The Daily Rant©
 December 2004 Archive

December 31, 2004

December 30, 2004

Gee thanks, Tom Ridge...
Homeland Security's oversight of grants criticized by watchdog

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

WASHINGTON - The Homeland Security Department has allowed federal grants for improving security at America's ports to be spent on low-priority problems rather than the most serious vulnerabilities, the agency's outgoing watchdog says.

In a draft report to be released next month, Inspector General Clark Kent Ervin of Homeland Security says that port-security spending should be governed by the most pressing priorities rather than local politics.

Ervin criticized what he called inadequate staffing and poor coordination. He said that the department's port-security grant program needs better oversight to make sure that projects that get money meet security goals.

"The DHS does not have a strong grant-evaluation process in place by which to address post-award administration issues, including measuring progress in accomplishing DHS' grant objectives," Ervin said in a recent summary of the report.

The grant program has been criticized for being too cumbersome and for awarding money to projects of questionable use. To make his point, Ervin referred to the report of the Sept. 11 Commission, which said that homeland-security spending should not be used as a "pork barrel" for politicians to send money to their home districts.

The report is one of the last submitted by Ervin, who earned a reputation as a blunt critic of the department before leaving the job earlier this month. Ervin won a recess appointment to the position in December 2003, but the Senate did not confirm him, and the White House appeared to be unlikely to nominate him again.

December 27, 2004

Reggie White  1961 - 2004
Now playing for Coach Lombardi

December 25, 2004

December 24, 2004

Patrick Evans, the 24 year-old Army Lieutenant whose e-mail was posted in the 12/4 Rant, was airlifted to Germany yesterday (shown in the photo below) and is expected to be transported to Walter Reed Army Hospital tomorrow.  Thankfully, the prognosis is good.

December 23, 2004


December 22, 2004

Patrick Evans, the 24 year-old Army Lieutenant whose e-mail was posted in the 12/4 Rant, was critically wounded in Mosul yesterday.


December 21, 2004

But the seal is in color...

December 20, 2004

Bush is Time Magazine's "Person of the Year", again.

Believe it or not, this is not the worst pick Time Magazine has made...

1938 - Adolf Hitler

1979 - Ayatollah Khomeini

2004 - George W. Bush

December 19, 2004

My next get-rich scheme... 

 "He who represents himself has a fool for a client."  - Abe Lincloln

December 18, 2004

December 16, 2004

December 15, 2004

December 14, 2004

John McCain owes us another apology...

In April of 2000, John McCain returned to South Carolina to apologize for putting political expediency ahead of principle in his failure to call for the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse when he campaigned in that state's presidential Republican primary.  "I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary," McCain said in a speech.  "So I chose to compromise my principles. I broke my promise to always tell the truth."

In 2004, McCain surprised many by choosing to campaign for and with George W. Bush who, in the 2000 primaries, had savagely attacked McCain's patriotism.  McCain's support for Bush probably made the difference in the election.  McCain's stated reason for campaigning for Bush was because of McCain's opinion that Bush is a strong Commander-in-Chief in the prosecution of the war.  However, many political analysts suggested that McCain was reinforcing the perception of him as a team player by Republicans whose support he will need for another presidential run in 2008.

But what does McCain really think?  McCain said yesterday that he has "no confidence" in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, citing Rumsfeld's handling of the war in Iraq and the failure to send more troops.  Where is the criticism of Bush, the Commander-in-Chief who hired Rumsfeld, has kept Rumsfeld on into the next term, and who should be ultimately responsible for the morass of Iraq?  Why isn't McCain directing the blame where it belongs?  

Because, once again, McCain has compromised his principles and broken his promise to always tell the truth.

December 13, 2004

Dining in Key West...

So, we spent the weekend in Key West.  All in all, it was a very nice time.  Friday night, we were dining at one of three restaurants with the highest Zagat food rating in the Keys, Café Solé.  I thought the meal was good but not nearly worth the 27 rating for food.  But, the notable event was near the end of our main course, when a very large rat ran across the floor about two feet from our table.  When our server next came by, I asked, with a chuckle, if they had a cat on the premises (not altogether unlikely in Key West).  She said "no" and asked "why?".  I explained that a cat might catch the rat which ran past our table.  Her response was, "So you saw him," and she walked away.  I don't know which was worse, the rat or our server's totally blasé reaction.

