Monday, January 29, 2007

Bye Bye Barbaro

Reports are out the owners & caretakers euthanized last year's Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro . Last weekend I heard a story about the latest treatment of Barbaro and I commented we would be hearing about Barbaro's medical treatment for the a long time.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hey Fouad!

So, how are you all getting along with your Hezbolalah buddies now? Weren't they great? You are the frog and Hezbolalah is the scorpion.

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Vetoing the Cigarette Tax Increase.

Charlie Sykes picks up a story saying Governor Doyle has decided to veto any cigarette tax increase put on his desk. Interesting, wonder what that veto will look like?

Sec 1.02) The department of revenue is directed to increase the tax on cigarattes from $0.77 per pack to $1.25 per pack the revenues thus collected will be allocated per section 1.89 of statute 227...

Yeah he will veto such a bill like he did this one!

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Vietnam Part II.

Michelle Malkin reports on a soldier counter-protesting in Washington D.C. this weekend. It is Vietnam all over again, right down to leftists spitting on at soldiers
Readers of this blog will remember the name Joshua Sparling. In December 2005, the Iraq war veteran received a disgusting, anti-war death wish card while being treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. for injuries from a bomb explosion in Ramadi. Last month, his right leg was amputated.
Source: Michelle Malkin – Spitting at a war hero

But never forget they support the troops.

The New York Times Story reports the protester spat on the ground near Mr. Sparling. As far as the claim Mr. Sparling is the next Jamil Hussein well apparently the paper of record notes his existence.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Left Side of the Toolbox.

I was visiting the newly blog-rolled The Appleton Blog by Jeff Lindsay and his blog is pretty much straight-up life in Appleton. He is close the Hmong community and pays attention to the incidents in the field between the locals and the Hmong. This is as about as close to politics he comes.

However, he commented on the flap with Congressman Kagen and the congressman's comments.

Jeff says:
Without wishing to be political here, let me say that as a supporter of civility and politeness, the story troubles me. It's bad enough for politicians to be rude to their opponents - understandable, yes, but unfortunate. It's worse to physically threaten opponents or to be rude to their spouses. But to think that someone would boast about such rudeness, or fabricate it and then boast about it - well, something's pretty wrong there. Dr. Kagen, a lot of fine people voted for you and are hoping that you'll represent Appleton and Wisconsin well. I hope you can make the appropriate apologies and move forward.
Source: The Appleton Blog – Congressman Steve Kagen of Appleton and National Controversy over His White House Comments

Jeff's blog elicited this comment:
Wow, I was so excited to find a blog about Appleton. Instead, I found a blog that you're using to make posts that are political and seem only to further conservative interests. How disappointing! Hopefully visitors from other places don't assume that the majority of people in Appleton think the way you do.

Look for Kagen to tell his side of the story on the Colbert Report in February!
Source: The Appleton Blog – Commentary on Congressman Steve Kagen of Appleton and National Controversy over His White House Comments

Wow, Jeff writes one post about our Rep. asking Steve Kagen to conduct himself with class and Jeff becomes a right-wing tool. Its real funny about the comment hoping people coming to his blog don't assume the majority of people think like he does. I assure you, they are much closer to Jeff's position than yours.

Look for Steve Kagen to tell his side of the story on The Colbert Report. Oh, like he hasn't had the chance to tell his story. In any event, this whole thing IS STEVE KAGEN'S story, remember he told it freely to an audience and was caught on tape.

What a leftoid tool.

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Added to the Blogroll

What happened? No new blogs. Anyway Jeff Lindsay runs a blog entiteld The Appleton Blog and focuses on the community and life in the community. It is a good blog and will give you a good idea of what Appleton is about.

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Protests Against Big Citrus

January 27, 2007

Protests took place today at a grocery store in Appleton Wisconsin. Protesters carried signs and chanted slogans protesting against the increase in citrus fruit prices. Discussions with protesters revealed a number of concerns. Protester Orville James from nearby Kimberly was concerned about the rapid rise in citrus fruit prices. "Come on, the price of the fruit is rising so quickly even before the new batches of fruit can get here. This weather stuff is just an excuse to gouge us." Protester Olivia Johnson was skeptical of any shortages "They tell us there is a fruit shortage, yeah right. There is plenty of citrus fruit in the stores, I can find lemons, limes, oranges, and yes even grapefruit. However, I refuse to knuckle under to gougers and refuse to buy the fruit at those high prices." An Owen Jinkles complained about having to make difficult choices "This rise in citrus prices means I have to choose between eating fruit or getting a new game for my Wii console, it is just not fair!"

Congressman Steve Kagen is concerned about the actions of big citrus and proposes to do something about it. "First off, in the next 100 hours we will propose removing all subsidies and tax breaks from big citrus. Then we will pour money into research developing alternative citrus fruits.
Together, we will stick it to big citrus!"

