Monday, January 31, 2005

Questioning the Patriotism of Others ...

... is disgusting, indefensible and completely wrong ... except for today. If you can't feel good about what happened in Iraq over the weekend, then you are not only unpatriotic, you're barely human. One word: Leave. You do not love democracy and you never will.

Even the N.Y. Times had this to say:
This page has not hesitated to criticize the Bush administration over its policies in Iraq, and we continue to have grave doubts about the overall direction of American strategy there. Yet today, along with other Americans, whether supporters or critics of the war, we rejoice in a heartening advance by the Iraqi people. For now at least, the multiple political failures that marked the run-up to the voting stand eclipsed by a remarkably successful election day.
Hat-tip RCP.

MSM exports worst elements of US democracy to Iraq

The main-stream media has brought the two worst aspects from our elections to Iraq ... the 2 p.m. exit poll and the right direction/wrong direction poll. When I awoke early Sunday morning, to learn that 52% of Iraqis think that Iraq is headed in the right direction, versus 38% that think it's in the wrong direction. What!?!?! They've had democracy for like 15 minutes and they already have this stupid thing?!?!?!

You'll remember this poll from the fall because Juan Williams tried to get hitched to it. It was rammed down our throats over and over again because, for the longest time, it was the only poll that reflected well on Kerry (or at least sufficiently poor on Bush). What a ridiculous question indicative of absolutely nothing, and sure enough Bush won despite the fact that a majority of people felt the country was heading in the wrong direction. My word!!

Now comes further proof that this question is beyond absurd. A country is moving towards a liberal democracy from a murderous totalitarian dictatorship and we are supposed to believe that the slimest of majorities think that it's heading in the right direction. Moreover we're left to conclude that 38% think it's a downgrade from Saddam. Enough! It's a stupid question. Ask them their favorite f**king color!!

It's stupid for a number of reasons, but I'll stick to the arbitrary measuring stick it utilizes. Right direction/wrong direction ... from when? Yesterday, last month, 2 years ago, 1948?? Moreover, even if measured from a consistent point, the "wrong direction" answer doesn't mean the respondent would pursue the opposite course of action, vote for the other guy, etc, etc. And the "right direction" doesn't preclude a still better course of action. [Head slamming against wall in frustration]

Next, I learn that 72% of Iraqis voted. Amazing!! Today, I learn it's more like 60-some percent and dropping fast. What was the source of the 72% figure? I shit you not, a 2 p.m. local time exit poll!!!!! Listen up Iraq, don't let you media grow up to be CNN, MSNBC and network television.

And Washington State and the Ukraine, I think you all should try out the purple-finger, paper-ballet, id-checking version of democracy .


Iraq Scoreboard

Well-manicured bits of Connecticut1
Big city-busting nuclear warheads0

When VodkaPunbit was laying out his Game Plan re: the Bush Doctine, he railied against the "Rumsfield f'd up because he didn't have an exit strategy" crowd with following:

What will the peace look like? I don't have a damn clue. And neither do you. And if you meet anyone who claims to know, feel free to laugh at them really hard. So hard, you get a little spit on their face. Sometimes, justice can be small and spiteful – ask a meter maid. Anyway.

When peace comes, it could look like whatever Mecca, Tehran, Damascus, Riyadh, Pyongyang, Khartoum, Kabul, Cairo, etc., look like after being hit by big city-busting nuclear warheads. Or it could end with the entire Arab and Muslim world looking like the really well-manicured bits of Connecticut. My best guess is, somewhere in-between. But that's only a guess.

NOTE: It's a sad state of affairs (their affairs, not ours) that the first scenario, no matter how repugnant and unlikely, still seems more likely than the second scenario, no matter how virtuous.

Was The Iraqi Election a Success? Well, if John Kerry isn't Sure, It Must Have Been Great!

I admit that I was, justifiably I think, concerned with how well the Iraqi elections would go yesterday. When I was nodding off Saturday night, there had just been a rocket attack on the US Embassy, and polls were just opening. When I woke up Sunday morning, I found that during my rest the Iraqi people had come out and voted in large numbers, that they openly defied the terrorist thugs who seek, quite literally, to keep them from determining their own fate. I watched dumbstruck as reporter after reporter gave glowing, almost ebullient reports from Iraq's polling places, and people danced and shouted for joy behind them, and the inked finger became a new symbol of democracy in action, as much as orange winterwear was a symbol in the Ukraine. Then I turned on Meet the Press.

