Political Tidbits-That Nutso Colorado Teacher, Congo Leaders Spend Big in U.S.; TV Review-"24"- Two Hours and I'm Still Trying to Figure It Out

Blogcritics Feature Stories of the Week

  • Immigration's Evil Side

    Mark Schannon

    This is a true story. The person trapped in the Kafkaesque world of U.S. Immigration is still in a holding facility so I have to be careful about specifics because I firmly believe the Immigration people will take it out on him should they be able to identify him.

  • An Odyssey Through Best Buy

    by Brian Sorrell
    Gadgets? How about God-gets?

    That should be the word, because that's what they are. Newfangled electronic devices are newfangled Gods - in agnostic hands. From the iPod to the Blackberry to the sleekest of the slickest cells, we no longer wear our faiths on our sleeves: we clip them to our belts in polytheistic, plastic holsters.

  • Islam Is As Much A Political Entity As A Religious One

    by Chip Spear
    Why do we continue to insist we are engaged in a "War on Terror"? Terror is a psychological state, it is not a political entity, it is not group or a movement. Terrorism is a means, an offensive tool of war. It is a strategy designed to further political goals of a group or state. We are not waging a war on terror. That would be like saying that The New England Patriots are waging a war on the forward pass, or the Yankees are waging war on fast balls.

  • March's Featured Artist of the Month – NOFX
    by Ryan Seay

    Last month, I had the pleasure of repeatedly working with some superb artists who, across the past two decades, have really impacted their respective genre, music in general, and even some non-music-related causes ranging from politics to pets. No independent band has received a greater welcome or greater success than they have and it will take a band of megalithic proportions to topple them from that achievement. This month's featured artists, here at Blogcritics, are NOFX.

    Political Tidbits

    How Many Katrina Victims Could the Fitzgerald Investigation Help?

    It’s a simple as this. Millions of dollars have been spent on the investigation into an administration leak of Valerie Plame’s identity. An investigation based entirely on a bad premise.

    The premise being that a law was violated in that the identities of CIA secret operatives, if knowingly revealed, is a crime. Only problem, Valerie Plame was not classified as a “secret” operative at the time her employment at the CIA was revealed, nor had she been a “secret” spy for five years prior.

    This is like the police investigating me for not putting oregano in my spaghetti sauce. Even if I should lie and swear I add oregano each and every time, and I am caught in that lie which is a crime, the original investigation was bogus and based on no law being broken.

    Couldn’t we just investigate anyone for anything at all, hoping that they’ll slip up and commit a crime during the investigation?

    This whole thing is so silly but frankly I blame George W. Bush for openly endorsing such an investigation when, boom, right from the start there had been no law broken. And if revealing that someone works at the CIA is more a breach of ethics than broken laws, then should we be spending millions investigating the matter? Are there ethics committees for such thing or dare I suggest that the voters decide is such behavior is proper? Of course Bush was right in the middle of an election campaign when the situation arose, flamed by the hysterical media. For political expediency, Bush agreed to the investigation.

    Every day we see pictures of the still-broken Gulf coast. We hear about Katrina victims being evicted from hotel rooms and we mourn the torn and wrecked former homes. Wouldn’t it be nice if all that money fueling this stupid investigation could go to where it is really needed?

    The Fitzgerald response to Scooter Libby’s request for justification- based on the current law- for the investigation, is arrogance that knows no boundaries. Just because it’s mentioned in the indictment is no reason the defense has any right to it, or so goes the flawed Fitzgerald response.

    This case is going nowhere. Time to shut Fitz and his money machine down and give Libby his job back.

    From National Review:
    Last December, Libby's lawyers asked Fitzgerald to provide "all documents, regardless of when created, relating to whether Valerie Wilson's status as a CIA employee, or any aspect of that status, was classified" in the time period before the Novak column was published. Fitzgerald refused, saying that "We have neither sought, much less obtained, 'all documents, regardless of when created, relating to whether Valerie Wilson's status as a CIA employee, or any aspect of that status, was classified'" during that period.

    Later, Libby's team repeated the request. Fitzgerald again refused, saying, in effect, that the information was none of Libby's business:

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe defense also seeks all documents "relating to whether Valerie Wilson’s status as a CIA employee, or any aspect of that status, was classified at any time between May 6, 2003 and July 14, 2003." Mr. Libby predicates his request on a single reference in the indictment to the fact that Ms. Wilson’s employment status was classified during the relevant time. The defendant overlooks the simple fact that Ms. Wilson’s employment status was either classified or it was not. If the government had any documents stating that Ms. Wilson’s employment status was not classified during the relevant time — and we do not — we would produce them though not strictly required to under the doctrine of Brady v. Maryland. The defense is not entitled to every document mentioning a fact merely because that fact is mentioned in the indictment.

