Wednesday, December 29, 2004
A life sacrificed to let her daughter survive - Asia Tsunami - www.smh.com.au Then a second series of waves came a few minutes later. The Balachandras fought to make it to one of the few houses still standing but were separated. Trying to save the aunt and grandmother, Bernard was washed into the branches of a tree, where he survived despite being struck by debris. Asha and her mother tried to make it to one of the few houses still standing but, realising they would both drown if they clung together, Magdalene let her daughter go on to save herself. Asha recalled: "She said to me, 'No, Asha, I'm falling. You go ahead first, you lead.' She didn't want to hold on to me. This story alone is a tragedy. Multiply by 70,000, if you can. Seventy. Thousand. I'm not sure that I can. I work at a place that has about a hundred employees. A medium-sized business. I know most of my coworkers by sight, if not by name, and I recognize most of the names. Now I try to imagine seven hundred of those. I've been to a few big-league college football games, a couple of pro games, some rock concerts, a couple of Promise Keepers events. 70,000 is a LOT of people. UPDATE: That was a few days ago. The toll is DOUBLE that now. Words simply fail...
Yahoo! News - Aid Grows Amid Remarks About President's Absence $35 million in aid, with more - much more - to follow. (Compare to the EU's $4 mil.) An aircraft carrier. A division of troops. Hundreds of thousands of individuals donating through Amazon, to World Vision, the Red Cross/Red Crescent, etc. And still the Bush-bashers and America-haters find a way to criticise us. This is really tiresome. If we pulled all the troops out of Iraq and sent them to help, canceled all the military programs and sent the money to SEA, lassoed a couple of icebergs and towed them to the coasts of Sri Lanka and Sumatra, people would still call it insufficient. Exactly what is the President going to accomplish by going on TV and saying the obvious - that this is an unprecendented humanitarian disaster and America's response will be likewise unprecedented? But you know what? It doesn't matter. America - and Americans - will jump in to help. We always have, we always will.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
'We Didn't Understand, We Were Just Paralyzed' (washingtonpost.com) Giske, a Norwegian real estate investor, and his Thai wife had been enjoying the holidays in a villa they own here. On Sunday, they had arranged for a sailboat ride with two other families and were down at Patong Beach, waiting for the vessel to arrive, when everything changed. "Suddenly, we saw the ocean was disappearing," Giske said. In the span of about 15 seconds, the water reaching as far out as 2,000 yards simply vanished. It was about 10 in the morning on one of the busiest days of the year. The sea was packed with families. The undertow was so powerful that anyone in the water was instantly sucked out, witnesses said. Then came a strange period of calm, the ocean gone, fish flopping on the abandoned seabed. Some people wandered out for a look. "Suddenly, we saw this big wave coming," Giske said. "It took all the yachts and swept them in. We didn't understand, we were just paralyzed."
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Monday, December 20, 2004
Yahoo! News - Ga. Town Proud of WWII Christmas Legacy In December 1944, workers building Liberty Ships at the Brunswick Shipyard in Georgia reported to work on Christmas Day to build one more ship for the war effort. Then they donated their overtime pay back to the Treasury to help pay for the war effort. Where is that spirit today?
Friday, December 17, 2004
After three decades, Bill Moyers calls it a career I used to have respect for Moyers. Note the verb tense.
The Quagmire in Europe An uncle of mine was a paratrooper during the Bulge. He also jumped at Normandy. Purple Heart with four oak leaf clusters. FWIW, in the comments section of at Trasnterrestrial Musings I referred to "A History of the English Language" by me and Ben Tucker. Here's the link.
James Lileks doesn't like the discount grocery store, Aldi. His riff on it is pretty funny - the "brand" names are very alternate-universey. "Grandessa" for example - it's on the ice cream, the tomato sauce, etc. That doesn't mean that the quality of the products is poor, however. My kids love Aldi's sandwich bread and cinnamon rolls. Their "frozen chicken things" - Kiev, Cordon Bleu, etc. you know what I mean? - are just as tasty as the ones costing 50% more at Cub (or here in Cleveland , Giant Eagle or Tops). They have a really good muesli-type cereal, and their diet cola is drinkable, unlike the Wal-mart diet coke knockoff. (Sam's Choice Raisin Bran is the best on the planet, however.) Milk and butter are commodities - why pay more than you have to? I don't like their take on "Wheat Thins," but the kids like them, and their version of "Cheeze-its" is indistinguishable from the brand name box. Renting the carts for a quarter and selling the (sturdy and reusable) bags must help keep costs down. Think about what a place like Cub in our old stomping ground of SLP paid to keep carts back in the store - at least two stockboys making at least minimum wage, plus the depreciation on the radio-controlled "mule" they use. It's gotta add up to thousands of dollars per year. Cut that out of the budget, and you can reduce prices across the board. They also don't take checks or credit cards, which probably saves a huge amount in bank fees and write-offs. Aldi doesn't just use the savings to pass on low prices. They also pay their employees well - the ads say starting pay is $12/hr. It's annoying that they never seem to have enough checkout lanes open, but you can manage that by timing your trips to avoid the crowd.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Commisar Hewitt issued a call for comment on the recent Newsweek article on the birth of Christ and the more-than-able rebuttal by Mark D. Roberts and others, with the question, "What does Newsweek's story on Christmas tell us about MSM?". I've not had time to read the assignment, I'll admit. (I was practicing for the Christmas Eve service at church - can I get a pass, Professor?) But from what I have seen, it's not hard to form an opinion. If it changes after reading the original articles and the subsequent blog entries, I'll update this post. Not that I think it likely. Most of historical and much of modern "mainstream" Christianity is bound up in ritual. Ritual is a cultural thing - quaint, colorful folklore, the stuff of National Geographic and Discovery Channel specials. It is non-threatening. As long as Christianity is merely cultural and doesn't try to get personal, it's okay. But there's a new and dangerous kind of Christian around - Evangelicals. They elected the horrible Bushitler. And the key thing about these Evangelicals is that they ACTUALLY BELIEVE the stories in the Bible. They are growing in number. So it is imperative for those who control the nation's media to 1. try to get some of the new converts to question their new-found "faith" and 2. demonstrate to the "reality-based community" that these Evangelicals who are so certain they have a lock on Truth have really based their worldview on a lie. We all know that truth is relative - there IS no such thing as "absolute truth" - and the Newsweek article confirms this. Comfort ye, my people. /sarcasm, for the terminally clueless
James Lileks was in Chicago this weekend, ego-browsing bookstores to see how his new book is selling. He turns them face-out because, "People’s eyes skate over spines, but they linger over covers. For a second, at least." I understand his desire to make his book more noticable. If I ever get around to writing The Great American Coffee-Table Tome, I'd want it to sell, too. The problem is that the cover of THIS particular book will make your eyeballs explode from their sockets. Imagine the ugly scene in a crowded Chicago bookstore: A group of folks are gathered mournfully around the deep-discount table, looking sadly at the unsold stacks of obsolete anti-Bush screeds while throngs of harried holiday shoppers elbow their way past. Suddenly there's a loud, wet, "POP! POP!" and a pair of bleeding, melted optic spheres zip through the crowd, nailing an embittered blue-stater and his wife square in the temple. Down they go. Hard. "POP! POP!" again and a lady slumps over her stroller, double-tapped between the eyes. Screams. A mad rush for the exits. An old lady goes down in the crush, wailing piteously. James, you're a nice guy, but endangering the public in order to line your own pockets is simply reprehensible.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
"We have conclusive evidence that an empire-wide (in decree, not necessarily execution, of course) registration occurred in the time frame described by Luke! Martin [CKC:89-90] summarizes the literary, archeological, and iconographic evidence for this: " A sixth reason for placing the nativity of Jesus in 3 or 2 B.C. isthe coincidence of this date with the New Testament account that Jesus was born at the time when a Roman census was being conducted: "There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the IRoman] world should be registered" (Luke 2:1). Historians have not been able to find any empire-wide census or registration in the years 7-5 B.C., but there is a reference to such a registration of all the Roman people not long before 5 February 2 B.C. written by Caesar Augustus himself: "While I was administering my thirteenth consulship [2 B.C.] the senate and the equestrian order and the entire Roman people gave me the title Father of my Country" (Res Gestae 35, italics added). This award was given to Augustus on 5 February 2 B.C., therefore the registration of citizen approval must have taken place in 3 B.C. "
Thursday, December 09, 2004
CNN/SI - Inside Game - Sports Illustrated - Life of Reilly - Life of Reilly: On a Wing and a Prayer - Tuesday September 14, 1999 06:12 PM If you need a laugh, click and read. Milk Duds, indeed! ROFL!
