Friday, December 29, 2006

Watching coverage of Saddam's execution on CNN. 
Tape after tape of Saddam speaking to adoring throngs, of him smiling at a conference table, of Saddam demurely being poked and prodded by an American medic shortly after his capture.

Noticably absent:

Mass graves
Screaming Kurds and Shia
People being forced to blow themselves up.
People being thrown from high buildings while handcuffed.
People who had their hands cut off by his jailers.
People having their tongues cut out on camera.
Any interviews with Saddam's victims.

Meanwhile, Jon Alterman seizes the moment to note that the American news channels were ahead of the Iraqi ones. Apparently, it's America's fault, too.

No problems with Cooper. Just the videotape and guest selection.

A fish ... a barrel ... 
a holy hen grenade.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Eteraz.org brings a heart-rending account, by Liza Mazaheri, of the execution of one Iranian girl.

Some of you may be familiar with the case of Atefeh Rajabi, a girl-child hanged to death in the city of Neka in the early hours of August 15 of 2004. Her crime was officially declared to be "adultery," even though she had never married and was only 16 when the very judge who had condemned her to death served the added role of executioner by personally placing the noose around Atefeh's tiny neck and ordering her body to be lifted. Unofficially, however, Atefeh's crime was defiance – defiance of the un-natural and unreasonable rules that were forced upon her by the Islamic government; defiance of her status as something less than human; defiance of the inequality, poverty, and misogyny that has infested Iran in the past 27 years; and defiance of the binds designed to break the human spirit and destroy the essence of childhood. To the very end, Atefeh maintained her defiance. Witnesses speak of an unusual sense of calmness in her beautiful blue eyes to the last minute. They recount the girl-child's insolent last words, which were: "At the very least, you could have given me a glass of water. Animals are slaughtered more humanely than this."

Please read the whole thing. There have been a few successes. And there are tips on what you can do to help.

Thanks to Feministe.

Splash, out


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Correction: It's Richard Simon, not Roger L. I had confused the two names. I apologize to Roger L.

No...not to be married. I'm engaged in debating Jay Rosen, Richard B. Simon, and others, including Steve Lovelady (who accuses me of being (snicker) "another in a long line of apparatchtiks and sycophants who toe the line on Iraq - an errand boy sent by grocery clerks."

At issue: Rosen's claim that the Bush Administration is marked by something called "A retreat from empiricism."

Really, I'm taking issue, as usual, with the assumptions underlying much of Rosen's argument.

Your thoughts?

Remember that scene in Shattered Glass? 
The one where Michael Kelly, suspicious that Glass was making up stories, went with Glass down to a hotel where he got a particularly juicy scoop, and it became obvious that the restaurant Glass claimed to be in wasn't even open when Glass claimed it was, and Glass's whole house of cards came crashing down?

Yeah. It's like that.

The AP is crossing the line from understandable, if inexcusable tidying and sticking up for their beleaguered staff, into the territory of pathological liars, shiftlessly covering their tracks.

Standard and Poors Downgrades NY Times' Debt 

That's a bad sign when times are good. We are NOT in an advertising recession right now (though I sense a little more caution among advertisers in my little corner of the world).

It's not unusual to see this happen when market conditions deteriorate. But to have your debt slashed to just barely investment grade when the economy is strong? That's ugly.

Advertising is an extremely cyclical business. If they're a BBB debt when times are good, they're B paper when times are bad. Maybe C.

Splash, out


Compare and Contrast 
Flopping Aces compares Bergergate with Plamegate:

"Millions was spent on a silly ignorant investigation over the outing of a desk jockey but when it comes to high level Democrat stealing classified documents related to a terrorist attack all we hear is crickets chirping."

Monday, December 25, 2006

A good op 
Here's the lede graf from the New York Times:

Hundreds of British and Iraqi soldiers assaulted a police station in the southern city of Basra today, killing seven gunmen, rescuing 127 prisoners from what the British said was almost certain execution and ultimately reducing the facility to rubble.

Sounds like great news, right?

Especially when you consider the house of horrors the British and Iraqi troops found:

More than 100 men were crowded into a single cell, 30 feet by 40 feet, he said, with two open toilets, two sinks and just a few blankets spread over the concrete floor.

A significant number showed signs of torture. Some had crushed hands and feet, Major Burbridge said, while others had cigarette and electrical burns and a significant number had gunshot wounds to their legs and knees.

The discovery of the fetid dungeon added to a string of abuses by the Iraqi security forces, highlighting the continuing struggle to combat the infiltration of the police and army by militias and criminal elements — even in a Shiite city like Basra, where there is no sectarian violence.

But if you were just scanning headlines, you wouldn't know a damn thing:

British Troops Raid Iraqi Police Station, Killing 7

You also wouldn't know the rather relevant detail that the perps, in this case, weren't Al Qaeda or Ba'athist diehards, nor were they Mahdi militia types - they were elements of a corrupt and brutish police organization.

Which is surprising to me, given that back in '03 and '04, all we were hearing about was how much better the British were at this stuff than the Americans.

Nice going, Pommies!!!

Splash, out


Sunday, December 24, 2006

...So how did the ISG report play with the people with the most skin in the game? 
Answer: Not well at all.

Santa came early this year! 
KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. forces said on Saturday they had killed the Taliban's military chief in southern Afghanistan, where the insurgency is at its bloodiest, the most senior rebel leader killed yet.

Akhtar Mohammad Osmani and two other guerrillas were killed in an air strike on their car on an isolated desert road on Tuesday, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition force, Colonel Tom Collins, said in Kabul.

"Mullah Osmani is the highest ranking Taliban leader that we've ever killed," he said. "His death is very significant and will hit the Taliban's operations."

Thank you, Santa!!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Patraeus for CENTCOM? 
Blackfive nominates LTG Petraeus for the post.

A superb choice. I'd go back with you, General.

Splash, out


With the Transition Teams 
Bill Roggio has some encouraging observations about the Iraqi Army - and some recommendations.

Roggio also notes some shortcomings, as well - in logistics, administration, maintenance, pay, and combat support capability.

None of these come as a surprise - and none of them seem insurmountable. So long as the Iraqi infantry fights - and the United States remains steadfast in our support, the insurgency cannot become an existential threat to the Iraqi government. The wheels continue to grind.

Splash, out


Friday, December 22, 2006

High-Yield Munis 
For investing geeks only...

