Sunday, October 31, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/31/04 Reformation Day

"I cannot, I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other." Martin Luther


Last week, 10 members of the Hendrick racing family, including Rick Hendrick's son, were killed when a team plane crashed outside of Martinsville, VA. This week, the Hendrick racing family celebrated in victory lane at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was Jimmie Johnson who took the checkered flag. This was Johnson's third consecutive victory, and it moved him into second place in the championship standings.

The championship race tightened up considerably this week due to leader Kurt Busch's engine blowout on lap 35. Busch finished in 42nd place. Jeff Gordon also had problems and finished in 35th place. With 15 laps to go, it looked like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was poised to take over the points lead. Junior was cruising in 3rd place when he got together with Carl Edwards. This dropped Junior all the way to a 33rd place finish.

Now that the dust has settled, there is a whole new look to the championship race. Kurt Busch is still in the top spot. Jimmie Johnson is now in 2nd place and only trails Busch by 56 points. Jeff Gordon dropped to 3rd and is 72 points out of the lead. The perennial bridesmaid, Mark Martin, moved up to 3rd place and is only 81 points away from capturing the Cup. Dale, Jr. rounds out the top five and trails by 98 points.

Banshee Polling

There is no new poll for this week. Next week, after the election is decided, we will have a new poll.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/30/04

"There's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning." Jimmy Buffet lyrics in "Fruitcakes."

Scenes from the campaign trail

On Wednesday, with less than a week to go before the election, George Bush rolled into Findlay, OH -- Mimi's home town. Here are some pictures from Mimi's afternoon with the President.

George and Laura.

Mimi shows her support.

A Penn Stater in the heartland.

A Look at the Electoral College

I'm not entirely convinced that uses the most reliable polls at all times when they tally up this electoral college score, but I can't resist checking on this each day.

Once again, this graphic updates daily. It is not locked in for 10/30/04.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/29/04

“Better to be alone than in bad company.” -- unknown

Another bumper sticker

Designer Kitties

Cat allergies may be a thing of the past -- at least for the wealthy. In the year 2007, cats that are genetically engineered to be free of the proteins that cause many people to be alergic to cats. There is a steep price tag, though. These cats will cost around $3,500. Interested customers can already put down a $250 deposit. These cats are just the first in a series designer pets envisioned by Allerca, a California company.

Another California company is offering cloned cats. The company claims that it has already successfully cloned kittens. They say they will clone anyone's pet for a mere $50,000. This is all reported at

This is certainly an interesting development, but I'm not sure that genetically engineered pets will be as popular as the designers hope. If pets turn into manufactured items, I think that we may lose some of our emotional connection with them.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/28/04

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts." Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

The Curse has ended

Last night the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. This would ordinarily not be a huge surprise since the Sox do have the second highest payroll in Major League Baseball. However, the Red Sox did not just overcome the other teams in the league. They also overcame The Curse of the Bambino.

In 1918, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. Following that season, the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000. That is when The Curse began. For the next 86 years, the Boston Red Sox broke the hearts of their fans as they came close to victory but never actually tasted it. Along the way, a series of bizarre and improbable events came between the Sox and a championship. Meanwhile, the hated New York Yankees won 26 world titles.

But, last night the sports world was turned upside-down. The Curse has ended. A new era has begun. And many sports fans are left looking for a new self-image. Yankees fans can no longer view themselves as the invincible Sox killers. And Sox fans can no longer wallow in self-pity. They are now saddled with the expectations of a champion. It will be interesting to see how this affects one of the greatest rivalries in sports.

More Novel Blogging

Blogger has provided another post with info about how to blog your way to a novel during National Novel Writing Month. This article provides some interesting tips including specific directions about how to get a blog in the first place.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/27/04

“To accept a benefit is to sell one’s freedom.” Latin proverb

Guess Who Came to Town?

Some days you just know you’ll remember forever. Today was one of those days. George W. and Laura Bush came to my town in Ohio! I waited in line for an hour and stood for another hour and a half until they arrived. Then I stood listening for forty minutes. And I would do it all again.

People ask why I so ardently support the President. I’ve given it some thought and must admit that I don’t always agree with some of his policies (increased spending on education and the expansion of Medicare benefits). But I want him to be my president for one big reason. Character.

But how can you really judge a man’s character? I have a very simple test. Look at his relationship with his wife. A man who respects and keeps his wedding vows is a man who can be trusted. A man who is protective towards his wife is a man who will not hesitate to protect the country. A man who has chosen wisely when selecting a life-long partner is a man who will know how to choose alliances that will be helpful to the life of the nation. And a man who looks at his wife like she is the most wonderful person in the world is a man who doesn’t think that HE is the most wonderful person in the world.

To see President Bush was a thrill. To see President Bush with his wife Laura was inspiring. Let’s hope we see them for FOUR MORE YEARS!

Issues Poll

I've made no secret of the fact that I love online quizzes. This particular quiz/poll asks participants to choose the statement that they most agree with on different issues. I believe that the choices are derived from statements that the two presidential candidates have made on the campaign trail.

Here are Wild Banshee's results:

You preferred Bush's statements 78% of the time
You preferred Kerry's statements 22% of the time

Voting purely on the issues you should vote Bush

Who would you vote for if you voted on the issues?

Find out now!

(Thanks to Erin Violette for pointing me to this poll.)

If you're wondering how Wild Banshee could possibly have chosen the Kerry response on 22% of the issues, the answer is simple. John Kerry has said pretty much everything that can be said about both sides of every issue. So, it's no wonder that he matched my steady views 22% of the time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/26/04

"Discretion in speech is more than eloquence." Sir Francis Bacon

Bumper Sticker

Who's the Brainiac?

"Ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? Morons." That line comes from The Princess Bride but one could easily picture John Kerry uttering those words.

