Praise Be
Why I'm joining the GOP / Leaving the left for fun and profit: "My decision to become a Republican didn't come easily. For years I clung to the idea that the foundation of a democratic society was our implied social contract, each of us committing some level of personal sacrifice to the common good of all.
Let Democrats continue promising the 'greatest good for the greatest number.' Republicans clearly have my number -- No. 1.
I'm sure a lot of my friends reading this will ask me, 'How can you sleep?' My answer will be, 'Who's got time? I'm busy earning money.' While they're bellyaching about rising deficits, the outsourcing of jobs and casualties in Iraq, I'll be marveling at the march of freedom in the Middle East, upticks in the GDP and the president's plan to link Social Security to the magic of the marketplace"


There Is No Bubble, Part XI

Appraisers say they're pressured to inflate their estimates. - May. 23, 2005: "on Tuesday, the Appraisal Institute will tell Congress that its members are under increasing pressure from lenders, mortgage bankers and real estate agents to 'hit their number' when appraising property.

Rather than come up with an independent estimate of a home's value, appraisers -- who are typically independent contractors -- say they are being told to base their estimate on a predetermined value.

Alan Zielinski, owner of FAST Appraisals in Lake Barrington, Ill., said he's surprised if he doesn't get a call questioning his estimate.

"All [lenders and brokers] want to do is hit the number because if they don't hit the number the deal doesn't go through and if the deal doesn't go through they don't get the commission," said Zielinski.



A good point. Would that it were true.

Confessions of a Listener: "I enjoy, in small doses, the over-the-top right-wingers who have leaked into AM radio on all sides in the past twenty years. They are evil, lying, cynical bastards who are out to destroy the country I love and turn it into a banana republic, but hey, nobody's perfect. And now that their man is re-elected and they have nice majorities in the House and Senate, they are hunters in search of diminishing prey. There just aren't many of us liberals worth banging away at, but God bless them, they keep on coming. Just the other day, I heard one foaming and raging about the right to life and about liberals preying on the helpless--I realized he was talking about Terri Schiavo--and then he launched into the judiciary and how they had stood by and done nothing. He held their feet to the fire for a while and then he tore into George McGovern for about five minutes. George McGovern is a kindly, grandfatherly man who lives in Mitchell, South Dakota, and winters in Florida and every year attends his World War II bomber squadron reunion. He ran for President in 1972. His connection to the Florida case is tenuous at best. When you go ballistic over 1972, you are truly desperate to fill time"


After Two Years

Surprised to find out that this is the case, more than two years since major combat operations blah blah blah.

Transcript for April 17 - Meet the Press, online at MSNBC - MSNBC.com: "
MR. RUSSERT: How do you move around the city?

MR. FILKINS: You just try to do the best you can, you know. The--you go...

MR. RUSSERT: With guards?

MR. FILKINS: Usually with guards. I mean, you know, none of that's desirable. You want to be--as a reporter, you want to be as unintrusive as possible. You want to put people at ease. And--but that's not really possible anymore. So you can--things have gotten a little better. I mean, Baghdad is not as tense and as angry as it was even six months ago. But doing something like getting out of your car and walking around a neighborhood and just talking to people on the street, you can't really go that anymore. I mean you can do it for 20 minutes, you know, 25 minutes, and then get in your car and get out, because if you linger too long, you're putting yourself in danger."

Also: ~$6,000 a mile? Crazy.

"MR. RUSSERT: There is a road, a highway from the airport to downtown Baghdad that's called the Road of Death by many. I understand there's a taxi service on that road to take someone from downtown to the airport.

MR. FILKINS: Yeah. There's actually a company in Baghdad that does nothing except offer rides to the airport and back. They've got an armored cars and some guards. And they charge $35,000 for...

MR. RUSSERT: Thirty-five thousand dollars?

MR. FILKINS: ...for a ride to the airport. And I think you know, if you miss your plane and you have to come back, it's another $35,000. But...

MR. RUSSERT: How long--is it six miles?

MR. FILKINS: I think it's about six miles, yeah. It's not a happy six miles. So, you know, they earn their money."


That's the Smell of Freedom Cookin' Up

It's the H2 of burgers! Oh, and make sure to order a side of Freedom Fries.

Pa. Eatery Offers New 15-Pound Burger: "The burger war is growing. Literally. Denny's Beer Barrel Pub, which lost its crown as the home of the world's biggest burger earlier this year, is now offering a new burger that weighs a whopping 15 pounds.
Dubbed the Beer Barrel Belly Buster, the burger comes with 10.5 pounds of ground beef, 25 slices of cheese, a head of lettuce, three tomatoes, two onions, a cup-and-a-half each of mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, mustard and banana peppers, and a bun."

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