    How About That Crazy Colorado Teacher?

    Jay Bennish is his name and if he was teaching my kid I’d be out and marching that this idiot be fired immediately. This guy’s lecture was all over talk radio this past week and the more I heard the madder I got.

    Two things. First, as I think back long ago to my school days, I cannot ever remember a teacher acting like this guy. In fact, my memories of teachers are fond and happy. They taught their subject fluidly and hey, I learned.

    Now we have a nation of teachers educated in public schools, a minus right there, with mighty unions that protest against any educational standards that might prove their students actually learned something.

    Second, the United States of America is not a perfect country. But why is it all of a sudden some noble thing to hate, despise and propagate lies about it? Presenting an alternative point of view is one thing. Lying to impressionable young school kids is quite another.

    From the American Thinker, here’s just one outrageous quote.
    Teacher Jay Bennish: Who is probably the single most violent nation on planet Earth?!

    Bennish: The United States of America!

    By whose standards is the United States of America the single most violent nation on the planet Earth? This is brainwashing, pure and simple. Don’t we condemn Saudi Arabia and Pakistan with their extreme madrasses for creating the culture of hatred that will take at least a generation to un-do?

    The fine Mr. Bennish, teacher of our children I remind again, has been put on permanent leave. He should be fired. Immediately. Nothing in his hateful lecture had a thing to do with Geography, the subject Bennish was supposed to be teaching. Kudos to the kid, Sean Allen, who taped this nut.

    You know what really makes me smile about this whole incident? From now on teachers across the country are going to have to wonder “Are these kids taping me?” An act which is, until the mighty teachers’ unions stop it, perfectly legal. Maybe these propagandist and liars disguised as teachers will, heh, actually teach the subject if they consider that their words might be heard that evening by concerned parents.

    A Funny Tidbit Were It Not So Pathetic

    I’ve had this little tidbit in my in-box for quite a while. Seems the United Nations held a summit recently in New York. Seems one of the attendees spent quite a bit of dough while attending. Note the money amounts are in British pounds, which is almost half again in American dollars.

    Bono should read this story. For if ever there was an indicator of how poorly these African nations are led, it is the following.

    From the Times Online:
    Congo leader’s £169,000 hotel bill
    Tony Allen-Mills, New York

    THE leader of one of Africa’s poorest countries paid more than £100,000 in cash towards a £169,000 hotel bill run up by his entourage during last year’s United Nations summit in New York, according to court documents obtained by The Sunday Times.

    Aides to President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo startled staff at the Palace hotel on Madison Avenue by pulling out wads of $100 notes to settle a bill for 26 rooms.

    Sassou-Nguesso, who is chairman of the African Union, representing all the continent’s governments, is negotiating with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cancel many of his country’s debts on the grounds that it cannot afford to repay them. Yet the president spent a week last September in the Palace hotel, one of Manhattan’s most prestigious addresses.

    He paid $8,500 (about £4,875) a night for a three-storey suite with art deco furniture, a Jacuzzi bathtub and a 50in plasma television screen. His room service charges on September 18 alone came to more than £2,000.

    More than 70% of the 3m people in the republic — known as Congo-Brazzaville to distinguish it from its larger neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo — live on less than £1.15 a day.

    Our “Friends” in the U.N.

    I’m not enamored of this United Arab Emirates port deal, in particular the surprise with which is was sprung on the unsuspecting American public.

    So let’s see just how great an ally the UAE is to the United States.
    How they vote in the United Nations:

    Below are the actual voting records of various Arabic/Islamic States which are recorded in both the US State Department and United Nations records:

    Kuwait votes against the United States 67% of the time
    Qatar votes against the United States 67% of the time
    Morocco votes against the United States 70% of the time
    United Arab Emirates votes against the U. S. 70% of the time.
    Jordan votes against the United States 71% of the time.
    Tunisia votes against the United States 71% of the time.
    Saudi Arabia votes against the United States 73% of the time.
    Image hosted by Photobucket.comYemen votes against the United States 74% of the time.
    Algeria votes against the United States 74% of the time.
    Oman votes against the United States 74% of the time.
    Sudan votes against the United States 75% of the time.
    Pakistan votes against the United States 75% of the time.
    Libya votes against the United States 76% of the time.
    Egypt votes against the United States 79% of the time.
    Lebanon votes against the United States 80% of the time.
    India votes against the United States 81% of the time.
    Syria votes against the United States 84% of the time.
    Mauritania votes against the United States 87% of the time.

    U S Foreign Aid to those that hate us:

    Egypt, for example, after voting 79% of the time against the United States, still receives $2 billion annually in US Foreign Aid.

