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Monday, February 28, 2005
And now that the Oscars are over, my personal Top 20 of '04

Selecting only from movies I've seen and ranked according to an arbitrary amalgamation of "Best", "Favorite" and "Most meaningful to me".

1.Garden State
2.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3.Spider-Man 2
5.The Aviator
6.The Passion of the Christ
7.The Incredibles
8.Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
9.Hotel Rwanda
10.The Dreamers
11.Man on Fire
13.Finding Neverland
16.Shaun of the Dead
17.Kill Bill: Volume 2
19.The Terminal
20.The Butterfly Effect

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:14 PM in Movies
Pro-Syrian Lebanese government resigns
The Lebanese government abruptly resigned Monday during a stormy parliamentary debate, prompting a tremendous roar from tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in Beirut's Martyrs Square.

The demonstrators, awash in a sea of red, white and green Lebanese flags, had demanded the pro-Syrian government's resignation -- and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon -- since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, a Lebanese opposition figure called for popular protests in Beirut to continue until Syria leaves.

"The battle is long, and this is the first step, this is the battle for freedom, sovereignty and independence," Ghattas Khouri told a cheering protest in central Beirut, according to Reuters.


I think you'd have to call this good news.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:51 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
For the record...

The 2004 movies that I have seen, sorted by release date:

January 16Along Came Polly
January 23Butterfly Effect, The
February 6Dreamers, The
February 1350 First Dates
February 20Eurotrip
February 25Passion of the Christ, The
February 27Broken Lizard's Club Dread
March 5Hidalgo
March 12Spartan
March 12Secret Window
March 19Dawn of the Dead
March 19Taking Lives
March 19Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
March 26Jersey Girl
March 26Ladykillers, The
April 2Hellboy
April 9Whole Ten Yards, The
April 9Shade
April 9Alamo, The (2004)
April 9Ella Enchanted
April 9Girl Next Door, The (2004)
April 16Kill Bill: Volume 2
April 16Punisher, The
April 2313 Going On 30
April 23Man on Fire (2004)
April 30Mean Girls
April 30Godsend
May 19Shrek 2
May 28Saved!
June 4Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
June 18Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
June 18Terminal, The
June 23Fahrenheit 9/11
June 30Spider-Man 2
July 9Anchorman
July 16I, Robot
July 23Bourne Supremacy
July 28Garden State
July 30Village, The
July 30Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
July 30Manchurian Candidate, The (2004)
August 6Collateral
August 6Little Black Book
August 20Without a Paddle
August 27Jet Li's Hero
September 10Cellular
September 10Resident Evil: Apocalypse
September 17Wimbledon
September 17Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
September 24Shaun of the Dead
October 1Celsius 41.11
October 22Sideways
October 29Ray
November 5Incredibles, The
November 12Finding Neverland
November 26Very Long Engagement, A
December 3House of Flying Daggers
December 3Closer
December 15Million Dollar Baby
December 17Spanglish
December 17Aviator, The
December 22Hotel Rwanda
Total Movies 62

I think that's a complete list if my memory doesn't fail me and the list at The Numbers is right.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:53 PM in Movies
Looks like Cincy City Manager Valerie Lemmie could be on her way out
With 10 months left in Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken's term, City Manager Valerie Lemmie also may be preparing for her exit from City Hall.

With rumors circulating among political circles in both Cincinnati and Dayton that Lemmie is interviewing for a job at the nonprofit Kettering Foundation, Lemmie declined to confirm or deny the speculation.


Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:00 PM in Cincinnati
Post-Oscar thoughts

Well that pretty much sucked.

Why was there a cartoon character saying "Holy Sh*t Dude!" in the first 3 minutes?

Rock should have avoided the politics. His minute mocking President Bush immediately followed him saying he wouldn't mock President Bush. His John Kerry-Oprah thing brought back memories of Oprah... Uma... Uma... Oprah. Note to future hosts... Oprah is Oscar comedy death!

Giving out the awards at the back of the theater? Bad idea.

Bad directing of the show. Glitch after glitch after glitch.

Too much Beyonce. One song, fine. Two songs, maybe. Three songs? There's just no excuse for that.

Should Yo Yo Ma really be pulling attention away from the people who passed away? These people died but they have to make sure he gets recognition for performing something that could just as well have been done by the huge orchestra they already had on hand.

A glut of boring acceptance speeches. One laundry list of thank-yous after another. The closest they got to a good/memorable acceptance speech was Foxx and that simply pales in comparison to former winners.

