April 28, 2008

People Watching In New York

One of my favorite things to do here in Manhattan is to take some time out to relax over a cup of coffee at a vantage point sufficient to watching the city pass by, person by person. The way people dress (this town seems to sport a hundred different fashions at once, there is no apparent finite number of trends), the paces they keep, their expressions and actions and so forth, probably the best way to reaclimate myself to my home town.

It can also be pretty amusing.

Today has been a rainy one, pretty steady, slowing only occasionally to a drizzle — and I have always loved rainy days in N.Y., so I’ve been spending a lot of time out in it. I made a pit stop at a longish, narrow Mexican greasy spoon kind of joint on Kenmare Street (I couldn’t figure out the name of the place, I’ll have to get it next time) ***Got it — The Corner (esquina in red neon) Deli, believe it or not, probably the name of a former tenant of the property, seeing as it’s not a deli, and the current business didn’t bother changing the sign or the name *** — between Lafayette Street and Cleveland Place, a line of stools ranged along a counter facing windows. The eatery is pretty popular, they were doing steady business at the cashier’s station fronting the open kitchen — you pay for your order, take it and find an empty stool.

Okay, so directly across Kenmare is LIEUTENANT JOSEPH PETROSINO SQUARE. It’s actually a triangular square (no kiddin’) bordered by Cleveland Place, Kenmare and Lafayette. On the corner opposite the square on Cleveland Place is Eileen’s Special Cheesecake, a must-go to for anyone visiting New York.

Anyway, back to the story, so typical New York these days.

The intersection of Cleveland and Kenmare is almost always jammed up on weekdays, the product of idiots running yellow lights on both streets and blocking the intersection two different ways when the light turns red on them. So this stretch limo (you know, those foolish looking long-as-a-bus ones) gets stuck halfway across the intersection, heading west on Kenmare, and then an SUV gets stuck right behind it — this happened because another driver, responding to his own green light, cut in front of the limo and got stuck behind another guy who’d done the same thing) and abruptly there’s this mess…

…A traffic cop in his emergency orange rain gear comes out of nowhere, gets in the middle of the intersection and starts shouting orders, whistling and waving his arms (there was also a lot of finger wiggling there, I couldn’t decide whether that was supposed to be more signals to the drivers, but it made him look like he was having a seizure of some kind). He also had a West Indies accent, and the thought did cross my mind that perhaps this was a traffic directing sequel to Cool Runnings.

It was a lot of fun to watch.

The traffic cop did get control of the traffic, though it was a frantic, seat-of-the-pants kind of thing. I heard him yell at one driver, “And you’re going where, exactly!?”

Finally, after about ten minutes, he threw up his hands in frustration and stormed away, and the intersection immediately returned to the mess it had been on his arrival, with him stomping off in the background.

I have yet to figure out whether he was dispatched to the intersection or was simply some sort of roving director of traffic, but he sure put on a fun show.

by @ 2:12 pm. Filed under I'm Easily Amused, New York Minutes

The Latest Kerfuffle, Brought To You By…

…New York’s Own Race Card Institution, is…

The Bell shooting and the not-guilty verdict rendered in favor of the police officers involved.

The result of the not guilty verdict, another way of saying that New York police officers will not be crucified for doing what they deemed necessary, at a given moment, to defend themselves, is a rerun of Sharpton and fellow race maggots’ response to the Amadou Diallo shooting. Any excuse to go after “the Man”.

So there are idiots blocking traffic up in Harlem and announcements by Sharpton that he will organize civil disruption of the entire city (same as his attempts after the Diallo case), a despicable business, including lots of people sporting signs that said, “Adolph Giuliani”, and the “reverend” who makes his living off perpetuating anti-white bigotry has even said that he intends to probe the presiding judge’s (in the Bell case) background in search of skeletons.

These folks ignore one simple fact: Big city cops are confronted with the reality that today’s drugged-up gang-bangers have a nasty tendency to open up on a police officer, at the drop of a hat, with more than just a handgun — full auto weapons are a dime a dozen on today’s streets, including machine pistols small enough to conceal with little difficulty under a coat or even a light jacket.

A cop is neither paid to, nor expected to, gamble with his life. If he has cause to believe his life is in jeopardy, he is authorized to respond as he deems necessary to stay alive.

A lesson should have been learned as far back as the Amadou Diallo shooting.

