Wednesday, June 25

They Won't Quit Pissing Me Off!

Well my sister said I "was real snarky last night." What the heck does that mean? And I did a rant just for Maureen. 'Reen, where are the comments? Anyway, keep feeding me ideas. And a few weeks back, your dad told me I had lost all my passion since I didn't have Cynthia McKinney to bitch about. Well, dammit, it's back.

And a great big thank you to Jennie who said I rant better than Mike at Cold Fury. No freaking way! But thanks, Sweetie. The first beige president. BWAHAHAHA! Al Sharpton actually said sumpin' I agree with. And I freely admit that I stole Dimocrat from Jennie. Kim said I must be eating a lot of red meat. You bet your ass I am. Nice rare steak. Hey Peta! Fuck you, you dickheads! And now the Atlanta Urinal and Constipation has done it again.

Sometimes I think this newspaper exists just to piss me off. Today they ran a screed by Julian Bond about Strom Thurmond. Remember, Julian Bond is one of the people who gave a speech full of vitriol about President Bush at the NAACP convention. And then they wondered why Bush declined to speak there. Duh! Julian, you are an asshole!

But that's not what really pissed me off. Nope. They had an op-ed by some booger eatin' moh-ron named Feisal Abdul Rauf and I'll bet you can guess what he was writing about. It seems like once a week they have to have some op-ed written by a Muslim who has to spout all that Islam is a Religion of PeaceTM bullshit. And that's not really what pissed me off. They don't have it on their web site, so I can't cut and paste it. It's mostly bullshit anyway so I'll transcribe some of the laughable parts.

The title is Islamic, American values not at odds I'm sorry. I really should have given a splatter alert for that.

As Ramadan draws to a close, Islam, a religion I deeply love and which is essential to my identity, is repeatedly bearing the brunt for atrocious acts carried out in its name the world over. It is perceived as a national security threat in the United States. At the same time, America, a land I deeply love and whose values I cherish, arouses antagonism in much of the Muslim world.

Go ahead. Fisk it yourselves. Do you notice that there is no condemnation for Muslim acts of terrorism. None. Nada. Nil. Zero. Zip. Diddly zip point shit.

This is the painful place in which many Muslim Americans find themselves. On the one hand, their American non-Muslim friends are saying, "What are you Muslims doing to us?"

You fuckers ain't gonna explode are you?

On the other hand, their overseas Muslim colleagues are saying, "What is your country, America, doing to us?"

And when are you gonna strap on some C4 and blow yourselves up in the name of Islam?

He really starts going off on the deep end after this.

Islamic theology is unequivocal in its respect for human life, and those who commit acts of violence in the name of Islam do not represent their faith.

After all, Islam is a Religion of PeaceTM. This is the strongest condemnation of violence in the entire op-ed. So why is there violence?

The roots of the violence lie not in religion, but in the politics and econmics of the Muslim world. While Islamic texts, law, and theology mandate tolerance

I guess nobody bothered to tell all the mullahs who preach their sermons of hatred and intolerance throughout the Middle East every Friday. I guess they forgot to tell the rioting Muslims in Nigeria, also. Yeah, besides being a Religion of PeaceTM Islam is a religion of tolerance. Yeah. I really believe that bullshit.

democratic values

OK. Name me one, just one, democratic country in the Arab world. And the center of Islam is in Saudi Arabia which is an oppressive intolerant regime. Oh, and 16 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.

separation of powers

Yeah. Right.

the rule of law under an independent judiciary

This guy is talking about Islamic fantasy land. There is no Islamic country even close to what he is talking about.

and democratic capitalism

The drugs are really taking over now. Is that caterpillar talking to me?

Most Muslims do not live under such governance.

No shit! And whose fault is that?

Here's what happened in Nigeria

the increasingly common call for implementing shariah (classical Islamic law)

Chop off them hands. Stone them women. Beat the shit out of them first.

in Muslim lands such as Nigeria is no less than a desperate call for an uncorrupt state.

Let me get this straight. The riots weren't against the article about Mohammed wantin' to get it on with one of the babes but about the corrupt Nigerian gummint? And the fatwa against the columnist was also because Nigeria has a corrupt gummint? Hey caterpillar, gimme a hit off that hookah. Where the fuck did that cat go?

A state successfully practicing Islamic law

The operative word here is successfully.

embodies the American notion of a "nation under God," passionately dedicated to the well-being of its citizens.

Feisal, if you can name me just one of those countries, I'll buy you a first class ticket to it.

Many Muslims seem unable to prove that respect for human life, gender rights, religious tolerance and pluralism are rooted in Islamic scripture and tradition.

Well there are two reasons for that:

  1. Most Muslims don't believe that.
  2. It ain't in the Quran. Feisal's the only Muslim I've ever heard say it is. Maybe his copy is diferent.

Yet the Quran unequivocally mandates all of the above.

Then how come it ain't practiced in any Muslim countries?

