November 08, 2002

The Colossal Colon Tour 2003.

Thanks to Greg over at A Knob For Brightness for alerting everyone to the Colossal Colon Tour 2003. As Dave Barry would say, I swear I’m not making this up – how could I?

As part of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month – which judging from the itinerary appears to be the month of February Through October – a huge… you know, I can’t improve on the original in something like this, so I quote:

(A child asks, “What is the colossal colon?”) The Colossal Colon is a 40-foot long, four-foot high replica of a human colon. Visitors who crawl through the colon, or look through the viewing windows, will see healthy colon tissue, colon disease, polyps and various stages of colon cancer. The Colon was modeled after a real colon taken from colonoscopy film footage, and was built by Adirondack Scenic, known for their building of Broadway theatre sets and theme park sets.

Wow. Sounds great. Surely that can’t be all the fun and games, though, crawling through a giant colon and viewing various stages of colon cancer? Oh, no:

In each city throughout the week, there will be activities including educational kiosks, exercise and healthy eating demonstrations, celebrity appearances and contests. Local spokespeople including survivors, health care professionals, athletes and radio personalities will also participate.

Healthy eating demonstration: “Be sure to hold your fork tightly, as such, so it does not enter your colon.”

The itinerary reads like a Rolling Stones tour – Washington, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, L.A., San Francisco, et al. So be sure to get to the Colossal Colon tour stop nearest you, or try to explain to your kids why they missed out on the chance of a lifetime (hopefully).

By the way, the following picture’s captioned “Kids crawling through polyp.”

November 07, 2002

Turkish elections: Rest easy, Captain America.

I lived in Istanbul, working as an editor for the Turkish Daily News for much of the mid-1990s. I met my wife – a beautiful New Zealander – there, and friends from all over the globe – South Africa, Cleveland, Uganda, Scotland, Iraq, Australia, Russia, Canada and Turkey, of course. I love the country, I love the people, I love the culture, I love the city of Istanbul; it’s the best place possible I can think to live and raise a family.

Only Iranians are a more hospitable and friendly people, but I don’t know where you could go outside of Istanbul to meet a more varied cross-section of people. I met people from literally everywhere, from every socio-economic class, every religion, political persuasion and nationality.

The only anti-Americanism anyone was rude enough to shove in my face came from Western Europeans. Turks, Iranians, Iraqis, Jordanians, Kurds would rather have died than be so rude as to turn to someone they’d just met and say “Oh you’re an American (frosty stare). I really HATE what you do in the world.” Only Western Europeans – specifically Brits – do that. Others would engage you in dialogue, sure, but only Western Europeans would get personal, like you yourself controlled American foreign policy.

I was close friends with a woman from a religiously conservative Turkish family. They were so conservative – “How conservative were they?” – they were so conservative the parents went on hajj to Mecca every year. They could not have been more welcoming or hospitable to an outspokenly Christian American – they dispatched one of their nephews to pick me up at Atatürk Airport when I landed, took me the rounds of clothing stores and didn’t let me pay for anything, offered warm meals and warm fellowship whenever I needed it, and much more.

Bottom line: Even the Islamic Turks are more pro-Western than they are pro-terrorist Islam. The Islamofascists from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran, who can be seen in Istanbul where they keep their weekend apartments and whores as they strut around the Western shopping malls with their harems and close the bars getting sloppy drunk, consider Turkey too Western for their taste – which it is.

Remedial history lesson:

The Turks – and Iranians – are not Arabic. Turks are Mongolian in origin and speak an Indo-European language, Turkish, linguistically related to Finnish, Hungarian and Korean. They’ve been “Islamic” only recently in world historical terms, and the vast – vast – majority do not consider Islam anything more than an official designation. They see religion as interchangeable with culture, and identify themselves as “Muslim” even though few have ever seen the inside of a mosque except to show Western tourists around. They’re genuinely baffled that Westerners consider them as having anything whatsoever to do with hard-core Islamic terrorist countries, such as Saudi Arabia.

Islam’s simply part of the cultural wallpaper in Turkey, but relatively few Turks lead religiously observant lives – no Turkish terrorists on 9/11, and so far I’ve heard of more Americans than Turks in al-Qaeda.

Turkey does not consider itself a Middle Eastern country. It is aware it gets grouped in the Middle East by ignorant Western journalists and pundits, however. It considers itself a European country. It does not approve of, repudiates and does not support Islamic terrorism. Turkey wept at 9/11. Their closest friend in the Middle East, judging from the number of military alliances, cultural exchanges and the like is Israel.

So don’t worry.

