"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Thomas Jefferson
Sept. 23, 1800

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I heard that one word being used to promote the Polar Express movie on television and it got me to thinking. Belief is what this whole season is about. The birth of Christ, Santa Clause, keeping close to family, sharing time with friends--they all come back to believing.

Christ's birth is the "reason for the season" for sure. But what we are celebrating is really a belief in that event, and what it means for mankind. It's more often called Faith, but Christian creeds repeat the phrase "we believe." We believe in the impossible. Virgins do not give birth to children. Men do not rise from the grave three days after their death. The spirits of the departed do not talk to their friends. But we as Christians make a conscious choice to believe these things happened. We can't prove it, and that's important, because if we could we wouldn't need faith, our belief would be meaningless. And Christmas would be just another birthday.

There are those who see Santa Claus and the traditions and, yes, commercialism, that surround him as taking something away from the "true meaning" of Christmas. I disagree. Santa Claus is the personification of all that is good and charitable and joyful in the human race. No one lives at the North Pole. Sleighs don't fly and fat men don't magically transport down chimneys. But that doesn't mean Santa isn't real. As Virginia read in response to her question to The New York Sun...

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist...

We can't touch love or generosity, just as we can't prove the virgin birth, but they are real things, and made more real by our belief in them. And Santa Claus helps that along.

Christmas is also the time for family and friends. Reading a friend's facebook post about missing his dad at Christmas, and his friend's kind response to him made me realize belief plays a major role here too at Christmastime.  While I was growing up, my grandmother spent every Christmas with us. She'd come the night before and wake with us on Christmas morning and share in the opening of presents and all the fun. She passed away years ago, but that doesn't mean she's gone. I can no longer see her or hear her voice or give her a hug, but I know she's there with me and all my family as we share Christmas together. It's yet another impossibility that belief makes as real as the floor under my feet.

Our friends can also teach us about believing. I've found that some friend is always there when you need one. They often don't need to be called upon and many times have no idea that I needed help or even that anything was wrong. Twain wrote that a true friend is one who carries light into your darkness, and that we never forget these people. He's right, and I've learned to believe that they will always be there. You can't touch a frinedship, and I challenge anyone to write even a decent definition of the word, but it's real and it's part of what makes Christmas magic.

In The Polar Express the belief in Santa is represented by the sound of a bell that only those who believe can hear. Hearing that bell, being able to believe, into adulthood requires a conscious act of faith, of belief in the impossible. It requires not an ignorance of all the hate and pain and sadness in the world, but a belief that nothing bad lasts forever. Jesus really was born of a virgin and died only to rise again and show us the way to Heaven. Santa Claus is just as real as love itself. Our loved ones that have passed out of our reach will live forever in those of us they touched. Our friends will help us when we need it and fill our lives with joy. Love is stronger than hate. Forgiveness is stronger than hurt. Joy will always conquer pain.

I believe these things because I chose to believe them. For me, they are real and they make Christmas perfect, because I BELIEVE.


Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Understanding What Tomorrow Is Really About, From A Brit

Janet Daley, of Britain's Telegraph newspaper, visited the United States recently and brought back a better understanding of the Tea Party movement, and what it means to the future of the country and the Republican party, than I've read in any American press. Here's her take what she learned from her GOP friends...

My Republican friends, perhaps surprisingly, were not gloating. They were too furious. But contrary to the superficial British assumption (heavily promoted by the BBC), they were not devoting their excoriation exclusively to the Obama Administration – or even to its clique of Congressional henchmen, led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. That they were opposed to the Big State, European social democratic model of government which Obama had imported to Washington went almost without saying. But they were at least as angry with the leadership of their own party for having conceded far too much of the argument. 

Miss Daley hits the nail on the head. Tomorrow's elections are not about Democrats versus Republicans, they aren't even about what we have come to think of recently as liberal versus conservative. Tomorrow's elections are about restoring the principles that made the United States of America unique among the nations of the world. It's more about the state versus the individual than anything else.

Again, the Brit gets it...