For four years now, we've been hearing Democrats in all walks of life mocking the President for syntax errors. Liberal pundits and most reporters would have you believe that the current occupant of the White House is barely brighter than a pet rock while the challenger from Massachusettes could challenge Galileo in terms of intellect. We've heard this so often that it's basically accepted in our nation, even amongst Bush supporters, that John Kerry is far more intelligent than George W. Bush.

But what real proof is there to support this notion? The answer is none. In fact, the only real, hard evidence that is out there points to Bush as the smarter of the two candidates. This topic has been discussed by Steve Sailer, a columnist for

It's been well-documented that George W. Bush had a C+ average in his days at Yale. We also know that Mr. Bush scored a 1206 (before re-centering) on his SATs. In contrast, we do not know anything about John Kerry's SATs or college grades because he has not released that information. We do know that Mr. Kerry did not graduate from Yale with honors.

At the age of 22, both men took the IQ-type tests that are reqiured for officer candidates in the military. Since they were in different branches of the military, the tests aren't entirely comparable. However, it is worth noting that the supposed genius that is John Kerry scored in the 50th percentile on this test. He was entirely average. In contrast, the supposedly bumbling George Bush scored higher than 2/3 of the applicants on his test. Because of these test results, Mr. Sailer estimates that John Kerry's IQ is right around 120 while President Bush's IQ is probably in the mid to high 120's. So basically, neither one is an automatic qualifier for Mensa. But, if anyone has the intellectual edge, it is most likely President Bush.

Why am I bringing this up? Merely to dispel a myth. I do not believe that IQ and raw intelligence are particularly important requirements for holding the highest office in the land. However, liberals and media elites do believe that intellectual prowess is the be all and end all of personality traits. And, I am sick and tired of this ridiculous notion that Republicans are by and large dumber than Democrats.

Banshee Blog milestone

Each Tuesday I receive an email documenting the traffic on this blog for the past week. Last week marked a milestone for this young blog. For the first time, this blog broke the 300-hit mark for the week.

Thank you to all who visited, all who have spread the word about this blog and all who have contributed posts in the past.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/25/04

“A valuable measure of success or failure is whether the tough problem you are facing is the same problem you had a year ago.” From Robert Savage’s Life’s Lessons

The Grudge

This weekend was the theater debut of The Grudge. And let me tell you, this is one scary movie. Now, I have never watched any slasher movies, but I do enjoy the PG-13 genre of horror/thriller films. However, this movie was scary enough that at one point I wasn't sure I was still having fun in the theater. There is nothing particularly gory in this movie, but on-screen images are terrifying. This movie hits right into that rare place where it is freaky enough that you have no idea what might happen next but it's realistic enough that you're still haunted when you get back to your house.

Basically, if you liked the American remake of The Ring in 2002, then you will probably like The Grudge. There is a similar feel between the films. But be forewarned -- The Grudge is far scarier than the already frightening The Ring.

In other news, a sequel to The Ring is in the works. Naomi Watts returns in the starring role for The Ring 2, and she is joined by Simon Baker of "The Guardian" fame.

Blogging a Novel

I'm guessing that a few of you out there secretly have the burning desire to be a published writer. And, based on some stuff I've seen on the shelves at Walden's, I'm guessing that some of you have the talent. Discipline and exposure seem to be the main difficulties for many of us.

Well, Blogger may have the solution to both of those problems. November is National Novel Writing Month. Blogger has decided to help aspiring writers in the month of November. They have set up a special site to help writers blog their way to a published novel. To learn more, visit Then simply follow the directions on this page and start typing.

I have not decided for sure whether or not I will be participating in this event. I finished writing an unpublished novel about 5 years ago, and I am considering posting daily installments on a specially created blog.

If any of you would like to participate but need a little more info or encouragement, don't hesitate to contact me.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/24/04 United Nations Day

“[Liberals] are ashamed of our history, of our prosperity, of our flag-waving patriotism, and of our insistence on remaining free and sovereign despite pressure from the EU and the UN. In short, the Democrats are simply no longer recognizable as the party that gave us FDR, and Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy. Instead, they increasingly resemble an angry seminar of conspiracy-minded grad students.” Laura Ingraham

United Nations Day

Today, October 24, is United Nations Day. I'm sure that most of you took some time on this day to contemplate the many great accomplishments of this international body. Then after that one second was over, you settled in for an all-American day of stock car racing and football.

Banshee Polling

Poll results: Last week's poll asked respondents how many books they read in the past 12 months. 53% of respondents said that they read between 1 and 5 books in the past year. 23% said that they read more than 25 books. 15% said they read between 5 and 15 books. 7% said they read between 15 and 25 books. No one said that they did not read a single book in the last year.

New poll: Over the past months, there has been a lot of discussion about the changing face of American media. This week Banshee Blog wants to know: Where do you get most of your news?


It was a caution-filled day in Martinsville, Virginia. In fact, this race set a record for most laps run under caution on the half-mile oval. Jimmie Johnson managed to avoid all the wreckage and finished in first place for the second week in a row. This moved Johnson up four spots and into fourth in the championship standings. Kurt Busch had a solid fifth place finish. Busch remains in control of the Chase for the Championship. Jeff Gordon also had an uneventful day and moved himself into second place in the standings. The biggest news of the day was Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s poor performance. Mechanical troubles sent Junior to the garage early, and his thirty-third place finish dropped him back to third in the standings and one hundred, twenty-five points out of the top spot.

The Martinsville race marks the halfway point in the 10-race Chase for the Championship. Next week the Chase for the Championship will move to NASCAR's fastest track -- the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/23/04

"The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." William Rose Wallace

A shot at the First Lady ... A shot at mothers

While I was wallowing in a baseball induced depression (which, by the way, was not eased at all by Penn State's 6-4 loss to Iowa this afternoon), Teresa Heinz Kerry was running her mouth in the USA Today.

In an article published on Wednesday morning, Heinz Kerry took a mild shot at the First Lady. Heinz Kerry said, "Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job — I mean, since she's been grown up."

