Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Somehow I missed this one before...VDH strikes again! Victor Davis Hanson on War & Europe on National Review Online
Ah yes, the end of the year. To do something a bit different, and for pure mindless posterity, here are my 30 favorite albums of all time, updated to include 2003. Two rules: NO Greatest Hits and only one instance per artist. First, we start with the 20 Indispensibles and then the 10 "Desert Island Disks." Read on...

30. Aldo Nova - Aldo Nova: Highlights include "Fantasy" and "Ball and Chain." Pure Jr. High memories for me.

29. The Offspring - Smash: Punk meets sardonic wittiness. Hard, fast and funny songs highlighted by the ode-to-the-whipped, "Self Esteem."

28. REO Speedwagon - High Infidelity: Ahhh, Jr. High dances wouldn't have been the same without this piece of vinyl and it's anchoring hit "Keep On Loving You."

27. Journey - Escape: Or, for that matter, this piece of vinyl and it's anchoring hit "Open Arms."

26. Def Leppard - Hysteria: It was either this or "Pyromania," but the guy drummed with one arm on this one and the title track was a great power ballad.

25. Soul Asylum - Grave Dancers Union: Much more than just "Runaway Train" with "Black Gold" also standing out. It was also the peak of their career.

24. Tears For Fears - Songs From the Big Chair: My first real experience with "Alternative" music before it really became known as such. Just "Shout."

23. Fast Times at Ridgemont High - Soundtrack: A double album with a who's who of early 80's from Hagar to Oingo Boingo to Marshall Tucker.

22. Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell: We all need a little "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" don't we?

21. R.E.M. - Eponymous: OK, it is technically a greatest hits, but the songs are from a bunch of indie label offerings, so it counts to me.

20. Foreigner - 4: I always wanted to be a "Jukebox Hero" and "Urgent" has that classic saxophone solo, but "Break it Up" always stuck out for me.

19. J. Geils Band - Freeze Frame: "Centerfold" was the anchor, but "Freeze Frames" synth riff and the weird "River Blindness" sticks with you.

18. The Black Crowes - Shake Your Money Maker: "Twice as Hard" was the best track, but "She Talks to Angels" garnered the acclaim.

17. The Outfield - Bangin': Not the album with "Your Love," but the follow up. Mindless pop with catchy riffs highlighted by "Since You've Been Gone."

16. Bob Seger - Nine Tonight: Great Live album, and until recently the only place to hear "Trying to Live My Life Without You" and a lot of his other hits.

15. Third Eye Blind - Third Eye Blind: Debut with a slew of pop hits, best being the overplayed-but-catchy "Semi-Charmed Life" and "Jumper."

14. The Cars - The Cars: "Just What I Needed" and "My Best Friends Girl" just remind me of carefree summers as a youth.

13. Corey Hart - Young Man Running: The artistic zenith of this singer/songwriter who is perpetually overshadowed by his early MTV image.

12. Goo Goo Dolls - A Boy Named Goo: It hung around long enough for "Name" to finally break this bands career open. Many more good rock songs.

11. U2 - Joshua Tree: It's slipped over the years, but it turned me on to this great band and "With or Without" you is so full of delicious angst.

Now for the TOP TEN

10. Boston - Boston: Look, it may seem tired now, but at the time it was THE seminal work. Signature Guitar sound conjures "More Than a Feeling."

9. Big Head Todd & The Monsters - Sister Sweetly: Powerful "Circle" and "Bittersweet" stand out, but Todd Park Mohr's guitar playing is the real highlight.

8. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells: "Dead Leaves & The Dirty Ground" is still their best song ever and "I Can't Wait" is neo-classic rock at its best.

7. Led Zeppelin - IV: (Or whatever you want to call it) Yeah, "Stairway to Heaven" and all that. It just set the standard.

6. Guns-n-Roses - Appetite for Destruction: "Sweet Child O' Mine" is fine, but "Rocket Queen" is supreme.

5. Goober & The Peas - The Jet Age Genius...: Who? Dark, ironic cow-punk. Jack White's former band and the seeds of Blanche. First song is about cannabalism.

4. Kiss - ALIVE!: Yup. My first obsession (at 7!). Music is simple but effective. I guess you could call it archetype rock.

3. Counting Crows - August and Everything After: Unique sound at the time full of intricate music and heartfelt lyrics with "Murder of One" and "Raining in Baltimore" shining.

2. Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories - Tails: Much more than just "Stay." Her guitar playing is underappreciated and her lyrics are often abstract but interesting. More than glasses.

1. Pearl Jam - Ten: One of the pioneer works of the "Grunge" movement. I've always thought these guys were much better than Nirvana. They went from hard tunes like "Once" and "Evenflow" to tragic "Black" and the final track is an oft-overlooked masterpiece.

There, I've made my list and checked it THRICE. Maybe I'll do a book one next...

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online has an excellent piece on "The Western Disease: The strange syndrome of our guilt and their shame." It's about how "intellegentsia" of both the First and Third World have teamed up to espouse anti-Western rhetoric. As Hanson succinctly puts it:

"The so-called Arab street and its phony intellectuals sense that influential progressive Westerners will never censure Middle Eastern felonies if there is a chance to rage about Western misdemeanors."

An example would be:

"Both Western pontificators and the mob in the Middle East feed off each other. Paul Krugman would rarely write a column about how abjectly immoral it was that thousands mourned the death of a mass murderer when one can say worse things about an American president who chose not to use American dollars to hire French companies to rebuild Iraq. Bob Herbert can falsely rant about a Florida election 'rigged,' but seldom about an election never occurring in the Arab world."

Finally:

"It is precisely this parasitic relationship between the foreign and domestic critics of the West that explains much of the strange confidence of those who planned September 11. It was the genius of bin Laden, after all, that he suspected after he had incinerated 3,000 Westerners an elite would be more likely to blame itself for the calamity — searching for 'root causes' than marshalling its legions to defeat a tribe that embraced theocracy, autocracy, gender apartheid, polygamy, anti-Semitism, and religious intolerance. And why not after Lebanon, the first World Trade Center bombing, the embassies in Africa, murder in Saudi Arabia, and the USS Cole? It was the folly of bin Laden only that he assumed the United States was as far gone as Europe and that a minority of its ashamed elites had completely assumed control of American political, cultural, and spiritual life."

There is much more in this piece well worth reading.
Peggy Noonan asks: "Why are rich people afraid of the Virgin Mary?"
A U.S. District Judge ruled on the Narragansett Smoke Shop showdown of earlier this year and ruled that the raid was LEGAL. The most important line in the whole story, in my opinion, is:

"The Narragansetts may have some sovereign and self-government rights on their tribal land, but the tribe cannot decide on its own which state laws it will obey, Smith [the judge]said."

You can't pick and choose when you want to abide by state laws and when you don't, Chief Sachem Thomas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

After reading Jeffrey Overstreet's interview with John Rhys-Davies, I realized that, while I identify with dwarves physically (you know, kinda short, bit of a belly, like to eat, drink beer, etc.), maybe I have more in common with Gimli (er...John Rhys-Davies) than I thought. Here's what I'm talking about:

"How much of Tolkien’s Catholic beliefs and perspective resonate with you?

I’m burying my career so substantially in these interviews that it’s painful. But I think that there are some questions that demand honest answers.

I think that Tolkien says that some generations will be challenged. And if they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilization. That does have a real resonance with me.

I have had the ideal background for being an actor. I have always been an outsider. I grew up in colonial Africa. And I remember in 1955, it would have to be somewhere between July the 25th when the school holiday started and September the 18th when the holidays ended. My father took me down to the quayside in Dar-Es-Salaam harbor. And he pointed out a dhow in the harbor and he said, “You see that dhow there? Twice a year it comes down from Aden. It stops here and goes down [South]. On the way down it's got boxes of machinery and goods. On the way back up it’s got two or three little black boys on it. Now, those boys are slaves. And the United Nations will not let me do anything about it.”

