Friday, November 30, 2007

Murtha's New Maneuver

Wow, how the worm has turned. I am not friendly to Mr. Murtha, but I have to give him his due when he backpedaled on his gloomy predictions on the surge in light of what is happening.

According to Drudge though he is attempting to backpedal and the likely reason is he is catching heck from his leadership. No doubt about it, he was a leading critic of the administration's Iraq effort and is now indicating the surge is working thereby undercutting the Democratic leadership's position of trying to force a complete withdrawal of our forces from Iraq.
"I think the 'surge' is working," the Democrat [Rep. John Murtha D-PA] said in a videoconference from his Johnstown office, describing the president's decision to commit more than 20,000 additional combat troops this year. But the Iraqis "have got to take care of themselves."
Source: Murtha finds military progress in trip to Iraq - Warns that Iraqis must do more for their own security – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Hat-tip The Drudge Report

However, I think Mistress Pelosi had a talk with Mr. Murtha:
The surge, he said in a statement, “has created a window of opportunity for the Iraqi government,’’ but so far the Iraqi government has “failed to capitalize on the political and diplomatic steps that the surge was designed to provide.”

“The fact remains that the war in Iraq cannot be won militarily, and that we must begin an orderly redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as practicable,” said the chair of the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee.
Source: CNN Political Ticker – Murtha clarifies surge remarks
Now, Mr. Murtha is engaging in a false argument here when he says The fact remains that the war in Iraq cannot be won militarily the implication is we are only using military means to win the war.

On his literal words I agree, the war can not be won (in any serious way, sure turning the middle east into a glass parking lot may be winning but it is not serious nor would it be a victory worth anything and at best fleeting) solely by military means [alone]. We must also deploy diplomatic and political offensives to win as well.

However, are we expecting a number of people who were used to doing things in Saddam's top-down Iraq now invert the power triangle and unify the nation? Clearly, the Democrat leadership recognizes the problem but then jumps to faulty conclusions. The national government in Iraq is broken it can not be anything but broken. However, the proper response is to make sure the ground remains fertile for consensus government to take root. As long as a strong and impartial moderator is present watering & fertilizing the soil the national unity is growing from the bottom up. For too long, the policy was to hide behind large bases and not confronting the thugs in Iraq whether they were AQI, radical Sunni, or Radical Shia. This is changed and even staunch critics such as Representative Murtha now admit the fruits from the Administration's new approach.

However, the implication in Murtha's general position and in his backpedaling is run away, run away, run away!

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This is Winter!

But it Brings Joy!

In honor of Winter's first storm I present: L'inverno (Winter) Movement I

Search out the last two movements of Vivaldi's winter concerto, in fact search out and listen to all four of his famous Four Seasons Concertos. Vivaldi did a wonderful job of capturing the seasons in the music. The poem at the beginning is great, the translation I am familiar with ends This is Winter, but it brings joy.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Teddy Bear Mohammed

A teacher in The Sudan is in trouble for presiding over the christening of a teddy bear as Mohammed. How farcical is that?

Thinking back to my days as a teacher in the Middle East I came close to such a thing. I was a first year teacher in the UAE. I was working on teaching percents. Now I do not know what it is like here with the teaching of percents but teaching percents was real difficult it just seemed to be a concept hard for the students to grasp. It was not just me, my colleagues reported similar difficulties.

Anyway, we were on an applications of percents lesson and our text book relied heavily on discounts for its problems and examples. Well, being new to the UAE and my first deep exposure to Islam I trotted out interest. Now, interest in Islam is haram that is to say forbidden. Not only was I discussing a haram topic, but Mohammed was the fictional character in my lesson collecting interest.

I knew not about my offense until I heard a colleague addressing us in assembly about some teacher offending his students by not just teaching interest but mixing up Mohammed into the mix.

Fortunately, I was not dennounced, arrested, and whipped. I did stop using interest as an example application of percentage.

I wonder how hard it would have been for a student to denounce me and get me arrested?

