La Shawn Barber has blogged about a woman, Sophie Currier, asking for preferential treatment not once, but twice.

She’s taking a medical licensing exam, which allows a total of 45 minutes for breaks. This chick, nursing her four-month-old, is suing the National Board of Medical Examiners for extra time to feed the kid and pump milk. This woman has already received special treatment. She’s allowed to take the test over two days, while everybody else gets only one day. Now she wants to expand break time.

She then takes Sophie to task, extrapolating out to the future her suit of today.

If she were an on-call surgeon required to drop everything and get to the hospital ASAP to perform emergency surgery, is she going to whine about pumping then? Who will she sue — the patient?

If we women want to be equal to men, we’ve got to roll with it, know what I mean? No extra time to get the job done. No dumbed-down standards. Equal means equal, gals.

I have to agree with La Shawn. But there’s another point worth bringing up: when I am stretched out on the operation table, I want to know my doctor passed the tests and examinations without needing extra time and hand-holding. When I am trapped in a burning building, I want to know the firefighter coming to drag me out passed the strenuous physical tests without needing to have the requirements lowered. When my life is on the line, I want someone who could hack it without needing to sue for extra breaks.

I saw a link on Coyote Blog pointing to an online quiz of American civics. This quiz tests your knowledge of civics in four areas: American history, American political thought, America and the world, and the market economy. The 2006 average for college seniors was 54.2%. Go find out your score.

Take the quiz.

I answered 56 out of 60 correctly, giving me a score of 93.33%. On two of the questions (#15 & #24), I knew the right answer, but I clicked the wrong one anyway. Call me a test-taking bonehead. The other two I missed because I just didn’t know the answer. They were question #36 about the just-war theory, and #58 about the Federal Reserve.

Not bad for someone who dropped out of college. So how about you?

New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has a vision — a vision of the government controlling an even larger percentage of private enterprise through a state-run health care system: Hillary Care. Contrary to what some film makers may want you to believe, socialized medicine sucks. But liberals don’t care about the failings of socialized medicine when they can sound concerned for the sick and the poor. But more than just wanting to take over health care, Hillary envisions a day when having health insurance is required for getting a job.

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that a mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance was the only way to achieve universal health care but she rejected the notion of punitive measures to force individuals into the health care system.

“At this point, we don’t have anything punitive that we have proposed,” the presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We’re providing incentives and tax credits which we think will be very attractive to the vast majority of Americans.”

She said she could envision a day when “you have to show proof to your employer that you’re insured as a part of the job interview like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination,” but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress.

Uh…. what? Most people get their health insurance from their jobs. Why should I get health insurance before getting the job that will give me the health insurance? For someone viewed as being an intelligent woman, she came up with a real stinker of a idea here. On the scale of LAME – LAMER – LLAMA, Hillary’s idea has pegged the needle all the way to LLAMA.

I found the link to Hillary’s hilarious idea on the Drudge Report under the title of “HEALTH INSURANCE PROOF REQUIRED FOR WORK,” and it was that same title that inspired Joe Klein to poo-poo Drudge as a disgrace. Klein quotes the second and third paragraphs as I did, but he missed when she said, “you have to show proof to your employer that you’re insured as a part of the job interview…” Her own words provides the proof for Drudge’s title, contrary to what Klein wants you to believe. Hey, Klein, before you bash Drudge as being shameless and a disgrace, how about you actually read (and understand) the news article he links to?

Microsoft got hit with a hard blow by the European Union. On Sept. 17th, 2007, the EU Court of First Instance (now there’s a lame name) ruled against Microsoft.

The EU Court of First Instance ruled against Microsoft on both parts of the case, saying the European Commission was correct in concluding that Microsoft was guilty of monopoly abuse in trying to use its power over desktop computers to muscle into server software.

It also said regulators had clearly demonstrated that selling media software with Windows had damaged rivals.

“The court observes that it is beyond dispute that in consequence of the tying consumers are unable to acquire the Windows operating system without simultaneously acquiring Windows Media Player,” it said.