When you hear, “Police! Freeze!” — You freeze. You don’t reach for a wallet or a cell phone, you don’t start dancing, you don’t ask questions, you don’t begin to comb your hair…. You stop dead in your tracks, don’t move another muscle, and you await further instructions, such as “Clasp your hands together on top of your head.” Or whatever.

Make a sudden move and get shot, that’s your problem and your fault, not the cop’s. It’s not his job to wait until you’ve gotten a shot off at him before he defends himself, when your shot might have already killed him. It also doesn’t matter whether he fires one shot or twenty shots. The overkill angle is nothing but pure political enhancement.

While my condolences go out to the dead man’s fiancee and family, who definitely have their right to grieve, they cheapen their loss by allowing it to become a pawn in the race card agenda of Sharpton and his miserable parasite ilk, and by participating as such, they spit on their own lost loved one.

It’s over, let it stay that way.

by @ 11:36 am. Filed under Opinion, Parasites, The Race Card

April 25, 2008

New York Food, Yum!

Tomorrow, I’m switching to another hotel here in New York, not because I don’t like where I’m at or the location I’m in – the upper west side is awesome – but because the new location will be closer to where I tend to spend my time and to where I want to establish a more permanent presence.

So I want to give mention to a few things regarding food up here on the upper west side.

Usually, after I get back to the hotel for the evening and am hungry or before I go out and want breakfast first, I call restaurants for delivery.

First, the best: Texas Rotisserie and Grill (since this is already New Yawk, ha ha, you can’t say “get a rope!”), on the northwest corner of 96th & Broadway.

My first day here, I happened to be strolling past and the aromas coming out of the place were heavenly, so I snagged one of their delivery menus, folded it and stuck it in my back pocket.

On the first occasion that I needed a delivery, I referred to it.

So many choices, not only where entrees are concerned, but appetizers and side dishes as well, and all coming out of one place. I’ve had their rotisserie chicken and their meatloaf, and such sides as their from-scratch mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, whipped sweet potatoes and garlic parsley potatoes, and have nothing but great things to say about all of them.

I am a major meatloaf maniac, and their meatloaf, made with beef and turkey, has got to be the best meatloaf I’ve ever gotten from a restaurant. Yum!

To boot, all the portions they serve are profoundly oversized yet under-priced from a New York standpoint.

Dessert wise, their chocolate chip cake is to die for.

And their delivery time is nothing short of amazing. The knock at your door seems to come almost before you’ve hung up the phone.

Second, the worst. Artie’s, a Jewish deli at about 83rd & Broadway.

I stopped in there for a couple of potato knishes on my second day here, and they were easily of a quality to sing songs over. So…

A couple of days later, when I was hoping to get an early start, I called them at opening time (9 a.m.) and gave them a breakfast delivery order: a Nova lox platter, a potato knish, a chocolate egg cream and two large coffees. The woman who took the order told me it would be around 15 minutes.

At 10:25, I called to ask why the food had not yet arrived. The same woman told me that the cashier was sorry, she hadn’t put the order in on time, but that it was now on its way to me. 25 minutes later it arrived, I paid for it and tipped the delivery guy and took everything out of the bag. There was no knish, though it was on the receipt.

I called Artie’s, and the same woman, in a totally indifferent tone of voice, asked me, “Oh, so do you still want the knish?”

“Since I paid you for it,” I replied, beginning to feel just a little miffed at her attitude, “I would assume so.”

The lox platter was great, generous and very filling, there was a lot of stuff included in it besides the Nova, a bagel and so forth, but when I went to drink the coffee I found it was old and burnt beyond drinkability. When the knish arrived at about 11:00, I was so disgusted I simply threw it in the trash can.

I tried calling the manager to register a complaint. I was told that he would be back in 2 days and that his name was Omar.

I tried, for a couple of days after he was supposed to be back, to get in touch with him, but he apparently doesn’t want to hear customer complaints and is always, therefore, “not there”. The mysterious Mr. Omar, in my opinion, is a scumbag who runs a shoddy business – the indifferent bimbo who runs the place on weekends probably Monicas him to keep her job and as payment for her under-the-desk services, the mutt excuses her ineptitude and lack of any customer service attitude.

Since then, I’ve looked up customer reviews of the place and find that most of them are unfavorable where service and even cleanliness of the place are concerned.

So while I wouldn’t recommend Artie’s for the dog you hate the most, I give major marks to Texas Rotisserie & Grill.

