"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Thursday, March 31, 2005
I really need to find a hobby

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com

Terri Schiavo
According to CNN Radio, Terri Schiavo passed away this morning. Cause of death was a fatal dose of Michael Schiavo.

The past 14 days or so have featured nearly wall to wall coverage of the pending death of Terri Schiavo. The MSM has done its best to highlight the evident schism with in the conservative movement over the issue of whose decision it should be to terminate life sustaining care of another human being.

The public opinion polls suggest the American people are turned off by the attempts of the various branches of government interfering in what should be a family decision. In my humble opinion, most people (rightly or wrongly) just want this story to go away. Michael Schiavo has wanted this issue to go away for nearly 15 years.

Here's my take as to why people are so sensitive about this issue. It brings front and center the reality of our mortality, and especially the mortality of those whom we love and are responsible for. We know that, most likely, some day we will have to make a life or death decision for a loved one. Its not something we like to dwell on.

The issue is, dear reader, how we deal with deal is at least as important as how we deal with life. How we treat the needy and helpless among us does not go unnoticed.

Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. - Matthew 25:40
Was not Terri Schiavo one of the least of us? What does that say about us?

I have a few things to say to Michael Schiavo, for I shall not write about him again. It wasn't enough for you to get rid of your inconvenient wife. You wouldn't even let her parents be with her at the moment of her passing. You, sir, have blown right past the Waste Of Skin And Breathable Air moniker, and catapulted yourself right over the Miserable Vomitous Mass stage. I have no term vile enough to describe you - none that I would feel comfortable publishing anyway.

Enjoy your "freedom", sir. You'll be surprised how much this will weigh on you.

Now I have one thing to say to the future spouses of my two beautiful children, here after referred to as Corderinho and Corderinha.

Dear Spouses, if you ever do anything remotely similar to my child - whose health and well being I shall entrust to you - he or she will find themselves suddenly and irreversibly single.

Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
More Power!!

More Power!!

For those of you wondering what the definition of "More Power" is, here are the numbers you need:

450 Horsepower
5.4L V8 Engine
0-60 in 4.7 seconds
0-100 in 11 seconds - all without a supercharger.

I'm open to suggestions as to how to convince the fetching Mrs. Cordeiro that this is a family car.
Monday, March 28, 2005
Conference Memories
Years ago, my father's professional duties as an Army Officer took my family to Salt Lake City. Back in these days there were specific seats reserved for military families, so on a few occasions my Dad would put his uniform on and we'd get fairly decent seats for General Conference in the Tabernacle.

The seats were hard. The benches were narrow. Every now and then I'd get a great view...of the support pillar. In the spring it was pleasant. In the fall it was hotter than hell. Evidently Brother Brigham didn't foresee a way to air condition the Tabernacle. He probably foresaw the Conference Center and figured we could suffer for a century or so.

That said, I did get to witness some pretty dramatic events, some of which are well known, and others of which are not. Some of the better ones:

Bruce R. McConkie's final address. Yes I was in the congregation to hear him say "I shall know no better than than I know now that Jesus is the Christ." (forgive me if I get the quote wrong).

Howard W. Hunter's Fall. The entire assembled congregation audibly gasped when then Elder Hunter disappeared behind the podium. What was not shown was Elder Packer's quick move to break Elder Hunter's fall. The microphones were turned off, but those in the Tabernacle could hear the "discussion" between Elders Hunter and Packer. Elder Packer wanted Elder Hunter to return to his seat. Elder Hunter disagreed - quite vigorously actually. He gave his address and was subsequently evacuated to LDS Hospital. The rest of the story you know.

In that same light, I was also present at the Marriott Center when Cody Judy, self proclaimed prophet and documented nutbag, stormed the podium and held Elder Hunter hostage in front of a shocked audience. What you may not know is the entire event could have been prevented had the "usher" on the floor been schooled in the art of an open field tackle.

Elder Hunter's body guard was schooled in the art of a cross body block, which he inflicted upon the aforementioned nutbag with unforgiving force. This was received with raucous cheers from the congregation, after which several people descended upon the person of Cody Judy. Let's just say he required "assistance" to leave the building.

