Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New Book: Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary Edition

'Tis the season for lots of wonderful book releases!

As first reported here last March, there is a new 75th Anniversary Edition of THE JOY OF COOKING, which is being released today.

I haven't yet looked the book over myself. The New York Times traces JOY's history and compares editions, asking "Does the world need another JOY? Do you?"


Today the Times also ran a fun article on hard-to-find classic cookbooks. (Who knew Johnny Mathis wrote COOKING FOR YOU, ALONE?)

Kerry Pulled From the Campaign Trail

Free Republic has a thread up that Fox News Channel has announced John Kerry will not be making his scheduled campaign appearances on Wednesday, November 1st.

And Bruce Braley, a Democrat candidate in Iowa, has cancelled Thursday's scheduled appearance with Kerry.

I especially enjoyed Alan Colmes tonight on HANNITY AND COLMES, endlessly insisting that Kerry didn't say what he said. He was neatly slapped down by Michael Barone: "The words say what they said." Indeed.

Barone also said that this incident will energize the Republican base.

John Kerry, the gift that keeps on giving...

Update: Karen Tumulty of Time Magazine on "John Kerry, Still One Step Behind."

More on Wednesday's cancelled Kerry appearance in Mankato, MN.

Positive Jedi Predictions

As longtime readers of TKS (aka The Kerry Spot) know, Jim Geraghty has two anonymous confidantes he's nicknamed Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. Each of these men has longtime experience in politics...and both predict Republicans will maintain control of both the House and the Senate.

Geraghty also wonders today if TKS should return to being called The Kerry Spot.

The most unintentionally funny line of the day may have been Kerry calling dear Tony Snow a "stuffed shirt"...does he know Tony is in a rock band? :)

President Bush: Kerry "Insulting, Shameful"

Strong words from President Bush today, in response to Senator Kerry:

"The Senator’s suggestion that the men and women of our military are somehow uneducated is insulting and shameful. Our troops did not enlist because they did not study hard in school or do their homework. The men and women who serve in our all-volunteer Armed Forces are plenty smart and are serving because they are patriots – and Senator Kerry owes them an apology."

Thank you, President Bush.

New Book: Walt Disney Biography

Neil Gabler's new biography, WALT DISNEY: THE TRIUMPH OF THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION is receiving rave reviews.

USA TODAY calls it "masterful" while THE WASHINGTON TIMES says the book is "magnificent."

Holy Coast has some interesting quotes from a John Fund piece in the Wall Street Journal about the book's depiction of Walt Disney's political conservatism. (Fund's original article is accessible by subscription only.)


John Kerry: A Petulant Child

John Kerry's press conference this morning, ongoing as I write, is sickening, there's simply no other word for it. Kerry is blaming the White House for "distorting" his remarks about our not-so-smart military and responding with nothing less than a full-blown hissy fit at Republicans. He says that Republican outrage is "textbook Republican campaign tactics." No, I'd say the "blame the other guy" response is textbook Democrat campaign tactics.

You know, I am sick and tired of Democrats like John Kerry, aided and abetted by the media, who play these kinds of games, calling Republicans "bullies." Kerry screws up, and instead of being a stand-up guy, owning up to it and apologizing to the troops, he apologizes for nothing, blames the other guy, and basically stomps his feet and carries on like a petulant child.

The other day I read a satirical post somewhere on the Internet suggesting that Democrats would blame Republicans for what Harold Ford said about Christian Republicans not loving the Lord. Kerry's press conference lives up to that suggestion: "It's not my fault!"

And the media does its part by ignoring the story to the greatest extent possible. Kerry made his statement here in Southern California, but it was nowhere to be found in the morning's Los Angeles Times. They finally covered it by running an AP story when Tony Snow criticized Kerry.

Thank you, Senator Kerry, for reminding voters everywhere exactly what Democrats do and don't stand for.

Michelle Malkin (subject link) has regular updates.

Update: Robert Novak accurately dubbed Kerry's press conference demeanor "almost hysterical" and suggested he seriously damaged any remaining Presidential prospects.

Will Kerry's late-breaking faux pas damage Democrat hopes at the polls next week? A correspondent to The Corner says that "Somewhere [DNC strategist] Rahm Emanuel is throwing a Blackberry against a wall..."

Monday, October 30, 2006

John Kerry Disses the Troops

John Kerry was campaigning in California today and was caught on tape saying, in so many words, that those serving in the U.S. military are uneducated, stupid rubes.

Kerry's statement at Pasadena City College: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

More from Michelle Malkin.

And to think this man might have been Commander in Chief.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The End of the Ford Campaign?

Oh, my.

I believe today Harold Ford Jr. may have sealed his loss in the race for the Tennessee Senate with this amazing pronouncement, quoting his campaign chair:

"There’s one big difference between us and misfortunate Republicans when it comes to our faith: he said that Republicans fear the Lord; he said Democrats fear AND love the Lord."

Power Line (linked above) has YouTube video. (Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt.)

I can't imagine Tennessee Christians of any party would feel comfortable with this insult to the faith of Republican Christians. (Not to mention the insult to the ears of such poor grammar. "Misfortunate"?)

Glenn Reynolds: "If a Republican said something like that about Democrats, it would be a national scandal."

Stop the ACLU has YouTube video of Bob Corker's response, suggesting that those of all parties will find Ford's statement of concern.

Earlier Sunday, Hugh Hewitt's co-blogger Dean Barnett said of Ford's appearance on Fox News Sunday: "Ford looked haggard and angry. He gave off the unmistakable whiff of a candidate who has been bludgeoned with unfavorable internals the last several days. He also looked like he hadn’t slept since July."

I watched a little of the interview before fast-forwarding to the panel discussion, and I think the description is apt.

While we're on the topic of Ford, here's Jeff Jacoby on the attempt to play the "race card" complaining about last week's Ford ad.

Inclusivity Equals Excluding Christianity

On the heels of the story about Georgetown University banning several Christian fellowship groups from campus comes word that the historic College of William and Mary, our nation's second university, has removed the cross from its chapel in the name of "inclusivity."

This isn't about "inclusivity," this is about excluding Christianity and its most sacred symbols.

Studio 60 on the Way Out?

STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP will not air Monday evening. NBC has pulled the scheduled rerun in favor of an episode of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.

Roger Friedman of Fox News (subject link) says cancellation is imminent.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Latest on Tony Snow

A lot has been written about White House Press Secretary Tony Snow in recent months, but this New York Times Magazine profile is worth taking the time to read. Very enjoyable.

2007 Postage Stamps to Honor Stewart, Fitzgerald

The U.S. Postal Service has announced its lineup of stamps for 2007. Among those featured will be James Stewart (the 13th actor to be honored in the "Legends of Hollywood" series) and Ella Fitzgerald. Scroll down at the subject link to see the artwork for each stamp.

Striking stamps honoring Longfellow (with Paul Revere riding in the background) and the Settlement of Jamestown (an unusual triangular design) are among the other stamps we can look forward to next year.

(Hat tip: Missyisms.)

If you're an early shopper, Christmas stamps are already available at the post office! This year's new designs are the Madonna and Child and snowflakes. My local post office tends to run out of these as Christmas nears, so I like to stock up as soon as they're released.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Go, Lynne, Go!

I heard Lynne Cheney's interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on the radio this afternoon. She is a wonderfully forthright lady who is nobody's fool.

