Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm Inclined To Agree With This...

Via Althouse:

Well, of course, it was bad of the little girl to lie, but little kids lie. Making a spectacle out of disgracing a 6-year-old is disgraceful. After failing to check the very checkable fact that made the company think of her essay as the best, it should have quietly resolved the matter with the girl's family — probably by sending her on the trip anyway — and given the prize — the honor of winning plus the trip — to someone else.

I'm not sure about letting her go on the trip anyway, but I do agree that it's a bit out of bounds to pile on this girl. She's six. Not sixteen, not twenty-six, but six. As suggested in the comments, I think her mom had a hand in this, and at the very least should take the blame for not vetting her daughter's work (Don't you need parent's permission for these things, anyway?), not to mention the judges, for not vetting properly.

This ought to have been discreetly, and this girl shouldn't be subjected to this, as this goes well beyond the realm of a moral lesson.

I have to wonder though, are young girls that hung up on Hannah Montana, as to even allow such a situation like this to arise?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

This story has been developing all day, but it's clear that Bhutto was attacked during a speech. She was shot in the neck and the chest, and the assassin apparently blew himself up. She survived the bombing, but died of the gunshot wounds. Tragic all around. A sad day for Pakistan, and a sad day for us all.

HT: SF for the link

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

But This One Here Was Actually Good

This isn't really an ad per se, rather, it's a message to the troops. I thought this was good. HT and thanks to the WWE.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Speaking of Christmas Ads,

This one from Hillary probably wasn't the best choice:

HT: Althouse

I mean, whatever your opinions on those issues, the ad was just awful. I'm with Ann, in that it's almost a self-parody.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yeah, That's A Good Point!

In response to this news of the couldn't-have-happened-sooner-enough departure from the 2008 Presidential race of Tom "Let's Wall Up The Whole Frickin' Country" Tancredo (HT: Fern over at Stubborn Facts), I admittedly used some harsh words. Let it be said, that cavemen deserve better:

Hitchens and Huckabee

Although it is triple-marinated in insufferable anti-religious contempt, Christopher Hitchens' Slate piece on the right of people to consider religious views when judging candidates is nonetheless correct on the constitutional question:

As so often, the framers and founding fathers meant what they said, said what they meant, and risked no waste of words. A candidate for election, or an applicant for a post in the bureaucracy, could not be disqualified on the grounds of his personal faith in any god (or his disbelief in any god, for that matter).

He reminds us, though, that:

However, what Article VI does not do, and was never intended to do, is deny me the right to say, as loudly as I may choose, that I will on no account vote for a smirking hick like Mike Huckabee, who is an unusually stupid primate but who does not have the elementary intelligence to recognize the fact that this is what he is. My right to say and believe that is already guaranteed to me by the First Amendment. And the right of Huckabee to win the election and fill the White House with morons like himself is unaffected by my expression of an opinion.

Like I said, chock-full of anti-religious poison, but on the facts of Article VI, he's right. I have the right to consider someone's faith (Or lack of faith) when judging a candidate, and be quite vocal about doing so. Just because the government cannot impose a religious test, that doesn't mean the people can't. Contra Dennis Prager, Keith Ellison had every right to swear on the Koran, but voters do have the right to consider his adherence to that book when voting for him. Many will consider Romney's Mormonism, or Rudy's Catholicism. Hitchens will doubtless ask himself "does this candidate hate God as much as I do, and is he as self-absorbed and arrogant about it as I am?"

The wisdom of such considerations depends on your perspective, but let me add my view: I'm a Christian. Huckabee's faith isn't a problem for me (although he is a socon Republican, so I have issues with many of his policies). My problems with Romney have nothing to do with his Mormon faith, although there are questions he will have to face.

Back to Huckabee for a moment, while I totally understand the concern of improperly mixing religious and politics, I don't see what the big fuss is about on Huckabee's new Christmas ad, with the "floating bookshelf cross" in the background. It's a Christmas ad, and Huckabee has never hid his Christian faith. I'm not naive enough to think that he didn't know it was there, or at the very least the camera guy didn't know or plan it), I just don't see the big deal.

Before anyone asks, I'm not stumping for Huckabee. Being that he's a pretty conservative guy, chances are I'm not going to vote for him, but he seems like a decent man, and the pile on is getting silly.

