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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Good News Bad News

Osama's not quite dead yet. That's bad? Yes, but it's also good, because it means we can still kill him. It would have been kind of a shame if he had just faded away without definitely being killed. He's still Osama bin Hidin' and not yet worm food.

His messages offers a carrott and a stick, neither of which amounts to much. The stick is his claim that more attacks are on the way. Gee. Didn't we hear that from him and one of his buds just before the 2004 elections? They've been planning these for a long time, then, so it's nice to get a little update. Chances are, if something was really afoot, the last thing he would do is tip his hand with a threat like this.

Well, what about the truce offer, then? There's the Islamic doctrine of hudna, a temporary truce to allow the "holy warriors" to rebuild their strength so they can gain advantage and rejoin the battle when the enemy is off guard. But, really, do we have any reason to doubt Osama's sincerity here? He wouldn't lie. He probably just wants to give us a break. With all the recruits and funds pouring into his organization due to Chimpy McBushitler's illegal war al-Qaeda's probably never been in better shape. He barely has enough time to make these tapes, he's so busy training the new guys.

Oh, and that "innocent" family of villagers killed by "mistake" in Pakistan? It was no mistake (emphasis added):
CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Jazeera on Thursday aired an audiotape from Osama bin Laden, who says al-Qaida is making preparations for attacks in the United States but offers a truce on "fair" but undefined conditions. The CIA has authenticated the voice on the tape as that of bin Laden, an agency official said.

The tape's release came days after a U.S. airstrike in Pakistan that was targeting bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, and reportedly killed four leading al-Qaida figures, including possibly al-Zawahri's son-in-law. There was no mention of the attack on the segments that were broadcast.

It was the first tape from the al-Qaida leader in more than a year -- the longest period without a message since the Sept. 11 2001 suicide hijackings in the United States.
That's got to be good news, unless of course you're an Angry Leftist or MSM spinmeister trying to bash Bush. But I repeat myself.

Welcome back, Osama. Hope we can help you on your way soon to meet your 70 raisins, assuming they're also available in the hot spot.

Political Glossary

Here are some handy definitions of terms we hear bandied about from time to time. They should help you translate the reports you hear in the MSM or on the Angry Left blogs into actual English.
  • cabal -- any group of more than two conservatives
  • moderate -- liberal, but not liberal enough
  • liberal -- socialist
  • socialist -- communist
  • radical -- conservative
  • reform -- an increase in government power and a reduction in individual autonomy
  • campaign reform -- an increase in the power of incumbents
  • progressive reform -- Hold onto your wallet.
  • out of the mainstream -- among the most conservative 90% of the population
  • Social Security Trust Fund -- a mythical asset but a real liability
  • lockbox -- a pile of money hidden in plain sight, guarded by no one, surrounded by thieves (e.g. "I pledge to keep the Social Security Trust Fund in a lockbox.")
  • risky scheme -- any measure that would increase individual control and responsibility, thereby reducing government power (e.g. "Allowing people to invest some of their Social Security taxes themselves is a risky scheme.")
  • whistleblower -- a courageous government official who reveals a secret, even if untrue, to the press that damages Republicans (e.g. Joe Wilson)
  • leaker -- a criminal government official who reveals a secret to the press that helps Republicans
  • deficit reduction -- tax increases for you and anyone else with any money, more money for Congress to spend
  • fiscal responsibility -- see "deficit reduction"
  • budget cut -- smaller increase than our previous, absurdly optimistic scenario
  • cut to the bone -- a government program that's only growing 10% over last year
  • tax the rich -- go after everybody with money
  • help the poor -- 1) give them plenty of company by making everyone poor; 2) increase dependency on government; 3) buy some votes
  • Tax cut for the rich -- a reduction in tax rates for those who actually pay taxes, resulting more more tax dollars collected from the same group
  • Turn back the clock -- elimination of any government program, no matter how abjectly it has failed
  • reality-based -- creating one's own reality
  • compassionate conservative -- the spending restraint of a drunken sailor
  • Republican lobbyist -- a Democrat lobbyist when the Republicans are in power
  • Democratic agenda -- no known meaning
  • closet bigot -- any Republican who has expressed no controversial opinion on racial issues

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Another Argument for Term Limits

State Senator Marian Price is one of the members of the Unicameral that filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the term limits amendment to the state constitution. As the Journal Star reports, Price is making the most of her remaining time in the legislature, pushing for critical legislation during this abbreviated session:
Marian Price remembers taking her children and grandchildren to the circus and letting them ride the elephants. She never thought twice about it. But when the self-professed animal lover was shown videotapes that she said contained evidence of elephants being mistreated, she was horrified.