Two upper west side eateries to enjoy dining out at, both also reasonable by NY standards, are Acqua, an Italian restaurant on Amsterdam Ave at 95th that uses a wood oven and serves delicious, wafer thin crust, Italian style pizzas as well as some pasta & veal (I’ve had the aforementioned dishes there) that are extremely desirable to eat, in ways I can’t begin to describe beyond the “adjective” yum!. The other, more laid back but a must for locals-oriented Italian dining, is Perfecto, on Broadway between 92nd and 93rd Streets.

I treated a new acquaintance I met a few days ago to dinner at the latter (her recommendation). For my own part, I had had mussels in a wine and tomato sauce for an appetizer (I sampled my companion’s grilled octopus and it was excellent, as well), and my entrée was linguini with white clam sauce, while she had veal marsala. We tried one anothers’ dishes, and both were Perfecto.

Since then, I’ve tried the Sicilian pizza at Perfecto, and it is also Perfecto.

The above places (with the exception of piece-of-shit-Omar and his Artie’s) are all among the locals oriented eateries that you don’t see in the out-of-town yuppie guides, they are places that locals dine at, within the average middle class budget and every bit as good as the more pretentious “to be seen at” restaurants one reads about in the society pages., where there are dress codes, etc.

Having eaten at some of the most expensive restaurants in NY in the past, I can honestly say that these “common” establishments (we’re talking NY here, where competition is king) feature fare that is equal to or in some cases better than the places where, choked into a suit and tie when you’re not even at work, you can dine for hundreds of dollars, just to say you’ve eaten there.

To tell you the truth, I’d rather have dinner at Mike’s Pizzeria on Yellowstone Blvd in Forest Hills, Queens, than at Mama Leone’s any day of the week.

by @ 7:54 pm. Filed under Dining, Just Talking, New York, Opinion

April 23, 2008

I Had Wanted To Post This…

…days ago, but one thing and another kind of set me back.

I wanted to link this Walter Williams column that says so much about the screwing we’re getting, tax-money and Constitution-wise, from the government, and this is completely non-partisan where either side of the aisle is concerned. And we’re talking Presidents, here!

Most of what Congress is constitutionally authorized to spend for is listed in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution and includes: coining money, establish post offices, to support Armies and a few other activities. Today’s federal budget is over $3 trillion dollars. I challenge anyone to find specific constitutional authority for at least $2 trillion of it. That includes Social Security, Medicare, farm and business handouts, education, prescription drugs and a host of other federal expenditures. Americans who have become accustomed to living at the expense of another American would not want Congress to obey the Constitution, especially if it left out their favorite handout.

Okay, so…

At one time there were presidents who respected the Constitution. Grover Cleveland vetoed hundreds of spending measures during his two-term presidency, often saying, “I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution.” Then there was Franklin Pierce who said, after vetoing an appropriation to assist the mentally ill, “I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity,” adding, “To approve such spending would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.”

Instead of a Presidential inauguration including “protect and defend the Constitution…”

We should consider ending the charade and get rid of our 200-year-plus presidential oath of office and replace it with: “I accept the office of president.”

Basically, I rest my case, and Walter Williams’ as well.

by @ 5:15 am. Filed under Great Commentary, The U.S. Constitution

April 22, 2008

Pornography Vs The Marketplace

I’m usually pretty decisive when it comes to deciding how I view issues as they come down the pike, but this one has me just a bit flabbergasted.

Now, I’m not at all a fan of pornography, this for three reasons:

1. I don’t own a pornograph, and

2. I can conceive no thrill whatsoever in watching other people “making whoopee”.

3. I consider sex to be a very personal, private activity to be shared only by those involved.

There’s something cheapening in the very concept, in fact, and when I read of porn “actors”, for some reason the likes of Richard Burton, Humphrey Bogart, Elizabeth Taylor, James Stewart, Katherine Hepburn, John Wayne, William Holden, Peter Lorrie and even Raquel Welch and Brigit Bardeaux fail, no matter what, to come to mind.

However, there does seem to be a major market for the stuff, this judging from the myriad sex shops and Internet porn sites, the porn video spam and so forth.

We are a market based republic, and there would not exist this veritable cornucopia of erotic spam unless there was a profitably voluminous response to it.

In other words, the porn industry has achieved its own commercial legitimacy by virtue of its constituency.

I pretty much spit on the legal acceptance that pornography is a protectorate of the 1st Amendment – how does freedom of speech apply to sex flicks? Answer: It doesn’t, but our legal system has become so distorted that our esteemed justices are apt to interpret anything as Constitutional these days.