There is a thought that I'm planning to expand on, about a possible anti-Huckabee conspiracy coming from the right, masking as a critique of hypersecularism, but that comes later.

HT: Althouse and Stubborn Facts

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Congress vs. The First Amendment (And The Plain Meaning of Words)

Over at Stubborn Facts, Tully has been providing extensive coverage of the continuing progress of an utterly-wrongheaded bill that will essentially limit press freedom to the established and well-paid journalistic elite, and strip away those freedoms from the average citizen.

This bill started off innocently enough, but in the legislative factory, a nefarious change was made. Here's how the bill started out:

(2) COVERED PERSON- The term `covered person' means a person engaged in journalism and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.

...(5) JOURNALISM- The term `journalism' means the gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.

All good in the hood so far, right? Even righty Mike Pence supported this bill at first. But here's the problem. Look at what happened:

(2) COVERED PERSON- The term `covered person' means a person who regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion of the person's livelihood or for substantial financial gain and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.

See what happened? Now the bill only protects you if you're a paid journalist, and journalism is a substantial part of your livelihood. In other words, the average blogger is left out.

This bill, HR 2102, passed the House in October. Tully brought it to the forefront again, after coming across this, which uses some of the most absurd reasoning I've seen in a while, and tries to make the case that citizen journalism is dangerous:

Supporters of "citizen journalism" argue it provides independent, accurate, reliable information that the traditional media don't provide. While it has its place, the reality is it really isn't journalism at all, and it opens up information flow to the strong probability of fraud and abuse. The news industry should find some way to monitor and regulate this new trend.

It seems that Congress has already started on that.

Hazinski continues, with this nugget:

This is like saying someone who carries a scalpel is a "citizen surgeon" or someone who can read a law book is a "citizen lawyer."

Umm, no, it's not, you idiot. First off, there is no constitiutional right to be a lawyer or a surgeon, and the field of journalism is so different from law and medicine, that your analogy is rendered beyond ridiculous.

The underlying argument here, and the underlying argument in the change in the bill, is a belief that the press has special freedoms granted them by the Constitution. The Founders didn't give freedom to the press, they gave the freedom of the press, to the people.

I wrote on this awhile back, when the NYT tried to justify their leak of the SWIFT terrorist banking story.

This bill needs to die in the Senate, and quickly.

HT again to Tully over at SF.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hugo Chavez vs. Time

Hugo has apparently decided that time itself is thwarting his plans, so he's decided to create a whole new time zone.

"I don't care if they call me crazy, the new time will go ahead," he said.

OK, then. You're craaaazy.

HT: Althouse, who has a cool new profile pic.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Not To Overreact Here,

but I'm inclined to agree with Eric Scheie, and wonder if perhaps it really isn't the best way to show your commitment to working-class and poor people, by broadcasting a debate on a channel that only people with a lot of money can watch?

This is another one of those things that the GOP will seize on, and while ultimately irrelevant, doesn't reflect well. I mean, what is the thinking behind this anyway? Did HDNet pay the DNC big bucks for this or something?

It all seems silly. I just can't figure out what they were trying to accomplish.

HT: Althouse

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The People Say No to Hugo

Hugo Chavez's plan to solididy himself as a dictator (even more than he already was) has failed, as the people of Venezuela rejected his referendum that would have made him President for life, carved up what was left of the Constitution, and seized even more executive power, and made him the next Fidel. The Chavistas will doubtless continue to misread this, and blame the U.S., but I think Marc Cooper nails it in one strike:

The real answer is that Hugo Chavez lost because a majority of Venezuelans decided he had taken them far enough off, thank you very much, and simply did not want to cross the threshold into an uncertain and prolonged chapter of personal dictatorship and political darkness. Good for them. Let's hope they can make it through the next six years of Chavez' current term.

Indeed. The people wanted democracy. Chavez, after grabbing more and more power, after shutting down the opposition press (with apparent approval from some over here), and his continued authoritarian expansion, couldn't force the people to choose dictatorship. He may call them traitors, but it won't work. Let's just hope and pray Venezuela survives the rest of his term.