John Kerry demonstrated yesterday why he has no business being President of the United States. He said tha the first free election in 50 years shouldn't be "overhyped". Would he have said that if he were our Commander in Chief Sunday? I5 75,000 votes had swung teh other way in Ohio, would he have announced to the world as the American President that Iraqis really shouldn't be so excited? Well, I don't know what he would have said, but I've never been happier he isn't in a position to say anything important about anything. Before the election, when I felt Bush might lose, and might indeed almost deserve to lose, I told myself and friends that I found Kerry less objectionable than Al Gore, and that I thought that if he were to win, it wouldn't be a disaster, just not what I hoped for. Boy, I'm taking that back. If Kerry runs for President again in 2008, I will actively campaign for whoever is running against him in the primary. If he runs, I may have to work for Hillary, and I would do it, too, if it meant keeping this intellectual moron from possibly gaining the White House. He has no shame, he has no clue, and he is tone deaf and tin eared when it comes to the future of America. To think I once had some respect for this guy. Notice how the smart Dems were cautiously optmistic, instead of openly dismissive of the vote? Kerry sounded like a poster on Democratic Underground, a guy who just hates the President so much that anything good that may happen under his watch has to be destroyed and picked to pieces. DU was especially nasty yesterday. Why can't, for one day, people put asie partsianship? Aaron Brown, a liberal Bush-hater if their ever was one, was honest enough to realize that he actually has democratic values when he said last night that no matter what your politics, you had to be happy to see the images you saw out of Iraq yesterday. Not everyone, Aaron, is as honest as you. Today, John Podhoretz, who I met, breifly, in a french cafe in NYC's Upper West SIde with Kang when I was up their for the convention (real nice guy, by the way. Podhoretz, not Kang. Kang is ruthless) has the right word for Kerry and his ilk: "losers" I would add "pathetic" as well. Here's to a new, free Iraq. If someone asks you what you think about the elections, give 'em the finger.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Ephraim Kishon, RIP

The Jerusalem Post reports that Ephraim Kishon died yesterday. Unconfirmed reports indicate that he found a long queue outside the Pearly Gates, but the redhead with the key was nowhere to be found. He was last seen trying to round up some demonstrators to chant 'we don't want Heaven; we demand to go to Hell'. The family is eagerly awaiting the National Gift Box of Chocolates, which last visited their home on the occasion of the grandson's bar mitzvah.

As a kid I loved reading his columns, first in English translation, and later in the Hebrew original. Three years ago, on a visit to Israel, not only couldn't I find any of his books, but the younger shop assistants had never heard of him. A year later he had won the Israel Prize, and a few of of his collections were reprinted. I think I'll put Salah Shabati in the VCR tonight, have a drink, and say a blessing for his soul.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Read The Whole Thing

Looking for one post that summarises the bottom line on Iraq, something you can just point people at and say "Read This"? Mike Hendrix at Cold Fury spells it out.
(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Puzzled

I'm a big fan of Stephan Pastis's Pearls Before Swine. But I just don't get today's strip. Could someone please explain this one to me?

UPDATE: Stephan was kind enough to explain it. Apparently there is such a thing as a Denver omelette. It's also known as a Western omelette. I had never heard of either one.

Framed!

Instapundit cites a story from the Chicago Tribune about a man who was framed by FBI agents for kidnapping and murder. He served 14 years for the kidnapping, and was sentenced to death for the murder. Glenn notes that the FBI stands by its men, and fears that this represents a systemic problem at the Bureau.
(1) it's appalling that someone would introduce such dubious evidence; and (2) this sort of thing needs to be punished so that it doesn't happen again. No doubt the agents would claim that the defendant is really guilty, and that the evidence is "fake but accurate," but that doesn't wash.
Indeed it doesn't. What Is To Be Done about it? Deuteronomy 19:19 provides one answer.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

My Last climate-related post, I swear

I've been going on and on about global warming and climate change all week (See many posts below). This is my last say on the subject, as it passes the discussion on to actual scientists who know things, on both sides of the issue. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit apparently was following the global warming/Chricton book thing as well this week, as he again posts links to different debates on both topics, right here. And he's right about a dialogue being opened, and I'm glad it's in the scientific community, especially after some MORE nutty headlines on Drudge today about global warming being twice as bad as before. There are two articles there that go to the Guardian and the Independent, and again, the science is teneous, as computer modeling is used, and computer modeling is not very effective in predicting climate change over the long term. How do I know this? Well, here's the link to a discussion between a NASA climatologist and choas theorist. The general consensus, which is actually part of Crichton's novel, is that computer modeling is poor because it picks arbitrary start times to examine historical and future trends, usually times that are known in advance to go to a particular scientists own expectations and bias. Crichton makes a long plea for more double-blind testing in climatology and there is some correlation in this exchange.

Anyway, I'm all gloabl warminged out. Other, much more educated people can take it from here. It's just this stuck in my craw and I felt like going on about it. I think maybe I made some good points, but who knows.

ETA: Reader and blogger Eric has a great, thurough takedown of the two new "threats". Read it right here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

About that Full Report on "Climate Change"...

I promised to have read and posted about the actual report on global warming and climate change that I ranted about Monday. Well, I did read the entire report, and for 40 pages it's short on facts, citiations, and actual science. You can read the whole thing yourself here. (There's a link there to the PDF that has the full report). In the end, it wasn't as alarmist as Drudge or that idiot in the Telegraph made it out to be, but then again, the alarmist press release was the "news" that mattered. On the issue I cared most to find cited, global warming, the opening parargraph states that most scientist believe that global warming in happening and that human behavior is tha cause. Their citation? Another political panel report, not actual science. I didn't bother looking up THAT report, but I'd guess they might reference a different panel themselves. Anyway, go read it if you wish, and check out the Center for American Progress webpage that it's on. As I said, these people are in my building. I see 'em every day, and man, they are ANGRY (grrrr!) about dubya. It's not a think tank, it's a group-think tank!

