Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Arnold, Arnold, Arnold...

We all know that Arnold is a "social liberal," yet somehow I don't think the Republicans who helped elect Governor Schwarzenegger were expecting him to hire as chief of staff a Democrat Gray Davis appointee. Not only is she a "Davis Democrat," she's an abortion rights activist, who incidentally is "married" to another woman.

The San Francisco Chronicle notes "The move could kick off major protests from conservative Republicans." Um, yeah.

Well, the next few months are going to be interesting, I'll say that much.

Christmas Music: Bing Crosby

Bing's MERRY CHRISTMAS album, linked above, is my "desert island" Christmas album, along with THE GLORIOUS SOUND OF CHRISTMAS (scroll down for yesterday's post). Even seeing the cover, with Bing smiling in his Santa hat, conjures up happy Christmas memories.

The album is balanced between a half-dozen slower-paced, mostly religious songs (this was the first side of the LP version) and a batch of jauntier songs from "Side 2." Bing is joined on three of the songs by the Andrews Sisters, and my favorite track, "Silver Bells," is a duet with Carole Richards. (Richards dubbed for some non-singing actresses in the '50s, including Cyd Charisse in BRIGADOON and SILK STOCKINGS.)

The two-CD set THE VOICE OF CHRISTMAS contains all of Bing's Christmas recordings for Decca, including the songs from MERRY CHRISTMAS. It's very enjoyable and a must for a Christmas music or Bing enthusiast, but doesn't have quite the same overall effect as the familiar lineup of songs from MERRY CHRISTMAS.

The songs on CHRISTMAS WITH BING CROSBY have been released under other album titles -- it's also known as BING CROSBY'S CHRISTMAS CLASSICS -- but whatever the title, it's a worthwhile purchase. My favorite track is "Do You Hear What I Hear?" which gets a lot of radio play at this time of year. My children are partial to the somewhat silly "Christmas Dinner Country Style" which sounds like it might possibly have been a skit in one of Crosby's Christmas shows.

Record Hurricane Year A Natural Cycle

Hurricane experts say that this year's record hurricane season, which ends today, is part of a natural multi-decade cycle and not a product of global warming.

I posted a story on this a few weeks ago, but I think this additional article is worthwhile given the global warming canards so often repeated in the media.

Journal Editorial Report... moving from PBS to Fox News Channel in January.

Senator Reid: Leaking or Lying?

Radio Blogger has posted a transcript of an interview Jed Babbin (subbing for Hugh Hewitt) conducted with John Fund of the Wall Street Journal. They discuss Senator Reid's surprising statement on a Nevada TV show that Osama Bin Laden was killed in an earthquake in Pakistan.

Fund points out the irony that Reid was the same person who called the Senate into closed session because of his supposed outrage over the CIA/Plamegate investigation. And of course Reid's statement begs the question: Is he leaking classified information, or is he lying?

Power Line and Red State have more.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Arnold, Say It Ain't So


The CIA vs. Bush

A disturbing article by John Hinderaker of Power Line about the CIA's use of leaks as part of an ongoing effort to damage the Bush Administration.

Character Education in the Movies

Betsy Newmark has a nice post today building on a National Review article by Thomas Hibbs about the use of movies for educating "the moral imagination" with positive role models.

In addition to HARRY POTTER and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, which Hibbs discusses, Betsy mentions the lessons taught in WALK THE LINE. (Cash's religious conversion was soft-pedaled in the film, but it was implied, along with his recognition of his failures and the need to change his behavior.)

There are many, many older films which also have value as character lessons, whether it's PRIDE OF THE YANKEES, APOLLO 13, or CHARIOTS OF FIRE. I could name countless others which communicate positive messages about morals and values. One reason I like my sons, in particular, to watch John Wayne or older WWII movies is because of the examples they depict of leadership and courage.

As Betsy notes, it's good to recognize that some newer movies also model the kinds of behavior young people should emulate.

Stan Berenstain Dies

From Mom-2-Mom Connection comes the news that Stan Berenstain, co-author of THE BERENSTAIN BEARS books, has passed away at age 82.

My oldest daughter was particularly enamored with the books -- we have quite a shelf of them. (My husband, however, objects to the way the father in the books is portrayed as a bit of a nitwit, compared to the wise mother. He may have a good point.) Like Heather at Mom-2-Mom Connection, our favorite is probably Too Much Birthday. That "Too Much..." phrase is enduring and has been used by our family in other contexts.

I also have great fondness for The Big Honey Hunt; I still have my own childhood copy.

While I'm at it, thanks to La Shawn Barber for calling my attention to Mom-2-Mom Connection on her website. I've found it an enjoyable site.

Christian Students Sue UC System for Discrimination

The lawsuit is about the refusal of the University of California system to consider classes from a Christian worldview (i.e., "Christianity's Influence on American History" or "Christianity and Morality in American Literature") as acceptable college preparatory work.

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs.)

A Scary Homeschooling Editorial

Among other points, this column asserts: "...home-schooling is not only a response to deteriorating public schools, but a cause of its decline. Schools should be given the chance to respond to public needs...Home-schooling doesn't help the public good, just the individual."

(And the problem with that is...? What if every parent took the responsibility to look out for their children as individuals, wouldn't that be a public good?)

The author also rails against "traditional roles of male breadwinner and female caretaker," "political inculcation," and other supposed homeschooling horrors.

Frankly I find the author's "All your children belong to us" Borg-like attitude much more troubling than any concern she raises about homeschooling.

(Hat tip: HomeSchoolBuzz.)

For a flip point of view, here's an opposing editorial which also appeared in today's Seattle Times. (Via Free Republic.)

Christmas Music: The Glorious Sound of Christmas

Christmas music is one of my great interests. I have a collection of Christmas CDs, LPs, and cassettes which is larger than I would probably be willing to admit in public :). I hope to call attention to some of my favorite recordings over the next few weeks, in hopes a reader might make a new discovery which will add to the enjoyment of Advent and Christmas.

THE GLORIOUS SOUND OF CHRISTMAS, with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra and Temple University Choir, is my all-time favorite album of religious Christmas music. To me, this album means "Christmas." Check out the 10 five-star reviews on Amazon.

I also enjoy Ormandy's JOY TO THE WORLD, but THE GLORIOUS SOUND OF CHRISTMAS is in a league of its own.

Border Security and the President's Guest Worker Proposal

I share the concerns expressed in this National Review editorial about President Bush's plans to address illegal immigration. I strongly support securing the border, but I have deep concerns about the President's proposed guest worker program, which would allow those here illegally to remain legally. Our nation tried an amnesty program in good faith under President Reagan, and the results were dismal. Millions of illegal immigrants became citizens, but nothing substantive was done to prevent further illegal immigration to this country. If anything, I think that amnesty program encouraged more people to enter the country illegally in hopes of a similar deal being offered in future.

The President insists he's not offering amnesty, but the guest worker program he proposes for workers who are already here illegally is itself a form of amnesty. I don't see how it can be argued otherwise.

Further, he says that illegal immigrants are doing jobs Americans don't want to do. Well, that may be true right now, as long as employers can fill certain jobs paying illegals low wages under the table. Some may say this practice benefits U.S. citizens in the form of lower prices, but one downside among many is that in turn the illegal workers don't pay taxes, while straining our infrastructure to its limits. The impact of illegal immigration on my area, Southern California, has been overwhelming -- crowded freeways, schools, and hospital emergency rooms -- and it's a serious problem in other parts of the country, as well.