Industry and economic analysts think differently. Ophelia Jackson citrus crops analyst from the Lehman and Lyme Funds investment house notes that citrus fruits markets follow the law of supply and demand just like any other product or service. The abnormally cold weather throughout much of the America's citrus growing regions destroyed much of the crop, with the decrease in supply the price naturally rises. Those who really love citrus fruits will continue to buy them and make a sacrifice elsewhere. We do this all the time." Orson Jarvis the President's top citrus affairs advisor notes the reason there appears to be plenty of fruit in the store is because those who are less fond of citrus fruits are deterred from buying fruit, thereby leaving the fruit on the shelves for those who love citrus fruits and are therefore willing to pay more." Otto Jorgensen a local accountant also notes that all participants in the supply chain usually use cost averaging that transmits price changes much quicker to the end customer then pricing each batch.

The protesters are still not convinced. Protester Oscar Jansen says "No blood for orange juice. President Bush for certain is planning a war for OJ you watch. That build up on the border is not to guard the border but to invade Mexico for its citrus fruits, we will not stand for it!"

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Rooting for Ginger Rootz

What a glorious day! It is the birthday of the Wise and Benevolent (and beautiful) Empress of the Blogosphere! Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

However, this is not about what a sweet and special woman The Empress is this is about where we dined tonight. The subject of tonight's review is a restaurant named Ginger Rootz on the northeast side of Appleton.

The Atmosphere

Is befitting a good restaurant. You walk in and you will know the establishment serves food worth reviewing and will prepare you for a treat. The ceilings are high and there is brushed aluminum that gives the place a modern artsy feel to it.

The Bar

The Empress and I were seated. I ordered a – ginnentonic and the Empress a rootbeer. The ginnentonic was flat but the Empress raved about her rootbeer. First, it was served in a glass without ice and secondly the rootbeer was cold and good. It was a rootbeer made in Monroe WI. My second ginnentonic was noticeably better but still the tonic water lacked the bubbles. However, the proportion of gin to tonic was about right, I could taste the gin but a lime was proper instead of an olive.

May I Take Your Order

Dale waited on us and he has waited on us previously. Dale has a good sense of humor, is engaging in conversation, and does what a waiter is supposed to do. I intended to tip him well but gave only the standard tip. I can calculate powerfully but not quickly.

The Food

In a word, excellent. I ordered two vegetable rolls and those were good. The hot and sour soup I had was very good as well. The dinners we ordered were the sea bass grilled and the XO shrimp and scallops.

Hmmm, sarap na! I ordered the XO shrimp and scallops. The menu claimed it to be a spicy dish and I found it wanting. However the sauce was assertive and it came with pea pods, green onions, and asparagus. I ordered a chablis with the dinner and the pairing was divine.

The sea bass came with two dollops of wazabi mashed potatoes. That was a touch spicy for the Empress but not for myself. Again, I found the spuds assertive in flavor but most Northeastern Wisconsinites should be able to handle it. The sea bass came grilled with a dark garlic sauce and I thought the sauce a touch overpowering in comparison to the sea bass which had a very delicate flavor.

Next time we go The Empress is going to order the sea bass again, but steamed with a soy based sauce instead of grilled. I think that sauce will better bring out the fish's delicate flavor.

Since it was the birthday of the Empress noodles were mandatory. Ginger Rootz has a noodle bowl menu where you can order your favorite noodles with a sauce, vegetables, and a meat (or tofu). The Empress ordered a bowl of those and that was a meal in itself.

The Bottom Line

While it was not a cheap date I found the prices more reasonable here than in our previous restaurant experience. Ginger Rootz has a wide range of prices. A couple can get by for $50.00, but our meal of the sea bass, the shrimp and scallops, the noodle bowl, two ginnentonics, two glasses of chablis, the root beer, and the tip set us back about $90.00.

Executive Summary

I have been to Ginger Rootz in the past and continue to visit. I highly recommend Ginger Rootz if you are looking for a good sit down general Oriental restaurant.

Very simply just go and enjoy!

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Blue Monday

Much ado about Blue today.

However, we here have a legitimate cause for the blues. A sister-in-law I met just a week or so ago from a year ago is grave and is not expected to be with us for too much longer. She is the oldest of my wife's siblings which number 12 all together (my wife is the second youngest) and was bed ridden from a stroke sometime ago. Her mind was still sharp but recently from what The Empress can tell another stroke set in and this time much more serious.

About a year ago when we were there the same thing happened. One of her brothers passed away from a stroke that occured before we went to the Philippines and he passed away the day we arrived in Cebu.

We do not usually ask out [of life], but then again we never ask in either, it just happens. However no amount of philosophical pondering, rationalization, or whatnot eases the pain such a parting causes. Please remember our Ate in your prayers. Thanks.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Liberals & Conservatives Happy, Leftists Gnasing Their Teeth

Over Michelle Malkin's safe return from Iraq.

Michelle Malkin & bloleague embedded with a unit of the Dagger Brigade in Iraq. Of course, she reports back to us via her blog and includes links to Hotair's Flickr archive of the photos they took while on their way to and time in Iraq. Check it out.