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Friday, November 23, 2007

The Fastest Taser in the West


First view this video:

Now, dude (the taseree) is suing someone over this, what a shock that is!

However, the reaction to the video is mixed. Wretchard at the Belmont Club notices this and the commentary is about split even with a slight majority favoring the officer.

However, of more interest is Nick's take:
he audio is hard to get at times because of traffic, but at no time do I ever hear the motorist get verbally abuse [sic], or angry. He simply wants an explanation, and the cop refuses to give him one, and does a poor job of explaining why he won't. Instead, the police officer orders the man out of the car, and then without warning tases him. Then he jokes around about it with an officer who comes as backup.
Source: Dare to Question a Cop - Get Tased – The World According to Nick
First, the story as I understand it is the officer pulled the car over for speeding. The driver pleads his case to the officer and asks for a further explanation however the officer does not and then presents a citation to the driver and requests the driver's signature.

Now, most of the time when I have been asked to sign such documents (health dept inspections, notice of a new contract etc) the initial signature is not a plea of guilt or innocence but a acknowledgment of receipt and or a promise to deal with the ticket as the law requires. In the instance of early '90s ticket to properly deal with it I had to fill out the form on the back pleading no-contest, cut a check, and drive to Lancaster to pay the fine to Grant County.

A buddy of mine received a ticket for speeding in Bonduel some years ago. However, he noticed thee officer forgot to fill in the speed and as a result he managed to get the charge dismissed. So, why the motorist decided he wasn't going to sign the ticket is beyond me.

Since taseree decided not to sign the ticket the officer asked taseree to get out so he could be placed under arrest. Taseree then exits the car per officer request and then Taseree starts to ignore the officer's orders and the rest is a YouTube hit.

Now many claim there was no warning. I grant you there was no verbal warning, but the officer pulled his taser when it was apparent Taseree was resisting arrest and did not fire the taser immediately. Furthermore, the officer pointed the taser at Taseree when Taseree could see the taster aimed at him. When an officer points a taser at you, surely one would not assume it was out to swat a fly away? There was no chance Taseree can claim he thought the taser was pointed at someone else. Taseree saw the taser pointed at him and surely it passes common sense if a weapon is pointed at someone, someone should realize the weapon's use is imminent. If a mugger pulls a gun on someone it usually goes without saying the mugger is likely to use the gun.

If you want to see a bad case of cop going nuts watch this one:

Not only does he go nuts and start to threaten the young man he also starts to reject the young man's attempt to defuse by schmoozing. The cop talks of all sorts of problems in the area (car thievery and the like) but lectures the young man extensively and then tells the young man not to agree just for the sake of agreeing.

I suppose one may question why the alternatives are signing the ticket and arrest, which is a reasonable question. I would hope wise & crafty legislators can come with other ways to encourage compliance. For example, tell the guy to sign or have his license suspended, of course an arrest may happen on the next traffic stop when Taseree is driving while his license is suspended.

Just sign and receive the ticket. Fight it in court.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Whitelaw Sausage Company

Some of you may know of the little village called Whitelaw in Manitowoc County. The little village of Whitelaw used to have a general store and butcher shop called The Whitelaw Sausage Company and they made excellent bacon and wieners. I recall seeing their wieners being sold throughout northeastern Wisconsin. In fact, I know Whitelaw Sausage Company Wieners have been enjoyed worldwide! However, the company fell on hard times, went through a number of different owners and finally closed shop.

However, that has changed! Not only is the Whitelaw Sausage Company open, they now have an online shop! The old general store is gone and now the Whitelaw Sausage Company specializes in quality meats & cheeses. The wieners are top rate and while Appleton has a good old style sausage company the Whitelaw Wiener is a superior product.

Now, I have no financial ties to the Whitelaw Sausage Company, I just want to make everyone aware of a great product and make sure my supply of the good stuff does not go away!