One step I would definitely like to see taken is for the government to stop banks from accepting Mexico's Matricula Consular cards as identification. Banks are increasingly courting the business of illegal immigrants, including offering them home loans, and this needs to be cut short now.

I respect President Bush, but have found his lack of attention to border security in the wake of 9/11 perplexing, at best. I will be pleased if he does the right thing and follows words with actions when it comes to making serious efforts to secure the borders. However, I'll be deeply disappointed if he continues to advocate rewarding those who have broken our nation's laws.

Monday, November 28, 2005

On Thomas Sowell and...Baby Names?

Thomas Sowell has a change-of-pace column on baby names.

An interesting point to note is that although, as Sowell points out, the top 10 girls' names of 1960 were not in 2000's top 10, 25% of the top 20 names of 2004 were in the top 20 in 1880.

Perhaps traditional names are in greater vogue than Dr. Sowell realizes?

Hastert Reclaims Capitol Christmas Tree

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has directed that the tree on Capitol Hill, which has been named the "Holiday Tree" in recent years, will go back to its longtime name, the "Capitol Christmas Tree."

The Speaker's spokesman said: "The speaker believes a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree, and it is as simple as that."

Chalk a win up for Christmas!

Pro-Liberal Classroom Indoctrination

Michelle Malkin posted an interesting piece over the long weekend about an English teacher in Vermont who repeatedly made pro-liberal, anti-conservative statements during vocabulary exercises.

A sample question which asks the students to choose between the words "coherent" and "eschewed": "I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes."

The original Boston Globe article is here. The headline, which says the teacher is under investigation for "alleged liberalism," is misleading; obviously, no one has a problem with a teacher's right to be liberal, the problem is when the teacher uses his classroom as a bully pulpit.

I wish I could say this kind of classroom indoctrination is unusual, but I know from firsthand experience that it's not.

Time Reporter Part of Rove's Defense?

Here's an interesting piece in the Washington Post about the involvement of Time reporter Viveca Novak in the Plamegate matter.

John Whitehead on Christmas in Schools

John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute has written a commentary on Christmas and public schools. In particular he zeroes in on schools which have gone overboard in their zeal to remove all religious references from the celebration of, "Winter Holidays."

The Rutherford Institute's attorneys have compiled 12 Rules of Christmas as a guideline for how Christmas may legally be celebrated in public schools, on government property, and by public and private employers. Each of the "rules" is footnoted with case law. An informative read. (Search by document title on Rutherford's website; direct link not working.)

Rutherford's website contains other interesting reading on this topic, including a new paper called Christmas Under Siege: A Report on the Elimination of an American Tradition.

Power Line on Mary Mapes (Again)

Power Line takes apart more of Mary Mapes' book, noting how she deliberately ignored any facts that didn't mesh with her story.

What's disturbing, as they have pointed out in this and other posts, is that some of those reviewing the book for the mainstream media are so ill-informed about the facts. One wonders if the critics are being as deliberately blind as Mapes herself.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Mark Steyn on the State of Movies and Movie-Going

Steyn is always a great read, and this column is no exception.

The info about the Whoopi Goldberg "disclaimers" on the Looney Tunes DVD set is particularly mind-boggling. I love Steyn's rebuttal: "It’s true you don’t see many positive images of people of color on Looney Tunes, but then the images of people of noncolor aren’t terribly positive, either (Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam). Instead, you see positive images of ducks of color, roadrunners of color and tweety birds of color."

Steyn mentions you can't skip past the Goldberg introduction on the DVD. This is a problem I've noticed on a couple new DVD sets of late -- introductions that are difficult to skip over.

The need the studios seem to feel to put "disclaimers" of various types in their DVD sets is troubling. It's more of a "legal" issue than a "P.C." issue, but an otherwise wonderful vintage Disneyland documentary in a Disney Treasures set was marred by on-screen legal disclaimers during a Tahitian Terrace fire dance scene warning not to try it at home!

(Registration may be required by The Orange County Register.)

CNN Operator Fired for Telling Caller "X" Was Free Speech

Thanks to the Drudge Report, the plot thickens about that mysterious X that was repeatedly flashed over Vice President Cheney's face on CNN during a live speech...CNN has fired a telephone operator for telling a caller that the X was "free speech...we did it just to make a point."

CNN said the operator was fired for expressing his "personal views," but one wonders...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The War on Christmas Strikes Again

Paging John Gibson... Boston has called their Christmas tree a "holiday tree."

The logger who donated the tree is not a happy camper.

I've always wondered why some feel the need to rename things which are very specifically Christmas related as a "holiday" item. The strangest example is Christmas tree ornaments at Disneyland -- around a decade or so ago they started being labeled with the word "Holiday" instead of "Christmas." Considering that the ornaments are only likely to be purchased by people who have trees and thus celebrate Christmas, I can't figure out who Disney thought they'd be offending by continuing to call them "Christmas" ornaments!

Friday, November 25, 2005

David Limbaugh on Michelle Malkin's New Book

Michelle's latest is Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild. David hits some of the high (er, low) points in his review.

(Via Lucianne.)

Today's Movie: Walk the Line (2005)

In a few words, it's as terrific as advertised.

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were impressive, believable not only as Johnny and June Carter Cash the people, but as musicians. These certainly must be the best actors-doing-their-own-singing performances since Sissy Spacek and Beverly D'Angelo in COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER a quarter-century ago. (Wow, has it been that long?) The pounding beat of the soundtrack stays with you long after you leave the theater.

One of the things I found most refreshing was that the film ends on an "up" note -- a life redeemed, rather than a life down the drain. The movie treads lightly on religious faith, but when June takes Johnny to church near the end of the film, it's clear, especially to those who know the real story beyond the movie, that God was a significant part of his turnaround.

Here's Roger Ebert's 4-star review.

Go see it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Tonight's Movie: Welcome Stranger (1947)

Holidays and Bing Crosby just seem to go together!

Tonight we watched one of Bing's lesser-known films, WELCOME STRANGER. Bing and Barry Fitzgerald reunited three years after their success in GOING MY WAY to play small-town doctors in Maine. Fitzgerald and the townspeople are initially wary of Bing, the new doctor in town, but it doesn't take long for Bing to work his way into everyone's hearts, including that of a pretty teacher (Joan Caulfield).

A very entertaining evening. The film is not yet on DVD but is available on video.

Update: WELCOME STRANGER is on DVD as part of the Bing Crosby Collection or as a single title in the Universal Vault Collection.

Thankful for Tony Snow

Lucianne says of Tony: "Two weeks ago he had his colin [sic] replaced !!! and is now on the mend...and still writing. Add him to your prayers. He is a remarkable man."

I second that sentiment, and then some.

A Baseball Story for Thanksgiving

For nearly a decade the San Diego Padres have been annually renewing the minor league contract of a former prospect who will never again play baseball.

Find out why in a heartwarming story which is a perfect read for Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hope for Property Owners?

Steve Chapman writes that eminent domain may, in the long run, actually end up being restrained by the Kelo decision, due to public outrage over the Supreme Court's decision.