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Grim Economic Realities On another site I was shooting the breeze with some folks, speculating what would have happened had the attack at Pearl Harbor been a total military success. (They missed the carriers, most of the repair yards, and the oil facilities). A good fellow named "dc" pointed me to this article. Wow.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Thursday, December 02, 2004
It sounds like the title of a Robert Ludlum spy thriller. Fedora'd characters lurking in shadowed corners, blind drops and microdots, a retired Stazi officer making an unlikely alliance with an embittered, embattled CIA agent racing against time to save the world - and his girl. A terrific read, a lovely bit of disposable fiction. Would that it were. The Groningen Protocol is all too real. It is the process by which a committee of doctors at the Groningen Academic Hospital in The Netherlands decides to kill sick babies. Not turn off the life-support machines. Not stop treatment. Not decide not to use heroic measures, and provide palliative care until nature takes its course. Kill, as in inject with lethal drugs. The same as you'd do with a cat or dog. Put down. Euthanize. Put out of their misery. Kill. And unlike abortion, this is not the parent making the decision to kill the child. A panel of doctors decides. The parents wishes may be considered, but the decision is made by "medical professionals." The same ones, presumably, that once took an oath to "first, do no harm" and to "administer no deadly medicine." Hugh Hewitt wonders why much of the blogosphere has been silent on this issue to date. Perhaps, like me, other bloggers have simply been too shocked to have much to say. Those who have spoken have done so very elequently, and as a result, I don't have much to add. Perhaps I will later. Most likely. Pastor and theologian Dr. Mark D. Roberts has assembled a useful and insightful set of resources. UPDATE: A tie-in I have yet to see is the connection between the Groningen Protocol and Susan Smith. You remember her, right? She's the young mother - excuse me, that should be "young woman" - who murdered - excuse me, that should be "exercised her reproductive rights" her young children - excuse me, that should be, "products-of-conception" - by strapping them into their car seats and pushing the car into a pond - excuse me, that should be, "creatively utilizing the methods available to her". The reason she did that, she said at her trial, was that the young boys had become an inconvient drag on her social calendar. IOW, they adversely impacted her quality of life and mental health. I still don't understand why "reproductive rights" advocates are not agitating for her release. I'm certain that supporters and apologists for the Groningen Protocol will come to her aid. She's quite a heroine to the cause of individual freedom, wouldn't you say? Certainly not the cold-blooded child murderer she's been portrayed as. /swiftian sarcastic irony, for the clueless
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
CD Baby: BRUCE LASH: Prozak for Lovers II - hear and buy it at CD BABY. If you like Talking Heads, you will LOVE Bruce Lash's take on "Psycho Killers." It is to laugh!
Yahoo! News - Principal Sorry for 'School Prayer' Poem To the people who complained: if the shoe fits, wear it!
Monday, November 29, 2004
Yahoo! News - Top general warns Iran not to underestimate U.S. military "Why the Iranians would want to move against us in an overt manner that would cause us to use our air or naval power against them would be beyond me," Army Gen. John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command, said in an interview on the way to his headquarters here from Afghanistan. ... Abizaid, the top commander for Afghanistan and Iraq, said any nation perceiving a weakness in the U.S. military should think twice. "We can generate more military power per square inch than anybody else on Earth, and everybody knows it," Abizaid said. "If you ever even contemplate our nuclear capability, it should give everybody the clear understanding that there is no power that can match the United States militarily." I'd like to see that whole interview, to get some context. But how much you want to bet that folks start screaming about how the top US general is threatening to nuke Iran?
Hugh Hewitt asks for modern novels worth re-reading. I confess that my recreational fiction reading tends towards the mind-candy technothriller. These are generally single-use books, though the plots and characters tend to be repetitive enough that reading two of them might be considered the same as re-reading either. I've run across one or two books, though, that are worth re-reading. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet tells the story of the building of a cathedral at the transition from the Romanesque style with barrel vaults and thick walls to Gothic architecture, with its soaring expanses of stained glass and flying buttresses. The story captures the everyday squalor of medieval life and the power of the mounted man-at-arms over the peasant. The pervasive influence of the Roman Catholic Church is depicted without affection; the spiritually sympathetic character is a woodland "witch" who is persecuted for being a premodern feminist. This anachronism aside, it's a terrific read. I was therefore curiously disappointed when I reread Follet's Night Over Water, an espionage thriller set on a fictional flight of the grand Boeing Flying Boat at the outbreak of WWII. I recalled the book as going into a lot of techical detail about this marvelous flying machine. On the second reading, though, the story seemed to be mostly about sex. I finally got around to reading the last installment of the Left Behind series. The first couple of books were fascinating, but the quality of the writing seriously deteriorated as the series dragged on and on. You'd think that for a Christian author, describing the Parousia would be like an organist playing a Bach tocatta - a chance to pull out all the stops. But it falls flat. Frank Peretti wrote a couple of books that are worth a second look, particularly This Present Darkness. Someone really needs to make that into a movie. With today's digital effects, a competent visual storyteller could really bring to life this tale of Good versus Evil in a small town. Roy Scheider is probably too old to play the central character. Maybe Ed Harris? (Yes, I know he played a good guy opposite Max von Sydow's Devil in Needful Things.) My wife is currently re-reading the Zion Chronicles series by Brook and Bodie Thoene. And of course, C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia should be read and re-read. Aloud to your children.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
IMAO: Our Military: Letters to Michael Moore "Michael Moore asked for letter from veterans, and some responded and were nice enough to forward me [Frank J. at IMAO] their letters." Be careful what you ask for. You might get it. :-D
Monday, November 22, 2004
Yahoo! News - Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents Why am I not surprised?
Yahoo! News - Jet Crashes Before Picking Up Elder Bush I'm playing amateur NTSB investigator here. The plane clipped a light pole on final approach in IFR. The weather map shows a stationary front across the flight path from Dallas to Houston. I'm guessing that the pilots may not have set their altimeters correctly for the approach. Coming from an area of relatively high barometric pressure to an area of low pressure, the altimeter would read higher than the actual altitude. (The low pressure makes the instrument think it's at a higher altitude than it really is.) Tragic.
Friday, November 19, 2004
MSNBC - Hardee's unveils the �Monster Thickburger Ok, so welcome to last week. But GOLLY, this looks yummy! I suppose yet another way to divide people are those to whom the Monster Thickburger looks like death-on-plate, and those of us to whom it looks like some Serious Lunch.
IranPressNews (English): A 14 year old boy is sentenced to 85 lashes for breaking his Ramadan fast ! A 14 year old boy died on Thursday, November 11th, after having received 85 lashes; according to the ruling of the Mullah judge of the public circuit court in the town of Sanandadj he was guilty of breaking his fast during the month of Ramadan. Beating a child to death for eating, and do it in the name of God. I am speechless with rage and fury. Is this the fast that God desires?
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Yahoo! News - Kmart, Sears to Merge in $11 Billion Deal Sounds like they plan to give Wa-Mart a run for their money for the title of King of Mediocrity. I remember the Sears Catalog - especially the toy section! - from when I was a kid. It was the Big Wish Book. I spent hours poring over that thing, dreaming. In college, Sears Craftsman tools were still the best you could get for the home shop (yes, the professional grease monkeys used Snap-On, but they were EXPENSIVE. I figure they bundled the cost of their pin-up calendars with the price of the tools.) But in the past 20 years or so, Sears just seems to have slid. Maybe it's inept marketing, maybe poor management, but it's just not the same. And now, this. Kmart marries Sears. It's just not exciting.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Yahoo! News - U.S. Researcher Says Finds Atlantis Off Cyprus Very, very cool. There are ancient stories all over the globe of cataclysmic floods. I've never been one to take Genesis literally - especially the pre-patriarchal stories, but it's clear that Genesis does preserve ancient "racial memories" - stories handed down from generation to generation, like the Austrailian Aborigine "Dreamtime."
Yahoo! News - U.S. to Probe Shooting of Wounded Iraqi Here's the nub of it: ...a Marine in the same unit had been killed just a day earlier when he tended to the booby-trapped dead body of an insurgent. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... BTW, wasn't it just a few weeks ago that a man running for President claimed he was qualified for the job in part because he once chased down and killed a wounded enemy combatant?
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
normblog: Gone wrong A left-wing blogger asks a probing question - why were so many Kurds and Iranians happy to see George Bush win the election? Shouldn't downtrodden people yearning to be free fear a conservative adminintration? Shouldn't they look for hope to the marchers for "peace and justice?" Mazlow's ladder, Norm. Mazlow's ladder. You can feel free to march for a woman's right to kill the fetus living within her when she does not have to fear being publicly executed for being pregnant out of wedlock.
