Requiescat In Pace

12:05 PM Mar 31, 2005by Rob Ritchie

John Donne

7:05 PM Mar 30, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Oh my God...not more of this!

NJ Man to Face Triple-Murder Charges in Montco

A South Jersey man is being jailed without bail in Montgomery County, Pa. on charges that he stabbed three people to death last Friday in King of Prussia.

In addition to facing first-degree murder charges in the stabbing deaths of Lisa Greaves, her sister Heather, and Heather’s three-year-old daughter, district attorney Bruce Castor says John Eichinger will also be charged with the 1999 murder of Jennifer Still of Bridgeport (Montgomery County), Pa.

Tragic stuff, simply tragic. Eichinger sounds like a complete mutant. Then we come to this paragraph:

Castor says the motive appears to be jealousy, but they are also looking into some sort of connection with the fantasy role-playing game ”Dungeons and Dragons”:

"I mean, you have many, many stab wounds and those 'Dungeons and Dragons' fantasy games involve swords and knives and daggers and things of that nature. There may be a connection but I can’t say for sure.”

I have to assume that this isn't a complete non sequitur, that in some way D&D is actually linked. Perhaps Eichinger and/or his victims played D&D. The story doesn't tell us.

If the victims had been beaten to death, and it was subsequently found that Eichinger played baseball, would the DA be suggesting a connection between these murders and America's passtime?


Stick with the jealousy angle, Bruce.

(I guess I should be glad that he didn't suggest that Eichinger cast magic spells at his victims.)

6:28 PM Mar 30, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

You scored as Verbal/Linguistic. You have highly developed auditory skills, enjoy reading and writing and telling stories, and are good at getting your point across. You learn best by saying and hearing words. People like you include poets, authors, speakers, attorneys, politicians, lecturers and teachers.















The Rogers Indicator of Multiple Intelligences
created with

Pious gratitude to: A Sort of Notebook

2:36 PM Mar 30, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Jim Geraghty asks

I wonder if church attendance would be higher if five times a day, a loudspeaker at the top of the steeple blared, “Come to chuuuuuuurch… Come on, you know you ought toooooo…. God’s done a lot for yoooooooou, you can spare an hooooour…”

12:57 PM Mar 30, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I've enjoyed collecting the State Quarters, but I haven't found any of these!

A sample:

Go see the rest.

11:34 AM Mar 30, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Mark Twain on Michael Angelo:

I used to worship the mighty genius of Michael Angelo -- that man who was great in poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture -- great in every thing he undertook. But I do not want Michael Angelo for breakfast -- for luncheon -- for dinner -- for tea -- for supper -- for between meals. I like a change, occasionally. In Genoa, he designed every thing; in Milan he or his pupils designed every thing; he designed the Lake of Como; in Padua, Verona, Venice, Bologna, who did we ever hear of, from guides, but Michael Angelo? In Florence, he painted every thing, designed every thing, nearly, and what he did not design he used to sit on a favorite stone and look at, and they showed us the stone. In Pisa he designed every thing but the old shot-tower, and they would have attributed that to him if it had not been so awfully out of the perpendicular. He designed the piers of Leghorn and the custom house regulations of Civita Vecchia. But, here -- here it is frightful. He designed St. Peter's; he designed the Pope; he designed the Pantheon, the uniform of the Pope's soldiers, the Tiber, the Vatican, the Coliseum, the Capitol, the Tarpeian Rock, the Barberini Palace, St. John Lateran, the Campagna, the Appian Way, the Seven Hills, the Baths of Caracalla, the Claudian Aqueduct, the Cloaca Maxima -- the eternal bore designed the Eternal City, and unless all men and books do lie, he painted every thing in it! Dan said the other day to the guide, "Enough, enough, enough! Say no more! Lump the whole thing! say that the Creator made Italy from designs by Michael Angelo!"

Innocents Abroad, Chapter XXVII

One of the joys of reading this book, which was written in 1869, is the realization of how modern the language is. It's possible, I suppose, that Twain was unique (and he certainly was with regard to talent!) but I can't imagine that he was the only one to talk and write this way.

I mean, compare any part of the above sample, and try to imagine it being written in 1769!

6:14 PM Mar 29, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The Anchoress

I know, I know. It's wrong and unseemly to discuss politics right now, while Terri Schiavo is dying of thirst. I know it it's wrong. But while you're telling me how wrong it is, the other side, which doesn't give a damn about any of this is watching and filing things away, and constructing a plan.

Go read it all, and take it to heart.

5:11 PM Mar 29, 2005

by Rob Ritchie


An Italian woman whose angry husband refused for seven years to have sex with her was awarded divorce damages by Italy's high court.

Francesco launched his "sex strike" in the early 1990s to punish his wife, Piera, for taking sides against him in a family dispute over money, according to details of the case reported by local media.

They bitterly separated in 2000 and Francesco, still convinced that she was responsible for the broken marriage, refused to make support payments demanded by Italian courts and repeatedly appealed against them.

But the highest court ruled last week that Francesco's sexual punishment did not fit the crime, and doomed Piera to perpetual frustration.

"The refusal of affection or sexual attention must constitute the blame for the separation," the court ruled.

For Piera, "satisfaction in life (was) impossible ... along with fulfillment of marriage in its deepest sense." Beyond support payments, Francesco must pay court costs of several thousand euros.

Reuters puts this in their "Oddly Enough" section, which I interpret as expressing their surprise at this story.

It doesn't surprise me, however; I believe that the withholding of sex from a spouse is one of the grounds for the annulment of a marriage in the Catholic Church. And for a court in a Catholic country like Italy to come to the same conclusion is hardly "Odd."

I'm not sure how I feel about this...

4:30 PM Mar 28, 2005by Rob Ritchie

'Natural' breast implant advance

The University of Illinois team took stem cells destined to become fat cells and grew them on a special gel-like scaffold, they told a US conference.

The scaffold can be moulded into any shape, which means the implants keep their size and shape better than artificial ones.

There is also no risk of rupture and leakage, they said.

Doesn't this seem like a trivial use of what is a controversial medical process?

On the other hand...big boobies!

In a related story:  Dancers cited for exposing breasts

h/t: fark

As usual...