Million Dollar Baby winning Best Picture was just a major disappointment. I didn't think any of the other 4 nominees were a clear winner, but I thought MDB had MAJOR screenplay problems in the last third of the movie.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:37 AM in Movies

Sunday, February 27, 2005

It's hard for me to really root for anybody when the only noms my personal top two films of the year (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Garden State) picked up are Winslet's Best Actress nom and Eternal Sunshine's Screenplay nom.

Oh well...

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:28 PM in Movies

Friday, February 25, 2005

Someone is finally talking reasonably in the debate between intelligent design and evolution.

Many letters to the editor propose teaching ID and evolution and letting the students decide which to believe. Yet ID and evolution are not rival scientific ideas but answers to two different questions. ID asks who created our world; science asks how life has progressed on our planet.

There is no conflict in believing that an intelligent designer created our world and that evolution is the way life has progressed. Most scientists and science teachers I've met believe both. There is no conflict between maintaining a philosophical answer to one question and a scientific answer to a different question.

--Barry Riehle - Cincinnati Enquirer

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:24 PM in Religion
Next thing you know they'll have to card you when you try to buy that box of Morton's
A consumer group sued the federal government Thursday, saying that salt is killing tens of thousands of Americans and that regulators have done too little to control salt in food.

Despite advisories to take it easy on sodium, Americans are now consuming about 4,000 milligrams a day -- nearly double the recommended limit to keep blood pressure under control, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said.

So the CSPI renewed a lawsuit first filed in 1983 to ask federal courts to force the Food and Drug Administration to declare sodium a food additive instead of categorizing it as "generally recognized as safe." This would give the agency the authority to set limits for salt in foods.

--My Way News

And you'll probably need a federal permit to walk out of the store with one of the 40-pound water softener bags. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:41 PM in Miscellaneous

Thursday, February 24, 2005
[Spanish Prime Minister] Zapatero said he was anti-Bush, the complete opposite of former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. But ever since his election, Zapatero has spent much of his time shadowing Bush and attempting to shake his hand. On Wednesday, he was waiting in the shadows, and made his move when Bush was talking to Tony Blair. Bush, who I suspect didn't really know who Zapatero was said “hola amigo” and continued talking to Blair. Meanwhile, Zapatero walked off smiling away like a child with a new pair of shoes. The exchange was so brief Spanish newspapers had a nightmare trying to find a photograph of the “great meeting.” To make matters worse a Spanish government spokesperson said that Bush and Zapatero had a “cordial exchange.” (They forget to mention it lasted about two seconds.) Even more laughable was the “meeting” Spanish Foreign Secretary Moratinos had with U.S. Secretary of State Rice. He literally rushed over to her in a passageway and then later claimed he had a summit meeting.

--Jason Moore - Majorca (Spain) Daily Bulletin (via BOTW)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:39 PM in Politics/Government
More on E-check

The Equirer and the Post both have anti-E-check editorials today.

The Enquirer's offers this warning:

Some E-Check haters may now be leery: Be careful what you ask for. Costs of alternatives are likely to be passed through to consumers in other ways. Ohio EPA says cleaner-burning fuels would cost motorists about 3 cents a gallon more - around $30 a year for the average driver.

--Cincinnati Enquirer

Fine. At least that way my money will go towards cleaning the air. As it currently is, 97% of tests are simply $19.50 charges that result in no difference in air quality.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:11 PM in Ohio

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Ok, this is just sad

Looked at the 2004 box office totals and it occurred to me that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Garden State combined made $9 million less than White Chicks.

That's just depressing.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:25 PM in Movies
Poor Barry Bonds

It's so tough being a cheater, people keep asking you about your cheating, forcing you into rambling 40 minute rants on how great you are, how the media is out to get you and how Babe Ruth had it so easy because he was white.

Barry Bonds has done more damage to baseball than anything Pete Rose ever could have.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:50 AM in Baseball

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Ohio EPA reccomends ending E-Check in Dayton and CIncinnati
If the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has its way, Miami Valley drivers won't have to undergo E-Check after this year.

Ohio EPA Director Joe Koncelik said Tuesday the agency is recommending that the Ohio legislature drop E-Check in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas when the contract with Envirotest expires at the end of this year.
The test will continue in Northeast Ohio. The Cleveland-Akron area has some of the highest ozone levels in the country, and the state is under a federal mandate to keep vehicle emissions testing in that area, the state EPA said.

The agency will recommend that the test be modified there, however, so cars that are four years or younger will be exempt from the test. The current rule exempts cars two years or younger.