I wonder how many times she heard: Philipeeney hada! Philipeeney hada! That must have been a site, watching her in Kuwait and in Iraq a child of Filipinos walking around where the populace is used to Filipinos as cheap labor. Especially in Kuwait.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Moderate Muslim

Dinesh D'Souza did an interview to promote his new book with Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review.

I saw him speak once as well and many of the themes he goes over in the interview he also covered in his talk at Lawrence University.

He covers the idea that the war on terror is a poor name like saying a war on turning ones flank. Yes true, but this is hardly worth the breath of a college sophomore. It has been repeated over & over almost as much as the idea that the Church put Christmas on December 25th to piggy-back it on the existing pagan solstice celebrations (ditto for Easter). Still, the interview contains much that is valuable.

And both the Right and the Left have been operating under illusions. The radical Muslims are against modernity and science and democracy. The radical Muslims are upset because of colonialism and the Crusades. It’s all nonsense. That’s not what the leading thinkers of radical Islam say. And Bin Laden’s own views are quite different. In his Letter to America, issued shortly after 9/11, he said that America is the fount of global atheism and it is imposing its morally depraved values on the world. So Muslims must rise up in defensive jihad against America because their religion and their values are under attack. This aspect of Bin Laden’s critique has been totally ignored, and it’s one that resonates with a lot of traditional Muslims and traditional people around the world. A second point is that unlike Falwell I don’t think “America” is to blame. Muslims in Indonesia and Egypt and Pakistan don’t see “America,” they see the face of American popular culture that is projected by our television and movies and music. They see the dimension of America that in their view corrupts the innocence of children, and undermines the family, and promotes homosexuality as a normal way of life. In fact, this is the America of the cultural Left. What the Left considers “liberating,” much of the world considers a scandalous assault on modesty and decency. [emphasis added]
Source: National Review Online – Eyeing the Enemy (Dinesh D’Souza looks left.)

Now as many of you may know I lived in the United Arab Emirates for six years. It was my experience much of the Arabs impression of America was formed by the likes of: Falcon Crest, the Bold and the Beautiful, and other such Hollywood fare. It was not uncommon for a student to talk to us about his upcoming trip to America. It was usually quite apparent the student was under the impression he was going to the land of cheap & easy lays.

Dinesh then notes how the left has formed a de facto alliance with the radical Muslims that we on the right must forge an alliance with moderate Muslims. This is where I find myself often banging my head on the wall.

Not against Dinesh but many on the right. Yes, often times those on the right paint a picture the war is not against a subset of Islam but against all of Islam itself. This is wrong, very wrong.

Often times lack of moderate outrage is used by people to say the moderate Muslim is more rare than Bigfoot. Fear is very powerful and the radical Islamists demonstrate they are perfectly capable willing and able to create all sorts of Mayhem. A wedding in Jordan, a tour group in and people at a resort in Egypt are examples of the radicals taking their wrath out on their Islamic brethren.

Often times people trot out the Koran and say SEE! Here it says the Koran orders the Muslim to kill and enslave unbelievers. It tells the Muslim to not take friends of Jews & Christians etc. Well truth be told the Holy Bible contains some unbelievable statements. Do you really believe it wrong to eat "rock badgers" and shellfish? How about reading Leviticus and some of the methods outlined about determining guilt?

Read the whole article

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Blogging Is Not A Trivial Task

Don't think it is. However, since you are reading this blog I assume you are a fairly hardcore blog reader and most likely a blogger yourself. The stereotype the MSM promulgates is we are a bunch of partisan know-nothings following orders or just plain know nothings.

To write well thought, written, and reasoned blogs takes time and energy. Sometimes a blog will flow out like fine olive oil from a jar, sometimes the words come out like catsup. The problem is, catsup flow is more common than oil.

Even when the blogs comes out smoothly often times the blog needs off topic explanations so then one has to go and hunt for appropriate links. Google does a real good job and makes that task easier but still you have to review the material to make sure it is accurate and is understandable. It also helps to have links that appear to be somewhat permanent.

I would guess at least 1/3 of the blogs I sit down and start to write never make it out. I have an idea and by the time I get to my keyboard the idea is forgotten or the fire is out. Sometimes, I do not really know myself what to think about a given blog and how can you write about it then? Sometimes internal debates comes out in a blog but that is rare for myself.

Not Yet.

I had an e-mail exchange with a fellow whose analysis is considered much more serious than my own, this fellow actually gets paid to write about such things (unlike yours truly). He notes the meetings between Syrians & Israelis were non-official. The Haaretz article even makes that plain.

In the end if Jimmy Carter gets up and flies to some undisclosed location and has talks with some guy from Iran they can agree to anything. What does it mean? It means unless Carter and the fellow he was talking to can personally deliver on, forget it.

In short regarding the "talks" between Israel and Syria, forget it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Peace Between Israel and Syria?