This comment was not well-received by either the Kerry-friendly press or the public. Making snide comments about the wives of candidates is just something that is not done. What's more, this was a factually incorrect insinuation. It is well-known that Laura Bush worked in the public schools as both a teacher and a librarian from 1968 to 1977. After that, Laura became a full-time homemaker and mother.

Realizing the factual error of her statement, Heinz Kerry tried to fix the situation with an apology. However, Heinz Kerry's apology says more about the true values of herself and her husband than anything in her original comment. Heinz Kerry stated, "I had forgotten that Mrs. Bush had worked as a school teacher and librarian, and there couldn't be a more important job than teaching our children."

Now, I don't find an attack on the First Lady to be particularly offensive. I don't see why a shot or two at a candidate's wife should be so taboo. However, I think that Heinz Kerry's statements are incredibly informative as to her family's view of the importance of home life. Heinz Kerry mentioned the fact that Mrs. Bush had been a public school teacher, but she said nothing about Laura Bush's most important job -- that of a wife and mother.

Karen Hughes, advisor to the President, summed up the whole picture quite well. Hughes said, "[Heinz Kerry] made it worse because she left out the very important real job of a mother. Clearly she knows Laura Bush was a mother ... who chose to stay home and rear her family. That's a noble choice that should be celebrated not denigrated."

I myself am a fast-talking career gal, but I believe that there is no more important job in life than raising your own children. I know that I am not alone in that opinion. Our nation was built on this foundation. The Bush family shares this value. The Kerry family does not.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/20/04

"Winning is like shaving – you do it every day or you wind up looking like a bum." Jack Kemp

Baseball rules my life

There will be no real post for today. Why? Because baseball has taken over my life. The Boston Red Sox have staged what could be the greatest comeback in the history of sports. And they've staged it against my beloved New York Yankees. The Yanks and the Sox have played 4 games in 4 days and will play the 5th tonight. Two of these games have gone extra innings and have lasted over 5 hours. As a result, I have not had time to sleep or to come up with worthy blog material for today.

If the Yankees should be eliminated tonight, it could take me several days to recover sufficiently to muster another blog post. I think that in all honesty, I may take this loss harder than I would take a Bush loss in November.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/19/04

“The capitalist system does not guarantee that everyone will become rich, but it guarantees that anyone can become rich.” Raul R. de Sales

The Primping Veep

In my continuing quest to contrast the manliness of the two presidential tickets, I offer you John Edwards playing the role of the Breck Girl.

(This is a video. If you have a slow connection, this might be tough.)

Mankind for children

No, this ain't no philosophical post about the proper way to raise children or the role of the young in society. The purpose of this post is to alert the world to the fact that Mick Foley is now an author of children's books. That's right, the Mick Foley. AKA Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love. A legend of professional wrestling. Foley is the man who earned fame primarily as deranged character who wore a Hannibal Lechter-like, leather mask and earned wrestling immortality after he was nearly killed, live on pay-per-view by the Undertaker at King of the Righ in 1998. Now he is writing kiddie lit.

Foley's latest release is entitled Halloween Hijinx, but it is not his first release. In addition to writing children's books, Foley also wrote an autobiography entitled Have a Nice Day!: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. Although Foley made himself famous in the ring as a maniac who was often covered in blood, Foley seems to be an interesting and intelligent individual. If you ever get a chance to see one of his biographies on A&E or the like, it well-worth watching.

Quote of the Day 10/19/04

"Doggone it, baseball." Chad Durham during extra innings marathon.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The best election 2004 analysis you can find...

I think I'm addicted to an election. Is that possible? In my borderline compulsive search to stay updated on this year's ins and outs, I've stumbled upon a real treasure. RealClear Politics (, which is perhaps already known to many of you. RealClear Politics offers the most clear and straightforward analysis I've seen anywhere. I'm a real "what's-the-bottom-line" kind of person, and this site satisfies my every need to know exactly what the chances are of Santa Kerry landing in the White House. It is definitely the most comprehensive site I've seen.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/17/04

“The meaning of the Bible must be known and understood if it is to make a difference in our lives, and I urge all Americans to read and study the Scriptures. The rewards of such efforts will help preserve our heritage of freedom and signal the message of liberty to people in all lands.” Ronald Reagan

Curse of the Cowsills

As you are all well-aware, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are currently battling each other in the ALCS for the right to represent the American League in the World Series. This whole series has shown such a contrast between the way these two teams and cities carry themselves. Last evening's pregame ceremonies were a prime example of why the Red Sox will never match the legacy and prestige of the New York Yankees.

Yesterday was the first game of the series that was held in Boston. BoSox executive vice president, Charles Steinberg, dredged the Cowsills out of the morgue to sing the national anthem before Game 3. You may remember the Cowsills from such classics as "Hair." In fact, the last note of the anthem was no sooner out of Bob Cowsill's mouth than the PA system began playing that ridiculous anthem to poor grooming. It was a low-class and absurd exhibition.

Still, low class and absurd fits the Boston Red Sox this year. They have whined, talked trash and hit batsmen all througout the season. But more in keeping with the hippy Cowsills, the Sox have apparently all lost their scissors and razors. This is the most ragtag bunch of ballplayers I have ever seen. They stand in stark contrast to this year's edition of the Yankees. No scruffiness allowed in Steinbreiner's dugout.

(AP Photo)

By the way, the Cowsills and their tribute to shagginess inspired the Sox all the way to a 19-8 beat-down. The Sox now trail 3-0 in the series. No baseball team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series.

Banshee Polling

Results: Last week's poll asked Banshee Blog readers if they thought the electoral college should be abolished. For the second week in a row, there was a big response to the poll, proving that Banshee readers are indeed interested in more intellectual things than just fast food. Voters in this week's poll responded by a margin of 2 to 1 that the electoral college should be abolished.