10:56 AM Mar 28, 2005by Rob Ritchie

James gives us a poignant meditation on memory, family, loss, coffee-cake and the annoying permanence of material objects.

My Penultimate Terri Shiavo Post

6:27 PM Mar 26, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Over the last week or so, I have posted many times about the Terri Shiavo case.

Over this time, I have read many stories about the case, many with shocking claims and assertions which are contradicted by other equally shocking stories. I truly do not know what to believe 100% about all these wild accusations.

As Tolstoy said, "All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." And the Schindlers are certainly unhappy, but, I believe, uniquely so. Their situation is unlikely to arise again, despite the awful life-and-death decisions their case represents, simply because it is unlikely that the combination of injury, character and legal intervention will come ever again.

I do not believe that this case will leave much of a ripple in our system of laws, unless extraordinary steps are taken by Governor Bush to violate those laws and take Terri into custody; under that situation, I believe that there would be much more than a ripple left. Though a staunch support of Governor Bush, I'd support his impeachment and vote him out of office . As someone wrote in the last day or so, such an action would be those of a dictator, and I won't support such actions even in a cause that I support. The violation of the law by the chief executive is an unforgivable sin, or should be.

Donald Sensing writes that there is a "great divide" that separates the two camps in this case that cannot be reconciled. I don't think that this is correct, because in the course of the week I have come to switch camps. I believe that Terri Shiavo should be allowed to die, because the finding of fact in the courts indicates that 1) she truly is in a vegetative state (testified to by the dozens of doctors that have examined her); and 2) to the best of their ability, the courts have determined that Terri expressed a desire not to be kept alive in such a state.

I simply cannot believe that the courts have colluded with a criminal to kill Terri Shiavo. Court after court has dismissed the appeals of the Schindlers in a manner that I have to trust is based upon sound legal thinking and not upon ego and pride, despite such characterizations presented by bloviating rhetoricians. If five courts in as many days rejects arguments to re-insert the feeding tube, then there's more here than meets the eye.

My heart goes out to this poor woman and to her family for the tragedy that has befallen them and for their association with such an awful person as Michael Shiavo has shown himself to be. Nobody deserves such a fate, and it is a fate that we certainly would not inflict upon the worst characters in our society. Yet, I cannot sanction any other result. It is manifestly unjust to maintain the life of someone who is in the limbo-state that Terri has fallen in to, when there is evidence that she did not desire to be so maintained. Her family's desire to care for her is laudable, but is based, I believe, on wishful thinking and on delusion and baseless hope; in addition, their desires do not supersede the wishes of Terri herself. (And I know, I know, we only have Michael's word [and the word of two others] that Terri expressed such a desire; but the court seems to be satisfied and while I may not be satisfied, I have not been privy to all the evidence in this case, and neither have you...and neither has Rush Limbaugh.)

I'm not a liberal. I'm not part of the "culture of death". I'm not "brainwashed by the MSM". I am a simple man who has tried to separate the wheat from the chaff of this terrible situation. And I have to make a decision on what to believe: either every court in the land is in collusion to kill this young woman, or there is merit in the case to allow her to die. The former beggars belief; the latter breaks my heart.

It saddens me, it truly does; and I pray for her family, because they are the ones in agonizing pain, not Terri.

I urge you to read Donald Sensing's summation, as it is very good indeed: The Schiavo great divide

Update:  I'm not the only one

5:32 PM Mar 26, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Still think that women can't handle themselves in combat?

Read this After Action Report and you may change your mind.

It amazes me how well trained and brave our troops are.

5:38 PM Mar 25, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Scientists Recover Tissue From T. Rex

And boy, is he mad!


4:42 PM Mar 25, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Go Team Venture!

4:16 PM Mar 25, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I agreed to participate in Kathy's Interview Game (and by that I mean I begged her quite piteously) and she has graciously responded by asking me five questions. Part of the rules of the game is that I must post the following; if you wish to participate in this game, read the following and act accordingly:

  • Leave me a comment saying “interview me”. The first five commenters will be the participants.
  • I will respond by asking you five questions.
  • You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
  • You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  • When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

I first encountered Kathy the Cake Eater when she undertook a Jane Austin Cage Match with a certain ungulate, and have ever since found myself charmed by both her sense and her sensibility. (What? I was going to say her pride and her prejudice?) She has become one of my favorite bloggers, and not solely because she includes me in her blogroll. It is an honor to be included in this game, even if I did arrogate that honor myself by sneakily responding in her comment section. 

Now, on with the questions, with my answers following:

1) Who would you want to be: John Wayne or Kurt Russell pretending to be John Wayne? Why? are referencing one of my favorite movies of all time, so I'm inclined to pick Kurt Russell. Ah, but I won't be fooled so easily, because while it'd be more fun to be Jack Burton than any character that John Wayne ever played (with the possible exception of this one), it's obvious that that isn't what you're asking me. If I had to choose, I'd want to be a hale and hardy John Wayne any day of the week.

By which I mean no slight to Mr. Russell, but come on, John Wayne is adored by women everywhere, while Kurt Russell always makes my wife think of  The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (and she giggles).

2) Who would win in a mud wrestling match: Lizzie Bennett or Emma Woodhouse? Why?

Let's take just a moment to let that image take root.


Now, to answer your question, we have to postulate that these two characters are somehow transported to the present day, where mud wrestling is a valued pass-time, as opposed to leaving them in the early-19th Century when it was little known to well-bred English girls. Under those circumstances, I have to give the win to Emma because she is taller and would have greater reach than Lizzie.

3) Explain how one can title their blog "Pious Agnostic," and yet still post about going to church.   

A few years ago, I read several books on Gnosticism, which was a heresy of the early Christian church. One of the infuriating aspects of the Gnostics, from the point of view of their opponents, was their tendency to agree with everything you said, but change the definitions of the words you used, so that, to them, you were agreeing with them even when from your own perspective you were definitely NOT agreeing with them. They were also considered "know-it-alls" from which they took their name:

Gnostics were "people who knew", and their knowledge at once constituted them a superior class of beings, whose present and future status was essentially different from that of those who, for whatever reason, did not know.