BTW, Tully over at my second home Stubborn Facts has consistently provided extensive coverage of this issue, and Chavez's antics in general.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Cautious Optimism, Versus Cynical Opportunism

Christopher Hitchens, on the good news coming from Iraq. Good all the way through, and a somewhat hyperbolic, but nonetheless valid argument at the end:

As I began by saying, I am not at all certain that any of this apparently good news is really genuine or will be really lasting. However, I am quite sure both that it could be true and that it would be wonderful if it were to be true. What worries me about the reaction of liberals and Democrats is not the skepticism, which is pardonable, but the dank and sinister impression they give that the worse the tidings, the better they would be pleased. The latter mentality isn't pardonable and ought not to be pardoned, either.

True dat.

There's Bad Journalism, and Then There's Really Bad Journalism

You know what, I generally don't go out of my way to watch these debates, yet despite my belief that these debates end up becoming silly exercises in well, silliness, I find myself drawn to watching them. I missed Wednesday's GOP/YouTube debate on CNN when it was live, but I did catch the replay and a lot of the post-debate coverage. Most people should know about this by now, but there's been some question-planting going on again (HT: Pajamas Media), as the retired gay general asking the question about gays in the military was a Clinton staffer.

And, it doesn't stop there.

The thing is, this has to be a world-class embarassment for CNN. I don't really buy into the Vast Left-Wing Media Conspiracy meme, but this is one of those examples that righties will shove in the faces of liberals like me in order to make their case. I read this as systemic, world-class incompetence on the part of CNN. I don't think Anderson Cooper knew, but are you telling me, that after this same problem happened last time, on the same network, that no one in the mothership thought to do a little vetting of the questions, so they wouldn't be embarrased on the air by Bill Bennett, and a handful of righty bloggers? It makes you wonder how you can trust them as a journalistic outfit after this foolishness.

Joe Scarborough calls bullshit as far as CNN not knowing about this beforehand is concerned, but I have problems believing CNN even has the attention span, let alone the smarts to execute such a scheme. Who knows. A half-assed web search could've solved this straightaway. CNN, your internet kung-fu is weak.

This cannot be good for Hillary. One wonders if CNN really is smarter than we think, and they're simply in the tank for Obama?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Is This How the Pentagon Supports the Troops?

PFC Jordan Fox served his country proudly in Iraq. He joined the Army, served as a sniper, and survived heated machine gun battles and an IED. As is the nature of war, he was wounded. You'd think Fox would've gotten a medal, or a purple heart, but instead, the DoD sent him a bill, for the repayment of his signing bonus.

No, I'm not making this up:

The injury forced the military to send him home. A few weeks later, Fox received a bill from the Department of Defense, saying he owes the military nearly $3,000 from his original enlistment bonus because he couldn't fulfill three months of his commitment.

"I tried to do my best and serve my country and unfortunately I was hurt in the process and now they're telling me that they want their money back," Fox told CBS station KDKA-TV.

This is apparently not an isolated bureaucratic foul-up. The military is allegedly demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.

PFC Fox's case has been settled for the most part, but the fact that is still happening, or that it happened at all is an outrage. President Bush, and Secretary Gates need to kill this thing at the root, and see that those who guard us while we sleep are not screwed over when they're wounded on the battlefield, and return home.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Robots Are Horrible Racists!!!

Or at least, profoundly incompetent, according to Google. I missed this story, but apparently, there was a glitch in Google's image-based news search, that linked Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons, and Merrill-Lynch CEO Stanley O'Neal, to a photo of rhesus monkeys. Frankly, their explanation still smells like bullshit, and their almost dismissive indifference on the matter rubs me wrong.

I'm staying on this story.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

“Why do you think you didn’t give a speech like this in, say, May or June of 2004?”

Asks E.J Dionne, in response to these recent comments by John Kerry on abortion, and the Democratic Party's position on life issues:

I think we have been guilty in the party and individually at times of being overly pro-choice and this is the way it is and we’re not going to do x, y or z, without honoring the deeply held beliefs that are legitimate that go to the question of the killing of a human being, depending on what you believe. And I understand it depends on what you believe. But if you believe it, I think you do have an obligation to say so in terms of wanting fewer abortions, of trying to say abortion is not good, it’s not a good alternative, and what we need to do is make sure people have other alternatives and other options. That’s where you can find a lot of common ground because there are 1.3 million abortions in this country, and I don’t think anybody would disagree that that is too many.