What the grassroots rebellion is really about is an attempt to pull the Republican party back to its basic philosophy of low-tax, low-spend, small government: the great Jeffersonian principle that the best government is that which governs least.
Jeffersonian ideals, and a return to Jeffersonian democracy, are inspiring more of the Tea Partiers than perhaps even they know. And Thomas Jefferson was a Democrat.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Operation Salsa Drop

Flamin' Amy's Burrito Barn, clearly the awesomest restaurant in all of southeastern North Carolina, is offering some of their salsas for sale. The proceeds go towards sending jars of salsa to our troops overseas. You buy a jar, a soldier gets a jar. It's a total win-win.

Please check them out.

Operation Salsa Drop

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Definition of Irony, or Idiocy

The io9 blog has a list of ten great sci-fi novels that have been banned, in honor of Banned Books Week last week. They were either banned or challenged in schools and libraries or on curricula for the usual reasons, including language, sex, religious viewpoint and generally subversive ideas. Those who fight to keep books they find objectionable out of other peoples' hands generally just wind up making themselves look like fools and bringing attention to the books they are protesting, thereby making them more appealing to more people.

But this list provides us with even more amusement than usual. In a case of so-ironic-one-couldn't-even-make-this-up, people have tried to suppress George Orwell's 1984 and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. One hopes they didn't read the books. 1984 was actually accused of being "pro-communist."

Big Brother would be proud!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mike McIntyre Finally Faces a Challenge -- Ilario Pantano

Many of us have known this to be the case for months now, but even the Wilmington Star-News has had to admit that this could be the first year since Ulysses Grant was President that the Republicans could win the 7th North Carolina Congressional District seat. An article in yesterday's Star-News not only mentioned Ilario Pantano by name, something that paper has been loathe to do, but quoted numerous sources, including Mike McIntyre himself, confirming that this will be the toughest race yet for the seven term Democrat.

From the Star-News...

In recent weeks, as Pantano's campaign has gained momentum and raised money, others outside of Southeastern North Carolina are questioning whether an upset is possible in the district McIntyre has easily held since 1996, when he defeated longtime New Hanover County Commissioner Bill Caster. Most political observers believe that the final numbers on Election Day will be much tighter than the Lumberton Democrat has seen in the past.
In a phone interview from Washington Thursday, McIntyre acknowledged that 2010 is his “most intense race” for re-election.
The signs that others are viewing the district as competitive seem to be multiplying.

The article sites several signs that Ilario Pantano's campaign is  gaining the support, both locally and nationally, that he will need to unseat a long serving and still popular representative. Pantano has raised enough money to catch the eye of the national Republican party and the National Republican Campaign Committee has begun running ads on his behalf. McIntyre has agreed to debate Pantano several times, the first time he's ever faced a challenger in that way during a campaign, and has begun running attack ads distorting the Fair Tax, a total overhaul of federal taxation that Pantano supports. 

For a very honest, but highly amusing, look at the race, follow this link to the Robeson County Republican Party's list of the "Top Ten Reasons You Know Your Democratic Campaign Is In Trouble"

Ilario Pantano impressed me from the first time I met him and had a chance to talk with him privately outside a Brunswick County GOP meeting back at the beginning of this year. He is intense and passionate, but still came off to me as a real down to earth guy. I've had the chance to speak with him and to hear him speak publicly in a variety of situations and have been impressed that he doesn't have a "stump speech" or a collection of "talking points" that he constantly goes back to. He speaks from the head and the heart, he answers any question I've seen put to him without evasion. He seems to have really thought about the intellectual and spiritual sources of his principles, and that makes him comfortable speaking to any subject. That alone is rare in any politician, and has won him my wholehearted support.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Church of Body Modification?

A zero-tolerance policy has run up against freedom of religion in a high school in Clayton, North Carolina. It seems a 14-year-old girl was suspended for refusing to take out a nose stud. The school forbids jewelery of the eyebrows, lips and nose, but the girl and her mother are members of the Church of Body Modification and find spiritual peace through piercings.

From the Raleigh News & Observer...

Ariana Iacono, 14, was suspended from Clayton High for one day Wednesday when she refused to remove the small peridot stud in her nose. Ariana returned to school with the jewelry Thursday, then was suspended for three additional days.

Ariana and her mother, Nikki Iacono, take part in the Church of Body Modification, a small group with members across the nation. The church embraces spiritual growth through practices such as piercing.