“In that regard, the court considers that neither the fact that Microsoft does not charge a separate price for Windows Media Player nor the fact that consumers are not obliged to use that Media Player is irrelevant.”

And the report ends with this great quote:

Kroes said however that the victory did not yet mean that software customers have more choice than they did three years ago, when Microsoft was slapped with the original EU fine.

“The court has confirmed the Commission’s view that consumers are suffering at the hands of Microsoft,” she said.

Poor Europeans, suffering at the hands of mean and evil Microsoft. I’m sure Exhibit A in the case against Microsoft were the elite Microsoft sales teams who force the public to buy Microsoft software at the point of a gun. “You vill buy dis softvare, und you vill like it!”

Do people, even Europeans, have a choice to buy a computer without Microsoft as the operating system? Sure. People can use OS X from Apple, or if they don’t want to spend any money, they can install Linux, many versions of which can be downloaded and installed for free. Yes, free.

“But what about a word processor and other necessary programs?” Glad you asked. People can get a free word processor and other work-related tools for free from Open Office. Yes, free.

This reminds me of the browser wars of the 90s. Internet Explorer came automatically with Windows, but nothing said that I had to use IE just because Windows came with it. I was glad that Windows was bundled with IE because it made it easier for me to go to Netscape and download the latest version of their browser. I then deleted the IE icon off the desktop, and I was good to go. I eventually switched to IE, but not because it came pre-loaded on Windows. When IE surpassed Netscape in capabilities, I switched over.

Now ten years later, Europeans are whining because Windows comes bundled with Windows Media Player. “That’s so unfair! Wah!” So what’s stopping them from downloading the free sound and video software they want? Imagine buying a BMW with an BMW stereo bundled for free with the car. If you like the stereo, you can keep it, or you can easily switch it out for another free stereo by another manufacturer. In the case of Windows Media Player, Europeans get it free from Microsoft, or they can get a media player free from someone else, so where is the harm?

It must be emotional harm. And that explains the $613 million dollar temper tantrum the EU has thrown at Microsoft.

UPDATE (9/18/2007 9:41:09 AM): Seems like I’m not the only one to see this as a bad ruling.

Dick Armey of the government watchdog group Freedomworks added, “At the end of the day, this was a case about rival companies bickering about market share, not a case of consumer harm. Some companies may appreciate the big stick provided by European regulators, but consumers will see little benefit, and the business climate for American companies in the global marketplace just got tougher.”

It’s not all that surprising to see dumb people come up with some really boneheaded comments. But when I see people with an IQ I’d need an abacus to calculate come up with a truly jaw-dropping gem of stupidity, I’m stunned into speechlessness.

Well, not completely.

Enter Alan Greenspan, former chairman for almost 20 years of the U.S. Federal Reserve and BDS sufferer. In his new book, he opined that President Bush invaded Iraq because of oil. The UK Times sums it up.

However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.

Greenspan, 81, is understood to believe that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil supplies in the Middle East.

Britain and America have always insisted the war had nothing to do with oil. Bush said the aim was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and end Saddams support for terrorism.

So Greenspan says we went into Iraq to get the oil. That would explain why we are swimming in all that oil we are pulling out of there.

Uh, really?

Dumb comment, Alan. Really dumb. If it were all about oil, how come Kuwait isn’t the 51st state? After kicking the Iraqis out in 1991, we essentially owned Kuwait. Had we chosen to make it ours in fact, no nation could have stopped us. And after having won Kuwait, we gave it back to the Kuwaitis. A decade later, we raced into Iraq and toppled Saddam’s regime. But the dust had barely settled when we were talking to the Iraqis about elections and their taking control back again. And while we are interested in getting the Iraqi oil fields up and running at capacity, we are buying the oil, not taking it.

So how again was the war largely about oil, Alan?

The sad part about Alan Greenspan’s comment is how they will add fuel to the fire of the 9/11 truthers who happily applaud any boneheaded belief stated by the dumb, the genius, and anyone in between.