I must say that this is one of the wackiest Don't blame Islam columns I've ever read. They all say the same things. Islam is a Religion of PeaceTM. Islam is a tolerant religion. The taking of human life is against Islamic law. But they never condemn the violence done in Islam's name. Never. The closest this guy came was when he said "those who commit acts of violence in the name of Islam do not represent their faith". Never have I ever heard one of these bozos (I apologize to the clown) condemn the venomous hate speech that spews out of the mosques of the Middle East every Friday about killing Jews and Americans. Never do I ever hear them condemn the homicide bombings in Israel. By the way, suicide is against the Islamic faith. Where's the condemnation of that? If these guys really want to have any credibility with their Religion of PeaceTM bullshit, they need to stand up and distance themselves from the hatred out of the Middle East.

This country was founded on tolerance and religious freedom. Muslims are treated a damn sight better here than Jews and Christians are treated in Mulsim countries. We didn't start this war with Islam. Islamic radicals started it with us. And we're gonna end it. You so called moderate Muslims have a choice. Are you with us or are you with the radicals. Make up your mind and quit spouting bullshit.

Do you know what I want for an end of Ramadan celebration?

Bombs over Baghdad.

Friday, December 20

Moving Day!

Hallelujah!!! Today, thanks to the kindness and technical ability of Rachel Lucas, I have moved. I now live here.

Thursday, December 19

Mad Cow and a Letter

All right, all you assholes at PETA. Just for you, here is a mad cow.

My friend Bryce was in town tonight and he took me out to dinner. Bryce is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He is married to a wonderful lady and has four children and nine grandchildren. And he is a Christian. He is not an in your face Christian. In fact, I never even knew he was religious until after I had known him for about two years and the only way I discovered then were some offhand remarks about knowing some people through his church. His is the quiet faith. He is not holier than thou. He does not wear his religion on his sleeve. And, he accepts a foul mouthed old reprobate like me as a friend.

And it's gonna get mushier. My friend Richard forwarded the following to me:

My Heart On The Line By Frank Schaeffer Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me. Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the coming conflict in Iraq, it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry. In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues and bedazzled my son John, I did not stand in the way. John was headstrong, and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and flawless uniforms. I did not. I live on the Volvo-driving, higher education-worshiping North Shore of Boston. I write novels for a living. I have never served in the military. It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and New York University. John's enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling. I did not relish the prospect of answering the question "So where is John going to college?" from the parents who were itching to tell me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard. At the private high school John attended, no other students were going into the military. "But aren't the Marines terribly Southern?" asked one perplexed mother while standing next to me at the brunch following graduation. "What a waste, he was such a good student," said another parent. One parent (a professor at a nearby and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that the school should "carefully evaluate what went wrong." When John graduated from three months of boot camp on Parris Island, 3,000 parents and friends were on the parade deck stands. We parents and our Marines not only were of many races but also were representative of many economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of pickups, others by bus. John told me that a lot of parents could not afford the trip. We in the audience were white and Native American. We were Hispanic, Arab and African American and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles' names. We were Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms defaced by jailhouse tattoos. We would not have been mistaken for the educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John's private school a half-year before. After graduation one new Marine told John, "Before I was a Marine, if I had ever seen you on my block I would've probably killed you just because you were standing there." This was a serious statement from one of John's good friends, an African American ex-gang member from Detroit who, as John said, "would die for me now, just like I'd die for him." My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before. I feel closer to the waitress at our local diner than to some of my oldest friends. She has two sons in the Corps. They are facing the same dangers as my boy. When the guy who fixes my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it. His younger brother is in the Navy. Why were I and the other parents at my son's private school so surprised by his choice? During World War II, the sons and daughters of the most powerful and educated families did their bit. If the immorality of the Vietnam War was the only reason those lucky enough to go to college dodged the draft, why did we not encourage our children to volunteer for military service once that war was done? Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists? Is the world a safe place? Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us? What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm's way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean? I feel shame because it took my son's joining the Marine Corps to make me take notice of who is defending me. I feel hope because perhaps my son is part of a future "greatest generation." As the storm clouds of war gather, at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye. My son is one of them. He is the best I have to offer. He is my heart. Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book, co-written with his son, Marine Cpl. John Schaeffer, is "Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps."

Please, when you see someone in uniform, thank him for serving his country.

Wednesday, December 18

Gimme a Wooden Stake!

My friends, Michael and Cindy had me over for dinner Saturday night. Their house had been torn up for quite some time. They had decided to knock out the wall between their den and living room and create a great room, hereafter referred to as the Great Room of Dunwoody. This was a major project and required many Mexican workers, who, of course spoke no English. So, when Cindy tried to explain stuff to them, the response was always, "OK. No problem! " Example:

  • Cindy: Um, I didn't want that part of the hall painted purple.
  • Mexican Worker: OK. No problem

Upon returning home, the whole hall was now purple.

And of course, since they don't celebrate Thanksgiving, the mariachi music started bright and early Thanksgiving morn. Michael said, "To be fair, they work on Thanksgiving and I work on Cinqo De Mayo."