100,000 Dead�or 8,000 - How many Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the war? By Fred Kaplan But read the passage that cites the calculation more fully:
We estimate there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period.Readers who are accustomed to perusing statistical documents know what the set of numbers in the parentheses means. For the other 99.9 percent of you, I'll spell it out in plain English—which, disturbingly, the study never does. It means that the authors are 95 percent confident that the war-caused deaths totaled some number between 8,000 and 194,000. (The number cited in plain language—98,000—is roughly at the halfway point in this absurdly vast range.) This isn't an estimate. It's a dart board. Figures don't lie, but liars can figure. Figures, doesn't it?
Michelle Malkin: MOST CHARITABLE STATES--RED OR BLUE? Hey, those of us in the Red states may be ignorant homo-hating Biblethumping anti-science keep-the-wimmin-barefoot-pregnant-an-in-the-kitchen gaptoothed redneck inbred uneducated NASCAR WWF country-music-lovin' idiots, but at least we're generous....
Friday, November 05, 2004
I just witnessed in microcosm what might have happened had Kerry won. For several years I've been a member of Guitar.com. One of the features of that site was a free-wheeling discussion board called "Misc." The language there was often pretty rough, as you might expect fromm anonymous adolescent rock-n-roll fans. But I considered it my mission field, as it were. One thread on Christianity grew to over a thousand posts and lasted more than a year, with a rolling conversation between myself, a couple of other believers, and a handful of atheists (not to mention the trolls). The board was moderated, so if anyone got too far out of line they could be banned (forcing them to come up with a new user ID) and their posts deleted. Well, this evening someone guessed an admin's password. The hacker gave every user the power to be a moderator. It was an electronic version of the Fall of Rome. People were being banned left and right, posts deleted, truly offensive content being posted - pandemonium. The site owner just took all the discussion boards offline. ALL the boards, including sedate forums devoted to beginners tips, the technical minutia of recording techniques and signal processing. The children got put in charge, and all hell broke loose. Had Kerry won on Tuesday, the foreign and domestic policy of this nation would have been dictated by the likes of Michael Moore and MoveOn. Thank you, God.
Yahoo! News - Arafat Fighting for His Life in Paris: "A prolonged Arafat incapacitation -- or death --could have profound impact on the Middle East. " One presumes that Arafat's death would indeed be "prolonged." These AP writers must be too young to recall SNL's "Francisco Franco is still dead" headlines....
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Match the speaker with the speech. Can you discriminate between John Kerry, Michael Moore, and Osama bin Laden? I got 12 out of 20 right. I got 3 Kerry quotes right, 4 Moore quotes, and 5 OBL quotes. I looked at the style of the language, since the content was pretty much indistinguishable. Scary. I missed 2 Kerry quotes and 3 each of Moore and Osama, attributing 2 Kerry quotes to Moore, 1 Moore quote to Kerry, 2 Moore quotes to OBL, 2 OBL quotes to Kerry and 1 OBL quote to Moore. Twice I thought it was Kerry, but it was Osama. Twice I thought it was Moore, but it was Kerry. Twice I thought it was Osama, but it was Moore. At least I didn't attribute any genuine Kerry quotes to Osama. Still pretty scary, though, how hard it was to tell the difference between a mass murderer, a radical film maker, and a man who a lot of people want to be the next President of the United States.
Captain's Quarters So now John Kerry is going to single-handedly revise the US Constitution to please a Finnish election observer. Simply. Amazing.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
DRUDGE REPORT: CIA, FBI AUTHENTICATE NEW QAEDA TERROR TAPE Given that the person on the tape warns that the attack is in retribution for "electing George Bush who has made war on Islam by destroying the Taliban and making war on Al Qaeda", I suspect that the attack is not planned for before the election. Bush didn't destroy the Taliban or make war on AQ until AFTER 9/11. The tape was probably intended to be aired after the election in the event of a Bush victory. The tape may have been inadvertently released early. Or maybe not. Perhaps the intent in releasing it now is to warn that IF we re-elect Bush, there will be an attack. (There doesn't seem to be a promise of peace if we elect Kerry, however.) Little matter. We expect them to try again, and our homeland security is oriented toward the threat. Memo to AQ: The US is not Spain.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Yahoo! News - Pilot Error Blamed for Flight 587 Crash Seems to me this is a problem with the flight-control software. The Airbus is a fly-by-wire machine. The pilot's controls are not directly connected to the control surfaces. The pilot's control inputs are evaluated by a computer (a voting troika, actually), which then moves the control surfaces. So the flight-control software should be able to prevent overcontrolling in all flight regimes. But it's far easier to blame the pilot. He's dead, after all.
Monday, October 25, 2004
Security Council members deny meeting Kerry - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - October 24, 2004 So this is the big story? What's the big deal? Kerry met with the Security Council over lunch at all those Washington restaurants where he met with the other foreign leaders who told him to win.
Friday, October 22, 2004
The Daily Recycler: Oh My Reagan's famous "Bear" ad, and the new Bush "Wolves" ad. I think Bear was far more powerful. The visuals in Wolves are terrific - especially the final shot where the pack gets up and moves toward the camera - but the script is poor IMO. UPDATE: Inspiration struck when I read whay Jeff had to say over at Shape of Days. Here's my alternate script: We all know they exist. But what are they, really? Some say they're dangerous, vicious brutes who attack without warning. They must be exterminated before they attack us - or our children. Others say they're merely misunderstood, that we must learn to live together. That we can be friends. [shot of pack moving toward camera] Nice doggy...? Whaddya think?
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Yahoo! News - ACLU Turns Down $1.15 Million in Funding Hm. The ACLU turns down $1.5 million because the grant stipulates that the money cannot be used to "directly or indirectly engage in, promote, or support other organizations or individuals who engage in or promote terrorist activity." At least they're being honest.
Hugh Hewitt has another symposium question: Why vote for Bush, and what's wrong with Kerry? Just to be contrarian, I'm going to turn it around. Also, I recall what a wise friend once told me - you don't really understand an argument until you can argue both sides. So. Why vote for Kerry, and What's wrong with Bush? Vote for Kerry because: 1. He's not Bush (see list of Bush's faults below) 2. He will make America better-liked by other countries 3. He has a plan for dealing with the looming health care crisis 4. He promised not to raise my taxes unless I more than triple my income 5. He's been in combat, so he knows what it's like to be ordered into battle What's wrong with Bush: 1. He can't say 'nuclear', or give an extemporaneous speech 2. He's so focused on Iraq that our armed forces are spread too thin 3. He didn't have a plan to secure Iraq after Saddam was driven from power 4. He spends too much 5. He doesn't care what other countries think of America OK, I tried. Really, I did.
The Washington Monthly Stuff on the flu vaccine shortage. As is expected in the blogosphere, there's a lot of meat in the comments (about 50% meat, 50% fat, same as a decent rack of ribs). I'm not sure where I stand on the issue. I got my shot with no waiting, and YES, I'm in a high-risk group. Should it be a campaign issue? Maybe, if the election were 90 days away, since that's how long it would take to adequately disseminate the detailed technical information needed to make an informed opinion of the administration's handling of the situation. (See the comments to the post above.) As it is, there's only enough time for the Democrats to cry, "Bush's focus on Iraq is going to make Grandma and Baby Jane die of the flu!" How do YOU spell 'desperate'?