I thought the information in this interview was very interesting. I had no idea that the correlation coefficient of the S&P 500 vs. the high-yield municipal bond market was only 15%. That's terrific - and the explanation offered by Mr. Cummings makes sense.

Please note: I am NOT advocating the high-yield muni market going forward. The field is very tricky - the issues are so very thinly traded that valuation is often a matter of guesswork -- As many investors in the Heartland Funds found out some years ago when net asset values in one of their funds were reduced by 56% overnight.


That's not what most people expect from income investments.

So while the underlying securities may be doing ok, it's very difficult for any investor in these thinly traded issues to know what they have.

I have been quietly making a few rebalancing moves on the edges of my very meager portfolio; With the dollar back down near all-time lows against the Euro, I sold off some holdings in foreign stock funds (mostly European) and brought them back into US equities - effectively buying cheap US assets with (hopefully) overpriced Euros. Foreign stocks have had a beautiful run, relative to US equities, and I took a little money off the table.

Further, the expansion seems to be getting a little long in the tooth. I'm not bearish, but I think the economy will not continue to expand at the pace it has. I have moved some money from the Vanguard Total Stock Market index into a large-cap growth and income fund -- effectively selling a modest number of small- and mid-caps, which are more sensitive to slowing economies, as well as selling a few no-dividend large-cap growth stocks.

The bet I'm effectively making is that if the economy slows, dividends will play a comparatively greater role in future returns - as compared to earnings growth - than they had previously.

I'm also building a small margin of safety, as I see potential short-term losses in equities as greater than my expectations for economic growth this year.

P/E's seem fairly reasonable to me, still. Not cheap, but not psycho crazy, either.

Fair weather ahead, with a few scattered squalls.

Unloaded some REIT ballast, with foreclosures peaking up in key markets.

Trimming sails slightly.

Unloaded some REIT ballast, with foreclosures peaking up in key markets.

I'd enjoy hearing your best guesses.

My track record, like most, is mixed. I called the boom in emerging stocks accurately and rode it with real money in 2003 and 2004. But I left emerging markets too soon, and left a lot of gains on the table.

Lightened up on small-caps a year too soon as well, and counting. But I'd rather be too cautious than too crazy.

Splash, out


To: Omar al-Baghdadi
Emir, Al Qaeda In Iraq
All-around pig-licking father-raper




1. Your proposal of 23 DEC 07 has been received in this headquarters.

2. NUTS.

3. POC is your mother, 1-900-CAMEL-HO

Splash, out

Jason W. Van Steenwyk

Captain's Journal on the case.

I haven't been following it too closely lately. But I concur with Herschel's assessment of room-clearing tactics. In an infantry house-to-house fight, there is no going back. You toss the grenade before you even look in the room. If you don't, you die.

Then you charge in firing at anything that moves. There is no time for target assessment in this context. If the enemy survived the grenade with his wits still about him, he already knows where you're coming in from in most cases. He's got the drop on you. He's already on the floor somewhere, in a corner, under a table, drawing a bead on the door or other point of entry. The split second you hesitate on the trigger to conduct a hostile/non-hostile assessment will cause you or your buddy's grievous bodily harm.

That's the drill. That's the reality of urban combat at point-blank range. It was ever thus, and always will be.

If the Marines can demonstrate that there was hostile fire coming from the house in question - or that they were occupied by insurgents, and that they executed a battle drill to standard, AND did not hang out too long shooting the wounded if they were obviously noncombatants (to the extent anything can be obvious), then there needs to be some safe harbor provision for them and future combat leaders.

These decisions are made at platoon level and below. It's a fire team that clears the room. They are led by corporals and buck sergeants. Many times, they are led by a sharp specialist in the Army. Think about 20 to 25 years old.

They are soldiers and marines. Not lawyers.

Get a clue, people.

If they are entitled to a trial by a jury of their peers, the only peers they have are Army and Marine infantry who have themselves engaged in dozens of real-world room clearings.

Let them judge.

I can't, from here.

Splash, out


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Flame bait 
Here's Mary Grabar, writing for TownHall.

After watching The View and following the inane statements made on the program, I’ve come to the conclusion that it really is true what Aristotle, Saint Paul, and John Milton said: Women, without male guidance, are illogical, frivolous, and incapable of making any decisions beyond what to make for dinner.

Hey, look...I just blog here.

Duck -- and cover,


Broken Army 
Don't have time to comment extensively right now. But don't miss this article on the strain being undergone by the reserve components.

The discussion is very enlightening, too.

I'm at the decision point now. About 14 years of service in, it is extremely difficult for me to continue drilling. I relinquished my command last month (a very wrenching and depressing passage for me, even though it happens to all officers), and am now between billets.

I will concur that the pressure to leave the military is intense - and a former employer crossed the legal line with me last year, all but threatening to fire me if I kept getting called up for hurricane duty.

Notice I said "former."

Now I work in a very small business and have to factor that into the decision whether to keep drilling, or transfer to the Inactive Guard or IRR.

Now, after years of HHC duty, I'm feeling incredibly burnt out, but that will pass, I'm sure.

This stuff has a way of getting into your blood.

Splash, out


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Countercolumn News Ticker 
Record numbers of subprime borrowers return homes to rightful owners ...

Whackjobs defeat nutcases in Iranian election ...

Red Cross to issue dividends with unspent tsunami money ...

White House denies reports of fighting in the War Room ...

Developing ...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The AP's been covering their tracks 
Flopping Aces, as usual, is on the case.

Martha Stewart went to jail for less.

It's time to celebrate Hannukkah 
I hope I get a harmonica.

Israelis are moron-icas.

Junkyard Blog has plotted Captain Hussein on a map. 
It's pretty damning.


Ms. Carroll? Comments?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Did you waste your college years on an English degree like me? 
Rejoice, brethren! You can finally put that background in critical literary theory to use here!

That is, if your manager will give you a long enough break from the drive-thru register to read it.

My take: Taken as a whole, Pandagon's post, taken in its entirety, is ironic, in that the ostensible meaning of the author is quite the opposite of what is conveyed in the text. The only difference is that Pandagon's irony is unintentional.

How long should it take to train the Iraqi Army? 
Interesting and lively discussion here, based on an old Countercolumn post.

Hat tip: RTO Trainer and, well, me. :)

Time Magazine 
Geez, the editors of Time Magazine are gutless these days.

As someone who was an American soldier in 2003 and can fog a mirror in 2006, I've been named Person of the Year twice! How lame is that???

And the best political illustrations are a self-mocking joke. These are the very, very best you could come up with?