Since their house was torn up for quite some time and they were essentially living on the second floor of their home, I had them over for dinner on a few Saturdays. Like this is a problem for me. Throw a couple more steaks on the grill, bake two more potatoes, cook some corn on the cob on the grill and make a larger salad. Michael would furnish the wine. Since he's in the business and has an excellent cellar we drank very well. I would furnish the cognac and grappa. Not much trouble at all.

So last week the project was finally completed and they had me over for dinner. I came in the door from the garage so I could enter the Great Room of Dunwoody from the side and not be so overwhelmed with awe that I would pass out. And it was a beautiful job. I didn't see any purple anywhere.

Having gone through the experience of the building of the Great Wall of Dunwoody and the Great Patio of Dunwoody at GOC Central (a subject of a future blog), I could relate to what they went through and how wonderful it was when the project was finally completed. Let the celebration begin!

After dinner, we were finishing up a bottle of an excellent 1989 bordeaux and turned on Saturday Night Live so we could make fun of the Gorebot. Much to our surprise, he was actually pretty good. All at once Michael and I looked at each other and said, 'He's running.' Yep. I said he was pulling a Nixon.

For those of you too young to remember, Nixon lost a very close election to Kennedy. Lots of dead people in Chicago voted for Kennedy and that helped do the trick. As an aside, I was worried when William Daley went to Florida in the 2000 election to fight for selective recounts. I was sure Bush was doomed. No one knows how to steal elections better than the Daley family.

Anyway, Nixon lost the 1960 election and went back to California. Then, he ran for governor of California in 1962 and lost. That is when he made his famous statement, "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore." Gosh, it sounded like he was finished with politics. He watched Barry Goldwater get creamed by Johnson in 1964. Then, all of a sudden, in 1967, he appeared on Laugh In and said, "Sock it to me". He's back! He's tanned and rested, and he has a sense of humor. This was 'the new Nixon'. He ran in 1968 and clobbered Hubert Humphrey.

Well, golly, parallels abound, albeit in a different order. Gore goes on Saturday Night Live to show he has a sense of humor. The very next day, he announces he is not running in 2004. (Rachel, you won't have Al Gore to kick around anymore.) Good decision. If Bush maintains his high ratings and Gore runs and gets creamed he becomes the new Adlai Stevenson. But, if someone else gets creamed by Bush in 2004, there may appear 'the new Gore', all ready for 2008. He'll probably have to fight the Clinton politics of personal destruction machine as Hillary will probably want to run then.

If Bush does get a second term, and if Cheney is still his VP, who will the Republicans have in the wings to run in 2008? We know it won't be Cheney. And we sure as hell know it won't be Trent Lott. So, I fully expect Gore to be back in the running in 2008. He's tanned and rested, and he has a sense of humor.

Someone give me a wooden stake to drive through that bastard's heart. Kim du Toit already said he'd swing the hammer.

It's the right thing to do. Let's do it for the children.

Tuesday, December 17

No Rant Again

I'm sorry that there will be no rant tonight. I'm busy signing up for a new hosting service and downloading and installing Moveable Type. Plus, I have to get the house ready for the cleaning lady tomorrow.

Cleaning lady? Well la-de-freaking-da! Cleaning lady? Aren't we fancy?

Listen. It's a necessity. Can you imagine me, a cripple, pushing a vacuum cleaner around the house? Nope. Can't be done. So, I've gotta do that. I've signed up for a hosting service and right now I'm downloading the instructions for installing Moveable Type. Blogger has finally done it to me. You may have noticed my October archives are missing. I've been trying to reload them for the last month. Every time I try I get a message that there is a template failure and they're working on it. (Insert I/T support joke here)

And do you want to have a Trent Lott rant? Jesus H. Christ! It's all Trent Lott all the time. Give it a rest! John Lewis, noted civil rights activist (and spitter) and Congressman from Atlanta wrote an op-ed in Monday's Atlanta Urinal and Constipation tying Trent Lott to Perdue's win in the gubernatorial race to the Georgia state flag to the racism in the Republican Party. Give me a freaking break! Get the fuck over it! Before tarring Republicans as racists go after Robert Bryd and Ernest Hollings. And how about the racist anti-Semites like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, and Cynthia McKinney? "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." The hypocrisy is sickening.

So for a little levity, in the spirit of Kim du Toit, I give you the announcement I would like to hear on my next flight.

And, my friend Charlie, in St. Louis sent me the following:

The Democratic National Committee is currently polling Americans through the Internet to determine the electability of Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States in 2004.  If you would like to show your support for Hillary and encourage her to run for President of the United States in 2004 please click this link.

And with that, I'm calling it a night.

Monday, December 16

A Letter to the Editors

Feeling better. Went to the doctor and this time I got my regular physician who is a real sweetheart! I love her to death. The guy I got last time was a real cold fish. My sweetheat doc put me on another drug that does not have horrible side effects. I'm still not gonna write anything on my own tonight.

