If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them…
I’ve just learned that, due to procrastination, I will receive my W2 tomorrow. It would be today, but I’ve also just learned that the W2s must, according to a new IRS rule that wasn’t in place last year, be perforated (which will be done tomorrow morning).
Despite the fact that I can electronically submit them in my return.
The depths of IRS pedanticity are apparently boundless.
Cheney’s office under attack over shooting
I purchased a Valentine’s Day card for Jennifer yesterday at Target. This was the receipt.
If only weddings came that cheaply.
Biathlon is, as far as I’m concerned, the ultimate Olympic sport. The Olympics were, in ancient times, an exposition for soldiers to show off their physical prowess. Nowadays, the martial skill is lost on just about every sport, with professionals competing instead of common men & women.
Except for biathlon.
The martial aspect is undeniable – what other occupation requires ballistic skill and physical prowess? The troops from the 10th Mountain Division would fit right in, skiing to a point where they shoot rapidly at targets. < M-16 Insult > And their rifles would have about the same impact as the athlete’s .22s < / M-16 Insult > All kidding aside, the rifles aren’t exactly off the shelf plinkers you can buy at the local gunshop. They weigh about 8 pounds and have match-grade everything, which puts their price in the neighborhood of four digits, the first one being at least a two. I held one for sale once at a gun show. The action was clean, smooth, and thumb-activated, and it was custom built to be perfectly balanced – it had adjustable weights on a rod running the length of the barrel. Asking price was $1900, as I remember.
They have other toys/tools as well, though. The US team will be using one of these little things for their wind readings. Definitely a toy.
Surprisingly enough, the Biathlon will be broadcast. Most of the events will be on USA Network, but some of the Biathlon events will be seen on your local NBC affiliate, usually between Hockey and Skating, or at midnight, when the network thinks no one is watching. Thank God for TiVo. Here’s the Biathlon event schedule and the TV listings, repeated below. Double check your listings, because the NBC page says “All Times EST, Subject to change, NBC primetime and late night sessions are EST and PST”.
- Saturday, Feb. 11 USA â€” (Live: Biathlon Menâ€™s 20km Final), 7-9 a.m.
- Monday, Feb. 13 USA â€” (Live: Menâ€™s curling: USA vs. Norway; Biathlon Womenâ€™s 15km Final; Womenâ€™s curling: USA vs. Norway), 3-11 a.m.
- Tuesday, Feb. 14 USA â€” (Womenâ€™s curling: USA vs. Canada (live); Biathlon Menâ€™s 10km Sprint Final (live); Menâ€™s curling: USA vs. New Zealand (live); Luge Doubles Training Runs; Alpine Skiing Womenâ€™s Downhill Timed Training), 3-11 a.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 16 USA â€” (Live: Biathlon Womenâ€™s 7.5km Sprint Final; Menâ€™s curling: USA vs. Sweden; Tape: Menâ€™s Snowboarding Cross), 6-11 a.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 18 NBC â€” (Cross Country Womenâ€™s Relay Final; Biathlon Menâ€™s Pursuit Final; Menâ€™s hockey: USA vs. Slovakia (live); Short Track Speedskating Womenâ€™s 1500m Semifinals), Noon-6 p.m.
NBC â€” (Biathlon Womenâ€™s Pursuit Final; Medals Plaza Award Ceremonies), Midnight-1 a.m.
- Tuesday, Feb. 21 USA â€” (Biathlon Menâ€™s Relay Final), 6-8 a.m.
NBC â€” (Nordic Combined Sprint Final; Ski Jumping K125-Large Hill Jump; Biathlon 4X7.5km relay), 4-5 p.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 23 USA â€” (Live: Womenâ€™s Biathlon Relay Final), 6-8 a.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 25 NBC â€” (Menâ€™s Hockey Bronze Medal Game (live); Speedskating Womenâ€™s 5000m Final; Biathlon Womenâ€™s 12.5km Final), 1-6 p.m.
NBC â€” (Alpine Skiing Menâ€™s Slalom Final; Short Track Speedskating Menâ€™s 500m Final, Womenâ€™s 1000m Final and Menâ€™s 5000m Relay Final; Bobsled Four Man Final; Biathlon Menâ€™s 15km Final), 8-11:30 p.m.
Here are the event scores, updated as warranted.
And finally, for the official Olympic information on the sport, look here: the Torino Olympic Committee Explanatory Book for Biathlon (PDF, 1.28 MB).
Start here, for background.
So it’s going to be one of those letters…
During my short time in the U.S. Senate, one of the aspects about this institution that I have come to value most is the collegiality and the willingness to put aside partisan differences to work on issues that help the American people.