--Dayton Daily News

That's good news for Dayton and Cincinnati residents but I still have to think that there's a better way to do things in the Cleveland-Akron area.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:29 PM in Dayton

Monday, February 21, 2005
Wow, what can you say about this?
Well, you know, they are manipulating the media... Probably the most flagrant example of that is the way they set up Dan Rather. Now, I mean, I have my own beliefs about how that happened: it originated with Karl Rove, in my belief, in the White House. They set that up with those false papers. Why did they do it? They knew that Bush was a draft dodger. They knew that he had run away from his responsibilties in the Air National Guard in Texas, gone out of the state intentionally for a long period of time. They knew that he had no defense for that period in his life. And so what they did was, expecting that that was going to come up, they accentuated it: they produced papers that made it look even worse. And they — and they distributed those out to elements of the media. And it was only — what, like was it CBS? Or whatever, whatever which one Rather works for. They — the people there — they finally bought into it, and they, and they aired it. And when they did, they had ’em. They didn’t care who did it! All they had to do is to get some element of the media to advance that issue. Based upon the false papers that they produced.

--LGF by way of TKS

Sounds like the ravings of some DUer but no, those are the ravings of Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY).

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:42 PM in

Saturday, February 19, 2005
Reds Opening Day

Got my tickets.

A few thoughts:

If you're the guy half a mile back in the GABP line, you shouldn't be expecting tickets.

If you show up after 6AM at any location where you don't know that they're doing a lottery then you're just not trying.

If you show up at any location where they're not doing a lottery 25 minutes before they go on sale, not only will you not be gettting tickets, you don't deserve them.

The manager at my outlet had exactly the right attitude. The fans devoted enough to sit on the hard floor for 8 or more hours SHOULD have priority over the people who stroll in at 8:00 or 8:30.

And now it's time to sleep.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:04 AM in Baseball , Cincinnati

Friday, February 18, 2005

An exchange between Donald Rumsfeld and Rep. Loretta Sanchez:

Sanchez: Unfortunately, as I said, this committee has had a hard time assessing where we really stand with the Iraqi army as an effective fighting force. Over the past year, we've received incredibly widely fluctuating estimates of that. And I think you have a real credibility problem on this issue.

Rumsfeld: Fluctuations of what?

Sanchez: The fluctuations of--the numbers that you bandy around about how many troops we really have out there that are Iraqi police, et cetera, et cetera. . . .

Rusmfeld: Now, you say we bandy around numbers. They're not my numbers. I don't invent them. They come from Gen. Petraeus. . . .

Sanchez: I have Petraeus's numbers. They're different than your numbers, by the way.

Rumsfeld: Well, what's the date? They aren't different because these came from Petraeus. He may have two sets of numbers, but they are not different if the date's the same. The date on my paper here is Feb. 14. What's yours?

Sanchez: Dec. 20.

Rumsfeld: Not surprising there's a difference.

--Transcript (via BOTW and Joe Fairbanks)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:44 PM in Politics/Government

I'm trying to figure out where to go to buy Reds Opening Day tickets and it's not going very well. I called around earlier in the week to find out which stores were doing first-come-first-served and which were doing a lottery for place in line. I call around today to confirm and every one that said they were doing first-come-first-served is now saying they're doing a lotto and the first place I called that said they were doing a lotto is now saying they're doing first-come-first-served.

Lord only knows what the policy will be 10 minutes from now.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:36 PM in Baseball , Cincinnati
Ok, please, everybody just remain calm

A van has overturned in Florida, killing 2.

Personally I don't have a clue why it's newsworthy, but 1290 WHIO seems to think it's important enough to make the top-of-the-hour news so who am I to argue.

I pray that we will be able to overcome this great national tragedy.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:45 PM in Media
An interesting read

The comments on the Kerry-Edwards blog from election night are an interesting read, it's a roller coaster ride. (Continued here and here.)

"My analysis of the numbers indicates that Kerry will almost certainly win Ohio." - 11:15

"Ohio is still very realistic for Kerry to take...." - 11:26

"Ohio is in the bag IN SPITE OF the NEOCON dirty tricks." - 11:31

"Ohio is the grand finale ! Ohio repugs are evil!" - 11:43

"if Kerry leads the Ohio exit polls how can he be 150,000 votes behind???" - midnight

"OK we need all the lawyers in florida and Ohio." - 12:08

"If we win Ohio, I will go to church...once..." - 12:14

"Ohio will go Kerry. Unless Ohio is stupid" - 12:28

"The remainder of Ohio is not going to break for us at 60/40.

It's over.