Hugh Hewitt describes how Mrs. Cheney turned the tables when Blitzer attempted to sandbag her, avoiding the topic -- her new book -- which she was invited to discuss. Mrs. Cheney, a veteran of CROSSFIRE, had no difficulty at all rebutting Blitzer's points and serving a few right back at him. Hugh also has the transcript of the entire interview.

I was delighted to hear Mrs. Cheney take on Blitzer about CNN airing a terrorist propaganda tape of an American soldier being shot. Within a matter of a minute or so Blitzer contradicted himself, asserting first that the tape was not propaganda, and later in the interview that it was.

Blitzer clearly had no firm case to stand on for CNN having aired the tape -- and no firm case for the charges he made that Mrs. Cheney's book equated with the writing of Jim Webb. Hardly surprising that Blitzer actually confronted Mrs. Cheney with unresearched Democratic talking points. (What might be surprising is that he actually admitted he was using them to question her.) Mrs. Cheney's response, in part: "Wolf, I have nothing to explain. Jim Webb has a lot to explain."

I've admired Lynne Cheney since long before she become our nation's second lady, and I continue to be impressed; she is both articulate and dignified.

Mrs. Cheney's new book, OUR 50 STATES, is already winging its way to us from Amazon.

Tuba Player Was Part of Pop Culture History

If you're not a musician you may not be familiar with the name Tommy Johnson, but you certainly know his work.

Johnson, who passed away on October 16th, was the tuba player who played those ominous "shark" notes in the JAWS theme composed by John Williams.

A musical tribute to Johnson will be held on December 3rd in Bovard Auditorium at USC.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Georgetown University Bans Christian Fellowship

Brit Hume alluded to this strange story on Special Report today...Georgetown University, having accepted $20 million to promote Islam on campus, has also banned several Christian fellowship groups from the campus, notably InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

My daughter participates in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at her university, and I can't fathom why a Christian university would ban this group, which welcomes Protestants and Catholics alike. The ban is all the more strange when the university is so accepting of Islam. The InterVarsity students are continuing to hold Bible studies and other meetings "behind closed doors."

More is at Christianity Today, and an older story that provides background information is at NRO's Phi Beta Cons.

Patterico, The L.A. Times, and "That" Ford Ad

Patterico has devastating analysis of the L.A. Times' one-sided coverage of the Harold Ford ad controversy.

As an aside, the more complaints I hear that the Ford ad is "racist" -- tonight on TV it was Pat Caddell, who is on my short list of Democrat politicos I respect -- the more disturbed I become. The complaints either seem to come from political types who are bent on stirring up trouble any way they can, or political analysts of a "certain age" who don't seem to understand that the world has changed.

The Washington establishment types look down their noses and automatically assume most voters are such racist "hicks" that they can be "baited" to vote a certain way by an allusion to interracial dating. That kind of implied slam doesn't say a whole lot for those who would make that argument.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tonight's Dinner: Beef Bourguignon

I haven't done a cooking post in a while, and tonight we had an excellent meal from a crockpot recipe I came across on the web. The recipe is linked above.

I modified the recipe somewhat; I used 2 pounds of beef instead of 3, and I thought an entire pound of bacon was overkill and cut that amount in half. Conversely, I doubled the amount of carrots.

The meal requires a bit of effort at the stove, prior to loading up the crockpot, but it was well worth it.

With the bacon in the recipe, this is a meal you'll probably want to save as an occasional treat rather than as a staple of your diet (grin), but it made a very nice change of pace. The stew had great flavor and was extremely tender.

Along with the stew I tried Nigella Lawson's sticky garlic potatoes from her book FEAST. Heavenly!

FEAST has to be one of the most beautiful cookbooks ever published. The photographs are remarkable, and Lawson's droll writing style is most enjoyable. I've been meaning to try making a cake from her "Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame" forever...hopefully I'll get to it by year's end.

New Book: Our 50 States

Lynne Cheney has written a new book, OUR 50 STATES, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. The Amazon description sounds like it will be as much fun as Cheney and Glasser's two previous books, AMERICA: A PATRIOTIC PRIMER and A IS FOR ABIGAIL.

OUR 50 STATES will be under our Christmas tree for our 8-year-old this year. Fortunately he's not yet old enough to read this blog, grin.

My favorite of Cheney's books is WHEN WASHINGTON CROSSED THE DELAWARE, beautifully illustrated by Peter Fiore. We lingered over each page, carefully studying the details in each picture. If you're not yet acquainted with this book, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Aren't We Over That Kind of Thinking Already?

I'm trying to figure out how anyone can state with a straight face that the new Harold Ford ad is racist. The YouTube link to the ad is above.

The commercial, which is quite amusing, pokes fun -- among other things -- of Ford's attending a Playboy party last year, which certainly seems to me to be fair game for voters wishing to assess Ford's moral character.

Now the NAACP and others are coming out of the woodwork crying "racism" because the ad ends with a white woman, who says she met Ford at the party, asking Ford to call her. This supposedly "plays to pre-existing prejudices about African-American men and white women" and is "a very serious appeal to a racist sentiment."

What pre-existing prejudices? How does this appeal to racism? I thought our country was so past that kind of thinking.

We live in an era when the most popular program on television is populated by diverse characters who include a black/Asian couple and a black/white couple. And it's just...normal. Not even commented upon, that I can recall. They're people. Which is as it should be. And which is how the Ford ad should be viewed.

I suspect this is only an "issue" in the eyes of politicians who want to make it an issue; it causes me to wonder uncomfortably if the politicians or NAACP members may have some racist feelings deep down themselves, if that's what automatically pops into their heads when they watch the ad.

I suspect the Republican candidate who has made a negative comment about the ad has been pushed to do so by political correctness, as Ford is obviously going to try to use the commercial as some sort of racial wedge to divide voters.

On the other hand, we've also got YouTube video of Ford's father possibly calling pro-life demonstrators "crackers." (There is some dispute over whether he may have said "trackers.") Isn't that racist? Hmmmm.

Main Stream Media Time vs. Blog Time

John Podhoretz compares the different ways the MSM and the blogosphere are seeing the last couple weeks before the election develop.

He particularly notes that "At some point last week, Republicans and conservatives on Blog Time began to cheer up, and Democrats and liberals on Blog Time began to worry."


Many of the polls are now trending positive for Republicans, such as this one.

George Allen is pulling ahead in the Virginia polls, despite (because of?) the Washington Post's relentless and unseemly campaign against him, totaling over 100 articles or editorials alleging he's racist in a little over two months.

Rush Limbaugh has mentioned his theory this week that as the election nears, the MSM is pulling back from its "push the electorate" polls to results that are closer to reality, so that they won't look completely partisan come election day if they don't receive the hoped-for results.

My husband has for years called this kind of moment "The Donaldson Line"; I don't know offhand if he coined that phrase or borrowed it, but it refers to the time when even someone like Sam Donaldson has to broadcast reality and quit pushing the agenda, or risk being caught completely flat-footed by actual events.

Dick Morris, who until recently has been quite gloomy, is now calling the overall race for control of Congress a toss-up. The respected Michael Barone, however, still forecasts a marginal win of the House by the Democrats. And Jim Geraghty waits and wonders.