Wild Banshee strenuously disagrees with the voters on this poll. A few years ago, I also believed that the electoral college had outlived its usefulness. However, I now see the great wisdom of the Founding Fathers and would be vehemently opposed to changing the Constitutionally prescribed method of choosing the President. More on this in the days to come.

New Poll: This week's poll wants to know if Banshee Blog readers read other things besides this blog. This week's question: How many books have you read for pleasure in the last year? Mandatory college assignments, etc. do not count. However, non-fiction certainly is included in this question.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/16/04

“To accept a benefit is to sell one’s freedom.” Latin proverb

Email: Uniter or Divider?

Over the last several years, email has become a more and more mainstream method of communication. There is no doubt that email has made daily communication between faraway parties extremely convenient. However, there is a school of thought out there that says that while email may allow for quantity communication, it really does not facilitate quality, meaningful discussions.

So, the question is: Is email a uniter or a divider?

I've thought about this question for quite some time, and I have reached the conclusion that it depends on the individual.

On one hand: If you are the kind of person who is willing to sit down and write a well-crafted piece of prose from your hotmail account, then email exchanging is really no different than the age-old practice of corresponding by letter. In fact, email is in some ways superior to mailing letters because there is no lag time in waiting for a response. Email allows for well thought out use of the written word that is capable of being responded to within hours or even minutes.

On the other hand: Email does not provide the human contact element of voice-to-voice contact that you get with a phone call. Phone calls do not give the recipient the time to respond to you on their own terms when they know what they really want to tell you, but this can add to the authenticity of phone communication. It is true that phone calls and email do not have to be an either-or thing. However, in reality, email can give the illusion of keeping in touch while years go by without the two people actually speaking to each other.

So, I guess there is no real conclusion to this post. Email can be both an uniter and a divider, depending on how it is used and the communication style of the users. I'd be interested in seeing some comments on this topic.


This week, the boys of NASCAR returned to their roots for some Saturday night racing under the lights in Charlotte. Fans didn't have to wait long for excitement. Sparks flew on the first lap. Scott Riggs started in the second row, but his Valvoline Chevrolet failed to respond properly to the accelerator. This caused a multi-car wreck behind him that collected Chase leader Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon. However, both drivers would recover for top five finishes.

At the end of the 500 miles, Jimmie Johnson took his Lowe's Chevrolet to victory lane at the Lowe's Motor Speedway. This completed a Charlotte sweep for Johnson. The win moved him up one spot in the standings and into 8th. Jeff Gordon finished in 2nd. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished in 3rd. Kurt Busch finished in 4th. Aside from the leap-frog of Johnson past Ryan Newman, the championship standings remained unchanged this week. Kurt Busch still leads the Chase by a slim 24-point margin over Dale, Jr. Gordon is only 74 points back in 3rd.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/15/04

"Pop the bubbly, life is lovely." Will Smith

Wild Banshee, Esq.

Today was a big day in the life of the Banshee. The Virginia Bar results were posted online this morning, and the Banshee made the list. From now on you can refer to me as Counselor. Not Wonderful Counselor, mind you. Even a JD doesn't give you that much power.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/14/04

"No character, however upright, is a match for constantly reiterated attacks, however false." Alexander Hamilton.

Men Finally Lose

After 4 straight victories, the men finally took one one the chin in this week's edition of The Apprentice. If the men were ever gonna lose, this was the week for it. The women had finally trimmed off most of their liabilities due to repeated firings. The women were eager to prove that the remaining members were a capable group. In addition, this week's task involved the fashion world. But, in the end, none of these things was a decisive factor. Pricing turned out to be the men's downfall.

This week's task required the teams to choose a fashion designer, oversee the design of a fashion line and then sell this line to buyers at a fashion show. I thought that both teams designed equally hideous fashions. The viewing audience did not get to see any commentary from the buyers. However, the buyers purchased $21,000 worth of orders from the women and only $7,000 worth from the men.

The clear consensus from the Donald, George and Caroline was that pricing was the problem for the men. That crucial task was left for the very end and delegated exclusively to Kevin and Wes. John, the team leader, was not even in the same building when these important decisions were being made. John had already left the design headquarters for the site of the fashion show, despite the fact that there was really nothing to be done at the show site. The Donald found this to be inexcuseable behavior from the team leader, John. For this reason, the Donald sent John packing.

The Donald seemed to think, and I agree, that John has tremendous potential. However, John did make a lot of mistakes on this task and deserved to be fired. It's a shame, too, because I would really like to see Raj get the boot. That guy has got to go. In other news, what was with the dress Stacy R. was wearing to their reward party? Pam Anderson doesn't dress in anything that revealing.

Brief Debate Recap

I still haven't watched Wednesday night's debate in its entirety. However, based on what I did see, both candidates were sharp once again. By all accounts, the President was far stronger in this final debate than he has been in either of the two previous debates. The President was able to focus some much-needed attention on John Kerry's twenty year voting record in the Senate. Bush aptly contrasted Kerry's campaign rhetoric with Kerry's actual votes throughout his career.

The portion of the debate with which the media seemed most interested was the discussion on homosexuality. In response to a question about whether homosexuality is a lifestyle choice or is genetically predetermined, Senator Kerry brought up Vice President Cheney's daughter by name -- his lesbian daughter. This comes on the heels of Senator Edwards doing the same thing on a question regarding gay marriage in Edwards' debate against Dick Cheney himself. Most commentators and pundits seem to think that this repeated referencing of Ms. Cheney is gratuitous and under-handed.

I, frankly, do not take any offense at these references. However, I am baffled as to their purpose. Surely, the Kerry campaign is not making these references to somehow energize the gay community. Kerry must certainly believe that the gay community is already firmly in his column. And, if Kerry thinks that a lesbian member of the Cheney family will somehow alienate the Religious Right from the Bush-Cheney ticket, he is sorely mistaken. Perhaps Kerry believes that putting a face on the issue will take attention away from his own position. I don't know, but I am curious.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/13/04

"I'd rather watch dog fighting than the debate. .... They've already said enough." Mike Wilbon on PTI

Domestic debate a mistake?