The knee-jerk reaction to this may be to laugh at a "church" dedicated to body piercings. But if a hole in her nostril makes Ariana feel "whole," who am I to argue? The Church of Body Modification has a website, complete with a link to an application to be a minister. In this day and age, what better sign of legitimacy can one have? Religion is in the eye of the beholder, and has to be in a free society.

The real problem here isn't a strange church, it's the lack of common sense in school zero-tolerance policies. For whatever reason, and I'm sure it comes down to lawyers, we've taken all logic out of the hands of teachers and administrators and replaced it with hard and fast rules that lead to problems like this. A principal or teacher should be able to decide what is disruptive to the school. There is a difference between a small jewel stud in one nostril and a collection of metal hoops all over a kid's face. We should allow, and expect, educators to make those judgment calls, just as they should be able to treat aspirin and heroin differently and punish possession of a hand gun differently from possession of a nail file.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mission Accomplished

We can now officially declare victory in Iraq. Not only are there privately owned television stations, and not only are those stations offering something more than religious or political programming, but they have stumbled upon what may be the best "reality show" premise in the world. Punked, Iraqi style.

The show “Put Him in [Camp] Bucca” has drawn numerous protests but has stayed on air throughout the fasting month, broadcasting its “stings” on well-known Iraqi personalities.

All of them were ensnared by being invited to the headquarters of the private television station Al Baghdadia to be interviewed, but en route to the station a fake bomb would be planted in their car while they were being searched by Iraqi soldiers, who were in on the deception.

The unwitting celebrities are then secretly filmed, Candid-Camera-style, as they reacted with shock, disbelief and anger as fake checkpoint guards shout abuse at them: “Why do you want to blow us up?” “You are a terrorist.” “How much did they pay you to do it? You will be executed.”

Yep, we've won.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gotta Love Soccer Fans

The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa will be fun to watch, soccer fan or not. The festivities have already begun. From a Yahoo soccer blog...

The tournament hasn't even started yet and already World Cup fever has taken hold, driving a group of sufferers to run through Cape Town in their underpants as part of an organized streak to somehow show support for the South African National Team on Thursday.

Once the matches actually begin, these tortured souls will continue their descent into madness, subsisting entirely on edible body paint and miniature flags. Their condition is incurable. You will likely be next.

I'd tell them that it's not really streaking if your wearing your drawers, but that might cause trouble.

And there's already been trampling of fans! This is gonna be great.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Your Government Wants To "Reinvent Journalism"

As Hot Air says, what could go wrong?

Seems the Federal Trade Commission has taken it upon itself to "save" American journalism. They've published a discussion draft of their work so far. It's horrifying. Truly.

Here's just a bit...

History in the United States shows that readers of the news have never paid anywhere close to the full cost of providing the news. Rather, journalism always has been subsidized to a large extent by, for example, the federal government, political parties, or advertising.

Advertising revenue is a "subsidy"?

And by government subsidies they mean reduced postal rates for magazines and the publication of legal notices in newspapers. That is precedent enough for some at the FTC to have the federal government allot public funds to non-profit "news" organizations through something they will call "Local News Fund Councils." Orwellian enough for you?

Here's the idea in their own words, in case you just don't believe me...

Establish a National Fund for Local News. One report recommends that: “A national Fund for Local News should be created with money the Federal Communications Commission now collects from or could impose on telecom users, television and radio broadcast licensees, or Internet service providers and which would be administered in open competition through state Local News Fund Councils.” The report notes that the FCC currently uses surcharges and other fees to underwrite telecom services for rural areas and the multimedia wiring of schools and libraries, among other things. These fees support the public circulation of information in places the market has failed to serve. If such a “Fund for Local News” were created, measures would need to be in place to reduce the potential for political pressures and interference as to how the money is distributed.

They also are big proponents of increasing the money given to the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, because as everyone knows, NPR is a great source of unbiased, fair news reporting. Good grief.

The whole report is about 35 pages long and is found in a PDF here. Please go read it.

Uh, No. No It Doesn't.

Check out this headline in the Washington Post,

Al and Tipper Gore's separation makes us fear for our parents, ourselves

Uh, no. No it doesn't. Unless you're Dad is a crazy, foaming at the mouth environmentalist loon, this shouldn't put you in mind of your folks' marriage breaking up. It actually gets worse than the headline,

So this doesn't just make us sad. It makes us scared.