Little Green Footballs is passing on a report of an imminent deal to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Syria. The report arises from Haaretz an Israeli Newspaper. At least that is the idea I get from the story.
In a series of secret meetings in Europe between September 2004 and July 2006, Syrians and Israelis formulated understandings for a peace agreement between Israel and Syria.
Source: Haaretz – Secret understandings reached between representatives of Israel, Syria

The understanding comes down to Israel pulling out of the Golan Heights, Syria to pull away from Iran, Israel's unfettered access to water (Lake Kinneret & the Jordan River), a jointly accessible park set up along Lake Kinneret covering a significant portion of the Golan Heights, and Syria's termination of support for Hamas & Hezzbolah. Now, mind you this agreement is not an agreement but it sounds like the boundries for further discussion.

I do not trust the Syrians but:
It also emerged that one of the Syrian messages to Israel had to do with the ties between Damascus and Tehran. In the message, the Alawi regime - the Assad family being members of the Alawi minority - asserts that it considers itself to be an integral part of the Sunni world and that it objects to the Shi'a theocratic regime, and is particularly opposed to Iran's policy in Iraq. A senior Syrian official stressed that a peace agreement with Israel will enable Syria to distance itself from Iran.
Source: Haaretz – Secret understandings reached between representatives of Israel, Syria

This is very interesting. Syria is majority Sunni and the ruling elite are Alawite. From the linked article you can see Global Security categorizes the Alawite branch of Islam under Shiism, however the Assads and their buddies live in a sea of Sunnism. Iran and its problem makers in the Levant are Shia. Here is a good treatise on Shi'a Islam from what appears to be a Sunni Islam site. Anyway it is certainly no good for Assad to get his population worked up and while the site I link to on Shi'a Islam says there are no real bones between Sunni & Shi'a Islam at the very least there is a cultural friction between the Persians and the Arabs. Not too long ago I pointed out a blog by Michael Totten where he claims nuclear weapons by the Israelis did not bother the Arabs of the Gulf but now Iran is developing weapons so too are the GCC states.

Are the Arabs starting to coalesce against Iran?

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The Charlie Story.

Last night I wrote a spoof news story on Charlie The Tuna's happiness with the exemption given to the tuna industry on minimum wage.

In reality, Chicken of the Sea also benefits from the deal. I needed a loser in the story and I could not resist using Chicken of the Sea.

However, one fellow dropped a comment in response. He griped about how the GOP, his congressman in particular is no better. Uhhhh, that wasn't the point.

The point was to question why American Somoa is exempt from the legislation when no one else is, not even the Northern Mariana Islands. StarKist & DelMonte of course say it would unduly burden the industry. Well, of course it would I don't dispute that. But why is it that argument never works elsewhere or for other industries?

I do not suspect any corrupt deal here but of course asked to support my lack of suspicion I couldn't. I could only state that despite my differences with Nancy Pelosi I have no reason to suspect she is corrupt.

I suspect it comes down the fundamental definition of special & vital interests and the fact that DelMonte is Nancy's vital interest. My interests are vital and all others are special.

1/16/2007: some minor edits to improve the clarity of my meaning.

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What Happened?

Our now infamous and still new congressman Steve Kagen is living up to expectations.

What happened? What led to his winning?

Quite a few different thing mixed together to form the vote soup that put him into office.

A Tsunami of Discontent

Of course, the most widely attributed factor was a national GOP fatigue. This was brought on my many things. The culture of corruption hyped by Nancy and the Dems did its work and I would not say the GOP played the Dem scripted part but no doubt the likes of Foley lent credence to the charges. The DeLay case may have done so too but I would say Tom DeLay is a victim along the lines of the Duke LaCrosse player. He'll have his day in court. The Dems played it very skillfully.

Other points are lack of progress on immigration and in Iraq. Plus every now and then the independent voter gets change in their mind. Never mind asking them what needs change its just change for change's sake.

Don't whine about the MSM. We have proven we can win despite their best efforts.

Dissatisfied & Split Republican Voters

Many of the people I knew who supported John Gard did not do so enthusiastically. John's record in the State Assembly did not show a lot of promise. Looking for progress on TABOR and tax relief we did not find it. Looking for spending restraint we did not find it.

The Honesty Tour which of course gave the impression Terri thought John dishonest did not help. What were her supporters going to do? Vote for a person they spent months trying convince Eighth district voters was dishonest? In fact, quite a few of Terri's supporters went on to work for Steve Kagen's campaign.

Of course, the RPW & RNC did not help the situation by overlooking its own rules to favor John Gard. From the start, I viewed Terri's chances as a long shot. Still, one of the reasons we have primaries is to help strengthen our individual candidates, their staffs, and to give those conservatives who are a part of our grass-roots more of a say. Remember, it is them ultimately we need on our side. The executive is a top-down organization, congress is a bottom-up organization.