And in an aside about the media, isn't it interesting that over the last two weeks Time and Newsweek have run fawning cover stories on Barack Obama ("The Next President") and Harold Ford, Jr. ("Not Your Daddy's Democrats"). Would have been awfully nice if the news magazines could have found the time, this close to the election, to also spotlight a prominent black Republican political candidate, such as Michael Steele or Ken Blackwell. Not that I'm for racial quotas...but when Time is running "Republican" covers such as a recent cover photo of an elephant's rear end, well, they obviously could be more "fair and balanced."

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Book: Bob Newhart's Memoir

As longtime readers of this blog may remember, I'm a fan of Bob Newhart. I have not only enjoyed his classic TV shows (THE BOB NEWHART SHOW and NEWHART), I also admire his dedication to his family and decades-long marriage. It was thus a real treat to recently receive a review copy of Bob's brand-new autobiography, I SHOULDN'T EVEN BE DOING THIS!

Bob starts off on a fun note: "I realize that most people skip the introduction and the acknowledgments. If you are one of these people, then you're not even reading this..." And we're off and running with typical Newhart humor.

The book is a collection of loosely arranged anecdotes on topics such as growing up in Chicago, life as a comedian, "the science of comedy," and of course, his TV shows. As one reads you can "hear" Bob's voice telling each story, which almost makes it like spending a couple hours with Bob giving a personal one-man show. Bob likens his style of comedy as being "the man who is convinced that he is the last sane man on earth." I love that.

Not surprisingly, given my love for Disneyland, one of my favorite anecdotes concerns a trick Bob played on his wife during a visit to that park. :)

The memoir also has its serious undertones, such as his distant relationship with his father, but they are treated matter-of-factly and then he moves on.

My only criticism of this book is that I wanted more -- some photographs would have been very welcome, as well as an index for easily looking up his stories about various actors and TV shows.

I believe any fan of Mr. Newhart would be quite happy to find this book under their Christmas tree a few weeks hence.

P.S. I wonder how long we'll have to wait for NEWHART to make it to DVD?!

What "Vicious Criticism"?

As you may have heard by now, the New York Times' public editor, Byron Calame, has reversed course and declared that he now believes the paper was wrong to print the details of the SWIFT banking surveillance program.

Calame asserts that his initial defense of the paper's actions came as a response to "vicious criticism" of the Times by the Bush Administration.

Enter the blogosphere.

Sites including Power Line and Michelle Malkin (subject link) immediately started researching on the Internet, and guess what? There was no "vicious criticism" by the Bush Administration.

Calame thus gave not simply a lame excuse for initially giving his paper a free pass, but a false one.

Patterico opines that "A public editor who cannot objectively evaluate his paper’s behavior in the face of criticism — from any source — should not be the public editor."

And Michelle Malkin also notes that, unlike the damaging initial stories disclosing the top-secret program, Calame's "mea culpa," such as it was, was not published on the front page of the NYT.

Two weeks out from an election, one would think it would be important for a "fair and balanced" newspaper to make clear to the American public that the Bush Administration was not breaking the law and that the SWIFT program was not only legal, it was necessary. (Does anyone want to place bets that information gleaned via SWIFT was not used to thwart the London airliner attacks?)

Of course, when it comes to the New York Times and other members of the mainstream media, news is only news when it hurts the Bush Administration, and the truth can take a flying leap.

Border Fence Bill to be Signed Thursday

Whoever would have thought last spring that the President would be having a ceremony to sign a border fence bill, sans amnesty, less than two weeks before the election?

Studio 60 Sinking Into the Sunset?

NBC's STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP is dying in the ratings, and for good reason: as I wrote here when the show premiered, it's, well, a lousy show.

I've continued to watch the show with a sort of appalled fascination, as each week it does its best to alienate at least half its audience, with continued digs at the Christian right and conservatives.

The characters are filled with self-importance -- witness network president Jordan McDeere exclaiming in one episode that no one will tell her what to air on her network. Apparently the concept of responsible stewardship of the public airwaves got past her on her way to the network presidency.

Not long ago Time Magazine reviewed Peet thusly: "Peet drifts through with weird detachment, as if she were playing the princess of a small country." Dead-on. The rumored plan to write Peet's real-life pregancy into the show for her single character is problematic as well, given the show's strident tone against what might be called "traditional values." (I'll give the character positive points for not having an abortion...)

Robert Bianco of USA TODAY offers a prescription for a fix (subject link). He's right, but the answers for what ails the show are so obvious that I suspect if they haven't already occurred to Aaron Sorkin and Co., they're not ever going to have the ability to correct course.

It's a shame to see so much talent going to waste on what might have been an interesting series.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Memory Lane: 25 Years of Luke and Laura

Has it really been 25 years since Luke and Laura wed on GENERAL HOSPITAL? I was a college sophomore at the time. That's kind of scary (grin).

A good friend recently sent me a delightful article on Genie Francis, who lives most of the year in Maine with her husband of 18 years, actor-director Jonathan Frakes, and their two children. She owns a home furnishings store called The Cherished Home.

Ted Olson Remarries

Former Solicitor General Ted Olson, whose wife Barbara was killed in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, remarried this weekend in Napa Valley, California.

The guests were due to include Barbara's close friends, Kate O'Beirne and Barbara Comstock, as well as Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova.

Very best wishes to the happy couple.

Trailer: We Are Marshall (2006)

Last May I wrote about a film in production called WE ARE MARSHALL which sounded very promising.

The trailer is now available online (see subject link). Still looks like it has excellent potential. Check it out.

Media Bias By the Numbers

Brian Fitzpatrick of Human Events has done some interesting research about media coverage.

In an entire year, the "big three" networks aired 19 stories about the prosecution and conviction of Democrat Congressman Mel Reynolds for the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl.

By contrast, the three networks aired 152 stories about Republican Congressman Mark Foley's email/instant messaging scandal in less than two weeks!

The contrast, in terms of numbers, news significance, and time frame, is staggering.

Fitzpatrick also highlights a fascinating quote by Newsweek's Jonathan Alter: "I hope this election is going to mark the demise of the values voters."

Oh, really?

The Latest in Polling Fakery

Check out the "internals" for the latest Newsweek poll which claims that Democrats are "far ahead" in Congressional races.

The poll is comprised of 35 percent Democrats to only 28 percent Republicans.

Moreover, more people in the poll identified themselves as Independents than Republicans. What do you want to bet more of these "Independents" vote Democrat than Republican? And are those voting next month really going to be comprised of 37% Independents?

This is a great example of the media attempting to dishearten conservatives and push the electorate toward desired results, rather than attempting a "fair and balanced" poll which more accurately reflects possible voting reality.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Resurgent Republicans?

Power Line had a series of encouraging posts today (above, here, and here) questioning whether the Republicans are bouncing back.

Of course, one might question whether they've ever been as far down as the media would have us believe...

Also be sure to catch the video of the news story of Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford looking like he's not ready for prime time.

Fred Barnes, writing in The Weekly Standard, notes the "cynical" publication of David Kuo's book attacking the Bush Administration; the author mind-blowingly says he wrote the book "Because I think someone had to point out that Jesus and George W. Bush are different people." As Fred says, "Who knew?"

Barnes writes:

"If you suspect there are forces eager to suppress Republican turnout, you are right. Rarely has the press echoed Democratic themes as relentlessly as it has in the closing weeks of the 2006 campaign. And the main theme is that Republicans are about to be blown away. The question now is whether this message will persuade Republican voters to stay home on Election Day."

