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Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Joke from Mr. Dragon

Porcupine visits many forums, and on one where he is a regular guest, a fellow Forumite posted a joke which Porcupine particularly enjoyed as it involves so many of his old friends and enemies, as well as a new one. With thanks and compliments to Mr. Dragon, he reposts it here for your amusement as well.

When Osama bin Laden died, George Washington met him at the Pearly Gates. He slapped him across the face and yelled, "How dare you try to destroy the nation I helped conceive!"

Patrick Henry approached, punched him in the nose and shouted, "You wanted to end our liberties but you failed!"

James Madison followed, kicked him in the groin and said, "This is why I allowed our government to provide for the common defense!"

Thomas Jefferson was next, beat Osama with a long cane and snarled, "It was evil men like you who inspired me to write the Declaration of Independence."

The beatings and thrashings continued as George Mason, James Monroe and 66 other early Americans unleashed their anger on the terrorist leader, Bin Laden.

As Osama lay bleeding and in pain, an Angel appeared. Bin Laden wept and said, "This is not what you promised me."

The Angel replied, "I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you in Heaven.

What did you think I said?"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

There IS Yet A Line Which Cannot Be Crossed!

“Revenge,” I shrieked, groping to remember the affront.
Mason Cooley, American Aphorist (b. 1927)

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York deserves our highest commendation. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela (an unelected dictator not worthy of the title of President) shouted from the podium at the United Nations when he appeared there after President Bush, "The devil came here. Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of." He then made the sign of the cross, brought his hands together as if praying and looked up to the ceiling. His outrageous statement brought a mixture of giggles and applause from that international body. It is not stated that anyone stalked out affronted, although that is generally a favorite activity of the UN membership.

However, Rep. Rangel had this to say, "I want President Chavez to please understand that even though many people in the United States are critical of our president that we resent the fact that he would come to the United States and criticize President Bush... you don't come into my country, you don't come into my congressional district and you don't condemn my president."

Technically, he isn't correct. John D. Rockefeller purchased and donated the land where the UN building sits, and placed it into a trust whch would guarantee that it would remain international land, similar to the way the Vatican is a separate entity within Rome. But his sentiments do him credit and Porcupine applauds them, even in the light of his subsequent back-pedaling which can be viewed on his web site HERE. The first impulse was the better and more generous one.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Worth Watching

Porcupine enjoys letting people speak for themselves, and this video of former President Clinton is an exceptionally instructive window into the gentleman's thinking. Click on the arrow to watch the film:

Porcupine will only add this to the man's own words. He spends most of his time complaining about the source of the question, trying to make it appear sinister. Has he really been booked onto so many television talk shows to discuss his Clinton Global Initiative (characteristic modesty, there) that he forgot he was on Fox News? He seems annoyed that he is there. Did he perhaps confuse Chris Wallace with his father, and expect only puffball questions? He does not answer the questions 'on its merits' as he says he will. He repeatedly cites Richard Clark's book - what are his own observations? His portrait of FBI/CIA disjunction is dead on, and he is correct that nobody knew about Bin Laden in 1993. But Chris Wallace is equally accurate to ask why more attention was not paid in 1996 and 1998. Clinton's repeated condemnation of 'you people', and his putting words into the mouth of his interviewer which stem from his own bias is only kerosene upon our national disputes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Aaarrrrgggghhhh! Coincidence? Methinks Not!

T’is I, Prickly Pete, here to tell ya that in addition to being Primary Day here in Massachusetts, it is a day of far greater import! It is INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!

We see three fine Buccaneers – although the tall one sniffs he’s a Privateer – makin’ a dead set on the feisty wench who currently holds office – our own Navigatin’ Kerry Cooke. Yes, the Blackamoor, Cap’n Devvy Sharkbait, an’ the Hibernian, Guideon the Parrotless, and the tall Florentine, Slashin' Baird Dawkins are circlin’ round our lass.

Ne’er to worry – with the aid of our Cap'n, No-Eyes Ron, of the parfect pompadour an’ the touch of Meissen lace at his wrists, our fearless Navigatin’ Kerry will slash ‘em all – any of ‘em - come the winter seas.

The namin’ of our tribe was done with the help of the Pirate Name Generator, and the log page fer the day is HERE. It ain’t any accident, me hearties, tha the Good Ship Five Percent is so threatened on such a day, but Avast! We’ll bring her home sound yet!

More rum! An’ pass the Black Spot to the one as desairves it least!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Swiss Cheese

Though not invariably the worst choice, war is always an obscene horror.
Ellen Glasgow (1873–1945) Written in 1944, near the end of World War II.

Should the Geneva Conventions be changed to reflect terrorist acts? Absolutely.