I am Not a Democrat, Only Goes So Far

Even in a right-leaning district you need to say more than I am not a Democrat. To be fair, I paid about 0 attention to the advertisements as I was in the Madison area for most of the race (for work) and in any event I watch DirectV's mostly The History Channel, FNC, and sports programming so I missed the deluge of advertisements. Like I need advertising to motivate me, anyway. Any positive TV presentation's to the voters were washed out by the negative ads.

Just like '00, '02, and '04 candidates have to present something about them as well. John Kerry's only attributes were he served in Vietnam and wasn't President Bush.

We had an operative in town in '02 to help with the Scott McCallum campaign. People complained about the negative advertising in that campaign. She told us that negative advertising works, expect more of it. Well, it did not then and did not now.

Negative campaigning will never and should never go away. However, we need to emphasize a candidate's pros over the opponent's negatives.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Looming Property Tax Crisis

Local municipalities bring in most of their tax revenue from property taxes. These taxes are used to pick up the trash, maintain roads, plow snow, fund police, fund fire departments, and of course educate/brainwash children.

Of all taxes property taxes are probably the cruelest as they give not a whit about a person's means to pay. Most taxes as we all know are income based and usually confiscate a percentage of one's income, so the more one makes the more on pays, the less one makes the less one pays. Having little or no income and not paying a lot of taxes is not going to bring the wrath of government onto a person.

Property taxes do not work that way. Property taxes are based on the value of one's homestead and do not vary depending on one's ability to pay the tax. The jobless widow is expected to pay the same property tax as her & her husband did when he was alive and working. Furthermore, the penalty for not being able to come up with a property tax payment is forfeiture of the property to the government.

Now, the baby boomer generation is reaching retirement and their incomes are starting to become pension/SS/savings based. Many will find themselves hard pressed to maintain their property tax payments the sharp and flexible ones will see that and sell their houses and move into a property more in lines with their ability to pay property taxes the not so smart or the bullheads will lose their properties to government foreclosure.

This is but one force that is going to drive property values down. What else will then go down? Property tax receipts. So, what will then happen to city governments? They will be forced to make choices. One choice is the instinctive and natural reaction city hall has and that is to raise the levy per $1,000.00 of property value.

Fortunately, demographics should take some of the pressure off of government to keep increasing spending but this can only be the case if government limits its scope. This is important and this is where the real weakness is. This is what TABOR is designed to limit. TABOR is not to reduce government spending it is to check the real growth of government.

So unless something changes we will have a homelessness crisis. The government will wind kicking a lot out of their homes.

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Charlie Datoona Thanks Nancy.

UNS - 1/4/2007 San Francisco
Charlie Datoona Thanks Nancy Pelosi
In a public statement Charlie Datoona thanked Nancy Pelosi for the help she provided StarKist tuna.
I want to thank Nancy Pelosi for this San Francisco treat! Without the minimum wage exemption I might never get to be a StarKist tuna, now at least I have a chance. My friends are eager to join the StarKist team and now StarKist will be able to employ more people it is more likely to happen.

Charlie Datoona's arch rival in the tuna industry the Chicken of the Sea mermaid had the following statement:
This stinks to no end. Now, I will have to lay off workers, reconsider our future expansion plans, and pass on labor cost increases to our customers. This gives Charlie Datoona an unfair market advantage. It's like it was Charlie himself writing the legislation. No wonder they were in such a hurry to get this bill passed. I-I-I could just cry!

Mack E. Ral an industry analyst notes there are no reasonable suspicions of legislative malfeasance or impropriety here, but it does seem a constituent of the Speaker of the House has gained an inexplicable favor. Mack goes onto say I do not blame anyone for thinking otherwise [that there is no legislative favoritism]. Mr. Ral expressed hope the bill would be fixed to either remove the exemption or the whole bill would just go away.

We will see, we will see.

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Bleg: Is There an Arabic Restaurant in Wisconsin?

Yesterday the Empress and myself dined at Siroccos downtown Appleton. Not bad but pricey and we had our hearts set on some good ole Arabic food. There were teases of Arabic in the food but pork tenderloin & ham wrapped scallops do not strike me as very Arabic.

Is there an authentic Arabic restaurant in the state? Don't tell me Husnus on State St. in Madison either, as we have dined there and it didn't strike me as Arabic either. It was close but no hubbly-bubbly.

The last time I had decent Arabic food was in 2000 at the Golden Sheep on Khalifa St. in Al-Ain. I tell you it was heaven. Prior that, it was at a couple of joints in – Detroit.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Musical Memories

Right now WCPE (a streaming radio station I have blogged about before) is playing some music by Bella Bartok. I have this piece on CD and obtained it in the early '90s. Can not recall if it was before I went to the UAE or just before.

However when I hear this piece (and other music doing this would be music by Ravel and the Kronos Quartet) I can almost close my eyes and imagine I am in my old apartment in the UAE or driving to Khorfhan with friends. It is amazing how music can bring back such memories.

I find unique smells can do this as well. There is a man's cologne a college buddy of mine wore. I don't know what it is but it is not a common one. Whenever I get a whiff of it I flash back to one of those old fashioned keggers.