The conversation went on. “Look, boy. There is not going to be a World War between Russia and the United. The next World War will be between Islam and the West.”

This is 1955! I said to him, “Dad, you’re nuts! The Crusades have been over for hundreds of years!”

And he said, “Well, I know, but militant Islam is on the rise again. And you will see it in your lifetime.”

He’s been dead some years now. But there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and think, “God, I wish you were here, just so I could tell you that you were right.”

What is unconscionable is that too many of your fellow journalists do not understand how precarious Western civilization is and what a jewel it is.

How did we get the sort of real democracy, how did we get the level of tolerance that allows me to propound something that may be completely alien to you around this table, and yet you will take it and you will think about it and you’ll say no you’re wrong because of this and this and this. And I’ll listen and I’ll say, “Well, actually, maybe I am wrong because of this and this.”

[He points at a female reporter and adopts an authoritarian voice, to play a militant-Islam character:] ‘You should not be in this room. Because your husband or your father is not hear to guide you. You could only be here in this room with these strange men for immoral purposes.’

I mean… the abolition of slavery comes from Western democracy. True Democracy comes form our Greco-Judeo-Christian-Western experience. If we lose these things, then this is a catastrophe for the world."

He also clarifies it a bit with:

"By 2020, 50% of the children in Holland under the age of 18 will be of Muslim descent. You look and see what your founding fathers thought of the Dutch. They are constantly looking at the rise of democracy and Dutch values as being the very foundation of American Democracy. If by the mid-century the bulk of Holland is Muslim—and don’t forget, coupled with this there is this collapse of numbers ... Western Europeans are not having any babies. The population of Germany at the end of the century is going to be 56% of what it is now. The populations of France, 52% of what it is now. The population of Italy is going to be down 7 million people. There is a change happening in the very complexion of Western civilization in Europe that we should think about at least and argue about. If it just means the replacement of one genetic stock with another genetic stock, that doesn’t matter too much. But if it involves the replacement of Western civilization with a different civilization with different cultural values, then it is something we really ought to discuss[my (OSBs) emphasis]—because, g**dammit, I am for dead white male culture.

You do realize in this town what I’ve been saying [is like] blasphemy…

…but we’ve got to get a bit serious. By and large our cultures and our society are resilient enough to put up with any sort of nonsense. But if Tolkien’s got a message, it’s that 'Sometimes you’ve got to stand up and fight for what you believe in.' He knew what he was fighting for in WW1."

The great thing about blogging is you can point to the written opinion of others and let their words speak for you. This is such a case. According to Edwar Achorn, the Supreme Courts recent ruling on campaign finance reform has left us a First Amendment full of holes. I agree.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Boy, the New York Post has this on HOWARD'S HATEFEST, a comedian "riddled," profanity laced fund raiser for Howard Dean that somehow got missed by "Big Media." Essential point:

"Republicans are fuming. They say that if anything like this had happened at an event where a top Republican was present and did nothing to stop it, the media would rage about it for weeks."

Read it and judge for yourself if a Republican would have gotten away with it.


Michael Crichton made a speech at the
Commonwealth Club on environmentalism. Very interesting.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Nader eyeing another White House run...GO RALPHIE GO!
We all remember the Red and Blue map of the election of 2000. Well, the folks at the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth have come up with a 10-colored map. I found it extremely interesting. Take a peek.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Prehistoric man began global warming. Hmm. We've been a scourge to this planet since we came into being. That settles it, the kool-aid will be served at noon on January 1, 2004. Do your duty to Gaia and drink some, OK? ;)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Three Indicted in R.I. Nightclub Fire

By BROOKE DONALD, Associated Press Writer

WARWICK, R.I. - The owners of the nightclub where 100 people were killed in a fire last February were indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges Tuesday along with the tour manager for the heavy metal band whose pyrotechnics ignited the blaze.


Club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and Great White tour manager Dan Biechele were each charged with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter — two for each death.


Jeffrey Derderian and Biechele pleaded innocent to the charges Tuesday during an arraignment. Michael Derderian was in court awaiting arraignment.


Attorney General Patrick Lynch planned to meet with reporters later Tuesday to comment on the indictments. He was not available for immediate comment.

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today has the following observations on some of the media coverage of the snowstorm over the weekend:

"Is there such a thing as mental frostbite? Something about cold weather seems to make reporters stupid, even more so than they usually are. Consider a few items we noticed over the weekend.

This is from an Associated Press roundup on the big snowstorm that hit the Northeast:

Some high school students got a lucky break when several schools canceled Saturday's scheduled Scholastic Aptitude Tests.
Yeah, we suppose that's a 'lucky break'--unless they want to go to college!

Then there's this photo caption from the Jefferson City (Mo.) News Tribune:

Evening traffic passes by as Anita Walker waits for the city bus to take her home to Dulle Tower. She made a trip out to purchase cigarettes. Walker, who has emphyzema [sic], says the cold air makes it hard for her to breathe.

Yeah, it must be the cold air. And how about this Boston Globe photo caption:

Cherie Williams lifts the midsection of a snow person she and her daughter Olivia, 9, built while waiting for a bus in Asheville, N.C., yesterday.

'Snow person'? We haven't heard such a ridiculous case of politically correct overkill since the early episode of 'The Simpsons' in which Lisa insists on calling the mail lady the 'female carrier.'"

Monday, December 08, 2003

Blanche is getting ready to release a new CD (really their first), called If We Can't Trust the Doctors... on Cass Records

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Orson Scott Card, Sci-fi novelist and Democrat on the state of his party:

"In one of Patrick O'Brian's novels about the British Navy during the Napoleonic wars, he dismisses a particularly foolish politician by saying that his political platform was "death to the Whigs."

Watching the primary campaigns among this year's pathetic crop of Democratic candidates, I can't help but think that their campaigns would be vastly improved if they would only rise to the level of "Death to the Republicans."

Instead, their platforms range from Howard Dean's "Bush is the devil" to everybody else's "I'll make you rich and Bush is quite similar to the devil."

Since Bush is quite plainly not the devil, one wonders why anyone in the Democratic Party thinks this ploy will play with the general public.

There are Democrats, like me, who think it will not play, and should not play, and who are waiting in the wings until after the coming electoral debacle in order to try to remake the party into something more resembling America.

But then I watch the steady campaign of the national news media to try to win this for the Democrats, and I wonder. Could this insane, self-destructive, extremist-dominated party actually win the presidency?

They might -- because the national news media are trying as hard as they can to pound home the message that the Bush presidency is a failure.

Even though by every rational measure it is not.

And the most vile part of this campaign against Bush is that the Terrorist War is being used as a tool to try to defeat him -- which means that if Bush does not win, we will certainly lose the war."

There's more, follow the link to read the rest.
Are we headed back to the Moon?
Another site update today. Removed some links even I don't use much (so why would you?) and consolidated on 3 major themes: Academia, Music, News/Opinion. Should be good enough. Also updated my Other Projects sections with links to my History and the Internet site and my Merchant Marine History site (which is pretty sparse). Later.

Friday, November 28, 2003

From InstaPundit.Com: "WHAT CAN PRESIDENT BUSH DO IN BAGHDAD THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN CAN'T? Appear in public. If that doesn't send a message to the Ba'athists and their would-be allies, I don't know what does."

Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Habitant's Home Page looks interesting for those of a French Canadian genealogical bent.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

An AP photographer seems to have caught on film the attitude that many in the military have towards the objective members of the press. Here it is before the AP, which is trying to pull the photo, gets it off of the Yahoo site from which I obtained it:

Sullivan on Bush in a column written to those in Britain working themselves into a mass hysteria in preparation for the President's visit with PM Blair.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Innocents Abroad plans to run a series of commentaries on how French "thinkers" of the day view their society. Should be interesting.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

FOXNews.com - Top Stories - Weekly Standard: Intel Report Links Saddam, Usama. As if there were really any doubts. Anyway, this may just be the tip of the iceberg. It's a lengthy one, but, in this case, quantity does = quality.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Yahoo! News - Nader Blasts Democrats As 'Whiners':

"A media-sponsored review of more than 175,000 disputed ballots found that Gore would have won by a small margin if there had been a complete statewide recount. President Bush (news - web sites) won Florida, and thus the White House, by 537 votes out of more than 6 million cast. "

I don't remember that being the finding, anyone else?