And the most memorable Conference Moment -

President Benson on the October Heat. It was a priesthood session, and my father, my brothers and I were seated in the balcony. President Benson took to the stand where upon every man in the room got to his feet. President Benson waved, put his binder on his chair, and surprisingly went to the podium. He looked out at the assembled brethren and said:

I don't know about you boys...but I'm hot!

And he removed his suit jacket. The entire tabernacle went from dark jackets to white shirts almost instantaneously.

This brings me to my final point. In the transcription of conference, I believe a very important part of the proceedings is left out. If all you ever see of Conference is the Ensign, which is how most of the world outside the United States receives it, you never get to see the light hearted, humanizing moments that make the Prophet and other speakers more real.

So, forgive me if I murmur just a bit, but I think those are moments worth sharing.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
The Tomb Is Empty

"He is not here, for he is risen..." - Matthew 28:6
Friday, March 25, 2005
The Re-Birth of Cordeiro's Musings
As you can see from the long list of recorded posts in the archives of this Blog, it is plain to see I've been posting my Musings here for quite some time. It all started as a place for me to post my thoughts on whatever came to mind, and I have made a point to do exactly that.

With the launch and success of Sons Of The Republic I find this space has become little more than a mirror of the SOTR Blog - absent the commentary of Bonjo and Thom the Blog Culler of course. The SOTR blog is primarily politically motivated - as anyone who reads it quickly finds out.

I do, on occasion have Musings that transcend the political realm. I'd like to explore them more fully and see if they're worth sharing. That said, I've decided to change the focus of this blog from political commentary to commentary on just about anything else I care to write about.

Thus, I present you with a renovated Cordeiro's Musings Blog complete with pirated template. I hope you like what you read. If you do, please drop me a comment. If you don't like what you read, well that's you're own lack of taste in blogs.

Let's see where this takes me.
Michael Schiavo's Load
Many years (far more than I care to admit) ago, my high school drama class put on a dinner theater production of Anne of the Thousand Days. It tells the torrid story of Henry VIII and his short lived wife Anne Boelyn. I say short-lived because Henry VIII wanted to be rid of his wife, divorce was a messy option, so he had Anne beheaded. Evidently that solved his problem.

Toward the end of the play, Henry VIII comes out on stage and delivers a soliloquy I have always remembered. "There is a load every man carries," he says sullenly. He explains that this load is made up of all the sins, transgressions, lies, and misdeeds in a man's life. Some days a man feels the weight of his load. Some days he doesn't. You almost feel sorry for Henry when he says something akin to the following:

"Open the load you carry, Henry. And put in Anne's head!"

Michael Schiavo most likely feels his troubles with Terri are just about at an end. He could not be more wrong. His name will forever be tied to the woman he just got tired of having around. In the end that is what she became. Her death will be marked as the first time someone was legally able to rid themselves of an inconvenient spouse.

How long, dear reader, will it be until the "Right To Die" movement transforms itself into the "Responsibility to Die" movement? Who gets to decide what constitutes a quality of life? We'll start with a woman who may or may not be aware of her circumstances. Where do we end up?

I wonder what Schiavo's live in girlfriend who has born him two children thinks about this. Does she wonder what will happen to her if she encounters circumstances similar to Terri's? I bet she wonders if she'll get kicked to the curb in the same way.

So, Michael Schiavo, open that load you carry around with you...and toss Terri back there. I think you'll be surprised when, expecting the weight to be lighter it turns out to be much more of a load than you bargained for.

Here endeth the lesson.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Brain Wasting Disease Spreads to Atlanta
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (in an effort to overtake the 9th Circus in San Francisco as the most brain dead court) has rejected the latest appeal to spare the life of Terri Schiavo. She has two options left, both of which depend more on her than anything or anyone else.

You see, she hasn't been fed or watered since last Friday.

She's got one chance with SCOTUS, although that court has twice refused previous appeals. Hopefully the Brain Wasting Disease that has infected the Florida State Court system and has since spread to the Federal courts has not reached the Supremes yet.

Although with their recent ruling that, no matter how heinous, "juvenile" murderers are not eligible for the death penalty, it is possible the disease has spread.

I fear if this insanity is not kicked to the curb by someone with a strong spine, it will be all over but the writing of the obituary.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?
Something must happen to people when they don black judicial robes and take the bench (federal or state) in the state of Florida. My personal opinion is critical lobes of the brain are removed - specifically those governing the areas of rational thought.