All to say friends, do not worry about Turkey’s staunch reliability as an ally. Will they still maintain their ties with America in the wake of the nominally Islamic party’s triumph in the latest elections? Friends, the AKP, the new party in power, has announced that they’re maintaining their current ties with Israel. From The Jerusalem Post, November 6:

There will be no change in Turkish-Israeli ties, a senior member of Turkey's pro-Islamic AKP party, which swept into power this week, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday, while harshly criticizing the policies of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

“I can easily say that Turkish-Israeli relations will not be affected by a Justice and Development Party AKP government,” said H. Murat Mercan, a founding member and one of its chief spokesmen.

And this isn’t just to curry favor with the West, I can tell you. I knew an American serviceman who was walking through Istanbul in uniform one day, and a Turkish hausfrau called to him from a basement window and beckoned him to come in her humble home. He did, and she served him tea and wonderful pastry, and chattered away in Turkish the whole time. He said he left and couldn’t figure out why she’d done it other than for the American uniform he wore. I can relate; being American has cut me more breaks in Turkey than God should ever have allowed.

This is the truth. From personal experience I can report that in the Turkish resorts of Bodrum, Antalya, et al the signs on tourist traps are written in four languages: Russian, English, German and Hebrew.

Bottom line: If an American goes overseas he won’t find a more reliable, faithful friend in Europe than the Turk.

They just don’t get it, do they?

Reading in The Wall Street Journal today about the blame-shifting and finger-pointing going on among Democrats. Dick Gephardt stood up to take one for the troops when he said “Obviously we’re all responsible,” just as he would have said “Obviously it isn’t my credit, we’re all responsible” if the Democrats had won back the House.

Gephardt then went on to blame Bush’s popularity and Republican campaign financing for the losses, instead of smelling the coffee and admitting that yeah, Republicans are offering the governance Americans want now and we aren’t. Bush’s popularity? From what I remember Reagan was popular in his day but the Republicans lost seats during both of his midterm elections. And true, Republican Elizabeth Dole spent over $11 million to win in North Carolina, but Democrat Erskine Bowles spent over $9 million to lose, and if you spend nine million bucks on a Senate race in North Carolina and lose it ain’t because of the money. Plus:

· Democrat Tony Sanchez outspent Republican Rick Perry 2-1 in Texas and lost.
· In Georgia Democrat Max Cleland outspent Republican Saxby Chambliss and lost.
· Also in Georgia Democrat Roy Barnes spent over $19 million, Republican Sonny Perdue spent a fraction of that and won.
· Democrat Jeanne Shaheen outspent Republican John Sununu in New Hampshire and lost badly.
· In Massachusetts Democrat Shannon O’Brien outspent Republican Mitt Romney and lost.
· In 1996 Democrat Tom Strickland outspent Republican Allard in Colorado and lost, this year each spent about $5 million and Strickland still lost.

At least Gephardt had the decency to fall on his sword, had Chainsaw Tom Daschle any conscience he’d commit hari-kiri for losing the Senate in a by-election.

But what amazes is the attitude among Democrats that trying to appeal to the majority of voters in the country – Gephardt’s strategy – is why the Democrats lost. Take Rep. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, who says “Some Democrats think you need to keep moving toward the center. What we need to do is sharpen the differences” between Republicans and Democrats.

American voters have proven time and time again, election after election that we are a conservative nation. Credit Gephardt for realizing this and trying to at least put some conservative lipstick on the pig before running it before the judges. Mr. Brown’s saying the way to succeed in a country that steadfastly rejects left-wingers is to be more left-wing. This line of thinking died a grisly death the day after the 1972 Presidential election, and today obtains in Berkeley, Manhattan and D.C and scattered outposts. One hopes Mr. Brown’s in line for some sort of Democratic leadership position, right now all Republicans are pulling for liberal Nancy Pelosi to succeed Gephardt and lead the Democrats further into the woods.

But really, despite all attempts to gussy up Democrats as “patriotic” and “responsible” people Americans can smell insincerity. We know the Democrats for what they are: Committed to anti-capitalist, anti-individual rights, ultimately anti-American ideas. That’s why they were turned out into the wilderness – we simply don’t want these people making decisions for us, because they’ve proven they’re out of touch with what our daily concerns are.

It’s really not that hard. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis the great leader isn’t the one who can convince you to go where you don’t want to go, but the one who can lead you where you want to go but didn’t know the way to. Republicans understand people just want to be left alone to live their lives, Democrats think people want to be socially engineered. Republicans say “Elect me because I’ll do what you want,” Democrats say “Elect me because I know what you should do.” The election has shown whose approach Americans prefer.