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Monday, November 12, 2007


I do not usually pimp businesses here unless I get a cut of the advertising fee or they do right by us. Broadway Chevrolet in Green Bay just did right by us. The Empress and I bought another vehicle from them and I am happy with the service they gave us on the sale. They cut us a decent price, they got us a better loan than the one we had, they filled the vehicle up with gas, and they gave us two new key fobs. Of course, the vehicle they sold us may be a dud but I doubt it, but that remains to be seen. I researched and drove a number of similar vehicles.

Looking for a new or used Chevy (or any other used car for that matter) at least give Broadway a consider and find Jason and tell him Marcus sent you!

Mayroon MIndoro!

Diyos ko naman! Mayroon Mindoro pa nan dito sa Wisconsin!. My God, we have a Mindororo here in Wisconsin too!

Mindoro is also a major island of the Philippines

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

I am Shocked! Shocked!

Politicians put up people to ask favorable questions! Yes, I am talking about Hilary Clinton being caught planting "fake" questions in the audience at a stop. Of course politicians do this. You can be sure Hillary also has to deal with plants by the Edwards and Obama campaigns (I don't think Kookoonich is up to it too busy pulling tubes or something equally as daft). Of course, if Hillary is the nominee then she will have to deal with people posing questions to her on behalf of her Republican opponent.

I once did such a thing myself. I was asked to call in and put a question to Howard Dean. It was a question on agricultural policy and I am not an ag-policy wonk. However, the person who put me up to it was most likely doing on instruction from higher up the chain of command and the question was designed to pick on Howard Dean's natural favoritism for Vermont farmers over Wisconsin farmers.

National presidential politics is as much show business and image as it is about hard cold facts. Of course Hillary staffers are out looking for people to pitch softballs to her. Be dang sure the rest of the candidates are doing likewise.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

The Iranian Path & Pakistan

Many people & pols are saying history is repeating itself in Pakistan. They claim we supported a strongman in the Shah & incurred the wrath of the Iranian people and instigated the Shia revolution that bebuggers us to this day. The one side of the debate obviously wants to dump Musharaff the other side may not like him or what he is, but fears the consequences of cutting him loose.

Well, I tip my hat to Tee Bee on pointing out this:
In reading various bloggers' reactions to events in Pakistan, I have noticed that a number of them seem to think that Musharraf is all that stands between us and a nuclear-armed Islamist state.
Source: Obsidian Wings – Islamic Extremism In Pakistan (by hilzoy)

Hilzoy makes a point very much worth considering. Who and what do the Pakistani people support? According to Hilzoy's work a majority support Nawaz Shariff (whom returned to Pakistan about one month ago to be refused entrance and returned to his exile in Saudia Arabia), btw, Nawaz Shariff was the PM prior to Musharaf ejecting him from Pakistani leadership.

Now a number of things. First, I do not consider our threats against cutting off aid to Pakistan as serious, they are strictly pro-forma and I hope the language which the threats are being conveyed to Pakistan are being expressed properly – i.e. with language that indicate they are only pro-forma.

Now, many commentators support supporting Musharaf for one reason and that is the fear of the takeover of Pakistan by a fundamentalist Islamic regime. Hilzoy's post is to demonstrate this is an incorrect belief. However one commentator in the comments states:
Good write up hilzoy.

13% of the Iranian people believe that Sharia must rule. Ahmedinejad and the Mullahs are reportedly very unpopular in Iran. Nevertheless, the Iranians are ruled by Mullahs. Gays are hung from cranes. The reason the Mullahs are able to rule over the Iranian population is the power of the teachings of Mohammed. As time has proven, his system of government is brilliant. It is a mistake to underestimate the power of Islam, even when it is unpopular.

What percentage of the Pakistani people believe that Sharia must rule? 13% like in Iran? Double that (26%)? Triple that (39%)?

Answer: 60% (Gallup polling attached). Another 21% of Pakistanis believe that Sharia must be a source of legislation, but not the only source.

Pakistan has a lethal combination of a pious majority, violence sanctioned through its state religion, and a modern nuclear stockpile. It is no place for President Bush to be spreading freedom to ‘ordinary moms and dads’ through democracy. As if he had the power.