Friday, October 15, 2004
Hugh Hewitt's weekend symposium #3 How deep a hole have John Kerry, Mary Beth Cahill and the Edwards dug for themselves? How lasting the damage? There are two ways to hit bottom. One, of course, is to simply stop digging. The other is when things get worse faster than you can lower your standards. Democrats have this key principle backwards. The Democrat's standards of decency are plummeting towards the core, and show no signs of slowing, much less stopping. As they realize that they are losing votes on the issues that really matter to most Americans, they embrace the politics of personal destruction they hypocritically claim to decry. Kerry and Edwards' pathetic, desparate, and despicable attempt to score cheap political points from Mary Cheney's private life is just one more example of how low the Democratic Party and its supporters have sunk. Today's Cleveland Plain Dealer reveals that the Democrat sleaze machine is once again attempting to drag the private life of a top-shelf Republican candidate - Congressman Steve LaTourette - through the mud. This is reminiscent of how Democrat operatives managed to get access to Illinois Senate candidate Jack Ryan's sealed divorce files, forcing him to drop out of the race amid strongly denied, unproven charges that he wanted to have sex with his wife. In a strip bar full of likewise consenting adults, yes. So what if it's kinky? They're married. The people who dug up and publicized these charges cheer men in pink tutus French-kissing each other in public on Gay Pride Day, and maintained that the President getting oral sex from an intern, and then lying about it to a grand jury and the American people, is a "personal matter". But a Republican who might want to add some zing to his marriage is tres outre'. They embraced sleazeball filmmaker Michael Moore, who calls his films "documentaries" until the lies are documented, then hides behind the label "artist". They did their damndest to once again dredge up the spurious story of Bush's service in the Air National Guard. Having exhausted all the real evidence (Bush's teeth showed up for duty, but he did net, apparently), they ran a prime-time story based on laughably bad forgeries. They've slimed and smeared the honorable men of the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, who have much to lose by coming forward and telling their side of the story, but nothing to gain - except their dignity. They've organized terror attacks on Republican campaign offices, using union muscle to intimidate, vandalize, and assault. They've lied about a draft. They've made fun of kids with developmental disabilities. And so on, and so on. I'm sick of it. I'm no dyed-in-the-wool conservative. I rejected my father's support of Nixon and Goldwater. I opposed Reagan's arms buildup. I worked on Paul Wellstone's first Senate campaign. I voted for Bill Clinton. I was lukewarm about Bush in 2000, though I slightly preferred him to Gore. I thought we went into Iraq too soon, though I have changed my mind as the evidence has come to light. I disagree with a number of the President's domestic policies, though he is clearly the better choice for Commander in Chief in this war. I have never voted a straight-party ticket in my life. This year, I will. The Democrats have proven that they do not deserve to be elected to County Dead Skunk Scooper, much less any higher office. They smell worse than the skunks.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Michelle Malkin: MORE DESPICABLE DEMOCRAT BIGOTRY This is about the wretched hate piece being distributed by Democrats in Tennesee. It shows Bush's face photoshopped onto the body of kid running a footrace. The caption reads, "Voting for Bush is like running in the Special Olympics - even if you win, you're still retarded." I've seen something similar in Internet discussion forums, but it's "Arguing on the Internet is like..." I have a step-brother with Down's. A party this despicable deserves to lose and lose soundly. This piece says three things to me: 1. The supposed party of inclusiveness, the ones who fight for the little guy, who champion the disenfranchised, will not hesitate for a moment to callously exploit them them for political gain. 2. They know they are going to lose, and lose big. This ad cannot possibly convince a voter who is somehow still on the fence to come over to their side. 3. They are totally out of arguments on the issues, so they are left with nothing but personal insults for their opponents. They remind me of the picture of a mouse giving the finger to the eagle swooping down on him. The mouse may be defiant, but he's still lunch.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Monday, October 11, 2004
Yahoo! News - UN: Iraqi Nuclear-Related Materials Have Vanished Well, this is troubling. If whole buildings and outdoor stockpiles have vanished under the noses of the CPA, that's ammo for Kerry, no doubt. Of course, it's also possible that the materials were removed by the CPA but simply not reported to the IAEA. However - if these stockpiles and equipment are so valuable for making nuclear weapons, then Saddam's nuclear capability must have been a real threat, right? But if Saddam's nuclear capability was NOT a threat, then the missing materials must not be very important. If that's so, what's the fuss?
Friday, October 08, 2004
Red Daddie Steve has a very apt analogy of Kerry as a parent who blusters but never follows through. "If I'd been president, I'd have wanted the same threat of force." This is a bit more of his underlying strategy showing; I want to be able to threaten them and they WILL comply. He mentioned it during the debate of the NBB "that we would EVEN CONSIDER using." stating that he would never even consider using the ones already in stock. This is the strategy of a 'repeating, threatening parent' You've seen them "if you don't stop I'm gunna" ten times in the grocery store, and that is just on aisle one, the poor child gets yelled at but never learns to do what is right. Early on with my own kids, I used the "one... two..." routine. One day my eldest, then about 5ish, was doing something he shouldn't. I "oned" him. He just looked at me and continued to do whatever he was doing. "TWO!" He stopped, looked at me, looked back at his activity. I leaned in, looked him in the eye, and said softly but firmly, "Do you know what happens when I get to three?" He hadn't really thought about it. You could see him working it over. "No, Daddy." He seemed a little concerned at the prospect. I continued to look him right in the eye. I spoke slowly, softly, clearly. "Do you want to find out?" His eyes got big. He shook his head. "No..." We clearly told Saddam what would happen if we counted to three. He didn't believe us. Qaddafi saw what happened. He didn't wait for us to look at him and say, "TWO!"
I'm a pilot and a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association, a terrific lobbying and service organization dedicated to general aviation. This month's AOPA Pilot (the monthly magazine for members) contains a Q&A with Bush and Kerry on issues related to general aviation. It's telling. I wish I could link the text of the article, but it's not online. If you're interested in direct quotes rather than the paraphrase here, leave a comment and I'll transcribe. Each candidate was asked the same questions. When asked about their experience with GA, Bush notes his ANG flight time, then explains how as a private businessman he used GA to build his business, and how as governor of Texas he used the state's air fleet to help him get around the vast state. Good, detailed answer that shows he understands the benefits of general aviation. Kerry just says, "I've been a pilot for thirty years, so I'm obviously very familiar with general aviation." Riiight. No mention of his ratings or experience. Just trust him when he says he's very familiar with GA. Both candidates agree that the current system of how GA services are funded (a combination of fuel taxes and general revenues supporting the FAA, with some other things thrown in) should not be changed. (There's a move afoot in some quarters to move to a pay-for-service scheme, where pilots would be charged for getting a weather briefing or to file a flight plan. That would have a truly chilling effect on safety.) Bush's answer is much more detailed, laying out the different funding avenues of the current system. Asked to list some recent pro-aviation government activity they've been a part of, Bush lists a bill he signed this year that ups the federal budget for needed improvements at small airports, and supports upgrades to the Flight Service System. Kerry notes the 1994 General Aviation Revitalization Act, which he says he supported. (We should fact-check that claim, since the Act limited tort exposure for airplane manufacturers.) He also mentions his support for a more recent bill that has some tenuous connection to aviation. Again, Bush gives a clear, detailed answer. Kerry speaks in non-sequiturs. On the subject of privatizing air traffic control, Kerry just says he's against it. Bush again lays out the issues, notes that there are no plans to "privatize" ATC, but that the current system of contracting for services at low-volume airfields would continue. As to who would lead the FAA, Bush praises current FAA boss Marion Blakely, who by all acocunts has indeed done a superb job over the past several years. Kerry gives the ususal spiel about the position requiring someone with experience, integrity, blah, blah, blah. Overall: For a nuanced fellow pilot, Kerry gives the impression that he doesn't know a whole lot about GA. Bush comes across as a thoroughly competent administrator who has a good grasp of the issues related to this small-but-important part of the enterprise he leads.
Hugh Hewitt asks bloggers, "What do Kerry's answers to [yesterday's] press inquiries tell us about Kerry's worldview and character?" Nothing that we [the sensible center-right who haven't drunk Moore's ABB koolaid] didn't already know. The Democrats desperately want anyone but Bush in the Oval Office, so Kerry is trying to please them by being anybody but Bush. Except, of course, when he has to be Bush, as for example, promising that he'll allocate troops to Iraq according to what the commanders on the ground ask for. [DUH!] Kerry is not a bad man, he's simply delusional. I don't mean that mean-ly, it gives me no pleasure to say that, it's just that he seems to have been living in a parallel universe that only occasionally intersects the real one the rest of us inhabit. The Cambodia stories, the Magic Hat, no link between Saddam and WMDs - he truly believes this stuff, it appears. (The fact that he's a licensed pilot makes this a little scary; the possibility of his becoming President is alarming.) It's me-first-who's-next. And that me-first attitude certainly applies to his approach to doing the hard work of keeping America safe. He reminds me of John Rhys-Davies' character in Indiana Jones: He and Indiana stumble across a pit of vipers. They look in. "Snakes," he says. "Very dangerous. You go first." That'd be fine, if France and Germany had half the backbone of Indy Jones. But they don't, they've admitted it, but Kerry persists in his delusional belief that he could have overcome Saddam's coercion and bribery with his diplomacy. The French and Germans may not understand a lot of things Texan, but do understand this: "Money talks, and bullsh!t walks." Saddam was talking loud and clear - "Bling, bling," he said - and Annan, Chrirac, Schroeder listened closely. That Kerry equivocates Russia and China with North Korea and Pakistan further demonstrates the danger of electing this man. The other bloggers who've responded to Hugh have already said this more eloquently than I could; I don't have anything to add.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
NRO: THE TORA BORA LINE - CHENEY DIDN'T REFUTE IT, SO I WILL Money line: "Yeah, John Kerry, you tell the commander of the Special Forces Group that he did his job wrong. And that you - Mr. Magic Hat in Cambodia - would do it better. Throw a medal or a ribbon at him while you're at it, too." OWWWTCH!