Happy Thanksgiving

We are in the middle of Thanksgiving preparations, as many of you are, and blogging may possibly be light over the next day or so.

Here are some lovely thoughts on Thanksgiving by Ken Masugi of The Claremont Institute.

(Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Michael Barone on "The Big Lie"

The always excellent Michael Barone on the Democrats and their Big Lie that President Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Barone says that "Bush, Cheney, and the administration have the truth on their side" and lays out the facts.

"Internet Survives Hijack Attempt"

My Congressman, Ed Royce, on the failed attempt by the U.N. to "hijack" control of the Internet, and on our need to be vigilant about protecting it in future.

The Case of the Mysterious X

Drudge reports that CNN senior management is investigating how "X's" were superimposed over Vice President Cheney's face during a live speech he gave on Monday.

Michelle Malkin is also on the case (scroll down).

Update: CNN is sticking to the story that it was just a glitch.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Disneyland Christmas Music Loops

Earlier this month I posted a link for the fun Disney Music Loops website.

Today Al Lutz of Mice Age has posted an exhaustive article on Disneyland Christmas music loops, including photos of album covers and information on which music is currently available for purchase.

This column is a treasure trove of information for fans of Disneyland and/or Christmas music.

November 2008 Update: The updated URL for the Disney Music Loops site is here.

Disappearing Los Angeles Landmarks

USA TODAY has a nice piece today on the gradual disappearance of "programmatic" or "roadside vernacular" architecture from the Los Angeles scene.

The Tail o' the Pup hot dog stand is currently in danger of closing.

Jim Heimann's book California Crazy and Beyond: Roadside Vernacular Architecture, mentioned in the article, can be found here.

Homeschooling: Schedule Freedom

Kate Tsubata writes in The Washington Times about one of the great benefits of homeschooling: the entire family is freed from being slaves to a schedule set by others.

She says: "Families that switch from institutional schooling to home-schooling always remark on how much more peaceful their lives have become."

We definitely found this to be true. When people ask how I have time to homeschool, I always mention that I'm no longer dropping off and picking up at three different schools and I'm not spending my evenings supervising homework or wading through school forms and papers. And I don't need to have teacher conferences to find out how my children are doing :).

Homeschooling is most definitely an investment of time, but it's not quite as much extra time as one might think, compared to the time spent by an involved parent whose children attend school.

At the same time, I love the freedom to do what we want when we want. If I want to take them on a field trip, we go! If I have to do a "rush" job for my business in the morning, I have the flexibility to have them work independently and then I work with them one-on-one in the evening instead of the morning. And if a child is caught up in a good book at bedtime, I've been known to let them stay up later reading and sleep in a little the next morning. I love that as parents we are now setting the schedule for our family, rather than meeting a schedule set by the school district.

At the same time I think it's worth noting that though freed from the school clock and daily homework grind, this doesn't mean homeschooled children are not learning valuable "life lessons" such as the importance of fulfilling responsibilities. They are simply learning such skills in different contexts, again determined by their parents and not the school system...which is the way most people in our country grew up, until the last hundred years or so and the advent of public education.

(Hat tip: HomeSchoolBuzz.)

FReeper Buckhead Explains It All

Buckhead, the FReeper who started the unraveling of the fake Rathergate documents, created the above website to rebut the lies former CBS producer Mary Mapes has put forth in her new book. (I am intentionally not linking to the book as she deserves as little publicity as possible.)

Of particular interest is Buckhead's page on his own professional experiences with font size and a link to the original Free Republic research thread. I remember reading that thread as it happened in real time. FReeper Howlin started it with a post that said "Document Ping. Do your thing!" and research and information began pouring in from all over the country.

It was an amazing thing to see this information picked up by bloggers (Power Line and Hugh Hewitt among them), who then located experts on typewriters and the like, producing a multi-blog collaborative research project that in short order exploded into the "mainstream" news.

Mapes, of course, deliberately insists on ignoring how the "new media" works and continues to describe her takedown as a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

(Hat tip: Power Line.)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Tasty-Looking Recipe Blog

I stumbled across this blog, Simply Recipes, while cruising the 'Net this evening. It has lots of great-looking recipes and photos.

I've already printed the recipes for Herbed Roast Chicken and Giant Ginger Cookies!

Are Your CD's Spying On You?

Setting aside the issue of copy protection, I would be really upset if I discovered that a CD I'd played on my computer left behind spyware -- especially if I also learned that the spyware made me susceptible to hackers and viruses and I couldn't remove it without ruining my CD drive.

What was Sony thinking?!

Monday Update: The State of Texas has sued Sony under its anti-spyware law. Sony recalled the CDs in question last week.

Many thanks to Missy of Missyisms for forwarding me the lawsuit info.

More here from Newsweek: Sony Gets Caught With Slipped Discs. Apparently the spyware ran afoul of the Homeland Security Department.

Victoria, Australia, Encourages Schools to Celebrate Christmas as a Religious Holiday

The government of Victoria, Australia, has reminded schools not to ban Christmas, and, indeed, religious celebrations, including school Nativity plays and Christmas carols, are being encouraged. This comes after some schools banned Christmas observances last year out of fear of offending non-Christians.

Premier Steve Bracks, saying he wanted to encourage religious tolerance, said: "All schools and kindergartens should be able to have nativity plays and Christian celebrations. Those who don't wish to participate don't have to, and those who wish to celebrate in their own way can do so. But even those from other faiths, of course, accept Christian celebrations and the Government is keen to ensure there are no bans on any of these sorts of activities."

How completely refreshing! It would be wonderful if Americans could emulate this attitude and remember we are guaranteed freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Cheers to Premier Bracks and the Aussies.

Bible Literature Classes in CA High Schools

High schools in Long Beach, California, have been teaching elective Bible literature courses for the last 15 years.

One of the curriculum goals is to help the students understand the Bible's influence on literature, art, and popular culture -- a recent example being the opening credits sequence of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, with its allusion to Eve and the apple.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Candy Blog is Sweeter Than Ever

Check out the Candy Blog, which had a site redesign last looks great.

This is a wonderful blog, informative and filled with mouth-watering photos.

Prince Albert II Enthroned in Monaco

Prince Albert II of Monaco was formally enthroned today, seven months after the death of his father, Prince Rainier III.

The ceremony was conducted in the same cathedral where Albert's father married Grace Kelly; Prince Rainier and Princess Grace are buried there as well.

Photos are here at the BBC. (Input "Prince Albert" if it's no longer the headline.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Facts on Iraq and Bin Laden

Mark Levin succintly lays out the Iraq-Bin Laden connections in National Review Online.

Given the deplorable grandstanding and revisionist history going on this week in Congress, this article is a timely refresher on the facts.

British to See the U.S. Edit of Pride and Prejudice

This most interesting news comes from AustenBlog (linked above). The demand in the U.K. for the U.S. version has been so great that the producers are going to redistribute the film with the U.S. cut.

Many thanks to Missyisms for the link. Be sure to check out Missy's post for other fun info on the film.

I'll be most curious to know what other scenes make the U.S. version 8 minutes longer than the British version.

Warning, all the above links contain plot spoilers on the alternate endings, so please don't read if you've not yet seen PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and want to be surprised by the ending. Any Austen fan will definitely be...surprised (ahem).

