thursday Jeff G. and Bill from INDC Journal interviewed Ace and a guy named Val, who has a blog about Cuban issues and such called Babalu Blog , on Rightalk Radio. The streaming to the actual show can be found here at Jeff's site.

I had not heard of the Babalu Blog before, but it seems to rock. Anyway, with the world all caught up in the terror war we easily forget the madman south of us called Castro. Val read a post he had written on his blog and I am reprinting it here.

It is truly beautiful.

One Minute in Rush Hour

Because one can dream.

I'll probably be on my way home from work that day. Stuck somewhere on Miller Drive before the Palmetto Expressway. I'll be sitting there in my little truck and ahead of me a row of cars as is the norm. A few carhorns will start blaring in front of me. "Great," I'll complain to myself. "Now I have some idiot at the front of the line with car trouble or an accident or something."

And then the car horns will become a little more ubiquitous. The blaring will be coming from behind me as well. And from the sides. And people heading the opposite way on Miller Drive will be honking too. Some of them will have their windows rolled down. Shaking their fists out the windows and screaming. At first it'll seem like a combined fit of road rage. Like everyone being pissed at each other at the same time.

I'll look over at the guy in the Mercedes next to me and he'll be on his cellphone. Talking animatedly, using his hands to say whatever he cant get in edge wise vocally. Wait, did he just wipe tears from his eyes? And why does it seem the honking is getting louder? What the heck is going on?

The Eagles tune that I turned up to override all the honking just got interrupted. "We interrupt this program to bring you some breaking news..." But I wont be able to hear the breaking news. The car horns are too loud now. As if the entire city, as if every single person in every single car has just gone completely mad here in Miami.

People are starting to get out of their cars, right here, on Miller Drive, in rush hour traffic.

And then it hits me. I dont need a report to know what has just happened. My entire body is riddled with goosebumps. Tears are starting to build up. I open my car door, step out and look in both directions. It's a madhouse. People are honking and screaming and jumping around. There's a guy three or four cars back with his elbows resting on the roof of his car and his head in between them. It looks like he's crying too.

The driver side door of the car in front of me opens slowly. A little old lady works to get out of her car. I make my way over to her, this little old lady that just a few minutes ago I was complaining about being behind of in traffic, and help her out. She looks up at me, tears flowing from a pair of eyes that mirror a gammut of emotions. I try to say something but nothing comes out. All I know is that I have to hug her. Embrace this new Abuelita of mine. Cry on her shoulders. Hold her as if Im holding every single person in my family. My deceased abuelos, my tias and tios that have passed on. My mother. My father.

She will start sobbing then, almost uncontrollably. I do everything in my power to not follow suit even though every single atom of my being wants that release. That freedom that crying brings.

"Ay, mijo," she'll say to me through baited breath. "Ay mijo....""No llore, SeƱora," I'll say, gingerly stroking her near blue hair. "Ya. No mas.

Ni una lagrima mas....

"And that's how I picture it. fidel castro is dead.

Posted by Val Prieto at April 6, 2005 10:34 AM

Friday, April 15, 2005

A while ago one of my commenters Erik asked about my environmental views. The topic is broad, of course. I love clean air and water as much as anyone and I think we should be good stewards of the earth. But I have found an excellent book that sort of cuts through the bull crap of the junk science and the unprovable. The book is very good at dispelling myths and giving us a good look at man and nature living together.

Sit and read a bit.

Thanks to Trying to Grok for turning me on to it.

This seems almost like one of those urban legend stories. You decide.

Babies' Daddy
Rob Blackstock

I recently had a first-hand lesson in the unintended consequences of government regulation. As the reader probably knows, unintended consequences are the unconsidered effects of regulation. Or, as Lowell Gallaway put it, "a failure to take into account behavioral responses in structuring public policy [which] leads to results that are often the opposite of what the rhetoric of the public policy debate suggests will happen."

My adventure began in August of 2004 when I received a letter from the Office of the District Attorney in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. My first thought was, "where in the heck is Tangipahoa Parish?" This letter informed me that I was the noncustodial (sic) parent of three children between the ages of three and twelve and that I was expected to appear two weeks hence with all appropriate financial documents so that child support payments could be arranged.

My wife received this letter with much better humor than did I.

I called the Office and spoke with the Child Support Division representative. Politely, I explained that, although I was native of Louisiana, I had been living in Alabama and Florida for nearly ten years and had only just returned. I then suggested that perhaps they had me confused with another Robert Blackstock as I had no knowledge whatsoever of the accusing mother.
The representative asked for my social security number, which I gave. After a short pause she announced, "Nope. You’re him. We’ll see you in two weeks."

