So we are without our car. A while back we were driving home from a funeral when the Check Engine light kicked on, and the car started to run rough. We stopped at the closest town for the night, and the next day we took the car into a repair shop. Five days and $1500 later, we got the car back. Still running rough, and the Check Engine light was still on.

We had a mechanic here in town look it over, and he talked with the first guy. So the first guy agreed to pick up the car and work on it without charging for labor, just any parts he puts in it.

TPK was all for reversing the charges on the credit card (I like putting big purchases like this on the credit card for the ability to reverse the charges if we are shafted, but I digress) and reporting them to the Better Business Bureau. But I figured they should get the chance to really fix the car this time.

So the car is gone. We are stocked up with food, and I have a great co-worker who I can carpool with. But it is a strange feeling not to have the freedom to drive down to corner store for a quick snack.

[Yeah, welcome to my world. --TPK]

Oh, and I posted a new comment about the proof that has come out about WMDs.

Investors Business Daily ran a very interesting article on February 24th, 2006, but I’m sure you’ve heard all about it on the nightly news for days now, right? Oh, who am I kidding? The liberal news shows have no desire to air any information that would show that President Bush was right to stop Saddam Hussein and his WMDs. This article, and the underlying information it brings us, is news, but not anything you’d expect to hear in the mainstream press anytime soon.

So, on with the article.

Yes, the linchpin of opposition to the Iraq War — never really strong to begin with — has taken some real hits in recent weeks. And Bush lied — the anti-war mantra about the president, Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction — looks the most battered.

Inconveniently for critics of the war, Saddam made tapes in his version of the Oval Office. These tapes landed in the hands of American intelligence and were recently aired publicly.

The first 12 hours of the tapes — there are hundreds more waiting to be translated — are damning, to say the least. They show conclusively that Bush didn’t lie when he cited Saddam’s WMD plans as one of the big reasons for taking the dictator out.

Unless you believe that Saddam and others spent hours faking up tapes just to vindicate President Bush, this is a major news story. And these tapes show that Saddam was active in procuring and using WMDs after Operation Desert Storm kicked him out of Kuwait in 1991. Here is a comment by Saddam’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, talking about how Iraq fooled the U.N. inspectors:

We did not reveal all that we have, he says. Not the type of weapons, not the volume of the materials we imported, not the volume of the production we told them about, not the volume of use. None of this was correct.

Boy, sure sounds like the International Atomic Energy Agency and Mohamed ElBaradei were effective in stopping Iraq. But nothing will make liberals stand up and clap like a failure, and so both the IAEA and ElBaradei were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. See also President Carter getting the Nobel Peace Prize for drafting the Agreed Framework with North Korea (among other acts) only to have North Korea announce five days later that it never lived by the Agreed Framework.

But I guess it’s the intent that counts with liberals.

OK, so I’m getting off the topic at hand. Two parts of Hussein Kamel’s comment really jumped out at me. The first was not the volume of the materials we imported. Imported? Imported from where? The article doesn’t say, but based solely on the three nations who were most vocal against taking down Saddam, I would hazard a guess at France, Germany, and Russia. The second phrase that jumped out at me and chilled me to the bone was not the volume of use. We know Iraq used WMDs on the Iraqi city of Halabja and against Iran, but what else don’t we know? What exactly was the volume of chemical and biological weapons used by Iraq?

And don’t think that Saddam didn’t have his finger in nuclear plans. I wrote back in May 2004 about 408 Iraqi scientists working on a nuclear bomb in Libya. More from the IBD article:

Indeed, as late as 2000, Saddam can be heard in his office talking with Iraqi scientists about his ongoing plans to build a nuclear device. At one point, he discusses Iraq’s plasma uranium program — something that was missed entirely by U.N. weapons inspectors combing Iraq for WMD.

The more I find out about what Iraq, North Korea and Libya have done to hide their WMD works, the more I see the IAEA as the U.N. equivalent of the Keystone Cops. If you gave them a map, Sherpas, and the use of both hands, I doubt the IAEA inspectors could find their own butts.

So if Saddam had WMDs, where are they now? It’s a fair question. Multiple people have come forward to say that Saddam moved them out of Iraq.

The short answer to the question of where the WMD Saddam bought from the Russians went was that they went to Syria and Lebanon, said John Shaw, former deputy undersecretary of defense, in comments made at an intelligence summit Feb. 17-20 in Arlington, Va.

They were moved by Russian Spetsnaz (special ops) units out of uniform that were specifically sent to Iraq to move the weaponry and eradicate any evidence of its existence, he said.

