The Raptor  

Your Bridge To The Greatest Generation

Daily Thought Page - 2007  Created 11/11/07 Modified 02/08/08



Originally Posted 12/30/07

Christmas has come and gone and we are now bracing for the advent of New Year's.  In news from other parts of the world, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated this past week.  Bhutto was a dynamic 54 year old former Prime Minister of Pakistan who had come out of exile (possibly at the urging of US Secretary of State Condi Rice) to assume a leadership role in bringing the hallowed leanings of "democracy" to the beleaguered nation.

It was a little over 2 months ago that Bhutto arrived in her home land to the sound of the cheers of her thousands of supporters and the explosions caused by her adversaries which cased the deaths of over 150 people.

Perhaps the fact that she was almost killed two months ago should have been a wake up call that may have saved her life last week.  It's possible that her naive attitude and belief that she could not be killed by her Muslim adversaries because she was a woman were falling on deaf ears.  However, we now know the opposite was true as she is dead.  Whether she was felled by a bullet, struck by shrapnel from the bomb or the possible skull fracture she received attempting to avoid the bullets and bombs, her death has once again energized the "Chicken Littles" who are concerned about the "war on terror"

Here are some thoughts on this matter:

The general world reaction seems a tad somber when compared to the hysterical attitude when someone like Anwar Sadat or an Israeli PM was killed.

Bhutto was accused of corruption during her previous administration.  It appears a corrupt democrat is more palatable to the Americans than a fearsome military man.

What major city is going to be leveled by a nuclear explosion within the next couple of years?  Will it be Islamabad? New Delhi? Baghdad? Dubai? Jerusalem? Athens? Rome? Paris? Perhaps London? Or will it hit closer to home...Toronto? Mexico City? Or ever incredulously Washington DC? New York? or even LA?

Rudolph Guiliani refers to generic terrorism as Islamic Terrorism...are there not Terrorists all over the world?

Elected officials are scrambling to control Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal.  What do people expect?  Didn't J. Robert Oppenheim warn us about this 60 years ago?

Pervez Musharif probably will never relinquish power...he probably engineered Bhutto's death.  He will have to cancel the election, unless Bhutto's son is tabbed to stand in her place.

The US Presidential Candidates were required to issue statements and Obama was weak during his comments.  Huckabee made disastrous and jingoistic comments regarding protecting our borders from Pakistani's and John Edwards sounded weak as well.

It is unbelievable that the world continues to put up with this madness.  I firmly believe that the present Republican administration is furthering this foray into the Mideast so that by the time the next President is elected, it will be so screwed up there that the electorate will be forced to blame the Democrats  since the Republicans will be under cover, just like the Sunni's who are vacationing while the "surge" is in operation in Iraq.



Originally Posted 12/15/07

An Erie Story - Posted 12/15/07

As many of you know, The Raptor lives in Erie Pennsylvania.  Born and raised here and after attending college at Penn State, The Raptor returned here as has been living the Erie dream since.  Part of that dream is the quest for a social life where there is none.

Sure, there is The Philharmonic, The Erie Playhouse, The Hockey Team, The Gannon U Basketball team, The New Casino, The Tinseltown Movie House and the capability of interaction at one's religious institution of choice.

The Raptor abhors all of these institutions and instead would prefer to do no nothing which I like to refer to as a "Lance Ito".  

 It should be noted that Lance Ito would sit at the OJ Simpson Murder Trial every day with an extremely bored look, head resting on hand or perhaps on on finger as if he was attempting to shoot himself in the temple.

Anyhow...the social scene of choice for The Raptor is the weekly visit to a local restaurant in town in order to get a bite to eat and catch up on the scene.  Raptor Favs include: Applebee's, Fox & Hound, Fridays, Max & Erma's, Damon's, Oakwood Cafe and maybe a fine dining establishment like Serafini's or Ricardo's.

Friday, December 14th was our designated night out and we elected to go to the newly christened O'Charley's.  By we I mean the wife, kid and myself.  Our plan was to arrive at the restaurant at 5:30ish in order to beat the rush.  Of course, this was a tactical error since every body in Erie had the same idea.

The Raptor was dropped at the door in order to book a table.  I found myself in the lobby of the restaurant among about 50 or so other hopeful eaters in waiting.  The attendant responsible for reservations took my name and issued me one of those beeper/light emitting electronic coasters and I took a standing position among the throng with an anticipated wait of 25 to 30 minutes.

At an opportune time I was able to shift my standing position closer to the area where the reservations are placed and I had a cat-bird's seat on the action.  This is where the story gets good.