Friday, November 07, 2003

Victor Davis Hanson on War on National Review Online has a good piece commenting on each of the now familiar arguments. With all of this mind, I wonder if the other shoe will drop, as Hansen seems to desire (as do I), when Bush gets reelected.
Found this in OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today:

"'It's not difficult to understand why somebody might pick up an AK-47 against us. Maybe we killed his father in the first Gulf War, maybe in this Gulf War, maybe he's just a dick.'--Sgt. Reginald Abram, with the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in western Iraq, quoted in the Asia Times, Oct. 24"

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Bush on Democracy in the Middle East from Washingtonpost.com:

"The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.

Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.
As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export.
And with the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo.

Therefore the United States has adopted a new policy: a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before and it will yield the same results.
As in Europe, as in Asia, as in every region of the world, the advance of freedom leads to peace. "

This could be a seminal speech in history...

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Theory and History by Ludwig von Mises, just another thing to pass the time.
Got some time? Want to do some heavy reading? Are you sure? Try reading Bertrand Russell's Theory of Knowledge. Have fun!
Tom Curran's latest Patriots column has the following:

"The Patriots are closers. They're 21-0 since 2001 when leading after three quarters. They are 3-13 when trailing, which shows they come back once in a while. They are an astounding 6-0 when tied after four quarters, including the Snow Bowl win. They are 11-6 when the final margin is seven points or less. And they're 6-1 when the margin in three points or less. Lastly, they're 18-1 since '01 when leading at halftime, 5-10 when trailing, 3-3 when tied."

The above stats could dramatically alter the way I watch Pats games now. Knowing all of this, if they are leading a game at the half, I have to feel REALLY good, right?

Monday, October 27, 2003

David Frum's Diary on National Review Online has more on Virginia Postrel's book as well as a bit on Charles (The Bell Curve)Murray's new book Human Accomplishment.
George F. Will does a book review of Virginia Postrel's "The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness." There is something in here that may help in doing History, perhaps even Psychohistory. When I get time, I may have to check it out.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Amazon.com: Books / Search Inside the Book. Sounds cool.
OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today: "Cheers to blogger 'Frank J.' for this delightful bon mot (ellipsis in original):
There is now a Centrist Coalition blog. I hate moderates . . . much more than even liberals. I bet Satan is a moderate; the best way to get evil accepted is to package it with some good. That's what moderates do; they're always like, 'Oh! I'm so special because I don't take a firm stance on issues, and I see value in everyone's viewpoints.' I bet right now a moderate is reading this and partially agreeing with it. Damn you!"
www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish: "THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: 'For some reason or another, a series of enormously important issues — the future of the Middle East, the credibility of the United States as both a strong and a moral power, the war against the Islamic fundamentalists, the future of the U.N. and NATO, our own politics here at home — now hinge on America's efforts at creating a democracy out of chaos in Iraq. That is why so many politicians — in the U.N., the EU, Germany, France, the corrupt Middle East governments, and a host of others — are so strident in their criticism, so terrified that in a postmodern world the United States can still recognize evil, express moral outrage, and then sacrifice money and lives to eliminate something like Saddam Hussein and leave things far better after the fire and smoke clear. People, much less states, are not supposed to do that anymore in a world where good is a relative construct, force is a thing of the past, and the easy life is too precious to be even momentarily interrupted. We may expect that, a year from now, the last desperate card in the hands of the anti-Americanists will be not that Iraq is democratic, but that it is democratic solely through the agency of the United States — a fate worse than remaining indigenously murderous and totalitarian.' - Victor Davis Hanson, on a roll."

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Just some random thoughts....

I've listened to most of the latest KISS with Symphony thing and I have to say, as a lifelong KISS fan, ahhhh, not gettin' it done guys. Some music just doesn't lend itself to full orchestral treatment. Yours is an example. Hope this means you haven't hit ROCK BOTTOM.

The Grady Little debate has officially exceeded its time allotment. Move on everyone. He's gone. Let's....*sigh*....wait 'til next year.

PC is going to have a good basketball team. Wonder if any of the players will be in my Grad. History classes ;)

I saw that TV execs are in distress and confounded because their ratings are down. They tried to blame Nielsen, the ratings service. One of the Nielsen people stated what seemed to me to be the obvious. Maybe it's the quality of the shows.

A guy in my office is worried that too many people are jumping on the Patriots bandwagon. He's apparently afraid that this means doom. We'll see. Ain't it great being a superstitious sports fan. Too bad there aren't that many here in New England...

I pay attention to politics, but even I'm not really paying too much attention to the Democrat Primaries. Political junkies beware, you are talking to yourselves, no one else cares right now.

In an odd irony, I'm enjoying my course in Historical Methodology more than the one covering the Civil War. I think I'm a geek, or at least a scientific method nerd. Must be my engineering background showing through. Though I have to admit I do enjoy research and Methodology is about good research techniques. I'm also just plain intrinsically interested in the Philosophy of History, (regular Philosophy too) which is something I never studied before, except on my own.

I am doing a research paper on the impact of the Civil War on French Canadian immigration (or would it be emigration) to New England. I have lots of sources, and am 1/3 of the way through the rough draft. A long way to go. And when I'm done, I'll be tackling a comparative book review on two works about Joshua L. Chamberlain. Fun.

That's it for now. Hope I didn't bore.


I can dream, can't I?

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Variety.com - Gibson takes 'Passion' play to Newmarket(subscription required). This means the film will be distributed across the country. Good. Despite the hysterics of some paranoid people, this is a must see for me.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Yanks Beat Sox, Again: "Every year you know they'll probably lose, but every year they suck you back in, and every year they crush you like a tiny bug," said 25-year-old Aric Egmont, summing up the angst of being a Red Sox fan.
Paradise lost, again. Enough said...for now.
Again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Being a "historian", with a minor in Medieval History, I felt obligated to at least give Masterpiece Theatre's Warrior Queen a chance. I lasted 20 minutes. When you have the Roman consulate telling the Celtic king (without a translator!) that the king better "play ball" or else, you have to just stop. I wasn't aware that baseball/basketball/football/soccer were around circa 100 A.D. This is called anachronism and is evidence of poor scholarliness on the part of the writers or whomever. I couldn't take it seriously after that. Yet, it was when the obligatory "Druid" showed one of the warriors a vision in the water (a la Merlin) that I finally turned it off. Bad history. I thought Masterpiece Theatre was supposed to be quality entertainment?

Friday, October 10, 2003

Rush Limbaugh Statement on Prescription Pain Medication Stories: "Press ReleaseSource: Premiere Radio

Rush Limbaugh Statement on Prescription Pain Medication Stories
Friday October 10, 2:55 pm ET
NEW YORK, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Rush Limbaugh today issued the following statement on his radio program:
'You know I have always tried to be honest with you and open about my life. So I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication.
'I first started taking prescription painkillers some years ago when my doctor prescribed them to treat post surgical pain following spinal surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful and I continued to have severe pain in my lower back and also in my neck due to herniated discs. I am still experiencing that pain. Rather than opt for additional surgery for these conditions, I chose to treat the pain with prescribed medication. This medication turned out to be highly addictive.
'Over the past several years I have tried to break my dependence on pain pills and, in fact, twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so. I have recently agreed with my physician about the next steps.
'Immediately following this broadcast, I am checking myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me. The show will continue during this time, of course, with an array of guest hosts you have come to know and respect.
'I am not making any excuses. You know, over the years athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons. They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model. I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when"
Sgt. N.J. Todd has seen the results of genocide first hand. (Golf clap to Andrew Sullivan).