May God have mercy on us all." - 12:37




Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:07 AM in Politics/Government

Thursday, February 17, 2005
Sarah Brady has her baby
The Covington woman who fought off a knife-wielding attacker a day before her baby was due gave birth to a healthy girl Wednesday afternoon.

Sarah Brady, 26, of Covington delivered a 7-pound, 4-ounce girl about 2 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Medical Center South in Edgewood with the child's father, Scott Hatton, also of Covington, at her side.

"The mother and daughter are fine," hospital spokesman Karla Webb said. "They are now resting, and the mother does not wish to be disturbed."

--Cincinnati Enquirer

After the horror everything seems to have turned out ok.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:23 PM in Cincinnati

Whatever you do, don't listen to the advice in this article about getting Reds Opening Day tickets.

1) They suggest that the kid camping out for 96 hours could just get them online. If you trust that you'll be able to get tickets by your computer you'll be sorely disappointed. You'll most likely find yourself waiting in a digital waiting room, frantically clicking "Refresh" for 20 minutes at which point you'll find that they're sold out.

2) The kid waiting in line for 96 hours says he won't even be getting the best seats available. That's just stupid. He says he has to look at the economics. I pray to God he's not an economics major because if he is he's not graduating from college. He could get the best available, sell them on eBay and then buy the cheaper seats he wants. That would actually make him money.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:31 AM in Baseball , Cincinnati

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
I'd like to thank Syria and Iran

It really makes it easier to take on the axis of evil when they go ahead and actually team up and form an axis.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:15 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Explosion in Iran

As time goes by the explanation gets more and more innocuous. First it was a missile strike, then it was the fuel tank off an airplane, now it's "construction". By tomorrow I expect it'll be "it must have been that... bean... we ate."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:11 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
My thoughts exactly

Orson Scott Card on Million Dollar Baby. If you've seen it or don't care about the spoilers read his whole section on it.

The summary:

So by all means, see it. Since it's probably going to win the Oscar for everybody who touched it, you should know what all the hooplah is about. And I guarantee you that you'll admire it and even, at times, be moved.

But please don't lose track of how shallow and stupid and pretentiously bad the script and story are.

--Uncle Orson Reviews Everything

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:38 AM in Movies

Monday, February 14, 2005
Differences between the Republicans and the Democrats
One party has a clear programmatic agenda that has been relentlessly pursued in a well-organized fashion for five years; one party is still trying to build a credible war room (both materially and culturally).

One party never apologizes and never shows weakness; one party is on its fourth day of cry-babyish "defense" of its Senate Leader, after a run-of-the-mill GOP "attack."

One party is already organizing for 2005/6/7/8; one party is still trying to figure out what changes a yet-to-be-elected chair will make on the Wisteria Lane of politics — Ivy Street, SE.
One party can whenever it wishes take off-the-shelf opposition research (video and text) and turn it into talking points that drive the friendly and (sometimes) mainstream media; one party considers 36 hours to be "rapid response."
One party is on offense; one party is on . . . something else.
One party knows the press is its "enemy"; one party mistakenly thinks the press is its "friend."

One party is expending resources to expand the base and broaden the tent; one party says it is planning to do those things, but is distracted defending demographic and geographic turf.

One party owns national security; one party can't figure out how to own health care or the environment in a way that would help win elections.

One party figured out how to keep its "extreme" party platform on abortion and still make electoral gains; one party hasn't.
One party has been taking the long view for a long time; one party can't see past yesterday.

One party has members who will take these words to be gospel; one party is dominated by people will quickly dismiss it as mean-spirited.

One party would agree with what we wrote above; so would the other one.

--The Note (By way of The Corner and Tapped)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:12 PM in Politics/Government
This probably isn't the best way to find candidates
Sick and tired of losing, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee seems to have adopted a new and very basic recruiting tactic for the 2006 elections: Simply call the Republican Member you are hoping to beat and ask him who the best candidate would be to run against him.

Think we’re joking?

Just ask Glenn Rushing, the DCCC’s national field director, who last week left an ill-advised message for Mike Brady, the chief of staff to National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.).

“Congressman [Rahm] Emanuel asked me to give your boss a call to see if he knew of any potential candidates in New York 26,” says Rushing, according to a tape of the voicemail obtained by HOH.

No one knows why Rushing did what he did.... He’s been at the DCCC since the start of the 2004 cycle, around the same time that Reynolds became chairman of the House GOP campaign committee. Reynolds has held the Buffalo-area 26th district since 1998.

--Roll Call (Subscription required)

I'm sure they got right back to Rushing with a list of people they'd hate to run against.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:57 PM in Politics/Government

You mean we're spying on Iran?!