As Bill Clinton framed it, I thought so effectively, in 1992, it ought to be rare, legal and safe. Rare has been missing from the debate. I think we need to figure out how we’re going to do that, and do it in a more effective way.

I still remember vividly that third debate between Kerry and Bush, when he answered that question on abortion. It was like watching an animal being tortured. I felt literal pain watching that. This is still somewhat nuanced and clunky, but a quantum leap from the fall of 2004. It's much too late at this point (which was Dionne's point), but he does get a lot closer to full coherence this time.

UPDATE: I should mention that for all intents and purposes I am a pro-life Democrat, so I still have some issues with this position, but I still think it is a big step compared to his last statement on the issue.

Friday, November 09, 2007

No, It's Not LIke That At All

In an nonetheless interesting article, the oft-wrong-on-the-war-but-usually-thoughtful Glenn Greenwald gets it really wrong:

We took a country that was relatively stable and a sworn enemy of, and an important check on, Iran. We turned it into a cesspool of violence, instability, displacement, sectarian strife, Iranian influence, and rule by militia.

The best we can hope for is to reverse some of the damage that we did so that a Shiite regime far more loyal to Iran than to the U.S. can rule with some semblance of order. And to "achieve" that, we squandered hundreds of billions of dollars, thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians (at least), and almost every ounce of credibility and influence we built up over the last six decades. That's the best case scenario. But still -- we are hearing now -- the people responsible for that grotesque debacle and who cheered it on are going to be in a "powerful" position, and the people who thought doing that was all a bad idea will be in big, big trouble.

The problems with his analysis are highlighted.

First off, I respect honest disagreements on the war policy, but I feel the need to bust two myths wide open. First off, Iraq wasn't really that stable under Saddam. The state was bound for collapse, not to mention a state sponsor of terror, and a rogue-state human rights nightmare, to say the least. Saddam was a murderer and a butcher. His regime was collapsing around him, and bound to be replaced by a worse regime. The idea was to replace Saddam's regime with a democratic alternative. Things obviously didn't work out quite like we planned, but the real progress we've made isn't some fantasy. Secondly, it's hardly fair to lay the blame squarely on ourselves for the violence there, as if al-Qaeda, the militias, and death squads somehow don't exist. I'm just sayin.'

Oh, yeah, and I'm with Althouse (thanks for the H/T, BTW). What is up with that metaphor?

The Art of Seeing Things As They Are

I put off blogging on this for a while, as other issues took precedence, but I was brought back to this after reading a two-week old Newsweek article on Hillary and Iran. I've noted elsewhere that there seems to be an almost obsessive fear with regards to Iran--not so much from the threat Iran poses, but from the possibility that we may have to engage that threat. The anti-war Left, a lot of the Democratic leadership, and many in the press seem to abide under a constant fear of a war with Iran. Let me say that I don't want to go to war with Iran if we don't have to, and I think that view is shared by all but the most hardened hawks on the right. The thing is, whether some of us refuse to admit or not, Iran is a real threat, and we may have to engage that threat down the line.

The anti-war Left has gone after Democrats whom they feel have not done enough to oppose what they feel is a march to war with Iran. They have piled on Lieberman for basically pointing out that we may have to engage Iran, and they have recently piled on Hillary (and other Dems) for backing the Kyl-Lieberman resolution. At the last debate, the other Democratic candidates hammered Hillary over this. Edwards said it "was written by the neocons." Obama, Biden, and others attacked her. Hillary defended herself by asserting her commitment to dealing with the threat of Iran honestly. Here's the thing, whatever one thinks of Hillary Clinton's political motivations for voting for the resolution that effectively declares the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, one thing ought to be clear: The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a terrorist organization. If Hezbollah, Hamas, and al-Qaeda are terrorist organizations (no one is disputing that, are they?) then by what I've read, the Quds force is as well.

The problem many have with this resolution is that in their view, it gives Bush legal ammunition to further a casus belli for Iran. I am, for all intents and purposes, a supporter of the Iraq war, but I understand the concern of rushing too quickly into another war, without sufficient planning, or without sufficient public support. To call Iraq a controversial war is the acme of understatement. I reject the idea that this war was doomed from the start, and still cling to hope even now, but many assumptions were proven wrong about this war, and I understand the rational fear about these things.