Friends of Democracy

Glenn Reynolds points to a new and useful blog about Iraq election news called Friends of Democracy. It's a really good site, and I link to it here because while we may be crazy warmongers, we want peace and freedom once the war is over. Check it out.

Happy Australia Day

Monday, January 24, 2005

I'll be linking to This tomorrrow...

It's like today was some magical day in the world in which I had an idea for a rant and all sorts of evidence supporting me suddenly appeared. Here's a new SCIENTIFIC study that tells us that the last 8,000 years would have been a lot colder(ice-age colder) if it weren't for us pesky humans and our greenhouse gasses. Actual scientists are quoted in the article! It's a study not funded by liberals or interest groups! See my below "State of Fear" rant to see why I feel good about myself today.

(via Instapundit who provides a helpful link to the full study that requires a link. Still-always ask for the data!)

Remembering The Last Lion

Just so you know, one of our spiritual sponsers, Winston Churchill, died 40 years ago today, on January 24th, 1965, at age 90. He lasted 20 years after the ungrateful Brits kicked him out of office after he saved them from the Nazis. Who followed him in office? I don't remember. Neither does history. Have a cigar and brandy for the man today.

Actual Election Criminals Charged!

After hundereds of hours of research into allegations of election fraud and intimdation in Ohio, culminating in the stupidist debate in Congressional history, charges against those who sought to disrupt the 2004 presidential election have been brought. In Milwaukee. Against Democrats. Whoops.

Some may remember that back on November tires were slashed at GOP headquarteers in Milwaukee, WI on vehicles that were to be used to get out the vote on election day. I guard at the HQ wrote down the license plate numbers, and now, all these months later, 5 people have been charged with felonies, because the damage to the vehicles was above the $2500 threshold fro felony destruction of property charges. Two of the men charged are the sons of prominent Milwaukee Democrats. Whoops again. It took 12 weeks because witnesses had dispersed to different states, and the prosecutor, Michael McCann, asked FBI agents to conduct the interviews, as lying to an FBI agent is a federal offense, and McCann wanted air-tight charges. He rightly sees these tactics as a stain on his city. I wonder if Barbara Boxer would have stood to protest the Wisconsin electors, in a state statistcally closer than Ohio, if she had only known that these charges were forthcoming. Or maybe I'm impuning her integrity?

The State of Fear

The Western world and it's various governments have provided it's citizens with more wealth, comfort, and well-being than man has ever known. While there are general threats to our individual safety from crime, and direct threats from terrorisim, the West is a relatively peaceful place, compared to other great societies in human history. So why are we so afraid of, well, everything?

Michael Crichton attempts to answer that question in his latest novel "State Of Fear", a book I am currently reading. "State of Fear" has erupted a sort of minor controversey in some cirlcles because it unabashedly states that the theory of Global Warming is, in fact, a hoax, perpetrated by various factions for various reasons, some well-intentioned, others less so. The book's plot is that extremists in the environmental movement, struggling to keep awareness and money flowing to the cause of fighting "global warming", are attempting to stage various major weather catastrophies to highten the "state of fear" of the public on the issue. As a novel, it's not so great. It reads fast, to be sure, but as a longtime Crichton fan, I was dissapointed in his characterization, the flatness of the dialogue, and the surprising lack of major action set pieces. In fact, while the topics he discusses are interesting, important, and deserve better treatment from some reviewers have given them, I would say that this is his weakest work since "Airframe". I wasn't even going to write about it until I came upon an item on Drudge today.

Drudge had a headline up that read "Report: Countdown to Global Warming Catastrophe". It linked to this piece in the Independet, which reports(or should I say editorializes) on a new study by a task force made up of "senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world" that tells us that we have just 10 years to stop the "global warming" trend before it is too late. Now, Crichton's novel does one thing very well-it tells us to question conventional wisdom, so I went looking for the text of this report, who was on the panel, and how they came to this "10 years or bust" theory. I was especially interested in the 10 years part, because Crichton correctly points out that computer modeling on the environment is woefully inadequate, and that long term weather changes are literally impossible to predict. Using Crichton's footnotes, the very unpredictability of weather is his strongest case against alarmist reports like this one. So I googled the report's name, "Meeting The Climate Challenge". It was funded by The Center for American Progress (Hard-core liberals whose main office is in my building! Reuters DC HQ is right below them. Coincidence?), the UK's Public Policy Research Group, and The Australian Institute. All three are liberal environmentalist groups. All I found about who was on the committee at first was that the co-chairs were Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Stephen Byers, the foremer Transport Minister in the UK. Great, politicians in charge. Then, I cam across this page, which actully finally lists who was on the damn committee and reading the whole thing there, I found that the report is essentially just a wish list for environmentalists as they contemplate Kyoto-Phase Two.