And the Zidane cartoon? Gimme a break!!!

The only truly clever, well-executed one of the bunch is the one on airline security. (The Brokeback Mountain riff wasn't too bad.) The others could have been concieved and created by any decent bunch of high school sophomores - with a high-school understanding of the issues.

Then again, maybe that's what qualifies you for a senior editor position at Time these days.

Yes, I know it's too much to ask that the collection of Political Illustrations of the Year be something other than the product of a bleary-eyed committee of subway-riding, New York, lukewarm leftists.

But do they really need to be so obvious?

Splash, out


Strange Women Lying in Ponds on Senator Nelson and the meeting with Hafez Assad 
My friend and fellow South Floridian Brant is not happy:

Could he have done anything more stupid than meet with a guy who has assassinated democratic reformers and elected representatives in Lebanon, actively supplied terrorists in Iraq and Lebanon while seeking to foment civil war and chaos in both countries, actively dispatched terrorists to Iraq to attack our soldiers? Does Nelson not recall that the first successful suicide bomb attack on our military was committed by Hezbollah, which openly acts as an arm for both Iran and the Assad regime? Does Nelson seriously believe that a peaceful, stable, pluralistic and prosperous Iraq is in the strategic interests of the Assad regime?


I remember when the 1-124th Infantry, Florida Army National Guard was deployed to Iraq, Bill Nelson won a lot of brownie points with National Guard families because he was out front about taking care of military families and did a fantastic job of engaging them and listening to their concerns.

But as far as I'm concerned, by granting the murderous son of a bitch the dignity of a Senatorial visit - against the express wishes of the Executive branch, Nelson has pissed it all away - and is actively undermining the work our soldiers have done in the War on Terror.

Imagine if Senator Wayne Morse had, in the spring of 1939, with an Italian army crushing Ethiopia, elected to buck the Roosevelt Administration and meet with Mussolini.

Nelson is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. I hope this visit is hung like an albatross around his neck.

Splash, out


Saturday, December 16, 2006


Seriously - given the well-documented incompetence and obtuseness of the coverage of the flyin' imam's story, among many other examples, I guess it's 'f*ck up and move up' at McClatchy-owned papers.

Tom Fiedler, I'm sorry to see ya go.

Splash, out


I can't let this stand 
Eric Boehlert writes a reprehensible screed for Media Matters, in which he adroitly avoids addressing the substantial questions surrounding Chief Hussein's identity and proceeds to slime and slander, well, everyone in sight who is not satisfied with the AP's ducking of the issue:

By inflating the disputed incident into a monumentally important press story, warbloggers, who have excitedly pounded the story for weeks, convinced themselves that blame for the United States' emerging defeat in Iraq lay squarely at the feet of the press. Specifically, warbloggers claim that American journalists, too cowardly to go get the news themselves, are relying on local Iraqi news stringers who have obvious sympathies for terrorists and who purposefully push propaganda into the news stream -- the way Hussein did with the Burned Alive story -- to create the illusion of turmoil. Warbloggers, who have virtually no serious journalism experience among them, announced that what's coming out of Iraq today is not news at all, but simply terrorist press releases -- "a pack of lies" -- regurgitated by reporters (or "traitors") who want to see the insurgents succeed.

I don't know what special skills those with 'journalism experience' are supposed to have that any decent and industrious officer who's got experience as a report of survey or Class A or B accident investigation officer wouldn't have developed many times over himself. But let's just speak of journalism experience.

To take me as one example - I worked as a reporter for a major, household name media company, and wrote scores of articles for a magazine with a circulation of between 800,000 and a million. Yes, my beat was business and investing, rather than military affairs. Nevertheless, if we're going to compare journalism bona fides, I'm sure my audience - and the truly excellent quality of my editors who patiently taught me my trade, mostly by their example (and I can't thank you enough, Richard, Maggie, Adam, and John!) compares more than favorably to Mr. Boehlert.

But more relevantly, I am also quite confident that I can easily outreport the knucklehead who somehow transmogrified a single molotov cocktail toss on a mosque into several mosques having burnt down - a colossal gaffe of Stephen Glassian proportions which all by itself should have devastated the credibility of the reporter as soon as every mosque he claimed was destroyed was found standing, with only minor damage to the entry way on one of them.

In other words, I have more reporting experience - if that is something he consideres relevant, than most of AP's local stringers.

Even more on pointe, I can report the shoes off of the idiot AP editor who can see that - AND fail to produce Jamil Hussein - and be too f*cking blind to realize that "Houston, we have a problem."

Furthermore, I can outshoeleather any bozo who makes dumbass statements like the following:

But warbloggers aren't interested in an honest, factual debate about a single instance of journalistic accountability. And they're not really interested in the specifics of the Burned Alive story. They're interested in wide-ranging conspiracy theories and silencing skeptical voices.

Two questions, kiddo:

Who, precisely, is trying to "silence" a skeptical voice, here? Be specific. Name names. Give me the 'who, what, when, where, and why,' like a good reporter. If it's not too tall an order for you.

Here's a hint: You might take your meds long enough to consider that in this case, it's the milbloggers and Malkin who are the skeptics -- not the AP's defenders (not that anyone has mounted a rational defense of the AP yet; everyone I've seen supportive of the AP's position thus far has come up with nothing but a series of straw men (e.g., silencing skeptical voices, which no one is really doing), red herrings (e.g., they did it in the Lebanon story, too, which is true, but not relevant and does not address Hussein's identity), and ad hominem attacks against the milbloggers and others calling the AP's reportage into question (e.g. too many to list).

Boehlert, whose grasp of critical thinking is, shall we say, tangental to its essence, at best, manages to commit all three logical fallacies within a few short sentences.


People with critical reasoning skills this slovenly shouldn't be casting aspersions on the reporting and source assessment skills of serious observers.

Which leads us to the second question:

Just who is Jamil Hussein?

Boehlert doesn't even attempt to address the elephant in the room.

Who is he, Boehlert?

Because if he can't be substantiated, then everything in Boehlert's argument falls apart, because the milbloggers, no matter how distant they are from the battlefield, and no matter how powerful their air conditioners, will have been proven correct.

So far, Boehlert, it ain't looking good for you.

It should be noted that Malkin's breathless excitement over the AP story nearly matches the enthusiasm she used to spread online smears about the press in the spring of 2005 during the Terri Schiavo right-to-die controversy.