Except when it comes to your President’s judicial nominations. And tax cuts. And prosecuting the Global War on Terror, and a dozen other things I’m leaving out, lest this letter grow to the length of War and Peace.
It was in this spirit that I approached you to work on ethics reform, and it was in this spirit that I agreed to attend your bipartisan meeting last week. I appreciated then – and still do appreciate – your willingness to reach out to me and several other Democrats.
My abandoning of that bipartisanship notwithstanding.
For this reason, I am puzzled by your response to my recent letter. Last Wednesday morning, you called to invite me to your meeting that afternoon. I changed my schedule so I could attend the meeting. Afterwards, you thanked me several times for attending the meeting, and we left pledging to work together.
As you will recall, I told everyone present at the meeting that my caucus insisted that the consideration of any ethics reform proposal go through the regular committee process. You didn’t indicate any opposition to this position at the time, and I wrote the letter to reiterate this point, as well as the fact that I thought S. 2180 should be the basis for a bipartisan solution.
I confess that I have no idea what has prompted your response. But let me assure you that I am not interested in typical partisan rhetoric or posturing. The fact that you have now questioned my sincerity and my desire to put aside politics for the public interest is regrettable but does not in any way diminish my deep respect for you nor my willingness to find a bipartisan solution to this problem.
I didn’t walk out of the negotiations, and you’re a name caller! But I like to kiss up anyway, so stop questioning my patriotism!
United States Senator
“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Benjamin Franklin/Richard Jackson
Yesterday’s post on the Mohammed cartoons and the discussion about the President’s wiretapping activities have gotten me thinking about the old Franklin quote (or so attributed, see link above). I had to answer for myself the implied question: what is an essential liberty?
For me, essential liberties are few: the rights of worship, life, free speech, and the right to defend those. For the first two, I rely on God. For the last two, I rely on my Bible, my keyboard, and my gun. All the other liberties are inconsequential in comparison.
The wiretapping issue is, to me, a big kerfuffle over nothing. Democrats are fond of mischaracterizing the issue as one violating the rights under the Constitution of U.S. citizens. Nothing. revealed. so. far. indicates that the President has violated the rights of any U.S. citizen. Everything indicates that he has applied this only to foreigners. The Constitution does not apply to them; therefore, they cannot claim any rights under it. I have not given up any liberties because of this wiretap program, nor would I think I had if I had been wiretapped.
Democrats need to realize, and soon, that standing up for the rights of terrorists to plan attacks without us knowing about it makes them look like terrorist sympathizers, even if that’s not their intention. Its just that simple.
Senator McCain, for all his long windedness, can be quite entertaining when the mood strikes him. He recently wrote a letter to Senator Obama, which I have taken the opportunity to translate for you. Enjoy.
Dear Senator Obama:
Hey pretty boy:
I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere.
Think you can get on Hillary’s ticket in two years? Better learn to play hardball, and right now. If you don’t, I’ll recruit Cheney to run with me and he’ll blow through you like he did with that prancing pony one-termer, whatsisname, Johnnie, Eddie, I can’t remember.
When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadershipâ€™s preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable.
I quite simply concluded that in your youthful inexperience you thought you could actually change Harry Reid’s mind when it comes to reforming government. Think again: this is Congress, not Progress.
Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. Iâ€™m embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I wonâ€™t make the same mistake again.
Again, the whole youthful-eagerness-to-change-the-world thing. Leave it to the old folks: we have more guile, and it trumps your youth, innocence, and bad haircut.
As you know, the Majority Leader has asked Chairman Collins to hold hearings and mark up a bill for floor consideration in early March. I fully support such timely action and I am confident that, together with Senator Lieberman, the Committee on Governmental Affairs will report out a meaningful, bipartisan bill.
Read that again, chumpy: Senator Lieberman. You’re cut out of the process, and even though you have the Chicago political machine keeping you in office, he’ll get the glory and headlines, not you. Sucker.
You commented in your letter about my â€œinterest in creating a task force to further studyâ€ this issue, as if to suggest I support delaying the consideration of much-needed reforms rather than allowing the committees of jurisdiction to hold hearings on the matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The timely findings of a bipartisan working group could be very helpful to the committee in formulating legislation that will be reported to the full Senate. Since you are new to the Senate, you may not be aware of the fact that I have always supported fully the regular committee and legislative process in the Senate, and routinely urge Committee Chairmen to hold hearings on important issues. In fact, I urged Senator Collins to schedule a hearing upon the Senateâ€™s return in January.
