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Sunday September 14, 2003

The Game: Rams v.s. San Francisco
The Time: 1200 Central.
The Line: Rams by 3.

If you subsidize it, they will come:

THEY have cell phones. They've got e-mail. They shop free at Old Navy, McDonald's and Virgin record stores. They have free access to acupuncture treatments, yoga classes and massage therapy. Welcome to the coddled lifestyles of New York's new "homeless" - young kids who, besides getting pampered by charities, rake in hundreds of dollars a week begging on the street.

Wow! Someone from the Boston Globe actually gets it.

Saturday September 13, 2003

I say: Take him to Cyprus.

"The problem is not just my problem and the threats that Israel has made to eliminate or remove me," Arafat said. "The problem, the real danger, is the intent of the Israeli government to cancel the Palestinian partner and to eliminate the presence of the Palestinian Authority."

Israel blames Arafat for the collapse of peace efforts, assigning him at least indirect responsibility for the relentless terror attacks against Israelis. In the wake of twin suicide bombings that killed 15 this week, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's security Cabinet decided in principle to "remove" him.

The vaguely worded decision seems to leave open the options of exiling, killing or arresting Arafat - or further isolating him in the office where he has been confined for a year-and-a-half by cutting phone lines and barring visitors. It allows Sharon the right to decide without further convening his ministers.

The quarted should start playing another piece. This one is way off key:

Envoys of the Quartet of Middle East peace-brokers agreed Saturday that a new Palestinian government with an empowered prime minister must be installed to break the cycle of violence.

Either they believe that this will happen (in which case they're just delusional), or they're just playing the game (which will result in more Israeli's dead).

This is nothing more than an indication that advertising works!

WASHINGTON - President Bush is stressing that the United States has a clear mission in Iraq to fight terrorists and foster democracy there, yet a new poll shows that fewer than half of Americans share his belief...

...A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll released Friday found that nearly six in 10 Americans, or 59 percent, said they did not think the administration has a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq. The poll of 1,025 adults taken Monday through Thursday after Bush's nationally televised address on Iraq last Sunday had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Two months of reporting every incident, accident, death, injury, mishap in every news show, radio, TV, newspapers, etc. and the accompanying imagery that Iraq is truly in chaos has an effect. Everyone knows it. It's a clear case of the media driving the story and public opinion. I don't know that it's collusion or a conspiracy. I think it's more apt to be laziness--follow the herd, don't think for yourself. If you look at the blogsphere, the stories coming out of Iraq are quite different that what is portrayed in the media. Iraqi's are grateful and hopeful for the first time in a generation.

Remember last summer (or was it the summer prior), there were numerous stories of shark attacks. If you'd taken a poll then, most people would have said that shark attacks are way up. Those crazy sharks are just out of control. Well, statistically, there were no more shark attacks that year than in any other--it's just that each and every one was played up on the national news.

The same thing happened in the mid 90's with the church burning stories. Each and every church burning was played up in all the media. As it turns out, there were no more than normal--just hype and attention

The same thing could happen next summer with earthquakes. There's one nearly every day in some part of the world--you just don't think about it. But you would think about it (and wonder) it it was headlined on every newscast and top of the hour radio news. Same for lightning deaths.

These would be really easy stories--which the media love. And they would definitely create false beliefs.

This is what's really behind the Iraq poll.

Monday September 8, 2003

A new report by Travesty Amnesty International slams Israel over the construction of the security fence. Various clips:

"The barrier has serious economic and social consequences for over 200,000 Palestinians in nearby towns and villages," the report said.

The main reason for Palestinian poverty is the fact that most of the billions given to it by the international community have been spent on fomenting terror and lining the pockets of their corrupt leadership. So the barrier may cause them some additional hardships, tough darts. The Israeli economy has suffered dramatically (mainly from a significant decrease in tourism) in this latest round of terror. Additionally there have also been "serious consequences" for the hundreds of blown up Israelis.