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Another fine analysis of what is going on with regards to the reports coming out of Iraq, by Jon Rauch.
Ralph Peters on how the media not reporting everything going on in Iraq is shaping public opinion negatively. An excerpt (thanks to instapundit.com):

"Recently, I visited Germany to speak with our soldiers, many just back from Iraq. The situation depicted in the media was unrecognizable to them. They'd just left a country where every indicator of success was turning positive. Yet the media insist we are incompetent and failing.

The Kurds are prospering. The Shi'ites no longer live in fear. Even most Sunni Arabs feel relieved that Saddam's gone. The mullahs are behaving. Local markets are busy and full of goods. The electricity's back on - more reliably than before the war. Schools are open. Oil's flowing. The Iraqi media is booming, boisterous and free. The Governing Council has convinced previously hostile factions to cooperate. Iraqis provide more and more of their own local security. And the torture chambers are closed.

What do we hear from Iraq? Another soldier killed. The rest is silence. "
Gallup Poll Analyses - Are the News Media Too Liberal?. Yup, according to this poll. My only problem with it is that, according to the poll, 54% of the respondents have a "Great Deal/Fair Amount" of confidence in the media when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Shouldn't they have separated those two? In my opinion, there is a significant difference between a "Great Deal" of confidence and a "Fair Amount", isn't there?
The anti-American Obsession by Jean-Francois Revel is a well thought out condensation of a book by the same name and author, a Frenchman. It refutes many of the arguments of the anti-globalization, anti-free market, -anti-America crowd, but deals primarily with French attitudes towards the United States. The problem in a nut-shell:

"Giancarlo Pajetta, an important Italian Communist leader, once said: 'I have finally understood what pluralism is; it’s when lots of people share my point of view.' In that spirit, governments and elites almost everywhere have signed on to cultural globalism provided that their own countries are its source and model. In 1984, presenting a Projet culturel extérieur de la France, the French government said, with signal modesty, that this manifesto had 'no parallel in other countries.' All cultures are of equal value, conceded the authors of this official document (a statement erring on the side of simplistic political correctness), but our culture is predestined to be a universal mediator, for it is 'shared by people of every continent.' Touching optimism indeed, which naturally led up to the conclusion that 'the future of the French language in the world can only be as a promoter of cultural progress and is closely linked to the future of people everywhere.' Global homogenization of culture, in the illusions of these authors, is fine—provided that it emanates from France."

He concludes with:

"The real danger—conceivably a mortal one—for European culture is that anti-American and antiglobalist phobias might derail progress. Guy Sorman has shown the scientific and technological retreats this obscurantism has led to in his book Le Progrès et ses ennemis. And this isn’t some 'right-wing' or 'left-wing' thesis; it is a rational one. It is defended alike by the liberal-democrat Sorman and by the socialist Claude Allègre. The latter wages war against the idea that Europe should abandon nuclear energy, genetic engineering and research using embryonic cells. Should the pressure groups that agitate against progress win the day, in twenty years the European states will regress, he writes, 'to the level of the underdeveloped countries, in a world that will be dominated by the United States and China' (L’Express, February 7, 2002.) The anti-American fanatics will then have succeeded in making Europe even more dependant on the United States than it is today."

I guess some of the French get it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

As usual, Bill Simmons nails it. This is what I went through last night.
Rhode Island Government Unions (local and state) are banding together for a million dollar PR campaign. Edward Achorn of the ProJo tells us why.
Bring on The Evil Empire!

Monday, October 06, 2003

Rich Lowry on Democrats on National Review Online is a succint summary of what the Democrats believe.

Monday, September 29, 2003

U.S. News: Michael Barone: Which reversals will prove to be historically significant?(10/6/03) A good column about how last weeks news was reported and what it might actually mean, from an historical perspective.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I'm In. The Red Sox have me, finally. I've tried to maintain my distance, to not get too close, to protect my heart, but that's over now. Todd Walker and David Ortiz blasted the lock on my heart last night in a stirring victory. The Sox, though not in officially, are rocketing into the playoffs. And I'm on board.

Monday, September 22, 2003

According to William Safire, it's simply that the Clintons Anointed Clark as their guy. Good read.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Simply put, if you want to know what Iraqi's are really thinking, go to IRAQ TODAY.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

John Burns: 'There Is Corruption in Our Business', an engaging story about the observations about the media during the war in Iraq.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Country Music Legend Johnny Cash Dies at 71. The Man in Black has found his eternal home and is reunited with his wife once more. A legend.

John Ritter died of a heart ailment on the set of his show. He will always be remembered by my generation as Jack Tripper. He helped bring humor and T&A to a generation and he was a good physical comedian and actor.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Vatican approves of 'Passion' according to Drudge. Let's see what the Anti-Defamation League has to say...
Wow! You mean that the Lincoln Park dog track owners were trying to bribe a Rhode Island law firm run by the former Speaker of the House, John Harwood. No Way!

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Well, the toesucker has weighed on on Bush's re-election vulnerability, specifically analyzing the likelihood of Hillary or Gore entering the race. Most interesting to me, however, is the reason Morris gives for Bush's falling poll numbers:

"Why is Bush falling so badly? The superficial reasons are the Iraq casualties, the failure to find WMDs and the continuing inability to round up Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. But the real reason is that terror is receding as an issue, largely due to Bush's success."

The price of victory? Ironic. The solution?

"The solution for Bush is to put terrorism back on the front burner by high profile and aggressive action against Iran and/or North Korea. It's not necessary to wag the dog, but Bush should wag his tongue and raise the profile of these two remaining threats to our security."



Monday, September 08, 2003

What game on Sunday? The Pats didn't play the Bills. It's all in your imagination.

But the Red Sox did take 2 out of 3 in New York and are now 2 1/2 back from the Division and 1 1/2 ahead in the Wild Card.

Meanwhile, the President made a speech to the nation in an attempt to clarify and re-state our postion on the war on terror. A long, hazy summer has served as a platform for many to obfuscate what has really been going on. Overall, he did a good job. Though I did hear a local newsreader say the President didn't answer all of the questions, such as those asked by the families of our soldiers in Iraq. Specifically, "When are they coming home?" My first question is whether the newsreader, Lori Johnson on WPRO, actually had evidence to support her statement or whether she was editiorializing. She played no clips of such hand wringing comments by military family members. If some did say this, then they need a reality check. This is what your son or daughter signed up for, folks. They serve at the whim of the Commander and Chief. It's their job. Yeah, it sucks and you miss them and it's dangerous, I understand, but it's what your sons and daughter's volunteered to do. There is no draft, this IS still a VOLUNTEER armed forces, after all. So buck up and support your kids and their commander.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Finally, as Rush Limbaugh has pointed out, Watch Hillary to Gauge Bush’s Strength. Despite all of the wailing and gnashing of teeth by conservatives over Bush spending and by liberals over the War in Iraq, Bush is still strong. All of the hot air about a possible Hillary run masks the true import. If she doesn't run, then she doesn't think she can win. Which means, no Democrat can win. Keep an eye on HRC.
John Podhoretz has a more reasoned take on the Bush spending "problem." Best part of his statement:

"Now, Bush has not fought to control the size of government. His concern has been to do what he can to help the economy grow even as he tries to fight a War on Terror.

That's why he has staked his presidency on a tax-cutting program that has genuinely convinced liberals and leftists that he wants to use tax cuts to force the destruction of big government.

The most important task facing Bush is the War on Terror, and he doesn't want to fight on all fronts at all times.

In any case, politicians only take up the war on big government when it's politically expedient. Neither Ronald Reagan nor the Gingrich Republicans actually cut the size of government. At times, they spent like sailors on shore leave. At the end of the day, they were politicians, not ideological warriors.