It means that maybe marriage isn't something we can conquer. That you can have all the necessary ingredients -- romance, good morals, mutual respect and a healthy family -- and still see this precious thing, built over decades, crumble in the end.

It makes us frightened for our parents, our friends, ourselves.

It goes on to reference Tipper's "lively blonde spunk," but one can only take so much of this.

Maybe there is hope for the World's Happiest Couple. Once Al reads this report from CNET in 2007, he may reconsider. Here's the main idea...

As if the burden of divorce weren't bad enough, people with failed marriages can be blamed for global warming, according to a study by Michigan State University.

Divorced couples use up more space in their respective homes, which amounts to to 38 million more rooms worldwide to light, heat and cool, noted the report.

And people who divorced used 73 billion kilowatt-hours more of electricity and 627 billion gallons of water than they would otherwise in 2005.

Thanks to James Taranto's Best of the Web for finding that little gem.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

State Employee Union Fails To Create Third Party

A group of state employee organizations backed by the State Employees Union of North Carolina (SEUNC) has been attempting to gather enough signatures to place a third party on the November ballot. They have their panties in a wad over three NC democrats' votes against ObamaCare. The SEUNC planned to challenge Heath Schuler, Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissel with a third party choice more friendly in their eyes to the concerns of "working people." According to this story in the Raleigh News and Observer, the attempt failed, but they still plan to run a candidate against Rep. Kissel.

The group had hoped to collect 84,600 signatures, enough to get on the November ballot. But the deadline for submitting signatures to the county election boards for verification passed Monday, with the backers having failed to meet their goal.

"We are continuing the effort," said Kevin LeCount, political director for the state employees group. "We are looking at 2012."

The third party supporters coalesced in part to punish Democratic members of Congress who voted against the new health care law. The party was to be called North Carolina First.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

NC Voter Registration Numbers

The Civitas Institute does a spectacular job keeping up with voter registration numbers in the state of North Carolina. They publish a chart breaking down changes in voter registraions by party affiliation on a county by county basis.

I'm pleased to report that as of April, Brunswick County's Republican registration has outnumbered the Democrats. The number of Unaffiliated voters is growing fastest, though, and they make up more than 26% of the registered voters as of May 8th.

Here's a link to the Civitas chart. At the top, you can change the chart to show percentages or changes going back as far as November 2004.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Federal Law Could Allow NC Public Employees To Organize

From the Carolina Journal Online:

RALEIGH — Nearly 32,000 North Carolina state and local public safety employees could begin negotiating contracts with unions if recently introduced federal legislation becomes law. S. 3194, The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2009 (S. 3194), sponsored and introduced April 12 by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would override North Carolina law forcing the state, municipalities, and counties to recognize and bargain collectively with unions representing police, firefighters, emergency medical responders, and others.

The bill could become law quickly and without substantive debate. Reid introduced S. 3194 under a rule that allows it to bypass committee review and proceed to the floor in as little as 48 hours.

No action had occurred as of press time.

S. 3194 would override North Carolina General Statute 95-98, which for 51 years has prohibited public sector collective bargaining. S. 3194 would let public safety employees choose to be represented by a union and have their hours, wages, and terms and conditions of employment determined by collective bargaining. Supervisors and managers would be exempt.

The North Carolina League of Municipalities estimates 28,000 municipal and county law enforcement workers and paid firefighters would fall under the bill. The State Office of Personnel puts the number of public safety positions in state government at nearly 3,800, including members of Highway Patrol, employees of the State Bureau of Investigation, and others.

Not only would this bill cost North Carolina taxpayers a fortune, it is an unconstitutional over reach by the federal government into an area of law that should be left to the states. Keep an eye on this one.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dueling Press Conferences

Ilario Pantano, Republican candidate for the NC 7th District congressional seat, and his two primary opponents, Will Breazeale and Randy Crow, hosted dueling press conferences today. Ilario called for unity among republicans and for an end to personal attacks, while Breazeale and Crow called for Pantano to quit his campaign.

Here is a link to Pantano's press release about his press conference

Here is a link to a news story about the Breazeale/Crow press conference. I love the headline, "Breazeale Continues to Fuss About Losing."