A woman of some refinement and distinction strode up to the station and placed a reservation for four giving here name, she was issued a pager and told that the wait would be 25 to 30 minutes.  Since she was standing with the rest of her party immediately behind me, I could hear their conversation.  What was being discussed was the "lengthy" wait and the husband of the woman who had the pages said something that struck me as typical of the Erie mentality.

The man was dressed impeccably.  He had on one of those exquisite suede jackets that are only worn by the trendiest of trend setters.  His hair was slicked back but in a handsome sort of way.  His face was somewhat freckle like and his name was probably Grant or Richard, which would make him a "Dick".

What Grant told his wife, probably named Barbara or Catherine was that he would hatch a scenario that would accelerate the acquisition of a table.  Grant came up to the high school aged reservations clerk and in his most intimidating style said.  "Excuse me, I had called here about one half hour ago and spoke with one of the managers...he stated that the wait time was going to be 25 minutes and also stated that while he could not take a reservation, he would make a special consideration for myself and my party."  Grant's ploy was to somehow get the staff to roll over and award him a table in order to avoid a public relations problem.

Grant's ploy almost worked.  It was right out of the GOP playbook.  The reason I state that is because I do not know a single Democrat who would be crass enough to pull that kind of crap.  The reservations clerk tracked down the manager and the manager spoke briefly with Grant off to the side.  I do not know what the manager told Grant as I along with my party got called to our table   But Grant was trying to browbeat the manager into giving him a table and  the manager (bless his heart) basically told Grant to go wait his turn, like everyone else. Justice was served!

The Raptor would like to make a couple of observations here.  First, people like Grant are a way of life around here.  That's what makes going out so interesting.  Second, the O'Charley's scene was a little somber.  I does not have the ambiance of Max & Erma's or Fridays.  The food was decent and the service excellent.  But, The Raptor will probably let the honeymoon period expire before returning.

Originally Posted 12/06/07

The Raptor has been feeling a tad overwhelmed as of late.  Not only is it the "holidays" but we are fast approaching the end of yet another year in which living has become more complicated than ever.  Today's news was grim.  Especially troubling was the psycho who shot up a shopping mall in Nebraska killing eight individuals and himself.  Apparently, his life was one of depression, despair and delusion and in order to reach closure he elected to go out in style.

This type of behavior can only manifest.  It's not about the guns or the people who acquire them.  It's more about that 15 minutes of fame that result from the discharge of the weapon and who the bullet happens to embed in.  Since I prefer not to listen to blowhards like Limbaugh, Hanity and O'Reilly, I can't imagine how they go about putting lipstick on this pig.

Also giving me some concern is the sudden realization that many of the things that I have created are slowly disintegrating.  The Raptor is primarily referring to the Video Tape Collection that I have created over the past 25 years but, this collection could be  a metaphor for every other attempt at originality or self-actualization.  The dilemma with these tapes is their fragile nature.  Unfortunately, some of the other investments are inclusive and deal with stuff like golf equipment, holiday lighting displays, books, magazine, records, clothes, framed pictures, cars, and countless small stuff such as political humor, childhood toys and memories of loved ones.

The Raptor has undertaken to attempting to duplicate some of the tapes and starting last week I began in earnest.  Beginning with Cosmos, I plan to duplicate all of the Ken Burns Collection including: The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz and The War.  Subsequent to that The Raptor plans on duplicating all of the 8 MM movie tapes which showcase family, friends and the events of the past 20 years. The tapes a each about 2 hours in length and there are about 35 to 40 in the collection.

The Burns collection should take about a month to complete and the 8 MM collection could take two.  But at least the by-product , a DVD Video Disc could last longer than a generation.  The Raptor has already experienced genuine disappointment as I have discovered how the vidoe and audio tracks on some of these tapes have developed gaps, dips, clicks and fuzzy picture quality.

For those of you reading this, take heed and review your collections.  Especially if it's something you absolutely treasure.  More importantly as you grow old try to figure out a way to avoid having them sitting around after your passing.  There is nothing worse than burying a spouse or loved one and then have to turn around a throw away all of the shit they have collected.



Originally Posted 12/03/07

The Raptor has been wrestling with a argument of sorts over two theories that are in the news as of late.  The first is Darwin's Theory Of Evolution and the second is The Theory Of Intelligent Design.  

The Evolution bandwagon has been under fire due to it's missing links.  The Intelligent Design Theory has been maligned as a result of a very high profile court case that occurred in Dover Pennsylvania about 2 years ago. Lets take a few moments to document some of the particulars of this maddening issue.