It is my hope that voters are too well informed to be fooled at this late date. I have had my disagreements with the Bush Administration and Congress and detailed them here, but those issues are nothing compared to the trouble our country will be in if Democrats regain control of Congress. We need to remember that the Republican Congress has accomplished many positive things, including the confirmation of two fine Supreme Court justices and the tax cuts which have helped lead to outstanding economic news and halving the federal deficit years ahead of schedule; the good financial news is minimally covered, of course, by the national media, who prefer to keep the focus on negative subjects like Mark Foley.

It would be a sweet thing indeed to wake up the morning after Election Day and find that the pundits and pollsters were all wrong. I think such a happening would permanently impact the coverage of future elections. In this day and age, the media and pollsters couldn't continue making incorrect predictions forever and continue to be taken seriously by the voting public.

Weekend Sports Stories

My oldest son's favorite NASCAR driver, Ward Burton, returns to the Nextel Cup series Sunday after a two-year layoff.

Ward's brother Jeff is the current points leader in the chase for this year's championship. We are rooting for Jeff or Mark Martin to win. Jeff struggled for a lot of years (our youngest daughter still wears his old sponsorless 99 gear), and it's very exciting to see him doing so well.

Having Ward back is another real feel-good story. He's a class act, and we hope he's back to stay.

In other sports news, Brendan Loy, the Irish Trojan, has some great in-the-stands video of Notre Dame's last-minute victory over UCLA today. As a Trojan family both teams are our rivals, but we're glad to see anyone beat UCLA. :)

Today at Disneyland: More Halloween Time

Our oldest daughter is home from college this weekend to celebrate her 18th birthday, and we spent a few hours at Disneyland this afternoon. The park continues to be uncharacteristically packed for this time of year. The Halloween Time decorations are really pulling in the crowds.

The latest fall flowerbeds on Main Street:

Most of the Halloween decorations are confined to Main Street, but Thunder Ranch is decorated too:

We sure wish the Thunder Ranch BBQ would reopen! It was our favorite place to eat.

Happy weekend to all!

And Then There's This Thought...

Red State rumors that some Democrats are pushing for Dick Durbin to replace Harry Reid as the ranking Democrat Senator.

Jim Geraghty is also hearing the chatter.

As Red State points out, this could mean that the future leader of the Senate Democrats is a man who called United States troops Nazis on the floor of the Senate.

Some days the world sure seems mixed up and crazy...at least in Washington.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pelosi and Hastings: A Danger to Our Nation

It appears possible that the classified NIE report which was selectively quoted by the New York Times a few weeks ago may have been leaked by a Democrat staffer.

Michael Barone, writing about the incident on his blog, reminds us of another disturbing point: Nancy Pelosi desires to replace Jane Harman with Alcee Hastings as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Hastings was impeached, convicted of bribery, and removed from his position as a judge. As Kenneth Timmerman wrote this week at Front Page Magazine, Hastings is one of just a handful of federal judges ever impeached and removed from office by the Senate. Unbelievably, following his conviction and removal he was not only elected to Congress, he has served on the House Intelligence Committee since 1999.

Hastings' judgment while serving in the House has also apparently been questionable. As Andrew Walden wrote recently, one of Hastings' staffers, his former attorney, was disbarred for mishandling client funds.

I can't fathom that House ethics rules would allow someone like Hastings, convicted of such a crime, to be the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, let alone on the committee. And I can't fathom that the Democrats care so little about our country that they would put Hastings in that position.

Hastings has already shown himself willing to commit bribery. How do we know he wouldn't accept a bribe himself in order to turn over classified information?

And in this post 9/11 era, why does our country have to take that risk?

Brown Ineligible to Be CA Attorney General?

California election law requires that the state attorney general have been admitted to practice law at least five years preceding the election.

Our former "Governor Moonbeam," Jerry Brown, didn't renew his bar membership until 2003, after letting it lapse for many years.

Brown's camp is dismissing this as a mere technicality, saying once you've been admitted to the bar it doesn't matter if you've let your membership lapse and be inactive, but it certainly seems to me that the person who is the state's chief prosecutor should be required to follow the law to the letter.

Why Do We Even Pay Attention To Polls?

Take a look at these Zogby polls taken two days before the 2002 election, contrasted with the actual results, at Riehl World View (linked above).

Combine that info with what Jim Geraghty dug up from 2004; again, what was being reported by pollsters and the media didn't correlate with the actual results.

Betsy's Page also notes a study which shows Clinton polled more strongly in 1996 than correlated with the actual votes, and suggests it wasn't just random chance.

I think more often than not, in this day and age polls are largely used not to report possible news, but to attempt to impact the news.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Election News

In 2004 Jim Geraghty's "The Kerry Spot" at National Review Online was one of the "go to" places for the latest election news and updates. After the election the blog continued, covering more general political topics under the name "TKS."

Once again this year Geraghty is providing excellent pre-election coverage, leading Hugh Hewitt to label him "indispensable."

Geraghty has a steady stream of news as well as interesting insights into polling. I've quickly become re-hooked on his blog and highly recommend you bookmark it and visit often over the next couple weeks.

Juan Williams Tells It Like It Is

When Juan Williams writes like this, I sure wish he'd join the conservative movement.

Those on the left who denounce Juan as an "Uncle Tom," when he dares to address problems facing black Americans, are yet another example of liberals who would prefer to silence certain ideas altogether rather than respond with civil dialogue and debate.

Juan's son, Tony, as I have blogged here before, is running for the D.C. City Council...as a Republican.

(Hat tip: La Shawn Barber's Corner.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why Am I Not Surprised, Part 2

Author David Kuo says that his book, which claims the Bush White House has regularly "dissed" evangelical Christians, was contracted to be published in 2007...not 2006.

His publisher rushed the book -- which calls on Christians to remove themselves from the political process -- into print before the election.

The publisher? Simon and Schuster, owned by the same parent company that owns CBS, which airs 60 Minutes. You do the math.

NewsBusters also mentions that although 60 Minutes portrayed Kuo as a conservative, he has previously worked for both Edward and Joseph Kennedy.

Some conservative.

Yes, there is media bias, and it is clear to this writer that Simon and Schuster and 60 Minutes have been hoping to use Kuo's book as a tool to dishearten Republicans prior to the election. That would be such a new concept for those companies...not.

I have not linked to the book as I personally don't wish to provide it with any more publicity than it's already received, but obviously you can check it out at Amazon or elsewhere if you're interested.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New on DVD: Pride and Prejudice (1940)

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, released last week on DVD, is one of several wonderful versions of Jane Austen's classic.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE was also filmed in 1980, 1995, and 2005, and each of those productions has its strong points. The 1940 MGM production, directed by Robert Z. Leonard, is equally delightful. Yes, the costumes are anachronistic, the story was somewhat more condensed than in the other editions, and Greer Garson was too old to play Elizabeth. But none of that really matters, particularly when Garson and Laurence Olivier share the screen. (What that man could convey with his eyes is every bit as "swoony" as what Colin Firth accomplished in 1995...) Edmund Gwenn makes a perfect Mr. Bennet, Maureen O'Sullivan is a lovely Jane, and the rest of the cast is equally enjoyable. The film was made with MGM's usual impeccable production values.