Thanksgiving Bookshelf

We have a good-sized collection of Thanksgiving books that we display atop our living room piano this week each year. One of our favorites is THE THANKSGIVING STORY by Alice Dagliesh, with pictures by Helen Sewell (linked above). The book was chosen as a Caledecott Honor Book due to its fine illustrations.

THE PILGRIMS' FIRST THANKSGIVING by Ann McGovern is another favorite. Either of the above books is a great choice for any family who wants to dig a little deeper into the meaning of the holiday this coming week.

I'm intrigued by a newly reissued picture book adaptation of a Louisa May Alcott story, AN OLD-FASHIONED THANKSGIVING. I haven't read this one yet.

For grown-ups, there is THE THANKSGIVING CEREMONY; NEW TRADITIONS FOR AMERICA'S FAMILY FEAST by Edward Bleier. This book was published in 2003 and I haven't yet read it, but I recently picked it up to enjoy this holiday season.

And for cooks, here's a beautiful-looking book that's on my wish list: THANKSGIVING ENTERTAINING from Williams-Sonoma.

Finally, if you're interested in a "visual cookbook," check out the newly produced Martha Stewart DVD, MARTHA'S CLASSIC THANKSGIVING. This is on my weekend viewing list.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Weekend at the Movies

Some members of our family caught the new HARRY POTTER movie tonight. They were extremely enthused and said this was by far the best film in the series, and they are hopeful Mike Newell will direct the rest of the films. I'm not a POTTER aficionado myself, but I was delighted they were so pleased with it.

Kenneth Turan of the L.A. Times agrees (above), saying "...the movies have finally gotten Harry Potter right...stirring magical adventure and engaged, edge-of-your-seat excitement."

Meanwhile I'm hoping to catch WALK THE LINE by Thanksgiving weekend at latest. It sounds terrific. Here's a review from CNN, which calls it "brilliant."

The L.A. Times liked it too.

And PRIDE AND PREJUDICE goes into wide release next week, too!

So many movies, so little time...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

V.P. Cheney Was Not Woodward's Source

Those on the left who have been hoping to salvage "Fitzmas" (hello, Chris Matthews?) will doubtless be crestfallen to learn that The Washington Post reports tonight that Vice President Cheney was not Bob Woodward's source in Plamegate/Woodwardgate.

The panel discussion on Brit Hume's Wednesday show mentioned that Woodward's statement hints it may be a person no longer with the administration.

My guess is it's someone who's no longer with the CIA.

(Registration may be required by The Washington Post.)

Underneath Their Robes Unlikely To Return?

More on the judicial gossip blog which came to an abrupt end this week.

Howard Bashman at How Appealing has further thoughts on the matter. (The direct link to the post doesn't seem to be working, scroll down for his post.)

Woodwardgate: The Latest

The Washington Times today called on Fitzgerald to withdraw Libby's indictment (above).

Elsewhere in the paper they explain why Libby's indictment is unlikely to end in a conviction.

Fitzgerald, interviewed today, did not seem to be backing off his case, but as Michael Barone notes, he has to be embarrassed. Barone's piece is lengthy and full of good links. Worth sticking with the whole thing. Barone concludes with the suspicion that some in the CIA are engaging in covert attacks against the Bush Administration, which is a theory which has also been detailed by attorney Victoria Toensing in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere.

Good Night, Moon Hit By P.C. Censors

I don't like smoking any more than many other people, but the air brushing of Clement Hurd's photograph on new editions strikes me as political correctness run amok.

As I recall, the same thing happened in the "Pecos Bill" segment of Disney's MELODY TIME, with a cigarette being taken out of a cowboy's hand on the last release.

(Registration may be required by The New York Times.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

WA Post: Woodward Could Be Boon To Libby

Uh, yeah.

I wonder if the Post will run an article examining the ethical issues related to Woodward's long silence?

Thanksgiving Turkey Tips

In this article, "The Pilgrims Didn't Brine," the NYT interviews several well-known cooks, including Sara Moulton and Christopher Kimball, for their thoughts on cooking a good turkey.

The Los Angeles Times had a splashy Thanksgiving section today -- there are many links on this page if you're looking for a new stuffing recipe or need recommendations for a roaster pan, among other things.

The LAT recommends against brining, incidentally. I've never felt the need to brine a turkey, myself, and have always had good results.

NASCAR: Nice Guys Finish 1st, or at Least 16th

An unusually high level of NASCAR content here this week, but there have been some stories worth noting.

Last Sunday NASCAR funny man and nice guy Kenny Wallace (brother of Rusty and Mike), who only occasionally races in the Nextel Cup series, subbed for Kurt Busch at the very last moment. He didn't even have his own fire suit as his equipment was shipped home after he was in the Busch race, but despite the drawbacks he kept the car in one piece and placed a very respectable 16th.

Roush Racing had initially been rumored to plan to give Todd Kluever the "ride" next Sunday in the year-ending race, but instead decided to reward Kenny and give him another turn in the 97. (Incidentally, FReepers had organized a "Give Kenny the ride!" email campaign, wonder if public response encouraged Roush to let Kenny finish out the season?) According to Kenny Wallace's website, all three Wallace brothers may thus be racing during Rusty's last race this Sunday.

Holy Coast has the details (above). Kenny Wallace's site has more.

Hewitt: Woodward is Now Nixon

Hugh Hewitt said on the radio this afternoon that Bob Woodward has now become Nixon. Woodward "hunkered down" and has been engaged in a cover-up, not even telling his boss that he had critical info about the Plame investigation.

Hugh suggests Woodward should be fired and agrees with my earlier post that Woodward's silence was cowardly: "It [the indictment] would never have gotten this far if Woodward had been a man about this... How selfish do you get?"

I second Hugh's demand that Woodward be let go. His actions were not upholding journalistic principles, but injuring innocent men who needed the full story to be told.

Fitzgerald's Case Comes Crashing Down

Just One Minute (linked above) wants to know if Patrick Fitzgerald will now admit he was wrong in light of today's revelations from Bob Woodward.

Editor and Publisher reports that Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus suspected Woodward was involved with the Plame case but did not pursue it because Woodward asked Pincus to "keep him out of the reporting." Surely that must violate ethical guidelines of some sort if Pincus was aware that Woodward might have knowledge pertinent to a grand jury criminal investigation?

Woodward apologized to the Washington Post today, saying he had kept quiet because he didn't want to be subpoenaed. He claims this was to protect his source, but the reality is that Mr. Woodward looks rather cowardly having kept quiet for the last couple years, knowing the information he had might have exonerated Scooter Libby.

Attorney Joseph Di Genova -- who along with his wife, Victoria Toensing, has been quite incensed about Fitzgerald's misuse of the covert agent protection law Toensing authored -- said today on Fox News Channel that under ethical guidelines Fitzgerald must dismiss Libby's indictment because of reasonable doubt.

Woodward Knew About Plame Before Libby Told Anyone

Be sure to check out this excellent post at Betsy's Page. It turns out Bob Woodward was told about Valerie Plame by a government official -- not Scooter Libby or Karl Rove -- a month before Libby told anyone. Morever, Woodward's memory about a conversation on the matter differs from that of a colleague.

As Betsy points out, if Bob Woodward or Walter Pincus can possibly have a faulty memory about the details, could not the same be true of Scooter Libby or Tim Russert? The case against Libby seems flimsy, at best.