Now, remember, this "report" is being touted as difinitive proof for need for immediate action. Yet, it's funded by three large liberal interest groups(OK, I don't know much about the UK group or the Aussie one, but the UK one labels itself "progrssive", and a look at the Center for American Progress homepage demonstrates just how "non-partisan" they are. They also aren't much of a think tank, actually...) and the story in the Independent, that "catastrophie is imminent". Yet, all they are reporting on is a press release from these three groups and the main task force. There are no scientific references to be found, because the report isn't due out until TOMORROW! That's right, the Independent essentially quoted a press release with no science in the text as proof that disaster is right around the corner. There is a moment in Crichton's book that I thought was a bit much, where a news anchor essentially reads a talking points memo put out by an environmentalist group as fact. This part was ripped up by a reviewer for the Skpetical Inquirer. Yet, here we have an actual occasion of a reporter, Michael McCarthy, essentially just quoting a press release about a new study that hasn't even come out yet. He's the Environmental Editor of the paper, and he took what this group is selling wholesale.

Now, this is pretty outrageous. In fact, my rant here has gone on longer than I thought it would because some of those links sprouted up while I was writing. But Crichton's best point, and the one that I wanted to get too, is on the "State of Fear". A socioligist tells the protaganist that ever since the Berlin Wall fell, the "political, legal, media complex, or PLM" has needed something to keep citizens in a constant state of worry. Politicians need to scare people to have issues to get elected on, lawyers need fear to drive lawsuits(Crichton excellently uses the false scare of silicone breast implants) and the media needs fear to drive ratings. None of these ideas are new, but Crichton combines them in a new way. I read this passage of the book 12 hours ago, and I wake up and find the example that proves it, sort of, on Drudge! Crichton points out that terrorism is the new fear, but he acknowledges the reality of terrorism, and points out that environmental "threats" have been getting worse in the media since 9/11. The word "catastrophie" is applied to major storms and weather changes in the media now more than ever. Until the Berlin Wall fell, the old fear in the US was communisim. It was real,of course, but when it went away, smaller fears filled the vaccum until the massive fear of environmental "disaster" took over. And here, Crichton hits his stride. His sociologist points out that millions of dollars are wasted on lawsuits that have no merit, and wastes of cash and resources on pointless feel-good gestures like Kyoto, while the developing world really needs direct cash relief. Genocide and famine occur in poor Africa and Asia while do-gooders go to UN conferences, spend a lot of money, and feel good about themselves. It is a travesty, and this new report coming out, which I will actually read tomorrow, when it comes out, and draw my own conclusion, only adds to it. I'm thankful Drudge is such a sucker for crazy headlines, or else I never would have noticed the article. Of course, now he's grouped it with stories about winter storms, as if Boston getting 17 inches of snow is somehow connected. Oh well.

I guess my point is that for a not so good work of fiction, Michael Crichton has done critical thinkers the world over a good way of questioning just how real the "threats" we face are. We are told by people on the Left that terrorism isn't a real threat. OK, prove it isn't, defeat my proof it is, and I may believe you. You also tell us the sky is falling. I'm listenting. Where is your proof?

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Abuse of Civilians

The Washington Post's Jackie Spinner gives this report of the terrible abuse to which occupation troops are subjecting Iraqi civilians. Iowahawk gives further examples, and Tim Blair also comments. I'm struck by something else:
On the night of Jan. 5, Imaad and his mother, Um Imaad—both of whom declined to give their full names for fear of retribution—were watching a movie in the living room.
Um Imaad just means "Imaad's mum". It's not a name, it's a title. It's perfectly common in Arabic culture for a woman to be referred to primarily as "X's mother" (um X), especially if she's a widow with only one son. It's also common for a man to be called "X's father" (abu X), if he has a son he's particularly proud of, or who's well known.

So the quote above really says "Imaad and his mother, Imaad's Mother", like a excuse note that a kid forged for himself. Throughout the rest of the piece, when Spinner keeps referring to the mother as Um Imaad, all she's really saying is "Imaad's mother" – so why not just say so? Why use Arabic for this particular word instead of English? She doesn't use the Arabic for "television" or "mosque", or "feelthy peectures", so why the Arabic for "mother"?

Unless, of course, Spinner has no idea; but if she knows so little about the culture she's writing about, why is she writing about it?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Be Prepared

Meanwhile, Tom's brother Murray is worried about earthquakes. But, like a Scout, he's prepared for all eventualities:

Note to US/Oz disaster relief teams: My favorite icecream is strawberry.

Note to UN disaster relief teams: I'm armed.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Jihad in Jersey

"If this is true, the killings in New Jersey are the American equivalent of the Theo Van Gogh murder in the Netherlands, a political killing motivated solely by the need to silence effective critics of radical Islam." (LGF, links mine). The Van Gogh murder is iconic (as in important and hopefully eduring). It was impossible to ignore, or blame away on your culture or country's defects. The horrific, blatant crime suddenly crystallized an enemy, put a chill down your spine and shamed you for not taking the threat more seriously. When the next Van Gogh moment comes to America, we will remember the NJ killings: How they did not get the steady front-page coverage they deserved. How we were in denial. How we fed the crocodile.

Oh, the fingers!