Sexual relations with camels? Sure, why not? 20 inch dildos? Constitutionally guaranteed. Nipple clamps? An absolute must! Sodomy? An absolute right under the First Amendment, “Cut and Print!”

Here is where my own confusion enters the picture.

We are a free country of Judeo-Christian origins, and we are, to all intents and purposes, a democracy. Those among us who are conservatives believe in limited government and basically, from that perspective, being left alone.

We hate being dictated to by liberals who smother us in political correctness, taxation without representation, multiculturalism (try running a business in which you require all your employees to speak English and see how fast the ACLU rams itself down your throat), G-dlessness in our schools, oppressive gun control measures and other venues that contradict the Constitution, yet we sometimes forget justice and dictate to them as well.

If millions of people want to be able to watch porn at the hotels they stay in, why should we obstruct that particular segment of the marketplace, immoral as it may be, and deny them their perversions? After all, at the end of things, they’ll have to explain their proclivities to a being whose office is several floors above those of us who pass judgment here and now, the CEO of the universe. If He decides that they’ve sinned, He’ll deal with them.

My own take is that any porn available should be restricted to rooms that are occupied only by adults, no rooms booked that in any way include minors, but we should not restrict, by lawsuit or law, these hotels from catering to the demands of their regular guests.

If they want to watch a bunch of sweaty people flopping and squirming on a bed, let them.

My point being, we really can’t force our concept of morality on other people. It’s up to them to make their own decisions, and it’s up to G-d to judge them when they kick the bucket.

by @ 2:48 am. Filed under Pornography

April 20, 2008

In Memorium

This event finds itself rather close to my heart, as my maternal grandmother was a Jew who grew up in Poland. The Nazis killed her two brothers, two great uncles whom, as a result, I had neither the honor nor the opportunity to meet.

At family weddings in New York during my early youth, I met a few older relatives who had been in the camps and who showed me their tattooed numbers, indelible mementos of the horrors they had faced, and unlike millions of others had survived, at the hands of the Germans.

WARSAW (AFP) - The last commander of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, Marek Edelman, on Saturday honoured the memory of his comrades who died fighting Nazi Germany in the doomed Jewish stand against the Holocaust.

Joined by family members, hundreds of bystanders and city officials, Edelman marked the 65th anniversary of the revolt at the imposing monument to the ghetto fighters, unveiled in 1948.

Braving driving rain, the silent participants first laid flowers at the monument.

The frail Edelman, 85, was then pushed in his wheelchair to the site of the bunker where the leader of the revolt, 24-year-old Mordechaj Anielewicz, and 80 comrades had committed suicide as Nazi forces closed in.

The crowd then walked to the site of the “Umschlagplatz”, the railway siding from which the Nazis sent more than 300,000 Jews to the Treblinka death camp in northeastern Poland.

Edelman, who took command after Anielewicz’s death, rarely attends high-profile official ceremonies, preferring to remember his comrades in a lower-key fashion on April 19, the day the revolt actually began.

This year’s official event was held on Tuesday, in the presence of Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski and Israel’s Shimon Peres.
That ceremony had been brought forward because the actual anniversary fell on a Saturday, which is the Jewish Sabbath.
On the eve of World War II, Poland was Europe’s Jewish heartland.

It was home to 3.5 million Jews, and Warsaw alone had a community of around 400,000.

After invading Poland in 1939, Nazi Germany set up ghettos nationwide to isolate the country’s Jews and facilitate the “Final Solution” — half of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust were Polish.

At its height, more than 450,000 were crammed into the walled Warsaw ghetto.

About 100,000 died inside from starvation, disease and in summary executions. Most of the rest were sent to Treblinka in mass deportations which began in 1942.

In the ghetto, a handful of Jewish paramilitary groups, mostly made up of young people — Edelman was just 20 — coalesced into a poorly-armed force of around 1,000.

The banner of one group was a blue Star of David on a white background, which caused Nazi ire when it was hoisted during the revolt. It became the flag of Israel.

On Saturday, youths handed out paper armbands emblazoned with the symbol, which participants wore as they formed a human chain around the monument while sirens wailed and a Polish army honour guard fired a salute.

The ghetto fighters first clashed with the Nazis on January 18-22, 1943, managing to hinder the deportations.

On April 19, 1943, they took up arms again, as the Nazis moved to wipe out the remaining 60,000 ghetto dwellers.