This is one of those films that our entire family somehow ends up watching...again!...every time it turns up on TV. We'll be adding this one to our DVD library soon.

The DVD also includes a trailer, a short, and a cartoon.

July 2020 Update: This film has now been released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

Thomas Sowell on Free Speech

A few days ago I posted about liberals insisting on silencing conservatives rather than appreciating their right to free speech.

Thomas Sowell has more on this topic, which is a growing concern, and the problems that result when liberals do not want those with opposing viewpoints to be heard. He writes "Free speech is not a luxury but a necessity if we are to hear the various sides of issues before we decide what to do."

What Does It All Mean?

Lots of analysis of the current polls today.

Power Line (above) asks "Can All the Polls Be Screwy?" and links to further analysis at Big Lizards.

Jim Geraghty looks at polls and the media three weeks out from the 2004 election. What he found is encouraging. (Hat tip: Holy Coast.) I think we spend way too much time hanging on polls, which inevitably turn out to have significant "issues" come Election Day.

Geraghty also features interesting thoughts about "cell phone only" voters who aren't polled, and how Republicans may be reacting to the polls compared to a decade ago:

"I also wonder if we're seeing another preconception of races shift before our eyes. The traditional school of thought is that bad poll numbers depress a candidate's supporters, because people are less motivated to vote for a guy that they hear is going to lose. (If we hadn't heard that Bob Dole was down 20 points for most of 1996, would more voters have thought about voting for him?)

"The Republican base is marked by a visceral distrust and suspicion of the media, and now pollsters as well. The reaction of, say, a decade ago among a chunk of the GOP base would be, "Dole's down 20? Oh, what's the point?" Now I suspect that a chunk of the GOP base hears, "Oh, no way Webb is tied with Allen. Those numbers are a bunch of...!""

Hmmmm. Is it possible that the MSM and some of their phony polls, heavily weighted toward sampling Democrats, could have the effect of motivating conservative voters? That would be an interesting reflection of the new media age we're living in -- voters now are much better informed than just a decade ago.

As of the time of this post, the Washington Times link isn't yet working, but Drudge highlights Wednesday's interview with Karl Rove, in which he boldly predicts Republicans will maintain control of both the House and the Senate.

Tony Blankley concludes "Republicans Would Be Stupid Not To Vote" and tells us why.

He's right.

Wednesday Morning Update: Here is the working link for the Washington Times interview with Karl Rove.

Power Line summarizes the high points.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Reid Supporters: Do You Know Where Your Donations Are?

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has been using campaign donations to pay Christmas bonuses to the staff at the Ritz-Carlton where he lives in Washington.

In other words, he has taken campaign funds for his own personal use, in order to support his luxurious lifestyle.

Not a Good Thing.

One has to wonder if the questionable real estate dealings and personal use of campaign funds are only the tip of the Minority Leader's financial indiscretions...

Why Am I Not Surprised...

...that a book claiming President Bush and White House staffers mocked evangelical Christians is being published less than a month before the election?

Along with Bob Woodward's book, it seems part and parcel of the attempt by the mainstream media -- in cooperation with publishers who are happy to have the publicity -- to dishearten Republican voters in advance of the election.

According to the Corner, the author calls on Christians to pull out of the political process to "reflect."

Uh-huh. What interesting timing.

Update: Need I add that this book was spotlighted on 60 Minutes? What a surprise (not).

Further Update: More on the media coverage of this book from NewsBusters.

Cause for Optimism?

The Washington Post reported this weekend that President Bush and advisor Karl Rove are upbeat about next month's election prospects.

As Power Line says today, the RNC's Ken Mehlman is also optimistic.

I thought it was interesting that amidst the doom and gloom expressed by Bill Kristol and Brit Hume on yesterday's Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams, of all people, noted at the show's end: "I've been out on the campaign trail, and boy, I'll tell you, local issues are counting, and those do help Republicans."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Greater Love Hath No Man...

Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor saved the lives of his comrades when he threw himself on top of a grenade.

My mother knows this young man's family through her church. He had been due to return home this month. Please keep them in your prayers.

Sunday Update: More from Red State.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Disneyland Fun for Friday

Are you one of those Disneyland fans who, like me, dreams of the return of the colorful PeopleMover to Tomorrowland?

If so, you can visit PeopleForthePeopleMover.org (linked above) and sign their petition.

I would certainly love to see this ride return to Disneyland. Combined with the Submarine Voyage reopening next year, it would help breathe new life into a sadly "dead" area of the park.

The PeopleMover had wonderful views of Tomorrowland and was also a great place to cool off on a hot day. My favorite part of the ride was looking into the America the Beautiful lobby, where a Bell operator would light up a map with the hometowns of the guests waiting for the next showing of the movie. :)

Now if only we could get the traffic-blocking Astro Orbitor removed from the Tomorrowland entrance and return the Rocket Jets to their rightful place high up in the sky...

(Some Disney trivia: Did you know that while Disneyland spells the name of the ride Astro Orbitor, at Disney World it's an Astro Orbiter?)

Meanwhile, I'd sure like to know what happened to the Mary Blair murals from "old" Tomorrowland. I hope they were preserved. Wouldn't they look nice somewhere near It's a Small World?

A Harry Reid Real Estate Roundup

Various members of the blogosphere are doing a great job researching Harry Reid and his highly questionable real estate profit. (Does his windfall remind anyone else of Hillary Clinton and the cattle futures?)

Captain's Quarters, as always, is on the cutting edge with fresh research and information.

Hugh Hewitt has several posts asking questions about the history of Reid's real estate deal as well as rounding up relevant links.

Michelle Malkin also has interesting links as well as excerpts from some newspaper editorial pages.

Tom Bevan wonders what Reid's hangup on the AP, which Bevan calls "a bizarre mixture of petulance and contempt," says about Reid.

And Rich Noyes of NewsBusters has this interesting bit: Reid's attorney is the brother of the managing editor of the Las Vegas Review Journal. Wonder what kind of coverage Reid receives in his home state?

Noyes is also keeping an eye on the lack of network coverage of the Reid story -- nothing on the Friday morning news shows today.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Darned If They Do and If They Don't

UPS, seeking to reduce its liability exposure in our litigious society, has had a safety policy in place prohibiting deaf employees from driving UPS vans.

Of course, this being a litigious society, UPS was sued for discrimination, and this week a court ruled that UPS is illegally discriminating against the deaf.

What do you want to bet that if a deaf driver has an accident because he or she did not respond in time to an audible warning, UPS will be sued for putting the public at unnecessary risk?

Free Speech For Me But Not For Thee

Peggy Noonan has written a wonderful column for Opinion Journal on the discomfort of many liberals with those expressing dissenting opinions, to the point that some liberals attempt to silence views that don't agree with their own.

Last week's melee at Columbia University, when the founder of the Minutemen attempted to speak, is but one example.

Among the other incidents Noonan cites is the outrage in many quarters that Brian Rohrbough, the father of a student killed at Columbine, was allowed to participate in the new "Free Speech" segment of CBS Evening News, where he said:

"This country is in a moral freefall. For over two generations the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum. . . . We teach there are no moral absolutes, no right or wrong, and I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children."

Many liberals (including, apparently, some in the ranks at CBS News) believe he should not have been allowed to state those views on national television.