US District Judge James Whittemore has evidently undergone this procedure. He has ruled that the continued forced starvation of Terri Shiavo may continue.

Here are the facts of the case:

1. Terri Shiavo is alive.
2. She is disabled.
3. She requires assistance in order to meet her daily needs.
4. Such assistance is available.
5. Her husband desires to, and is currently prohibiting such assistance from being given, thus condemning her to a long, slow, and painful death by starvation and dehydration.

Mr. Shiavo claims to be doing this out of love and compassion for Terri. Would someone please explain to me where starvation and dehydration are found in the definition of love and compassion?

I'm waiting.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Dusty Harry Advocates The Continued "Fiscal Rape" Of The American Taxpayer
Senator "Dusty" Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader has written an opinion piece on the Social Security debate in today's USAToday.

Actually, let me clarify that statement. A Dusty Harry staffer wrote the piece, which reads like something an 8th grader would submit to his middle school government class - and subsequently receive a failing grade for the work. Dusty Harry being far too busy whining on the floor of the US Senate, signed off on the work.

(Many apologies if I've offended any 8th graders in the audience)

Dusty Harry decries the proposal to "privatize" Social Security. He uses the word "Privatize" (or a derivative thereof) four times in his short editorial. Each time the word comes with in five or six words like "harmful", "dangerous", "steep tax", and "challenge".

Does Senator Dusty Harry give any alternative? No. He demands the GOP Plan be taken off the table in favor of the current system and his three point plan be adopted:

First, do no harm. We should not cut Social Security's funding by diverting trillions of dollars from the trust fund.
Um, Harry, there is no money in the Social Security "Trust Fund". The harm has already been done. You and your congressional cohorts have spent it.

Second, we should pay back the Social Security Trust Fund for all money used for other purposes. If we simply honor existing obligations to the trust fund, Social Security will be solvent for 40 to 50 years.
Sure, Harry. Pay the "Trust Fund" back with what? In 40-50 years, you'll be dead. Not that you participate in the Social Security Program anyway. I, however, will (God and the fetching Mrs. Cordeiro willing) be about 10 years into my retirement when your plan goes belly up (or as my military friends say - Tango Uniform).

Third, we should promote savings. That means exploring new incentives for personal savings and increasing public savings by restoring fiscal discipline and ending the Bush administration's record run of deficits.
Harry, the concept of Personal Accounts promotes savings. Remember, you myopic windbag, this is My Money we're talking about.

Dear reader, the next time you get your paycheck, take a close look at all the stuff that's taken out of it before your get your share. Pay special attention to FICA. That's the 6.2% of your income the Feds take to support the Social Security system. Your employer pays another 6.2% on a quarterly basis. That's 12.4% of your income that you never see. If the current system stays in place, you will never see it. If you had to actually pay this tax - and by that I mean the money comes into your checking account and you have to cut a check to the Feds for the entire amount - you'd be furious. I know, I've had to do it before. That, dear reader, is what I call "Fiscal Rape".

Now ask yourself a question: Would you take investment advice from Dusty Harry? How about Babs Boxer? What about Ted "Dude, Where's My Scotch" Kennedy? If your answer to this question is anything but "Hell No!" you need to have your head examined. Hillary "We Are The President" Clinton may be an exception to this question - after all she's got a great track record predicting cattle futures.

If you don't trust these Jackasses (that is, after all, their mascot) to give you investment advice, why on earth would you trust them (or any arm of government for that matter) with such a huge chunk of your income?

The Social Security debate is fundamentally about freedom. Freedom to have a say in what happens to money we work very hard to earn. Freedom from a government program which, in its current form, is doomed to end up in the ash heap of history.

So, Senator Reid, I have but one thing to say in response to your editorial. Its short, so hopefully you'll manage to remember it.

It's My Money, Dammit!

If you want to keep your money in the system, that's find by me. Stop telling me what to do with my share.

Here endeth the lesson.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Life, Death, and Legalized Starvation
Just how far will one man go to be rid of his wife?

Barring divine, judicial, or legislative intervention, Terri Schiavo is about to find that out.

