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
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
| 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
Well...he's convinced me folks...I was wrong...we can win the
war in Vietn...er...Iraq!...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
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
"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
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
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 Erie...at 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 scoops...chrome...possibly 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
along...at the speed limit
God bless you jackass...your chances at making a name for
yourself are excellent.