Judicial Blogger No Longer Anonymous

This morning I came across the news on The Drudge Report that the anonymous blogger behind the Underneath Their Robes judicial gossip site has been outed by The New Yorker and the website has vanished.

I wasn't quite sure what I thought of the site -- sometimes it was interesting, but sometimes over the top in its content -- and had never linked to it here.

Other bloggers have lost their jobs after being found out by their employers. Be interesting to hear further developments, if any.

Update: The New York Times has more. Apparently the blog's author, David Lat, decided to cooperate with The New Yorker as he was ready to take public credit for his work.

Not yet explained is why the site vanished.

Princess Sayako Gives Up Royal Life for Marriage

In a fascinating bit of royal history, Princess Sayako, daughter of the Japanese Emperor, has relinquished her status as a member of the royal family in order to marry. Over the weekend she took part in rituals bidding farewell to her parents and her ancestors preparatory to Tuesday's wedding ceremony.

For the first time in her 36 years, Sayako will have a birth certificate, drive a car, grocery shop, and cook. The Japanese royal family are notoriously closeted from the outside world -- to such an extent that both Crown Princess Masako and Empress Michiko have experienced emotional trauma during their marriages -- and it is to be hoped Sayako's likely shocking transition from the Imperial Palace to a small apartment will be eased by a happy marriage and the new freedom she will find as Mrs. Kuroda.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

U.S. Retains Internet Oversight

Well, thank goodness for this news. For a while there I was worried we'd do another "Panama Canal" and give control away.

Hard to imagine what might happen with the United Nations running things, but I know I don't want to find out!

What Should You Do If You Spill Someone's Pint in a Pub?

Myrna Blyth writes for National Review about the strange new British citizenship test, which omits history questions in favor of "cultural" questions such as the one noted above.

USA TODAY recently ran an article with further details. (Direct link not working; search for "British test" at USA TODAY's site.)

Why the Democrats Thought They Could Lie

Lorie Byrd of Polipundit is guest-blogging for Michelle Malkin while Michelle is on her book tour.

Lorie has an excellent rundown on why the Democrats have thought they could get away with saying that the President lied about the reasons for going to war.

The RNC has produced a web video on the subject. Power Line has more.

I've been relieved that over the last few days the President is finally on the stump refuting the Dems' revisionist history, and I hope he keeps it up, and then some!

C-Sections at All-Time High

The U.S. is edging ever closer to 1 in every 3 births being a C-section...29.1% of all births in 2004 were by C-section, which is remarkable considering it is, after all, major abdominal surgery. Many of the C-sections are elective, and rates for VBACs (vaginal birth after Caesarean) have plummeted to 9.2% from 28.3% nearly a decade ago.

Many hospitals are banning VBACs as they are unwilling to have a surgeon and anesthesiologist on standby for emergencies. Having had two successful VBACs myself, I find the hospitals' preference for the risks of major surgery over VBACs sad and more than a little confounding.

Postage Going Up in January

Postal rates are rising January 8th. For those of use who still love to write real letters, it's particularly disappointing news, though never unexpected.

Monday, November 14, 2005

AOL and Warner Bros. To Air Classic TV on the Web

Among the library of shows which AOL will begin broadcasting in 2006 are MAVERICK (be still my heart -- my all-time favorite show) and the supersoap FALCON CREST.

Hopefully this will whet viewers' appetites for DVDs of these programs, rather than do away with the need for them!

The Roberts Court

Interesting description of the mood in the courtroom with Chief Justice Roberts on the bench, with a discussion about whether or not there should be cameras in the Supreme Court thrown in.

Tuesday Update: A similar article with different details which appeared in last week's New York Times. (Registration may be required.) (Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

U.S., U.K. Seeing Different Edits of Pride and Prejudice

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE runs eight minutes longer in the United States than in the U.K. or Europe, and has a different ending. (Only read article if you don't mind plot spoilers!)

Should make for an interesting DVD if the producers are smart enough to include both versions.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

"A Dweeby Version of Chief Justice John Roberts"... how USA TODAY describes Samuel Alito in an editorial.

What kind of sophisticated analysis is that?!

Meanwhile Drudge reports that the WASHINGTON TIMES is going to be publishing an article Monday saying that Alito once wrote that abortion isn't a right. (Link not yet available.) Looks like his hearings may provide an interesting battle on this issue.

Monday Update: THE WASHINGTON TIMES article, by Bill Sammon, is now available.

Thinking About a Live Christmas Tree?

The National Christmas Tree Association website will help you locate growers in your area.

There's nothing like the smell of a fresh Christmas tree to give one that "Christmas feeling."

Jack Kelly on the Riots in France

Kelly writes about "the elephant in the living room" which the media is trying to ignore. It starts with the letter "M."

NASCAR: You Drink, You Drive, You're Out!

Reigning Nextel Cup Champion and Top 10 driver Kurt Busch was suspended by Roush Racing for the remainder of the season after an alcohol-involved confrontation with police Friday night. Busch has a history of controversial behavior, but Friday night was the last straw for his current team owner.

Roush Racing is to be commended for taking this serious step. NASCAR cannot afford to have its drivers mixing alcohol and high-speed driving.

Hopefully Busch will pull his act together before next season so that Penske Racing, his new employer, doesn't have to take similar action.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mary Poppins Coming to Broadway

Another Disney film classic is becoming a Broadway musical. MARY POPPINS, which has been playing in London's West End, will open in New York in November 2006.

(Registration may be required by The New York Times.)

Wonders Never Cease

The Los Angeles Times is dropping its hateful (and hate-filled) columnist Robert Scheer from the editorial pages.

Perhaps they are finally waking up to some of the reasons behind their plummeting circulation numbers.

Scheer blames, in part, Rush Limbaugh and says the paper "finally collapsed" under the weight of criticism against him.

Unfortunately the paper is also letting cartoonist Michael Ramirez go.

(Registration may be required by the Fresno Bee.)

L.A. Observed reports Jonah Goldberg of National Review is being added to the opinion pages.

Don't Mess With Grandma!

I heard the recording of this 911 call on Sean Hannity's radio show. The gun-wielding grandmother can be heard in the background yelling "How dare you come into my house!" along with another choice word or two.

(Sean said she's embarrassed she can be heard cursing on the tape, but under the unusual circumstances I think she can be forgiven.)

More details here.

If ever there were a good example for the importance of law-abiding citizens having the right to "keep and bear arms," this is it.

Meanwhile the city of San Francisco will be facing a legal challenge to their new law not only outlawing the sale of handguns in the city, but requiring law-abiding citizens to surrender their guns. In a sane world this law would surely be ruled unconstitutional, but I have little trust in the courts at this juncture!

Rodgers & Hammerstein Anniversary DVDs

There are some wonderful DVD releases coming next Tuesday which Rodgers and Hammerstein musical lovers may want to put on their Christmas lists.

A 40th anniversary edition of THE SOUND OF MUSIC (linked above) contains a great deal of new material which wasn't in the last two-disc release, including a commentary track by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. It was a treat to see Julie Andrews and the "children" this morning on GOOD MORNING, AMERICA!

The 50th anniversary edition of OKLAHOMA! is of note as it contains not one but two versions of the film. The movie was shot in both Cinemascope and Todd-AO, and each disc contains one of the versions, with a commentary by Shirley Jones accompanying one and musicals expert Hugh Fordin on the other.