The philosophical problem of big government is not really a politician's fundamental issue. Rather, it's a matter for op-ed pages and in magazines, in books and on radio programs like Limbaugh's."

A report by the CATO Institute reveals the scary amount of spending that the Bush Administration is overseeing. Not exactly a great example of fiscal conservativism! He better start reigning it in or some will abandon ship. It's already started with some, such as Limbaugh and Andrew Sullivan, getting nearly hysterical in their dismay. I agree it's a problem, but the alternative would be worse. Howard Dean prosecuting the war on terror? Yikes.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Back to school for me today. First class is the Civil War, another on Mondays in Historical Methodology. My path as a historian continues. I expect blogging to be relatively hit or miss, but I'll be around and will chime in on the Pats, Sox, school, current events as long as I am sufficiently inspired to take the time to do so.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Welp, pretty surprised to here that the Patriots released Lawyer Milloy and (surprise), the Bills are interested. Strange timing, regardless of whether it's for salary cap or performance reasons.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

ESPN.com: NFL - New run-stuffers will make difference for Bills, Pats: "'The guy is a human eclipse, he's so wide, and he just camps in there like a squatter and dares people to try to move him,' New England inside linebacker Ted Johnson said. 'Getting him in here was huge, man, in every sense of the word.'" I just loved that quote..."Human Eclipse"....Ha!

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Projo.com has a couple cool links to some sports "How To" articles. First is one on How to throw 5 baseball pitches and the second is how to calculate such things as ERA and QB Rating. For those who always wanted to know these age old mysteries, there you are. By the way, they require the Macromedia Flash Player.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Don't miss this excellent Op-Ed by Rush in yesterday's Wall Street Journal.
Zogby News! has a new poll on Pres. Bush out. This guy used to be pretty accurate, but right after 9/11, he seemed to take the War on Terrorism as declared by Bush as some sort of clandestine attack on all Arab Americans. Ever since, he's been whining all over the talk shows. Now, his latest polls show that, supposedly, a plurality would rather have someone else as President. Right. Although, I guess if I took a random poll of "likely voters" over a weekend in the middle of August, I'd get all sorts of average Americans who weren't out with the family or friends, right? Read the numbers for yourself and check them against your own experience. Just doesn't ring true, does it?

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Ok, I'm back, the Sox are shaky but the Pats are on the Horizon, and this news that they just acquired the mammoth Ted Washington (365 pounds) to play nose tackle in their defense could mean big things. The pass rush and defense looks excellent while the run D still looks suspect. Washington will help. Meanwhile, earlier in the day, they signed Corbin Lacina to provide some much needed O-Line depth. It's all about the Lines in football, folks. The better you are at the lines, both Defensive and Offensive, the better the whole team is. Regardless of how successful both of these pickups are, it continues to show the proactive nature of Pioli in Belichick.

Friday, August 08, 2003

The light posting summer continues here at The Ocean State Blogger as I will be away for another week. Not that anyone cares...See ya!

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Bill Reynolds says all I want or probably will say about the Kobe Bryant case, except for one point. The fact that Kobe is at the very least an adulterer is another example of one "evil" being eclipsed by the heinousness of another "evil", albeit an unproven one up to this point. Kobe backers are lining up and most seem to be dismissing his adultery as no big thing. A shame.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

OK, if you are, or ever were a D&D geek, and have ever asked yourself what D&D Character you are? in real life, check it out. Also, the Southern New England Weblogs home is up and running, so if you're a local, check it out, or even join! Come on in, the water's fine, only a few sharks lurking, promise.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I decided to do my part for the economy by spending a portion of the tax rebate on a new computer. Actually, on computer components. I'm a semi-geek and began building my own systems a few years ago. Once you start, you have a hard time legitimizing to yourself buying anything off the shelf again. Anyway, here are a couple sights that I used to get the parts I needed. First, checkout Spoofee.com which has the inside track on ways to get great deals, as does Slickdeals. Also, comparison shopping is a must, try either Pricegrabber, Nextag, or Techbargains. They also include opinions on products from other consumers. Similarly, and finally, I have always found Epinions to be an invaluable resource in canvassing reviews from the Average Joe. Just beware of company "plants" and people who really don't know what they're doing but still offering opinions! Amazon also has good reviews, usually both "professional" and consumer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I loved Paris when I visited. I am of French ancestry and am naturally interested in the history of France and its people. Yet, like many, I don't intend on going back any time soon as long as the government in France is as knee-jerk anti-American as it is currently. Many U.S. tourists are staying away from France. The best part? The French Tourism Ministry attributes the decline in the first half of 2003 to the weak dollar...um...yeah, right.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Cheney Speaks on Terrorism yesterday. It's always nice when the Veep speaks. He has a way of putting the picture back in focus.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Mel Gibson's 'Passion' elicits unfair conflict already, and it won't even be released for a year. Looks like Mel has his work cut out for him.
For the REAL STORY in Iraq, go to this letter from a soldier on the ground and see who you believe, him or the media.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Had a nice day in Boston on Saturday. Saw some of the historical sites along the Freedom Trail, though I missed the USS Constitution as it went to "sea" (actually, just Boston Harbor) to do a change of command ceremony. Just my luck, the ship doesn't move 363 days out of the year and I pick the one day, other than the traditional 4th of July turnaround, that it did. Oh well, good excuse to go back! It was nice walking the city. Saw the North End and South End more than I ever had. I particularly liked the old world feel of the North End. Maybe a dinner there will be in order someday. I recommend the Rock Bottom Brewery in the theater district. Food was good, beer was excellent. Wrapped up the night with a concert at the FleetBoston Pavilion by Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Hootie and the Blowfish. I've been a long time fan of the former; a band you really have to see live to appreciate. Hootie was pretty good too, though I am a bit sick of a lot of their overplayed "hits". They did a good job of covering Zeppelin's "Hey, Hey, What can I do?" though and also did good renditions of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" and "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers. They also did "Will The Circle Remain Unbroken", the classic country tune, pretty faithfully. Notice a pattern? I liked Hootie when they did other people's songs! Oh, they also did "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" by the Georgia Satellites for an encore. Again, pretty good! Anyway, there's nothing like walking around Boston on a mid-summers day, good time all around. Can't wait to go back, maybe even with the kids!

Friday, July 18, 2003

What an amazing speech by PM Tony Blair in front of Congress yesterday. Sometimes, he can do what our President cannot; present an eloquent and colorful argument for why we, the Brits, U.S. and our coalition are in the right. An excerpt:

"We are fighting for the inalienable right of humankind; black or white; Christian or not; left, right or merely indifferent, to be free. Free to raise a family in love and hope; free to earn a living and be rewarded by your own efforts; free not to bend your knee to any man in fear; free to be you, so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others. That's what we're fighting for, and it's a battle worth fighting. And I know it's hard on America, and in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I've never been to but always wanted to go (laughter) I know out there, there's a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, 'Why me, and why us, and why America?' And the only answer is because destiny put you in this place in history in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do. And our job, my nation, that watched you grow, that you fought alongside and now fights alongside you, that takes enormous pride in our alliance and great affection in our common bond, our job is to be there with you. You're not going to be alone. We will be with you in this fight for liberty. We will be with you in this fight for liberty. And if our spirit is right and our courage firm, the world will be with us."

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Smoke signals in Charlestown as the RI State Police "take down" the Narragansett "Indians" tax-free, and illegal, smoke shop. Sounds like the natives were looking for trouble to me, plus:

"The Narragansett Indians have refused to cooperate and have chosen instead to flout state law," said Carcieri. "They demanded that in return for closing the smoke shop that I must drop my opposition to a casino."

"That was outrageous," said Carcieri.

You bet it is. These guys have been grandstanding for years and are willing to go to any length to get a casino. Even if it means breaking the law along the way. The usual charges of civil rights violations and living in a police state are being made. Please. More from the article:

"Today's actions were precipitated by the Narragansett Indians and their flagrant violation of state law," said Carcieri, who was flanked by state police Col. Steven Pare and Atty. Gen. Patrick Lynch.