    Jordan votes 71% against the United States and receives $192,814,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.

    Pakistan votes 75% against the United States receives $6,721,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.

    India votes 81% against the United States receives $143,699,000 annually.

    Take a gander at those other nations who take our money then stab us in the back. Ambassador Bolton’s working on it but it’s a tough row to hoe.

    Howard Dean Lie? Say It Ain’t So!

    I heard the man with my own lying ears say, I paraphrase, “No Democrat has ever take a dime from Jack Abramoff”.


    Now we discover, oh no, that not only have plenty of Democrats taken money from Abramoff or his associates, but that Howard Dean himself was also a recipient.
    From the American Thinker:
    Even the Washington Post has admitted that Abramoff did not work in a vacuum on the controversial Indian tribal accounts. The Post went so far as to publish a chart of what it called the “A Team.”

    Among the recipients of campaign contributions from A Team members: Howard Dean.

    FEC contribution number 23991382452 lists a $1,000 donation to Dean by Greenberg Traurig lobbyist Ronald Platt, a member of the Post’s A Team, on June 30, 2003. At that time, lobbyist disclosure forms show Platt as working with Abramoff on two of the controversial tribal accounts: the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana , and the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana . The forms show that Platt worked on a third controversial tribal account, the Sandia Pueblo, with other A Team members but not Abramoff.

    Condi and Chavez

    Hugo Chavez, another dictator “elected” and now enamored of Venezuela’s oil wealth, is very angry at Condoleezza Rice. He warns her not to mess with him although one wonders what “mess” means and what ol’ Hugo plans to do about it.

    We can thank Jimmy Carter, who never met a despot or dictator he didn’t love, for verifying this guy’s election. Once they get power, these thugs, they don’t want to leave. I agree with Condi, such people are impediments to democracy.

    You think?

    From Captains Quarters:
    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez launched a new verbal attack against US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, bluntly warning her "don't mess with me, girl."

    Responding to remarks before the US Congress last week in which Rice called Chavez a "challenge to democracy" in Latin America, Chavez warned the top US diplomat to back off.

    "She messed with me again," he said in his weekly "Hello President" television show, deliberately mangling her name as "Condolences." "Don't mess with me, girl."

    Last week, after her US Congress testimony, Chavez dismissed Rice as "the imperial lady."

    What, No Riots?

    Goodness one would think the British would be burning cars all over the place over the comments by London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone. Who browbeat a Jewish reporter with accusations of being a concentration camp guard and worse.

    The Mayor was suspended. He should be “fired” although I suppose he was elected. Such inflammatory accusations are totally not necessary.

    From Powerline:
    London's Mayor Ken Livingstone, who exemplifies the curious affinity of the far left for Islamic extremism, has been suspended from his office for four weeks for asking a Jewish reporter whether he had been a "German war criminal," since he acted "just like a concentration camp guard." Livingstone refused to apologize for the incident. He also called the reporter's employer, London's Evening Standard, "a load of scumbags and reactionary bigots."

    On the Supremes

    Came across this tidbit and it struck home. For I once lived on a small cove off of the Chesapeake Bay, a beautiful spot of water that I loved with all my heart. And for which I cared for and cherished, taking my responsibility as a lessee of such natural beauty quite seriously.

    Put some self-important bureaucrats on the job and boom, we couldn’t even plant greenery to prevent the erosion of the land which would, go with me here, add silt to that water where the waterfowl bred and fed.

    Even so, the biggest Supreme Court news this week is the Anna Nicole Smith hearings.


    Future of nation's rivers, wetlands hinges on 2 key cases.

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comSamuel Alito will make his Supreme Court debut with a splash this week when the justices hear two cases that could determine the future of the Clean Water Act.

    The cases, both from Michigan and scheduled for hearing on Tuesday, could have an enormous impact. For property-rights advocates, an unfavorable ruling could spread the shadow of federal regulation over every tiny stream and rivulet in America, stifling development.

    Federal agencies would be powerless to prevent "the discharge of sewage, toxic pollutants and fill into ... the large majority of our nation's rivers, streams and other waters," said clean-water agencies from two-thirds of the states, including California.

    More Political Tidbits HERE

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    TV Review - 24, the Newbie and Two Hours to Figure It Out

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comI watched the two hours of 24 on Monday, 3/6/06, with an eager anticipation. Those two hours flew past and I hoped to improve on my. first review of the show. Not that it was necessarily a bad review; it was just that I was a newbie to 24, admitted it publicly, put my tongue in my cheek and waxed poetic on how much I didn’t understand.

    I did, before writing this missive, check in on two 24 experts, Victor Lana, and Jeff Kouba, right here on Blogcritics.