I once saw OKLAHOMA! and couldn't figure out why it felt just a bit "off" -- I later realized I'd seen a version I hadn't previously seen before!

(SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS is another film which was filmed twice; both Cinemascope and "flat" versions are included in the two-disc DVD which came out last year. It's fascinating to compare the slight differences.)

The charming STATE FAIR is being released in a 60th anniversary edition which includes the inferior 1962 version on the second disc. STATE FAIR is unique in that R&H wrote it directly for the screen rather than the Broadway stage. Jeanne Crain was dubbed singing "It Might As Well Be Spring," but she's always been one of my favorite actresses, and the score also includes one of my favorite R&H songs, "It's a Grand Night for Singing."

Mary Mapes: The Lies Continue

Former CBS producer Mary Mapes has been giving some interesting -- and infuriating -- interviews this week to publicize her new book. Her chief defense in the Rathergate affair seems to be that the documents were not proved inauthentic -- a patent lie, besides which it was her duty to be sure she was presenting authentic documents, rather than putting the burden on others to prove them false.

One of the document examiners involved has posted a side-by-side comparison of passages from Mapes' book with the reality of what happened (above).

(Hat tip: Power Line.)

NASCAR Limits Teams

NASCAR, moving to try to keep smaller single-car teams viable, has announced 4-car limits on teams for future seasons.

There is some speculation that Roush Racing, which is currently running five top teams, may be "grandfathered in" and allowed to keep five cars until their sponsorship contracts run out.

A Scary Teacher

Catherine Seipp of National Review describes an encounter with an angry California teacher. I'd term it a "strange encounter" but unfortunately we've had enough weird teacher experiences ourselves, such as the screaming, cursing AP Chemistry teacher, not to find this too unusual.

There are some truly fabulous teachers out there, of course, and we've met some of those too. But unfortunately we don't have the right as consumers to pick and choose the teachers we deal with -- something which, along with school choice, would vastly improve public education.

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs.)

Coke Flavors Coming and Going

The Coca-Cola Co. is stopping production of Diet Coke with Lemon and Vanilla Coke due to poor sales.

They'll be replaced by new Black Cherry flavors.

Coke is also developing Coca-Cola Blak, a coffee-flavored Coke. (Editorial comment: ick!!)

As for me, I'm sticking with my 22-year addiction to regular Diet Coke. The first time I ever drank Diet Coke was a free sample at a private cast party celebrating the opening of Disneyland's New Fantasyland in 1983. I've been in love ever since. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Photos of Air Force One at Reagan Library

Some good photos of the new Air Force One exhibit at the Reagan Library.

We're looking forward to visiting sometime in the next few months!

(Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

"Awed by Austen"

Another day, another fun rundown of Austen on film (linked above).

There are many such articles and reviews of the new version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE easily available via Google News. Links to a few, which may be updated over the next day or two:

This article makes the case for the Firth version as the greatest of them all.

Newsday likes the new version.

Another good review.

USA TODAY gives the film a 4-star review. (Click on "Life" to find the review; direct link not working.)

The Boston Globe review includes words such as "radiant" and "exhilarating" and says the film leaves viewers "incandescently happy."

Friday Update: The Los Angeles Times, like the Boston Globe, finds the movie "exhilarating."

More interesting links can be found at Missyisms.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Voters Decline to Return Cross to City Logo

Following up on a post from Monday, voters in Redlands, California, voted against returning a cross to the city's logo and making it the city seal.

The Marketing of Narnia

London's Daily Telegraph reports that Disney is working with several Christian groups to market THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, including the Christian marketing company which ran the successful campaign for THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.

This move is of particular note given Disney's sometimes contentious relations with some evangelical groups in years past.

Le Creuset: Winner and Still Champion

Donna Deane of the L.A. Times compares three brands of braiser and judges her old standby, a 5.5 quart Le Creuset, to do the best job.

I received the same size Le Creuset pot for my birthday this year, and I love it. It's solidly built with a tight-fitting lid, is wonderful to cook with on the stovetop or in the oven (under 400 degrees), and cleans easily. They are expensive, but deals can be found -- mine was purchased on sale -- and they are built to last a lifetime; indeed, they come with a lifetime warranty.

My most recent success in my Le Creuset is Pot Roast with Root Vegetables, which can be found here or here.

(Registration may be required by the L.A. Times.)

Wednesday TV Gossip

If you're a fan of GILMORE GIRLS, as I am, or other current TV shows and want to know the latest news and scoops, the place to visit is TV Guide's Ask Ausiello page. A new column is up every Wednesday morning.

But ONLY read if you don't mind spoilers! :)

Meanwhile I can hardly wait for next week's edition of GILMORE, which Ausiello says is the "Best. Episode. Ever."

Hugh Hewitt's Advice to Governor Arnold

A discouraging morning for California conservatives, though the results were not unexpected. The "base" didn't seem energized, and any pro-proposition advertising was drowned out with endless negative ads.

Hugh Hewitt has some thoughts for Arnold on how to proceed in future. I certainly concur with the need to associate more closely with conservatives.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Disneyland to Update Pirates Ride With Movie Tie-In

Al Lutz of Mice Age reports that when the classic ride is rehabbed in the spring, there will be some interesting new changes to tie in with the Pirates films.

Some of the changes sound like fun (mist projections) and some I suspect I could do without (rotting flesh special effects?!).

There's lots of other interesting news in the column, including plans for a special nighttime "Rock It Mountain" soundtrack for Space Mountain and an Incredibles ride to open at California Adventure two Christmases from now.

Representative Plagiarizes Blogger

Representative Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, sent an anti-Alito letter to Senator Mike DeWine which was chiefly the uncredited writing of Nathan Newman.

A visit to Newman's website shows that he apparently doesn't mind having his writing stolen, calling the plagiarism story "ridiculous." Anything for the liberal cause!

A side note (and a warning to anyone who may consider clicking the links), Newman's own language leaves much to be desired. The philosophy of many liberals seems to be if you can't make a good argument, cuss instead.

(Hat tip:

Wednesday Update: Byron York of National Review covers this story for The Hill, including the curious complacency about the plagiarism issue in certain liberal corners of the blogosphere.

Post-Firth Pride and Prejudice...and Other Fall Films

USA TODAY on the new PRIDE AND PREJUDICE film, along with a rundown of the history of Austen's novel on film.

Some of the information in the article gives me pause. When Elizabeth tours Pemberley she doesn't view the portrait gallery, but a garden of nude statues? Okay... It will certainly be interesting to see how the new film fits in with the excellent earlier versions.

I've always been fond of the abridged 1940 Olivier-Garson version, despite the anachronistic costumes. Olivier conveys more with his eyes than other actors do with pages of dialogue. Whenever this turns up on Turner Classic Movies, the entire family will stop and watch it.

The 1980 version, which aired here on MASTERPIECE THEATRE, was highly entertaining. The complete version was released last year on DVD; an earlier video release was apparently edited and incomplete.

And of course the 1995 edition is dear to the hearts of Austen and Colin Firth fans everywhere :).

It looks to be a good fall movie season. WALK THE LINE, with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as Johnny and June Carter Cash, has been receiving strong advance notice.