The troopers entered the property under a court-issued search warrant that he ordered be executed, the governor said.

"We do not take today's actions lightly," Carcieri said. "We deliberated long and hard before authorizing today's response."

Lynch supported Carcieri's action, saying the governor had been "remarkably patient" in the face of obvious lawbreaking by the tribe.

Lynch said the tribe's operation of an illegal, tax-free tobacco store was no different than if "Cumberland Farms," the convenience store chain, had decided to sell cigarettes without collecting state and federal taxes.


Monday, July 14, 2003

LIMBAUGH JOINS ESPN-TV AS FOOTBALL COMMENTATOR according to Drudge. This should be interesting!

Friday, July 11, 2003

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today led off with a bit about the continuing "controversy" regarding WMD in Iraq. Best part of the story was this quote from Rummy:

"The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass murder. We acted because we saw the existing evidence in a new light, through the prism of our experience on September 11."

That's what the Left and others keep forgetting. We, the average American led by our President, are no longer willing to take the risk of "diplomacy" (re prevacation and stalling) when on September 11 our picture of an America immune to terror was so quickly and brutally shattered.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

The Governor said he'd do it, and now he has. The "budget" put forth by the General Assembly has been vetoed. Sure, it may be only a temporary thing as the Democrats easily have the votes to overturn the veto, but the message has been sent. From the article:

Carcieri said the Assembly has accomplished many good things this year, including passing separation-of-powers legislation, overhauling the state's fire codes and helping to keep GTECH in the state.

"However, there is one overriding issue that will smother that spirit . . . It's what I call a spending addiction," Carcieri said. "The General Assembly -- not all [members] -- has continued a bad habit of out-of-control spending that was born in the prosperous years of the late '90s. That party came to an end almost three years ago. But most of the General Assembly has refused to accept that fact."


Meanwhile, I saw that Rep. Sherlock tried again to play the "poor state worker" card and say that the Governor was really just attacking the little guy blahblah blah blah.

The problem is this:

To balance the past two budgets, the General Assembly relied on money from the settlement of a tobacco lawsuit. This year, $102 million in last-minute federal aid closed the gap.

"That's like cashing in the 401k to pay the mortgage and electric bill," Carcieri said.

Noting that these are one-time revenue sources, Carcieri asked: "What happens next?"

The state is projected to start this year with a $34.7-million surplus -- the last of the tobacco settlement -- and to end the year with a surplus of about $250,000. Carcieri predicts that in next year's budget, the state will face a deficit exceeding $170 million.

"Reasonable budgeting does not assume that the doors of the federal treasury will be open again next year," Carcieri told the Assembly in his veto message. "By increasing our operating costs on the basis of an unexpected windfall, we are simply creating a larger problem for next year."

Yup. And it has to stop. I believe when most people come up with a budget for their own family, they generally try to live within their means and don't plan on winning the lottery to pay for the SUV they want. Instead, they actually set money aside for emergencies, learn to live within their means and hope for some growth. That's not what has been going on here in the Ocean State, and it's time for some fiscal sanity to start. Finally, this editorial in today's ProJo really boils it down. The problem is the cost incurred by the state in employing its workers.

Monday, July 07, 2003

I'm back from vacation and thought I'd start with this link to the Open Government Information Awareness site, specifically to the Rhode Island Congressional delegation page. If you're interested in tracking your Congressman, here is the place.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Carcieri takes firm stand on changes to spending plan says todays ProJo. He's going to stand tough folks. Also, the Separation of Powers Bill may be finally moving again and the Legislature would like it on the Governor's desk befofe July 4 to sign. Cross your fingers, the moment when Li'l Rhody finally enters the 20th century politically is almost at hand. (Yeah, I know, it's the 21st century now...do you get the point?)

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I shouldn't do this, because it's too easy, but Howie Kurtz in his Reliable Source Column today has a blurb about the latest from our very own Patrick Kennedy. To quote Kurtz:

"As sometimes happens with Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), he let his mouth race ahead of his brain Wednesday night at a gathering of Young Democrats at the Washington nightspot Acropolis. After presidential candidate Howard Dean spoke, Kennedy delivered an impassioned peroration against President Bush's tax cut. We hear that Kennedy told the crowd: 'I don't need Bush's tax cut. I have never worked a [bleeping] day in my life.' With that he got the audience's attention -- the dropping-jaws kind. 'He droned on and on, frequently mentioning how much better the candidates would sound the more we drank,' a witness told us. 'Finally, he had to be stopped by a DNC volunteer.' Kennedy's spokesman, Ernesto Anguilla, told us yesterday: 'He was talking to the crowd; it was a rally-the-troops kind of speech about the tax cut. He was energizing the crowd and got caught up in it and used an unfortunate word, which he regrets using. . . . And no one pulled him off the stage.' "

That's our senior Representative folks, proud do not have worked a day in his life. Good thing he's so in touch with the common man, huh?

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The Celtics drafted 3 players last night, highlighted by Point Guard Marcus Banks from UNLV. For more, go here.

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Finally, vacation time is here. Blogging may be non-existant or light. See you in a week!

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Looks like Governor Carcieri has hit a nerve as the Rhode Island House leaders chafe at the governor's criticism that they are unduly influenced by labor unions. Truth hurts, huh? Carcieri has positioned himself as the "People's Lobbyist" and has taken to wearing the red badge of a lobbyist that all wear on Smith Hill. Clever. Here's an example of the tired pandering that Carcieri is facing (from todays ProJo):

"You know who really has the undue influence in this budget? It's the schoolteacher that's in a Providence classroom that's dealing with a classroom where 65 percent of that classroom is not speaking English. It's the firemen that have to go and save somebody from a burning building. That is the influence on our community," said House Deputy Finance Chairman Steven M. Costantino, D-Providence.

Mr. Costantino, spare us. Or, let's let the Guv have his say (again from the ProJo):

As he has argued before, Carcieri said compensation packages for state and municipal employees, including teachers, "bear no relation to what's happening in the real world today."

"This kind of pension benefit and other benefit costs is what brought Cranston to the brink of bankruptcy, it's threatening right now to bring Providence to the brink," he said. "And by the way, if we don't start doing something now, it's going to take the state to the brink."

The biggest check this Governor wants to send to the Legislature is the Reality Check.

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On the Iraq front, It may not be the smoking gun, but it sure looks like it's getting hot! Maybe it's not the weapons, but plans and other findings, both official and unofficial, seem to be coming up, finally.

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The Supreme Court has a few final decisions today and many are waiting with anticipation. Will one retire? Two? We shall see.

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I confess: I'll be checking in on Spike TV to see how it is. I am in the target demographic, after all.

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Finally, it looks like the "new" Blogger is being implemented as we speak. Error windows pop up and I can't seem to use the "Blog This!" feature. Oh well, a few growing pains I guess.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

The Governor takes it to the people and some of us are listening. As the governor says in the article:

"I think what happens -- and what these people don't realize," Carcieri said of the state's overwhelmingly Democratic lawmakers, "and I realized shortly after I got here, is that what happens within the four walls of this building often bears little relationship with how people feel or what people care about outside this building.

"I don't know whether it is in the air or what it is. But what happens is they are only busy talking to each other -- or the lobbyists," he said of the army of suits and ties camped out across the marble divide.

Who are these people that have access? Again, from the ProJo:

They included teachers' union lobbyists, casino lobbyists, the father and son who represent local business interests, and the tie-less former senator who represents the insurer with a monopoly on the state employee health contract: Blue Cross.

To counter this we have:

In interviews earlier in the day, House Finance Chairman Paul V. Sherlock, D-Warwick, and Deputy Finance Chairman Steven M. Costantino, D-Providence, denounced the increase in pension contributions as a "tax on one segment of the Rhode Island work force . . . [the] people who take care of people in our hospitals, the people who teach our children in schools . . . all the people who are meeting the needs of the state."