“We knew perfectly well that there was no way we could win,” Edelman told AFP in a recent interview. “It was a symbol of the fight for freedom. A symbol of standing up to Nazism, and of not giving in,” he said.

The fighters held out as 3,000 Nazi troops razed the ghetto with explosives and fire.

Following Anielewicz’s suicide on May 8, Edelman and several dozen comrades escaped through the sewers. The Nazis marked their “victory over the Jews” by blowing up Warsaw’s main synagogue on May 16.

Around 7,000 Jews died in the revolt, most of them burned alive, and more than 50,000 were sent to Treblinka.

Besides denting the Nazis’ sense of superiority, the fighters managed to inflict some damage, killing and injuring a combined 300 troops.

Sporadic clashes continued in the ghetto ruin until the autumn.

Edelman and many other survivors later took part in the Warsaw uprising, launched on August 1, 1944 by the Polish underground.
That failed 63-day revolt and the Germans’ brutal response cost the lives of 200,000 civilians and 18,000 resistance members, and saw the near-total destruction of Warsaw by the Nazis.

While I feel nothing but contempt for the German people of the times who allowed Hitler, Himmler, Eichmann and the rest of those thugs to rise to the leadership of their country – I’m sorry, but while I understand the desperation they must have felt given the depression they were in, debacles such as Kristalnacht and the requirement that Jews bear identifying emblazons as such on their clothing would not have been tolerated by a civilized population to begin with, and when Jewish families began to disappear, well – the indifference of the German citizenry spoke for itself – I attach no blame to German citizens of today, for that would be the equivalent of the likes of liberal guilt-mongers who attempt to commute blame for black slave ownership by people long dead to white Americans living today.

That said, many monsters were produced from among the German people under the Third Reich, including the “man” given the responsibilty for the razing of the Warsaw Ghetto, a particularly vile creature called Jurgen Stroop.

May he and the rest of those Nazi bastards continue to rot in hell.

by @ 3:14 pm. Filed under Jewish Heroes

April 19, 2008

The Leftward Groves Of Academe

First, I will say that I actually tried to post on this yesterday, but the hotel I’m presently staying at in New York, only the second I’ve ever stayed in that featured free Internet access – this one’s being wireless only – has a few kinks in the system.

When I first checked in, it seemed like all was just fine, but I have found that it can’t handle video – a bummer as I’ve tried to watch video at other blogs and, well… I’ve also had a few comments I’ve endeavored to make come up: Internet Explorer cannot display the web page. Likewise, my last endeavor to post this got the infamous “Internet Explorer cannot…” and the post disappeared.

This hotel only has 250 rooms, and when you figure that it’s at nowhere near full occupancy just now (I’ve had no trouble adding nights at the last minute, and parts of the hotel are supposedly closed due to renovation and upgrades – I’ve neither seen nor heard any evidence of this, but that’s the going story), there shouldn’t be so many people connected to the wireless network that it would be overtaxed.

However: The hotel’s wireless network is unsecured, all you have to do is go to “Connect To” and click on their network, and you’re there.

Now, this is smack in the middle of the upper west side, surrounded by apartment buildings. I wonder how many zillion people in the myriad apartments hereabouts are using the hotel’s network for free wireless access.

Somewhere in the management sector of this hotel exists a pinhead who hasn’t figured out that all they have to do is secure the network and supply guests with the access information needed to connect.

So now I’m composing posts in MS Word, then copying and pasting them to my blog. Let ‘em look that up in their Funk & Wagnall’s! If I lose it again, I’ll still have it saved in Word to try again.

At any rate, what caught my attention was this piece of news, which defines an issue that should have constituted a dialogue conducted in the light of public awareness a long time ago, rather than dumbed down by liberal academics and the mainstream media in the interests of covering up the formers’ Marxian practice of indoctrinating our youth into the column of left wing political dogma rather than encouraging them to learn how to think for themselves.

An advanced textbook on American government is drawing criticism from scholars for alleged errors concerning climate change and separation of church and state.

American Government (Houghton Mifflin) and was authored by James Q. Wilson and John J. Dilulio, Jr. Associated Press reports that a New Jersey high school student pointed out apparent errors in the textbook to the Center for Inquiry, which then released a “scathing report.”

Scathing, no less!

Under criticism are statements that cause students to question whether the debate over “global warming” is really over, and whether the issue of “separation of church and state” is being correctly interpreted. Critics also accuse the textbook of having a conservative bias on a number of other issues.