(There was an awful lot more to these guys, and they are fascinating in their own right, but I'm trying to explain the origin of the blog title, not write a treatise on Gnosticism, something I am clearly not qualified to do.)

Well, I don't consider myself someone with an inside track to the truth, but instead consider myself more of a truth-seeker. Thus, my description of myself as an "agnostic" originally meant "someone who doesn't know", and I applied it more to my political beliefs than to my religious ones. This ironically means that I am redefining the word to mean something other than its generally-accepted meaning, and thus makes me as infuriating as the Gnostics themselves.

Once I'd decided to do this, the prenomem was fairly obvious (to me, at least): I actually am referring to the old saw that states that if you aren't sure if God exists, you aren't ill-served to act as if he did because if 1) God does exist, you have acted properly with regard to him; and 2) if God doesn't exist, you aren't hurt any by acting as if he did.

Plus, I like the name. Has a nice ring to it.

I don't think that being an agnostic (here, I'm using the normal definition) precludes one from going to church. "Not knowing" if there is a God or not doesn't mean you can't be "pious" (using the old fashioned idea of scrupulously fulfilling the requirements of worship).

4) You're a gamer. Try and explain for the non-gaming junkies of the world what games you like to play and why you like to play them. What do you get out of this activity? And does your habit drive your wife and family nuts? Or have they drank the kool-aid, too?

Hmmm.... first of all, just to clarify, I'm not much of a computer gamer; I'm a table-top gamer, so I enjoy role-playing games (RPGs) like the Dungeons & Dragons you may associate with the fitful losers you recall from your High School days. Having been a fitful loser during my High School days, it's perhaps unsurprising that I would have played RPGs; but why, given the obvious attractions of real life, would I continue to play them as an adult?

Well, it's a hell of a lot of fun. That's really the only reason I can give. I like getting together with my friends and playing games such as: D&D and Lord of the Rings RPG, and many others. There are many variations to the games, so it doesn't get dull. It gives me a creative outlet that is very satisfying, and I like matching wits with others as we try to figure out the puzzle and defeat the bad guys. If you are a fan of any sort of pop culture, there is a RPG out there that will allow you to participate in a story that entertains you.

Gamers are, as a group, generally very tolerant, intelligent, well read and easy-going people. That doesn't mean that there aren't many, many of them that fit the fitful loner stereotype, but because we are all so tolerant, we get along very well.

My wife is amazingly supportive of my hobby. When we first met in college (long before we dated) we met at a gaming table, so she understands the allure and the fun involved even if she doesn't play herself nowadays. So, I don't think it drives anybody nuts, except me when I have to pre-empt a scheduled game to attend some sort of family gathering.

5) What is the symbol for Fool's Gold? (He promised to brush up on his chemistry. I'm just seeing if he actually did.)


(I didn't.)

That's it. If you would like to participate and have me interview you, go ahead and leave me a comment indicating your desire.

12:43 PM Mar 25, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Happy Easter, Play-ah!

11:04 AM Mar 25, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I haven't written about Ward Churchill, because, frankly, his antics and frauds simply do not shock or surprise me.

As usual, Victor Davis Hanson puts everything into perspective:

The Seven Faces of “Dr.” Churchill

5:54 PM Mar 24, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Ann Coulter on Terri Shiavo: Starved for Justice

I note that whenever liberals talk about "federalism" or "states' rights," they are never talking about a state referendum or a law passed by the duly elected members of a state legislature--or anything voted on by the actual citizens of a state. What liberals mean by "federalism" is: a state court ruling. Just as "choice" refers to only one choice, "the rule of law" refers only to "the law as determined by a court."

Also, Michelle Malkin: The MSM's life and death distortions

However you feel about the Terri Schiavo case, one fact is indisputable: The mainstream media coverage of the matter has been abysmal.

Update: Plenty more over at La Shawn Barber's Corner

11:14 AM Mar 24, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

D'oh! Now I've done it.

I better brush up on my Chemistry.

6:45 PM Mar 22, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The year was 1980, and I was a new Freshman at the University of Central Florida. I was living on my own for the first time in an apartment I shared with a guy who I thought was my best friend but whose name I can barely remember.

One of the first decisions I made for myself was that I didn't really need to go to church any more. It wasn't like I wasn't still a faithful person, I just didn't like to get up on Sunday mornings; all that kneeling and praying and nonsense.

This state of affairs went on for several months, and without knowing it, I was moving further and further away from the sort of person I wanted to be.

No, that's not exactly right: I was becoming exactly the sort of person I wanted to be.

But, you know, I still was a good Catholic boy.

One evening, I made a run to the Piggly Wiggly down the road, to buy frozen pizzas and a six-pack of Red, White & Blue, if I remember correctly. They had a table with bargain books, and I looked it over.

One of the books caught my eye, because the author had written a series of fantasy books I'd really liked as a boy. It had a strange sort-of SF-sounding name that I thought I might enjoy, so I picked it up.

Changed my life.

Meghan Cox Gurdon has written a fitting homage: Screwtape Revisited

Pious gratitude to: Waterfall

Something lighter....

4:50 PM Mar 22, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Sheila has a variation about her "Comedy Snobery."

She defines it thus:

Humor is, of course, completely subjective, so the entire thing is rather ridiculous. I can't help it. My snobbery comes directly from how subjective humor is. Like: if I find something laugh-out-loud funny, I literally cannot understand how someone else doesn't find it funny. It literally boggles my mind. This is sheer snobbery. I feel that my taste is BETTER than others. I admit it freely. I cannot understand how someone doesn't find Best in Show hilarious. Not only can I not understand it, but I don't WANT to understand it. Most people (at least most SMART people) have snobberies such as this.

Well, I like to consider myself one of the SMART people....

Shiela has a good listing of some of the movies she is snobbish about, and I feel we are on the same wavelength with regard to Bringing Up Baby, This is Spinal Tap, and, to a lesser extent, The Producers (as Brooks & Wilder's first collaboration, it showed great promise of what was to come, and many parts are histerical, but much of it is just uncomfortable).

And really, I can't have an opinion of What's Up Doc? because I haven't seen it since I was, I don't know, twelve years old or something like that.