But the bigger threat is not Islam through democracy, it is the religious elements in the military. There are probably men making plans as we type. They are on a mission from God.
Source: Comment by Bill in response to Hilzyo's Islamic Extremism in Pakistan
That is the danger of an Islamist takeover is not related to its popularity in the polls but the willingness of the Islamic fanatics to use violent means to accomplish their goals.

Okay so where does that leave someone who is supposed to guide our foreign policy? I think Iran is a good place to look. Its too late to try to win over the radical elements of Pakistani society, remember, the rebels in Saudia Arabia are not champions of freedom of religion, women's rights, freedom of speech for everyone they think the Saudi rulers are not sufficiently Islamic. Just because someone is a radical and a rebel does not automatically confer upon them righteousness (can there be anymore stark example of this phenomena than Che Guevara?)

Iran was obviously going to fall into the hands of the enemies of the USA and are no better than the Shah, that wasn't a gain, that wasn't a bold stand for human rights, it was a loss for our nation and the US and at best a stay even play for human rights. We should have stood by the Shah.

Another example, this time going the other way is that of a nation near & dear to my heart, a nation I have visited twice and very much look forward to visiting again – The Philippines.

In 1986 in what is known as Edsa I the Filipino people turned out to support the widow of Benigno Aquino (assassinated by Marcos goons in 1983, ironically enough I was "Up North" when this happened and distinctly remember hearing this news) in her election to the Filipino presidency over Ferdinand Marcos. Ferdinand wanted to put down the "insurrection" they way thugs typically do and asked Ronald Reagan for support. Ronald in consultation with Paul Wolfowitz (yes, that Paul Wolfowitz) urged Ferdinand Marcos to leave the Philippines. This time the USA urged a strongman to leave his post of power.


Because the opposition that was in a position to take over was not threatening to the USA or the regional balance of power and (a big and) that power respected human rights. We did not fear Corazon Aquino would all of a sudden join with the USSR or start persecuting any specific or general populations in the Philippines.

In Pakistan, it would be foolish to count on either Nawaz Shariff or Benazir Bhutto to be able to consolidate enough power to effectively rule the nation or to even consolidate power. It is not always the most popular party sometimes it is the group most willing to use violence.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Ninth

What is it about the number nine when it comes to symphonies?

Here is the fourth movement of Antonin Dvorak's ninth symphony:

You may not know this tune(s) but you most likely know of the second movement:

Dvorak's #9 is also known as the New World Sympony as Dvorak composed and debuted the symphony here in the USA.

Here is the finale of another #9:

If you listen the below you will hear a very recognizable melody:
Yeah, that tune you hear in a number of adverts is from Beethoven's ninthy symphony.

Another famous ninth symphony is from Schubert:
This is also a great symphony. What is it about number nine?

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Solving MMSD's Sewage Dump Problems

Occasionally we hear stories about the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District taking gigantic dumps into Lake Michigan. That is, when the rain overwhelms the MMSD's capacity the MMSD releases raw sewage into Lake Michigan.

Well, Charlie Sykes today noted a new fad from Africa taking hold in our nation. That is the fad of getting high off of Jenkem

What is jenkem? It is a huffing the gas derived from fermented sewage. How lovely!

Well, jenkem is not yet illegal (in our mechanistic legal system) so I propose the MMSD divert any sewage they are unable to properly handle to pools and ferment, collect, and sell jenkem. They can even flavor it to reduce the reported nasty taste (duh). This may even bring in enough revenue to give Milwaukee county residents a one year respite from tax increases (or at least minimize the regular increase).

In all seriousness now. Charlie asked how someone came up with this. Good question and in the places noted by the Wiki entry on jenkem my guess is someone noted the buzz they got by being in a confined space surrounded by a latrine of sorts or open sewer venting into their confined living quarters. They noticed a pattern of being high while in their space and coming off of their high when out to the market and did what people do – distill pleasurable patterns.

Snopes notes the story and as far as jenkem catching on in the USA they are skeptical. I am too.

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Hey Rosco, Use Your Emergency Lights!