Should President George Bush make the request to countenance such a change? Absolutely not.

There is no one "Geneva Convention." Like any other body of law, the laws of war have been assembled piecemeal, and are, in fact, still under construction as full of holes as the cheese made there. The first Geneva Convention was signed in 1864 to protect the sick and wounded in war time. This first Geneva Convention was inspired by Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross, and it represented the first treaty of international humanitarian law. Further emendations included the 1899 treaties, concerning asphyxiating gases and expanding bullets which also expanded the Conventions to war at sea. In 1907, 13 separate treaties were signed, doing such things as determining categories of combatants. Then in 1925 came the Geneva Gas Protocol, which prohibited the use of poison gas and the practice of bacteriological warfare. In 1929, two more Geneva Conventions dealt with the treatment of the wounded and prisoners of war. In 1949, four Geneva Conventions extended protections to those shipwrecked at sea and to civilians.

It is interesting to note that the Geneva Conventions have followed, rather than anticipated, acts of war. For instance, bans on poison gas were not in place until 1925, after the mustard gas of WWI, and protections for civilians were not in place until 1949, after the bombings of London, Dresden and Hiroshima. So, it makes sense to examine the Geneva conventions now, five years after 9/11, to determine how terrorists should be treated.

Who considers themselves bound by the Geneva conventions? The United States does, as do most nations in the world. Sudan and Rwanda are signatories, but that does not seem to influence their internal behaviour. The Palestinian Authority sent a letter offering to abide by the conventions, but it has been in UN limbo since 1989, while the UN tries to decide the existence or non-existence of a state of Palestine.

And that is the crux. Only states can be signatories, not organizations. Hence, Al Quida and Hezbollah are not, and judging by the experience of the Palestinian Authority, cannot be signatories. Thus, they enjoy no sanction for not abiding by conventions of which they cannot be a part. Yet they are our enemies. Enemies who behead captured civilians with knives for television cameras chanting 'Allah Akbar!' What 'category' decided in the gentlemanly days following WWI do such combatants fall into?

The Supreme Court decided that terrorists are entitled to be treated in accordance with the chivalric Geneva Conventions, which makes it imperative to change the Conventions themselves to regulate modern, stateless, warfare. It is a difficult job. It is also one which cannot be undertaken by George Bush. The President took a historic step in declaring that whatever the world community might think, he would be concerned first and foremost with the safety and welfare of the United States. It was entirely proper for him to do this, but it has robbed him of the ability to ask other nations to join in a cooperative effort to change the laws of warfare now.

The rest of the world signatories, equally in danger from these guerilla terrorists, must now take the necessary steps to authorize action against quasi-civilian combatants. It is as much their fight as ours, no matter how deeply they stuff their heads into the sand.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Democrats Debate

Sometimes, NOBODY can explain the Democrats better than ....well....Democrats!

Ed Prisby of Blue Mass Group wrote a 'translation' of the debate last night which is entirely hilarious and entirely accurate. For those who didn't watch, this line-by-line replication will tell you all you need to know.

Read the Debate Transcript by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Cape Cod Commemorates Sept. 11th

Porcupine was able to attend the gathering at six o'clock yesterday evening, and provides glimpses and vignettes of the ceremony and the crowd.

A crowd estimated at 1,000 by the Cape Cod Times gathered yesterday at 6 pm to remember Sept. 11th together, and to rededicate themselves to our troops and our first responders. Seen here in the gazebo at Buzzards Bay are Reps. Jeff Perry and Susan Gifford, the organizers of the event.

One honored guest didn't show. Rep. Perry explained that 13 year old Dylan DaSilva was to have attended. Master DaSilva began the movement Cape Cod Cares for it Troops, which rectly shipped its 1,000 package to Iraq. But yesterday, Dylan's mother sent Rep. Perry an email - Dylan had a chance to go to Monday Night Football and be recognized there, and later go on a tour of the Pentagon. But Dylan had made a committment to Rep. Perry - would he release him? A grinning Jeff Perry told the crowd that he had decided to let Dylan wiggle out, and instead presented a House citation to other family members, who were bursting with pride about their young member. The group was there collecting for the troops as well, and if you would like to help, a link can be found HERE.

There was excellent music, as our National Anthem was sung by Sandwich High student Kysta Lubold, and here the crowd reacts to Ret. Sgt. Dan Clark of the State Police, the 'Singing Sergeant'. Mr. Clark was especially effective here with a medley of the anthems of the various branches of the armed services, and the audince members stood or saluted when their theme was sung.