Some of the movies that set my own personal Comedy Snobbery are:

Big Trouble in Little China - Though often mistaken for an action film (which it resembles) this is actually a hilariously funny movie that plays against all the action movie clichés. Kurt Russell isn't the hero of this movie: he's the hero's sidekick but he doesn't know that. Terrific.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension - In the same vein as the previous, but even more so. Big, stupid special effects and portentious quasi-deep philosophy that never, ever, winks at the audience. Genious.

Young Frankenstein - I consider this film, pound for pound, the funniest movie ever made; there isn't a scene that's a clinker, not a line that isn't quotable.

Office Space - This beautiful slice-of-life of an end du siecle IT office has special resonance for me, since in 1999 I was locked into the professional life this film depicts. If I didn't laugh, I'd cry.

The Big Lebowski - Three words: "The Dude abides."

Update:  My God, I can't believe I forgot this one: Mystery Men. If this one doesn't make you laugh, just hang up the phone, we ain't got anything to talk about.

11:51 AM Mar 22, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Mona, who commented on this post over at Captains Quarters, wrote:

With all due respect Captain Ed, if surgically implanting a tube in the stomach to deliver gruel is not artificial life support, then what is? Terri's cerebral cortex is gone; it is replaced with liquid and a shriveled stump. Her lower brain stem allows her to digest, if you deliver tasteless slop via surgery and a tube. (As with respirators, this artificial life support is a blessing when needed to survive a temporary illness, or to keep alive someone who has a cortical activity that allows interaction with the world. But sustaining a mindless shell is no condition I would want for myself or for anyone I love.)

I would agree with Mona 100% if it had been convincingly shown that the premise of her comment had been proven.

If Terri was, in fact, a mindless shell this would not be an issue.

I am losing my hope for Terri in this world, and placing my hope in the next.

But Governer Bush better order an autopsy.

Sorrowful mysteries...

10:32 AM Mar 22, 2005by Rob Ritchie

6:28 PM Mar 21, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The Anchoress:

One reader, who insists that Terri Schiavo's cerebral cortex has liquified, who apparently pays no attention to any audio or vidio evidence to the contrary, and who doesn't think Schiavo has been short-changed at all in her care or adjudication, (never allowed a wheel chair, never given an MRI, therapy stopped as soon as the lawsuit was won, not allowed the sacraments of her religion, not allowed a television or radio that might stimulate her or help the long, long hours of her confinement inside her body go a little faster) keeps repeating what I am taking to be the new liberal mantra: WHAT ABOUT WHAT BUSH DID IN TEXAS! WHAT ABOUT SUN HUDSON?

Well, what about it? Go read. And scroll. And read.

5:09 PM Mar 21, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

There are some things that unite people on the Left and the Right, thank God!

Liberals For Terri

Credit where it is due, though this person seems to be an individual, so perhaps s/he should call the blog "Liberal for Terri".

5:00 PM Mar 21, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I'm certain that many of the people who hold candlelight vigils outside of Starke and who cheer when a judge issues a stay of execution...

...I'm sure that they just think that this is an awful presumption of power by the Administrative and Legislative branch.

It's called "Checks and Balances" people. This nation is not ruled by the Judiciary.

Also, Rachel Lucas echoes my thoughts rather strongly.

8:10 PM Mar 20, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Andrew Sullivan writes:

So it is now the federal government's role to micro-manage baseball and to prevent a single Florida woman who is trapped in a living hell from dying with dignity. We're getting to the point when conservatism has become a political philosophy that believes that government - at the most distant level - has the right to intervene in almost anything to achieve the right solution. Today's conservatism is becoming yesterday's liberalism.

You know, we used to think it was a good thing when politicians exerted themselves to correct an injustice. I don't give a damn about steroid use in baseball, but you know, if congressmen of any stripe want to try to give Terri Schiavo a chance to live, to confront the overweaning pride of the Florida judiciary and its bureaucratic malice, I say more power to them.

I notice that the people who are calling for Terri to "die with dignity" all seem to be those people politically aligned with folks who are very, very nervious when considerations of when a life is worth living come up. They just can't seem to make the mental distinction between someone who wishes to die with dignity, and someone who is being killed by legal means.

Gosh, Andrew, I hate to tell you, but you aren't the first person to realize that there's been a fundamental shift in the roles Liberals and Conservatives play in modern politics.

I will agree with Sullivan in one thing, though: yesterday's liberalism used to claim to fight for powerless underdogs in this society, but that mantle has now gone to conservatives.

It appears now that liberals want to put the underdogs to sleep.

Update:  The Anchoress says that The role-reversals are complete

3:05 PM Mar 20, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Where do you park?

Death by 100,000 Cuts - Updated

12:45 AM Mar 19, 2005by Rob Ritchie

The lie that wouldn't die.

On the 2nd anniversary of the liberation of Iraq from tyranny, it should come as no surprise that every anti-American hate site and blog is recycling the discreditied claims by the Lancet Journal that 100,000 civilians have died because of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I urge you to read the debunking of this figure here.

Update:  This is why it's so important that we fight this lie:

Update 2: Cool! More ammunition.

12:29 AM Mar 18, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

As usual, the Anchoress leads me to another wonderful Catholic blog: Seek the Way, and from there to this story:

[Bishop Robert] Morlino said he will not tire of telling the story as he travels the country about how Madison firefighters went into an unstable and burned-out St. Raphael to rescue the Blessed Sacrament, or the wafers consecrated as the body of Christ.

"They went in there and had to cut their way through, and brought it out with great reverence," he said.

Victor Davis Hanson

12:04 AM Mar 18, 2005by Rob Ritchie

"Little Eichmanns" and "Digital Brownshirts"
Deconstructing the Hitlerian slur

The effort to remove fascists in the Middle East and jump-start democracy, for all its ups and downs, has been opposed not just by principled critics who bristled at tactics and strategy, but also by peculiarly vehement cynics here and abroad — whose disgust was so often in direct proportion to their relative political impotence.

One of their most hackneyed charges, begun almost at the beginning of this war, has been the Bush/America as Hitler/Nazi Germany comparison. True, fast-changing events in the Middle East recently have left many of these hypercritics either embarrassed, discredited — or desperately reinventing themselves into the “I told you so” crowd. But we should not forget these slurs — nor expect them to disappear entirely inasmuch as they reflect a deep sort of self-loathing among Western elites.