Wow. That's the biggest, fattest red herring I've seen flying through the blogosphere in ages. This guy's reasoning skills are seriously nonlinear.

Back to the question at hand, Boehlert...who is Jamil Hussein?


To watch warbloggers taunt journalists for being cowards is also unsettling. Curt at Flopping Aces wrote: "If the reporters would leave their comfy hotel rooms and actually go out and survey the scenes themselves then I am sure we would get a completely different picture." Honestly, is there any irony sharper than members of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists, blogging comfortably from their air-conditioned stateside offices while obsessively googling AP dispatches in search of phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that don't meet the right-wing standard of excellence, lecturing on-the-ground news reporters about the need to witness the Iraq conflict up close? (Here's the Crooks and Liar video of neocon columnist Mark Steyn pretty much calling reporters sissies for being "hunkered down" in the Green Zone and not reporting that "most of the schools in Iraq are open, most of the hospitals in Iraq are open.")

Boehlert's got his head up his ass.

I was critical of reportage from Iraq and felt quite comfortable saying it while I was earning a combat infantry badge in Ramadi, Iraq. It was obvious. And it was quite a sore spot for a lot of guys who were there who didn't have the time or skills to write about it, or the intense interest in media affairs that I had as a media professional on hiatus.

Here's an example of what I was writing then:

Dear Chainsmoking, Unwitting Stooges,

So how come we can get mortared several times a week out here and it never makes the news, but the pogues in the green zone can catch three measly mortar rounds and I get my Dad emailing me asking why the Baghdad Press corps is covering it like it’s the second Tet Offensive?

Well, Christ on a crotch-rocket, I don’t have an answer for him!

And if it’s big enough to warrant a live network news spot, then why are the reporters standing outside without Kevlars and flak jackets, and illuminating themselves with TV lights? How dumb is that?

Sure, it’s news. But shouldn’t producers and editors be bringing that news into perspective? It takes two knuckleheads to set up and fire a mortar. If I looked different and spoke Arabic, I could go downtown right now with 100 dollars US and probably come back with a 61mm mortar tube and several rounds of ammo within 3 hours, easily.

So two knuckleheads, 100 bucks, and you have an International Media Event.

Why? Because the Baghdad green zone has a Chili’s restaurant and you can get booze there and get easy stories without having to venture a mile from your hotel rooms.

I know you guys hate it when you get manipulated by the spin doctors at the Pentagon, the brokerage houses, or wherever else your beats take you. Doesn’t it bother you when you get led around by the nose by two assholes with a destructive hobby and a truck?

Since when does a 30 second ad spot on Fox News cost 100 bucks?

You guys have GOT to get out more!

Around the time I wrote that, I was watching my buddies come through the aid station with some grievous wounds on a regular basis. I helped evac some of them. And I was spending hours a day on the roads of the Anbar province, leading scheduled convoys, waking up every day I had a mission knowing very well it might be my last sunrise.

(I remember relating to my grandfather, who flew in B-17s and B-24s over Europe for the 94th Bomb Group, 8th Army Air Force, in 1943 and 1944, and himself a veteran of the awful Regensburg-Schweinfurt shuttle mission.)

There were many, many people who spent far more time outside the gate than I did. I was not exceptional. But if Boehlert wants to dismiss me as a 'member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists,' then I invite him to do so to my face.

I'm sure a number of other milbloggers - themselves combat vets who saw far more action than I did - can understand the sentiment.

The notion is demented, but given their wild online rants, I don't think it's out of bounds to suggest that warbloggers want journalists to venture into exceedingly dangerous sections of Iraq because warbloggers want journalists to get killed.

Jeebus, what a muddle-head. The notion is demented, but I don't think it's out of bounds to suggest that Boehlert wants milbloggers to get killed.

There is exactly the same level of evidence for both claims. The difference: I'm making the suggestion in irony. Boehlert's dumb enough to really believe it. What a slanderous boob.

And for the final laugh-line:

It's odd that warbloggers have expended an enormous amount of time and energy trying to pick apart a single source from a single, relatively brief AP dispatch, arguing that the misleading information in that article somehow calls into question all of the Iraq reporting, yet warbloggers have been relatively silent about the recent string of book-length critiques of the war. I'm thinking in particular about Thomas Ricks' excellent book Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (Penguin Press, July 2006), which, in its first 100 pages, tells readers all they need to know about the botched war. Warbloggers either don't read books, or are so completely overwhelmed by the definitive evidence produced in a book like Fiasco, which relies heavily on sources from within the U.S. military to paint its convincing picture of Bush administration incompetence, that warbloggers simply have no choice but to turn away and focus their attention on evil AP stringers.

Perhaps mister journalism experience needs to brush-up on his computer-assisted reporting skills, because
I addressed Rick's abortion of a book, Fiasco, at some length here.

Hint: We have Technorati now, genius. Look into it.


Splash, out


Monday, December 11, 2006

Best life insurance synopsis I've EVER read 
I'm shamelessly plagiarizing this from an anonymous poster on a bulletin board for financial pros - and I'll delete or attribute if he objects. But I think EVERYONE should understand how this works. Without further ado, I give you "Rick Blaine:"

Everyone that sells life insurance should understand how it's built, and why it's built that way.

In the beginning, there was term insurance. At first, for short time periods, then one year, and eventually, five years.

Term insurance always expired, hence the name, term insurance. Insurance for a period of time, or term of time. If one lived long enough, they'd get too old to buy new term. Most people at this time were farmers, and they worked until they died. They often owed until they died, too. No insurance, lose farm.

This is where the phrase "bought the farm" came from. Grandpa "bought the farm" with his life insurance. Until he died, the bank owned it, because they had a lien on the property. The insurance paid off the lien, hence, bought the farm.

Consumers wanted insurance that lasted their whole life, no matter how long they lived. Actuaries designed a level premium product -- ordinary life, straight life, or whole life.

This level premium product was more expensive that term, because it didn't expire. To guarantee companies could afford to pay claims, the state required that they set aside reserves. Since the law required this, eventually, the term became known as "legal reserves" for reserves required by law. Companies used this for marketing, which is why literature said "XYZ Life, A Legal Reserve Company" because it made them sound financial solid, perhaps more so than a competitor, like a mutual assurance society, or cooperative benefit association (these companies were cheaper, but went Tango Uniform with regularity). Plus, there were fraternals and assesment companies, the latter distributed by banks.