Tonight is the third and final presidential debate. It will be held in the desert at Arizona State University. The candidates are supposed to stick to domestic issues. It's hard to picture how any debate can take place without a mention of the War on Terror and 9/11. After all, jobs and the economy were drastically affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center.

It is my opinion that holding an entire presidential debate on domestic issues is a mistake. There is far too much focus on domestic issues in a presidential race. I realize that this is a bold statement to make, but I have thought this through.

The office of the President of the United States is created by Article II of the Constitution. Sections 2 and 3 of Article II outline the duties of the President. The President is the Commander in Chief of the military. The President has the power to conduct foreign policy and appoint ambassadors. The President also has the power to appoint Supreme Court justices and other officers of the United States.

There is no mention in the United States Constitution of the President being responsible for a domestic agenda. Under the Constitution, legislation falls squarely in the province of the Congress. A domestic agenda is the responsibility of the legislature.

So, as you watch the debate tonight (or not), please keep the proper role of the President in mind. John Kerry has spent a lot of time in recent days trying to focus the discussion away from foreign policy and onto the economy. However, I submit that foreign policy and judicial nominations should be almost the entire focus of the presidential campaign season.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/12/04

"I don't think there is any more enjoyable scenario than making 55,000 people in New York shut up." Red Sox starter Curt Schilling before Game 1 of the ALCS

Saved and Savior

Since the presidential debates began, the heated discussion over the two candidates' activities during the '60's and '70's has petered out. However, I want to revisit that issue just briefly. I found this debate particularly fascinating not because I think that 30 year-old actions either qualify or preclude a man from holding the nation's highest office. Rather, this debate fascinated me because it illustrated a fundamental misunderstanding by the Left and their media of what conservatives believe about actions and consequences. More specifically, the secular Left totally misunderstood conservative Christians' beliefs about grace and redemption.

I tried to address this issue on this blog, but I was unable to capture the real difference between the importance of Kerry's past actions and President Bush's past sins. Fortunately, there are writers with more wisdom and insight out there than me. Once such individual is Marvin Olasky. In the September 4, 2004 edition of World magazine, Olasky penned a column entitled "Saved and Savior." Whether you are a supporter of Bush's policies or Kerry's, this is an interesting and insightful piece. Please follow the link and read this column.

Electoral College Projector

Each day it seems like a new nationwide poll comes out from some polling guru or another. However, as the 2000 election showed us, the nationwide percentage of votes received by the candidates is irrelevant. The President of the United States is the candidate who receives the most votes in the electoral college.

Jason Kline showed me an outstanding site that breaks down the electoral college based on the latest polls from each state. The graphics are good and informative at this site.

270 electoral college votes are required to clinch the Presidential election. currently has the electoral college race scored as follows:

(This score is up to date. It is not frozen for October 12.)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/11/04 Columbus Day

"To exclude from positions of trust and command all those below the age of 44 would have kept Jefferson from writing the Declaration of Independence, Washington from commanding the Continental Army, Madison from fathering the Constitution, Hamilton from serving as secretary of the treasury, Clay from being elected speaker of the House and Christopher Columbus from discovering America." John F. Kennedy

Debate Transcripts

I realize that I have been doing a sub-par job reporting on the presidential debates. I'm still holding out for some sort of combat between the two candidates. Rest assured that if that happens, I will provide a detailed, blow-by-blow analysis.

However, we have what we have. So, if you are interested in what the candidates have been saying in the debates, there is a website that contains the transcripts from all the debates of this campaign season. The website is located at: In addition to this years' debates, that site also contains selected transcripts from debates going back as far as the historic Nixon-Kennedy debates from 1960.

Baseball Round-up

If you are wondering why I insist on writing about sports so often, the reason is simple. Sports are important to me. They more than mere entertainment. As Bob Costas once said, "Sports is drama without a script." This is never more true than in the month of October when the major league baseball playoffs are in full swing. So, I see it as my duty to try to communicate this joy with those who may be missing out.

Houston Astros: Tonight the Houston Astros have a chance to make franchise history. The Astros have been very competitive for years, but they have never won a playoff series in the history of their franchise. Tonight the Astros will be playing a decisive Game 5 against the Braves in Turner Field in Atlanta.

Sworn Enemies: For the second year in a row, sworn enemies will square off for a chance to represent the American League in the World Series. The Boston Red Sox advanced past the Anaheim Angels on Friday night, and on Saturday, the New York Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins. That sets up a Sox-Yanks clash in the American League Championship Series. The winner will go to the World Series.

The Sox-Yanks rivalry is unlike any other in sports. The rivalry is not based solely on the proximity of the two cities or the number of times that the two teams have met in meaningful games. Those are certainly key components of the fierceness of this rivalry. But, this rivalry is special because of The Curse. In the early 1900's, the Red Sox had a young left-handed pitcher named George Herman Ruth. In 1919, the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000. Prior to that sale, the Boston Red Sox had won 5 World Series. The Yanks had never won one. Then The Curse began. Since the sale of Babe Ruth in 1919, the Boston Red Sox have not won another World Series. The New York Yankees have won the World Series 26 times.

The latest chapter in this historic rivalry will begin on Tuesday night when Curt Schilling takes the mound for the Sox in the Bronx. The addition of Schilling for this season gives the Red Sox a new hope. Schilling was a Yankee killer in the 2001 World Series. But, Schilling pitched for the Diamondbacks in those days. The Curse was not a factor back then.

Sportsmanship: We often focus on the spoiled brats in the sports world. But last night, sports fans had the privilege of seeing a fine display of sportsmanship in Los Angeles.