I feel for David Schiavo, I really do. I don't know what it would be like to see the fetching Mrs. Cordeiro in the state in which Terri lives right now. I know it would be hard, quite possibly unbearable, to see my beloved wife and not be able to communicate with her or understand her needs, wants, and desires.

That said, I can say with absolute certainty I would not use forced starvation as a way of getting rid of her burden. For better or worse means exactly what it says. Sometimes you have to deal with the worst.

I know all the justifications behind the push to pull (as of this hour the tube has been pulled) the feeding and hydration tubes that have kept Terri alive up to this point.

I also know something else. I know what its like to damn near die from dehydration. I won't go into the gory (and believe me they are gory) details about the pain and agony it causes. With due respect to Dr. Sean Morrison, the coma is not peaceful and passing away is never gentle.

People would not permit a sick dog or cat to be euthanized in this manner. PeTA would storm the hospital and liberate the animal in question. Florida Pinellas Circuit Court Chief Judge David Demers doesn't see it that way.

How he sleeps at night I have no idea.

Someone please stop this complete and utter insanity.
Cue the Weeping, Wailing, and Gnashing of Teeth
It starts. Patti Davis, whose singular claim to the spotlight is being the daughter of Ronaldus Magnus, has penned a Newsweek piece ripping the W administration for pushing the ANWR drilling amendment through the Senate.

Her arguments are based on little more than tired, worn out liberal rhetoric. Read it if you feel like it, but her work is hardly worth the bandwidth or disk space required for its viewing.

Patti, your father was a truly great orator, writer, and leader. When he went to the mat for something, he used facts - not hyperbole - to support his arguments. You would do well to follow his example. You're on the wrong side of this issue. You lost.

Get over yourself.

Here endeth the lesson.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
That's Gonna Leave a Mark
...on Dusty Harry's pride.

Yesterday the Senate finally, and despite the efforts of a bunch of empty suits who can't find Alaska, let alone ANWR on a map, opened up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.

The Environmental Lobby would have you believe this action will result in the wholesale destruction of one of the last areas of pristine wilderness left on the face of the planet. Again, most of them can't find Alaska, let alone ANWR, on a map. They have never visited ANWR. I can't understand why they haven't taken advantage of the tourism opportunities there. Could it be this "Pristine Wilderness" is some of the most inhospitable territory on earth? Nah. I hear the balmy -87 degree weather is a real draw.

The Powerliners do an excellent job of putting the environmental impact on ANWR in perspective:

The portion that will be open to drilling is a largely barren coastal section about the size of a regional airport in a refuge the size of the state of South Carolina. Drilling will occur only in the winter, when the place is frozen solid, using sophisticated technology that will scarcely leave a footprint come spring, when the single caribou herd that grazes in the refuge comes calling.
The fact is, this country's economy runs on Oil. Black Gold. Texas Tea. Great strides are being made in the development of alternative and renewable resources. That said, none of the stuff developed to date will burn in the engine of my Mustang.

The only thing the Environmental Lobby seems able to do about this issue is whine. They offer no solutions, save returning to the age of the horse and buggy - at which time they would no doubt whine about increased methane emissions. I'm sure that shortly they'll start airing commercials depicting the harsh living conditions of the Caribou with strained violins in the background and a Barbara Streisand voice-over.

Meanwhile, back in reality, common sense has prevailed - all be it by a narrow margin. Slim victories still count in the W column. Somebody hand Dusty Harry a big bottle of Tylenol. Its gonna be a long Congressional Session.

Here endeth the lesson.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Stephen McGowan, United States Army
Of fallen soldiers let us sing,
Where no rockets fly and no bullets wing.
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord.

I found this article on this fallen soldier during my perusal of news sites this morning. While he is only one of some 1,600 of his brothers and sisters in arms who have given the last full measure of devotion to their country, one aspect of his story stood out to me:

In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Stephen's father, Fran DiDomenicis said, "He felt that, as a single person with no children, he could go and take someone else's spot."
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13

Stephen McGowan was laid to rest in the hallowed hills of Arlington National Cemetery yesterday.

God Speed, Soldier. Welcome home.
Dusty Harry, stop the whining!
Its unbecoming of a member of the US Senate to whine so loudly, and so often. But don't try telling that to Dusty Harry, Senate Minority Leader. He's whining so loudly he probably can't hear you.