At this point I broke down and hired a lawyer.

The lawyer listened to my story and told me that he had these cases all the time. Here’s how the system works: a non-married mother applies for aid in one of Louisiana’s myriad wealth distribution offices, perhaps welfare. The State then asks the mother the name of the child’s (or children’s) father. This is a requirement for receiving aid in Louisiana. The State then seizes the money from the recalcitrant father.

So how did I get pulled into this? After assuring my attorney several times that there was no possible way in this or any other world that I was the father of these children he told me that either my name was pulled from the Internet or someone volunteered my name to the mother (perhaps one of my students). Once the D.A.’s office knew my name and city of residence, it would be fairly easy to pull my driver’s license information and learn everything about me including the aforementioned social security number.

My attorney called the D.A.’s office and told the representative the same thing I had, only with bigger words in order to justify a $175 per hour fee. He stated that I had been absent from Louisiana for almost ten years and couldn’t have been available to cause the pregnancy which resulted in the two youngest children. The D.A.’s office amended the complaint and now accused me of being the noncustodial (sic) parent of only the eldest child.
We immediately sent a request for DNA testing to confirm paternity. I thought testing was a bit superfluous. If this woman knew me well enough to bear three children, wouldn’t she be able to answer a few simple questions? How tall is the father? Where did he go to school? Does he have any birthmarks or tattoos? Does he have brothers? Sisters? What type of vehicles did he drive during this time? If the woman actually knew me, shouldn’t she be able to answer at least 50% of these common questions?
This approach, sadly, is too simple for the State. So, DNA testing, it was.

Again, my attorney warned me; "If you take the test and you are the father, you’ll have to pay for the tests. If you are not the father, the State pays for the test."
What about the mother?
"Nope. She’s not charged anything."
So the mother could, in theory, just keep offering different names ad infinitum and the State would continue to harass these poor souls?
And she would never be punished in any way whatsoever?
"That’s right."
As the Libertarian scholar, John Sophocleus would say, "Happy Day."
The D.A.’s office agreed to our demands and sent a letter ordering me to appear at the Lincoln Parish Civic Center for DNA testing on January 3, 2005 at 10am. I did so and, luckily, had the technician sign and date my order so that I would have some proof that testing had occurred.

After two months we had heard nothing from the Tangipahoa District Attorney’s Office concerning the results of the test. Finally, we learned something; we learned that bureaucrats are inefficient even in Louisiana.

On March 7, an armed man appeared on my doorstep and served me with papers ordering me to appear in court and either comply with DNA testing or to show sufficient cause why I should not.
At this point, I had a proverbial aneurism.

Once again I had to call the attorney’s office (did I mention that the attorney cost $175 an hour and that they charge their clients in 15 minute increments and that even a 2 minute call would cost me $43.75?). By now, my case had been kicked up to the senior partner in the firm who began calling the Assistant D.A. himself and demanding some competency.

Finally, the right hand and the left found each other in Tangipahoa Parish (accidentally, I’m sure) and sent us the lab results proving that I am no "baby’s daddy." Furthermore, I received a final bill from my attorneys (that’s right; it’s now plural) for nearly $1500.

Which brings me back to the subject of this diatribe: unintended consequences.
I’m sure that the politicians in Louisiana had very good intentions when they wrote the current rules concerning welfare. If a man causes a woman to become pregnant and a child results, then that man must help pay to support the child.

Unfortunately, the law was written with no regard as to what will happen if a mother a) doesn’t know who the father is, or b) has no intention of actually naming the father. No punishment will ever be handed down to the mother because that would "hurt the children." The result is that I (and I’m sure many others like me) end up paying large fees to attorneys in order to be protected from the State.

This is $1500 that is no longer available to my wife and I for savings, a summer vacation, or whatever other plan we might have had.

And so, as I sit here writing out a check to my attorneys, I glance up at my calendar and notice that April 15th is rapidly approaching. With that in mind, let me just say to all my masters in DC and Baton Rouge… thanks for nothing.

April 9, 2005
Rob Blackstock
teaches economics at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA.
Copyright © 2005

via The agitator

And we wonder if the Democrats really do dislike people of faith?

Scott Bloch, George Bush's appointee to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is experiencing bigotry. No, he isn't black. It's the kind of bigotry that only Democrats are allowed to have.

"In an interview with TAS, Pete Leon, legislative director for Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who has called for Bloch's resignation, revealed the fundamental anti-religious bigotry at the heart of the campaign. Articulating his objections to Bloch, Leon said, "He is a devout Catholic," then quickly added, after he realized his gaffe, the famously insincere line from Seinfeld, "Not that there's anything wrong with that." via The American Spectator

Imagine a Republican saying someone wasn't qualified because he was "Baptist" or because he was "Lutheran?"