Immediately after September 11, Ward Churchill compared the victims in the Twin Tower to “little Eichmanns.” Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.) more recently likened President George W. Bush’s political methodology to what transpired in Nazi Germany. Earlier during the run-up to the Iraqi war, German Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin smeared Bush with a similar Hitlerian analogy.

In fact, what do Linda Ronstadt, Harold Pinter, Scott Ritter, Ted Rall, and George Soros all have in common? The same thing that unites Fidel Castro, the European street, the Iranians, and North Koreans: an evocation of some aspects of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany to deprecate President Bush in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As usual, you will be well served by reading it all.

There is a Shadow rising in the East....

11:29 PM Mar 18, 2005by Rob Ritchie


GET set for a singing Frodo. "The Lord of the Rings" is to take to the stage — as a musical. The show, based on the fantasy classic by J.R.R. Tolkien, will open in March 2006 in Toronto and hit London six months later before, hopefully making its way to Broadway, the producers said.

They have vowed to go back to the original tale of Middle Earth and not try to reproduce the dazzling special effects from the movie trilogy, which earned $3 billion worldwide and garnered a string of Oscars.

"We are ultimately dependent on 50 actors and musicians to tell the story rather than technology," producer Kevin Wallace said. "We are going to have to break new ground."

The truly sad thing is, if it came to Orlando, I'd probably go see it...

Pious gratitude to: Robert the Llama Butcher

11:04 PM Mar 18, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The Tensor warns us of a grave new danger.

11:19 AM Mar 18, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

An apology is requested.

Tigerhawk is correct when he writes "The Crusades were a counterattack, and barely a pinprick in a thousand years of Muslim ascendancy against Christiandom."

What (other) blogs do you read?

6:36 PM Mar 17, 2005by Rob Ritchie

I'm curious about what other blogs my readers enjoy.

I'm fairly certain that I'm not the only blog you read. If I am, click on one of the others on my blogroll to the right and see what a real blogger is like.

If it's not too much trouble, please leave a comment with the names of a few blogs you visit on a regular basis.

I'm always interested in finding new blogs.

Thank you ...The Management

5:57 PM Mar 17, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I can't help but wonder if this fellow...

Ali Abdullah Tayeh, a 54-year-old Palestinian taxi driver, knelt in the compound and kissed the ground. The thin, unshaven man has been passing the compound every day for a week in hopes of seeing the withdrawal.

"It is a great moment for me. I am for independence and freedom," said Tayeh, standing a few yards from the basement where he said he was jailed and tortured.

In 1987, Tayeh said intelligence agents took him from his house at dawn, accusing him of being a follower of Yasser Arafat (news - web sites), the late Palestinian leader who often feuded with the Damascus leadership.

He said he was held for a month in the basement cellblock, then taken to Anjar and then to a detention center in Syria where he was held for seven months.

"I was subjected to all kinds of torture on a daily basis. I was blindfolded, beaten and tied from the back with wires while intelligence agents tried to extract information from me," Tayeh said. the same taxi driver I met 25 years ago.

5:11 PM Mar 17, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Captain Ed on the Terri Schiavo case:

Up to now, my inclination was to consider this an unfortunate case of dueling experts and bitter family feuding. Now I think this is something more. The people who want the feeding tube pulled all seem to have vested interests outside of Terri's well-being -- Cranford wants to push an agenda for euthanazing people who he finds inconvenient, and Michael Schiavo appears to have a long history of neglect, or at least disinterest in pursuing the proper testing for his wife's condition.

Read it all.

12:41 PM Mar 17, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Go read Christopher Hitchens's excellent piece in Slate about the recent disclosure in the NYT about the "looting" of Saddam's WMD programs:

This Was Not Looting

My first question is this: How can it be that, on every page of every other edition for months now, the New York Times has been stating categorically that Iraq harbored no weapons of mass destruction? And there can hardly be a comedy-club third-rater or activist in the entire country who hasn't stated with sarcastic certainty that the whole WMD fuss was a way of lying the American people into war. So now what? Maybe we should have taken Saddam's propaganda seriously, when his newspaper proudly described Iraq's physicists as "our nuclear mujahideen."

My second question is: What's all this about "looting"? The word is used throughout the long report, but here's what it's used to describe. "In four weeks from mid-April to mid-May of 2003 … teams with flatbed trucks and other heavy equipment moved systematically from site to site. … 'The first wave came for the machines,' Dr Araji said. 'The second wave, cables and cranes.' " Perhaps hedging the bet, the Times authors at this point refer to "organized looting."

Pious gratitude to: lgf

11:50 AM Mar 16, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Captain Ed provides a Constitutional Primer to those who, like Senator Harry Reid, need one.

1:40 PM Mar 15, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

God bless the Cedar Revolution!

Update:  I am put in my place.

Another Update:  Thoughts on the sexyness of freedom here.

Boston Legal

12:26 PM Mar 15, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Last night Mrs. Agnostic and I watched the March 13th episode of the ABC law-drama Boston Legal, a show we enjoy. (As a general rule, I don’t watch TV dramas that don’t have at least one spaceship or alien race or xenophobic robotic empire, but BL fits the bill because it features this guy in a starring role.)

Unlike other accomplished bloggers *cough* Powerline *cough*, I have no legal training, but even I can see that the niceties of the law are sacrificed for entertainment purposes; but that is par for the course in TV and movies, as they never get anything right about anything (including details about the making of TV shows and movies), so I don’t let that bother me.

They always argue two topical cases per show, which amazingly seem to start and end on the same day (and whose progression through the courts are accelerated to a ridiculous degree). While if I were to be so unfortunate as to be involved as a plaintiff or defendant in a trial I would expect a speedy trial, I would also like more than 15 minutes to put my case together.