Darwin developed his Theory in the period 1850 to 1875.  His research was conducted years earlier while sailing around the Pacific Ocean in the HMS Beagle.  Darwin had observed varying species of animal life including birds, bugs and turtles and had conceived of the element of Natural Selection.  His Theory cased a furor as folks all over the  civilized parts of the globe called for his head.  You see...Darwin rejected the "man created in the image and likeness of God belief" in favor of "man descended from apes belief".

Intelligent Design on the other hand has had to undergo a transformation in order to soften it's harsh edge.  As it is actually "Creationism", it was necessary to alter its descriptive terminology to give it a scientific appeal.  That's about it.  It's basic preposition is that the origin of life was a sudden scientific event and that it differs from Darwin's view. 

The previously mentioned court case is a matter of public record but to briefly add some background here, The Raptor can state that I viewed a PBS Frontline story about this fiasco and it goes something like this:

A School Board in Dover, PA that had several "boneheads" in the majority felt that because Evolution is a theory with missing links, that it could not be construed as legitimate and that alternative explanations (Creationism) should be taught in a 50/50 tandem.  A textbook was located called "Of Pandas And People" and one of the school board members paid for the books through solicitation of donations from his fellow church goers.

The science department of the school was instructed to begin the teaching of "Intelligent Design" (Creationism).  The science department faculty refused and in some cases resigned.

A concerned parent approached the ACLU to sue the Board to have them cease the teaching of ID (Creationism).  A court battle ensued between the Thomas Moore Legal Foundation (representing the Board) and the attorneys representing the group of concerned parents.  

After several weeks of testimony in which members of the Board perjured themselves and eventually lost their seats to opposition candidates, the Judge rendered a decision in favor of the parents and blocked the teaching of ID (Creationism) in our Public Schools (Whew!)

A Board member who was interviewed for the documentary stated that the Judge was an "idiot".  That sir, is like a pot calling a kettle black!

A Google search of this subject results in thousands of links which indicates it's interesting subject matter.  The Raptor has noted that ID is illogical.  It's not possible.  The fossil record is complete enough to leave clues that blow ID right out of the water.

The Raptor is not an educator. The Raptor will not expand this tread to argue in favor of one theory over another.  The Raptor is comfortable in my belief that Evolution is more palatable that ID.

As time goes by The Raptor hopes to shed some of my own perspective on this issue



Originally Posted 11/28/07

Recently The Raptor used this bully pulpit to reflect on an Erie residents opinion that the US Armed Forces should be fighting the good fight over yonder in Iraq until the war is won.  Bush's War - Lets win!   Today its not a local but, national syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer who has weighed in on the "stay the course" path.

Mr. Krauthammer has  made a solid case for avoiding political benchmarks.  Each paragraph of his viewpoint which was featured in the November 27th, 2007 Erie Times is flawless in it's point-by-point analysis.

What makes Krauthammer's arguments so convincing is the total lack of facts or statistics to back up his position...Consider this statement:

"What commander would not want such a silver bullet that would obviate the need for any further ground action?...But it is not going to happen for the same reason it has not already happened: The Malaki government is too sectarian and paralyzed to be able to end the war in a stroke of reconciliation."

Krauthammer also gloats about Sunni insurgents who "are giving up the insurgency to join the new order."  He further states that "This is already happening on a widening scale all over the country in the absence of a relaxed de-Bathification law."

Well...he's convinced me folks...I was wrong...we can win the war in!...just keep pouring money over there...and by gum a festivus miracle will occur!

Mr. Krauthammer finishes his column by stating: "But it is folly to abandon the pursuit of that success when a different route, more arduous but still doable, is at hand and demonstrably working."

Folly...arduous...doable...demonstrably...working.  The Raptor has heard it all before...just keep on killin'...thats what it all about...kill 'em in the name of democracy


Originally Posted 11/22/07

The Raptor is very hesitant to extend this thread very far...but here goes.  Reading the daily letters to the editor is always a must and allows for one to get a pulse albeit a slanted one on how the winds are blowing.

It could be inferred that many of the letter writers are disingenuous and are only trying to muddy the waters.  So, in order to expand here is going to be necessary.

Here is what Allan Collum wrote in today's editorial section.  

     "The majority of the volunteer soldiers in the armed services will tell you that retreat is not an option.  Winning is the only option."

     Collum also writes: "When they hear or read about congressmen pushing for retreat, they loose their morale.  President Abraham Lincoln said, Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged."