Has it really gotten to the point with the Democrats that if you have a sincere faith you are not qualified to hold any type of government office? It's fine to go to church with your Bible in your hand like Clinton did as long we know you are not sincere and you are going to run back to the office and get "serviced" after the church service by a young woman almost the age of your daughter. See? That's ok with the Democrats. But if you ACTUALLY believe what that preacher in church is saying, well then, you can forget it. No nomination for you. No judgeship. "Filibuster the Faithful" should be the new motto of the Democratic party, don't you think?

Here is a pretty spirited defense of Tom Delay. And it's by one of my favorite people to read. Ben Stein. It's worth a look. It certainly puts things in a different perspective.

"Step turn kick... step turn kick... Yes! Thank you. Finally, you've got it. Now, give me a hug."
via Caption this!
 Posted by Hello

The Oil for Food scandal was all the United States fault.

Annan needs therapy.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

"NBC News has learned that a preliminary report from a joint U.S.-Italian investigation has cleared the American soldiers of any wrongdoing and provides new details into the shooting.
Intelligence agent Calipari had just negotiated Sgrena’s release from Iraqi kidnappers on March 4 when the two and a driver headed for the Baghdad airport in a compact rental car.
It was dark when the Italians turned onto a ramp leading to the airport road where the U.S. military had set up a temporary checkpoint.
The investigation found the car was about 130 yards from the checkpoint when the soldiers flashed their lights as a warning to stop. But the car kept coming and, at 90 yards, warning shots were fired. At 65 yards, when the car failed to stop, the soldiers used lethal force — a machine gun burst that killed Calipari and wounded Sgrena and the driver.
Senior U.S. military officials say it took only about four seconds from the first warning to the fatal shots, but insist the soldiers acted properly under the current rules of engagement.
The investigation failed, however, to resolve one critical dispute: The Americans claim the car was racing toward the checkpoint at about 50 miles per hour, the Italians say it was traveling at a much slower speed."

via LGF

Gee, I don't care if it's going 50 miles per hour or 20 miles per hour, in a country where car bombings are daily occurances, the soldiers had every right.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Democrats accusing Delay of paying family members and using taxpayer money to wine and dine themselves.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

If Your Gay and Republican, you must hate yourself, right?

Did you hear about this one? Arthur J. Finkelstein, a Republican strategist is in the midst of setting up a political action committee to defeat Mrs. Clinton in 2006. But it seems Mr. Finkelstein has committed the grave mortal sin of the democratic party--being gay AND Republican.

Former President Clinton had this to say about Mr. Finkelstein:

"Either this guy believes his party is not serious and he's totally Machiavellian," Mr. Clinton said, or "he may be blinded by self-loathing." Mr. Finkelstein, a reclusive former adviser to Gov. George E. Pataki, did not respond to a message left at his office seeking a comment on Mr. Clinton's remarks. But his allies quickly did.

"It's really beneath a former president to comment on someone's personal life like that," said Michael McKeon, a Republican strategist, former Pataki aide and friend of Mr. Finkelstein's. "After everything he has been through in his own life, you'd think he'd know better." via the NYT

The article refers to the fact that Mr. Finkelstein has a committed partner in which he "married" in a civil ceremony.

Did I miss something during the Presidential campaign? Because I could have sworn that BOTH President Bush and John Kerry were against "gay marriage." It seems the democrats wanted to make it clear that they too did not want to "redefine marriage." So, given that and the fact that both parties see any sort of discrimination or violence against gays, (or anyone else for that matter) as wrong, just what is the difference here?

The only thing I can come up with is that since evangelical Christians vote Republican for the most part and they see the homosexual lifestyle as a sin, then no gay should vote Republican. But since the democrats see being gay and Republican a "sin" of a different sort, then what really is the difference? Aren't both "judging" here?

Does it really matter who you sleep with if you want smaller government or lower taxes or less bureaucracy? Does it really matter who you love if you want judges who actually respect our constitution instead of making law or interpreting the constitution to fit their political agenda? Does it matter who you are attracted to if you want a strong military defense?

It seems to matter to the Democrats. First Jeff Gannon and now this? Could there be a finer bunch of hypocrites?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

"...and tell Kennedy if he ever calls me Osama again, I'll bust his fat ass." via Caption This!

Posted by Hello

I have never been a big fan of Tom Delay. He has been around Texas for a long time and I could never put my finger on why I just didn't like him much. I have been trying to catch up on his offenses for which he is being raked over the coals for now.