Their first case involved an elderly rich guy (Carl Reiner) who wanted the court’s permission to have himself cryogenically frozen prior to his natural death, in hopes that he could be thawed out in a hundred years or so when medical science would be able to cure his incipient Alzheimers. They framed it as a “right to die” case and it was fairly interesting, though they referenced in passing Terry Schiavo as an argument in favor of right to die thus completely misunderstanding the true nature of this poor woman’s case. (They also insisted on mispronouncing her name [shee-AH-vo], instead of pronouncing it the way people in Florida who actually know her do [SHY-vo]).

Their second case was brought on behalf of a high-school student who protested when his principal installed Fox Blockers to keep his charges from being “incited to intolerance” by Fox News Channel. This particular case was rife with problems, not least of which being the unrealistic way the school system was portrayed – a principal is brought before the judge, not the School Board? It gets to court instead of being brought up at a School Board meeting? Bah!

(Incidentally, there was a rather sly allusion to the fact that ABC decided that the name of the rival news network could not be spoken, so apparently the script had to be rewritten slightly to remove the name “FOX”. One character, discussing the First Amendment (irrelevantly in this context, but then we don’t expect actual Law), comments that “censorship” was everywhere, such that networks were even interfering with “scripted dramas”.)

It is simply taken as given that the principal's outrageous claims about Fox News are true; they even show a few seconds of a highly partisan anti-Fox documentary to bolster their position, without even trying to show another side to the argument. They even mentioned the debunked survey claiming to indicate that Fox News viewers hold inaccurate views about foreign policy, and are more likely to support the government (shudder!)

Instead, the case is presented as a First Amendment / anti-censorship issue, their argument basically being “Sure, Fox News is a horrible, right-wing proto-Fascist brain-washing machine against which no single person can possibly stand, but hey, this is America, and a diversity of views (no matter how disgusting we may personally find them) should be encouraged, and besides, it’s all ‘Infotainment’ now anyway.”

[Interesting side note – as I typed this into Microsoft Word preparatory to posting it, the word “Infotainment” failed to trigger the proofreader’s gag reflex. I assure you, I did not teach this word to the dictionary, so it was in there to begin with.]

Look, I realize that they couldn’t actually show any clips from any Fox newscasts to support their case, but there were several times (such as when the principal repeatedly claimed that Fox “encouraged intolerance”) that I expected the judge to require the defense to actually show some evidence to back up their claims that Fox content was uniquely deserving of being blocked. As I said, this was a given, and I suspect indicates the views of the writers and producers very clearly.

As a matter of fact, the folks who make the Fox-Blocker have their problems with this episode too, chiefly in the presentation that there is a liberal bias in the media, an idea they reject, despite evidence. However, they don’t seem to be too upset about the free publicity their product received, though the item shown on television was about 500% larger than the actual unit. (Didn’t I tell you that they get everything wrong?)

It’s not my purpose to defend Fox News: their problems and virtues are manifest to anyone who watches them with an open mind. I enjoy their broadcasts, and also enjoy their pro-American bias; I’m not ashamed of that. ABCs straw-man conflation of patriotism, jingoism and Republicanism aside, they present the same news as every other network, but lacking the sour tones I hear other networks use when speaking about people I respect.

Basically, this entire case could have been solved by a very simple expedient: principal Foxhater (or whatever his character’s name was) might want to consider turning the TV's off. While it seems unlikely that students would voluntarily choose to watch a news broadcast instead of, say, MTV, classroom time could probably be put to better use.

Though it's really too much to expect a TV show to espouse such a radical position.

7:12 PM Mar 14, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The Anchoress went on a retreat last weekend. She went seeking silence, and found it, along with Boisterous Babtist Women:

As I said, these are VERY nice people. Any problem here is mine, I know it. They're very nice. But they keep talking to me, and way too pleasantly, too. When one encounters people who are speaking to one in a pleasant manner, one must answer pleasantly. This is so taxing, sometimes. I smile weakly, explain that I am retreating silently, and move down the corridor. The very nice woman pokes her head out the room and hollars (I guess, so I -and every nun in the house - will hear her) "You're taking a SILENT retreat?"

I turn, offer an even weaker smile and nod my head.

"Wow," she exclaims. "I could NEVER do that!"

Read the rest of her funny and touching story.

Former Mayor Bill Fredrick!

6:29 PM Mar 14, 2005by Rob Ritchie

According the this story in the Orlando Sentinel, former mayor Bill Fredrick will probably run in the special election to fill the vacancy created by Buddy Dyer's suspension after his indictment on charges of election fraud:

Frederick's plan would be to serve as mayor until a final decision is cast about Dyer's political fate. If Dyer is convicted and permanently removed from office, Frederick said, he would resign the mayor's seat in about a year and not run in a general election.

Frederick has asked other potential candidate Tico Perez to step aside to allow him to run unopposed:

Perez, who has acknowledged his interest in filling Dyer's seat, said he rejected Frederick's proposal.

"I was very respectful to the former mayor but not receptive to the idea," Perez said. He would not comment further.

Frederick was the mayor of Orlando from 1980 - 1992, and has the support of many local politicos, including Former Orange County Chairman Linda Chapin:

"If he does it, it would clearly be a positive response to the unfortunate situation that Mayor Dyer finds himself in," said Chapin, director of the Metropolitan Center for Regional Studies at the University of Central Florida. "With his experience, this absolutely would be a perfect solution."

Frederick was a very popular mayor during his tenure in office. He is fondly remembered by this humble blogger for an incident that occurred late in his last term, where he unholstered his legally-owned firearm and discharged it in the air in an attempt to apprehend a mugger he encountered in the parking lot of a mid-town eatery.

He was roundly castigated in the press, but his behavior was generally applauded by the citizens of Orlando. Whether the incident effected his decision not to run for re-election is unknown.

Kathy's still pitching!

6:19 PM Mar 14, 2005by Rob Ritchie

11:46 AM Mar 14, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Bring on the beautiful Lebanese hotties!

I'm sure that pictures like these are only incidentally connected to the popularity of the freedom movement an Lebanon; but it don't hurt.

Update:  Ha! Right on schedule

1:16 PM Mar 13, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Captain Ed of Captain's Quarters blog analyzes the latest on the checkpoint-ignoring Eye-talians.

He quotes Times reporting that the Italian intelligence agencies deliberately kept the US in the dark about their attempt to free Sgrena, in a vain attempt to outsmart our troops on the ground.