Democrats have been more or less clear about where they want to take America – a socialist welfare state which takes their foreign policy marching orders from the United Nations. Americans don’t want to go there. Simple as that.

November 06, 2002

Quick thoughts on the election.

Why did Americans give all the power they could to Republicans and throw the Democrats out of power? Probably because the Democrats proved yet again that they really can’t be trusted on anything – specifically their embarrassingly inept schizophrenia on Iraq and their strange insistence that people should focus on the economy instead of Bush’s statesmanship.

Maybe Americans did just that, and saw that the economy grew 3.1 percent at last report, mortgage rates are scraping the 30-year low, Americans’ income has grown .7 percent the past two months and unemployment has stabilized. Thanks for pointing that out, Mr. Democrat, now where’s the Republican lever?

Or maybe the Democrats realize by now that Americans simply don’t trust them any more, so why not? Shoot for the sky. If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance baffle 'em with B.S. Cornered rats have little to lose.

So go ahead and mug election laws in broad daylight in New Jersey because, after all, this is New Jersey and you can get away with it there. Trample state law in a way that’d make Saddam Hussein proud.

Go ahead and dig Walter Mondale out of the deep freeze to underline the paucity of electable candidates in the Democratic Party today – even in Minnesota, which is to Democratic liberalism what Saudi Arabia is to Islamic terrorism.

Go ahead and claim the economy’s in the toilet when all indications show significant economic growth and promise growth for the rest of the year.

Go ahead and pound the podium in the junior high gym as you bash Bush’s irresponsible warmongering in Iraq, hop a charter flight to D.C. to vote for giving the President a free hand to pursue military action, fly back and give the same anti-Bush, pro-peace speech at the Kiwanis Club that night.

Go ahead and personally insult Republicans who come to pay their personal respects to their former colleague the late Sen. Paul Wellstone in Minnesota, then claim that Republicans are the party of personal attacks. Tell the Administration specifically to stay away from the Wellstone memorial service then claim they’re the ones politicizing that which should not be politicized.

What the hell, maybe nobody’ll notice. That hope, that nobody would notice, was really the only shot Democrats had.

Once again it’s Carnival time.

Thanks to for selecting Clubbeaux’s hard-nosed journalistic exposé of the abuse of silicone on the women’s pro tennis tour below for this week’s (aptly-named) Carnival Of The Vanities.

As always there’s lots of great stuff from around the blogs in the Carnival, so enjoy. Clubbeaux recommends Shark Blog’s Terrorism With A Pretty Face, and be sure to read the comments afterwards as well.

Apart from the Carnival, in the blogosphere Clubbeaux recommends daily doses of Scott "They Said They Weren't Hiring At The Onion" Ott's Scrappleface, with the interactive Amish Web site piece being a particular recent favorite.

November 04, 2002

... And the quote of the day:

“One of the requirements of a healthy party is that it renews itself. You can’t keep running Walter Mondale for everything.”

- Walter Mondale in 1989, telling Minnesota Democrats why he wouldn’t run against Rudy Boschwitz for the Senate.

Off to D.C....

Off to Washington this morning, be back tomorrow so in the meantime check out the links and try this new one, Bleeding Brain.

And take this current events quiz, circle the correct answer (print out first):

1. The EU’s continuing to allow Greece to blackball Turkey’s entry in the EU is:
· Stupid.
· Really stupid.
· Criminally stupid.
· Just what you’d expect from that bunch of clueless racists who don’t seem to realize that pretty much any Turk who wants to work in Europe is already doing so.
· All of the above.

2. The AKP’s win in the recent Turkish elections with a leader, R. Tayyip Erdogan, who’s been banned from Turkish politics means:
· R. Tayyip Erdogan will impose sharia law tomorrow morning.
· The army will step in to liquidate Erdogan’s win if the High Court doesn’t.
· Turkish politics are a lot more interesting than American politics.
· Not much, Erdogan’s AKP is about as “Muslim” as Kohl’s CDU is “Christian.”
· The country was really, really fed up with the incompetent jokers they threw out.

3. Islam in Turkey is:
· A threat to the secular order.
· A mile wide and an inch deep.
· About as meaningful as Catholicism in Italy.
· A red flag to the Euroracists.
· A folk religion more or less interchangeable with Kemalism.

4. Mosques in Turkey are:
· Big.
· Beautiful.
· Historic.
· Empty.
· All of the above.

5. Istanbul is:
· One of the greatest cities in the world.
· An endlessly fascinating place to live.
· Horribly polluted and grossly mismanaged.
· Where you’ll meet the greatest cross-section of people imaginable.
· All of the above.

There you go, not too difficult. We’ll see how you did tomorrow.