Tim sent me a copy of a letter that he sent to the Atlanta Urinal and Constipation. Not much chance of it getting published, but I will post it in full here.

Cynthia Tucker and Jay Bookman are trying to convince you that the GOP is a party of racists. They are lying to you to perpetuate a myth started 40 years ago, when Republicans were instrumental in passing civil rights legislation. The truth is, and we know and can prove this, racism in American politics has largely been a southern white problem, and substantially a southern white DEMOCRAT problem. To prove their point, they both point to a few southern white men and recount acts starting from 40 to 60 years ago. Namely, Strom Thurmond, a Democrat, turned Dixiecrat, turned Republican. Barry Goldwater, a failed Republican Presidential candidate (Mr. Goldwater carried only six states and 36 percent of the popular vote in 1964, hardly a resounding fact for labeling the entire Republican party racist). And now, Sen. Trent Lott, a segregation sentimentalist Republican from Mississippi. Fine, let's compare notes. First, I'll name three Democrats with a racist past. Then, we'll look at the history of the Democrat Party here in Georgia. Finally, I'll point out lies of omission by both writers. The 3 Democrats: Let's start with Sen. Robert Byrd, senior Democrat from West Virginia. Sen. Byrd was a "Kleagle" -- an official recruiter who signed up members for $10 a head. He said he joined because it "offered excitement" and because the Klan was an "effective force" in "promoting traditional American values." In a letter dated April 8, 1946 (three years after his alleged break with the Klan), Sen. Byrd wrote a letter addressed to Klan Imperial Wizard Samuel Green of Atlanta. It stated in part: "I am a former kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan in Raleigh County and the adjoining counties of the state .... The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia .... It is necessary that the order be promoted immediately and in every state of the Union. Will you please inform me as to the possibilities of rebuilding the Klan in the Realm of W. Va .... I hope that you will find it convenient to answer my letter in regards to future possibilities." In another letter, Sen. Byrd vowed never to fight "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds." The ex-Klansman later filibustered the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act for more than 14 hours. He also opposed the nominations of the Supreme Court's two black justices, liberal Thurgood Marshall and conservative Clarence Thomas. Last year, on the Fox News Channel, Sen. Byrd said, "There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I'm going to use that word." September of this year, while appearing on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes," Reps. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., refused to condemn Byrd's Klan past Next, let's move on to Sen. Fritz Hollings, junior Democrat (at age 80) from South Carolina. As a lawyer, Sen. Hollings appeared on behalf of South Carolina in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, arguing for the doctrine of "separate but equal" that made segregated schools legal. While Governor of South Carolina, Sen. Hollings oversaw the raising of the Confederate flag over the Statehouse on April 11, 1961, the anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter. As James Shannon wrote on July 31, 2002, this "mischief was the work of Democrats since virtually everyone who held elective office in South Carolina, and most other Southern states in 1961, were members of the Democratic Party." Let's take a brief look at the 1961 celebration of the Confederate War. The centennial delegations from New Jersey and Missouri included blacks who were refused entrance to the segregated Francis Marion Hotel, where the events were to be held. The South Carolina hosts refused to allow the black delegates to participate. The situation was only partially resolved when President John F. Kennedy (not Gov. Hollings) issued an executive order moving the centennial meetings to the Charleston Navy Base, one of the few integrated facilities in town. South Carolina led the South in leaving the national commission, and holding its own segregated events in the hotel. I'm curious, did then Gov. Hollings attend the events at Charleston Navy Base or the Francis Marion Hotel, or both? The dais in the ballroom of the Francis Marion was festooned with Confederate flags when state Democrat Sen. John D. Long, who had sponsored resolutions that placed the flag over the House and Senate rostrums, warmed up the crowd: "Out of the dust and ashes of War with its attendant destruction and woe, came Reconstruction more insidious than war and equally evil in consequences, until the prostrate South staggered to her knees assisted by the original Ku Klux Klan and the Red Shirts who redeemed the South and restored her to her own." To discourage African Americans from registering as Democrats, the party in South Carolina made a "loyalty oath" of allegiance to white supremacy and racial segregation a requisite for participation in the primary. This loyalty oath was still a requirement for Democrats when Sen. Hollings was Governor of South Carolina, did he sign one? More recently, Sen. Hollings has reportedly used the slur "wetbacks" to derogatorily refer to Hispanics and "darkies" to derogatorily refer to blacks. He also once disparagingly referred to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition as the "Blackbow Coalition," and called former Senator Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio "the Senator from B'nai B'rith.". He gained international criticism for his remarks about the African Delegation to the 1993 Geneva GATT conference, where he crudely remarked "you'd find these potentates from down in Africa, you know, rather than eating each other, they'd just come up and get a good square meal in Geneva." Finally, there's House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, who spoke before a prominent St. Louis white-rights organization during his first run for Congress and attended two of the group's picnics after his election. "Gephardt is one of many local officials who dropped by the Metro South Citizens Council's gatherings in the early 1980s," according to a March 7, 1999, report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Metro South Citizens Council was a group concerned primarily with "states' rights" and forced busing and when it disbanded, many of the members joined his Council of Conservative Citizens, according to Gordon Baum, head of the Council of Conservative Citizens in 1999. Rep. Gephardt later denounced the organization in 1988, but talking before the Council of Conservative Citizens is considered proof of being a racist by Democrats. It's true that the Republican Party inherited a few segregationalist southern Democrats in the post-Reconstruction era, but the majority of them remain Democrats. The Georgia Democrat Party: The racist record of the Democratic Party in Georgia is best described by Laughlin McDonald in "A Voting Rights Odyssey, Black Enfranchisement in Georgia." Georgia, a state ruled by the Democrat party for over 100 years, has been "in the forefront of the efforts to block the expansion of the franchise to blacks. It fought passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964. Members