The report held Israel directly responsible for "the high levels of unemployment, poverty, malnutrition and other health problems" afflicting Palestinians.

Why do non-terrorist Palestinians need to go into Israel? Because that's the only place where there are jobs. There are no jobs in the Palestinian controlled areas because there is no economy because they exist merely to terrorize the Israelis. Why not blame the poverty, malnutrition and health problems on the corrupt Palestinian terrorist leadership? Nah, it's all the Israeli's fault.

Amnesty, accusing Israel of collective punishment, said in the report: "Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians cannot be made to pay for the crimes of a handful of individuals."

Yes they can, because it's a war and this "handful of individuals" just happens to be the Palestinian leadership. There are many places and times where hundreds of thousands are made to pay for the crimes of a handful of individuals and nearly always it's when the handful is the leadership. Think Korea. Think Iraq. Think 1945 Japan. Think Stalin. Think Hitler. Think Pol Pot. Perhaps if the gurus at AI would think they wouldn't make such preposterous statements. But then, they wouldn't be able to take such fashionable positions.

Good speech last night. I'm sure it won't soothe the naysayers. He reiterated some of the aspects of this war which he first spoke of in the days and weeks after 9/11. He's not "going wobbly". If you didn't see it, the full text is here.

I met Ron Paul when he came to speak to our high school class (Humble High School, class of '81, whooop!) and have admired him ever since. I admit to having some Libertarian tendencies, but can't buy into the whole package--too close to chaos for me. He is, though, part of a dwindling class of politicians who have beliefs that they are willing to stand up for--even when they're unpopular. Here's what he has to say about Paper Money and Tyranny. It's too long for a brief excerpt, and I'm not enough of an economist to understand all the nuances, but I understand the general premise: we cannot go on piling up defecits and national debt for future generations to pay. At some point the bill must come due (paper money being the method by which we're able to amass such huge debt and tyranny the result when the bill comes due). I think that's something most Americans know and understand, perhaps on a gut-level, but really haven't come to face and confront. Now Ronnie's (he's my bud) a smart guy and I'm sure he senses some of the disgruntlement (yeah, new word) within the conservative branch about the administration's fiscal policies. This, I think, accounts for the timing of this article. But I don't think that's enough for most conservatives to jump ship and go Libertarian.

More ominous specious warnings from Al Qaeda here and here. Terrorists just trying to terrorize.

Meanwhile, Joseph Farah, posits that Osama may be trying to portray himself as Mahdi, an Islamic messianic figure who arises in the last days of history. Whether or not you believe it, it's important for this reason:

If bin Ladin or some other Islamist leader were to declare himself the Mahdi, should that make a difference to U.S. policy-makers? Yes.

If the claim were believable to the Islamic world, then the U.S. could no longer claim to be fighting terrorism alone. Indeed, it would become a global religious conflict.

Sunday's over. Rams lost. Good news for Uncle Mac and tribe, but bad for the rest of the civilized world. But hey, there's always next week: Rams vs. San Fran--I'll be there. While we're on the subject, here are a couple of football related bits. The first one has some interesting stats on injuries in the NFL. Excerpt,

Forty-six percent of players retire from pro football as the direct result of injuries, according to a Ball State University study. Not only because of dramatic blows - Darryl Stingley's paralysis in 1978, Joe Theismann's compound leg fracture in 1985, or Steve Young's final concussion in 1999 - but also because of damage from routine contact.

Studies show that 65 percent of pro players report at least one injury serious enough to require surgery or cause them to miss half a season or more. Sixty percent reported suffering at least one concussion; 26 percent two or more.

Ouch! The next article is a tongue-in-cheek (at least that was my take) look at the liberal NFL and questions why Rush is such a big fan:

No, I'm simply mystified by Limbaugh's giddy enthusiasm for the National Football League, and his claim that he is one of the league's biggest fans. Could it be?

There's nothing Republican about the NFL.

The conservative political riffs that Limbaugh espouses in his day job are anathema to the NFL. It's an institution run with the kind of values he ridicules five days a week.