So worried is he about the prospect of losing control over the judicial confirmation process, he's now threatened to shut down Senate procedures if he doesn't get his way. He wisely exempted matters related to the military, national security, and "continuation of critical government services" from his shutdown threat.

Oh, dear. I'm shaking in my Rockports. Dusty Harry is going to delay the Senate's declaration of National Fertilizer Awareness Month.

Bring it on, Harry. Go ahead, shut down the Senate. Stand out there and filibuster your brains out. Dazzle us by reading the Searchlight, Nevada phone book. That should keep our attention for about eight minutes.

Americans don't like obstructionism, Harry. Tiny Tommy Daschle found that out the hard way. Looks like you've learned nothing from his downfall.

Excuse me while I go an get some heavily buttered popcorn. This is going to be a great show!

Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
The Party of NO!
That seems to be Dusty Harry's favorite word these days. As the CATO institute's Michael Tanner so eloquently explained, Dusty Harry has taken issue with Alan Greenspan's description of the problems facing the Social Security System in the very near future. Said Greenspan:

Because the pay-as-you-go system will be very difficult to manage, we need an alternative. Real progress on these issues will unavoidably entail many difficult choices. But the demographics are inexorable, and call for action before the leading edge of baby boomer retirement becomes evident in 2008.
To which Dusty Harry replied:

I'm not a big Greenspan fan. I voted against him the last two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington.
Evidently he forgot his 1999 musings when he stated, for the record:

Most of us have no problem taking a small amount of the Social Security proceeds and putting it into the private sector.

Look, people, here are the facts. The Social Security System is in heap big trouble. We can either fix it now, or watch it collapse in the next 20 years. Its very important to remember that this is your own money we're talking about. You're paying into this rathole of a retirement system. What's the difference between the current rate of return and the possible return from a partially privatized system? Well, to make it easy for those of you who barely managed to graduate from the public school system, I have attached this graph to help:

Ok...what does this chart show? It shows the difference between the returns from the S&P 500 Index and the 30 year US Treasury Bond from 1978-2004. You'll notice that the 30 Year Treasury bond, over the course of the chart, increased from roughly 80 to about 115.

In the money business, we call that static. Not a great Return on Investment (ROI). If your 401K returned this kind of increase over 25 years, you'd fire your financial advisor.

The upper portion of the graph is the S&P 500 index over the same period of time. You'll notice that it increased from about 100 to a high of 1517, ending the time period at 1211.

In the money business, we call that 'pretty damn good'. Yes, during the time period there were times of ups, and downs. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but overall, over time, the market increases. Numbers don't lie, people.

Why can't Dusty Harry see this? You see, in Washington DC, money is power. Power is addictive - more so than heroin. The possibility of giving people the ability to control the money they used to send to the Social Security (Not Even Close To A) Trust Fund means there will be less money for Dusty Harry and Company to spend - thus less power for them to wield

So you'll see a lot of Dusty Harry demanding that W take Personal Accounts off the table. You'll see a lot of the D(ean)NC and MoveOn.org producing attack and scare ads claiming W's Social Security Plan will cause everything from economic collapse to an increase in male pattern baldness - not even mentioning the increase in child obesity. Expect it. They have nothing to offer but "NO!"

During this debate, its important that you remember one small, but extremely important fact:
It's YOUR Money!

Never forget that.

Here endeth the lesson.
Tyranny of the Minority
I have specifically avoided the "Homosexual Marriage" debate in my writings on this and the Sons of the Republic blog because, in my mind, there is no debate. Marriage is an institution ordained by God as the union between one man and one woman.

Period. End of debate. Next subject please.

Adding to my opinion on the subject were 61% of the voters in California who, in 2000 approved Proposition 22 which reaffirmed the aforementioned definition, minus the "ordained by God" phrase. In 2004, 13 states amended their constitutions to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Enter San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer. Despite all evidence and precedent to the contrary, he ruled that California's ban on "Gay" marriage is unconstitutional. He is a committee of one who somehow decided he has the right to invalidate an entire belief system just on his say so.