The two most storied franchises in the National League squared off last night at Chavez Ravine when the St. Louis Cardinals took on the Los Angeles Dodgers in what proved to be a decisive Game 4. The dominating Cardinals won the game by a score of 6-2. A mild celebration ensued on the mound. Nothing unusual about that. What was unusual was the reaction of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Usually the losing team in a baseball game quickly cleans out its dugout and retires into their clubhouse. Not so on Sunday night. First, the Dodgers watched patiently as the Cardinals celebrated. Then they lined up like Little Leaguers and shook their opponents' hands. But, unlike in Little League, these were the meaningful handshakes of grown men who had battled together for 166 games only to fall to a superior opponent. It was a stirring display.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/10/04

“The only way the French are going in there is if we’ve found truffles in Iraq.” -- Dennis Leary

What allies?

Throughout the campaign season, the constant mantra from Senator Kerry's campaign is that President Bush has alienated our friends. Senator Kerry insists that if he were President then we would be more respected around the world and would have more nations helping us in Iraq.

This, of course, sounds very nice. Who wouldn't want more nations helping us in Iraq? What nation does not want to be universally respected and admired? But, is this actually realistic?

Let's speak plainly about this for a moment. The nations that John Kerry is talking about are France, Germany and Russia. Kerry seems to take it as an undeniable truth that those three nations were once solid friends of the United States that they have only now been alienated by the brash policies of the Bush administration.

I contend that this is not true. I contend that although each of those nations has at some time worked well alongside the United States they are not historically trusted allies of our nation.

Germany. In the past century, the United States has fought two world wars against the Germans, and half of the German nation was on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain.

Russia. The Russians happened to be fighting against the Kaiser on the eastern front of World War 1 and happened to be fighting against Hitler in World War 2. But, in both instances, Russia could hardly be said to be a true ally of the United States. In fact, the Russians started out in World War 2 in league with Nazi Germany. World War 2 began with an invasion of Poland. As part of a secret agreement between Stalin and Hitler, it was both the Germans and the Russians who invaded Polant. And, less than 20 years ago, the United States was engaged in the height of the Cold War against the USSR. The current leader of Russia was a KGB operative in that Evil Empire.

France. And then there is France. France was indeed on the right side of World War 1. The French were attacked, and the British and Americans came and fought alongside them. Then came World War 2. After the Nazis breezed into Paris, the French basically switched sides in that war. The new government successfully sought an armistice with the Germans. Then the Vichy French actually fought against the British and the Australians in Northern Africa and the Middle East. Of course, the real allies eventually drove the Nazis out of France and allowed the Free French under De Gaulle to regain control of their nation. Then the Cold War developed. The French were hardly meaningful allies in that global struggle. And in one of the first times that the United States went on the offensive against terrorists in the Middle East, the French stood in our way. In the 1980's, the French government did not allow American planes to travel through their airspace on their way to bomb Libya.

Summary. John Kerry acts as if the United States has recently alienated tried and true friends and allies. This is simply a misunderstanding of our real relationship with those nations. Why should we expect that the nations we fought against us and obstructed us in the past would now be on our side in the War on Terror? We have never relied on those nations, and there is no reason to be surprised or dismayed at the fact that they decided to sit out the War on Terror.

What Senator Kerry refuses to acknowledge is that the United States still has the same loyal friends beside us today that we have always had beside us in global struggles. The nations that have always stood beside the United States and bled beside the United States are the United Kingdom and Australia. And once again, it is the Brits and the Aussies who are right beside us in Iraq and the rest of the War on Terror.

When it comes to friends and allies, it is not quantity that matters but quality. There are no better quality friends than the Brits and the Aussies.

Banshee Polling

Poll Results: Banshee Blog asked its readers which fast food franchise they liked the most. This turned out to be one of the most popular polls that Banshee Blog has ever conducted. The winner this week was "Other." "Other" brought in 38% of the votes. There were a couple of comments in favor of Chick-fil-A and one in favor of KFC. Therefore, it is hard to determine which chain is most beloved by Banshee readers. Wendy's came in first amongst the burger joints with 27% of the vote. McDonald's garnered 22% of the vote. Arby's got 11% of the vote. BK and Taco Bell both got shut out.

New Poll: Should the electoral college be abolished?


Joe Nemechek took his #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet to victory lane this Sunday at the Banquet 400 from the Kansas Motor Speedway. Elliot Saddler and Jeremy Mayfield were the only two drivers who are alive in the Chase for the Championship that finished in the top 5 this week. Saddler finished in 4th. That strong finish moved Saddler up 4 places in the championship standings and into 4th place. Mayfield finished just behind Saddler in 5th place. Championship points leader Kurt Busch finished in 6th place on Sunday. That was good enough to maintain his spot atop the standings. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished in 9th place and remains just 29 points behind Busch. Jeff Gordon remains in 3rd place in the standings.

Next week the Chase for the Championship goes home to Charlotte, NC for a Saturday night race under the lights at the Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/9/04

"The gift that followers of Christ bring to the suffering world is not the empathy of doubt but the power of hope." John Piper, senior writer for World magazine

Presidential showdown

Last night, the American people had the opportunity to spend their Friday night listening to the second presidential debate of the campaign season. I watched this debate on tape because I was busy listening to Toby Keith declare the greatness of America to the screaming fans at the Roanoke Civic Center.

Friday's debate was a townhall style event. The audience was made up entirely of people whom the Gallup folks identified as undecided voters. Then each of those people wrote one question for the President and one for Senator Kerry. The moderator, Charles Gibson, then selected which questions would be used. The people who wrote the questions got to readtheir questions directly to the candidate.

I was expecting the questions to be of extremely poor quality. After all, if a person is still undecided at this point, how informed or engaged could they possibly be? However, I was pleasantly surprised. The questions were probative and were not slanted towards either candidate. Mr. Gibson clearly did a good job at weeding through all the proposed questions.

It seemed to me that both candidates performed well. Bush was pretty intense and seemed comfortable in the more informal setting of the town hall style event. Kerry seemed more relaxed than I've seen him in the past, as well.