Tom Paine, over at Silent Running, is in full lyrical flight:
There are a few hysterical right-wing neo-conservative zionist extremist Islamophobes who would have us believe that there is some sort of sinister Muslim political agenda to extend their own influence at the expense of others, and especially Jews. Such people no doubt furtively read blogs like Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch, and pass dog-eared copies of "1985" by Anthony Burgess to one another when they meet in the street. What nonsense. What tosh. What ridiculous paranoia.
.
.
.
I day dreamed even that on the Day of Judgement that Allah may look kindly upon me and if I were sent to hell for my many crimes, at least he may spare my fingers the heat of hell, for this days work in His Jihad.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: He forgot "likudnik".

Iraq The Model

Sarah Boxer's hit job on Iraq The Model in the NYT got a lot of coverage.
As usual, Chris Muir gets it exactly right.
Day By Day cartoon
Meanwhile, Mohammed has his say, and now Ali says he's learned his lesson:
she (or the paper) seems to have a certain agenda and managed to change the whole issue into a very silly gossip (going as far as quoting trolls!) that is way beneath any respectable paper and certainly beneath me so I won't give it more attention but lesson learned and I won't make the mistake of talking to anyone from the NY times again.

I Didn't Go To the Inagural, and now I regret It...

Well, I have today off, and I have a pair of pretty good tickets to the inagural, and because it is cold and I wanted an extra hour-plus of sleep, I decided to watch the inagural from my apartment, which is about 2 miles from the Capitol. On TV, not the roof. That would be stupid. Anyway, Trent Lott is talking now, so I can type. I think I'm gonna be pissed at myself for not going. I wasn't sure, until I stumbled upon the protest being covered on C-Span 2. That great, stupid group, International ANSWER, a front group for the Worskers World Party(So extreme, they left the Socialist's in the 60's), had some of the most hilarious speeches I've ever heard. One guy claimed the US was about to bomb Cuba, and another woman, part of the "National Committee to Free the Five", pleaded with the crowd to help he release the "innocent" five men who came from Cuba to stop American Terrorism in Cuba. Yeah, I was confused too, until it became obvious that these guys were sent to prison for espionage. They were spies! Here is the Google search for "The Cuban Five". Clink on a link and wonder, exactly, what the Five did. It's hard to figure out. Apparently they are peaceful group unjustly jailed(in the 90's) for just loving Cuba. Some sites suggest they get the Noble Peace Prize. I guess that's the Yassar Arafat MEMORIAL Noble Peace Prize. Anyway, turns out these guys infiltrated a group called "Brothers to the Rescue" a group of Miami-based Cubans who search for Cuban refuges crossing over to the US by homemade rafts. In 1996, two planes were shot down by these "Anti-terrorist" men of "peace". They were arrested and covicted by a court of law for conspriacy and failure to register as foreign agents, ie, they were spies for a foreign power. I wonder why the socialists like them so much?

Anyway, I regret not being their so after Bush speaks, I could laugh at them, and then get some of their hand out to read, post here, and make fun of some more. Plus, I went to the inagural in 2001, and it was fun. Of course, I have a good view of Dubya here, and it's warm, so I guess I'll live. Dubya is now sworn in again, so I'm listening now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Remember those long lines in Cleveland?

Voting machines distributed evenly
the elections board allotted each Cleveland precinct one machine for every 117 registered voters within its boundaries - the same ratio of machines that suburban precincts received. In other words, the more registered voters a particular precinct had, the more machines it received, regardless of where that precinct was. And in the end, the busiest precincts - when measured by the number of ballots cast per machine - were actually in the suburbs, not Cleveland.
(Hat tip: Jaws)

Monday, January 17, 2005

Osama the Cthulhu Cultist?

Interesting read here. There are no gods but the Great Old Ones, and bin Laden is their prophet?

Remember:

Cthulhu loves the little children,
all the children of the world;
red and yellow, black and white,
all are tasty in His sight.
Cthulhu loves the little children of the world.
(Hat tip: Daniel Abraham)

Accounting for WMD

In email to the Instapundit, Merv Benson points out that the WMD issue in Iraq wasn't so much that we believed Saddam had huge stockpiles of WMD lying around (though it seems that the CIA did indeed believe it), but that he had failed to account for the huge stockpiles we knew he used to have. He claimed that they had been destroyed, and for all we knew then or know now that may have been true, but he wouldn't or couldn't prove it, and we weren't about to take his word for it, so we invaded (among other reasons) to find out what had happened to them. The fact that we didn't find them, Benson writes, puts us
in the same position as an auditor brought in to find missing money in a bank account. If it is still missing it does not mean that it was a mistake to audit the account.
We still don't know what happened to the missing WMD. Perhaps most of them were indeed destroyed, and the rest were sent to Syria, or hidden somewhere, or were looted after the war, or whatever, but even if Saddam was telling the truth, for once, we had no reason to believe him, and that alone (leaving aside all the other valid reasons) justified the invasion.