Their actual kvetch, expressed in more honest terms, would be, “Hey! This text book is raining on our parade! If these kids learn to draw their own conclusions rather than accept us as the masters of all they think and all they believe, they might well grow into voting adulthood without views that we endorse, those we demand that the rest of society endorse. This is an outrage!”

The executive director of Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) disagrees with the critics. “I don’t think it’s the job of our public schools to indoctrinate children to tell them what they should believe about global warming,” says Finn Laursen, “but let’s educate them; let’s let them [think] like great minds of the past did, and let’s let them openly discuss the issues. And if we don’t let them know that there are two sides, that discussion won’t happen,” he contends.

The CEAI leader fears that the advanced students are no longer being as academically challenged as they have been in the past and are also being taught one-sided arguments.

“I think that most would agree that we [as a nation] are not as competitive as we once were, and I personally believe that one of the reasons is that our advanced students are not being challenged to higher levels of thinking,” the Christian educator argues. “They’re being given one side of topics, told to memorize that and to believe that — and that does not create great minds, and great thinkers, and problem solvers,” he points out.

Very well put, Mr. Laursen.

Another major cudo is due an official in Arizona.

In Arizona, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne has said he will not remove the textbook from schools. Horne is quoted by KTAR.com as saying, “the claims made for conservative bias are very mild compared to the liberal bias that I see in most textbooks.”

Emphasis mine.

I would so like to see this argument find its way into the public domain, wherein the American people can decide whether they want their children to be educated as socialist zombies or as individual thinkers capable of making their own decisions.

While mainstream Democrats are by no means a significant minority in this country, the far left elements that have been steering their party, which includes the portside academics and the liberal media that smoke-screen the actual menace they pose to the future of our society via the indoctrination of our youth, certainly are. The media shapes public opinion, and in this instance, among others, has been quite successful in its dubious endeavors where Democrats who should know better are concerned.

by @ 10:28 pm. Filed under Liberal Academics, Liberal Agendas

April 17, 2008

Jimmy Carter Is Like The Energizer Bunny’s Evil Twin

He just keeps going and going and going

He started out all right. Jimmy Carter always does. Whether as president or ex-. Remember when he was the country’s bright, shining hope after Richard Nixon’s reign of darkness and then the vague non-administration of Gerald Ford, the Great Pardoner?

But before long Americans were looking back to the nondescript Mr. Ford as if he’d been George Washington. Nothing made the bumbling, likeable Gerald Ford look better than having been succeeded by a walking, ever-talking disaster.

The Carter administration was that bad: stagflation, gas lines, appeasement, never-ending sanctimony . . . . You name a colossal mistake and Jimmy Carter probably made it a policy.

As a former president, Mr. Carter started off well, too, wielding hammer and nails with Habitat for Humanity. Good for him. When he was building houses, the worst he risked was a bruised thumb. But then he decided he was God’s gift to American foreign policy, and began making trouble for every chief executive and commander-in-chief who came after him.

That is so well put…

Was there any part of the globe, from the Caribbean to the Middle East, from Haiti to North Korea to the Balkans, where Jimmy Carter didn’t cozy up to dictators? Wherever he goes, tyrants smile. The long, dispiriting trail of former President Carter’s overseas travels has been marked by one diplomatic disaster after another.

As for Jimmy Carter’s role as a monitor of free-and-fair elections, the low point must have come when he gave his blessings to Robert Mugabe’s takeover in Zimbabwe. Naturally, utter disaster followed. It hasn’t ceased there since.

And now Mr. Carter is at it again, preparing to pay court to just about the bloodiest terrorist leader in the Middle East, which is no mean distinction in those violent parts. He’s about to lend his ex-presidential presence to terrorist chieftain Khaled Meshaal, who as head of Hamas hides out in Damascus under Syrian aegis. (Let others die for the cause in Gaza; its leader is quite comfortable, thank you.)

You go, Greenberg!

The only proper greeting for someone like Mr. Meshaal would be, “You’re under arrest.” Instead, we can expect to see Jimmy Carter pay his usual homage to those who champion violence. He calls this peace-seeking. Which raises the question, if this is promoting peace, what would encouraging violence be?

Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States, and I have since had to rethink my previous belief that people who are elected President are elected because of a combination of common sense, patriotism, the ability to reason, an abundance of perspicacity and intelligence. Back in those days, I was a Democrat with some pretty liberal leanings. I had voted for Carter, in fact, I had never cast a vote for a Republican.