of its congressional delegation and the staff of the state attorney general argued before Congress that the proposed Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional. A former president of its state bar association denounced the act as a violation of states' rights. Its governor wrote directly to President Lyndon Johnson urging defeat of the voting rights bill." Not one Democrat senator from Georgia voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Only five southern senators voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, after a three-month filibuster, passed in the Senate with the vote of only four Southern Democrats. Senator Richard Russell (D-Ga.) began a filibuster against the bill on March 9, 1964, just days after it was introduced in the Senate. At 9:51 on the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert C. Byrd completed an address that he had begun fourteen hours and thirteen minutes earlier. Of the 26 Southern senators (including the two in West Virginia), 22 voted against the Act (exceptions: Cooper and Morton, both R-Ky.; Yarborough, D-Tex.; and Randolph, D-W.Va.). Overall, 80% of Republicans (138 to 34) voted for the Act as opposed to 61% of Democrats (152 to 96). In the Senate, 82% of Republicans (27 to 6) voted for passage along with 69% of Democrats (46 to 27). The Voting Rights Act of 1965 received overwhelming support from Republicans in both houses of Congress - with 82% Republican support in the House of Representatives and 94% in the Senate. Only three southerners voted to support the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Among those voting against the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were 17 southern Democrats, including President Bill Clinton's political mentor, J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The Lies of Omission: Cynthia Tucker writes, "The simple fact is that the modern Republican Party has built a Southern power base by accommodating racists..As political scientists Earl and Merle Black note in their book, 'The Rise of Southern Republicans,' the ascension of the Republican Party in the South can be traced to Barry Goldwater, who ran for president in 1964 on a states' rights platform that rejected desegregation." Interesting, in a review of the book by CBS News Senior Political Editor Dotty Lynch, she writes, "'The Great White Switch' didn't happen until the presidency of Ronald Reagan when massive numbers of white Southerners felt comfortable calling themselves Republicans" She quotes the authors, "His optimistic conservatism and successful performance in office made the Republican Party respectable and useful for millions of Southern whites." According to Ms. Lynch's review, "A combination of positions on civil rights and demographic changes that brought a number of anti-government, anti-tax suburban voters into the South formed the basis of Republican Party's appeal." Jay Bookman writes, "Lott's resignation will not, for example, change the fact that of the 51 Republican senators and 225 Republican House members who will serve next year, not a single one will be black." The reason Mr. Bookman adds next year is Representative JC Watts, will retire from the U.S. House of Representatives this year after representing the 4th District of Ohio for eight years. Congressman Watts received the following letter concerning his retirement. "Dear Congressman Watts, thank you for your years of service to the United States House of Representatives. Many people are proud you have been dedicated to an opportunity few people of African-American descent have in this land. If you can, please remain as a pioneer on the Republican side until others come to assist you. I am glad I stayed in my seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus December 1, 1955. I did not know at that time people would rally as they did. I was pleased about their support, but it has sometimes been lonely. "Through the years my life has had peaks and valleys, but I have never been sorry about my decision. The Lord has always provided. "I would also like you to keep your seat and not think of your mantle as heavy, but think that you are chosen to prepare the way. "Peace and prosperity, "Rosa Parks" Representative Watts is an amazing man. I can only hope he continues to speak publicly and actively, in America and in our party. You may also have heard about Condolezza Rice, our National Security Advisor, whose wisdom and grace are vitally important to our country during this troubled time. And our Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who I was once proud to have served under as our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and now even more proud as a citizen to have him represent us to our allies, and our enemies, given the importance of our foreign policy. I can think of no one I would rather have doing this critical job at this time. You might not have heard of some others. Roderick R. Paige is our Secretary of Education. Alphonso Jackson is the Deputy Secretary to Housing and Urban Development. Claude Alien is the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services. Leo S. Mackay, Jr, is the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Larry D. Thompson is the Deputy Attorney General. Stephen A. Perry is Administrator of General Services Administration. Rev. Steve Gordon, was the Republican nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives, 5th Congressional District of Kansas. Jennette Bradley will become the first African American female to serve as Ohio's Lieutenant Governor. In Maryland, Lieutenant Governor-elect Michael Steele will become the first African American to hold statewide office. Other African American candidates elected to office under the Republican banner include: Kenneth Blackwell, OH Secretary of State Cynthia Calhoun, Dallas County Clerk Linda Douglass, Guadalupe County (TX) Treasurer George Hanks, Jr., TX District Judge 157 Bill Hardiman, MI State Senate, District 29 Lisa Hembry, Dallas County Treasurer Dianne Jones, Dallas County Criminal Court 11 Ed Jones, CO State Senate, District 11 Sherman Parker, MO State Rep., District 12 Jane Powdrell-Culbert, NM State House, District 44 Michael Williams, TX Railroad Commission Chair Jackie Winters, OR State Senate, District 10 Others ran but did not win election, such as Rev. Steve Gordon, the Republican nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives, 5th Congressional District, Missouri. He was defeated by Rep. Karen McCarthy, D-Mo., the incumbent. And last year, Pittsburgh mayoral candidate James Carmine, was defeated by incumbent Democrat Tom Murphy. Where do we go from here? Republicans are outraged by Sen. Lott's statements. There's a temptation to defend Sen. Lott against the political hypocrisy of a Democrat Party that could find no disqualifying faults with their own members who have committed similar offenses, and worse. I don't know if he'll hold on to the Majority Leader position or not. I hope not. Whether the "conservatively biased" media and Democrats can convince you the GOP is a party of racists, or not, is ultimately up to you. You may already hold that opinion. As for me, I'll continue to vote for the best candidate, regardless of race, religion or gender. And I'll continue to pray that someday, maybe through our children, we can move one more step closer to better race relations in this country.