So much for free speech.

Along these lines, check out this post at Betsy's Page on YouTube banning Michelle Malkin's political videos as "offensive." As of this week, YouTube is now owned by Google, widely known as a liberal-leaning organization. Cause for concern?

World Net Daily has more details on YouTube's censorship of conservatives.

A Beautiful Book

I very much enjoy graphic art of the '30s, '40s, and '50s, so when I happened across CLASSIC RAILROAD ADVERTISING on last week's visit to The Huntington, I had to get it.

The book, by Tad Burness, is filled with beautiful advertisements for rail travel, depicting such delights as Vista-Domes, dining cars, and sleepers. Advertising posters of holiday homecomings and troops traveling by rail during WWII are among the most interesting pages. I particularly enjoyed a '40s ad depicting a college-bound girl traveling by train for the first time; among the things she enjoyed was playing bridge with a couple of soldiers. Another advertisement depicts a sleeper car reserved exclusively for women and children; seems like a great idea to add an extra level of safety, but I wondered if such a thing would inspire a lawsuit today.

CLASSIC RAILROAD ADVERTISING makes a good companion for one of my favorite coffee table books, THE ART OF THE AIRWAYS.

Amazon (subject link) has an excellent bargain book price.

The Tony Snow Fan Club (Continued)

Howard Kurtz has the latest article on Tony Snow and how he's performing his job as White House Press Secretary.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Will the Media Cover This One?

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has some major ethical issues regarding his nondisclosure of a huge payoff from a sweetheart land deal. There are also questions regarding whether the land payoff was part of a quid pro quo for Reid's intervention on behalf of a lobbyist.

Power Line (above) and Captain's Quarters have the analysis.

This may receive some scattered mentions in the mainstream press -- such as the stories about Reid hanging up on an AP reporter -- but you can bet that if Reid were a Republican the media would be swarming this story just as they have the Foley story, in an attempt to influence the election.

When it comes to mainstream media coverage of Reid's problems, I'm betting it's going to be very low key.

Thursday Update: Captain's Quarters has more.

Rush Limbaugh wants to know where all the screaming Democrats and media members are who are supposedly so concerned with corruption in Congress. Apparently they only care if a Republican is involved.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New on DVD: Holiday Inn (1942)

The film that introduced the song "White Christmas" to the world has been released today on a new Special Edition DVD.

As many already know, HOLIDAY INN stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire in the story of an inn only open on holidays. The holidays provide an excuse for more great Irving Berlin songs, including "Easter Parade" and "Let's Start the New Year Right." And for the 4th of July, there's Fred Astaire's great dance number with firecrackers.

DVD extras include a commentary weaving together the comments of historian Ken Barnes with archival interviews with Crosby, Astaire, and John Scott Trotter, as well as an interview with Fred Astaire's daughter, Ava Astaire McKenzie. Ava McKenzie has made excellent contributions to other Astaire DVDs, including EASTER PARADE.

Deep Discount DVD also has a good price.

More great Christmas viewing coming soon: November will see the release of a two-disc special edition of MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET. Unfortunately the second disc contains the colorized version of the film -- the black and white original is also part of the set -- but since Maureen O'Hara has participated in the extras it should be worth purchasing.

Update: For more on HOLIDAY INN, visit the Roundup at The Shelf.

Drive-By Media Faking Polls to Drive Agenda

NewsBusters has good analysis on today's new Washington Post/ABC poll, which headlines "Poll Shows Strong Shift of Support to Democrats."

Well, that might have something to do with the fact that the poll interviewed 38 percent Democrats compared to just 27 percent Republicans.

As NewsBusters notes, "This was the largest skewing of Democrats to Republicans in a WaPo-ABC News poll since at least April." The poll actually reflects a shift of who was questioned.

Update: Hugh Hewitt notes the Post's absurd headline this morning, blaring that the House Republicans could lose anywhere "from 7 to 30" seats. What math genius thought that was significant? (A math genius trying to paint a dire picture for Republicans, that's who...)

Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Take Me Out with the Crowd...

This little column addresses something I've wondered about for years: the absurdity that professional golfers feel entitled to dead silence when they take a swing at a non-moving ball.

If a baseball player can make split-second decisions with a ball hurtling toward his head at 100 MPH as the crowd screams and camera flashes go off, why can't a golfer handle the distractions?

No real reason, I think. It's simply tradition to which the golfers have become accustomed.

I'm not advocating wholesale changes to the way golf is played and viewed, but I do think golfers could stand to get over themselves a bit when it comes to crowd noises. :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

The L.A. Times Wonders Why Its Circulation is Sliding?

The waste of newsprint on a ridiculous attack on bloggers (derided as people "who normally pass their time doodling or making obscene telephone calls") is a great example of why L.A. Times subscribers are quitting in droves.

Can you say "threatened by the new media"?

(Hat tip: Patterico's Pontifications.)

Al Gore, Go Home

Today saw the debut of Al Gore's commercials in support of California's Proposition 87, which would impose a huge new tax on gasoline. (Just what we need right now, right?)

Supposedly the oil companies would pay the tax and not pass the cost on to consumers. And if you believe that would happen, there's a bridge...

Al, if the market is there for alternative fuels, private industry will manage just fine. The government doesn't need to waste billions of our tax dollars to "encourage" that development.

One Reason I'll Never Vote for John McCain

Read this article by George Will about the crackdown on free speech under McCain-Feingold. It is absolutely chilling.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tonight's Movie: Dodge City (1939)

Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland were one of the screen's greatest romantic teams. Offscreen they had feelings for one another (which, according to interviews with DeHavilland, they never acted upon), and the adoration caught on screen in their films together certainly seems to be more than mere acting. DODGE CITY is no exception. They are a wonderful pair.

DODGE CITY, Flynn's first Western, is simultaneously slowly meandering and bigger than life. It takes a while for the plot to develop -- DeHavilland's entrance at the 30-minute mark and Flynn taking over as Dodge City's sheriff at the hour mark are significant turning points -- but as you mosey through the story you're accompanied by a mile-deep cast of some of Hollywood's greatest character actors, including Alan Hale, Victor Jory, Ward Bond, Bruce Cabot, Henry Travers, and Russell Simpson, plus Ann Sheridan as a dance hall girl.

The film's Technicolor is nothing less than stunning. The memorable musical score is by Max Steiner, who would write the music for GONE WITH THE WIND that same year. The film also boasts what's reputed to be one of the biggest saloon brawls in movie history. And oh, yes -- there's also Flynn, dashing as ever in his buckskin jacket, and the lovely Miss DeHavilland.

The DVD runs just short of 104 minutes, although the box lists the running time as 100 minutes and some sources list the time as 105 minutes.

DODGE CITY is available on DVD, individually or as part of the Errol Flynn Signature Collection, a must-have for Flynn fans.

The DVD includes a "Warner Night at the Movies" program of 1939 trailers, newsreel, cartoon, and an interesting Technicolor short film, SONS OF LIBERTY. Claude Rains stars in SONS OF LIBERTY as Haym Solomon, a relatively unheralded patriot who played an important role in the American Revolution. The 20-minute short co-stars Gale Sondergaard and Donald Crisp and was directed by Michael Curtiz.

DODGE CITY is also available on video.

The film is part of the Turner Classic Movies library. The trailer can be viewed here.