That's what motivated Price, a state senator from Lincoln, to introduce a bill Tuesday that would prohibit the use of bullhooks, electrical prods, ax handles and other devices on elephants in Nebraska. The proposed penalty under the bill (LB1000), which would not ban the use of elephants in circuses or zoos, would be up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Fire in Nebraska National Forest

Yesterday a fire was discovered in the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey (about 60 miles northeast of North Platte). The JournalStar reports:
HALSEY -- Windy conditions pushed a fire in the Nebraska National Forest to nearly 10,000 acres, officials said Monday.

Volunteer firefighters from several communities joined federal crews to battle the fire, which was discovered about midday Sunday in the western section of the national forest. Authorities had hoped to call in aerial tankers to assist firefighters, but strong winds have kept the planes on the ground, said incident commander Joe Lowe.
Reportedly, three trees have been destroyed. But seriously, we wish the brave firefighters well in this, and hope there will be no loss of life. We've been to the Halsey forest, as well as the McKelvie National Forest, during our tour of the Forests of the Great American Desert.

It's funny, but it's no joke. Nebraska's Public TV site has this to say about the Halsey forest:
It is an unexpectedly lush green island in the middle of the sandhills of central Nebraska. 90,000 acres of land make up this region of the Nebraska National Forest. 20,000 of those acres are covered with a lot of pine in defiance of nature. These are, after all, sand dunes best suited for dry grass and yucca plants. You can see almost the whole thing from up here at the top of the ranger lookout station. Mack Deveraux is the district ranger for the forest.

"It's just a phenomenal thing," [Deveraux says.] "I'm glad they planted it before we got into a lot of the legality questions that we have today. It would never have been done today if this thing was still sandhills prairie."

Deveraux meant exactly what he said. The entire forest was planted by hand. If it hadn't, there would be no trees here.
Scoll on down on that site and look at the picture captioned "Cattle ranching is another use of National Forest land." Not quite like your forests of the northeast or northwest US, but beautiful in its own way.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

French Riots Retrospective

We wrote numerous posts here on DLMSY on the recent riots in France. The story is largely ignored these days, at least in the US media, but Cal Thomas has an update:
The French have had two months to sort out the lessons of last fall's riots in predominately Muslim neighborhoods. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin says the rioting was caused by racial bias, lack of business opportunity and insufficient education for immigrant children. He vows tax breaks for business, better education for immigrant children and tougher enforcement of anti-bias laws. For this conclusion, the French media, which is more left wing than the American press, praised him.
Most of the rest of the article is a Thomas interview with Jean-Marie Le Pen of the "far right" National Front (FN) party. Le Pen has long been quite vocal about the need for France to establish restrictions on immigration of non-Europeans. He has been demonized in the French media, but may now be leading the second largest party in the country. Unfortunately, Le Pen is no friend of free market capitalism, so there's not much hope he would lead the country down the road of economic revitalization.

It's difficult to find voices for sensible economics on the French political scene, which is the best hope for solving the problems of the "suburbs" where the rioting was occuring. We suppose it's a good thing that the Socialist Party is discredited and in disarray. The "right" coalition UMP, led by Jacques Chirac is socialist enough in its outlook. Good news: Nicholas Sarkozy has a sizeable lead over Dominique De Villepin among the UMP and the Right as their choice for the next UMP presidential candidate.

The French news magazine Marianne had a blurb in December about a poll commisionned by Lyon Mag about the riots. This poll covered the attitudes of young people in the areas around Lyon where the riots occurred. The results are interesting:
84% disapprove of the car burnings
30% dream of owning a business someday
2% feel close to the extreme left (presumably the Communists and Greens)
2% feel close to the UMP
31% feel close to socialists
73% feel confident about their future
by 50% to 46% say the French are not racist
Since only a total of 35% feel close to the political parties mentioned, and presumably few feel close to the FN, apparently the rest don't feel close to any political group.

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