Ed concludes: "In other words, it wasn't the Americans playing Cowboy in Iraq."

Go read the rest of this fascinating story.

7:34 PM Mar 12, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Rachel has apparently won an award that I was sure was going to me.

Congratulations, Rachel!

Of course, it's an honor just to be nominated.

7:24 PM Mar 12, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Where's George is an extremely cool site that tracks money.

Just go's hard to explain.

Pious gratitude to: Lynn S

6:26 PM Mar 12, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

From The Anchoress (who is on retreat this weekend) I am led to this webblog, which I know may be of interest to some of my readers, as it was to me: Happy Catholic


Who is Ken Mulvaney?

3:56 PM Mar 12, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Mulvaney is a former pub owner who ran against Dyer for the office of mayor in Orlando.

Mulvaney camp sees redemption, opportunity

Ken Mulvaney started the absentee-ballot allegations that finally bumped Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer from office Friday, but it's unclear whether Dyer's indictment will provide any political boost to the former Irish steelworker who hoped to run City Hall.

Mulvaney, 44, sued the city and Dyer after losing the mayoral election last March, accusing Dyer of paying consultant Ezzie Thomas $10,000 to illegally rally voters and collect absentee ballots in heavily black precincts.

"Deep down inside, yes, I knew it would happen," Mulvaney said after charges against Dyer, Thomas and two others were announced. "We knew the evidence was there. This issue needed to be taken care of."

Who is Ezzie Thomas?

12:38 PM Mar 12, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Activist known for turning out minority vote

People involved in Orlando politics have know for years that Ezzie Thomas did more than "get out the vote." When you hired Ezzie, you got results, in the form of properly filled-out absentee voter forms.

Ezzie Thomas, the 73-year-old absentee-ballot consultant at the center of the criminal case against suspended Mayor Buddy Dyer, has weathered similar accusations in the past, but those never rose to indictments or arrests.


Dubbed the "absentee ballot king," politicians have praised Thomas for his ability to deliver crucial votes in close races.


Thomas, who has registered as a Democrat in past elections, has worked mostly for Democratic candidates, although he counts a few Republicans as clients, too. Among them are U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, Orange County's former chairman, and Secretary of State and former Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood.

This is only the beginning, I suspect.

The Orlando Sentinal has lots of good coverage, including this graph:

12:11 AM Mar 11, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem was out-of-whack for a while, so I wasn't able to check my status for a couple of weeks. (For those of you keeping score, I seem to have grown gills, and have begun laying soft-shelled eggs.)

Thus, I wasn't able until now to notice that I've been added to a few more blogrolls! Go visit them right now!

A Sort of Notebook is written by Waterfall, who hikes and plays Scrabble and loves music.

Let's Talk Politics is written by Scooby, who is interested in, well, politics. He hasn't updated for a while, but he's got some fun links.

A Cool Change is written by Doyle, and is a fellow Florida blogger. Could this be the beginning of a Peninsular Alliance?

Thank you, all of you, for noticing my little corner of the blogosphere. I'm very grateful.

11:39 PM Mar 11, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

With all due respect to Miss O'Hara's apparently well-behaved (also, erudite) housecat, this hardly makes me look favorably upon the rest of his kind:

Cat accidentally shoots owner in Iron County home

"Accidently." R-i-i-i-i-g-h-t!

State troopers in Iron County showed up at Joseph Stanton's home in Bates Township last night to find him wounded in the lower torso. The 29-year-old man was cooking when his cat knocked a loaded nine millimeter handgun off the counter.

We all know that, evidence from movies aside, a gun simply does not fire simply by dropping it.

What I'm saying is this: the cat pulled the trigger.

Madrid, One Year Later

9:04 PM Mar 11, 2005by Rob Ritchie

LGF wants us all to remember Madrid.

With video.

Buddy Dyer Suspended From Office

8:47 PM Mar 11, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Indicted Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer struck back Friday afternoon saying he has done nothing wrong and he will not step down.

Gov. Jeb Bush suspended Dyer from his mayoral powers on Friday, WESH NewsChannel 2 reported.

The city's attorney said a special election will be held to fine a replacement for Dyer until his suspension is either revoked or he is permanently removed from office. In the meantime, Ernest Page, the Mayor Pro Tempore and a city commissioner, will act as mayor.

"I believe that the charges that have been leveled against my campaign and me are without merit and totally politically motivated. As a result, I intend to fight these charges with every ounce of strength that I have," Dyer said.

The city's attorney said he consulted with the governor's office, state law and the city's charter to determine how to proceed.

"In accordance with the provisions in the city charter, the City Council will meet within 10 days to establish a time for this special election," said Dykes Everett.

Dyer vowed to fight the charges and return to office.

"When we are successful in this fight, I will return to office to serve as your mayor for the remainder of my term," he said.

"And then I shall have my revenge on you all! You will rue the day you ever f***ed with Buddy Dyer!*

Read the rest

*No, he didn't really say that.

Update:  Click this link for the WDBO web site, with audio.

One of the cool things about being in Florida....

8:31 PM Mar 11, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Is seeing things like this on the way home from work.

This is the launch of a huge Atlas 5 rocket from Canaveral, at 4:42 PM EST.

Mission Details Here

D or R?

6:31 PM Mar 11, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Hmmm.... Scared Monkeys isn't afraid to say:

The AP will not tell you that Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer is a Democrat, but Scared Monkeys will. In another pattern of democratic voting fraud, Democratic mayor Buddy Dyer paid solicitors to collect absentee ballots in the Orlando community. This is 3rd Degree Voter Fraud in Florida.

Lawhawk noticed it too.

I knew it and didn't report it. Mia culpa! I just figured that, since vote fraud was involved, you knew he had to be a Democrat.

Pious gratitude to: Michelle Malkin

5:31 PM Mar 11, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

A DU inmate grabs a clue:

Old guard Democrats are the main reason that Republicans slipped in and took Florida. They have the same plan. Grow, grow, grow. And sell out the masses.

A rare glimpse of clarity.

Update:  Actually, Dyer only was elected because he's an Old guard Dem...if he belonged to the "new guard" that the poster apparently prefers, he wouldn't get anywhere in a conservative town like Orlando...unless he engaged in voter fraud. D'oh!