Thanks to the very long ramp-up it took to get the U.S. Legislature and the U.N. behind taking Saddam down, Saddam had plenty of time to move any incriminating evidence out of the country. If I had many months to hide metric tons of materials in a area the size of California, or I could smuggle some of it into neighboring Nevada, how easy do you think it would be to find my stashes without assistance? But this news will not convince the liberals who chant Bush lied — People died at candlelight vigils that Iraq was indeed a threat and certainly did have WMD plans and programs. At this point, I don’t think videos of Saddam digging up WMDs in Iraq with his own two hands would convince the Left.

Read the whole article. And if you are still interested, here are some previous articles I’ve written about WMDs.

If I were to classify the nations of the world, I would say that there are friends, allies, neutral nations, antagonists, and enemies. Good friends like Britain and Australia share our outlook on life and our desires. Allies are aligned with the U.S. to achieve some goal. The Soviet Union during World War II was our ally, even though we had major philosophical differences on government, and we knew that we wouldn’t stay allies once the war was over. Neutral nations are few now, but I guess they still exist, probably Finland and Bolivia. Antagonists are those nations that hate us, and sadly there are a bunch, but I’ll just list Iran, Syria, and North Korea here. At this point, the only enemy we have are the Islamic fruit-jobs who are sending planes into buildings and blowing up cars.

When looking at my security and safety, I want my friends around me and enemies far away. This is why I am glad we are killing terrorists in Iraq rather than fighting them on our own shores, but that will probably happen if we do not keep our borders secure. And I believe we should be very concerned about our border security. That includes our land borders and our shipping ports. I believe that President Bush has the right ideas for fighting the terrorists, but I have great problems with his failure to address our border security. You can read my previous writings on our borders here, here, and here.

The big brouhaha here is the proposal for the United Arab Emirates to take over operational control of some of our ports. And it is interesting to see that opposition and support for this plan is not divided along party lines.

I understand that the United Arab Emirates are our allies in the fight against the terrorists, but I don’t trust them the way I’d trust a long-time friend like Britain. Call me an Islamophobe if you like, but I’m not going to give house keys to a friendly neighbor whose family hates me. I’m sure I could trust the neighbor not to barge into my house for a rummage, but since his family would have access to his house, it’s possible they could gain access to my house key. And then people who hate me would have free access to my home and family.

I can’t allow that to happen.

The Power Line blog has a good write-up discussing other examples of foreign nations controlling our ports.

We watched Popeye, starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall, today. This Disney movie was released in 1980, and it wasn’t well received by the public. I first saw it over twenty years ago when I was babysitting the neighbor kids. They had a VCR player and both the Popeye and Pete’s Dragon tapes. The kids watched these two movies over and over and over again.

Like other movies shot in the late ’70s (can anyone say Heaven’s Gate?), this movie suffers from interminal-itis. Popeye clocks in at under two hours, but it feels longer because of its pacing, unlike Heaven’s Gate which actually is long at over 3 and a half hours running time. I like how Williams is constantly muttering stuff under his breath, just like in the cartoons, and Duvall is the epitome of Olive Oyl made real.

It will probably be another 20 years before I watch it again.

OK, so I finished watching the last episode of “24″ just now, and it was good! But as much as I liked it, I’m glad I didn’t follow this on TV. I don’t like dictating my life based on when a show appears on TV, so watching 1-3 episodes when I feel like it appeals to me.

And did I mention no commercials?

Bottom line: good series, but it is very tiring to watch. I think I’ll hold off a bit before doing the season 2 marathon.

I had heard about this site a while back, but I visited it today when I saw it mentioned on BoingBoing. I’m talking about a National Sex Offender Registry.

At the site, you can enter an address, and watch as a map appears with different colored squares representing different types of offenders. My state isn’t participating in the registry, but they promise to have one online this summer. When we knew our niece was going to spend the summer with us, we requested and got a print out of the registered sex offenders in our zip code. While we were happy to know that there wasn’t anyone close to us, a printed piece of paper doesn’t change like a website can. And that is why I like this site.

We did some checking of family addresses, and we noticed that clicking on the red, yellow, and green squares pulled up an image and information about the perp. Some people have argued that this is an invasion of privacy, but I believe they have lost that right when they committed the crime.

Oh, and I posted a new article about the rioters in Islam.

So the Muslim people still have their collective undies in a twist over the Danish political cartoons about Mohammed. At this point, the West should, with a collective voice, tell Islam to get over it and grow up. Instead, the West has almost unanimously caved in to the rioters. If your 3-year-old kicks and screams to get ice cream, and you give it to him, he has learned that kicking and screaming is a useful tactic to get what he wants. And you have taught him that.

These Islamic rioters are collectively behaving like a very angry and dangerous 3-year-old brat.

Still don’t believe me? Here are two images of angry Islam, courtesy of Yahoo:

Waaaah!