During the 1870s, there was a recession. Many farmers could not pay their premiums on their level premium whole life, so their policies lapsed. The companies kept those "extra" premiums that went towards the "legal reserves." This caused an uproar, and the several states decided that companies needed to offer something else in exchange for the higher premium. This is how "nonforfeiture provisions" were invented, and now required by law.

These nonforfeiture options included, over time:

1. Surrender for Cash (hence, cash values, loosely based on legal reserves)
2. Reduced, Paid Up
3. Extended Term
4. Policy Loan, Using Cash Surrender Value as Collateral
5. Automatic Premium Loan (to prevent lapse)

Now, with these nonforfeiture provisions, whole life became the fantastic financial foundation we have today.

From the 1870s until the 1970s, not much changed. Anti-rebating laws came about. Companies grew. Many survived the depression. State laws were tweaked, making the system of insurance solid and safe. The general agency system evolved, adding the debit agency system, and eventually, the career agency system. During this time, there were THOUSANDS of companies and THOUSANDS of products, but all fit loosely on three chasis:

1. Term
2. Whole Life
3. Annuity

That was it. Pretty simple stuff, really. Agents had one rate book, and one application.

Computers changed things. Starting in the 1950s, insurance companies invested in computers. This accelerated in the 1960s, and by the 1970s, we had some pretty sophisticated machines (albeit, slow and dumb, by today's desktop standards). These machines allowed for the UNBUNDLING of the whole life chassis.

The first real derivation was Adjustable Life in 1977, which was still more whole life than anything else, although it could look like term. It was invented by Minnesota Mutual, copied by Bankers Life of Iowa (now Principal). Principal took the lead.

E.F. Hutton introduced Universal Life in 1979. Notice it ain't around anymore? Neither is First Capital.

Computers enabled companies and agents to play with premiums, and show a customer how better than expected returns could reduce their expected premium outlay. This lead to gross UNDER funding, which in turn, lead to the massive wave of class action lawsuits against every insurer that sold interest sensitive products.


Every agent that's been around 20 years or more, has literally dozens of stories of underfunding.

Now we have companies that are promoting it. But they are greedy, and do not have the policy holder in mind.

Let's go back to the 1980s. Most companies sold ART, or Annually Renewable Term. Many companies also sold five year term, usually with level premiums, but sometimes increasing. Renewability has a HUGE impact on premiums. OYT, or One Year Term, that is NON-renewable, is the cheapest you'll ever see (next to common carrier, or accident only).

Because of AL Williams and MILICO, term insurance became very competitive, even though it still only accounted for 7% of gross premium income for the industry. Ten year term, then twenty year term, and now -- THIRTY year term.

The longer the premium guarantee period, the higher the level premium. This is fundamental. Smart agents noticed that 20-30 year term was often more expensive than current assumption UL (and in some cases, more than non-par whole life).

Except for one thing: Term has no non-forfeiture provisions. No cash values.

Granted, you could mimic the 30 year term with a UL, and at the end of the rainbow, neither policy had any value, BUT the UL would have SOME cash values (a pittance, really) during the middle of the policy term. There's a parabolic curve formed by these values, and the graph is revealing.

It's been almost 30 years since the advent of flexible premium products. The people that were stewards of policy holder money are long retired, or dead. Most managers, and most agents, and most company executives, don't even remember what the old days of stock issued non-par vs. mutual issued par whole life was like.

They are IN LOVE with the UL chassis, and for good reason. If you want to know who is making out in the insurance business, FOLLOW THE MONEY. Most mutual companies have been robbed, just like a bank, except the robbers wear blue suits and have masters degrees. Executive greed drives this thievery.

Most UL innovations come from stock companies. Mutual companies copy them, but the driving force in policy innovation comes from the stock side of the industry. Is innovation good? You tell me.

Let's examine what is going on.

First, a primer on whole life. Dig deep, and here's what whole life has:

1. Guaranteed level death benefits
2. Guaranteed level premiums
3. Guaranteed cash values that ENDOW at age 95 or later.

Endowment is key. That's where the guaranteed cash vaules EQUAL the face amount of the policy, or guaranteed death benefit. If you live to age 95, the company can write you a check for the death benefit, without ANY financial risk, because they have set aside that money, and using the time value of money, they've already made their underwriting profit. The money is yours. Of course, if you take the cash, you'll owe taxes, mostly likely. Defer your claim until death, and you can avoid that. Pretty neat.

Stock companies began issuing UL with secondary guarantee riders. Monkeying around with contract language, excess interest crediting rates, and internal COIs (Costs of Insurance), companies have created policies that LOOK like whole life, but in fact, are not.

What do they have?

1. Guaranteed level death benefits
2. Guaranteed level premiums

But there's something missing here.

Guaranteed cash values! These policies often do not endow, on a guaranteed basis (and most agents do not know how to see this, unless it is shown to them by a student of the industry).

20 year term, with no surrender value, then
30 year term, with no surrender value, then
UL that looks like whole life, with little or no surrender value

Anyone having difficulty seeing where this is leading?

One of the advanced areas of statistics, something actuaries are intimately familiar with, is Option Pricing Theory. The subject is too vast and complicated to detail here, but I'll sum it up:

Every choice one can make has a present value, and a future value. If one digs deep enough, they can figure out which value is higher, today, and tomorrow, particularly with guarantees offered by a life insurance company.

If you lapse ANY policy, other than ART, BEFORE the end of the term, you have OVERPAID for the protection you received.

There is ONLY one type of policy that adequately remunerates a policy owner for pre-mature lapse, and that is whole life.

Insurance companies know this. They WANT to issue UL, because WHEN people lapse, that boosts the company bottom line. Few people have the ability to determine what each option value is. Moreover, the fact that they are getting screwed by lapsing early is rarely even discussed, much less analyzed.

The better agents understand "lapsed based pricing" and most agents may have heard the term. Virtually ALL UL issued today has a variable built in that is based on lapse rates.

Whole life CAN be priced using lapse rates, but regulators frown upon it, and if it's done, it's very conservative. If they mess up, the policy owner still makes out okay with the whole life, but NOT with the UL. Flexible premiums are great, right? The company thinks so, too, because they ALSO enjoy flexiblity -- flexible costs of insurance and flexible expenses, not to mention flexible crediting rates.

Sure, one CAN almost get there with UL, but on a guaranteed basis, premium for premium, death benefit for death benefit, cash value for cash value, there MUST be a cost for flexibility, so the UL MUST cost more, somewhere, OR is MUST deliver less benefit. This is fundamental.