My older children are all rereading THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE in anticipation of seeing the new movie.

Dennis Quaid, who previously remade the '60s family comedy THE PARENT TRAP, stars with Rene Russo in a remake of another '60s family comedy, YOURS, MINE AND OURS. Quaid is one of my favorite actors, and I certainly hope his new movie is better than the tacky Steve Martin remake of CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN!

Update: This article describes Emma Thompson's uncredited role as "fairy godmother" for the film PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Thompson, who won an Oscar for her SENSE AND SENSIBILITY screenplay, assisted with the script. (And no, Garson and Olivier were not 40 when they played Elizabeth and Darcy, as the article states. They were in their 30s.)

Thomas Sowell on the Riots in France

The always-interesting Dr. Sowell on a Moslem population which "lives in France but is not really of France."

Reflecting further on recent reading on the riots, including Joel Kotkin's piece of last night on economic issues, I think that the bottom line is: Bad people will be bad people, whether they're in France, New Orleans, Los Angeles, or anywhere else.

Monday, November 07, 2005

"Why Immigrants Don't Riot Here"

Joel Kotkin has a thought-provoking piece in Opinion Journal about the economic and class situations in France and the lack of economic mobility or an immigrant "melting pot," which may be contributing to the recent riots.

I'm a bit of a skeptic when someone tries to show a linkage between economic problems and crime. The U.S. answer to crime or riots is often to throw money at the affected areas in the name of "economic development," rather than addressing key grassroots issues such as single-mother families and lack of emphasis on education, good citizenship, and the like. And in the case of the recent events in France, I'm concerned there may be darker forces (i.e., terrorists) fomenting the riots for reasons which have nothing to do with jobs.

However, Kotkin makes an interesting case linking economics with the unrest among immigrants in France and points out how different the economic opportunities are for immigrants to the United States. It's worthwhile to read and mull over.

City Voting Tuesday on Restoring Cross to City Seal

The city of Redlands, California, will be voting Tuesday on whether or not to restore a cross to a city logo that was removed under threat of a lawsuit from the ACLU. The logo would also become the city's official seal if passed by the voters.

The same threat caused the city of Los Angeles to remove a cross from its seal -- meanwhile neither the city of Los Angeles nor the ACLU seem to have any problem with the seal's inclusion of Pomona, Goddess of Agriculture.

Homeschoolers More Likely to Vote

Michael Smith of Home School Legal Defense Association has written an election eve column in the Washington Times detailing the interesting statistics about homeschool student voting patterns.

(Hat tip: HomeSchoolBuzz.)

More On the 9th Circuit Parental Rights Decision

This article articulates further concerns that the court's decision will lead to other rulings compromising the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit.

One of the sentences in the opinion which causes the greatest concern: "...parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed..."

This causes me to wonder, would it then logically follow that public schools no longer have to obtain parental permission slips for anything?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

On California's Proposition 73

The Orange County Register ran an article today on Proposition 73, which is on the ballot in Tuesday's election. Prop. 73 requires that parents be notified before a minor has an abortion.

The article had an amazing quote from a UC Irvine doctor who is against Prop. 73: "This would put layers of delays between patients and doctors, and it puts government right in the middle."

No, Doctor, it puts parents right in the middle -- where they should be.

The War on Christmas, Part 1,000,262...

Christmas light funding is being scrapped by a council in England because Christmas doesn't fit in with "core values of equality and diversity."

Another council in England has lights but is calling them "winter" or "celebrity" (??) lights.

A new article on Christmas conflicts in the United States, which also has info on John Gibson's new book on the subject, can be found here.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Hot Ice Cream War

Baskin-Robbins is giving its stores a much-needed update due to tough competition from Cold Stone Creamery and Carvel. Remodeled stores will have lower cases to allow children to see more easily, and the employees will work facing the customers, a la Cold Stone.

(Registration may be required by The Los Angeles Times.)

For me it's a toss-up as to which is my favorite: Baskin-Robbins Chocolate Fudge or Cold Stone's decadent Cake Batter, which is sadly still off the shelves while Cold Stone reworks the recipe after a salmonella scare last summer.

To receive an email when Cake Batter ice cream returns to Cold Stone, click here, then click "In the Mix" and "I Want My Cake Batter!"

Captain's Quarters on the NYT and California Initiatives

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters delivers a much-deserved smackdown to the New York Times' elitist criticism of the California initiative process.

Sometimes California voters get it wrong, but over the years we have used the initiative process to pass some important laws when our representatives refused to act themselves -- Proposition 13 (property tax protection) and Proposition 22 (defining marriage between a man and a woman) being just two examples.

I'll be glad when Tuesday comes and our phone stops ringing with political advertisements!

Arizona Moves to Protect Legal Votes

The L.A. Times has a front-page story today charging that Arizona's tougher new voter identification law is disenfranchising legal voters who are somehow unable to dig up a birth certificate or passport.

The paper also tries to drum up sympathy for a legal resident who has been charged with a felony because he knowingly falsely affirmed he was a citizen and voted in the last Presidential election. He didn't think the citizenship issue was any big deal because he's lived here a long time. I suspect the paper wants conservatives to feel sorry for him as they mention he's a Christian who voted for President Bush.

I'm far more concerned about legal voters being disenfranchised by having their votes offset by illegal voters. Voter fraud in all forms is a growing scandal (I highly recommend John Fund's Stealing Elections), and I applaud the State of Arizona for addressing the issue with reasonable identification requirements.

(Registration may be required by The Los Angeles Times.)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Tonight's Viewing: Nine Innings From Ground Zero (2004)

This fall, with the distance of some time passing since 2001, I have felt ready to catch up with some excellent 9/11 documentaries.

Previously I watched STRANDED YANKS, a 2002 documentary about the experiences of thousands of travelers who were unexpectedly stranded in Canada when all planes were grounded on September 11th. Entire towns in Canada sprang into action to "adopt" the passengers and care for them during the days before air travel resumed.

Tonight I viewed NINE INNINGS FROM GROUND ZERO, which examines the role of baseball, and especially the World Series, as a healing experience in the wake of 9/11. It was very moving, especially for someone who loves baseball and its rich history. The film includes some wonderful footage of President Bush's trip to Yankee Stadium to throw out the first pitch during the World Series.

Each of these documentaries is a stirring reminder that although there is evil in this world, the world is also filled with countless caring people who are willing to reach out a hand to those in need.

Finalist for Radio Blogger Blog of the Week!

My November 1st post (scroll down) on UC San Diego subsidizing porn production is one of five finalists for Blog of the Week at Radio Blogger (link above).

As the saying goes, it's an honor just to be nominated :).

The finalists are chosen by Hugh Hewitt, Adam Youngman, and the Radio Blogger himself, "Generalissimo" Duane.

The winner receives a Crosley radio.

Voting at the Radio Blogger site takes place until noon Pacific Time on Monday, November 7th.

Coming on Fox News Sunday

Chris Wallace interviews Mike Wallace on camera for the first time.

(Hat tip: Media Bistro.)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Alito on Church and State

Judge Alito was said today to have expressed concern about the Supreme Court's rulings on separation of church and state, saying they gave "the impression that the court's decisions were incoherent in this area of the law in a way that really gives the impression of hostility to religious speech and religious expression." This statement occurred in a meeting with Senator John Cornyn.