Muslim protesters stage a rally against the publishing a cartoon about the Prophet Muhammad in front of New Straits Times office in Kuala Lumpur, Friday, Feb. 24, 2006. The New Straits Times provoked many Muslims groups in Malaysia by publishing the Non Sequitur strip on Monday, even though the cartoon did not show the prophet. Still, Muslim groups said it mocked Islam, and the government asked the newspaper to give reasons why it should not be punished, including shutting it down. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

These Malay Muslims are demonstrating over the Feb. 20, 2006 “Non Sequitur” cartoon by Wiley Miller. Since the above link will be broken in a month, I’ll describe the highly offensive cartoon that has caused these Malaysian riots. The caption reads: “Kevin finally achieves his goal to be the most feared man in the world…” The drawing is of an artist sitting on the street with a sign that reads: “Caricatures of Mohammad while you wait!”

Quelle horreur!

Why do they riot? They riot because the wimpy West has taught them that rioting gets results. How many major American newspapers have published the dozen Danish drawings to show their relative mildness to American readers? None. Neither has any major news program shown its viewers the offending cartoons. I showed the cartoons to a bunch of co-workers, and while everyone had heard about them, none had actually seen them. Thank you, media, for keeping us informed!

More Waaaah!

Pakistani Shi’ite Muslims chant slogans during a rally in Karachi February 23, 2006. Imamia Students Organisation held a rally to denounce the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Iraq and against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in European newspapers. (THE URDU AND ARABIC WRITING ON THE PLACARD READS DEATH TO AMERICA) REUTERS/Zahid Hussein

Why does the sign say “Down with America” in English, and “Death to America” in Urdu and Arabic? What does the U.S. have to do with Danish cartoons, or the blowing up of the Golden Mosque in Iraq? Not a blessed thing! There is no reason–there is only rage. This is why riots in Nigeria have claimed the lives of over 100 people, as offended Muslims attacked Christians (as though they had something to do with the cartoons), and the Christians retaliated.

Note to the Nigerian Christians: while your religion accepts acting in self-defense, it does not condone vengeance.

I have worked with some wonderful people who are Muslims, and we have spent many hours discussing religion in the office, but at this point I am done with Islam. Don’t talk to me about being sensitive to Muslim feelings. Don’t tell me how I need to change my life to keep from offending them. Don’t remind me of Saladin or of Islam’s golden era. As far as I can see, Islam’s shining pinnacle was reached centuries ago, and it has been going downhill ever since. Islam has jumped the shark, and the mythical moderate Muslims are doing nothing to stop their hot-headed brethren from shrieking and wailing like little brats. Get over it already and grow up! Sheesh.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Apparently Muslims don’t need much help to feel inferior, but that’s not the West’s problem.

Help! Pirates have taken over my computer monitor! Happily for me, they seem more interested in their bottle of rum than writing in this blog. In the picture, you can see the red pirate has taken the bony pirate’s arm — the one holding the rum. He pushed the skeleton off the monitor, but he’s got a handhold before falling off. TPK says he should be called “Jolly Roger” or perhaps “Mr. Grim.” Judging by how he’s hanging on, the latter name sounds better.

arr!

These are Stikfas toys, specifically the Alpha Male Pirate with Skeleton. I decided that the Beta Female Warrior and Dragon needed to go to the office, and I brought the pirates home. They stare at me and say, “Arrrr you writing anything yet?”

UPDATE (3/2/2006 5:51:07 PM): The tables have turned!

The image to the side was published by Drudge (and changed to be vertical by me) about a recent bombing of a Shiite mosque in Iraq. This attack vindicates my idea that you must convert to the correct brand of Islam, or you may still be attacked.

Sadly, this explosion in Iraq will be the excuse for rioting Shiites to attack Sunnis. But that doesn’t take any extraordinary analytical skill to figure out, because it is happening already.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com sums this up nicely:

If Danish cartoons could create riots worldwide against the defamers of Islam, you’d think that bombing of mosques would create anti-terrorist marches all over.

Don’t hold your breath.

I am a movie junkie. There have been too many Saturdays where I have watched 3-5 movies because I didn’t have anything better to do that day. Hmm… I hope the wife isn’t reading this. I’m sure she has some items on her Honey-Do list that I’ve successfully dodged so far.

I get all these movies from the local Hollywood Video store for a cheap monthly fee of $15. I break even if I only watch four videos in a month, and anything beyond that is gravy. These days, I am swimming in gravy. I have written about movies before here, here, and here. But this is going to be a bit different, because today I’m going to blather about TV.

I normally don’t watch TV. I would guess that I watch less than 3 hours of TV in a week, and that’s a high-usage week. But I have been watching a bunch of TV this last week. And I have been watching TV the best way — without commercials.

I finally succumbed to peer pressure and picked up the DVDs of the first season of 24. The next episode to watch covers 4pm-5pm. TPK says it is the most exhausting show to watch.

I agree.