Eject! Eject! Eject!: "And all of this rage and fury and spitting and tearing up of signs, all of these insults and spinmeisters and forgeries and all the rest, seem to come down to the fact that about half the country thinks you deter this sort of thing by being nice, while the other half thinks you deter this by being mean. It's really just that simple. " Read the Whole Thing ht:HH
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
TCS: Tech Central Station - Space Warfare: On the Way? Ben Bova, where are you?
WorldNetDaily: Is this one of Saddam's mobile bio-weapons labs? But, but, but, everyone knows that Iraq had no WMD capabilities! Right? Riiiight...
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Yahoo! News - Amendment Banning La. Gay Marriage Tossed Millions of voters overwhelmingly approve a law, and one man tosses it out. Someone explain to me how this is not an example of tyrrany? This could be a law banning billboards, and the issue would be the same. This isn't a case of constitutional checks and balances. This is the will of the people being squelched.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Exclusive: Saddam Possessed WMD, Had Extensive Terror Ties -- 10/04/2004 This could be - COULD be - vital news. We need PDFs of the originals, a chain of custody, and some more independent translations. If these check out, it's Bush in a landslide.
Yahoo! News - Fox News Channel admits reporter posted fake story about Kerry Not exactly a fake story, but rather an obvious spoof, along the lines of Reagan's famous "I have just signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union" mike check. A "fake story" is what CBS broadcast, or the AP saying a pro-Bush crowd booed at the news of Clinton's heart problems. THOSE are fake stories. This was an obvious spoof, and not deliberately intended to mislead.
Friday, October 01, 2004
TCS: Tech Central Station - Will Hutton's Fecund Suggestions Very funny. Author Tim Worstall seems to be channeling Lileks at one point: The UK, which is much less accommodating to the needs of mothers and their children, has [a fertility rate] of 1.65 [children per woman]. You might also be interested in noting that the USA, a place where people work the longest hours of any rich country, where anything more than a few days off for the stitches to take after parturition is regarded as malingering, where paid paternity leave is almost unheard of once it is confirmed that the babbie can work out how to suck on a teat, that hellhole of family unfriendly policies has a fertility rate of 2.07. It might just be different immigration rates of course, as first generation such are known to be more philoprogenitive but then Sweden has a higher rate than the UK, 5.4% to 4%, of foreign born residents. So there seems to be something empirically wrong with the suggested solution. We cannot see that actually having more of these sorts of policies does in fact increase the birth rate. We might have known that there was indeed something wrong with the analysis as Mr Hutton gravely informs us that Italy's exceptionally low number of children, (1.12% fertility rate) is actually caused by the Catholic Church. No, don't laugh, Will Hutton is a highly respected liberal intellectual and commentator, former editor of The Observer (The Guardian's sister paper), chief executive of The Work Foundation (formerly the Industrial Society) and a Governor of the London School of Economics. If he says that a Church which outlaws both abortion and contraception, one which regards any sexual act which does not contain the possibility of conception as sinful, if he says that this Church and its teachings are leading to underpopulation, well then, it is so and no sniggering at the back there. Given the growing Islamicsization of Europe, Mr. Hutton just might get his wish. Of course, one should be be careful what one wishes for.
Did Kerry write own report of disputed clash? I've been wondering about this for a while. A faded 35-year-old operations order recovered from the Naval Historical Center in Washington bears directly on the ongoing dispute between Sen. John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth about who wrote the key after-action report that ended Kerry's service in Vietnam. The report appears in the official Navy records and is posted on Kerry's presidential campaign Web site. The report details Kerry's participation in a naval operation on the Bay Hap River on March 13, 1969, in such glowing terms that he was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for pulling Special Forces officer James Rassmann out of the water while under heavy enemy fire. This third Purple Heart allowed Kerry to cut short his Vietnam tour after only four months. ... So according to this report, which now stands as the official Navy record, this swift boat mission concluded by running a three-mile gantlet of enemy fire from both banks, the detonation of three mines, and yet the only casualties occurred on the boat that hit the first mine. The boats managed to escape and, even more miraculously, retrieve the sinking boat, PCF-3, without getting a single bullet hole in any vessel or crew member. "It is miraculous all right because it never happened," recalls Larry Thurlow, a Kerry critic who commanded the mission. "PCF-3 hit a mine; all of my boats directed suppressing fire on both banks, expecting the mine to be followed up by gunfire. But after a couple of minutes, we ceased firing and took steps to aid the sinking PCF-3 and its injured crew members. There was never a shot fired at us, and no additional mines went off, either. And if we had been facing gunfire from both sides of three miles of riverbank, I would have called in the standby air support. I didn't." ... As the commander of the mission, normally Thurlow would have filed the disputed after-action report. But he denies writing it. And the after-action report supports his denial. It was written by someone designated "TE 22.214.171.124/1." ... "TE" refers to a "task element," which is defined by the numbers to the right, which show the command structure over the task element in action. "194" is Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, commander of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam; "5" is Hoffman's swift boat command; "4" is Lonsdale's command, and the last "4" is Capt. George Elliot's swift boat base at An Thoi, where the boats on this mission were based. The last "1" indicates someone other than the commander of the mission. ... According to a Navy communications expert, Chief Petty Officer Troy Jenkins, who has examined the message traffic, the report in question was sent from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Spencer, Lonsdale's command ship, at 11:20 that night. Only three of the officers on the mission that day were on the Spencer, John Kerry, Dick Pease and Donald Droz. Droz took the wounded from the mine explosion to be examined and treated at the Spencer, including the third officer, the severely wounded Dick Pease. Since the Spencer had no helipad for the evacuation of the wounded, Droz then had to return to the USS Washtenaw County, stationed about 25 nautical miles away, leaving only Kerry aboard the Spencer at the time the message was sent at 11:20 p.m. Could Droz have somehow written the report? Lonsdale says command precedence of days in swift boat service alone rules this out. "According to the command procedure I set down, Kerry would have been the only logical candidate." ... The head of the Operational Archives Branch of the Naval Historical Center in Washington, Kathy Lloyd, has verified Hoffman's operations order. Neither Kerry's campaign nor his swift boat veteran critics contest the validity of the after-action report by "TE 126.96.36.199/1." Kerry spokesmen have repeatedly insisted that Kerry denies writing the report and that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were arguing with the official Navy record. But if "the official Navy record" now turns out to have been written by Kerry himself, the principal beneficiary of its glowing references to his performance, the swift boat critics' charges look far more consequential. After all, the report completely leaves out how Kerry's own boat, PCF-94, ran down river leaving James Rassmann overboard and the other three boats to deal with the ambush and the sinking PCF-3. All of the living boat commanders on that mission are in firm agreement on that action by Kerry and agree that the report is a fraudulent misrepresentation of an action they remember well. The Kerry campaign didn't return calls for this article. But members of Kerry's crew have said Kerry is telling the truth. And Rassmann said he has vivid memories of enemies firing at him from both banks. So Kerry and some men from Kerry's crew - are they on the campaign payroll? - say there was enemy fire. Rassman, who says he spent most of the incident under water and has told different stories about which boat he was knocked off of, says so too, though he doesn't seem to have been in much of a position to know. Everyone else who was there says there was no enemy fire, and the damage reports on the boats seem to bear that out. Jooohhhneeeee?!?!! You got some 'splainin' to do!