We'd damn well better be.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:36 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Barry Larkin retires

He's hung up his glove after 19 years with the Reds and joined the front office of the Washington National.

I'm with Hal McCoy on this one. it's a disgrace that the Reds couldn't bother to try and find a place for him in the front office and left him to the Nationals.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:18 AM in Baseball , Cincinnati

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Talk like this will get you my support every time
"I am strongly opposed to the E-Check system we have now. I think it's unfair," said state Sen. Steve Austria, R-Beavercreek. "We need to see evidence that this is actually working and having an impact on our environment."

Other legislators are even more direct.

"This is the year to eliminate E-Check and find another way to deal with this issue. I understand we're going to have to do something to keep the Feds happy, but let's find the least invasive, least expensive, least impacting method," said state Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chesterland, a lawyer who once sued the state over E-Check and lost.

--Dayton Daily News

There's absolutely no reason that I should be forced to pay $20 every 2 years just for somebody to make sure that the Check Engine light on my '98 Lumina isn't on.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:31 PM in Ohio , Politics/Government

Saturday, February 12, 2005
Score one more for the blogosphere

Eason Jordan has quit at CNN.

CNN's chief news executive Eason Jordan quit on Friday over remarks he made in Switzerland last month about journalists killed in Iraq, possibly by U.S. forces, the television network said.

CNN said on its Web site that Jordan conceded his remarks at last month's World Economic Forum in Davos were "not as clear as they should have been." Several participants at the event said Jordan told the audience U.S. forces had deliberately targeted journalists -- a charge he denied.
The controversy gained steam last week, with Internet bloggers posting their accounts of what transpired at the Switzerland forum, an event attended by political, economic, academic and media figures from around the world, the CNN site said.


Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:29 AM in Media

Friday, February 11, 2005

A situation in Fort Mitchell, KY today seems eerily similar to a Missouri woman having her baby cut out of her womb in December.

Sarah Brady of Latonia stabbed and killed Katie Smith of Fort Mitchell. Brady was 9 months pregnant and Smith claimed to be. It appears Smith may have been trying to steal Brady's baby.

Brady said she was lured to Smith's apartment after Smith called her, saying her name was Sarah Brody. According to Brady, Smith told her she had received some of her baby gifts by mistake. Brady went to the apartment twice and on their second meeting, she said Smith attacked her.

Smith had told neighbors she was pregnant and was about to deliver, according to police. But an emergency room doctor who saw Smith after Thursday's stabbing said she wasn't pregnant. Investigators said Smith had also built a nursery for a baby in her apartment.

Brady told police that after she fought with Smith, she went to a neighbor's home and called 911, Hamrick reported.


More from the Enquirer.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:41 PM in Cincinnati
UC 65 - Xavier 54
I would like to see them penetrate a little better and bear down and finish a team off when they've got them on the ropes.
Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:28 AM in Cincinnati

The world really needs soembody somewhere to stand up and oppose the insanity that is the letter "c". It just isn't needed. It just takes work away from the hard working letters "s" and "k".

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:18 AM in Miscellaneous

Thursday, February 10, 2005
It's nice that the DDN has the Speak Up column...

It makes it so much easier to find morons.

President George W. Bush and his supporters are supposed to be Christian. Yet, the reason I most often hear for supporting Bush's plan to privatize Social Security is this: People want to keep "their own" money. C'mon, folks. Have you forgotten the parable of the loaves and the fishes? When we share, there's plenty for everyone. When we hoard, there is never enough.

--Dayton Daily News

First off, the "parable" of the loaves and fishes wasn't a parable. It was a miracle. It's called a miracle because those things don't happen in the normal course of events; they require God's intervention.

Secondly I'd suggest that the caller/writer refer to the "parable" of the Soviet Communism. It goes something like this: "When people are forced to share it would take a miracle for anybody to have enough."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:27 PM in Dayton , Politics/Government , Religion
Ok, something I don't get...

How can members of the Church of England have a religious problem with divorced people getting married? The Church was started by a guy solely so that he could get divorced and remarry.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:13 AM in Religion
Woolsey: The terrorists think we're cowards
The increased frequency with which Middle Eastern terrorists target Americans and U.S. installations is due in part to the terrorists' continued perception that America acts cowardly when under attack, according to former Central Intelligence Agency director R. James Woolsey.
With President Jimmy Carter trying to negotiate the hostages' release in 1979 and 1980, the reaction of the average American was to "tie yellow ribbons around trees," Woolsey said. A few years later, when Hezbollah terrorists blew up the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, Americans "ran," he added.