Then, Lt. Governor Kerry Healy spoke, finishing her day here on Cape Cod after attending a variety of ceremonies and rememberances around the state. She gave particular thanks to the Gay and DiConto families, who both lost family members in the tragedy five years ago, and who graciously attended yesterday. Most of her speech was dedicated to the police and fire services, as they step into their new role as first responders to terrorist incidents as well as their traditional responsibilites. Her remarks were apprciated by the gathered Chiefs in the audience, and by Sheriffs McDonough and Cummings (who also provided the chairs, stencilled JAIL, for the event and whose sinister Deputy Sheriff's Association helped defray the costs of the event).

There were many other great moments (Col. Worcester speaking a leetle too long, and failing to introduce the fly-by of his own 102nd F-15's, the SEAMASS trash train going by and giving the crowd a toot, and allowing us all to watch the railroad bridge in action). But Porcupine wants to leave you with one special image - Cape Cod's own 'Twin Towers' at sunset, the Canal Railroad Bridge at Buzzards Bay, and the Bourne Fire Department providing a poignant echo of the flags aloft at Ground Zero, where all our hearts were yesterday.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Patty Mickley - One of 2,996

Her name was Patricia L. Mickley, but everybody called her ‘Patty’. It was an ordinary work day as she began her drive to her job from her home in Springfield, Virginia, which she shared with her husband, Joseph.

The front of her mind was on the folders with the budget analyses that were waiting for her on her desk, but the back of her mind was taken up with her daughter. School had started again, and Patty only hoped that this winter would be a mild one, as she didn’t want to go through another winter with her having earaches because of viruses caught from classmates. Besides, a mild winter meant more chances for her and Joe to go hiking together. She also tried to put together in her mind her next lesson plan for Sunday School – something about autumn, the change of seasons and life, maybe. That verse in Ecclesiastes.

She left her car in her space, and swiped and displayed her badge at the various checkpoints as she went down the system of elevators and corridors which led to her desk. She said hi to friends, made plans for lunch, and hoped that the run in her stockings which had begun at her heel when she put them on wouldn’t get worse during the day.

She got to her desk, put her purse in her bottom drawer, and reached forward to boot up her computer to start work. Glancing at the folders as she leaned back in her chair, she wondered briefly if she could work in a hair appointment to get a cut before she and Joe started to take time off and go to parties for the holidays.

Then an airplane hit her desk.

Patty Mickley was killed at her desk in the Pentagon on Sept. , 2001, five years ago from the moment when this tribute is posted. Porcupine was glad that The project assigned him a victim from the Pentagon, as those people sometimes get overlooked a little in remembrances. Also, Porcupine has spent his entire adult life working in financial management, in banking, insurance and government, and when he saw Patty Mickley’s face, he realized that she could have been any one of the hundreds of women he had worked with, shared coffee with, had lunch with, joked with, and talked with over the last few decades. The only difference was that her management job was in a building that was a terrorist target, and she paid for her diligence and work ethic with her life.

As it happens, Porcupine spent that day at a desk in a reasonably prominent government building. While it is not regarded as much of a target now, it is the only building in Boston with a 22 karat gold roof, and it would have made a splendid target for an airplane taking off from Logan Airport – in its own way, the Massachusetts State House is distinctive as the building. Truly, there but for the grace of God go I.

Porcupine extends his condolences to Patty’s husband and daughter on this anniversary. It is the Patty Mickleys and their work that make America function, and her family has the thanks of a nations which is grateful to her and honors her sacrifice – even if we didn’t know her name.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Should Talk Be Cheap?

Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate among their dupes, but which no democracy can afford among its citizens.
William, Lord Beveridge (1879–1963)

The University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government has come up with a controversial speaker to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11th attacks on New York and the Pentagon. It is to be wondered if this is a harbinger of a new course of study.

Inviting former President Mohammed , who oversaw torture and the murder of dissidents, as well as Iran's secret nuclear program while in office from 1997 to 2005, may seem like just a graceless gaffe. However, Porcupine is convinced by his topic, The Ethics of Tolerance in an Age of Violence, that there is indeed method in Harvard's madness (which would have sickened the namesake of the school, the late President Kennedy).

While we have lost the chance to have Pol Pot and Dr. Mengele speak on the Value of Accurate Identification a Managed Health Care System, Harvard can still seek out Baby Doc Duvalier, late of Haiti, to speak on Election Reform and How to Get to 100%, and perhaps President Joseph Kabila, architect of the warlord strife in the Congo, to speak on the Importance of a Well Trained Local Militia. I am sure Harvard would be proud to include them in their lecture series, perhaps along with Kim Il Jong on the Strategies of Rearmament.

Meanwhile, an angry Gov. Mitt Romney has ordered all state agencies to refuse any assistance for the former president of Iran, when he visits Massachusetts this weekend.