HughHewitt.com This post underscores why Hewitt is rapidly becoming one of the most influential people in politics. Clear and incisive. Read especially his notes to his producer about what audio clips to put together for the radio show. For example, In the exchange I numbered 5, Bush slams Kerry for inconsistency and talks about leading as Commander-in-Chief. Take the whole thing. This is also, I think, where Bush rips Joe Lockhart for calling Allawi a "puppet." (Try and get the C-SPAN clip of Lockhart calling the debate a draw, and marry it to Lockhart telling Carl Cameron --TiVoed around 7:45-8:00 that Kerry won going away. Marry that as well with Terry McAuliffe with us at the DNC admitting he'll lie every time he has to.) and "In exchange 12, Lehrer says to Kerry that he has accused the president of lying. Kerry says he never used that "harshest" word. After he says that, marry the clip from spring "these guys are the ..." " My favorite line is this: "Gallup says viewers gave Kerry the win 53 to 37%. Heh. That's like saying the horse thief who sold rope to the posse was a good businessman. "
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Mudville Gazette Thoughts on the draft from a soldier serving in Iraq. Money graphs: Speaking only for myself, an American serving in uniform in Iraq, there's little I fear more than having the determined, confident, and competent young sons and daughters of our nation that I see here daily replaced by some group of conscripts torn kicking and screaming from their mother's skirts and forced to become something that only faintly resembles the effective members of our armed forces that are currently far from home and risking all for a cause they believe in. and Likewise I suggest Americans note that the Army and Army Reserve will meet their recruiting goals this year as stated here
The Army's goal was to recruit 77,000 new active Army troops and 21,200 Reserve troops. As of Aug. 31, the Army had 70,479 new recruits and the Army Reserve had 19,642.The Navy and Air Force are turning people away.
Irreconcilable Musings: Some Additional Thoughts on Blogging and the Media To quote "Master Insta" - RTWT.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Yahoo! News - An Attack on the Will to Learn I'm sure the UN will consider a resolution to form a committee that will commission a fact-finding team to issue a report, and after a proper debate on whether to accept the report, issue a strongly worded statement of concern. Meanwhile, the children die.
Yahoo! News - Half of Internet Viagra Could Be Fake - Study WHAT?!?!?! You mean... those score-daily emails full of inventive spellings just might be... FRAUDS? I am shocked - shocked! /sarcasm The real stunner is that apparently nearly half of the stuff is actually the real deal. Whoodathunkit?
Yahoo! News - Bush sharpens jabs against Kerry ahead of debates: "'What they don't need is all these trumped up advertisements, they just make people curl up and walk away,' added the Massachusetts senator" Seem to me a little hard to walk away if you're curled up. Maybe it's a windsurfing move?
TCS: Tech Central Station - Rigor-Free Research Interesting post on "scientific" standards for assessing educational outcomes. The big problem, of course, is that so darned many factors go into student success. There's another problem with NCLB, and that's the focus on "hard" or quantitative data. It's perfectly legitimate to do research based on anecdote and case study, or qualitative data. NCLB needs to be changed to reflect that. BUt here's a telling quote:
But there's a deep well of hostility to cold, hard, number-heavy science, poisoned further by liberal elites' loathing of the Bush administration. Though the move to controlled studies started in the Clinton administration, it didn't take off till Bush pushed through No Child Left Behind, which greatly increased federal education funding and insisted that all federally funded programs be research-based. If Bush's guys want scientific rigor, it must have something to do with Halliburton, right?
Monday, September 27, 2004
The Politburo Diktat: Trackbacks - The Peoples' Version Again, for reference
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Friday, September 24, 2004
Cleveland.com: Search Hugh Hewitt's book, "If It's Not Close They Can't Cheat" should be required reading for Lake County Republicans. "1,000 cases of suspicious voter registrations Lake, Summit officials intend to investigate Friday, September 24, 2004 Steve Luttner and Michael Scott Plain Dealer Reporters More than 1,000 voter registration forms and absentee ballot requests may be fraudulent in Lake and Summit counties, where investigations of irregularities are broadening. ... Lake election and law enforcement officials said their investigation is centered on absentee registration attempts by the nonpartisan NAACP's National Voter Fund and an anti-Bush, nonprofit group called Americans Coming Together, or ACT Ohio. ... Bryan Williams, director of the Summit County Board of Elections, said high interest in this year's presidential election has resulted in unprecedented numbers of voter registrations, absentee ballot requests and irregular voter applications. Williams said the suspect voter registration applications include some with nonexistent addresses while others from the same street all have the street identically misspelled. Williams said the suspect voter registration applications include some with nonexistent addresses while others from the same street all have the street identically misspelled. Williams said that usually people applying to vote fill out their own cards before signing them, drawing attention to the odd fact that the street name is not spelled correctly. Still other voter registration cards bear strikingly similar handwriting, suggesting one person submitted a group of fraudulent voter registration cards. "We are not certified handwriting experts, but we believe that these were common looking signatures," Williams said. " NAACP and ACT nonpartisan? Riiiiight, as Bill Cosby used to say. The Democrats and their allies want to stuff the ballot boxes on 11/2. Lake County was one of the only counties in Northeast Ohio to vote for Bush in 2000. The region has been battered by the shift away from a manufacturing economy, and Cleveland (next door) has the dubious distinction of having the highest poverty rate of any large city in America. The Democrats have means and motive, though they appear to have been caught. Watch for a slew of letters to the editor denouncing "brazen attempts by right-wing partisans to strip the poor, elderly, and minorities of their voting rights." Riiiight.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Bush's Honorable Air National Guard Service -- Opinion Central -- GOPUSA This is probably the definitive summary of the issues, including details of the "points" bush accumulated over his four-year tour flying fighters.
WHY WAS TERRY USING TERMS FROM THE CBS MEMO 9 HOURS BEFORE BROADCAST? The Chairman of the DNC, 11 hours before the CBS report using the fake memos aired, used the term "sugarcoated" - the exact same term used in the fake memo. Hmmmm...... UPDATE: Jim Gerharty at KerrySpot says he blew it. The transcript of Chairman Terry's remarks were from a PR sent out as the CBS broadcast was starting, based on the memos. That's the way the New Media works - self-correcting.
Swimming through the Spin: These aren't the Droids I'm voting for Nothing to add, absolutely nothing. Laughing too hard....
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Naming the Enemy Great minds think alike, part X. [link to my post on Putin just after Beslan]. James Lileks writing for Newhouse:
Here at home, some still fail to see the shape of the new century, stuck as they are in the comfy delusions reinforced by the periodicals and cocktail party chatter.That's the theme of "The Dangling Conversation", in case you don't recall your Simon & Garfunkle lyrics. [link to lyrics] James continues:
As American playwright and actor Wallace Shawn, quoted in the National Review online, recently said: "Part of the problem presented by Bush and his gang is that they are so crude. ... These people believe in cruelty, vengeance and brutality. The American government in my lifetime has never been in the hands of people so unbelievably unqualified to run a large country. These guys are out of touch with reality. The most shocking thing about them is that they have only a contempt for the law. That means that they could -- and probably will -- do anything. "This is the scariest I've known it. Part of the problem with these men is that their sensitivities have never been shaped by any civilization, of East or West -- or even the wisdom of primitive cultures." Ah, the wisdom of primitive cultures. If Condi Rice played a log drum instead of a piano, if Bush worshipped the Sun and fed it fresh hearts every eclipse; if Don Rumsfeld did his press conferences slathered with blue mud and demanding that everyone bow to the Tree Sprites. "The wisdom of primitive cultures." It truly takes the product of an advanced culture to utter such drivel. If these are the words Shawn has for the administration, what words are left for the men who smile as they gun down the children? Or autocrats who truly want to turn the state into a private gang? Think of Shawn's words after the next Belsan. It'll be in Jakarta. Or in some small community outside of London unheralded until its name joins the list of places known only for their pain. Or in Des Moines. When it happens in America we might consult again the thinkers and artists and legions of leisured chin-pullers, and ask how they spent the days after Sept. 11. What they wrote. Whom they opposed. Why they could not name the enemy, when the enemy had so clearly named them.
Monday, September 20, 2004
pr9000.net: Swaggart, the Klan, gays and Eugene Volokh Paul at pr9000.net notes:
Eugene Volokh says televangelist Jimmy Swaggart is "unclear on the Ten Commandments" because Swaggart said he'd kill a gay man who might look at him funny....I wonder if Volokh would feel differently if Swaggart said he'd kill a Klansman.He asks if anyone can explain how these view can be reconciled. It's not crystal clear? Gays are a Protected Class of Oppressed People. Not only is it unChristian to say you'd kill one*, it's a crime punishable by fine and imprisonment to commit the thoughtcrime of failing to endorse their choice of behavior. The KKK, on the other hand, are Hateful Bigoted Oppressors whose intolerance must not be tolerated. It's doubleplus good for ungood things to happen to them. Perfectly consistent. /satire *it is, of course capital-double-you WRONG to say you'd kill a man for looking at you funny, (not to mention idiotic to think you could lie to God) BUT I hesitate to say it, because a. it's utterly self-evident to anyone but the most deeply deluded postmodernist and b. I deeply resent Volokh's implication that silence implies assent. Also, Eugene seems to be unaware that "kill him and tell God he died" is a Southern colloquial expression, not a literal threat of using deadly force. The South is the Bible Belt, where children are raised on the tales of Cain and Jonah. You can't lie to God, and everyone knows it. That doesn't excuse Swaggart, but it may explain him a bit. Not too many serious Christians take him seriously, anyway.