Throughout the 1980s, as Americans like Leon Klinghoffer on the cruise ship Achille Lauro were killed and others were kidnapped in Lebanon, "what did the Americans do? They sent the lawyers," Woolsey said.
The Japanese, like al Qaeda, attacked the United States {to start WWII} in part because they considered the U.S. cowardly and unlikely to react forcefully. "Based on what we were doing in the 1920s and 1930s ... the Japanese in the 1940s thought pretty much the same thing about us, because our behavior had certain parallels," to the more recent period, Woolsey said.

"I think you have to admit that [al Qaeda] had some basis for the assessment that I've just described, just as the Japanese had some basis for the assessment that they made of us in the beginning of the 1940s."

Woolsey said he believes the conflict with Islamism and Baathism is neither a recent nor a short-term phenomenon. "What's new is not the war. What's new is not our being attacked. What's new is we noticed. We finally decided after 9-11 that we would be at war too." He added that the U.S. must "stay awake" in order to prevent future attacks.


We have noticed and our job now is to destroy the enemy and not bow to those who still think sending lawyers is the answer.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:12 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Wednesday, February 9, 2005
Ohio may ban traffic cameras
State Rep. James T. Raussen will introduce a bill Thursday banning the cameras, saying Cincinnati's moving too fast to install them without studying their safety effects first.

"Everyone's catching camera fever, and I don't think we've had enough debate on this to go that route yet," the Springdale Republican said.

If the Rausen bill passes, Ohio would be one of four states to ban the cameras. New Jersey, Wisconsin and Utah are already on that list, and state lawmakers in several other states are considering similar legislation.

--Cincinnati Enquirer

If the cameras were really there to improve safety that would be one thing, but let's be honest here. The real motive to putting these cameras up is that they make the government money.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:24 PM in Ohio

Monday, February 7, 2005
Israel & Palestinians to declare truce
The Israeli and Palestinian leaders will declare a formal end to more than four years of fighting at Tuesday's Mideast summit, both sides said Monday. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators finalized the agreement during last-minute preparations Monday.

--ABC News

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:45 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
The Bush budget

$2.57 trillion. It doesn't do a ton to actually reduce the deficit, but there are definitely cuts proposed. The budget in areas other than defense, homeland security and the mandatory programs like Social Security is set to actually fall .5%.

I think this could really pose a problem for Democrats. Of late they've been playing the role of deficit hawks. Every dollar spent is described as President Bush putting a "burden on our children". It's going to be awfully hard for them to continue to take that tack while at the same time fighting his efforts to scale back spending. They're going to need to make a decision on which of three options they're going to take. Will they fight to save these programs, continue to fight the deficit fight or will they make fools of themselves and try and do both, making them look like hypocrites.

Oh wait…

[The proposed budget's] cuts in veterans programs, health care and education reflect the wrong priorities, and its huge deficits are fiscally irresponsible.

--Senator Harry Reid

Looks like they’re taking the hypocritical fools route.

To quote the Simpsons:
"I'm the last registered Democrat! TAX AND SPEND! TAX AND SPEND!!!"

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:19 AM in Politics/Government

Sunday, February 6, 2005
Super Bowl XXXIX thoughts

I don't think it was a very good year for commercials. Not very many really memorable ones, and a good deal of the ones I do remember are remembered only because I didn't like them.

The best one I think was the Fed Ex Kinko's one with the bear and Burt Reynolds.'s Yeknom commercials were good. The 24 promos were also a nice change of pace from the normal ads plugging the network's own shows.

I didn't care for the Cadillac commercial with the car shooting out of the tunnel. I also didn’t so much care for McDonalds’ Lincoln Fry ads.

The Mustang convertible commercial was good the first time, not so good the second time, and we just plain didn't need to see it the third time. If you're going to run multiple commercials during the Super Bowl you should at least make different versions of the commercial, like

In the game I was rooting for the Eagles. The Boston area fans have gotten a bit uppity lately and I'll root against any team Corey Dillon's on. Don’t really know what to think of the Eagles’ effort. On the one hand, they came awfully close; there were several points where a different outcome could have led to them winning. On the other hand they got lucky several times and made some pretty dumb mistakes.

As for the halftime show... I wouldn't call it great, but it was better than pretty much any one I can remember. It's refreshing that they decided to put just one performer up there and have him entertain us rather than try to trot out 30 disparate acts in an attempt to placate everyone while entertaining none.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:33 PM in Miscellaneous

Friday, February 4, 2005
Democrats on personal accounts for Social Security

One more recent than the other.