Neither my college days or my UAE days seem that long ago.

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The Best General Appleton Blog

Not on an officer but a good blog on Appleton Wisconsin.

A certain Jeff Lindsay has taken quite a bit of effort to document Appleton for the benefit of those on the WWW. He has many pictures, restaurant reviews, descriptions, and writing that gives you a good feel for what life is like here in Appleton Wisconsin.


Sir, May I Visit Siroccos Again?

The Empress and myself visited Siroccos in Appleton tonight. See Jeff Lindsay's review at: The Appleton Blog after you finish your meal here.

Some background first. The Empress and I lived in the Middle East (UAE). She for over 12 years and six years myself. So when it comes to Mediterranean food I know something about which I write about tonight. However, note this is based on Levantine & Gulf Arabic cuisine (i.e. Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian etc) and Mediterranean food is larger than just Arabic but there were teases of Arabic food in the menu and in the description the waitstaff gave us.

First Impressions

As you can google and find out on your own Siroccos is downtown Appleton in what used to be Peggy's Cafe (formerly owned & ran by a friend of mine). Enter it and you find yourself in an old brick building the interior slightly dark. Its a building that reveals little about what is inside without looking in it could be a lower flat of the local cat lady or an upscale restaurant only the likes of recently elected congressmen can afford (yes, this is a political dig). Walk in and you will find it close enough to the later for most people's liking. In fact the bar screams upscale (well scream is little extreme but the bar and its decor says haute cuisine in the quiet way one would say haute cuisine). It was about 5:00 pm when the Empress and I walked in and we were seated immediately.

Second Impressions

We were given menus and a listing of the soups and our drink orders were taken. I ordered my standard (rail) ginnentonic and The Empress ordered a lemon-lime soda with less ice. However, full ice must have been–full as her glass came filled about half with ice. My (rail) ginnentonic was excellent; the tonic crisp and the gin ginny with enough gin so the gin made its presence well known but not too much gin to require an olive instead of a lime slice.


Looking over the menu I was somewhat disappointed. I was hoping for a stronger Arabic contribution, unfortunately the number of pork dishes was high (not bad but not a typical Arabic menu, but recall this is a Mediterranean restaurant not an Arabic one) and only one or two items looked like they would belong on the menu of an Arabic restaurant. Malesh (nevermind) and I started looking over the rest of the items.

Here was our order. I ordered the stuffed pork tenderloins and The Empress ordered the ham wrapped scallops. In addition I ordered a black bean soup (with lime? with wine?). The soup was brought in a huge bowl with a piece of toasted bread. The soup struck me as a soup from the Middle East. It was good!

Dig In

Then our dinners came. The Empress was struck by how small the serving was. She was hoping to bring some leftovers to work the next day. However, when we dug in and ate we were satisfied with the taste. The food was definitely prepared with three senses in mind and all three senses were happy (sight, smell, and taste). When we were done we were full and satisfied, but disappointed we could not continue the experience tomorrow (and in the case of The Empress tease her colleagues in the break room).

Sticker Shock

Haute cuisine it was, haute pricess too. Our meal which consisted of one 7-Up (or Sprite whatever), two (rail) ginnentonics, one bowl of blackbean soup, one order of stuffed pork tenderloins, and an order of ham wrapped scallops came in at $65 (then add in a tip).


I liked the food and the service, but the pricing & serving size will keep us away. There is no shortage of restaurants in Appleton. I really do not see ourselves returning. If you are in Appleton for a show and want an elegant meal and are willing to pay for it then Siroccos should be on your short list otherwise go somewhere else.

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Please Nancy, For The Children.

Isn't that what the left often falls back on when a position does not resonate with the public? It is for the children?

Nancy Pelosi & the Dem's minimum wage increase bill raise the minimum wage across the nation and all but one U.S. Territory. Which U.S. Territory is exempt? Why U.S. Somoa. Why does U.S. Somoa get excepted to the law? No reasonable explanation has been submitted by the Democrats in fact it is somewhat humorous to read about this:
"There's something fishy going on here," said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, North Carolina Republican.

During the House debate yesterday on stem-cell research, Mr. McHenry raised a parliamentary inquiry as to whether an amendment could be offered that would exempt American Samoa from stem-cell research, "just as it was for the minimum-wage bill."

A clearly perturbed Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who was presiding, cut off Mr. McHenry and shouted, "No, it would not be."

"So, the chair is saying I may not offer an amendment exempting American Samoa?" Mr. McHenry pressed.

"The gentleman is making a speech and will sustain," Mr. Frank shouted as he slammed his large wooden gavel against the rostrum.

Some Republicans who voted in favor of the minimum-wage bill were particularly irritated to
learn yesterday -- after their vote -- that the legislation did not include American Samoa.
Source: The Washington Times – GOP hits Pelosi's 'hypocrisy' on wage bill

Of course some are noting possible reasons for the exemption. Namely, StarKist Tuna is U.S. Somoa's largest employer and StarKist's parent company DelMonte is headquartered in – San Francisco – Nancy Pelosi's congressional district.