Beebeep! But then along came Jones Jimmuh… and my very first Republican vote was cast for Ronald Reagan, and I haven’t voted Democrat since for any post above San Francisco mayor or city supervisor, and that only because nobody but Democrats ever seem to make it onto the ballot out there. The key is to select the lesser of several wingnuts.

I really, really do try to keep the blockquotes to a minimum and leave most of the reading of a linked article or column to the reader, but this one is just so, so…

The Carter Center in Atlanta, a kind of think tank for failed thought, keeps producing bad ideas. This visit to the Mideast is only the latest. You have to wonder if Jimmy Carter will have his picture taken with a terrorist leader who by now has been responsible for the murders of scores of innocent men, women and children — about 250 at last bloody count.

Of course he will, he’s Jimmy Carter!

April 14, 2008

Just To Let Anyone Who Comments Or Emails…

…tomorrow or the day after know, any lack of response on my part will not be due to neglect, lack of interest, death, incapacity, abduction, meeting with foul play or failure to pay my Internet bills, it will be, quite simply, that I’ll be travelling and may not have Internet access in the process.

This particular trip will be an hasta la bye bye to Chicago (nothing against the Windy City, I think it’s a great town), it’s just time for me to be moving on. I’ve spent a year here, at least double the amount of time I’d intended (a sojourn in the Carribbean for the winter had formerly been on the menu, but I’ve simply enjoyed being here too much to leave as and when planned) and other experiences await.

But in the meantime, I am embroiled in packing, finishing up my taxes in time to meet tomorrow’s mailing-in deadline, packing, settling my affairs here in Chi-town, packing, and… yes, also some packing.

Did I mention packing?

And then, of course, there is the appetite thing. As soon as I publish this post, a very large ham, cheese and red onion omelet with from-scratch hash browns and 7-grain toast (I’m going through a bored-at-normal-bread phase just now that will probably last the usual few days, which by then will be time for Passover, which will mean no bread at all for several days) kind of meal will go into production. Breakfast for dinner, a novel idea! Brits I know do this all the time, and I applaud them for it.

And then, well, while I’m not a major fan of crunching on dry matza, I love matza bry (a fully cooked/ scrambled matza, egg & cinnamon dish) and also the simple expedient, going back to my days as a wee lad, of breaking up egg matza in a large bowl, pouring hot milk over it and then adding a ton of sugar. Mmmmmm………. Just no humotz (leavened bread or leavened bread products) on the premises, let alone eaten, coupled with the rememberance of why (upon leaving Egypt and slavery therein, the Children of Israel had to do so in something of a hurry –that tenth plague really convinced the CEO of Egypt that G-d meant business, but it wasn’t deemed a good idea to hang about and afford him the opportunity to change his mind — and there was simply no chance of waiting around for their bread to leaven — hence, matza) we Jews don’t eat leavened bread during Passover (Pesach, in Ivrit — Hebrew) Yum, matza! At least consumed as described above, or also devoured with a generous coating of jam — yum!

Digression aside, however, any lack of response on my part over the next day or two will be compensated immediately afterward.

Now, I think I need to do some… how do you call it? Packing…

by @ 5:39 pm. Filed under Travelling

April 13, 2008

Six Days Ago…

…General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker wasted their valuable time testifying before Congress.

Oliver North tells it like it is.

Five years ago this week, American soldiers and Marines liberated Baghdad from Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard and the foreign fedayeen who had flooded into the despot’s capital. For those of us who were there, it was an unforgettable event. But as Ambassador Ryan Crocker so cogently noted this week while he and Gen. David Petraeus were testifying before Congress, “The euphoria of that moment evaporated long ago.” The assembled lawmakers, perched on their raised daises, barely noted the anniversary — while subjecting the warrior and the diplomat to a 16-hour spectacle. For the general and the ambassador, it had to be an excruciating exercise in patience and bladder control.

The hearings — two in the Senate and two more in the House — all were choreographed carefully to give maximum exposure to the potentates on the Potomac. The masters of the mainstream media all were gathered. Professional protesters were present. The solons, all carefully prepared by their staffs, made their little speeches and then shamelessly angled for the best “gotcha” question to win the sound bite sweepstakes — and the honor of being replayed repeatedly on the news and entertainment channels. Like so many of these hearings, it was a bit like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth” — without a ringmaster. I know — as they say — I’ve “been there, done that.”