I couldn't have said it any better myself, which is why I let Tim do it. Now let me give you a few examples of the difference between Republicans and Dimocrats.

  • When Richard Nixon was facing impeachment for obstruction of justice (He knew nothing about the Watergate break in until after the fact. The cover up was to protect his subordinates. Contrast this with Clinton using his subordinates to protect him.), three Republican senators went to Nixon and asked him to resign for the good of the country. Nixon could have stayed and fought it out and might have even won, but for the good of the country he resigned. When Clinton was facing impeachment, there were no honorable Dimocrat senators to ask Clinton to resign for the good of the country. And in my opinion, the crimes of the Clinton administration were much worse. (One thousand FBI files where Nixon only requested one that he didn't even get. Nixon tried to use the IRS on his enemies with no success. Clinton was successful. ) Anyway, Clinton only cared for the good of Clinton, not for the good of the country.
  • When Robert Byrd, a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his earlier days, used the word nigger on national television, where was the outrage from the Congressional Black Caucus? Where was the call for him to resign from his position as President Pro Tempore of the Senate or from his position as the Chairman of the Senate give as much federal money to West Virginia as possible Appropriations Committee? Where was the wall to wall press coverage? Byrd has a history of racism. Certainly more so than does Trent Lott. One of the nattering nabobs on the left said that Trent Lott as Senate majority leader was fourth in line for the presidency. Nope. It is the racist Robert Byrd, who as President Pro Tempore (until the Republicans take control) is fourth in line for the presidency. I have read the Constitution. Republicans have called for Trent Lott to resign as majority leader. I never heard any Dimocrat suggest that Byrd resign as President Pro Tempore.

I did a fisk last week of a colum by E. J. Dionne where he claims that there is now a right wing bias in the media. If there were, we surely would have heard at least an equal amount of noise about Robert Byrd's racism and Klan membership.

Did I miss that?

Bah! Humbug!

I started a post last night about how sucky my day off was last Friday. And I'm sick again. Actually, that should be still, since the antibiotics didn't kill all the little bugs and as soon as I finished the course, back they came. Sneaky little bastards. Whine! Whine! Anyway, I had to stop since blogger was messed up. I promise. I'm moving. I need to find an ISP and figger out how to use Moveable Type. So, looks like it will be next year.

So since I will probably feel like crap after going to the doctor today, I will take the easy way out and share some mail. The first piece of mail was forwarded to me by my friend Richard. If you have any children that have worked hard and have done well in school this is a good way to let them know how socialism works.

Father & Daughter Politics

"One time there was a young teenage girl who was about to finish her first year of college. She considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat and her father was a rather staunch Republican. One day she was challenging her father on his beliefs and his opposition to programs like welfare. He stopped her and asked her how she was doing in school. She answered that she had a 4.0 GPA but it was really tough. She had to study all the time, never had time to go out and party and often went sleepless because all of the studying. She didn't have time for a boyfriend and didn't really have many college friends because of all her studying.

He then asked how her friend Mary, who was attending the same college, was doing. She replied that she was barely getting by. She had a 2.0 GPA, never studied. Was very popular on campus and was at parties all the time. She often wouldn't show up for classes because she was hung over. He then asked his daughter why she didn't go to the Dean's office and ask why she couldn't take 1.0 off her 4.0 and give it to her friend that only had a 2.0. That way they would both have a 3.0 GPA.