"State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment to an individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction of Israel," Romney said in a statement.

Porcupine imagines that former President Khatami will be guarded by the Secret Service, as all hell would break loose if something happened to him while in Boston. Still, that means that the state’s taxpayers are still footing the bill to some degree. Porcupine has another solution.

Gov. has had heads of state visit before, and must know the cost of the security details incumbent upon such an operation. Porcupine suggests that he present his alma mater, Harvard University, with an invoice, payable in advance, for these services and thus take the burden entirely away from the taxpayers for the school’s repellent misjudgment.

Porcupine is certain that Harvard and its endowment will be pleased to foot the bill for what the university is pleased to refer to as, “the tradition of the free exchange of ideas that is a central part to the life of the University.” Perhaps the school will learn that not all exchanges are free.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Summer Sing Along - 2006 Finale

Labour Day is the end of summer, and it is also the end of the 2006 Sunday Summer Sing Along. As is traditional at such gatherings, Porcupine has chosen to end with an old classic, written back when Senate President William Bulger, the Corrupt Midget and brother to the FBI’s #1 Wanted Felon Whitey Bulger, chose to end his rule of Beacon Hill by accepting another Suzerainty – the Presidency of the University of Massachusetts college system – which had the same potential for self enrichment without the trouble of having to stand for reelection every two years. This was written shortly before Gov. Romney was successful in ridding the Commonwealth of his Services, and before Bulger was successful in suing the state for a further enrichment of his pension. Sung to the tune of the old romantic standard, 'You Took Advantage of Me':

I was once the Senate President
Off to U-Mass I then Gladly Went
I Wrote My Book
But Then the Fifth I Took
They Took Advantage of Me!

Whitey’s Misdeeds Came to Light One Day
Along With Corpses He Had Blown Away
Dan Burton Deposed
And Left Me Exposed
They Took Advantage of Me!

I’m So Hot and Bothered, That When I Left
There was Money in the Till,
And Still the Herald Takes a Front Page Shot
Like ‘Million Dollar Bill’!

Here I Am With All My Bridges Burned
No Way Back as Far As Mitt’s Concerned
My Well Paid Staff,
The State Street Gaffe,
They Took Advantage of Me!

Yes, They Took Ad-Van-Tage of MEEEEEE!

Friday, September 01, 2006


That we are to stand by the president, right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
Theodore Roosevelt, when asked about his criticism of Woodrow Wilson

Liberals are fond of trotting out this famous quote by President Theodore Roosevelt to impugn those who would ask that the incumbent in the office of the Presidency be treated with the dignity congruent with that office.

I ask them to imagine how TR – a famously devoted father – would have reacted if his son Kermit was portrayed as a devotee of drinking games, as the Bush twins are this week in ‘Doonesbury’, or if he were the butt of judicially condoned t-shirts worn by schoolchildren, as happened in Vermont this week, or as a President who survived an assassination attempt, he were shown as the protagonist of a play showing the killing of the President.

The schoolchild wore a shirt depicting the President drinking and doing cocaine, a reference to a troubled past which is thirty years old, which he was foolish enough to seek help for and be honest about. Doubtless, it was manufactured by a hypocrite who was infuriated that people questioned Clinton’s foolish and dishonest assertion that while he had been present when marijuana was smoked, he had never inhaled. A link to the story and analysis of it is
HERE. Naturally, the courts have ruled that prohibiting the child from wearing the shirt to school is an inhibition of his right to free speech.

Now, we also have a feature film called Death of a President, depicting the assignation of President Bush in documentary style. It will have its premiere screening on Sept. 10th at the Toronto Film Festival. Some quotes from the British director of the film, Gabriel Range, are indicative of its tone, “OK, we know that FBI agents have sometimes been on the other side of the war on crime, particularly in Boston…It is a serious and sensitive film. There is no way it would encourage anyone to assassinate Bush and usher in Cheney’s America." Apparently, the ‘other side’ is all those folks still driving around with the bumper stickers that say ‘He’s Not MY President’.

Porcupine is most curious about the release plans for this film. A link provided
HERE shows a synopsis of the film provided by the Toronto Film Festival. It notes that the film is being released in English and Arabic.

Exactly who do you suppose is the target audience here?

And might this cross the Roosevelt line over to disrespect?

Porcupine hopes you will take the time to visit the Rent My Blog box on his sidebar, and read Drivin' Barefoot!. It is written by his friend, ParaTed2K, who was one of the people Porcupine was chatting with live on the night of the mine collapse, and who asked the best questions (read HERE). His blog is as intelligent as he is.

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