This, dear reader, is what we call the Tyranny of the Minority. This minority is small, but very vocal. They are very easily offended. Jada Pinkett Smith can't even make this statement without rankling some feathers at Harvard:

Women, you can have it all -- a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career. We are a new generation of women. We got to set a new standard of rules around here. To my men, open your mind, open your eyes to new ideas. Be open.
The Harvard Crimson reported that some members of the Harvard Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters Alliance found these remarks to be "offensive" and "extremely heteronormative". Go figure.

Kramer cited the historic Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that racially integrated the public school system. Supporters also cited the 1948 law legalizing interracial marriage.

"Gay" Marriage is not a civil rights issue. It is not akin to racial equality. This issue is about a very small percentage (2-5%) of the population demanding that the rest of the country sanction their domestic arrangement. Judge Kramer finds "no rational purpose" for denying marriage to gay couples. 13 states and 61% of California's population disagree with him.

No doubt this case will eventually find its way to the SCOTUS. Ask yourself now, just how important is the judicial nomination process?

For the record, I am not one who cares to trifle in what goes on behind the closed doors of my neighbors. I do not care what they do, nor whom they do it with. I do, however, draw the line at redefining the institution of marriage, one with over 6,000 years of historical, religious, and legislative precedent simply on the whim of a manufactured pop culture whim.

Here endeth the lesson.
Monday, March 14, 2005
Senator "Up" Chuck Schumer, call your office!
Recently, Senator "Up" Chuck Schumer, the Junior Senator* from New York called upon the W Administration to release crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to combat high gasoline prices.

For those of you who have no idea what the SPR is, here is a brief summary

The SPR was designed to sustain the national economy's need for oil for anywhere from 30-60 days in the event of a disruption to the supply of oil from foreign sources.

Schumer and Company would like to amend this purpose to include "anytime the price of oil spikes."

Well, I'm here today to announce that I will support Senator Schumer's efforts to release oil from the SPR. Tap the reserves, Chuck. Save me a few bucks at the pump. More power to you.

Now, before you go and start burning up my comment pages telling me I'm a sellout to a liberal trick, I do have some "provisos", and some "quid-pro-quo's" that are attached to my endorsement of Chuck and Company.

1. Any and all oil reserves released from the SPR must be replaced as soon as possible from domestic oil production - specifically from the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), coastal drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and/or the California Coast, or other oil fields.

2. Any and all oil reserves released from the SPR must be refined at domestic oil refineries. Chuck and Company must agree in legislation to allow construction of new refineries on US soil. American oil refineries are operating at capacity - a fact which must be remedied now.

3. The US Government, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy need to stop mandating the production of so many different types of gasoline across the nation. As mentioned in the previous requirement, US refining capacity is at its limit. The requirement of so many different types of gasoline for specific markets causes production limitations to a market with ever increasing demand. That, in turn, increases pump prices while having a negligible effect on environmental factors.

Those are my requirements in order to fully support Chuck's efforts to tap the SPR. I wonder if he'll accept my challenge.

Market forces are factual. Facts, in the immortal words of Ronaldus Magnus, are stubborn things. Chuck Schumer's answer to the market forces is to tap a limited supply while doing nothing to fix the overall problem. He and his cohorts have proven they cannot lead, the will not follow, so there remains only one thing for them to do. Get the hell out of the way.

Here endeth the lesson.

*The reader will realize that I do know that, officially, Chuck Schumer is the "Senior" Senator from New York. While this may be the case, he has pretty much abdicated the responsibility of this role to Hillary Rodham Rodham. Therefore we refer to him as the "Junior Senator".
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Just when I thought Dan Rather could do no more to push the envelope of journalistic silliness, he not only meets but surpasses all expectations.

Bonjo called me last night to remind me of Dan's last stand. I, like most Americans, was watching something else - personally I was over watching a SpikeTV rerun of CSI. I wondered aloud to Bonjo, prophetically as it turned out, if the Dan would sign off using his much ridiculed 80's phrase "Courage!".

Imagine my utter surprise when he did just that. He couched it in praise for the military and journalists who work in difficult circumstances and situations, but it still came off as corny. And coming from someone who displayed not courage but cowardice in the face of the Memogate scandal, it came off as laughable.