Sorry, but that's exactly what's happening. Will Breazeale is showing all the republicans in this district that the right choice was made on primary day. As for Randy Crow, he is a complete nut case. Here's some of his platform, for your amusement:

The Omega Agency - They are who people are talking about when one says orders come from "above the President". The Omega Agency consists of a network set up much like the CIA. There are thousands world-wide who take their orders directly from the ruling council of the Omega Agency. This council consists of 10 to 12 people. George Bush and Alexander C. Haig are two names known to sit on the council of the Omega Agency. The OA is the driving force behind what is commonly called the "New World Order." The OA's office is located at Langley AFB. They plan to establish their NWO, for lack of a better term, in a time span of no less than 5 days. And they intend to do it without open war. (They are also liars, obviously. Look at how many people the NWO has already killed. 55 million WWII, Vietnam, AIDS, that is a NWO deal.)

UPDATE: Here's a link to a report from someone attending both news conferences.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Defense of the South

I couldn't resist sharing this. Here's a liberal Muslim woman of Pakistani origin fed up with the way liberal elites think of her beloved South. Go get 'em, Seema!

Here's how she finishes her piece, which for some odd reason is in the Guardian in the UK.

Oddly, the same people who disparage us also have love affairs with our culture. They ridicule us and then profess their love for Nina Simone, Austin, Johnny Cash or Louisiana's crawfish etouffee dish when it's trendy. This brings me to my favourite specimens: cocktail party progressives. You know the type – can't converse without referencing the New Yorker. Pretentious, self-congratulatory liberals who applaud their own humanity while mocking the south. Curiously, they feign knowledge of Hank Williams when fashionable, but their intellectual elitism forgets that Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams were southern geniuses.

I adore our southern nights and the taste of authenticity in Willie Nelson's voice and Muddy Waters' blues. I love that we celebrate colossally in New Orleans: Jazz Fest, Crawfish Fest, Mardi Gras, even Jazz Funerals. I was touched when kind neighbours baked us casseroles and stood by us as we endured post-9/11 racism. I am proud that Houstonians opened their homes to 250,000 New Orleans evacuees. That's genuine southern hospitality. Southerners are not the ignorant, inbreeding, toothless rifle-owning trailer trash that my progressive colleagues paint them as. They are vibrant, passionate Americans with resolve. They have survived and flourished through the civil rights movement, disastrous hurricanes and oil spills, Enron and Halliburton scandals, the Fort Hood tragedy and their loved ones coming home in body bags.

They have epic stories. It's time our media act as their vessels.

I'm right there with most of what she has to say. I'm a transplant to the South and tell people that proves I love her. I'm here by choice, not by birth. I love the people, the culture, the food, the music and the weather. This is where I chose to live, work and play. This is where I chose to raise my son. And I consider it the best place on Earth.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No Independant/Libertarian Run For Breazeale

The Brunswick Beacon reports that NC state law prohibits Will Breazeale from running in the NC 7th District congressional election as an independent or a Libertarian.

Though no Libertarian candidate ran in the primary election, Breazeale could not run as a Libertarian, Greg Bellamy, Brunswick County Elections Director, said.

Gary Bartlett, executive director of the N.C. Board of Elections, said this week Breazeale cannot seek an independent or write-in bid for the same seat during the same election cycle, per state law.

Breazeale has scheduled a press conference for next week to discuss his political future. It sounds from what he told the Beacon that he'll just be airing his sour grapes.

Breazeale, who ran against incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre in 2008 and lost, said he was considering “all options” about another run at Congress, and said Tuesday he was keeping his political options open.

“I’m not forbidden from running for another seat,” Breazeale said.

“This goes to show how messed up and nontransparent and user friendly the elections process is. How archaic North Carolina ballot laws are. Democrats and Republicans are in cahoots to keep people off the ballots. Is that democracy?”

Actually, Mr. Breazeale, your behavior is proving to me to that the system is working just fine. If this is how you handle a primary election defeat, we're lucky to have someone else as a candidate. Neither Ilario Pantano nor any mythical "establishment" is responsible for choosing a candidate. It's the voters who choose, and they chose wisely.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Elena Kagan, Gay or Straight, You Be The Judge

Get it? You be the judge? Sorry, couldn't resist. Mother Jones magazine has its panties in a wad over questions about Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee's sexuality. The article is worth reading just for the entertainment value inherent in someone calling Andrew Sullivan "sane" and "smart."

