Monday, February 19, 2007

To The Dictionary!

First, let's start with this one:

trea·son /ˈtrizən/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[tree-zuhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign.
a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state.
the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.

OK, now let's look at this one:

stu·pid·i·ty /stuˈpɪdɪti, styu-/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[stoo-pid-i-tee, styoo-] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -ties for 2.
the state, quality, or fact of being stupid.
a stupid act, notion, speech, etc.

And now, consider the meaning of Hanlon's Razor:

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

If you're wondering where I'm going with this, ask John Murtha. He may try to explain how his plan to end the war will help the troops. If it doesn't make sense, don't feel bad. It doesn't to me either, or the troops for that matter. Or the American people.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Paying the Dane Geld

Not much to post today, but I'll leave you with this prescient poem by Rudyland Kipling, with some emphasis added. Happy President's Day.


by Rudyard Kipling

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
"We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."
And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: --
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."
And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: --

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Two-Year Anniversary!!

Today is Valentine's Day, but that isn't as nearly as important as the fact that this blog is now officially two years old! Huzzah!!

OK, my self-serving celebration is over, so enjoy your day, lovebirds.

Setting the Debate Straight

On this blog in particular, and on all other blogs that I publish on, I'm planning a series of blog essays intended to promote an honest debate on the war, by both sides. In my view, both sides have gotten thing wrong with regards to this debate, and if we are to have a truly honest debate on the current state of the war, certain questions need to be answered, and certain realities need to be confronted. Not to mention the fact that the bitter attacks from both sides need to really end. This should be no secret to anyone who knows me or reads this blog, but I am a firm supporter of the mission in Iraq, and believe we must do all we can to achieve the best possible victory. It's clear that things are not going well right now, and we need to turn things around. Many major mistakes have been made, and this is not a small matter, however the one mistake we cannot make is to short-circuit the mission before it is complete.

Dissent is good and crucial, and I have never doubted the sincerity of those oppose the war, or the current surge plan on principle. I do think we really need to come to terms with consequences of our choices. Those who advocate a redeployment of troops from Iraq need to really come to terms with the ramifications. As I've said, I'll begin delving deeper soon, but as a preview, I just have three questions that I really think the critics of the surge plan need to answer:

1. If the surge plan is doomed to failure, and the current commander Gen. Petraeus supports the plan, then why was Petraeus unanimously confirmed? You say the commanders on the ground don't support the plan, but Petraeus does. Why is that not enough?

2. If the war is unwinnable, as many have argued, why should we wait six, or twelve months to redeploy? Why not do it now? Could it be that all of us recognize that the situation on the ground makes such a plan irresponsible? What will change by March 2008, Senator Edwards?

3. If Iraq is a distraction from the larger WOT, do you really think it would've been easier to deal with those threats if Iraq descends into civil war and becomes an Iranian proxy state?

And, changing gears, an entirely different question, to those who suggest that moderate Islam doesn't exist, and the only solution is an outright war with Islam:

Do you realize that that scenario makes a long-term victory in the GWOT impossible?

More to come...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Vista Vice Grip

Bruce Scheiner gives us yet another reason not to upgrade to Windows Vista:

Windows Vista includes an array of "features" that you don't want. These features will make your computer less reliable and less secure. They'll make your computer less stable and run slower. They will cause technical support problems. They may even require you to upgrade some of your peripheral hardware and existing software. And these features won't do anything useful. In fact, they're working against you. They're digital rights management (DRM) features built into Vista at the behest of the entertainment industry.

And you don't get to refuse them.

The details are pretty geeky, but basically Microsoft has reworked a lot of the core operating system to add copy protection technology for new media formats like HD-DVD and Blu-ray disks. Certain high-quality output paths--audio and video--are reserved for protected peripheral devices. Sometimes output quality is artificially degraded; sometimes output is prevented entirely. And Vista continuously spends CPU time monitoring itself, trying to figure out if you're doing something that it thinks you shouldn't. If it does, it limits functionality and in extreme cases restarts just the video subsystem. We still don't know the exact details of all this, and how far-reaching it is, but it doesn't look good.

Microsoft put all those functionality-crippling features into Vista because it wants to own the entertainment industry. This isn't how Microsoft spins it, of course. It maintains that it has no choice, that it's Hollywood that is demanding DRM in Windows in order to allow "premium content"--meaning, new movies that are still earning revenue--onto your computer. If Microsoft didn't play along, it'd be relegated to second-class status as Hollywood pulled its support for the platform.

This is bad news for my mom, who just bought a new Dell laptop with Vista. She's still something of a neophyte when it comes to computers, so I'll have to help her along. I think a forced downgrade back to XP may be in order.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Which Way Is It Going To Be, Mrs. Clinton?

There is a great piece by Christopher Hitchens in Slate, on the persistent knot Hillary has tied herself into, in trying to reconcile her past support of the Iraq policy, with her current desire to be President, and thus appease the anti-war Democratic base. An excerpt:

At stake, then, is not just the credibility of an ambitious New York senator who wants to be the next President Clinton. At stake, rather, is the integrity of the last President Clinton and of those in his administration who concluded that coexistence with Saddam Hussein was neither desirable nor possible. If the subject was less important, it might be amusing to watch Hillary Clinton trying to "triangulate" her way out of this and find a way of impugning the Bush policy that did not also impugn her husband's own consistent strategy. But the thing cannot be done and can't really even be attempted without raising the suspicion that a major candidate for the office of the presidency is, on the main issue of the day, not just highly unprincipled but also completely unserious.

Indeed. FWIW, I think she was right back then, and in many ways made a better and more articulate case than Bush. She really is going to have to make up her mind on this, and quickly. I'll just leave it at that.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Last True Muscular Liberal Left in Congress?

The immortal words of Sen. Joe Lieberman. A man of honor, decency, and on the issues that matter, uncommon clarity. I'll not excerpt, as this must be read in full. Read it and spread the word.

And to my fellow Dems (and certain Republicans): It's not your sincerity I doubt, but you're wrong on this. Dangerously wrong.