Harry Reid used to support Social Security reform: "Most of us have no problem with taking a small amount of the Social Security proceeds and putting it into the private sector."

Interestingly, so did FDR: "In a written statement to Congress in 1935, Roosevelt said that any Social Security plans should include, 'Voluntary contributory annuities, by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age,' adding that government funding, 'ought to ultimately be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.'"

Now that's a real blast from the past. Is it "ultimately" yet?


Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:15 PM in Politics/Government
Hey, the honesty's actually kinda refreshing

Middletown's tax superintendent has been suspended w/o pay for a week for having some fun with the city's tax filing instructions. Among the lines added to the forms was "If we can tax it, we will".

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:07 PM in Ohio
"Democracy in Iraq is looking now... like a gestated baby demanding to be born"
"You don't suppose that cowboy could have been right all along, do you?"

That horrified question is lodging mischievously in scores of millions of brains around the world. Few people are saying it out loud, but it is on the tips of tongues.

The degree to which the Iraqi elections have changed things is simply stunning. A week ago, the worldwide consensus was that the insurgents were on the move, had the initiative. The American side needed a new strategy. Military leaders and other American officials said that publicly, for quotation. They couldn't get in trouble for saying it, because it was so obvious.

Now that seems like an era ago. Now the insurgents are sucking wind, or worse.

True, they might be back. Nevertheless, democracy in Iraq is looking now not like a gleam in some naive zealot's eye, but like a gestated baby demanding to be born.
For some people, this is all disorienting, simply because they have always assumed that Bush is bad guy. For them, the invasion was about Halliburton, vengeance, getting re-elected or oil, whatever he said. To see some of the stuff he said being borne out makes no sense, because, they think, he didn't even mean it.
But that election in Iraq Sunday! My goodness. It had to scare some non-democrats in the Mideast who could use a good scare. And it had to inspire others who pine for democracy.

Sure, this is just another stage in a long, long process. Still, the thought won't go away: Maybe the cowboy knew something.

--Martin Gottlieb - Dayton Daily News

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:54 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Video of Alice Robie Resnick's DUI arrest

The Middletown Journal has the video of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick's DUI arrest.

"I've always thought that a Supreme Court Justice should have a Highway Patrolman driving them,” said Resnick.

Forget the driving part for a moment, who gets drunk (her blood alcohol level was almost 3x the legal limit) at 2 in the afternoon on a Monday?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:26 PM in Ohio

Thursday, February 3, 2005
Alberto Gonzales confirmed and sworn in as Attorney General


Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:41 PM in Politics/Government
I could not agree with this article more

Go read it.

...I've finally figured out Fox's cunning plan: obviously they want people to stop watching television altogether. It's a radical method of beating the other networks once and for all, in a we'll-all-go-down-together sort of way, but it's the only possible answer.

Why else would they keep moving shows around faster than the eye can see? "Family Guy," "Wanda at Large," "The O.C." and "Tru Calling" are recent ping-pongees but nothing matches "Greg the Bunny," which debuted on a Wednesday, moved to Sunday, then back to Wednesday for a while, then to Friday, then finally back to Sunday. It was cancelled after exhausted viewers collapsed, TV Guides still in hand.
They kicked "Futurama" around and it won Emmys. They cancelled "Family Guy," twice, and it outsold both "Friends" and "Sex in the City" in 2003. "Wonderfalls" was cancelled after only four episodes but the DVD set, which came out yesterday, was the fourth highest selling DVD on yesterday afternoon.


It all makes sense now. Silly me thinking they actually wanted us to watch their shows.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:45 PM in TV

Wednesday, February 2, 2005
State of the Union

A good speech, much better towards then end than towards the beginning. Half way through I was left thinking "I'll take ideas over delivery any day of the week but just imagine if he were a better orator". The oratory certainly picked up in the latter portions as he moved from the programmatic to the more thematic portion. Still not great oratory, but definitely better.

The Social Security portion was certainly the most important part but the hug between Safia Taleb al-Suhail and Mrs. Norwood will get a good deal of play.

Some highlights:

America's prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government. I welcome the bipartisan enthusiasm for spending discipline. I will send you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. (Applause.) My budget substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs that are not getting results, or duplicate current efforts, or do not fulfill essential priorities. The principle here is clear: Taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely, or not at all.
America's immigration system is also outdated -- unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. We should not be content with laws that punish hardworking people who want only to provide for their families, and deny businesses willing workers, and invite chaos at our border. It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists. (Applause.)
One of America's most important institutions -- a symbol of the trust between generations -- is also in need of wise and effective reform. Social Security was a great moral success of the 20th century, and we must honor its great purposes in this new century. (Applause.) The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy. And so we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security. (Applause.)