Yeah, he’s “been there, done that”, all right (and I can’t say I envy the man for that particular ordeal, when I worked on Wall Street some quarter century ago, my immediate supervisor, who had gone through a congressional grilling over the Hunt Brothers affair, told me in graphic detail what that’s like), though I don’t know if he was ever issued the tee-shirt. I’ll say this though: Despite the rhetoric of our political left, the man is the kind of patriot this country needs a hell of a lot more of, and the kind of journalist the media should be proud of (fat chance of that!) — the kind who calls it like he sees it and retains the perspective that he is an American who knows what it means to serve his country in time of war. The kind of guy who would rather cover a combat situation with shrapnel and bullets whizzing past his head than sit in a lounge in the “Green Zone” and get his information second hand, or buy photos from some photographer who may or may not have Photo-Shopped them to favor the enemy’s propaganda campaigns.

Sadly, the attending members of Congress evinced little interest in hearing from a decorated general fighting a bloody military campaign or a skillful U.S. ambassador trying to help a democratically elected government survive against brutal foreign and internal foes. Rather, it seemed as if our elected representatives would have preferred hearing from soothsayers who could read palms and interpret horoscopes. That our Congress has sunk to such a level is a sad testament to the state of our political process.

Sadly, indeed.

Our Democrat-run Congress isn’t interested in facts, only in a political agenda that hasn’t got room for the concept of victory or for the elements of common sense necessary to protect our country from future terrorist attacks. In order to appeal to their political base, which consists of a Code Pink/Michael Moore/Cindy Sheehan (remember her?)/George Soros/Jane Fonda/Barbra Streissand mentality, they are more concerned with an agenda that would involve our abandoning the Iraqis to an Islamic extremist take-over and the resulting Taliban style rule that would transform Iraq into what would amount to a terrorist stronghold with “legitimate” nation status.

This is a very liberal “progressive” point of view. Let’s enjoy instant gratification without giving the proverbial rat’s hind quarters about whatever tragedies it will present for us down the road apiece.

So rather than ask pertinent questions or seek the truth about our brave troops’ progress in Iraq…

When will it end? When will we be out? When can we take the money we’re spending on the war and divert it to bailing out our constituent borrowers and lenders caught up in the subprime mortgage mess? Petraeus and Crocker came equipped with facts, maps, charts and progress reports, but for this crowd, they should have brought Ouija boards, tarot cards and a crystal ball.

I don’t know, though I can guess, how fellow right thinkers and other sane Americans feel about this, but speaking for myself, I find it rather chilling that the majority of those we’ve elected to lead our country seem to be addressing this grave responsibility we’ve bestowed upon them using a far left field (perhaps pre-adolescent would be a more accurate term) approach.

They apparently don’t see fit to apply any sort of reality to their reasoning, that’s for sure, it’s more like “screw the down-the-road penalties, get the votes now!”

Well, good for them! When suicide bombers, briefed in Baghdad, walk into restaurants, theatres, shopping malls and other crowded places in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and Duluth and blow themselves up along with scores of men, women and children, our fearless leaders can always “blame Bush”.

Speaking of whom…

While Congress was berating the general and the ambassador, the commander in chief was honoring one of the more than 4,000 Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq. In an Oval Office ceremony, President Bush presented the Medal of Honor — our nation’s highest award for valor — to the parents of Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, a Navy SEAL. Mike — as his fellow SEALs called him — was killed Sept. 29, 2006, in Ramadi, Iraq, when he threw himself on top of an enemy grenade in order to spare the lives of his fellow SEALs.

His platoon commander, now a lieutenant commander with whom our Fox News team has been embedded, said of the 25-year-old hero, “He made an instantaneous decision to save our teammates.” Though wounded by shrapnel in the explosion, one of those with him that terrible morning said of Monsoor’s unhesitating action: “He never took his eyes off the grenade. His only movement was down toward it. He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs’ lives.”

Monsoor is just the fourth member of our armed forces to be awarded the Medal of Honor since war was declared against us Sept. 11, 2001. Call your grandstanding members of Congress and ask whether they know the four names.

Hmmmm, let’s see, there were Corporal Jason Dunham, USMC, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Paul Smith and Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, Iraq, and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, Afghanistan.

Saying “Thank you” is not nearly enough.

I wonder if Representative John Murtha knows these four names or, for that matter, if he even cares. Probably not.