I for one don't particularly care if the woman is intimate with farm animals. She seems to have very little respect for the Constitution and the intent of its writers, and that alone should disqualify her.

The Brits Have Finally Sorted Themselves Out

Well, sort of. David Cameron, Leader of the conservative Tory party, is the new Prime Minister, after accepting the Queen's invitation to form a new government. The Tories failed to win enough seats in Parliament to form a new government on their own, so they will be in a coalition with the Liberal Democratic party, which is pretty far to the left of the outgoing Labor party.

This should be interesting. I have to admit to pretty much geeking out over this whole affair over the last few days. I love our system and wouldn't trade it for the world, but the political junkie in me loves watching this.

Here's a link to a conservative blog site in the UK called ConservativeHome. They have all sorts of opinions on the recent election and the coming marriage of Right and Far Left from those actually affected by the deal.

What's Up With Will Breazeale?

This email from the Breazeale campaign arrived today. Read it for yourself, but this looks to me like a hint at a third party run.

Dear Friends,
Allow me to take a moment to say thank you for everything you have done. Not just in 2010, but for the past three years. I am so blessed to have had the support of so many kind and wonderful people during my two runs for Congress. For everyone that has helped along the way, my deepest and heartfelt thanks. Running for office is not easy. I could have never done it without you.
Over the past week there has been a lot of speculation as to my political future. I remain amazed at the innuendo people have been able to invent between their ears. Rumors in politics are like peanut butter and jelly. They just go together. Perhaps it is because our party's nominee and leadership spends so much time focusing on how to keep others from running and not on their own candidacy, that this seat has not gone Republican in more than 100 years?
Buyers remorse is a tough pill to swallow. I cannot help but think that perhaps many who voted for Ilario Pantano are now realizing their nominee's claim to fame is the execution of two unarmed Iraqis? In turn, they are already attempting to set up a scapegoat (me) in order to justify his inevitable, massive failure in November.
With that in mind, allow me to set the record straight: I will formally announce my future political intentions on Tuesday, May 18th, at 10 a.m. I will hold a press conference at the New Hanover County Government Center, 230 Government Center Drive in Wilmington. Members of the public and press are invited to attend. I am pleased to announce that I will be joined at that time by my fellow primary opponent, Randy Crow. I look forward to seeing you all then.
Will Breazeale

That would be an incredibly stupid and damaging move, both for Mr. Breazeale, who would seal the end of his politcal career, and for the people of the NC 7th Congressional District, who in Ilario Pantano have a shot at being represented by a good, solid Republican for the first time in a century.

We'll wait and see what Mr. Breazeale has to say next Tuesday, but this doesn't look good.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is This What It Looked Like Just Before The Boston Massacre?

I'm thinking not quite. This is a modern day Tea Party Rally in Quincy, Illinois. Seems someone was worried the grannies would riot and ruin President Obama's speech, so the boys in blue (or is that black) were called in to keep the peace.

The video at the bottom of this page (under more pictures) is a riot, pardon the pun.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

First Global Warming, Now Recycling?!?!

Could reason and logic finally be creeping into the most hallowed halls of the Church of Environmentalism? It looks like some governments may be carrying the recycling thing a bit too far.

From The Examiner in Washington, DC....

But some national recycling experts have begun calling for government restraint in trash recycling, which can be more costly and environmentally damaging than dumping.

"We just assume recycling is always better," said J. Winston Porter, president of the Waste Policy Center, an environmental consulting and policy organization. "But there's a point at which you shouldn't just recycle for recycling's sake."

Porter is a former policy administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency who helped set the federal government's first nationwide recycling targets.

May 20th----It's Everyone Draw Mohammed Day!!!

If Earth Day made you want to throw up as much as it did me, maybe here's a "protest holiday" you can sink your teeth into. It was started by some blog posters as a response to the death threats made against the creators of South Park by some wonderful adherents to the peaceful religion of Islam. Seems all you need to do to participate is get your creative juices flowing and draw your very own picture of Mohammed, then send it in where it can be shared with the world, and you too can be threatened with a violent death.

This sounds like great fun. And don't worry if your art skills are a tad lacking, I don't think Mohammed will mind. He founded the great religion of tolerance, right?