UPDATE (9/17/2007 8:27:07 AM):I wrote this post last night and scheduled it to be posted this morning. And now I wake up to see that Alan Greenspan is spinning his comments, as reported in the LA Times:

Greenspan clarified his remarks in an interview with the Washington Post, telling the newspaper that although securing global oil supplies was “not the administration’s motive,” he had presented the White House with a case for why removing Hussein was important for the global economy.

“I was not saying that that’s the administration’s motive,” Greenspan said. “I’m just saying that if somebody asked me, ‘Are we fortunate in taking out Saddam?,’ I would say it was essential.”

He said that in his discussions with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, “I have never heard them basically say, ‘We’ve got to protect the oil supplies of the world,’ but that would have been my motive.”

So, when he said “everyone knows” that we went into Iraq because of oil, he was attributing to “everyone” what he believed. That’s not a smart thing to do.

If that’s what he really believed, then why didn’t he make it clear in his book. That was his venue to make sure his story were properly presented to the world, and he muffed it. Again, that’s not a smart thing to do.

As I see it, he either did a poor job on his book, or his “clarification” is fancy backpedaling. Neither option reflects well on Alan Greenspan.

I saw an interesting article posted by Michelle Malkin responding to a high school that banned the wearing of clothes with any flags on them. NBC17.com reports on this story this way:

On the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, students at one high school were not allowed to wear clothes with an American flag.

Under a new school rule, students at Hobbton High School are not allowed to wear items with flags, from any country, including the United States.

The new rule stems from a controversy over students wearing shirts bearing flags of other countries.

Gayle Langston said her daughter, Jessica, was told to remove her Stars and Stripes t-shirt.

Today she wanted to wear her shirt, and I had to tell her no, said Langston. She didn’t like it at all because I knew it would get her in trouble. Of all days, 9/11, she could not wear her American Flag shirt.

The superintendent of schools in Sampson County calls the situation unfortunate, but says educators didnt want to be forced to pick and choose which flags should be permissible.

A quick knee-jerk response is to tell the school to only allow the American flag and to ban all the others. After all, we’re here in America. But the ACLU says they will sue the school if they ban all flags but the American flag. And that ignores the many people who are proud of their heritage.

The Superintendent for that school, Dr. L. Stewart Hobbs, Jr., lifted the ban when he found out about it, and he said that individual schools in the district will not be allowed to make dress code rules anymore.

After reading the story on Michelle Malkin’s site this week, I looked up the U.S. Flag Code, and I found a great page about flag etiquette. It shows how to properly display the flag, and it has a great FAQ with some very good questions. Several of them I really liked. For example, a home owners association cannot stop you from flying the American flag. The common flag stamps issued by the Post Office violates the U.S. Flag Code because they used in a way that could make it easy to be torn or damaged, and the flag shouldn’t get any printing or marks on it. The only state to have never been under another flag is Idaho. (Yay, Idaho!) And there is a explanation of the difference between “half-staff” vs. “half-mast.”

But I had forgotten that the U.S. Flag Code says in section 8d: “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery….” That’s pretty clear. And it was ironic that I was wearing my flag shirt when I read the Flag Code. So I’m torn because now I know that my flag shirt violates the Flag Code, but I love my flag shirt. For several years now my family has crafted flag shirts around July 4th. I had thought they were OK because they weren’t exactly the same as the flag, but the FAQ explained that if it is recognizable as a flag, then it is a flag regardless of the number of stars, stripes, or general layout. The website even has examples.

And after having read the Flag Code, I’m beginning to see violations all over the place. Yesterday, I noticed a flag on a bike rack. It was engraved on a little plaque along with the business information and bolted to the bottom of the bike rack stand. The flag is not to be used for advertisement purposes, and it shouldn’t touch anything below it, so there’s two violations.

But who does anything about violations of the Flag Code? Will a cop arrest me the next time I wear my flag shirt? I don’t think so. I can’t find any example of people being arrested for a Flag Code violation other than for flag burning. And I’ve always seen it as ironic that protesters burn the flag in protest, when section 8k of Flag Code specifies burning as the preferred way of destroying a flag. But it also says it “should be destroyed in a dignified way,” and I don’t think the protesters are burning the flag in a dignified way.