I find this point of view, and his willingness to share it, very encouraging. The left, of course, will have a field day with it.

Not so encouraging is the Senate not holding hearings on Judge Alito's confirmation until mid-January. Most of us work in November and December, and the Senate should, too.

(Registration may be required by The New York Times.)

Representatives Act to Counter Kelo Decision

The House of Representatives today responded to the Supreme Court's Kelo decision by passing a bill intended to discourage cities from taking private property for private use by another party.

Hopefully the U.S. Senate will promptly follow suit. Until legislation is passed at federal and/or local levels to protect private property, as the Constitution intended and the Supreme Court ignored, no home or business in America is safe.

Milwaukee Paper: Clarence Thomas Not a Real Black

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote: "In losing a woman, the court with Alito would feature seven white men, one white woman and a black man, who deserves an asterisk because he arguably does not represent the views of mainstream black America."

What is with liberals, anyway?

The editor is surprised readers interpreted this as the paper believing Thomas isn't "black enough."

Editor and Publisher summarizes the controversy (above).

Update: As I've pondered the issue further, I've wondered: would the paper have suggested that some of the white judges deserve an asterisk because they don't represent "mainstream white America"? Would they have suggested Ruth Bader Ginsburg doesn't represent "mainstream American women"? I think not.

And who decides what is "mainstream," anyway?

Power Line's Plame/Wilson Update

Power Line has an excellent synopsis of two new articles on this matter, which were written by former Senator Zell Miller and attorney Victoria Toensing.

Toensing finds the CIA's behavior in this matter rather odd, to say the least, and concludes: "The CIA conduct in this matter is either a brilliant covert action against the White House or inept intelligence tradecraft. It is up to Congress to decide which."

Disney Theme Park Music Loops

If you've ever been curious about the background music you hear in Disney theme parks or resorts, this website is for you :).

The site includes exhaustive lists of the "music loops" Disney uses, neatly organized by park, land, restaurant, or resort. When possible, artist and album names are provided, as well as links to Amazon listings. There are even detailed lists of the Christmas music played in the parks.

One of my favorite memories from my years employed at Disneyland is walking through the quiet park after closing, looking at the beautifully lit Christmas tree as "I'll Be Home for Christmas" played in the background.

November 2008 Update: Here is the current URL for the Disney Music Loops site.

The Next Alito Smear?

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters reports that Alito's National Guard service during the Vietnam War may be the next target for the Democrat smear machine.

Confirm Them has more.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

How Most Conservatives Feel This Week

An amusing cartoon. :)

(Hat tip: Confirm Them.)

9th Circuit Strips Parents of Educational Rights

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that parents of children in public schools do not have a "'fundamental right' to be the exclusive provider of sexual information to their children."

The opinion said, in essence, no such parental right can be found in our Constitution or history.

Funny how liberal courts can find rights to privacy and abortion hiding in the Constitution, but they somehow can't find liberty for parents to raise their children as they see fit "in the deep roots of the nation's history and tradition or implied in the concept of ordered liberty."

Aaron Brown Out at CNN

Jon Klein of CNN said in his announcement, "There is no question that he will be missed"... However, Klein won't miss Brown enough to keep him on the air!

I have always found Brown pretentious and will find his absence from CNN a welcome change. However, I don't find his replacement, Anderson Cooper, much of an improvement.

Today's Field Trip

We spent today at California Science Center in Los Angeles, which has many interesting hands-on exhibits for children (and grown-ups!) to explore varied areas of science.

While there we also saw a very good new 3-D IMAX movie, Magnificent Desolation, produced, co-written, and narrated by Tom Hanks. The movie focuses on the experience of landing on and exploring the moon, via both documentary footage and simulations with actors.

A good day was had by all :).

Blog of the Week Entry at Radio Blogger

Many thanks to Duane at Radio Blogger for accepting my post yesterday on UC San Diego as an entry in this week's "Blog of the Week" contest. :)

More on Tuesday's Senate Tantrum

Betsy Newmark has a great rundown of links and analysis about yesterday's lockdown stunt by the Senate Democrats.

She shares the feelings I expressed yesterday, that this will, in the end, simply strengthen Republicans' resolve to see that Alito is confirmed.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"A Revolt for Excellence"

Tony Blankley assesses the importance of the conservative revolt against Miers.

He particularly notes that it was not a small faction of Republicans who triumphed --by the time of the resignation virtually all corners of the Republican party were united in their opposition to Miers: "...such broad, shoulder-to-shoulder conspicuous conservative opposition to a Republican president advocating a not liberal nomination or position is, I think, without precedent."

A Fifth Gate at Walt Disney World?

Kevin Yee of MiceAge has some interesting theories and informed speculation about the possibility of a fifth park being in the works for Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Are There No Adults Running UC San Diego?

I picked up on this stunning story via Hugh Hewitt's radio show. UC San Diego students are producing and airing a pornographic television show which includes "explicit" scenes.

As the parent of a college-bound senior who is considering a UC campus -- strictly because she is already guaranteed admission due to her high class ranking -- I am particularly appalled.

A campus station manager doesn't "want to stand in the way of creative freedom"?

How about standing in the way of taxpayer facilities being used for the production and airing of porn? How about standing in the way of a complete breakdown of student morals and respect, and standing up for what is right?

This isn't about education and academic freedom, it's about a school administration aiding and abetting deviance, with taxpayer funding, no less.

Democrats Lock Senate in Temper Tantrum

The Democrats today invoked a parliamentary procedure locking down the Senate prior to a discussion of Iraq and the indictment of Scooter Libby.

According to The Corner, this was done by Harry Reid without consulting Senate Majority Leader Frist, who is livid.

Methinks that the Democrats know they can't filibuster Alito and are also frustrated by the limited nature of last week's indictment of Libby, and they are panicking and throwing a temper tantrum today. The end result, however, will be a toughening of Republican resolve as Republicans know now, more than ever, that the Democrats refuse to "play nice."

Update: The Democrats aren't likely to be any happier when they learn that today Tom DeLay won his motion to remove from his case the judge who was a contributor to

Ed Whelan of Bench Memos on Alito's Consistency

Ed Whelan anticipates an argument from the left about Alito, that some of his opinions have been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Whelan makes the point that these situations occurred because Alito had carefully and consistently followed precedent in his rulings, while O'Connor, on review, shifted unpredictably with the wind and took the court with her.

Bench Memos has been and will continue to be "must" reading during the confirmation process.

Homeschooling Growing in France

Homeschooling has been a relatively small movement in France, compared to the United States or even Britain, but the numbers are growing, chiefly due to declining satisfaction with public schools.

(Hat tip: HomeSchoolBuzz.)

Podhoretz Predicts No Filibuster

John Podhoretz predicts there will be plenty of smears, which will quickly be set aside by the public, but there will be no filibuster. He believes that in triggering the "nuclear option" (which some of us prefer to refer to as the Constitutional option) the Democrats would suffer a huge defeat.

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Confirm Them in the New York Times

The NYT leads off this article on conservative reaction to the Alito nomination by describing the happy reaction at Confirm Them, which the paper refers to as "a hotbed of conservative debate."

Confirm Them has done a terrific job regularly updating their site with the latest news and informed speculation. Erick had the nomination pegged as of last Friday morning.

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