Update: DODGE CITY is now also available on Blu-ray and as a "manufactured on demand" Warner Archive DVD.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

End of an Era for Music Fans

Very sad news: Yesterday a bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Tower Records to Great American Group, which is moving with shocking speed to liquidate and close all Tower stores. The liquidation sale begins today, just one day after the sale was approved.

This summer I took the above photo of Tower's beautiful new store at Buena Park Mall, which replaced their longtime, rather dilapidated, location on Beach Boulevard. I had hoped the store's new location boded well for the chain.

It's a disappointing day. I've shopped at Tower my entire lifetime, and especially enjoyed heading over there in November to scout out new Christmas music. Now Tower is part of my life's "Yesterland."

Thanks for the memories...

Fight On!

The passionate devotion of USC alumni to their school and its Trojan football team has always been a bit of a mystery to me...until our daughter began attending the school. Thus far USC has provided a great freshman year experience, and it is easy to see why alumni remain so enthused about the university.

I found this L.A. Times article about an especially enthusiastic neighborhood, located here in Orange County, a fun read. For USC fans, this Balboa Island street is "like living at Disneyland."

"Not Fit to Print"

There's something rather appealing about the Amish newspaper style, printing only the "normal" and the positive, even in the face of great tragedy.

Some may think the paper and its publishers are practicing "unhealthy" denial, but I think the mainstream media's obssession with the negative and the unusual (i.e., crime), so often excluding that which is good, positive, and wholesome, is what's really unhealthy.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Today's Field Trip: The Huntington

Today we spent a lovely afternoon at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, California. The Huntington is the former estate of Henry Edwards Huntington, who in his lifetime acquired a remarkable library and art collection.

The art collection includes the famed portraits Blue Boy and Pinkie, as well as more recent works by Mary Cassatt and Edward Hopper. I enjoyed closely inspecting a Tiffany Lily lamp, and we all especially admired a Remington Bronco Buster sculpture.

The extensive gardens included this lovely Hummingbird Gazebo:

The Japanese Garden:

A lovely quiet spot:

When renovations are completed to the main gallery, we hope to return and spend more time. Highly recommended.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Head is Spinning...

Pranks gone awry, a page hiring a prominent defense lawyer, a member of the Democratic leadership rumored to have sat on this story for months, a Democrat "hit list" with names of Republican homosexuals circulating in Washington...who can keep up?

Actually, there are a few sites which are doing an outstanding job maintaining comprehensive links. For the day's latest developments I highly recommend Gateway Pundit, Hot Air, The Strata-Sphere, Mary Katharine Ham at Townhall, and of course Drudge (subject link) all have the latest.

Each new revelation in this case seems to open up more questions than it answers.

Foley is a creep, but I'm increasingly suspicious about the role of the mainstream media and the Democratic party in all this, i.e., did they sit on a story until they could inflict maximum political damage, instead of coming forward and doing the right thing months ago? Dick Morris suggested on TV today (video link in first paragraph, above) that while the Republican leadership did not know about Foley's IM's, at least one prominent Democrat did. How and why? Who knew what when?

I suspect members of the media or the Democratic Party may not be looking so good themselves by the time we have all the facts.

Friday Update: John Hinderaker of Power Line asks: "Is it possible that the Democrats deliberately delayed disclosure of Foley's transgressions, thereby endangering the security of current Congressional pages and other teenage boys, solely to advance their own political interests?"

Big Changes Coming to Disneyland?

Earlier this week Al Lutz of MiceAge posted a particularly interesting update with lots of juicy rumors about Disneyland and California Adventure.

The biggest news, which has now reached the attention of the L.A. Times and the Orange County Register, is the possibility of Tom Sawyer Island being completely overhauled into a Pirates-themed island.

Tom Sawyer Island is badly in need of being rehabbed, but I don't care for this idea for multiple reasons. While the Disney parks have always drawn inspiration from Disney movies, and vice versa, this one is a wee bit too trendy for my taste. (I wonder if anyone at Disney now regrets turning the Swiss Family Treehouse into the not-so-interesting Tarzan Treehouse...) And the island is such a huge geographic part of the park, not simply an "attraction." Hard to imagine trying to give directions in that area of the park without referring to Tom Sawyer Island or the Rivers of America, for that matter. (I don't think Pirates would be in the middle of the Rivers of America, would they?!) As a former Frontierland employee, I think I'm also feeling a wee bit territorial...does this mean the island would in future be considered part of New Orleans?!

On the other hand, to show I'm not a hopeless traditionalist (grin), I think the new Finding Nemo Submarine Ride is an inspired way to bring back an old favorite, mothballed for many years, with a fresh twist. And I enjoyed the "tweaks" to Pirates of the Caribbean earlier this year. I just don't want to lose the entire island to the Pirates...

Al had a lot of other interesting news, including a hint about the possible return of the Rocket Jets -- or perhaps he meant the People Mover? -- in one of the photo captions. Tomorrowland has been too empty for too long -- it used to be such a visually interesting place, especially back in the days when the Sky Buckets passed through the Matterhorn and arrived at Tomorrowland Station -- and the return of one or both rides would be very exciting. Tomorrowland Terrace has just come back into existence, and Al's photos are gorgeous. We'll be sure to head over there on our next visit.

DCA will apparently soon have its own version of Florida's Mickey's PhilharMagic attraction, which is located in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. (I've never really understood why it's not called Donald's PhilharMagic since he's the real star of the show...) DCA may also be receiving transporation systems carrying visitors from the Sunshine Plaza to its various "lands." And as was described in another recent MiceAge update, a TOY STORY inspired ride, Midway Madness, will soon be appearing on Paradise Pier.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the possible Tom Sawyer Island change, on the whole I'm very excited about all the new ideas being considered or underway for the California parks. Under past management Disneyland suffered for years from poor maintenance and no investment in new rides, while simultaneously the park grew more crowded due to reduced "ride capacity," as old favorites such as the Submarines and Country Bear Jamboree were closed. California Adventure, though pleasant, was not all it should have been. The future is looking bright for both parks.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What's Lurking in Your Spice Rack?

If you still have any McCormick Schilling spices or herbs in rectangular red and white or green and white tins...surprise! Except for Ground Black Pepper, they're over 15 years old!

Hard to believe, isn't it?

I confess that as recently as a year ago I had a green and white tin of Sweet Basil Leaves in my spice rack. I never used it because I knew it was very old, but I was sentimental as it was the very last of the old tins I had. I ended up washing it out and saving it as an "antique." :)

McCormick Schilling has a useful page on how to tell how old your spices are, linked above.

Supreme Court Upholds Muslim Prayers in CA School Curriculum

The Supreme Court has surprisingly, in my view, refused to hear an appeal regarding a curriculum used in California middle schools which requires children not simply to learn about Islam, but to actively engage in Muslim prayer and "become" Muslims for several days or weeks.

The Supreme Court refusing to hear the case means the ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals approving the curriculum stands, and it may continue to be used in California.

One more reason to be glad my children aren't in public school...

This case also underlines the double standards our modern society seems to be adopting: can you imagine the outcry if children were forced to pray Christian prayers?

More from Belief Net and Judicial Watch.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New on DVD: The Little Mermaid (1989)

THE LITTLE MERMAID, released today on DVD, began Disney's "Second Golden Era" of animated musicals. It would be followed by a tremendously successful string of musical cartoons: ALADDIN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, POCAHONTAS, THE LION KING, and MULAN.

