Wednesday, July 26, 2006

OK, Now Let's Just Calm Down

I've made clear my support for Israel, and their campaign against Hezbollah, and terror in general. That being said, I cannot figure out this overreaction from Howard Dean, or the boycott of some Congressional Democrats of al-Maliki's speech earlier today. Yes, he criticized Israel, and failed to openly condemn Hezbollah. I understand that. This seems like a major overreaction, one that is gratuitous and kind of irresponsible. The only reason I can come up with as to why some Dems feel the need to lay into the duly-elected Iraqi PM is a general distrust of the Iraq campaign. It's the same overreaction that drove the needless outrage over the "amnesty for Iraqis" nonstory. Frankly, the whole thing reeks of trying too hard. Everyone knows the Democratic Party supports Israel, and condemns Hezbollah. We don't need to rip into our new ally, because of some unfortunate comments, to prove that. Again, I think it all goes back to a mistrust of the Iraq campaign, and a lack of faith in the new government. If Iraqi leaders say something inartful, Dean and crew can then stand up and say, "see, I told you he couldn't be trusted."

Somebody explain to me how this helps Iraq, or Israel for that matter.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

From the "I Need A Break From Serious News" File

Consider this unscientific, highly interesting poll, birthed from a mind that stayed up past 4 am last night. Enjoy!

Which of these methods of settling hot-button political disputes is the least barbaric and undemocratic?
Mortal Combat
Tetris, Best of 7 Games
Test of Strength/Prowess
Test of Wisdom (The Smartest One Wins)
Popularity Contest
Coin Toss
The system we have now.
Free polls from

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Now This Is What I Call A Consensus

The Congress is split and partisan over Iraq, regardless of how you look at it. Fortunately, the Congress is united behind Israel, as this vote shows.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Israel vs. Lebanon (Hezbollah): The War Rages On

As I'm sure you all know, Israel has been engaged in a two-front war, fighting against Hamas in Gaza, and now against Hezbollah in Lebanon. It's pretty clear that Hezbollah is being fueled by jihadist Iran, and Baathist Syria. I'm totally supportive of Israel, and believe that they have a right and a moral duty to defend themselves. It does seem though, that Israel might be going in the wrong direction, in their all-out attack on Lebanon. I'm no expert on this, and I totally understand what Israel is trying to do (responding to unprovoked attacks), but they don't want to heap unnecessary havoc on innocent Lebanese, most of whom are anti-Hezbollah, and even pro-Israel. They've spent months rebuilding after the Syrian occupation. We don't want to lose them as an ally. Honestly, I still place the chief blame on Hezbollah. They started this.

There are great Mideast blogs that cover this a lot better than I can. Michael Totten, our man in the Middle East has been covering this. He has a personal stake in this, for obvious reasons. He is one of the leading voices for informed, unbiased, and insightful coverage of the Middle East. Also, the Lebanese Political Journal has been covering things straight from Lebanon. Get yourself a healthy dose of smart coverage from all sides. Also, let's keep the debate sensible and intelligent, please.

UPDATE: It looks like a cease-fire might be possible. PM Olmert has aid that if Hezbollah releases the captured Israeli troops, stops attacking Israel, and if the Lebanese government puts their troops on the border, this can end. Also, at the risk of appearing to contradict my earlier position, I want to reiterate the Israel is totally justified in their fight against Hezbollah. Hezbollah is the villain of this piece, fueled by the two-headed beast of Iran and Syria. I do think Israel really should focus their attacks on isolated Hezbollah targets, and try not to attack the whole country, but Hezbollah has forced them into this position.

Like President Bush said, they need to stop doing sh*t like this.

UPDATE #2: I thought I'd change the title a bit, to reflect the fact that this war isn't/shouldn't be against the people of Lebanon, but Hezbollah.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tolerance and Intolerance

Filling in for Michael Totten, Callimachus has written a great piece on the Founding Fathers' views on freedom of religion, and how they apply, or should apply today. He does a great job of making the case for religious toleration, with the limit being that one cannot use religious freedom to subvert religious freedom. Read it. I posted a good comment over there, as did many others. As with all heated discussions, there's troll activity.

Anyway, here's what I said:

In my view, there isn't that big of a difference between what the Founders thought, and what Popper thought. It is clear, and the Founders are correct, that they wanted a nation in which people had freedom of conscience, and of religion. The state could not impose one religion or the other, neither could it oppose one's right to freely exercise that religion. The line is clear, though. You cannot use your religion to actually subvert freedom of religion, or any other rights. You can believe that you should, but you do not have the right to actually act on such a belief.

Radical Islamists, Communists, Nazis, etc. can express any ideas that they want under the First Amendment, as wicked as those ideas are. They cannot use those ideas to justify acts that take away others' rights.

Rape, murder, actual acts of treason, etc. are not protected speech, because they violate others' rights. The answer is to confront evil ideas with good ideas, not outlaw them (regardless of any justifications the much ballyhooed Venona Papers supposedly establish). When ideas turn to action, then it's another matter.

As a matter of principle, I think Popper was simply suggesting that it is philosophically impossible to have unlimited tolerance (a fact that the hardcore multiculturalists haven't understood yet). It becomes problematic ehrn you start using the state to fight intolerance (a possible risk with a lot of European hate crimes laws), because you're back to the same problem again.

At the end of the day, the Founders believed totally in religious toleration, up until the point when it is used to undermine religious toleration (through state power, terrorism, etc). That rule ought to still apply today.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Joe Biden's Big Snaffu

Sen. Joe Biden likes to talk a lot. We all know this. Apparently, his mouth has gotten him into some trouble. At a campaign event, while thanking a supporter of Indian-American descent for his support, he pointed out how the Indian-Anerican community supports him, by saying this:

"You CANNOT go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent ... I'm not joking."

Oh, crap. He's stepped in it this time. I needn't explain to you why this was offensive. It clearly plays on the stereotype of Indians working only in convenience stores. Raj Peter Bhakta isn't happy, and has called out Biden. If the name sounds familar, it's Raj from The Apprentice. He's a Republican running for Congress. His blog covers more of the details of this. In case you're wondering, this is true. Biden did say this. There's a video.

Raj was on Hugh Hewitt's show talking about the double-standard, and how some Dems have done this before. In 2004, Kerry compared Sikhs to terrorists, and Hillary made a comment about seeing Gandhi at a gas station.

There's no defending this one. Joe's definitely put his foot in his mouth this time, and may have alienated all the Indian-Americans he claims support him.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sometimes, The Caption Says More Than We Realize

I just couldn't resist this. Beat this caption:

Note to Joe Lieberman: Don't even sweat this. Some of us still have your back.