The international parts of the discussion were exactly the same as they were in the past debates. Kerry continues to be the internationalist. The President continued to preach the importance of spreading liberty throughtout hostile parts of the world. This was the first debate to contain a domestic portion. The highlight of the economic discussion was when Kerry unequivocally pledged that he would not increase taxes for people who make less than $200,000 a year. Then the candidates took their usual positions on social issues. Bush was unabashedly prolife and questioned why Kerry voted against the partial birth abortion ban. Kerry had this to say about his view on abortion, "I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for other people who do not share that article of faith." For those of you who are wondering what exactly that means, I'll translate. John Kerry does believe that unborn babies are human beings but that belief is not strong enough to allow him to step out of the arms of NOW and the ACLU.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/8/04

"Make no mistake about it -- we are the good guys." Toby Keith live in Roanoke

The Apprentice

Let me begin by saying that I not a competitive person. I am opinionated, but not really competitive. As I continue to watch the women lose on The Apprentice one thing has become very obvious to me. The men are enjoying competing. Not just because they are winning, but they actually seem to get a kick out of the whole win/lose thing. The women seem totally stressed out by the possibility of losing. The game is not fun to them.

I think the clear lesson in this is that for anyone to be successful, they need to be doing something that they enjoy. I’m glad Pamela is gone ‘cause now maybe she will be able to find something fun to do that gets rid of that sour expression and nasty attitude.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/7/04

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." Louis D. Brandeis(1856 - 1941), (Supreme Court Justice) 1928

More thoughts on NASCAR discipline

A recent commenter made an excellent point on NASCAR's decision to dock Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 25 points for his use of the s-word during his post-race interview in victory lane this weekend. Swearing is equally offensive whether the word is used in jubilation or anger. However, NASCAR is the epitome of hypocrisy on this whole language issue.

If NASCAR is worried about FCC sanctions of some sort (ala CBS and Janet Jackson) then that can be handled via fines. After all, that's all the FCC will do. NASCAR claims that the reason they are harsh on bad language is because they want to build up a family friendly image. But, this is just plain ridiculous if you look at NASCAR as a whole. If NASCAR wants their events to be family friendly then they have a lot worse things to worry about then the occassional use of the s-word. NASCAR seems to have no problem with filling their air time with scantily clad women selling beer in commercials. That is not family friendly fare. But even worse than that is fact that they allow Viagra to sponsor Mark Martin's team.

When Mark Martin won the Dover race back in June, Viagra was prominently featured all over the hood of his car and his race uniform. So basically, NASCAR has decided that it's okay for erectile dysfunction to be a part of the post-race discourse, but the s-word gets you a severe sanction. I just find this baffling.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/6/04

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Words, Words

The VP Debate - Didn’t Senator John Edwards seem like a teenaged boy trying to argue with his father over how the family should be run? And didn’t Edwards’ repeated, “Halliburton, Halliburton” remind you of Miracle Max’s wife shouting “Humperdink, Humperdink?”

Straight Talk – Recently John Kerry has accused President Bush of “not being straight with the American people” and John Edwards has said that the president is “completely out of touch with reality.” Why don’t they have the manhood to say in plain words that they think our President is a liar and a lunatic!

Really Straight Talk – Some politicians do actually say what they think. Rep. Jim DeMint, a Republican third-term congressman running for the Senate in South Carolina recently said in a debate that homosexuals should not be teaching in South Carolina's public schools. When asked for an apology by gay members of his own party DeMint said: "I would have given the same answer when asked if a single woman, who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend, should be hired to teach my third-grade children. I just think the moral decisions are different with a teacher. We need the folks that are teaching in schools to represent our values." Gee it sure is shocking when someone is candid about his views.

Nobel Prize in Literature? – And in closing, why is Bob Dylan even being considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature? I guess the answer is blowing in the wind.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/5/04

"Nobody's gonna be watching this debate because they'll all be watching the Yankee game." Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday's vice presidential debate

Battle of the Number 2's

Tonight the candidates for Vice President will square off in a debate in Cleveland, OH. My first thought on the veep debate was that no one but the most devoted political junkies would bother to watch an event like this. But then I remembered that the vice presidential debate can be quite exciting. While the top men on the ticket have to appear presidential, the vice presidential candidates can take the gloves off and throw haymakers at the opposing ticket. So, there is a reason to watch this debate. If you're reading this post after the debate has already occurred, you can probably still catch a replay on C-SPAN. Of course, I will post my thoughts on this website. But, I'll be watching the debate on tape. Political haymakers or no, no debate trumps a Yankees playoff game.

Tyrannical NASCAR

Let me begin by disclosing that I am an unabashed fan of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (as if there was any doubt amongst readers of this blog). So, I understand that I may be a little biased here, but NASCAR's arbitrary rule-making and enforcement reared its ugly head again this afternoon.

This afternoon, NASCAR fined Dale Earnhardt, Jr. $10,000 for using the s-word in a post-race interview that was broadcast live on NBC. But that's not all. NASCAR also docked Junior 25 points. That deduction dropped Earnhardt out of first place in the championship standings.

All year, NASCAR has been warning its drivers to keep their language clean in radio and TV interviews. Earlier this year NASCAR docked Johnny Sauter and Ron Hornaday 25 points for using that same word in radio interviews. But, unlike Sauter and Hornaday, Little E was not speaking ill of anyone or acting in anger. Rather, Earnhardt was rejoicing in victory lane after winning the race and taking the points lead. So, what exactly did Earnhardt say?

Immediately after climbing from his car, Earnhardt told NBC microphones, "Well, it don't mean s*** right now. Daddy's won here 10 times. So, I've got to do more winning. But we're going to get there. He was the master. I'm just following in his tracks."