THE LITTLE MERMAID has always been a particular favorite of mine -- although I don't like Ursula! (Grin) "Part of Your World" ranks as one of my all-time favorite Disney songs, and there have certainly been many great Disney songs over the decades. I'm very much looking forward to seeing it again in a beautiful new print.

The new 2-disc Platinum Edition, loaded with extras, replaces a bare bones Limited Issue DVD released a few years ago.

In recent years Disney has focused its animation efforts on its series of entertaining -- and highly successful -- Pixar movies. I hope that under John Lasseter, who took over as chief of Disney animation earlier this year, we can look forward in future to Disney returning to its tradition of great "2D" animated musicals.

Here's What Troubles Me

While I think the Washington Times jumped the gun in calling for Speaker Dennis Hastert's resignation before all the facts are out and analyzed -- ABC is still dribbling them out a bit at a time -- Hastert did his case no favors today in his interview with Rush Limbaugh.

Regardless of whether or not Hastert did or didn't know the content of Foley's emails, or when it was that Hastert learned of the more salacious content of the instant messages -- the fact that parents felt the need to contact Congress to stop a Representative's contact with their son should have set off major alarm bells. It was not enough that Hastert was told there was not sex or explicit language in the emails, it was inappropriate for him to drop the matter at the parents' request, with a word to Foley to knock off the behavior.

Hastert, you see, was responsible not just for that one page, but for all the pages. As Kate O'Beirne writes, "One set of parents, who are only concerned with the well-being of their own son, cannot be allowed to decide how aggressively other parents' children are going to be protected."

John Podhoretz suggests Hastert wasn't Foley's boss and did all he could, but I think that lets Hastert off the hook for his responsibility to those minors employed by Congress. Foley may not have been Hastert's responsibility to watch -- but the pages were.

Hastert owed it to all the children -- and the pages are still children -- to look further into why matters had reached such a state that parents had to reach out to another member of Congress to stop the contact. His lack of curiosity -- perhaps a desire not to know the full truth -- is troubling.

Update: Paul Mirengoff of Power Line is on the same wave length:

"...I believe that Hastert had a moral obligation to take action in the face of reports that Foley may have been making inappropriate comments to underage employees of Congress. Actually, it's clear to me that any member of Congress has such an obligation -- who else but a member's colleagues has the power to protect teen-age kids from a predatory Representative? However, as the leader of the House, Hastert had a stronger obligation.

"Even on Hastert's account...he did not meet that obligation. A report that a member of the House was writing "overly friendly" emails (a characterization that raises more questions than it answers) to a page should have prompted Hastert to seek details. He should not have accepted on faith, or on the vague assurances of others, that Foley had not crossed the line."

Monday, October 02, 2006


Clarice Feldman at American Thinker has noticed some very strange things about the way the Mark Foley scandal broke into the media. An obscure blog site with virtually no traffic carried the story in September, and then ABC almost immediately picked up the story and ran with it. Who set up the site? And -- believe it or not -- did ABC coordinate with a George Soros-backed "public interest group"?

There are many more questions about how this story came to light. Feldman, an attorney who has done outstanding analysis in the past on the Plamegate matter, has more here and here.

Another peculiar angle is that The New York Times reports that Brian Ross of ABC had info on the story as early as August, but he claims to have been "too busy" working on the anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 to investigate the matter.

Let me get this straight: anniversaries of past news events were more significant than timely reporting new news on a scandal involving a Congressman?

It makes sense to question whether Ross and/or the network, possibly in concert with others, held on to the story as an almost-October surprise, intended to inflict maximum damage in this fall's election. I wonder whether it's a coincidence that this story broke at a time when Republicans have been on the upswing in pre-election polls. In this post-Rathergate era, anything seems possible.

Just One Minute is also asking questions: "Presumably someone will do the homework and figure out who the site author is and ask the obvious follow-ups - what did they know and when did they know it, who did the emails come from, how was that verified, etc." More here.

And keep your eye on this Free Republic thread, where a FReeper believes she has uncovered a "potentially explosive link in this chain" and contacted American Thinker. It may come to nothing, but we all know the important role Free Republic played in the Rathergate scandal, so the site bears watching for possible developments.

Let's be clear: Representative Foley's behavior was reprehensible. It was appropriate that he left Congress immediately, and it is appropriate to censure anyone who knew the full extent of Foley's conduct and didn't take proper steps to end it and report it to the authorities.

At this point, however, one has to wonder if the investigation into who suppressed information on potentially criminal conduct should begin with the mainstream media.

Scary School Principals

L.A. Times columnist Bob Sipchen has written a fascinating and troubling depiction of a Woodland Hills, CA elementary principal, Anna Feig, in his "School Me" column.

Accounts of the principal's behavior vary by source, so as far as whether or not the secondhand descriptions are true, I can only say that I've known a principal very like her and the complaints being true wouldn't surprise me; further, the direct quotes from her in the article do seem, in and of themselves, to lend credence to the complaints.

These quotes give a sad insight into the principal's thoughts about appropriate behavior and control of schools.

The principal is quoted as saying "The only time I raise my voice is if a teacher comes to me and says, 'Scare them."

Since when is yelling and scaring children between the ages of roughly 5 and 11 appropriate to constructively correct behavioral problems?

Sipchen describes a terrified kindergarten child whose parents removed her from the school and placed her elsewhere, so the principal does not even appear to have at least confined her "scaring" to the oldest children, though that would be inappropriate as well.

Of particular interest to me is the teacher's problem with demanding parents who "don't understand boundaries." A couple of teachers speaking in support of Feig say that before the principal arrived, "parents controlled the school."

Involved, interested parents seeking to have a voice in how their children's school is run is bad because...why again?

Former Chief of CIA's Bin Laden Unit: Clinton Lied

There was a very interesting panel discussion this morning on FOX NEWS SUNDAY. Chris Wallace asked three counterterrorism experts their opinions on whether former President Clinton told the truth, in his controversial interview with Wallace of a week ago, about his attempts to capture Osama Bin Laden. The transcript of the discussion is linked above.

As The Washington Times and Robert Novak make clear, Michael Scheuer, one of the panelists, is not a Bush sympathizer. Yet Scheuer, who was the chief of the CIA's Bin Laden unit for three years under President Clinton, flatly said the former President had lied to Wallace and the American people. "For him to get on the television and say to the American people he did all he could is a flat lie, sir. This is not a question of interpretation or judgment. This is a question of fact. And the documents will show the president had the opportunity."

Novak quotes Scheuer's recent appearance on CBS's Early Show: "The fact of the matter is that the Bush administration had one chance that they botched, and the Clinton administration had eight to 10 chances that they refused to try. At least at Tora Bora, our forces were on the ground."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Arnold Vetoes CA Electoral Vote Giveaway

Governor Schwarzenegger has made another good veto decision, turning down a plan passed by the state legislature which would have mandated that California's Presidential electoral votes be cast for the winner of the national popular vote, rather than for the winner of the vote in California.

I can't imagine the plan was constitutional, but who knows what the wacky 9th Circuit Court of Appeals might have done. Fortunately the Governor has spared us finding out, at least for now. Assemblyman Tom Umberg is threatening to put the measure on the ballot via the initiative process.

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