I found this article at MSNBC. Reading through it I can't really find the truly awful things I keep hearing about. It doesn't seem that anything illegal happened, but I may be missing something. It is never a good idea to pay your family when politics is involved. It's never a good idea to wine and dine yourself when you are a public servant, although God knows it happens all the time. what bothers me more than anything Delay seems to have done is what his friend and superlobbyist Jack Abramoff did.

According to this article Abramoff "is now the target of a Justice Department criminal probe of allegations that he defrauded American Indian tribes of tens of millions of dollars in fees. As stories of his alleged excess dribble out—including the emergence of e-mails showing he derisively referred to his Native American clients as "monkeys" and "idiots"—some of Abramoff's old friends have abandoned him and treated him like a pariah. They claim they knew nothing of his questionable lobbying tactics."

Calling Native Americans clients "monkeys" is unacceptable, crude, unprofessional, and downright wrong. People who see themselves as better than others just make me sick.

According to Newsweek, is Gawker Media's attempt to compete with Drudge. You decide.

Newsweek has the most awesome picture of the Pope's funeral taken from the sky, but there was also a touching picture of some of the world's leaders, among them President Bush and his wife. In this particular picture they are leaning over to one another for a quick kiss. The camera caught the moment perfectly. So loving. You can disagree with Bush about policy or issues, but there is no doubt that he is a man in love with his wife.

Lucky woman.

I don't read Newsweek that often. One of the reasons is Anna Quindlen, who has never written anything that didn't make me want to throw it against the wall. I don't think there is another writer out there that I disagree with more or disrespect more. I just wish she would go away.

Will Al Gore TV work? I don't think so. Even the article was boring.

Where have I been?

I have been busy getting my oldest son properly attired for interviews for engineering scholarships. He is the only person I know that dislikes shopping more than I do, so you can only imagine the fun we had.

My daughter had cheerleading tryouts to get ready for which requires more than you would think. (She made it.) Every year she has to decide between cheer and basketball because they don't let the girls do both. And my youngest not only had 2 baseball games a week, but 2 baseball tournments on the weekends. It's like baseball 24/7!!!! Hubby had some sort of shooting tournment and was out for the count. I am still not over my sickness completely which is driving me insane!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sandy Berger, Clinton's top security advisor, has now "pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in connection with the theft (removing classified material from a government archive) and has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and give up his security clearance for three years. The charge also carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail, but Berger will be spared the jail time if the court approves his plea bargain." Human Events reports.

Human Events goes on:

"At his own office later that day, Berger cut three of the copies into small pieces. Two days later Archives staffers took the matter up with him. He said the removals were inadvertent, and returned the two remaining copies of the report, but said nothing about the three he had destroyed."

I have wondered why the incredible act of a former secutiry advisor stuffing documents in his socks/pants out of a government archive did not cause more concern for the media. Berger was protecting someone from something. That is without a doubt imo.

This is what Human Events thinks that it was:

"Surely, that the notes on those three copies made it all too clear that somebody high up in the Clinton Administration had perceived a threat very much like what happened on September 11, but then failed to do anything about it."

Imagine if this had been the act of a Republican administration. We would never have heard the end of it. As it is, it is barely a blip on the MSM's screen of important events.

I guess we will never really know.

Jane Fonda is on a book tour for her autobiography, "My Life So Far." I caught her on Larry King the other day. She just seemed silly to me. Human Events doesn't seem to want to forgive her for her youthful stupidity, saying things like:

"I would think that if you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become Communist."

And it is true that her betrayal of this country knew no bounds back then, but....WHO CARES????? I know that Vietnam Vets still feel the sting of her words and actions. And I understand that. But I look at it differently. She isn't running for anything. She has no say in policy. Let her ask forgiveness or not. It just doesn't matter to me. I never watched her movies, I never had any respect for any of her political beliefs. I always felt they were self serving. She is/was a typical movie star. Her world revolves around herself. Even her activism was all about her. If the cameras weren't rolling or the writers weren't writing about her, I doubt she would have done any of it.

She admitted on Larry King that she had been a terrible mom, never there for her kids. It's so easy to forget what is the most important thing when we feel that the one in the mirror is so fascinating.

She says she is a Christian now, but she seemed to back down from a lot of the questions about Christianity that Larry asked her. So who knows? I hope she is. I hope she has finally found something real.

I didn't see any evidence of it in her interview, but you just never know.

Princess Diana'a boys certainly got her looks, didn't they? I wasn't sure about Harry growing up, but he turned into quite the nice looking fellow. It's too bad that they will probably follow along their parents path and be fodder for the tabloids. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could actually find purpose and peace? Love and happiness? You know, soon, very soon, I may get back to writing about politics. I think I was a bit burned out.  Posted by Hello