Please, why is Somoa but not the Northern Mariana Islands exempt from the new minimum wage law?

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Spec Writing

I am a computer professional. A consultant. This means when I am finally beginning to know my way around a client's computer system and more importantly their business I get sent away.

I walk into a client not knowing their systems or their business and am expected to sit down and start writing programs. Now, sometimes this is easy sometimes it is not. If the client writes detailed specifications on what they want done and good directions on how to do that then I am fine. I can write the code, unit test and be done.

However, from time to time I get specifications that would fit on a post-it note. A former colleague at a former client put it like this, if I need more than a half sheet of paper than it is quicker and cheaper to write it on my own.

I find that to be a truism. Often time when I write spec.s I create a proof of concept program to test my design and usually just copy & paste my code (with the proviso of how my code is not a command but a suggestion and provided the coder knows what the code is supposed to do they are free to code in any way they want) into the spec. This is why a good amount of computer programming outsourcing is not going to be cost effective in the end.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Iraq Updates

The left is clamoring and making noise that sounds very much similar to stay the course with regards to Iraq.

It sounds like the gloves may be coming off. I did not watch the speech tonight so I am working on the speculation I read prior the speech and a summarys found in National Review Online's the Corner.

On Admission of Failures

Hmmm. I would like to have believed the administration has been frank with itself on these things. Perhaps it has and all of what we are seeing is finally one side of the internal debate won.

On Increased Soldiers in Iraq

Good. In the past I have been skeptical of such a move but have come around, especially now certain other steps are to be taken.

On The Other Steps

I am glad it sounds as if the rules of engagement are going to be lightened up. No matter what our soldiers do the likes of John Kerry, Howard Dean et al are going to call them terrorists and insult them (to be mimicked by Al Qaida), might as well do what is right and loosen the rules of engagement.

On Laying Down the Law With Iraq

We do not have infinite resources or patience. Iraqi leaders have to be made to understand that. Right now political conditions are not ripe for much more work in Iraq. However, I believe if things do not start to progress soon then after 2008 we will leave Iraq. Then in some years afterward will return and unfortunately events will be such that we have enough resolve to return and finsih the job.

On Laying Down the Law With Iraq

The militias have to be dealt with. Part of the reason the militias came up was due to the general lawlessness. The criminal elements had to be dealt with and the Iraqi government was unable to deal with and our forces did not want to deal with it. The locals then started to take the law into their own hands. Remember, not too long before the invasion Saddam emptied out his jails. It sounds like major components of this last push are aimed at increasing the physical and material security of the oridinary Baghdadi, this will be a help. Lets hope its not too little or too late.

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Reading in this that and the other place I have seen some question and whine about what is happening in Somalia. One commentator at Boots & Sabers states how the action in Somalis empowers the radicals. Interesting how it is losing control of a nation that makes a movement stronger rather than controlling a nation.

One thing I saw was whining about Geneva Conventions. I tell you.

I wonder how long its going to be before we hear Somalia did not attack us on 9/11.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Could Not Have Been Al-Qaida

We just thumped & rethumped a gathering in Somalia. As is always the case when a gang of Al-Qaida gets thumped it wasn't Al-Qaida but some other innocuous gathering.

Here are the top 10 suggestions Al-Qaida's media men came up with for their press release on the matter.

It wasn't a gathering of Al-Qaida the US Airships shot up it was....
10.) A bar-mitzvah
9.) A wedding
8.) A funeral
7.) An international financiers convention
6.) A fashion show
5.) A garden party
4.) A bridal shower
3.) A wild & crazy bachelor party
2.) An editorial boad meeting for The Somali Reporter
1.) A showing of the Vagina Monologues.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Stay the Course

Nanc-eye and Harr-eye have told the President they oppose sending additional force to Iraq.

They do not sound like they are about to withdraw funding either. Does this mean Nanc-eye and Harr-eye want to Stay the Course?


Media Notes

They Found the Jamil Hussein. So What?

Not all that long ago I noted how Curt at Flopping Aces was questioning the reality of certain Al-Pazeera sources

Well a Jamil Hussein has been produced. Not just any Jamil Hussein but a Capt. Jamil Hussein working in the Al-Pazeera noted police station. That took some time. Sure, Capt. Jamil Hussein may exist but how about the stories he was feeding Al-Pazeera? Does my existance mean if I report stories about green spotted purple unicorns feeding on road salt the story is true? Of course not. The MSM, Al-Pazeera included has been all to willing to swallow enemy propaganda while being skeptical of the news from our armed forces.

A Lonely John Kerry?

Another story this time raising questions about the blogosphere is the Lonely John Kerry story. A picture came from Iraq showing John Kerry alone at a table having some breakfast. The reporting on the story was John Kerry being spurned. The leftoid blogosphere came up with all sorts of fantastic conspiracy theories explaining it away. However, in the end it came down to John Kerry wanting some private & quiet time to talk with reporters.