This is directed to the Roscoe P. Coletrane dufus deputy sheriff (yeah, I know Rosco P. Coletrane was a sheriff and not a deputy sheriff) who dispatched a deer on HWY 10 near Grimms Wisconsin on Monday November 5, 2007 (about 4:45 pm).

I thought Rosco P. Coletrane was from Manitowoc County but Manitowoc County's shift commander stated Rosco P. Coletrane was from another jurisdiction and was transporting (I am guessing Rosco was returning from the transport) a prisoner. Rosco called in for permission to dispatch the deer. The shift commander I spoke with stated he did not know what county Rosco was from and I could sense he did not want to bother with looking up those details.

Anyway. Here is why I am upset. We were driving east and it was dark and near and we were just before Grimms we saw vehicles on the side of the road and getting onto the shoulder and moving on. So obviously something was up, we slowed got off to the side (did not yet know why) and then we saw the deer and continued to edge over to pass the deer and move on. Then I heard a shout: What part of stop do you not understand? Just before that the Empress and I noted the dark silhouette of Rosco in the road (west bound lane) and so I complied with Rosco's obvious desire for us to stop. Rosco then pumped two shots into the deer, put his gun away, came back, kicked it a few times and then went back for his gun. Rosco then did it correctly by shooting one round into the deer's head and then Rosco pulled the deer from the road. Once the road was cleared we and others proceeded on our way.

Hey Rosco, why did you not turn on your emergency lights? Hey Rosco, do you not have a jacket with reflector stripes? Brown clothing in the dark of night really does not stand out. Rosco yelling stop with all of our windows up and the wind blowing like it was does not do a whole lot. Next time Rosco, turn on your emergency lights like you are supposed to.

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Happy Birthday John Philip Sousa!

Today is the 153rd birthday of John Philip Sousa. You may not know the name but you know at least one of his works and this is that work:

Another well known work of Mr. Sousa's is the Liberty Bell March which is the theme used by Monty Python's Flying Circus:

Happy birthday John Philip Sousa!

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hey Mayor Perez!

What a bonehead you are! Hey lookie that, I am linking to the Sheboygan Police Department.


Pakistan All Riled Up

The President of Pakistan has declared an emergency and essentially is clamping down on opposition peaceful or otherwise.

A commentator at Boots and Sabers noted how this may be similar to the Shah episode in Iran. The Iran thing was all 'effed up from the start. Did we hold onto the Shah too long or not long enough? The rise of radical Shiaism in Iran led to the rise of the radical Sunni schools of thought and we suffer from both of those today.

Do we cut our support from Musharaff? Who then? Can Benazir put the nation back together and set it in a way that benefits the world? How about Nawaz Sharif? Nawaz from Saudi Arabia is encouraging Pakistanis to rise against Musharaff (Nawaz was in power when Pervez launched the coup).

Pervez is not going to last another year in power. The radical Islamists do not like him and the liberal (relatively so) sectors of Pakistani politics are now set against him.


The Badgers Are On The TV

While it is tied at 0-0 it is still very early in the game and OSU is moving down the field.

Dave Hanson (D-Green Bay) state senator has come up with a hair-brained idea. That is, force the cable companies and the Big Ten network into arbitration over their disputes. DirecTV and Dish Network have had no problem with the deal and is yet another reason I detest cable.

No, I have little problem with rain fade, it happens but it is rare.

Anyway, the government has little business poking its nose into this. Yes, the cable industry is already heavily regulated so why not stick the nose a little further into the tent? Government's nose under the tent is no reason to invite more of that animal in. If you want the government to coerce (remember who has the license to coerce others) these two entities to make a deal over this then do not whine when the guys with the guns ask to do something you do not want to do or regulate you to exhaustion.

It sucks for those of you with cable. However, we are guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and not life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the Badger game. If watching the Badger game makes you happy then pursue it (at a bar, at a friends house, drop cable get satellite TV, etc) but if you come up short try again and try harder or quit trying.

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Berry Laker Added

The Sheboygan Police Department

The website of the Sheboygan Police Department may be viewed by clicking this link.