This seems to me part of a pattern I've long noticed in the leftist mindset, its willingness to trust people (so long as they are not straight white men), and its aversion to asking for proof, whether it's Saddam, or a person claiming to be eligible to vote, or anyone claiming to have been the victim of a 'hate crime', or to have been date-raped or sexually harrassed. And, of course, if someone who was convicted and served time for a felony, and has not yet 'paid his debt' and had his voting rights restored, and has now admitted to having committed another felony by voting, claims to have voted Republican, he must be believed, because a person like that wouldn't lie, would he?

Friday, January 14, 2005

Zell Miller-Crazy Man or Visionary?

Remember when Zell Miller wrote "A National Party No More", openly slammed the Democratic leadership, and then gave a firey speech at the Republican Convention (Which Kang and I saw in New York, just not at the Garder? Remember all those Dems who called him a looney, tried to tar him as a racist, called him horrible things? Yeah, I remember that too. They don't have any problems with Fritz Hollings and Robert Byrd, two of their "lions" of the Senate, who had much more extensive racsist histories(Byrd, of course, being a former big wig in the W. Virginia Klan, who had used the N word on TV just a few years prior.) Well, Democrats are good at having short memories(It's elephants who never forget, of course), as Rich Lowry points out today in NRO. Lowry gives a list of three Miller-esque quotes, some that seem to be cribbed from his book, and the tells us that these are not Miller's words, but the analysis of the problems facing the Democrats by three prominents pols on their side of the aisle. Turns out ol' Zell was a lot smarter than his colleagues gave him credit for at the time. I can see Democrats after the '06 elections, finally realizing, after another humiliation, that Miller was right, and possibly begging the man who claimed he would "Die a Democrat" to come back. I don't think he'll be listening to them at that point, but I giggle a bit when I think about it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Odd Random Fact

Who would have thunk that the the two most controversial radio talk show hosts would share the same birthday? Stern and Limabugh, born on the same day, three years apart. Huh.

(Hat tip: Ann Althouse)

The Lost Interview with Colonel Hack (worth)

The following is an excerpt from the Independent Panel Report on CBS News:

Colonel David H. Hackworth was interviewed by Rather as an expert to evaluate the documents that Mapes obtained from Lieutenant Colonel Burkett. Colonel Hackworth is a retired Army officer who has been a columnist, commentator and reporter for various news organizations. Mapes said that she asked Colonel Hackworth to “look at the back and forth” in the Killian documents because he had worked in the Pentagon and knew about Pentagon politics. Even though Colonel Hackworth was never in the TexANG, did not know Lieutenant Colonel Killian or any of the other relevant individuals, had no personal knowledge of President Bush’s service in the TexANG and had no personal knowledge regarding the Killian documents, he reached some highly critical conclusions in his interview regarding President Bush’s TexANG service based solely on the purported authenticity of the Killian documents and his general knowledge of the military.

First, Colonel Hackworth concluded that the documents were “genuine.” He reached this conclusion by relating his own experience at the Pentagon during the Vietnam War when he was running the “Army input system for . . . basic training.” Colonel Hackworth said that, while in that post, he received and refused requests by members of Congress and generals to assign certain men to particular units and wrote “cover my own butt” memoranda in many cases to document his refusals. Colonel Hackworth then concluded that Lieutenant Colonel Killian was “in the same kind of pickle that I found myself in” and proceeded to discuss what Lieutenant Colonel Killian was thinking at the time he wrote the memoranda. Rather asked Colonel Hackworth whether there was any doubt in his mind that the documents were real, and Colonel Hackworth replied, “Having been down that road before I would say that these are genuine documents.”

Second, Colonel Hackworth concluded that, by not taking his physical, then-Lieutenant Bush was “insubordinate” and would have been treated more harshly had he been “an unconnected Lieutenant.” Third, Colonel Hackworth stated repeatedly throughout his interview that then-Lieutenant Bush was “AWOL” and that a person would have to reach that conclusion when reviewing the documents “unless you’re the village idiot.” Colonel Hackworth appeared to be referring to the fact that he had seen no evidence that President Bush was “present for duty” once he left for Alabama in 1972, although he did not articulate clearly how he reached his conclusion. Finally, Colonel Hackworth concluded that “the bottom line here is – is the abuse of power.” He said that “[I]t’s how people up at the top can . . . lean on the little people.”

Rather thought Colonel Hackworth was a “strong and valuable expert witness.” Mapes also believed that Colonel Hackworth was important for the Segment and included excerpts of his interview in early drafts of the September 8 Segment script. These excerpts were ultimately cut from the final script by Heyward and West.


Maybe that's how Heyward saved his job?

Nick Kristof Makes Me Vomit Today

I read the New York Times Online Everyday. I know, I might as well be a Commie Stooge for doing so, but despite their awful editorial page and nearly worthless Op/Ed's, the paper is still worth reading, at least until the Washington Post's international coverage gets a bit better. Anyway, I also tend to Read Nicholas Kristof, because he's usually pretty good, and does a good job on foreign affaris wiritng. Ever since Tom Freidman went nuts, he's been the only lefty worth reading in the "Paper of Record" So imagine my shock today when Kristof decided to unfavorably compare the United States with Cuba and CHINA(!) when it came to infant mortality rate. You can read the column here if you're a registered NY Times reader, and you have the stomach for it. Looking at the article on it's face, and knowing how repressive both Cuba and China are, I felt that Kristof had to have something wrong, that he couldn't be correct. So, I turned to the internet, and the Captain at Captain's Quarters(check out Milhouse's entry below, had done some research, having about the same reaction to the piece I did.