Grand Jury Hands Up Indictments in Orlando Election Fraud Case

4:17 PM Mar 11, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Indicted

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was indicted Friday morning in an election fraud scandal that arose after the mayoral election last year.

Dyer turned himself into the Orange County Jail just after 8:30 a.m., WESH NewsChannel 2 reported.

An arrest warrant was issued Thursday night. At issue is whether Dyer's campaign staff illegally paid people to collect absentee ballots, particularly among the city's minority communities. Dyer is facing one count of third-degree felony of vote fraud directly related to the activities of campaign worker Ezzie Thomas.

Orange County Circuit Judge Alan Apte also turned himself in at the jail a few minutes before Dyer. Apte faces charges of breaking state election laws. Patti Sharp, who managed Dyer's re-election campaign, was also indicted. Her attorney said he believes it was inappropriate to indict her after she cooperated with the grand jury.

Apte allegedly paid Thomas to collect votes during the judicial race in 2002. Thomas worked for Apte and Dyer in the mayoral race. The fourth indictment was for Thomas, who admitted getting paid thousands of dollars to collect absentee ballots for Dyer.

Alligations of election fraud have haunted the Orlando mayorial race even before polling day, Dyer's opponent accused him of irregularities with regard to absentee ballots.

Governer Jeb Bush, in town at University of Central Florida, was quick to respond:

We want to get it confirmed. I have not gotten the details of how (the indictment) reads. But generally, if a public official is indicted, our policy is to suspend," said Gov. Jeb Bush.

Bush said he considers news of Dyer's indictment disappointing because it violates the public trust in its elected officials. The governor's comments came outside of the First Robotics regional competition the University of Central Florida Friday morning.

12:08 PM Mar 11, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Little Green Footballs directs us to the first ever recorded incident of PEST-related road rage:

At one point the man pulled his car in front of Fernandez's, got out and started running toward her, Fernandez told police.

"He just pulled over next to me, he's stopping the car, it's ridiculous, this man!" she said. "He's running after my car. Oh my goodness, he's a fanatic, he's in the middle of the street!"

Read the rest. It's always sad when people go nuts. Thank God this crazy didn't hurt anyone...this time.

11:00 AM Mar 11, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I wonder if Lileks has seen this?

9:41 PM Mar 10, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Who is this guy?

Rob Ritchie is probably best known from his days as the piano player with the Canadian folk-roots powerhouse Tanglefoot.

I like that...sounds more interesting than my bio...kind of makes me want to be part of a folk-roots powerhouse of my own.

10:40 AM Mar 10, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Great Joe today.

4:40 PM Mar 9, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Go, Mel, Go!

As Florida Cracker asks, "Anyone object to the brain-damaged having Constitutional rights the same as Ted Bundy did?"

4:34 PM Mar 9, 2005

by Rob Ritchie


Both entertaining and informative.

4:04 PM Mar 9, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

101 Zen Stories

This post stolen in (almost) it's entirety from: Lynn S

The year goes by so fast...

11:56 AM Mar 9, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Meryl Yourish reminds us that Eat an Animal for PETA Day is rapidly approaching!

On March 15th, steak a tand...I mean, take a stand.

Update:  No, actually, I mean "take a steak".

No foul play?

7:06 PM Mar 8, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Sure, but what if he was shoved off a pyramid?

2:08 PM Mar 7, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I support this legislation, in spirit at least:

Hunter Wants Open Season On Domestic Cats

If it's in my yard, it ain't your cat.

1:56 PM Mar 7, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Go and read this amazing story of how one soldier's death served as a catalyst for the capture of Iraqi insurgents:

A Death in the Family

Pious gratitude to: Power Line

Florida Cracker is right...

12:49 AM Mar 5, 2005by Rob Ritchie

The Lebanese have the coolest signs.

Friday Joke

10:30 AM Mar 4, 2005by Rob Ritchie

A man with a clipboard walked up to a farm house and knocked. The woman of the house answered the door.

"Hello, Ma'am," the man said. "I'm the census taker. Can you please tell me how many children you and your husband have?"

"Well, let me think," the woman replied. "There are the twins, Randy and Sandy, they're seventeen...then there's Billy and Bobby, they're fourteen....and Mary and Gary, who are twelve..."

"My gosh!" the census taker exclaimed. "Did you get twins every time?"

"Heck no," the woman answered. "Hundreds of times we didn't get nothin' at all!"

Calling the Kettle Gay

6:08 PM Mar 3, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Go read this Ann Coulter's column over at Frontpage Magazine, which I found on Power Line

I haven't linked to a Bleat in a long time....

10:37 AM Mar 2, 2005by Rob Ritchie

But he's got a good rant today, sandwiched between Judge Judy and Star Trek: Nemesis

2:53 PM Mar 1, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Via Mitch I find an interesting post over at Dean's World: Are You A Liberal?

He's articulated something that I have thought for a long time: I'm a pretty liberal guy, for a conservative Republican.

And the other guys aren't.

My Inner Moonbat

2:45 PM Mar 1, 2005by Rob Ritchie

I don't know what's going on inside my head these days.

I was having a vivid dream this morning just before the alarm clock went off.

I was helping some other people chase a chipmunk around a deserted restaurant, as we tried to shoo it out the door.

I overheard one person say to the other:

The only thing I miss about Clinton is his peaceful manner that made sense of the universe.

What's that about?

11:22 AM Mar 1, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Twenty-five years ago, I visited Lebanon with my parents when I was 17.

It was during a break in their civil war, and we were tourists. We drove past PLO headquarters in Beiruit, and I remember the armed guards at the door, and the buildings blasted by mortars and machine guns.

There were Syrian soldiers everywhere. We took cabs out to archeological sites (such as the Temple of Jupiter), and would have to stop at check points guarded by Syrian troops.

I asked the cab driver who they were, and he told me.

I asked him, in the stupid way that teenaged know-it-alls do, "If you don't want the Syrians here, why don't you kick them out?" Cabby shrugged.

It took 25 years, but maybe they're taking my advice.

Good luck to them!

Pictures of the Protest