My summary: I am all in favor of returning decency to public discourse. Furthermore, NASCAR has every right to try to maintain some control over its image. However, the remedy for language violations should remain a monetary fine. Points should not be docked for off-track infractions. The NBA fines athletes for bad language in TV interviews. But, can you imagine if a team was stripped of a win due to post-game swearing? It's unthinkable. It just doesn't make any sense at all that drivers never lose points for destroying another driver's chance at winning by putting him into the wall and yet a jubilant slip of the tongue could cost a driver a championship.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/4/04

"Quiet! The commercials are on. If we don't watch them it's like stealing TV." Homer Simpson.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/3/04

"If we are to succeed in our desire to be a gracious hostess, we must be prepared to be taught many things we know already by many people who do not know them." From Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping


The EA Sports 500 from Talladega lived up to its billing. As the leaders slowed down for their final pit stop of the afternoon, the field got bottled up behind them. Sterling Marlin and Greg Biffle ended up in the wall, bringing out the caution with 10 laps to go. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the leader at the time and was already on his way down pit road when the caution came out. Junior made a gamble and took on right side tires during this stop while his opponents took only gas. Junior was in 11th when the green flag dropped with just 6 laps remaining. Riding on the fresh tires, Junior passed cars on the low side and the high side with little or no assistance -- a rarity at a track that usually demands drafting to pass. The final lap was a wild one all throughout the field. Jeff Gordon narrowly avoided wrecking cars on the back stretch, and Elliott Saddler rolled over in turn 3. Earnhardt avoided all trouble and was able to hold off Kevin Harvick to take home the checkered flag.

The win propelled Dale, Jr. into first place in the Chase for the Championship. Kurt Busch finished 5th this afternoon and only trails the #8 team by 13 points. Jeff Gordon's disappointing 18th place finish dropped him to 3rd in the standings, but he is still only 61 points out of the lead.

Banshee Polling

Poll Results: Last week's poll asked how many of the presidential debates readers planned to watch. 50% of respondents said that they planned to watch all 3 debates. 33% said that they didn't plan to watch any of the debates. 16% said they intended to watch 1 debate.

New Poll: We're taking a break from serious subjects like the presidential race. This week, Banshee Blog wants to know which fast food restaurant is your favorite.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/2/04

"No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons." Senator John Kerry during the 9/30 debate.

NASCAR preview

The Chase for the Championship rolls into Talladega, Alabama this weekend. This is one of my very favorite races. I always love the restrictor plate races. Three wide into the turns provides constant excitement.

Joe Nemecheck has the pole for Sunday's race, but he is not part of the Chase. Jeff Gordon is the current points leader, and his #24 Chevrolet will start 5th. That is the highest qualifier of anybody that is alive in the Chase. Everyone starting in positions 6 through 10 is also part of the Chase. Kurt Busch is in 2nd in the points and will be starting in 8th. Earnhardt, Jr. is 3rd in the Chase and will be starting from the 10th spot. Junior could be tough from that spot because DEI cars are always strong in restrictor plate races.

The race will air at 1:30 on NBC.

Obnoxious Women

The ladies lost again this week on The Apprentice. This was the third week in a row that the women went down in flames. For the first time this entire season, Trump sent the project manager packing. So, it was Jenn C. who took the taxi home.

The task this week was to set up a restaurant that was then reviewed by Zagat's on its opening night. I didn't see the entire episode this week, so I cannot go into detail about what happened during the task. In the end, Zagat's didn't like the atmosphere and decor of the women's restaurant, so they lost. Then the fireworks began. The ladies turned into alley cats, scratching and clawing at each other in the loft as they prepared for the boardroom. Alliances were formed and racial tensions developed.

George was not in the boardroom this week. Instead, last year's Apprentice, Bill Rancic, joined Carolyn and the Donald at the judgment table. Jenn C. automatically had an appointment in the final boardroom since she was project manager. Jenn C. chose to ignore the performance of her teammates on this week's task. Even though Sandy was responsible for the furnishings that sunk the ladies, Jenn C. spared her friend. Instead, she took Stacy R. and Elizabeth into the final boardroom. Bill and Carolyn immediately saw that these were personal choices. Bill was particularly angered by the Survivor style alliance building. Trump quickly dismissed the smug Jenn C.

I'm glad that Jenn C. got fired. I knew that she talked too much about things she knew nothing about when she said last week, "Mike Piazza is like Mr. New York. Everyone loves Mike Piazza. Even Yankees fans love Mike Piazza. You can't not love Mike Piazza." First of all, no Met is Mr. New York. Furthermore, Piazza is not well liked by Yankees fans. In fact, he largely detested. If you wanna pick a Met that no one dislikes, you gotta go with Al Leiter. But, I digress.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Quote of the Day 10/1/04

"You can be realistic and optimistic at the same time." President George W. Bush during the 9/30 debate.

And the winner is ....

Preseidential debate #1 is in the books. The conventional wisdom among the wisemen of the media is that Senator Kerry won the debate. I suppose this is not a surprise due to the fact that Kerry is a highly trained debater from his Ivy League and Swiss prep school days. As Sean Hannity pointed out, it is no wonder that Kerry performed so well in this debate format. After all, when you learn competitive debating, you are required to debate both sides of the issue. I thought that President Bush's style was quite appealing. I've never liked that stiff, National Forensic Association style of debating. I like plain speaking, and I like smirking and visible frustration when your opponent says something you think is ludicrous. But, that's just me.

The flash polls that were conducted in the minutes following the debate indicate that the American people agreed with the media and thought that John Kerry won the debate. However, those same polls indicate that President George W. Bush still holds the same sized lead after the debate as he did going into the debate.

So basically, I still maintain that the debates are fairly useless. We get to see who has better posture and who is taller. But, soundbite responses to predictable questions really don't reveal very much about who will make a better Commander in Chief. I think that I could have answered all of last night's questions on behalf of both candidates.

What couldn't I do for both candidates? Run a hundred meter dash. So, I renew my proposal that next Friday's debate in St. Louis be scrapped in exchange for a decathalon at the Horseshoe in Columbus, OH.