Today, more than 45 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, and millions more are nearing retirement -- and for them the system is sound and fiscally strong. I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you; for you, the Social Security system will not change in any way. (Applause.) For younger workers, the Social Security system has serious problems that will grow worse with time.
In the long-term, the peace we seek will only be achieved by eliminating the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder. If whole regions of the world remain in despair and grow in hatred, they will be the recruiting grounds for terror, and that terror will stalk America and other free nations for decades. The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom. (Applause.) Our enemies know this, and that is why the terrorist Zarqawi recently declared war on what he called the "evil principle" of democracy. And we've declared our own intention: America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. (Applause.)
Across Iraq, often at great risk, millions of citizens went to the polls and elected 275 men and women to represent them in a new Transitional National Assembly. A young woman in Baghdad told of waking to the sound of mortar fire on election day, and wondering if it might be too dangerous to vote. She said, "Hearing those explosions, it occurred to me -- the insurgents are weak, they are afraid of democracy, they are losing. So I got my husband, and I got my parents, and we all came out and voted together."

Americans recognize that spirit of liberty, because we share it. In any nation, casting your vote is an act of civic responsibility; for millions of Iraqis, it was also an act of personal courage, and they have earned the respect of us all. (Applause.)

One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. She says of her country, "We were occupied for 35 years by Saddam Hussein. That was the real occupation. Thank you to the American people who paid the cost, but most of all, to the soldiers." Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country -- and we are honored that she is with us tonight. (Applause.)
We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out. We are in Iraq to achieve a result: A country that is democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its neighbors, and able to defend itself. And when that result is achieved, our men and women serving in Iraq will return home with the honor they have earned. (Applause.)
[W]e have said farewell to some very good men and women, who died for our freedom, and whose memory this nation will honor forever.

One name we honor is Marine Corps Sergeant Byron Norwood of Pflugerville, Texas, who was killed during the assault on Fallujah. His mom, Janet, sent me a letter and told me how much Byron loved being a Marine, and how proud he was to be on the front line against terror. She wrote, "When Byron was home the last time, I said that I wanted to protect him like I had since he was born. He just hugged me and said, 'You've done your job, Mom. Now it is my turn to protect you.'" Ladies and gentlemen, with grateful hearts, we honor freedom's defenders, and our military families, represented here this evening by Sergeant Norwood's mom and dad, Janet and Bill Norwood. (Applause.)

In these four years, Americans have seen the unfolding of large events. We have known times of sorrow, and hours of uncertainty, and days of victory. In all this history, even when we have disagreed, we have seen threads of purpose that unite us. The attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our confidence in freedom's power to change the world. We are all part of a great venture: To extend the promise of freedom in our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and to spread the peace that freedom brings.

--State of the Union Address

A few post-speech thoughts:

Thank God Nancy Pelosi was there to deliver the Democrats' response. Between her constantly gritted teeth, eerily still head and "eyebrows" that somehow manage to be one to two inches above her eye sockets it's hard to really consider what she's saying.

As usual I was amazed by Charles Krauthammer's complete lack of shoulders.

Scarborough having it out with Ron Reagen over whether the hug was staged or not was fun to watch.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:55 PM in Politics/Government

Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Hotel Rwanda

Hotel Rwanda is an absolutely heart wrenching movie. You simply can't imagine that kind of hatred. About the only thing more heart wrenching is that in 10 years they'll be able to make almost the exact same movie about what's currently going on in the Sudan as the world fiddles.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:32 PM in Movies
"What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?"

From an anti-war Democrat in the Sun-Times:

Maybe you're like me and have opposed the Iraq war since before the shooting started -- not to the point of joining any peace protests, but at least letting people know where you stood.

You didn't change your mind when our troops swept quickly into Baghdad or when you saw the rabble that celebrated the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue, figuring that little had been accomplished and that the tough job still lay ahead.

Despite your misgivings, you didn't demand the troops be brought home immediately afterward, believing the United States must at least try to finish what it started to avoid even greater bloodshed. And while you cheered Saddam's capture, you couldn't help but thinking I-told-you-so in the months that followed as the violence continued to spread and the death toll mounted.

By now, you might have even voted against George Bush -- a second time -- to register your disapproval.

But after watching Sunday's election in Iraq and seeing the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people, you have to be asking yourself: What if it turns out Bush was right, and we were wrong?

--Mark Brown - Chicago Sun Times

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:47 PM in Politics/Government


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