Guess what Mr. Sherlock and Mr. Costantino? We, the taxpayers of Rhode Island, pay them, not some magical pot of gold! Right now we don't think we're getting enough bang for the buck AND we think they should kick in a little more for their own benefits, just like the rest of us. Spare me the sob story of poor hospital workers and teachers, the fact of the matter is, in tough times, we all have to cinch the belt, and that includes government workers. They have no more "right" to guaranteed increases in pay and benefits then we do. It is the height of arrogance to believe that those of us who are forced to subsidize more and more of our own pensions, health care, etc. should also be forced to pay for obscene increases in those very same benefits for those who work FOR us in the public sector. Hopefully, with the leadership of Governor Carcieri, those days will be behind us soon. Finally, I leave it to the Governor to wrap it up:

He (the Governor) also served notice that "come the next election cycle, I intend to point out who was with me and who was against me . . . We want a floor fight . . . I want people to know who's voting how."

We'll remember.
So now, the ACC is going after Miami and VIRGINIA TECH! A VaTech spokesman said he had no idea about such a plan. Hope not as his school is one of the plaintiffs in the case filed in Connecticut. I wonder how Boston College feels about now. Left at the altar, perhaps?
Baghdad Bob has been caught!

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Major Issues Before the Supreme Court is an understatement. More on tap throughout the week. So far, they've already said that the ends justify the means in allowing a fundamentally discriminatory policy to stand at the University of Michigan Law School. Just because the outcome is desirable, doesn't make the way that outcome was achieved Constitutional. Apparently, the Equal Protection Clause isn't as important as making sure the right amount of the "right kind of people" graduate from school. It's not fair and it's an example of pandering and coddling.
Meanwhile, in Patriot Nation...Cloud will have to serve four-game suspension then start playing for the Pats. A local kid who may or may not deserve the benefit of the doubt, thought there was no prior indication of him being of shaky character. Just another in the mix in the Pats backfield.
Edward Achorn has it right in today's ProJo. When it comes to the now Harwood-less General Assembly, it still appears as if the new bosses are the same as the old.

Monday, June 23, 2003

I have to kiddies of my own and to think that I'd keep them out until midnight to buy a freakin' BOOK (which will be there in the morning, they shipped millions, folks) is lunacy. Another case of people across the world pathetically seeking to be "part of the story" or of the "big event". Why? So they can say that they stood in line until midnight or maybe so they can proclaim "aren't we cool parents?!" Nope, you're losers!

In a related event, apparently the Satanic Bible is a pretty hot seller.

Finally, a check of the calendar does indeed reveal that it's June. We all know what that means, right Sox fans? It's time for the swoon!

Friday, June 20, 2003

In a quick update on an earlier story, the Jane Roe appeal has been dismissed.
A little bit of reconfiguration today. There are plenty of blogs that emphasize current events and politics, so I think I'll start commenting on my true passion: L'Histoire. (At least that's my latest whimsical idea. It'll probably change.) I'll still offer my 2 cents on anything I want, but the Link section ----> has been modified to lead with History and Learning rather than my past emphasis on current events-related links. I also updated the "My Works" section with a couple more items. That's about it for now, have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

We'll see how far this attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade goes. It's interesting because the plaintiff is none other than the original Jane Roe, Norma McCorvey. She has been anti-abortion for 10 years and claims she was basically hoodwinked into the whole thing. We'll see...

Monday, June 16, 2003

The Big East/ACC imbroglio goes on, but Andy Katz at ESPN gives an update on possible moves in the making and headlines it all with the fact that Louisville is an option for Big East. Gee, ya think that Rick Pitino could be a factor?
Just a pure sports fantasy fluff piece, but hell, I enjoyed it...<Splendid outing for cagey Brady

Friday, June 13, 2003

Today's must reads:
Hoaxes, Hype and Humiliation by Krauthammer

USATODAY.com - Short conflict, less ammo kept war cost down...cool!

Golf, US Open led by Quigley...yeah, it's only the first round of the Open, but it's still nice when a local is in the lead.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

This is ridiculous. Investment losses raise public costs of pensions is the headline, but it's about local taxpayers next year will be paying $60 million more for the pensions of Rhode Island state workers and teachers. Supposedly it's a result of the pension fund losses that have been incurred as a result of the recent stock market woes. Guess what? We've all felt the pain, and why should workers who rely on taxpayers for their wages also be any better off than us when it comes to their retirement. Let me get this straight, I have "lost" money as a result of the down market. So has Joe State Worker, but Joe State Worker will get bailed out by taxes paid by me. Where is my relief? Oh, just suck it up? Well, what's good for the goose...
Another old journalistic lion passes on. - Veteran Broadcaster David Brinkley Dies.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Today is decision day in the ACC/Big East fiasco. As usual, Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal is all over the story.

Monday, June 09, 2003

This is a must read about Rape in a small town in Rhode Island. It's a tough, long article, but it details the unfortunate business that occurs in a place where everyone knows everyone else and the wagons are circled and a victim is made a pariah. Tough, but a necessary read.
Here are the links that have been axed. Sayonara!

World Net Daily

CNS News

NewsMax

The Weekly Standard

The Sports Guy on ESPN

FreshTabs Guitar Tablature

ESPN

GameSpot - PC Games

Ancestry Internet Genealogy

The Underdogs - "Abandoned" Games

Ain't It Cool News - Movie Gossip
OK, major site pruning will begin today. Time to do some belated spring cleaning. My philosophy is this: If I don't use the link myself too much anymore...it's gone! I suppose I'll make a not of all that I remove sometime soon, until then, get ready for some reduction in linkage over there to the right!
I urge all to read about the Right vs. Left on Satisfying Wants & Needs by Rush Limbaugh. It's simple, short and strait forward. Yes, Rush is a right-wing idealogue and all, but he does a pretty fair job of making both sides of the argument with relatively little haranguing.
Last week, I was heartened by the apparent progress in the peace process as exhibited by the meetings in Aqaba, Jordan (where I spent 3 lovely weeks back in my sailing days, incidentally). Yet, apparently progress to the degree I had believed has not been accomplished. First, a column by Max Abrahms on Mideast on National Review Online details the Roadmap for Peace while Charles Krauthammer, in a "Shades of Oslo" column certainly throws cold water on the whole week of meetings between the President and mideast leaders. Nonetheless, we must remember that we have a President who will stick with it and will not suffer dissemblers. If the Arab world thinks they can try to double-talk their way into the virtual elimination of Israel, I think THEY had better think again. Mr. Bush understands loyalty, honesty and strength and how to deal with those who don't abide by the same code. Just ask Saddam and the Taliban.

Friday, June 06, 2003

OK, one last indulgence before the weekend. Here is an awesome story on one of my fave's, Lisa Loeb, in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin Features page.

*NOTE: My obsession has been acknowledged and tacitly approved of by my significant other under the "devil-you-know is better than the one you don't" clause of the marriage contract. :)

Thursday, June 05, 2003

As usual, good stuff at OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today, but this snippet had me chuckling:

"From the Highlander, the student newspaper at the University of California, Riverside, comes a hilarious example of how diversity is actually practiced in higher education. It's a report on a student senate meeting:

At the meeting, the senate also voted to approve a mural to be placed in the Commons. There was some concern voiced by the senate about the contents of the mural.

"I see some pilgrim invaders here," said Elisa Haro, academic affairs director. "It kind of reminds me of my colonization, and I don't like that."

The artist of the mural said that the pilgrim invaders were meant to be Shakespearean actors and that he would try to make that more clear.

Other concerns with the mural included the depiction of white cranes, which the senate demanded be changed to color cranes.

They were also concerned with the lack of a same sex couple depicted, which the artist agreed to add. The senate voted to approve the mural in light of the adjustments being made."