She fired back and said, "that wouldn't be fair, I worked really hard for mine and my friend has done nothing."

After a moment of silence, she replied, "I guess I will never vote Democrat again."

I should have sent the next piece of mail to Rachel Lucas to put on her site, but, since I'm sick and lazy (Whine! Whine!), I'm puttin' it on mine.

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,        HE LIVED ALL ALONE,        IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF        PLASTER AND STONE.        I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY        WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,        AND TO SEE JUST WHO        IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.        I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,        A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,        NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,        NOT EVEN A TREE.        NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,        JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,        ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES        OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.        WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,        AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,        A SOBER THOUGHT        CAME THROUGH MY MIND.        FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,        IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,        I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,        ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.        THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,        SILENT, ALONE,        CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR        IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.        THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,        THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,        NOT HOW I PICTURED        A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.        WAS THIS THE HERO        OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?        CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,        THE FLOOR FOR A BED?        I REALIZED THE FAMILIES        THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,        OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS        WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.        SOON ROUND THE WORLD,        THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,        AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE        A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.        THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM        EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,        BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,        LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.        I COULDN'T HELP WONDER        HOW MANY LAY ALONE,        ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE        IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.        THE VERY THOUGHT        BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,        I DROPPED TO MY KNEES        AND STARTED TO CRY.        THE SOLDIER AWAKENED        AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,        "SANTA DON'T CRY,        THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;        I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,        I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,        MY LIFE IS MY GOD,        MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS."        THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER        AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,        I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,        I CONTINUED TO WEEP.        I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,        SO SILENT AND STILL        AND WE BOTH SHIVERED        FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.        I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE        ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,        THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR        SO WILLING TO FIGHT.        THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,        WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,        WHISPERED, "CARRY ON SANTA,        IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE."        ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,        AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.        MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,        AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT."

At the bottom of the note was the following:

"This poem was written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa Japan. The following is his request. I think it is reasonable..... PLEASE.

Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our US service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

I'll do better than that. I don't have 100 friends, but I do have 100 readers. Feel free to cut and paste this and send it along or send people my link. I'm not doing this to get more traffic. As a Viet Nam veteran, I am familiar with our military being treated with contempt. Our country had to endure 8 years with a commander in chief who was a draft dodger and stated that he loathed the military. We have men who are serving their country (my nephew is one of them) and they do not get the recognition and respect they deserve. Next time you see a soldier, sailor, marine or airman thank him or her for serving our country and keeping us safe.

Sorry. No rant.

Thursday, December 12

Sour Kraut For Lunch

About two and a half years ago, I got involved with a (Caution! Buzzword alert!) synergy project with my counterparts in Germany. The goal of this project was to develop a common operating system (IBM OS/390) platform. We had different operating system standards and that inhibited application development. We had weekly conference calls to see how we could address this problem. After the third call, we were already at an impasse. They built their systems one way, and we built our systems another way. Our entire infrastructure was based on our standards. We could move to their standards, but it would take, in my estimate, three additional programmers to restructure our infrastructure to match the Germans, and, once we had done that, an additional programmer to manage the new standards. I tried to explain to the Germans that we built our systems our way because they were easier to maintain. We managed the same workload with one third the staff. Their argument was they installed the systems using the IBM defaults and surely IBM knew what they were doing. Having talked to IBM programmers in the United States, they built systems just the way we did. The IBM defaults were just the way the system deliverable was packaged.

So every Friday, at 10:00 AM I would have to attend a conference call to discuss our synergy project which I had code named Death Spiral. At about five minutes into each conference call we would once again hit the impasse of dataset naming standards. These calls would last an hour and would essentially waste one hour of my time every week. We would try to explain to the Germans exactly why we did things our way and that IBM US did it that way. They would then ask why IBM packaged their system deliverable differently than we installed it. Six months into the project, I overslept (I had had a tad too much to drink the previous night) and got in to work at 10:00 AM (and I was hungover) so when I dialed into the call I hit the magic five minute impasse mark. I asked if we were once again discussing dataset naming standards and having been told that we were, I went off on a five minute diatribe about how we did things the easy way because we were understaffed and they did things the hard way because they were a socialist country and had a bloated programming staff and contrasted our economies with our 5% unemployment and their 10% unemployment and how I was tired of wasting one hour every Friday on a project that was doomed to failure because they were booger eatin' moh-rons and slammed the phone down and hung up.

My manager punished me by kicking me off the project for the next two months. Oh please B'rer Fox, don't throw me in that briar patch! But, alas, my good fortune was not to last. Two months later he put me back on the project and as part of my job objectives for the year, I was supposed to make it work. Yeah, like that's gonna happen. I tried to explain to him, using logic (wasted on a manager) that we were at an impasse. There were three possible solutions:

  1. They do things our way. Fat chance!
  2. We do things their way, in which case, he would have to hire three more programmers for a year to revamp our infrastructure, and an additional programmer after that to maintain it since the Germans did things the hard way. Additional head count? Fat chance!
  3. Fire us and let the Germans maintain our stuff. Whoa! There goes his empire. Fat chance!