A hearing which you will not attend, as I can only take your withdrawal as sincere. Cuts both ways, this political knife in the back does. But alas (for you), you won’t have any input in the report to the committee, which means you won’t have any real accomplishment to take to the voters in four years.
Lucky for you the Chicago machine is on your side.
Furthermore, I have consistently maintained that any lobbying reform proposal be bipartisan. The bill Senators Joe Lieberman and Bill Nelson
See above, re: headlines
and I have introduced is evidence of that commitment as is my insistence that members of both parties
Except for you,
be included in meetings to develop the legislation that will ultimately be considered on the Senate floor. As I explained in a recent letter to Senator Reid, and have publicly said many times, the American people do not see this as just a Republican problem or just a Democratic problem. They see it as yet another run-of-the-mill Washington scandal, and they expect it will generate just another round of partisan gamesmanship and posturing. Senator Lieberman and I, and many other members of this body,
hope to exceed the publicâ€™s low expectations.
If you clear low expectations you can still say you exceeded them. In politics, this generates free polling points. Eventually, you might learn that.
We view this as an opportunity to bring transparency and accountability to the Congress, and, most importantly, to show the public that both parties will work together to address our failings.
Except for you rookies who think that you can beat us old codgers at our own game. It’s sort of like Ben Rothlisberger running in that “touchdown” this past weekend: you can’t really do it.
As I noted, I initially believed you shared that goal. But I understand how important the opportunity to lead your partyâ€™s effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isnâ€™t always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you, Senator.
Look at this silver lining: keep at it, and by the time the Chicago machine reelects you in four years, enough Democrats will have lost you might actually make minority whip. Like I said, good luck in that.
United States Senate
Update: Obama duels with banjos.
- Yay Steelers!
- Favorite commercial: “That killed him.”
- That was not a touchdown, Ben. Sorry, but no. Even so, you would have made the 3 point attempt afterwards, tying the game, and you won by more than four.
- Damn the TiVo for clipping off the last 5 minutes of game play.
- Pittsburgh got their act together in the locker room at halftime. Seattle didn’t. That’s why Pittsburgh won.
- Bill Cowher = Coach Gadget
Good game overall. Best summarized by this image:
Hugh Hewitt asks:
Are we at war with Islam?
No, but Radical Islamists think it is their place to war with us. We are at war against terrorism, and although I think its sad Muslims worship Allah and not Jesus, I don’t have the right to order them to do otherwise, any more than they have the right to cut my head off if I don’t bow towards Mecca. We both proselytize, but only one has a history of doing it peacefully.
Do you want a war with Islam?
No, but if
Radical Islamists anyone declares war on us we will oblige them.
The questions are raised in the context of the recent cartoons published in the Danish newspapers that mock Mohammed. Muslims are up in arms about this, and are getting rather violent.
Personally, I could care less about the cartoons. I suppose that is inconsistent with the position I have on the Crucifix-in-piss “artwork” from a while ago, but at least it’s understandable. I follow Jesus, not Mohammed. Of course I would get upset that the artist in question chose urine as an appropriate medium for portraying my Lord. Doesn’t mean I have the right to tell him to not do it, but I do have the right to demand the government not subsidize him with my tax dollars. I feel the artist should have the self-control to not create such an offensive piece, and since I live in a democratic republic, I can demand and get satisfaction as to the point. I understand the anger the Muslims are expressing, though I disagree vehemently with their expression of it.
But. But. But.
The artist (both the cartoonist and the little pissant) should have the self control to not do such things. They should give no reason for offense, as it breaks down peaceful relations between different groups. Herein lies the problem – people have forgotten that rights carry responsibilities. Let’s examine this in scripture:
V2: All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
V12: But as many as received [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
So since rights exist, they were created by God (v2) and since at least one right is given by God, it seems feasible that others are as well. Right in verse 12 is the Greek word exousia (Strongs #1849) and is also translated as authority or power. Paul gives further instruction using this word:
If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.
He is speaking of his right to ask for material things as the person in spiritual authority over a believer. Regardless of whether or not you believe in that right (I do, BTW) note his words: Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel. He knows his right bears a responsibility to spread the gospel, and that responsibility will be harmed if he exercises his rights flagrantly, without concern for others. He understands that since the right is from God, he has a responsibility to God to exercise it properly. Wise advice for all Christians, and anyone else that will take it.
Remember that the next time someone yells at you “I have a right to free speech!”. We, as society, need wisdom if we are going to go around the world declaring that all people have inherent, inalienable (unalienable) rights. They need to learn they have responsibilities as well.