Perhaps Dan took his cue from another media icon.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005
The Long, Slow, Painful Goodbye
The long national nightmare of the CBS Evening News will end tonight. Then, perhaps, the roughly seven million television sets evidently left on to play to empty living rooms across the country will have something worthwhile to broadcast.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, you're not alone. You don't use CBS as a news source. You watch CSI. Well, tonight Dan Rather is finally hanging up the anchor chair.

Its about damn time.

So the question is, for what will Dan Rather be remembered? I submit for your review three events of his biased career:

1. September 11, 1987. Rather marched off the set of the CBS Evening News when a tennis match threatened to cut into his broadcast. The Graf-McNeil tennis match ended sooner than expected at 6:32 p.m., but Rather was nowhere to be found. Over 100 affiliates were left scrambling with an embarrassing six minutes of dead air. By the time Rather was found and placed before the camera, most of the audience had already tuned out. The audience disconnect remains to this day.

2. January 25, 1988. In an effort to out do himself in the arena of journalistic screw ups, Rather took aim at then Vice President George H.W. Bush. Iran-Contra was the subject, and rather than let the VP say a complete sentence, Rather grilled him, repeatedly cutting him off and arguing with him. Bush 41 finally had enough and the exchange went something like this:

Rather: I don't want to be argumentative, Mr. Vice President.

Bush: You do, Dan.

Rather: No -- no, sir, I don't.

Bush: This is not a great night, because I want to talk about why I want to be president, why those 41 percent of the people are supporting me. And I don't think it's fair to judge my whole career by a rehash of Iran. How would you like it if I judged your career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in New York?

Rather never recovered from that exchange, and he has attempted to gain revenge any way possible ever since.

Which brings us to the scandal that will forever tarnish the Rath legacy.

3. Memogate. I will not here recount that which you should know so well by now. If you need a refresher course, see my postings View from an Earhole, and View from an Earhole Redux.

That, Mr. Rather, is your legacy. You've taken the house that Murrow built, and Cronkite expanded, and driven it headlong into the pavement. Congratulations.

Finally to quote one of your own Ratherisms, your eight-month farewell and obfuscation tour has been "like a too tight swimsuit on a too long ride back from the beach."

Here endeth the lesson.
Crossfire Retrospective
Back in the heyday of CNN, Crossfire was the place to see a good argument. Hosts were vibrant, passionate, and articulate. The show would occasionally degenerate into a vulgar shouting match with commercial interruptions. It was entertaining hour of banter.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Crossfire now has a studio audience. Yesterday's audience was bolstered by four tour busses full of school teachers visiting Washington DC. Bonjo and I (symbolically of course) occupied the last two chairs in the furthest corner of the right side of the studio.

The show was hosted by Paul "The Forehead" Begala and Robert Novak. The Forehead was by far the more energetic of the two, but his talking points and commentary haven't been revised since 1992. Novak, once a great orator, is far past his prime. During commercial breaks, while The Forehead and the two guests were getting their makeup retouched, paramedics had to come in, break out the paddles, and revive Novak.

Paramedic: Charge to 300! Clear! <ZOLT> Ok, we've got a pulse...its faint, but he'll make it through the next segment.

Producer: Coming back from commercial in five...four...three...two...

Novak: Welcome back to Crossfire...

The most poinant quote of the show came not from the hosts or the guests, but from a teacher sitting next two us. She commented about the show format, and Bonjo explained that it was designed to show both sides of the issue. She understood that The Forehead represented the liberal side, but when Bonjo pointed out that Novak represented the conservative side, she said the following:

He's a conservative?

CNN badly needs to add life to that show. One pulse is not enough to carry the water.

Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
She's Baaaccckkkk!
Oh, how we've missed Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira Heinz Kerry (deep gasp for breath) aka The Ketchup Queen. After months of exile into relative obscurity following her husband's resounding defeat in November, she emerged from the Flying Squirrel in Seattle.

Her comments at a lunch for Representative Adam Smith were classic Ketchup Queen - the same kind that drew even more fire into the sinking ship that was the Lurch-Breck Girl 2004 Presidential Campaign.

(Memo to Representative Adam Smith: Dude, call your booking agent. Surely you can do better than this.)

Some of the better quotes:

On her campaign efforts:

"When I put out, I put out."

Ummm...yeah. TMI.

"Once John had his nomination, the Republicans spent $90 million to destroy his reputation."