I received the following email this morning, apparently in response to a snippet I wrote that got published in the local paper. I had said that Bush's ANG service records don't matter nearly as much as his record as CinC, but Kerry's do matter, since he's made his tour in Nam the basis for his candidacy. Note how the reader thoughtfully addressed my argument, and bravely included his return address: This article from DemocraticUnderground.com has been sent to you by firstname.lastname@example.org. Title: The Top Ten Conservative Idiots http://www.democraticunderground.com/top10/index.html
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Chuck Colson interviewed by Hugh Hewitt in 1996 I've heard Chuck tell this tale in a number of venues, and it's part of my own apologetica. I've been meaning to write about the parallels between this political campaign and the early days of Christianity for some time. In particular, (before RatherGate broke), about the nature of eyewitness testimony. The CBS forgeries offer an opportunity to bring in document analysis as well. This isn't the post I planned to write - I don't have time tonight to really craft my thoughts - but let me toss out a couple of ideas, prompted by Hugh's post. Christanity is based on an historical event - the Resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus didn't really rise from the dead, we'd be better off as Buddhists or neopagans. So the historicity of the Resurrection is really, really key. Problem is, CBS News didn't have a film crew covering the opening of the tomb on Easter Sunday. (And even if they did, I'd want a video expert to go over the tape frame by frame.) The only record we have of the event is the New Testament documents. Read more here about why they're valid records. (Link will open in a new browser window.) Back to current events, we're talking about people's memories of events from 32 to 36 years ago. Some of those memories were supposedly "seared-seared!" [link to a Xmas in Cambodia recap] while others were not so vividly impressed. [link to people remembering and not remembering W sitting at a desk in AL in 72]. Now, look at what Bush and Kerry have to lose or gain by sticking to their stories, versus how outlandish their stories were. Most people don't care whether Bush showed up for every scheduled drill the last couple of months of his service. If the CBS forgeries had turned out to be real, there still would have been a collective "so what" from the voters. Why? 1. Because the story is dreadfully mundane (everybody was skipping out in '72), and 2. Bush doesn't have a great deal to lose - the voters have already factored it in. [link to analogy to a stock price not moving when the bad news is anticipated] Kerry's tale of cross-border incursions are pretty wild, especially given all the evidence that says they didn't happen. (Not quite as much evidence as that showing that dead people stay dead, but a lot nonetheless.) Kerry says he crossed the border. Maybe. Or he got near it. Now, note this: The stakes were pretty high for Kerry - his Presidential aspirations were riding on his war-hero record. But when the heat got turned up just a little, he backed away from the tale. What would he say about it if a gun were held to his head? (Not that I'd advocate that - this is hypothetical.) Would he recant entirely? Dan's documents tell a very believable tale (even if no one cared whether it was true). The fact that they are certainly bogus casts doubt on the tale itself, but more on the teller. Dan Rather has a lot riding on his story. His career. His reputation. But not his life. Compare that to the situation the original disciples - telling a totally outlandish tale, and facing torture and death if they didn't back down. But they didn't back down. Not a one. Here's the other thing. The Gospels were composed in the 80's and 90's AD, but they relied on still-earlier collections of Jesus' words and deeds. Jesus died (and rose) in AD 30. Paul wrote his letters in the mid-50's, and his writings clearly show that the belief in the literal, historical resurrection of Jesus was well-established. That's only 25 years after the event. Living witnesses were still around. The Gospels preserve their eyewitness recollections, in all their messy authenticity. Who was first on the scene that first Easter morning? Had the sun risen or not? When they got the news, the disciples rejoiced - but they were afraid... The essential, central fact, though, remains - THE TOMB WAS EMPTY. There was no 1st-Century equivalent of the SwiftVets, challenging the essential thread of narrative with an alternative set of eyewitness accounts. At least, none that was successful. Certainly the Roman government and the Sanhedrin tried to shut up the disciples, with tactics more heavy-handed than Kerry's lawyers. [link to story of letters to tv stations running fist SBVT ad]
The Command Post - Iraq - December Offensive Announced (ht instapundit as usual) The Iraqi government has announced that 7,000 elite troops - that's native troops, not Coalition - will commence operations in December to clean out the insugents. Commenters give the impression that telegraphing the move is probably a good idea, for a number of reasons. It certainly fits with Bush's HBS-MBA management style.
LGF quotin Reuters: "Iran will not accept any obligation regarding the suspension of uranium enrichment, chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani told a news conference Sunday. No international body can force Iran to do so." They are of course, correct. The UN cannot do a dad-blamed thing. A couple of American B-2s or a squadron of Israeli F-15s, OTOH....
Friday, September 17, 2004
My old buddy Wally (we once arranged a marriage between our children) has a new blog. Wally's a songwriter. I sing and play guitar. He's just added a new song to my repertiore. A teeny taste: "And we were singing, Bye, Bye, to the CBS Guy, Dishin' whammies in my jammies and refutin' the lies..." Oh, me, oh my.... I DO wish I didn't have so much darned work to do tonight!
THIS is too rich!!!! www.americanwindsurfer.com/mag/back/issue5.5/kerry2.html An interview with JFK - in American Windsurfing magazine, from before the 1998 campaign began. Select quotes: (emphasis mine)
AW: Would you say with all the problems we face in the country and the breakdown in morality at the highest level, that the country would seek an exceptional leader? JK: Well, I'm not talking about one leader and I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to make any assumptions about my capacity or anybody else's capacity to do that. AW: But people are looking around and asking, "Who is the person who can put all these things together?" I recently read that Senator Ted Kennedy claimed you would be a great choice for the Democratic presidential candidate. ... JK: Well, I think he is very generous in his assessment of my ability to be able to mount a candidacy if I chose to. ... I think there is a lot of preparation, a considerable amount of thought about the agenda that must be processed before you can make any judgement about a national race. I have seen people who haven't done that and found it very difficult to achieve a platform. So, my intention is to be thoughtful about it and approach it in a sensible way that isn't so much influenced by what I hear people say but influenced by what I deem to be the national dynamic, as well as my own personal assessment of the agenda that I have to offer to that dynamic. AW: It would seem that the national dynamic is one that would clearly need somebody who can come in and really give a sense of leadership. [JK:] Sure. Absolutely! People want something clear, something truthful, something ... ... AW: Now, we windsurfed together several times in the past year. Between your schedule and my schedule we really don't have much time to play around with, but somehow we managed to find a day here and there. It's amazing how each time we meet . . . JK: . . .we got the wind blowing! AW: Yes! We got wind blowing! JK: [laughs] AW: It's amazing! JK: That's wonderful! AW: We have done this about six or seven times and each time it just blows! JK: Lucky! AW: And amazingly! Many of the days before and after we sailed, there were no winds at all. JK: The force is with us, John. AW: Now, don't you think in politics that there are forces at play, just like in nature? JK: Absolutely. Oh, I absolutely believe that. 'Course there are! Big forces way beyond one's control that can pick you up and slap you down or give you that perfect jibe. It can work both ways. It really does. I've seen it happen. Things way beyond our control. There are those forces and it's one of those great linkages I suppose between politics and windsurfing. ... [AW:] So, as a metaphor, are you sitting on the beach assessing the forces of the wind before venturing into the waters? JK: Well you know, you and I never assessed the wind. We just decided we're going to go and this was going to be it. We take what we get and what we got has been good. That's not what I'm assessing. I'm assessing whether or not I have a board and a sail. It's a little different. You need a little equipment to go out there. Whatever the wind, I want to make sure that I am going to be real physically fit. That's the metaphor....and much, much more, including JK's opinions on the spirituality of windsurfing
The Celsius 41.11 Interactive Media Center - A Citizens United Production Oh, this is good! Celcius 41.11 - the temperature at which the brain begins to die.
From Captain's Quarters: Citing a letter from a Marine Major in Baghdad: "The momentum is moving in our favor, and all Americans need to know that, so please, please, pass this on to those who care and will pass it on to others. It is very demoralizing for us here in uniform to read & hear such negativity in our press. It is fodder for our enemies to use against us and against the vast majority of Iraqis who want their new government to succeed. It causes the American public to start thinking about the acceptability of "cutting our losses" and pulling out, which would be devastating for Iraq for generations to come, and Muslim militants would claim a huge victory, causing us to have to continue to fight them elsewhere (remember, in war "Away" games are always preferable to "Home" games). Reports like that also cause Iraqis begin to fear that we will pull out before we finish the job, and thus less willing to openly support their interim government and US/Coalition activities." Doing my little bit to "pass it on"...