I was skeptical of that story. It did not seem right a former presidential candidate (even as a lame one as John Kerry) would be spurned by our troops. Certainly he did not go to a HQ too far down the chain of command where the number of his supporters (even in the Military, probably at the brigade to division level there would have been enough JK supporters to stage) was next to zero.

Still given his history and his recent commentary (and maybe it was a botched joke, but it was interpreted properly by the way it came out, he directly insulted the soldiers. It was no misinterpretation on the listeners part) it was not extremely unreasonable to bite on the photo and the explanation initially supplied.

A Correction?

Many in the blogosphere have pointed out an outright misrepresntation of a story put out by the New York Times. To sum up the story as presented by the NYT a woman in El Salvador had an abortion and was arrested and sentenced to jail for a long time (w/o running down the details I want to say the sentence was 30 years). However, the record shows this was not an abortion (at least not in the commonly held view) but a live birth followed by a strangulation – murder.

Well National Review's Byron York passes on the following from the New York Times:
The three-judge panel that received the case from Judge Sanabria concluded that the second report was more credible than the first, and the panel convicted Ms. Climaco of aggravated homicide.

The Times should have obtained the text of the ruling of the three-judge panel before the article was published, but did not vigorously pursue the document until details of the ruling were brought to the attention of editors in late November.

A picture caption with the article also misstated the facts of the ruling. Ms. Climaco was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a case that was initially thought to be an abortion but was later ruled to be a homicide; she was not given 30 years in prison for an abortion that was ruled a homicide.


Anyone who thinks any sort of analysis & reporting is going to be 100% correct is an idiot. However, it is always easiest to recognize the incorrectness in others and fail to recognize fallibility in our own work. That is called the human condition.

Unfortunately, all too many fail to recognize the humanity in themselves and in others. Usually one only sees it when they have so obviously fallen and then most fall back on the I am human defense they deny to others.

We see this in the MSM vs. blogger debates. We certainly see it in the right vs. left debate. Many would attribute this to an abnormally hyper-charged partisan environment we are in now-a-days. I would say it closer to normal than not.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Two Moms, a Father, A Quppie, and a Court Jester

TORONTO (Reuters) - A five-year-old Canadian boy can have two mothers and a father, an Ontario court ruled this week in a landmark case that redefines the meaning of family and examines the rights of parents in same-sex relationships.

In a ruling released on Tuesday, the Ontario Court of Appeal said the female partner of the child's biological mother could be legally recognized as the boy's third parent.
Source: Yahoo News – Ontario says child can have 2 moms
Wow, how about that! HT Drudge.

Pretty soon courts will be telling children they can have a father, dozens of mothers, and none of them have to be human.

There is only one mother and one father. There was an Arabic insult I recall from my days in the Middle East. I didn't see it or hear it used but what you do is to take the thumb & pointer finger of one hand and form a circle. Take all of your fingers & thumb from the other hand and start moving them in & out of the circle formed by your other hand. It was saying You have five fathers and obvious mother insult.

I will say the courts can adopt that "insult" to simplify their rulings.

The Blahs

Yeap I have 'em.

The weather is not encouraging (as you may have fathomed I enjoy the winter weather), I have a mild case of the crud, the wife's crud is on the wane but more serious than mine and I am bored. This weekend should have been a ski weekend but the crud but the qabash on that.

All the other things I do to fight off boredom just contributed even more to the blahs. Nothing in particular just – blah.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Way Interesting But Not A Surprise

Michael J. Totten has been trekking the hotspots of the world. In a recent post he says:
Six Arab governments – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, and Tunisia – say they will pursue nuclear weapons programs now because Iran’s atomic bombs need to be countered. None of these Arab countries sought nuclear weapons to offset those acquired by Israel. They fear and loathe the Shia of Lebanon and Iran (and most likely Iraq, as well) more than they worry about the Zionists regardless of what they may say.
Source: Michael J. Totten – "It's Like a Phish Concert for Terrorists"

Wow! However, his observation is obvious to myself: here is a listing of my blogs that refer to nuclear. You will find a couple noting how it is likely Saudi already has its own nuclear weapon(s). Just because Iran is Islamic doesn't mean they like the Gulf Arabs and in fact it does not take much research to turn up simmering conflicts between Iran & The Gulf Arab States (of course Iran is happy to just talk about it).

Monday, January 01, 2007

Cliff May's Thought Experiment.

Imagine that Saddam had not been executed. Imagine that he had been sentenced to life in prison.

Now imagine that a group of pro-Saddam terrorists seizes an elementary school. They say they will kill all the students and teachers if Saddam is not released within 24 hours.
Source: A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT – Cliff May in The Corner.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Fireworks were heard at midnight, but nothing like the wife and I experienced last year in Manila!

The Packers helped out with that though.

Anyway Happy New Year to one & all!