If you pay less than a whole life premium, you will get less in return, but the "less" is not directly correlated to the difference in premium. To the contrary, the return on paying less is often negative, while the return on paying the whole life premium is always positive.

These new ULs with so-called "guarantees" -- will they pay a death benefit? Yes. And how many people will keep the policy until that time? Less than 100%, which means that a number of people will have OVERPAID, and will get LESS than they deserve. They will suffer a loss.

Where does this loss (money) go? It goes to the bottom line of the company, in the form of profits. Who benefits? The stockholder (as well as the executives, through their various forms of compensation).

Our society is no longer agrarian, and we have forgotten the recession of the 1870s that fostered the development of nonforfeiture options. Shame on us.

If an agent looks at the pricing structure of most modern UL chasis, they will find that the policy is designed to bamboozle all but the most intelligent of people. Few companies operate at the guaranteed level of costs and expenses. Instead, they "illustrate" that they operate at lower costs with lower expenses. The companies have ultimate control over the internal costs of their inforce business, and many companies have already exercised this control to the detriment of the policyholder, often without any public notice at all.

M Financial, one of the largest producer groups in the country, has exposed this crime. They monitor their inforce business, and compare it to how a policy was illustrated at issue. They found that several large carriers were making changes to their internal Costs of Insurance (COI), particularly at later duration (older ages), where it can do the most damage, and where the policy owner has fewer options for policy rescue.

Actions like these drive persistency DOWN, which will LINE THE COFFERS of these companies, boosting profits, driving stock prices North, and making company executives richer than rich.

To be blunt: A mutual company can reduce dividends to zero, but they can't fuck the policyholder. A stock company selling UL? They can bend the policy owner over, and stick it to them where the sun don't shine, without the courtesy of adequate lubrication.

And what are you going to do when your UL is fucking you? Lapse it? That's EXACTLY what the company executives WANT you to do.

NOTE: I'm not saying that all UL is bad. Sometimes, that's all you have to solve a particular problem. That said, all things being equal, I'd rather own whole life.


Splash, out


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Paul Brady 
...Takin' all you guitar players back to school to learn how comping a song is done.

Looks to be in open G, as far as I can tell. Try DGDGBD. You can do most of it in dropped D, though (DADGBE) or even DADGBD.

I've been playing DADGAD lately, because if I try to do open G tunings, everything comes out sounding like kiho'alu Hawai'ian tunes. Hey, I love Raymond Kane and Gabby Pahinui. But it would pretty much weird people out over here!

Much aloha,


Sunday Fiddleblogging 
Go, John Carty!!!!

Naum Kochko, playing a haunting piece I don't recognize.

Ocean horror show!!!!

The AP floats another "Rebuttal" 
...via Editor and Publisher

In recent days, a handful of people have stridently criticized The Associated Press’ coverage of a terrible attack on Iraqi citizens last month in Baghdad. Some of those critics question whether the incident happened at all and declare that they don't believe our reporting.

Indeed, a small number of them have whipped themselves into an indignant lather over the AP's reporting.

Their assertions that the AP has been duped or worse are unfounded and just plain wrong.

Objection, your honor. The defendant's counsel assumes facts not in evidence.

By contrast, Hussein is well known to AP. We first met him, in uniform, in a police station, some two years ago. We have talked with him a number of times since then and he has been a reliable source of accurate information on a variety of events in Baghdad.

Yeah, I'm familiar with security procedures and police characters from two years ago. Doesn't mean a damn thing. A lot of people who were senior policemen two years ago have been sacked for having ties to insurgents, or just being out scumbags themselves.

This lady is scary naive.

...but all rebuttals are nothing more than a series of red herrings when AP cannot acknowledge that 1.) Their reliable sources lied to them when they said that four mosques were burnt down, 2.) That it's important to demostrate that their ostensible "sources" actually exist," and 3.) That it is important to be able to get SOMEBODY on the record, 4.) That it's not a great thing when your sources recant their tales, 5.) You don't have to be in Baghdad to point out that Captain Hussein's identity is seriously in question, 6.) "We've been to the neighborhood" dismissals are worthless without you telling us who's been in the neigborhood and what other stories they've written or contributed to. 7.) The New York Times, which also has people on the ground, was unable to confirm a damn thing beyond that one of the four burnt-out mosques has some minor fire damage in the entry way and the other three were fully intact.

The AP's Kathleen Connolly, that half-witted hack, that embarrassment to the journalism profession whose sacking I've already called for, is still mired in ad hominem logic and fallacy (and no, this paragraph is not an example of ad hominem logic in the logical fallacy sense).

Don't miss Flopping Aces.

Kathleen Connelly, you were wrong about the Green Helmet Guy and you are wrong now.

Kathleen Connolly, you may resign your post.

Splash, out


Get us a new House Intellingence Chair, Nancy!!! 
This one is too ignorant.

The dialogue went like this:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

A breathtaking display of stupidity from Congressman Reyes. These are the people who will be providing "oversight" to the Administration's war on terror?

How did Nancy appoint someone so ignorant? (Hint: Nancy, under the spell of John "Let's move our quick reaction force to Okinawa" Murtha, is ignorant herself.)

We ought to be ruthless in hounding this bastard until he either gets himself a Middle East for Dummies book or resigns in disgrace.

Sorry, but I expect my House Intel Chair to have better than a sixth-grade grasp of who our enemies are in the middle east, and what states are sponsors of which terror groups.

There's no excuse for this level of ignorance from a sitting Congressman.


Splash, out


(Hat tip: Hot Air)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The U.S. Military is Advertising on dozens of pornn sites 
If anyone EVER accesses a p.ronagraphic site from your DoD computer, you could find yourself court martialed, and your career brought to a sudden halt.

But that doesn't stop the United States Army Recruiting Command from advertising on adult web sites.

Yes, the U.S. Army, is advertising on po.rnography websites via an outfit called Adultroll.com. I verified it by visiting a popular site called Stileproject.

Definitely not safe for work!

And yes, I clicked right through to the Army's home page on a dot.mil domain.

Army Times is all over it. (not!!!!)

Splash, out


Busted ... for possession of own pain medications 
Yep, someone has to put a stop to wheelchair-bound multiple sclerosis victims possessing their own medications.

In a mind-boggling act of sadistic legal legal buck-passing (I can't bring myself to glorify it with the word "reasoning"), the Florida District Court of Appeals upheld a 25 year mandatory minimum sentence for a Florida man convicted of "drug trafficking" for possessing his own pain medication.