I told him the only solution was for a manager to make a decision. A German manager had to tell them to do things our way or an American manager had to add the staff to do things their way. Fat chance! So, the Death Spiral project went on for another year. The one change was the conference calls were moved to every other week. Even though I was supposed to make this project work, I only checked in every month or so. I hate exercises in futility.

One of the reasons I was replaced as team lead (Same pay. Less responsibility. Less bullshit. And the downside of this was ... ?) was my inability to make this project work. Another reason was I had become a grouchy old man and called one of my users incompetent. He had gone to my manager who, in typical management fashion, said whatever it took to get this asshole out of his office. He then called me and said there was a policy change. When I sent out a note to all the appropriate people to formalize this policy change, which was in total contradiction of our policies, my manager went ballistic and claimed he never said that. So now I was on his shit list. The user, in the meantime, got fired. Guess he must have been incompetent.

So our new team lead came on 18 months into this project. At this time we had a skill rebalancing action (layoffs) which eliminated two of our headcount. It only took two conference calls for him to realize that the project was doomed. We agreed to table it and revisit it in 2002. We conveniently neglected to revisit it until about a month ago.

My team lead and I (we share an office) were sitting around fat, dumb and happy about a month ago when our manager came in all excited. This was a bad sign. It seems Europe (That is, the Belgians who control the purse strings for Europe) was wondering why I/T expenses were higher in Germany than they were in the United States. (Three times the programming staff might be one reason.) I asked my manager if this meant we were gonna have to go through the synergy bullshit again? He said this time it would be different because it was the financial people (bean counters) who were involved. Yeah, that really gives me a real warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Fortunately, I had been left outside the loop until last Thursday. It seems our counterparts in Germany outsource their hardware and software support to another division of TCIDNN (The Company I Dare Not Name) in Germany. We used to do a similar thing here. We outsourced our hardware support and did our own programming. We discovered, that due to the overhead markup, we could purchase our own hardware and do everything ourselves. We saved so much money we were actually able to increase our hardware capacity and still spend less money. The outsourcers in Germany are raising the prices and the German manager is screaming breach of contract. Here's where we come in.

The Germans are coming to us and asking if they can outsource all their I/T support (both hardware and programming) to us. We figger we can probably do it for $1 million less that the TCIDNN outsourcers in Germany. Now wouldn't you think, if someone was in the position to save you $1 million per year and started asking requirements you would be very forthcoming with those requirements? Wouldn't you think that you would want to treat someone who was in a position to cut your I/T costs by one third very nice? Nope! Evidently that's not the way they do business in Germany.

We sent the manager a note with ten questions that we needed answered to help us determine hardware requirements and additional staffing. We needed these questions answered before our first meeting (conference call) which was at noon last Wednesday. His response to almost every question was to get it off their website. So, we spent one hour and twenty minutes on the Wednesday conference call getting the answers to only the first three questions because the arrogant asshole wanted us to get the answers rather than giving them to us. And, no, the answers that we wanted were not on their website. What a dickhead! What gets me, is he is negotiating from a postition of weakness.

In talking to my team lead today, he told me that our manager wanted him to drive this project, but he has entirely too much on his plate right now. Our best programmer is retiring this month and he has had to pick up her workload. So then my manager suggested me. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! My team lead said that would be fine, but I would be a PR disaster. Yeah, I have this annoying habit of speaking the truth and I have a serious problem dealing with booger eatin' moh-rons. So, what we did is assign our most bureaucratic project manager to it. We had our first meeting Wednesday (in which I spent most of the meeting biting my tongue) which accomplished next to nothing. There is another meeting tomorrow. Oh, what's this? I'm off work? Too bad. That meeting will accomplish next to nothing but will lead to another meeting. The nice thing (for us, not the Germans) is this project manager's solution to every problem is to call a meeting. So, if there is a problem in any of the meetings with the Germans, he'll simply schedule another meeting. I figger it will only take about another month and the arrogant German asshole will be screaming for mercy and will give us any information we desire. Stop! Stop! I'll talk! No more meetings! I can't take it any more!

Now lest any of you think I hate Germans let me say that on my mother's side of my family I am 100% German. My sister is real big into genealogy and has traced all of my mother's ancestors back to Germany. Here are some of the names: Breitschuh, Weber, Neudeck, Eisele, Dreiling, Gruner, and Yaeger. Can't get much German than that.

Our network guy was on the call yesterday and he waited until almost the end of the call to ask some questions about their network since we will have to pick that up also. He pretty much got the same bullshit. He complained to me that he had Kraut for lunch, since this call was over his lunch hour. It was at this point that I told him, that he had actually had sour Kraut for lunch.

But we'll have the last laugh. After dealing with this particular project manager for the last four years I never thought I'd ever enjoy hearing him say, "We will have to hold a meeting on this".

Music to my ears.