So we are left with a Flag Code explaining how to treat the American flag, but it appears that few, if any, people, other than some over-zealous school officials, are actively doing anything to enforce the Flag Code.

And it’s time I got a new flag.

My dad sent me an old copy of my birth certificate. (Thanks, Dad!) And three things struck me as I’m looking at it.

First, I much prefer a crimped seal than a stamp on an official document. The last few times I’ve gone to a notary public, they have used stamps instead of the little crimping tool, and I feel a little cheated.

Second, I missed being a twin by half an inch. Had the X on the birth certificate been typed a half of an inch to the right, I would have been marked a twin. A full inch to the right would have made me a triplet, but that’s pushing things.

And third, while it has a slot for my dad’s occupation, Air Force, there is no equivalent slot for my mom. I guess the assumption being that a mother’s occupation was either unimportant, or it was assumed that her only possible occupation was homemaker. Do currently issued birth certificates include the mother’s occupation now, and if so, when did this change? I would guess it changed in the 70s.

In any case, I have legal proof that I was born.

Terrorists struck the U.S. on this day in 2001, but since then, we have been blessed with six years of peace here in our country. Three years ago I wrote that it’s a question of when, not if, we will be struck again. I was sure that we would have been attacked again in 2004, but I am happy that it didn’t happen. Yet I remain certain that we will be struck again, so what will be our response when they strike? I’ll say it again:

What will be our response to the next big strike? Will we bury our dead, roll up our sleeves, and proceed to clean out the human cesspool that is terrorism? Or will we follow Spain’s lead? After the March 11th bombings, Spaniards marched in the streets shouting their anger and will to fight. But mere days later, they crawled to the voting booth and voted for a Socialist leader who pulled them out of Iraq and cried, “Don’t hurt us!” First they stood tall, then they rolled over on their backs and pissed themselves in fear. If this wasn’t a victory for the terrorists, what would be?

We have a choice: we can spread the freedom that we are blessed with across the nations, as we have done with 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq, or we can crawl before our attackers as the Spaniards did. President Bush wants us and the world to be free. But looking at the Democrats’ words and actions, I am left to believe that they are willing to quit and run.

Me? I prefer to stand up to evil. How about you?

This report by Fox News really caught my eye.

China’s Shaolin Temple has demanded a public apology from an Internet user who claimed a Japanese ninja beat its kung fu-practicing monks in a showdown, a lawyer said Friday.

An open letter from the temple posted on the Internet on Thursday denied the fight ever took place and called on the person who posted the claim under the name “Five minutes every day” to apologize to the temple’s martial arts masters.

Monks from the temple, nestled in the Songshan Mountains of central China’s Henan province, said they will consider legal action if he or she doesn’t make a public apology.

Lawyer Huang Kun of Henan’s Huizhi Law Firm confirmed in a telephone interview Friday that he had posted the letter on behalf of the temple.

The spat comes amid lingering tensions between China and Japan over wartime atrocities. Chinese remain highly sensitive to anything that smacks of Japanese militarism, particularly because many believe Tokyo has yet to show adequate remorse for its World War II-era actions in China.

The posting last week on the “Iron Blood Bulletin Board Community” described a ninja who challenged the monks of the Shaolin Temple to a fight in August after practicing boxing at a Japanese mountain retreat for five years. The Internet user claimed the monks accepted the challenge and the ninja won, proving the monks are trained to perform rather than fight.

The Shaolin Temple’s letter said the posting was “evil” and “a pure fabrication.” It said the account of the ninja’s victory had been widely commented on and distributed, especially in Japan.

“This extremely irresponsible behavior not only impacts the Shaolin temple and its monks, but also the whole martial arts community and the Chinese people,” it said.

Since when did these Shaolin monks master the difficult form of SueYou Fu with Buddha’s Litigious Hand?

Shaolin SueYou Fu