December 9, 2004

December 10, 2004

What happened to the stupid kids?

When I was a kid in grade school, there were a lot of stupid kids in my school.  Everybody knew who they were.  The stupid kids who didn't know much knew that they were stupid.  When I moved on to high school, even though they were in different "tracks" (classes of stupid kids), the stupid kids were there.

Nowadays, there are no more stupid kids in our schools.  They have been replaced by lots of kids with learning disabilities.  I don't get it.  When did this big switcharoo happen and who did it?

The thing is that we still have smart kids.  If you don't believe me, hang around a retirement home and listen to the grandparents of the smart kids.  (Stupid kids apparently don't have grandparents or, if they do, their grandparents aren't smart enough to hang around retirement homes.)  But, how can you have smart kids without stupid kids?  Smart is a relative term.  Who is a smart kid smarter than if not a stupid kid?

As to all of the stupid kids who were in school with me, they have grown up and live in red states.

By the way, do you know what you call the medical student who graduates at the very bottom of the medical school class?  "Doctor" - which makes you think...  Check this out the next time you are in your doctor's office and see if I'm right.  Every doc has a dozen or so of his/her diplomas hanging on the wall.  Did you notice that those diplomas don't list their class rank.  

December 7, 2004

December 4, 2004

There Are No Atheists In Outhouses...

Today's Rant is an unedited e-mail from Patrick Evans, a 24 year-old First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army serving in Iraq:

This is the true story of Patrick B. Evans (the B is for Baaaaadddaaasss!)came to Jesus H.

December 3rd was a rough day at FOB Marez which is located near now chilly Mosul, Iraq. After being dressed down by my commander for not being able to locate a crane and crane operater (they just grow on trees you know)I took a little trip up to battalion headquarters to beg them to find me a crane. While I was their 9(count 'em, 9) 81mm mortar rounds landed 300m from the battalion HQ. After a couple of minutes I left the HQ and went to a different office to find a crane there. Before entering the brigade service building I decided to stop in at one of the porta-johns outside to answer the call of nature.

Trouble starts here.

I was finishing my dirty business when I heard the distinct crack of an impacting mortar round. The round wasn't that close but it was close enough to make me think about how much I didn't want to die on a chemical toilet. I wouldn't mind dying on a gold plated toilet hopped up prescription drugs but I was nowhere near Graceland so that fantasy wasn't going to come true. As I sped up the wipping process another round impact, this MUCH closer.

There, baptisted in the (mostly) blue water of a plastic outhouse I found Christ. Now most of my conversations with God go as such "God, I hate you. How could you let the university of miami lose to UNC. I'm becoming a Buddaist out of spite." or "God, if you gave a damn about me you wouldn't let UM lose to Clemson. Undying love my ass!"

However this time the conversation went more like "God, if you let me live through this and not have me die sitting on a plastic seat, pants around my shin, and floating over my own waste, I promise to be a good Christian. I promise I'll give up alcohol (made from rice) and give away 1/3 of my collection of pornography."

Well I survived and I write this to you on the day I was Saved. He truly is an awesome God. Just so long as UM beats Virginia Tech on saturday.


PS for even more fun read this email again while humming "Amazing Grace"

December 3, 2004

Dear Friends, 
     Christmas is tight this year.  I''ve learned to make bedroom slippers
out of maxi pads: You need four maxis to make a pair. Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part. The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top.  Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part.  Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers, etc.
     These slippers are soft and hygienic. Non-slip grip strips on the soles.  Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh. No more bending over to mop up spills. Disposable and biodegradable. Environmentally safe.  Three convenient sizes: Regular, Light day, and Get out the Sand Bags.
     Happiest of holidays...
Martha Stewart
Inmate 55170-054

December 2, 2004