The funny thing is that it exhibits the normalcy that those on the inside would ascribe to this discussion. They fail to see the inanity of their PC attitude. Wait until they get into the real world.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

WOW, I've been lax lately, huh? Busy with school/work/family. FYI, the Baseball Amateur draft is going on now and if your as sick as me, go to the Baseball America - 2003 MLB Draft site for an update on the Red Sox picks.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Between school and illness and network going down at work :), there's been no blogging for a while. We'll resume with a little "light fare", the ESPN.com: NFL - Offseason Overview: New England Patriots

Friday, May 23, 2003

Spinsanity - Dowd spawns Bush media myth Please read and be on the lookout for this misrepresentation!

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

"Mike Tranghese isn't the kind of guy who beats around the bush. He usually says what's on his mind and then lets the chips fall where they may." So starts todays piece by Kevin McNamara in today's ProJo concerning the Big East/ACC flap. It looks like Tranghese puts the blame squarley on the shoulders of the ACC presidents and isn't too pleased with what he views as their unethical behavior in poaching schools from another conference. As has been stated, no matter if the Big East staves off the raid or not, Providence College had better get used to the idea of playing in a mid-major conference for men's basketball. The days of the Friars in the Big East as we know it are over. They don't have enough money, simple as that.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Things aren't looking very good for Providence College's chances of staying in the Big East. Once again, Kevin McNamara is all over the story. Looks like it's almost inevitable that the 5 Catholic Big East schools will have to be spun off because they don't play, or at least try to play, big time football. McNamara has a couple interesting options. When on the ProJo site that I linked to, look to the right for a list of more stories concerning this fiasco.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Motor mouth Dick Vitale has a take on the ACC/Big East mess, too. And he's right on. Best part:

"School presidents talk so often about academic integrity, graduating athletes, etc. I don't want to hear about it -- it's all about the cash, baby! It's all about the dollars, not the kids.

Sadly, it looks obvious to me: Use the kids, spit them out and make as much money as you can. I get fed up when I hear about it. There are seminars, committees are formed, school presidents talk about graduating players.

If schools want to graduate players, then give student-athletes five years to graduate with four years of eligibility and make freshmen ineligible. Let kids get acclimated to college life. Oh well, that won't happen either. It makes sense, but it won't happen in this day and age.

It breaks my heart to hear about situations like this. I have a passion and love for young people and sports. I enjoy dealing with the kids who compete and the coaches who work so hard.

What bothers me is the excess travel and the time involved when conferences use alignments that don't make sense. It isn't conducive to where the schools are located. Please, don't make these kids travel longer distances because conferences make absurd decisions like this!"

Right on Dickie V!

ESPN has a great breakdown on possible conference realignment scenarios that could result from the ACC/Big East mess.
Could it be true? Could Li'l Rhody actually be coming in line with the rest of the nation? Could separation of powers become a reality?
Kevin McNamara piece about the continuing ACC/Big East feud has an interesting angle. What will Notre Dame do? Regardless of what they do with their Independent Football program, which way they lean in a potential Big East split will be the deciding factor in the success of a possible "Catholic East" league made up of St. John's, Providence, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova and other schools, such as Marquette or Xavier, that could be wooed into such a league. If Notre Dame doesn't go with the other Catholic Schools, and probably even if it does, the new "Catholic East" would be a conference on par with the Atlantic 10. Not major but probably the best of the so-called mid-major schools. Regardless, Providence College is a helpless bystander as it watches it's big time conference disintegrate around it. It was PC's Dave Gavitt who got the original Big East basketball conference going. It is former PC administrator Mike Tranghese, who vows a fight, is the current Big East commissioner. A big weekend in Florida lies ahead for the Big East conference. I predict it will not be intact for very long.
Nashville Matriarch June Carter Cash Dead at 73, which is surprising because I thought that Johnny was closer to death over the past few years. The Man in Black has lost his Muse.
Rock, Older Buyers Rule in Depressed Music Market, according to a headline. Does this mean that more singer-songwriter types will start getting radio airplay instead of the Hip-Hop/Pop Shmop Britney Aquilera Backstreet Sync stuff? Doesn't this fly in the face of all we're told about marketing in today's music industry? We can only hope.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Andrew Sullivans Daily Dish has this quote from Margaret Thatcher:

"There are too many people who imagine that there is something sophisticated about always believing the best of those who hate your country, and the worst of those who defend it."

Feel like taking a survey regarding web logs and their impact? Go here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Kevin McNamara of the ProJo weighs in on the effects of the ACC expansion on Providence College.
Big Time colleg sports talk today. The news that the ACC Votes in Favor of Expansion could have serious reperscussions throughout the college athletic world. The obvious bid by the ACC is to strengthen as a football conference by enticing the Univ. of Miami into the fold, they will also try to drag in two other teams, probably from the Big East, and probably Syracuse and either Boston College or Virginia Tech. That would put the ACC at 12 schools, allowing them to break the conference into two divisions, with each regular season winner meeting in an ACC Football Championship game. This would allow enable the ACC to continue to be a viable and important player in the NCAA's jury rigged Bowl Championship Series that is going to be revamped in a couple years. Bottom line, it's about the money.

So what does this mean for the other schools in the Big East? First, the other football schools, Pitt, Rutgers, UConn, Temple and one of either BC or VaTech (whichever doesn't get invited to the ACC) will have to seriously think about splitting off and forming a new conference, perhaps with the likes of Cincinatti, Lousville or some other Conference USA types of schools. This would be the only way they could maintain viability as a football conference. The possibility of a football Big East is there, but it would be more likely that the Big East as a conference would be essentially blown up.

For much of the Big East, this means that their basketball programs would be in jeopardy of dropping a tier. Specifically, the Catholic schools that don't have football (Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, Villanova) would be at a big disadvantage. You would see the Big East basketball conference attempting to entice schools from other conferences, most likely Atlantic 10 schools like Temple, Dayton or the like would seem logical. This would then send shockwaves through the college basketball world as larger conferences robbed slightly less prestigious ones of their better members. This all results in the rich getting richer and the little guys being put at even more of a disadvantage. Capitalism. I love it in the real world, but I'm not sure that it is necessarily a good thing in collegiate athletics.

This move could also prompt Notre Dame to merge with the Big Ten to ensure it has a seat at the table when the BCS comes up for review again. Or they could maintain their independence and continue their relationship with the remnants of the Big East basketball schools, most of whom would also be Catholic institutions. This last would allow the League to essentially operate on similar moral grounds, if you will. Perhaps even a school like Holy Cross would be enticed into the Big East given the Catholic angle. It's all very interesting for a sports nut and points to the ever growing aspects of big business type mentality that is taking over college sports, especially football and basketball. If anyone thinks these kids are amateurs in the truest sense of the word, this should be a wake up call. The disingenuous administrators of the NCAA and these big conferences long ago stopped placing their primary emphasis on the well being of the student athlete. It's all about the money.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

This is my new blogchalk:
United States, Rhode Island, Warwick, English, history, politics, sports. :)

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

A few days ago I posted a "find your faith test"...today it's the Dante's Inferno Test. My interest in things moral and medieval collide! My results below...

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test
All that I think about this overblown Bill Bennett affair is summed up by Jonah Goldberg' on National Review Online. The summary:

"Bennett is a big, sloppy Irish Catholic guy from Brooklyn who believes in old-fashioned morality and decency. He's not perfect, but he's been focusing our attention on the right things. When charged with hypocrisy, Max Scheler — the moral philosopher who dallied with the ladies — responded that the sign pointing to Boston doesn't have to go there. America is a better place because Bennett pointed in the right direction. Tearing him down is a sorry, pitiful, and deeply hypocritical way for supposed champions of privacy to tear down the man instead of his arguments. If you disagree, fine. Tell me where he was wrong. Don't tell me that the messenger is a sinner — we all knew that. Tell me what's wrong with the message. What passage in The Book of Virtues was invalidated when Bennett put the first $500 chip into the machine?"

Exactly. Never been a big fan of "gotcha" politics/journalism myself.