Richard Paey is a wheelchair-bound father of three young children.

Yes, Huffington Post commenters are morons.

And yes, you can write the Governor or Florida here.

Splash, out


Japan is interested in building a nuke 
Here is what it will look like.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Kamehameha Schools Decision 
Good policy; bad law.

The Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii, private schools with an endowment of more than $6 billion, are entitled to limit their enrollment to Native Hawaiian children, a federal appeals court panel in San Francisco ruled yesterday by a vote of 8 to 7.

Students may be denied admission based on their race without running afoul of a civil rights law, the majority ruled, citing what it said were unique factors in the history of Hawaii, the plight of Native Hawaiians and the schools’ distinctively remedial mission, which Congress has repeatedly endorsed.

The schools are the only beneficiary of the enormous legacy of a 19th-century Hawaiian princess. They have an enrollment of some 5,000 students, from kindergarten through 12th grade, on campuses on three islands. Admission is a great prize, as students pay about $1,800 in annual tuition for an education worth about $20,000.

The schools’ admissions policy requires prospective students to prove that at least one ancestor lived on the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, when the British explorer Capt. James Cook arrived.

I'm a Hawai'i transplant, and Hawai'i is still home. Look, I still spell it with an apostrophe!!! The quickest way to separate the Hawaiians from the posers.

Mostly, I support the Kamehameha School's objectives.

But this ruling - entirely the work of Democrat appointees - is a further usurpation of legislative authority by the judiciary.

I predict the Supremes will hear this case, and remand or reverse.

It is up to Congress to provide the exception for Kamehameha Schools - not the judiciary. That was the case from the beginning, and the proper course for Kamehameha lobbyists.

Splash, out


One more thing: Kathleen Sullivan. Is that the same Stanford professor who boloed the California Bar Exam?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Everyone at a televised press conference is on the record all the time. Period. 
I'm elevating a comment up to the main page, because I think it warrants a response. An anonymous commenter objects to this post with the following:

So they're ignorant for asking a question? Judge a reporter on their actual reporting, not a question they ask to get to that information they report.

Absurd. It is an on-the-record, televised news conference. Transcripts were published, including the remarks of the reporters themselves. Asking a rhetorical question, or playing 'devil's advocate' has a place, say, in an unrecorded telephone interview. But in the televised press conference setting, reporters frequently - even routinely - preen for the cameras.

In this setting, the reporters' remarks are on the record, just as much as those of the principals giving the press conference. You cannot have a press conference and have the principals subject to criticism while somehow exempting reporters from examination.

That sentiment is part and parcel of the breathtaking arrogance of a press corps which believes it is entitled to violate the laws of the land (w/r/t the publication of classified and sensitive national security information) and increasingly agitates for "shield laws" to set itself above the law of the land that applies to everyone else.

If the principal is on the record and fair game in a public press conference, then so is the journalist.

Sauce for the goose.

Further, to assume, as this commenter does, that the very presence of other reporters does not affect the behavior of journos at press conferences is extremely naive. There is a mostly healthy incentive to reporters to make a name for themselves as the "toughest" reporter at a given press conference, and reporters are often themselves strutting for the cameras, trying to make a name for themselves. This includes grandstanding at press conferences.

I don't recall anyone on the left, nor any journalists coming to Jeff Gannon's defense while he was being reviled by the left for stating that the Democrats were "out of touch with reality," -- in the course of asking a question.

No. The mainstream media considered his very questioning to be evidence of his own conservative bias and point of view.

And they were right.

You cannot argue against Gannon then, while arguing that press questions - no matter how stupid or ill-informed - ought to be exempt from scrutiny and criticism.

If you are at a televised press conference, everybody is on the record all the time. Period.

You use the word "ignorant" but you yourself are incredibly ignorant of how reporters do their jobs.

That's funny...I was a reporter myself for a number of years, full-time, with a national magazine with a circ of around a million. I even grandstanded at a number of press conferences (before I gained the maturity to learn how distasteful it is to do so. They were the excesses of a young and eager reporter).

But at least I recognize that reporters DO grandstand. And I understand that reporters at televised press conferences are on the record.

This commenter doesn't.

Who's the ignorant one?

Reporters frequently ask questions that display a belief/perspective they don't personally agree with, in order to get the most enlightening response.

Sometimes they do. There's no evidence whatsoever that that is the case here.

It's standard operating procedure.

No it isn't. Now, asking a question like "how would you answer a critic who would say ... X" is an important skill. But failing to understand the basic tenets underlying your beat isn't standard operating procedure. It's stupid.

A reporter's job isn't to appear as smart as you, or to actually be as smart as you think they need to be

Don't worry. There's no chance of that happening, anyway, among this crew.

-- their job is to make you smarter, by getting the real experts to open up and talk.

They're not. They're getting in the way, by wasting precious time forcing officials to carefully restate for the numbskull reporters what's already clear. This kind of reporting does not encourage real experts to open up and talk. This kind of reporting encourages real experts to keep their mouths shut, because the idiots in the 8-second sound byte (8-SSB) press corps (TM) will likely misconstrue everything they say, anyway.

Did the general's response to her question enlighten you, or enlighten the audience?

No. There are an ifinite number of much better questions that could have been asked by a smarter reporter who understood his or her beat. These reporters are actually getting in the way of understanding the issues because they waste precious time asking stupid questions. I mean, does anyone REALLY think we're not trying to win? Well, I guess some people do - the professionally obtuse birdbrains on the pentagon beat.

If he did then the reporters did their job.

No, they didn't. The spokespeople did their job. The reporters would have better served us by educating themselves so they can ask more informed questions, or by shutting up and removing themselves from the process.

"Gotcha" press conferences don't serve the interests of the Republic, or anyone else but the grandstanding reporters.

But I suspect you'd find a way to criticize them no matter what.

Only the dumb ones, the professionally obtuse, and those more concerned with protecting themselves and other journalists than in serving their prime directive: Getting at the truth.

When someone tells a journalist how we're trying to win by emphasizing nonkinetic operations, and the chucklehead journo then asks how it was decided that we're not trying to win, then that tells me that said chucklehead didn't bother listening. And if you can't listen, how the hell can you accurately report?

You can't.

And you're going to argue that the person who didn't listen "did their job?"


Splash, out


Sunday, December 03, 2006

This one's a real beaut, mate!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The 10 Greatest Pinup Girls of All Time 
...and RetroCrush's pick for #1 may surprise you!