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Tried to post this over at DalyThoughts... Lileks put it very well this morning: "It's like saying a body in a pine box is 'dead' but 'lifelike.'" As Rather might say, that dog won't hunt. In 1972 Bush was the son of a junior congressman, elected from the minority party. He may well have had some unasked-for help getting his Guard slot. So what? He did nothing that hundreds if not thousands of other guys did at the time, and more than most: Rather than fulfill his committment by marching in circles and pushing a broom, he signed up to fly a supersonic interceptor with a reputation as a widow-maker. Oh-and-by-the-way, he also volunteered to go to Vietnam as part of an F-102 deployment, but was turned down because he had too few flight hours. He got stellar performance appraisals from his peers and superiors. Now, TWO guys - one with a long-standing grudge against Bush and another who is Kerry's 3rd-biggest donor - lay out this "failed to fulfill his committment" line and try to back it up with badly faked memos that contradict the known-to-be-authentic record, CBS and the Left eat it up with a spoon. Yet when 250+ SwiftVets (with no particular love for or ties to W) hammered Kerry's version of events in the Mekong with living-eyewitness testimony, they were castigated as liars. Blame Terry McAuliffe. The Democrats could have nominated Dean or Lieberman, and we could be having a discussion of how to fight THIS war, not rehashing one from a generation ago.
New York Daily News - Ideas & Opinions - Richard Cohen: Bush-hating goes haywire I usually skip Cohen. He claims to be a "purple" moderate but he's still much more liberal than centrist
It's hard to know whom to loathe more - religious zealots who would censor my reading and deny me the fruits of stem-cell research or fervid hallucinators who belittle Saddam Hussein's crimes (or even 9/11) and wonder, in the throes of perpetual adolescence, whether the assassination of the President would not amount to a political mercy killing. It's all pretty repugnant.Of course, real "religious zealots who would censor" his reading are pretty darn few and far between, unless you believe that parents not wanting their children to be exposed to sex with animals at the public library is "censorship." Likewise, barring federal funding for some fetal stem-cell research doesn't stop privately-funded research. And if the promise of stem-cell cures is so great, there should be plenty of private investor money, right? So Cohen is clearly a liberal, not a moderate. But he makes some telling points that agree with what those of us in the center-right have been saying for a long time.
[Bush-haters] are infected with a corrosive doubt about their own country. A recent Pew poll found, for instance, that 51% of Democrats agreed with the proposition that "U.S. wrongdoing" contributed to the attacks of 9/11. (Only 17% of Republicans agreed.) Those are astounding numbers, an indictment not really of America (for what?) but of those people who compulsively blame their own country for the faults of others. You can believe that America's support of Israel and the stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia played a role in the 9/11 attacks, but the term Pew used was "wrongdoing." In this respect, these people and Bin Laden are in agreement. (emphasis mine)Refreshingly honest, and coming from Cohen, a devastating indictment of the Modern American Left.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Don't Drink the Kool Aid Excellent post by Ignatius, quoting Eric Hoffer. I work in what is now called "e-learning," teaching faculty how to use the Web to enhance F2F classes or to teach completely online. I keep having an image of medieval professors in the cloister, worrying over how they will teach now that Gutenberg can put a copy of the text into the hands of every student. (Yes, I know it didn't really work that way; even printed books were too expensive for most students then, but the image remains.) The Internet has been correctly viewed as a disruptive technology. The rise of the blogosphere makes that abundantly clear.
Tim Blair: WHO KNEW WHAT, WHEN? ...that interview with Barnes ... was the first shot ... that the Texans for Truth, the new DNC ads, and Kitty Kelly's book were to follow and destroy with withering fire ... Commenter Ginny makes a good point. Moore, Barnes, CBS, MoveOn, Kitty Kelley... sure sounds like an orchestrated campaign to me. Maybe what the congressional investigation we need isn't just to look at CBS, but at a widespread conspiracy to violate McCain / Feingold?
Today in Investor's Business Daily : "Journalism has a new dress code. Pajamas." What a great opening line. Good article, too. It's a concise chronology of how RatherGate unfolded. Odd that the article doesn't contain actual links to the referenced sites*, but at least there's a graphic with the URLs. * here they are: Andrew Sullivan Instapundit Mickey Kaus Little Green Footballs.com Josh Marshall The graphic omits the Freepers, but the story contains a reference.
LA Times - Rather Rides Out Latest Partisan Storm Riding out the storm, sure - just like George Clooney's fishing boat in "The Perfect Storm". Now the anchor finds himself in the midst of another major partisan storm... Partisan? You mean partisan like Killian's secretary, who hates GW Bush, but who nonetheless says that the CBS memos are not her work. Inside CBS, however, some of his colleagues, who declined to be named, said they were dismayed that Rather and his team had left themselves open to any criticism, precisely because his well-organized critics would be sure to pounce. Well-organized? Elizabeth Jensen (the LA Times author of this bit of fluffery) clearly has never read Little Green Footballs. Rather said he had no intention of giving in to those pressures. "Say what you want to about me, I keep my word," Rather said. "No, I'm not going to reveal my source." There you go, Dan - go down with the ship.
JustOneMinute: Maybe We Could Have A "Press AWOL" Story A good summary of the "whaddya mean, AWOL?" non-story.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Light posting this week; I'm really slammed at work and home. But I could not resist this gem: Jonah Goldberg on Dan Rather and Big Media on National Review Online:
"Well, if you agree with Rather, maybe you should give just a smidgen more slack to George W. Bush about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Bush's sources were more solid by several orders of magnitude than Rather's, and yet it is 'obvious' to so many that Bush lied while Rather deserves the benefit of the doubt. George W. Bush had the head of the CIA, the intelligence agencies of all our allies, the Clinton administration, the United Nations, and most of the establishment media generally backing his understanding of the threat from Iraq. Dan Rather had a couple shoddy Xeroxes - not all of which were examined thoroughly or at all. He interviewed a partisan - Ben Barnes - a huge backer of Kerry whose story has changed several times. But because many who hate Bush believe he lied, they are willing to believe any lies that confirm what they already know to be true. "This is very true, but how many of the rabid "Bush Lied" crowd will agree? My guess is not very many, not many at all.
Monday, September 13, 2004
New 527 paints Kerry as Metro, Bush as Retro/a> The Captain quoting the 527 site, Retrovsmetro.org
On the Retro side of the cultural divide are those who, in response to their conservative religious beliefs, are pro-life and support prayer in the schools, the display of Christian symbols in public facilities, and publicly funded religious social services. The Republicans who represent them in Congress vote for constitutional amendments to ban flag burning, declare the U.S. a Christian nation, allow tax-exempt religious organizations (but not other nonprofits) to engage in partisan politics, and favor limitations on the First Amendment to combat speech and symbols they perceive as pornographic or unpatriotic. Retro representatives support subsidies to oil, mining and agriculture, but they are opposed to women’s rights, gay and lesbian rights, affirmative action, welfare, organized labor, and taxes of any kind. These are “God, Family, and Flag” folks politically dominated by rural, conservative, white, Fundamentalist Christian populations. Retro America is not the land of co-habiting, unmarried, hetero, or same-sex couples, or of the young seeking cultural excitement in the large Metro cities.It is to laugh. The US is a Christian nation with a secular government. Just like Turkey and Indonesia are Mulsim nations with secular governments. The retrovsmetro folks clearly don't understand the difference between Fundamentalist Christians and "mere" evangelicals such as myself.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Redstate || Collaborative Republicanism for the Masses Remember Batman with Adam West? The difference is that this time, the blows aren't just stunt punches. They are landing on target and doing damage.
Yahoo! News - CBS Defends Report on Bush Guard Memos - But AP casts doubt on CBS's defense! The bell tolls. Rather's 'expert' is a handwriting expert, not a typeface expert. He has no street cred to comment whether the documents were produced on 1972-era hardware. Zero. Zip. Nada. Dan also ignored the family of the now-deceased Lt Col (who in other, indisputably-authentic documents praised Lt Bush), who say that Col Killian didn't keep files, period. Never mind how stupid it would be to write a memo implicating yourself in 'sugar-coating' someone's record. Where did Dancin' Dan get the memos, when, and under what circumstances? And since we're dissecting GWB's records from 30 years ago down to the individual approach-to-landing, where is John Kerry's form 180? Fair is fair, right?