     Mr. Collum then states: "Americans should start holding politicians accountable for their words with our votes.  Moreover, when our soldiers see the disingenuous yard signs that say 'Support the troops, end the war.', they remember the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives and limbs to complete their mission."

     Collum finishes his letter by noting: "Their mission is difficult, but achievable.  Support the Iraqi security forces until they can stand by themselves"...and "These signs and the political rhetoric do not support the soldiers, but they embolden our enemies, including Osama bin Laden."

In order to respond to this gibberish would be a problem under normal circumstances.  The principal reason for the problem lies in the type of browser to this site.  The Raptor keeps no statistics on who stops by.  Therefore, I can only base this statement on the handful of individuals who have specifically stated that they have been here.

Based on those comments, the key demographics of the site visitors are that they are white, middle aged males and predominantly registered Republicans.

With that being said, let me be more frank...when the Supreme Court of The United States, voted 5-4 to put your boy into office in 2000, it set in motion this whole fiasco.  President Bush was elected...but he didn't poll the most votes.  Once appointed, he was forced to build an administration and he didn't disappoint.  Included in his rogues gallery were: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft.  The apparent orchestrator of this "team" was Karl Rove.  Rove used his skills to dupe Colin Powell and Condi Rice to sign on as "token" African-Americans, in order to show the conservative base that a black man/woman can be a slave in any generation.

Now that President Bush was in office, he obviously had to do stuff that was "presidential", so the first nine months of his administration were spent clearing brush at his ranch and reading picture books to students.  The Raptor like President Bush and every other American (with a pulse) was deeply disturbed by the events of September 11th, 2001.  Very bad.

As the Administration made their eventual case for tracking down bin Laden, a "bill of goods" was sold to the American people.  Token Powell was trotted into the picture on several occasions to sell the "war".  Richard Armitage (Powell's Deputy) was dispatched to Afghanistan and Pakistan to issue threats to those countries leaders...either go along or get along.  Dick Cheney and Condi Rice spoke of "mushroom clouds".

The individuals who voted for President Bush were then and still are very important to this cluster****.  It is vitally important for you as Bush supporters to implore the "stay the course" message.  If you waver...all is lost.  And there is the rub.

As long as dweebs like Allan Collum write their drivel, things will be all right.  But please consider this:  Just as the conservatives who voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 were rejoicing then, they will now be faced with having to look at Hillary Clinton as their President.  And The Raptor can tell you that he is not a Hillary supporter.

Instead...The Raptor is pushing the John Edwards candidacy.  It should be noted that Mr. Edwards has the best hair for the job.  What the Raptor really wants to know is...who will Edwards bring on to represent HIS administration...Can't wait

and Mr. Collum...regadless of the success of "the surge", Iraqi security forces will never stand up.  Those dopes couldn't secure a paper bag!

Originally Posted 11/8/07

Its not uncommon to go through life with peeves.  We tend to call them Pet Peeves.  It gives the whiney guy something to bitch about.  So, when your amongst friends, you can say "that's one of my pet peeves."

The Raptor probably has hundred's of Pet Peeves.  One that comes to mind instantaneously is the tailgater.  Yep, that son-of-a-b that refuses to adhere to a SAFE FOLLOWING DISTANCE!.  There isn't as day that goes by when The Raptor doesn't experience some jackass who gets right on my butt while I am driving and steams me up.  It brings to mind an incident that occurred several years ago here in Erie that is indicative of the type of driver we have in this area.

It seems that a gent had written into the local paper because he had a problem.  No...he wasn't worried about the economy, nor did he have a concern about the War In Iraq.  His beef were those individuals who drove the streets of the speed limit!

The premise of the gent's letter to the editor was his go-man-go lifestyle that required him to be constantly on the move.  Not only did he work a regular job, but he was also enrolled in school and was always in a hurry.

His disappointment seemed to be stemming from his inability to get from point A to B without encountering a slowpoke who would not go fast.  I can imagine the gent's vehicle in my rear view mirror.  Manly SUV or Pick Up...very tall...tremendous power...hood an 8 or a 3 in the rear window.  In addition, the gent would have to be sporting the consummate young buck dew complete with gel spikes.  He would have a pager, blackberry and cell phone to conduct his affairs...all while driving and would keep one hand occupied picking out his fav's from his MP3 player.

His biggest thrill is to get as close as possible to an offending slowpoke and attempt to force the slowpoke into driving faster.  Periodically, he would creep his buggy towards the center line of the roadway in order to demonstrate his ruling of the road.  This is unacceptable.  Particularly since all the while he would spout his vitriol and having to creep the speed limit

God bless you jackass...your chances at making a name for yourself are excellent.




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