Via Ann Althouse

AP Hypocrisy 
Here's the Associated Press's policy on political activities by its employees:

Editorial employees are expected to be scrupulous in avoiding any political activity, whether they cover politics regularly or not. They may not run for political office or accept political appointment; nor may they perform public relations work for politicians or their groups. Under no circumstances should they donate money to political organizations or political campaigns. They should use great discretion in joining or making contributions to other organizations that may take political stands.

Non-editorial employees must refrain from political activity unless they obtain approval from a manager.

When in doubt, staffers are encouraged to discuss any such concerns with their supervisors.

And a supervisor must be informed when a spouse -- or other members of an employee's household -- has any ongoing involvement in political causes, either professionally or personally.

Pretty clear, right?

But according to opensecrets.org, the following AP employees made these political donations:

Paul Alert, an AP photographer, donated to America Coming Together in 2004.

Richard Freeman, an Astoria, NY based AP journalist, donated to America Coming Together in 2004.

Hilary Roxe, a writer, donated to Chris Shays' campaign in 2005.

Those are just the editorial campaigns. Non-editorial donations included contributions to the Women's Campaign Fund, Hilary Rodham Clinton, and Cynthia McKinney (that was the guy with the muslim name.)

Jennifer Loven, who covers the White House regularly for AP, isn't on the list. But even as she covered the 2004 Presidential campaign, her husband, John Ballentine, not only has donated thousands (exclusively to Democrat/liberal organizations and candidates) but was a Kerry advisor credited on Kerry's own website.

Hell, his own bio on his company website boasts that he was a "senior member on the [Clinton] White House staff!!!!"

Despite the obvious conflict, Jennifer Loven continues to cover the White House.

Not surprisingly, she does so rather more critically than the AP covers itself, Ms. Connelly.

Splash, out


Want a good laugh? 
Here's the AP's standards of conduct, including their byline, sourcing, and corrections policy.

It looks nice on paper.

I guess they think anonymous reporters are ok.

Meanwhile, the AP reporting gets worse.

Splash, out


Unwitting self-parody at the New York Times 
has reached new heights.

Until recently, many children who did not conform to gender norms in their clothing or behavior and identified intensely with the opposite sex were steered to psychoanalysis or behavior modification.

Wow. "Conforming to gender norms."

Sounds like someone bought the GLBT Language Decoder Ring at the Stonewall Bookstore last time they were in the Village.

But look at the byline!

It's Pat!!!!

But as advocates gain ground for what they call gender-identity rights, evidenced most recently by New York City’s decision to let people alter the sex listed on their birth certificates, a major change is taking place among schools and families.

Did you hear that, Bubba. It's "advocates," you toothless, inbred trailer trash red-stater. Not "activists." Advocates. You know, like the magazine title. Get used to it, breeder.

Doctors, some of them from the top pediatric hospitals, have begun to advise families to let these children be “who they are” to foster a sense of security and self-esteem.

Someone, pleeeeeease tell me this is The Onion.

“First we became sensitive to two mommies and two daddies,” said Reynaldo Almeida, the director of the Aurora School, a progressive private school in Oakland. “Now it’s kids who come to school who aren’t gender typical.”

I believe you mispelled "thenthitive," Ms. Almeida.

Oh, by the way... it's "progressive," not "liberal."

Get used to it, breeder.

The supportive attitudes are far easier to find in traditionally tolerant areas of the country like San Francisco than in other parts, but even in those places there is fierce debate over how best to handle the children.

More code.

That's right...San Francisco isn't "liberal." It's "tolerant." Well, except when it comes to kids who are differently pacified who are wanting to explore alternative modes of citizenship. This is, presumeably, because the 1993 Clinton "don't ask, don't tell" policy is clearly the kids' fault.

Here's the short version: In San Francisco, your son can wear pantyhose, heels and a pleated skirt. He just can't wear a uniform.

The best part: Using prescription drugs to artificially block puberty.

I shit thee not...that's what they're doing.

For families, it can be a long, emotional adjustment. Shortly after her son’s third birthday, Pam B. and her husband, Joel, began a parental journey for which there was no map. It started when their son, J., began wearing oversized T-shirts and wrapping a towel around his head to emulate long, flowing hair. Then came his mother’s silky undershirts. Half a year into preschool, J. started becoming agitated when asked to wear boys’ clothing.

En route to a mall with her son, Ms. B. had an epiphany: “It just clicked in me. I said, ‘You really want to wear a dress, don’t you?’ ”

Not that preschoolers are vulnerable to the power of suggestion or anything.

Though she has not encountered such a situation, Jennifer Schwartz, assistant principal of Chatham Elementary School outside Springfield, Ill., said that allowing a child to express gender differences “would be very difficult to pull off” there.

Ms. Schwartz added: “I’m not sure it’s worth the damage it could cause the child, with all the prejudices and parents possibly protesting. I’m not sure a child that age is ready to make that kind of decision.”

Leave it to the heartlander to provide some common sense.

Nila Marrone, a retired linguistics professor at the University of Connecticut who consults with parents and schools, recalled an incident last year at a Bronx elementary school in which an 8-year-old boy perceived as effeminate was thrown into a large trash bin by a group of boys. The principal, she said, “suggested to the mother that she was to blame, for not having taught her son how to be tough enough.”

But the tide is turning.

...And a new wind was about to blow! Who writes this stuff?

Oh, that's right. It's Pat.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, for instance, requires that students be addressed with “a name and pronoun that corresponds to the gender identity.”

Holy crap! What's wrong with addressing students by a name that, ohhh I don't know...maybe a name that corresponds with their f***ing name!!!!!!???

Catherine Tuerk, a nurse-psychotherapist at the children’s hospital in Washington and the mother of a gender-variant child in the 1970s, says parents are still left to find their own way. She recalls how therapists urged her to steer her son into psychoanalysis and “hypermasculine activities” like karate. She said she and her husband became “gender cops.”

“It was always, ‘You’re not kicking the ball hard enough,’ ” she said.

Yeah. Maybe he wasn't kicking the ball hard enough.

I don't think anyone's calling Brandi Chastain's femininity into question. There's nothing feminine about being a lousy soccer player.

I mean, remember John Lithgow's character in the World According to Garp? He was a woman, and he kicked ass when he needed to.

God save us from well-meaning "progressives."

Breeders, you'd better get busy.

Splash, out


Friday, December 01, 2006

They finally nabbed the bastard!!!

Andrea Bocelli, good riddance!!!!!!

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