In his crushing analysis he finds that on the all counts, Kristof is hiding facts. Go read it and then write a letter to Dan Okrent, the Public Editor of the Times. I know he never actaully chastises the columnistst, but he's more honest than a lot of people over there. I need a good dose of ether to clam myself over Kristof's crap.

(hat tip: Instapundit)


World Relief Day

The Captain has declared today World Relief Day. He and his friends are hoping to raise $50K for World Vision's tsunami relief fund by the end of today (they originally hoped for $5K, but when, before the day had even begun, they were already over $25K, they upped their goal to $50K). So if you'd like to chip in towards this goal, go here.

And while I'm at it, Chabad of Thailand needs some money too. Its activities, and therefore its goals, are rather more limited than World Vision's; the entire Chabad contingent in Thailand is six families and a dozen student volunteers, but that small group has been working flat out, and has run up large (for its scale) and unexpected expenses. Chabad of Thailand is headed by the Chief Rabbi of Thailand, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Kantor. I've known him for over 30 years, and he's a close friend of two of my brothers, so I can say with some confidence that donations to this cause will not be wasted on administrative overhead or lavish expense accounts. If they happen to raise more than they need for this particular emergency, I'm sure the surplus will be put to good use, but last I heard they were nowhere near having that problem... So drop them a few dollars. Whatever you give will be much appreciated.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

We could have made millions!!

I'm pretty sure this is real and not a hoax:

If it's not, we should run (not walk) to the patent office. My only regret: I didn't think of it first.

UPDATE: Wait a minute! You're telling me that there is already a competitive product with a dominant market share called a ... let me check the spelling on this ... remote control???

UPDATE: But that product still has an element of human error, where as the FoxBlocker is full-proof. And the children, someone please think of the children! Just imagine parents catching their kids secretly watching (gasp) FoxNews. It's just so awful ... huh, what's that, oh they already make a V-Chip for the TVs and Parental Controls for the set-top boxes. Still, is there such a thing as too safe?

Big time hat-tip: Tim Blair!!

Mark Steyn's columns are physically addictive

Mark Steyn's website is still down for 'personal reasons' and I'm starting to get tremors. Good news fellow addicts, he's still writing columns!! You just have to look harder to find them (hat tip Drudge & RCP).

Here are links to some recent ones. Ahhhh!!!!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Jack Bauer Could Ensure Safe Elections In Iraq!

With the war on terror coming to Los Angeles on FOX each week, it's inevitable that two things will happen:

  • Civil rights groups will get all in a tizzy because the Islamic terrorists are unfairly portrayed as ... Islamic!
  • Liberals will accuse FOX (chief media outlet of the VRWC - Vast Right-Wing conspiracy) of diverting the public's attention from the Vietnam-esque failure in Iraq while continuing the warmongers' propaganda campaign.

Based on the first three seasons, 24 is already the greatest drama/action series in the history of TV (Season 4 is unpardonable and unforgivable Soprano's fans), but the secretary of Defense (played by William Devane) from this season may ascend the show to even more unheard of heights - if he lasts 'til noon. When the SecDef is arguing with his whinny, anti-war, anti-US foreign policy, pro-environment son who wants to go embarrass his father at a protest rally, Pops nukes him with 'spare me your 6th grade Michael Moore logic'.

UPDATE: The Village Voice has already made that prediction look good. Here's a snippet of their review:

Perhaps it's because terrorism has become an utterly routine part of our daily news cycle, or maybe it's just that you can only spin out anxiety so long before it stops being entertaining, but the fantasy element of 24 has worn thin. A wild American loner, with no regard for rules or conventions (like that Geneva thingie), defeating those big bad Muslims - all sounds uncomfortably like a White House wet dream.

Even Moore reason to watch as far as I'm concerned. I can't wait to see the ratings for the premier and the V.V. & co's reaction!!

Colin Powell Take Note:

Australian taxpayers should feel relieved at this news:
AUSTRALIA'S $1 billion aid package to Indonesia would not be wasted through aid agency incompetence, John Howard last night vowed.[...]
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan toured the devastated province of Aceh as the world body took charge of the global relief operation for the disaster that left over 165,000 dead. But Mr Howard said he was determined there would be no UN involvement in Australia's massive package to Indonesia.
Colin Powell and George Bush, please take note.
(Hat tip: Tim Blair)

Just In Case There Are Any "Ohio Was Stolen!" Stories Left...

NRO has a piece on Ohio election "fraud" byPeter Kirsanow, a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights. I just want this linked so that anytime someone tells you that votes were stolen in Ohio and that Black voters were screwed, you can have a handy way to make that person look like a loon. Was Sen. Boxer crying in that phot because the election was "stolen" or because she had just wrecked her career?

Public Service Diligence

The Shark just found some dedicated public servants, busily keeping their agency's web site, er, up to date on a Sunday. Google's cache can be so useful, sometimes.