Let's not mention the untold millions poured into the democratic attack machine by George Soros, Moveon.org, and others. Politics is a contact sport.

On the counting of the votes:

"Two brothers own 80 percent of the machines used in the United States," Heinz Kerry said. She identified both as "hard-right" Republicans. She argued that it is "very easy to hack into the mother machines."

The Ketchup Queen knows about as much about hacking into voting machines as she does about flying coach class.

"We in the United States are not a banana republic," added Heinz Kerry. She argued that Democrats should insist on "accountability and transparency" in how votes are tabulated.

"I fear for '06, I don't trust it the way it is right now."

The only thing you had to offer in '04 was fear. I don't think it will play well in '06 either.

On the role of a church in an election:

"You cannot have bishops in the pulpit -- long before or the Sunday before the election -- as they did in Catholic churches, saying it was a mortal sin to vote for John Kerry."

The Ketchup Queen failed to provide any specific example to support her allegation - a common leftist tactic. The charge is far more important than actual evidence. The fact is Lurch's politics did not match his professed religious beliefs. People called him on it. Its called accountability. Get used to it.

I really have other more important and substantial things to post on this morning, but I couldn't resist Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira Heinz Kerry (deep gasp for breath). It's been a long time, Mama T. Welcome back. We've missed you.
Monday, March 07, 2005
George Will's Brain
...is working far more effectively than mine this morning. Check out his piece on the folly of the Hillary/Boxer effort to legalize felon voting in the name of equality.

Of course any bill with a Hillary/Boxer sponsorship should be considered dangerous for the common sense crowd.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Elite Judicial Thuggery
While I would usually leave legal issues to be dissected by Thom the Blog Culler, yesterday's SCOTUS ruling that effectively voided the death penalty statutes as they apply to juvenile offenders really irritated me.

I realize there are those of you in this audience that may have problems with Capital Punishment. While I do no share that view, I can understand the emotional foundations upon which it is built. Depriving someone of their life is not a subject to be discussed lightly.

Never the less, the Founders of this nation laid a framework upon which a person or group of people could petition the government for a "redress of grievances". This process was meant to go through the State Legislatures and the Congress - not through the Halls of Justice.

I will not here debate the death penalty and the many issues surrounding it. I have a problem with the precedent cited by the SCOTUS, specifically that of Justice Anthony Kennedy, in reaching the Majority Opinion. I quote directly from yesterday's ruling (available from the SCOTUS website in PDF form):

The overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty is not controlling here, but provides respected and significant confirmation for the Court?s determination that the penalty is disproportionate punishment for offenders under 18. See, e.g., Thompson, supra, at 830?831, and n. 31. The United States is the only country in the world that continues to give official sanction to the juvenile penalty. It does not lessen fidelity to the Constitution or pride in its origins to acknowledge that the express affirmation of certain fundamental rights by other nations and peoples underscores the centrality of those same rights within our own heritage of freedom.
I could quote further, as Justice Kennedy goes on to cite "world" law another 16 times in his opinion. With due respect to Justice Kennedy, I would like to remind him that he is a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. Should he wish to fule on international issues, I believe he should resign from his current position and pursue an appointment to the World Court.

It seems as though Justice Antonin Scalia agrees with me, or more respectfully I agree with him. I'll take that company any day.

The larger problem here is the increasing power of the Judiciary Branch. It has grown to encompass a role not envisioned by the Founders. Laws are being passed by the people only to have them overturned by a single judge. Judicial fiats are replacing the will of the people and are fast becoming the law of the land.

Democrats, specifically those few who remain in the Senate, would like this type of behavior to continue. The Judiciary holds the key to the dwindling remnants of leftist liberalism. It is there, rather than the ballot box, that liberals hold on to what power remains to them. They are in very real danger of losing their grip on the hallowed halls of Justice.

A week or so ago I penned commentary regarding the potential use of the "Nuclear Option" as it relates to judicial confirmation. Yesterday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made clear his intention to filibuster "controversial" nominees. Controversial in his mind is anyone who doesn't conform to his idea of mainstream. His idea of mainstream is so far out of the stream there is no moisture left. If he does this, there is but one option.

I just hope Senator Bill Frist sees fit to pull the trigger.

Here endeth the lesson.

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