    Between what I did learn during this two hour 24 whirlwind brings me nowhere near the expertise of those two. What to do, I fretted.

    I decided I’m still a newbie to 24, have already confessed, so I would discuss this past two hour presentation of Fox’s hit series from the perspective of my own still-confused brain.

    Although I did learn a thing or two may I take credit? That 24-hour digital clock thing, heh. Did you know that the series 24 name means exactly what it says. The entire show’s season lasts 24 hours and each show represents an hour within that 24. Okay, so duh. I think this is a darn important point yet it’s not all that clear to a newcomer.

    There are still a lot of characters with which I’m not familiar. I was somewhat enlightened, at least to some of the names of the characters, by reading Lana and Kouba’s posts. Some characters I still do not know their names and for very few do I quite grasp the complexity of the relationships within the context of the show.

    For example I still don’t get who President Logan’s buddy is. Last time I thought he was the Vice-President but to my surprise I met the VP this past week and it’s not the guy always around Logan. The guy that is always with Logan looks a lot like Dick Cheney, hand to God. Which is why perhaps I thought he was Logan’s Vice-President. I’m guessing he’s the President’s Chief of Staff and while I’m still not sure, I think his name is Mike.

    As for the two hour action-packed early March 2006 presentation of 24, I understood both hours’ storylines. The Russian motorcade was not attacked as the terrorists had instructed. So they kept their promise to release the nerve gas on the American public. Beginning with a hospital but all were saved.

    This week up pops a fellow named Tony. Tony was married to a Michelle, now deceased. I don’t know who Tony is or how he fits into the scheme of things. Tony does know that Henderson, an evil government contractor as I understand it, was involved in the transaction involving the terrorists and nerve gas. It’s apparent from the storyline that Tony’s going to be getting involved in this mess so perhaps I’ll figure out who he is.

    Two scenes in this week’s 24 action shocked me. One was when Jack shot Henderson’s wife in the thigh. Sure it’s probably in the CTU instruction manual although Jack readily admitted he could have shot her in the knees. But Henderson’s wife had just been making cozy with Jack and man it must be tough to shoot someone who was kind to your daughter.

    Which, by the way, I didn’t know Jack had a daughter and who that character was with her.

    The president’s wife floors me. She knew the Russian motorcade was going to be attacked, she jumps in the limo anyway, than she gets mad because her husband didn’t stop the motorcade. Causing the terrorists, please understand, to release nerve gas on innocent Americans as they promised. I don’t know what else the president could have done under the circumstances. Mrs. President was only saved by CTU, not her husband.

    Then she gets mad at the poor husband and makes a pass at another guy, well she held his hand but by the high drama and Dick Cheney’s reaction one would have thought she’d committed adultery on the spot.

    The second shock of the evening was the former CTU head’s sister and her boyfriend getting shot in the back of the head. By the way, who is this guy, why did he let his sister get his key card, where are they holding him, is there some sort of jail in CTU?

    The CTU gets attacked by nerve gas and Edgar, the chubby CTU guy that we all should know and love only I don’t really know him that well, is felled by the nerve gas while the rest of his colleagues look on sadly.

    At some point bad guy Henderson ends up in a torture type of chair and is injected with something. Something that I assume will make him talk only Henderson doesn’t talk, at least in this episode. I know Henderson is a specially trained former CTU agent of a sort but surely he’s not super-human and able to defeat the stuff in that needle?

    I did learn a few things by reading the posts of my fellow Blogcritics. I learned that there is allegedly a mole in the very high positions of our government. We don’t know who it is yet but now that I’m so knowledgeable I am ready to take a guess.

    That goofy first lady has got to be involved in something untoward. Her actions simply make no sense. She put herself into a soon-to-be-attacked limo causing me to think she didn’t want that motorcade attacked. Don’t tell me she was all sad because Mr. And Mrs. “Suburu” were nice people. Only for my immediate next of kin would I hop into a limo about to be viciously attacked and even at that I’d have to think about it. I suppose Mrs. President thought her husband would stop the attack which brings me back to my contention that the first lady wanted that attack stopped. And that bit with the hand-holding, well it was such a strange thing for the first lady to do. Can you imagine Laura Bush doing such a thing?

    Way I figure, if they kill enough of the former characters off they’ll have to get replacements, surely? Then I will be able to figure out the replacements and their interactions.

    Meanwhile, next week: all of CTU stuck in sealed rooms. Which means the world must twirl without Jack.

    I will be there with bells and whistles. Mark my words about that first lady. She’s evil, I can feel it in my guts. I mean if she’d willy-nilly hold hands with some security guy, who’s to say she wouldn’t bed down the strange Mr. Bierko?

    More TV Reviews HERE
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