Home Truths

Some things just need to be said (via Instapundit)

Friday, January 07, 2005

The League of Nations II, er, the UN gets fat and rich on the misery of others... again

We all know that the United Nations is the principal enforcement body of international law. And it's certainly aided in this cause by the fact that 2/3 of it's voting members are outlaw nations that wouldn't recognize the rule of law if it fell from the sky with flashing lights and an explanatory note. Most Republicans, er, cold-hearted warmongers - would cite this as the principal reason for the U.N.'s history of highly questionable policies that hamstring the U.S. and allow the likes of Saddam to run wild and free.

But when they aren't aiding and abetting terrorists, the United Nations should at least be good at the humanitarian stuff, right? Oh, I forgot these useless bureaucrats are so inept that they could screw up a wet dream. This just in from an enraged Diplomat in the tsunami zone. Effectively, the crew from the U.N. are more concerned with procuring first class accommodations than saving any lives. Good thing those same U.N.-hating, heartless, warmongering Americans (with a hat-tip to some of our bribed and coerced allies) are actually on the ground doing the humanitarian work!

Why progressives still think of the U.N. as a solution to, well, anything - is a mystery that may never be solved. So my question for the day: Is it better we continue to fund the disaster the U.N. and at least have the power that is derived from paying the bills or should we finally cut it off and have an overt (as opposed to the current covert) adversarial relationship?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Election 2004...It Never Really Ends...

Everyone should turn on C-Span today at about 1 PM Eastern time, because you'll have a chance to watch the Democrats do something so unbelievably stupid that it Trumps all the other stupid things they've done over the past 4 years combined. Not content with a Ohio recount that still somehow allowed the President to win handily, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democrats all, even when there is black Republican Congressman (JC Watts wasn't a member of the Caucus), are once again going to challange the electors of a state they lost fairly. But unlike in 2000, when Al Gore himself told them to get over it, the House Dems have a Senator to sign their complaint, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. According to Jim Geraghty at NRO, Boxer was very iffy on wanting to torpedo her career completely, but as that first article said, she has agreed to sign onto the challange. So, for the first time since 1877, a slate of electors are being officially challanged in the Congress.

What will happen? As I understand the rules, a couple hours of debate, then a vote, then Bush is officially President again. Now, why is this a dumb move for the Democrats? Well, for one thing, the party has virtually nothing to base the complaint on. At least in 2000 there was a real feeling on the Democratic side that the elction had been stolen, and reasonable people could see why they were angry. Now it just looks sad. The Congressional Dems who've signed the letter are the same ones who did so in 2000, and are so locked into their seats that they could literally shoot the Pope, a Rabbi, and an Iman and still win re-election handily. They're like the Rupublicans in 1998 who were so pro-impeachment. The country ended up hating them, but Tom DeLay's majority leader now. Same with these members. Senator Boxer, on the other hand, must be planning on retiring, because this story will follow her for years. Yeah, the San Fransisco community she lives in will love her, but California, while a Blue state and willing to send elected officials packing(How's the weather, Gray Davis?), is also a place that moderate Republicans CAN do well in, if motivated. If she ever wanted to be Governor, she just shot herself. John Kerry is also not doing too much to stop this. He could call Boxer and tell her not to. She might listen. It's bad for the party, he could say, it makes us look like losers. But he's only said he wasn't going to contest it, actually hat tipped Conyers about "problems" in Ohio that should be fixed, and is currently in the Middle East, away from a vote on the subject. Why can't the Democrats "MoveOn" as it were? They are probably trying to create the sense that Ohio 2004 was Florida 2000 all over again, but that doesn't pan out. It shows the Public that their party is in dissaray, that they seem to be the stick in the mud gang, and that they're far too willing to fall for bizzare conspiracy theories. This is the party who's candidate got 48% of the vote, more than Al Gore. That's something to build on. This will just hurt the nation as a whole as well, since idiots like Castro and Kim Jong-Il can tell their enslaved populace that Democracy is a sham. This challange, based on no evidence and vague allegations, is absurd. This could mark the day the Dems really do become the permanent minority party. Watch history unfold at 1!

Destroying the Village in order to Save it

Russell Shaw makes "an argument for FCC VoIP oversight even a Libertarian might agree with".
If you make your calls over VoIP, especially a flat-rate plan, then the nagging minutiae of PSTN call rate tracking becomes a secondary concern at most. That’s because with VoIP, these complicating issues such as termination fees and local regulation will be less at the forefront. Or maybe not at all. Which is exactly why the FCC want to reserve the right to regulate this stuff, and not grant the individual states the authority to do so.
Oh, I see, we have to destroy the village in order to save it.

Yes, I know, I can point to several significant instances where this has actually worked. Australian Aborigines are much better off for having been colonised by England instead of France. And yes, federal regulation does give an industry an umbrella against state and local regulation, and there have been occasions when this industry or that has been happy for this. Then again, the person who was held up at his shop, and therefore not at home when it collapsed and killed everyone inside will be grateful to the robber, but that doesn't translate into an argument for armed robbery as government policy (oh, wait...).