I just don't see this resolution as necessarily leading to war. I'd been hearing a lot about this resolution, so I read it myself. The whole thing. Frankly, I see nothing to really be alarmed about, unless one totally rejects the idea of identifying threats. Consider this:

(b) Sense of Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate--

(1) that the manner in which the United States transitions and structures its military presence in Iraq will have critical long-term consequences for the future of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, in particular with regard to the capability of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to pose a threat to the security of the region, the prospects for democracy for the people of the region, and the health of the global economy;

(2) that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force that could serve its interests inside Iraq, including by overwhelming, subverting, or co-opting institutions of the legitimate Government of Iraq;

(3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;

(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies;

(5) that the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, as established under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and initiated under Executive Order 13224; and

(6) that the Department of the Treasury should act with all possible expediency to complete the listing of those entities targeted under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747 adopted unanimously on December 23, 2006 and March 24, 2007, respectively.

The way I see it, all this does is acknowledge the threat, and says that we should do all we can to stop it. Diplomacy, economic pressure, and IF NECESSARY, military force. The fact is, we know that Syria has terrorist ties. We've had several resolutions stating this fact. Have we moved any closer to war with Syria as a result? Of course not. I'll say again, that only the most hard-line hawks are calling for strikes against Iran right now, but only fools delude themselves into thinking that all of Ahmadinejad's talk is bluster, and that the threat of nuclear Iran is not real.

OK, whew. That was longer than I'd thought it would be.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why Do So Many Hollywood Lefties Love Hugo So Much?

Anne Applebaum has a good theory:

"In fact, for the malcontents of Hollywood, academia, and the catwalks, Chávez is an ideal ally. Just as the sympathetic foreigners whom Lenin called "useful idiots" once supported Russia abroad, their modern equivalents provide the Venezuelan president with legitimacy, attention, and good photographs. He, in turn, helps them overcome the frustration John Reed once felt—the frustration of living in an annoyingly unrevolutionary country where people have to change things by law. For all his brilliance, Reed could not bring socialism to America. For all his wealth, fame, media access, and Hollywood power, Sean Penn cannot oust George W. Bush. But by showing up in the company of Chávez, he can at least get a lot more attention for his opinions."

For a regrettably large number of Hollywood big shots, the reality of life in a repressive dictatorship is lost on them. They are easily deceived. This is why a guy like Hugo Chavez can cast himself as a man of the people and a friend of democracy, (much like Che continues to cloak his true bloody legacy even long after his death), while Penn, Redford, Danny Glover and others manage to miss the persistent details of reality.

She continues on:

Most of all, Venezuela's leader not only dislikes the American president—so do most other heads of state—but refers to him as "the devil," a "dictator," a "madman," and a "killer." Who cares what Chávez actually does when Sean Penn isn't looking? Ninety years after the tragedy of the Russian revolution, Venezuela has become the "kingdom more bright than any heaven had to offer" for a whole new generation of fellow-travelers. As long as the oil lasts."

Certainly seems that way.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Anti-Gay, America-Hating Kooks Get Their Comeuppance

That's the only title I could come up with to describe this victory:

A federal jury in Baltimore awarded nearly $11 million in damages yesterday to the family of a Marine from Maryland whose funeral was disrupted by members of a Kansas-based fundamentalist church.

One of the defendants said the civil award was the first against the church, whose members have stirred anger across the nation by picketing at funerals for service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, often carrying placards bearing virulent anti-gay slogans. The church maintains that God is punishing the United States, killing and maiming troops, because the country tolerates homosexuality.

Unrepentant Fred Phelps is somehow undeterred, and continues to somehow see in the First Amendment the right to disturb private military funerals with hate speech:

"It was a bunch of silly heads passing judgment on God," he said. "I don't believe anyone in the courtroom knows what the First Amendment is. Religious views are expressly protected by the First Amendment. You can't prosecute a preacher in civil law or in criminal law for what he preaches."

Fred Phelps and his ungodly coterie miss the mark big time, but the family of Lance Cpl. Snyder sets them straight:

"The fact of the matter is, a funeral's private," said one of their attorneys, Sean Summers. "There was no public concern when [church members] showed up with a 'God Hates You' sign."

Exactly. This is open and shut for me. Not only are these rogues utterly hateful in their rhetoric, they do not have the right to invade private funerals with their rhetoric. For the life of me, I cannot fathom why the ACLU has taken sides with the Phelps, although if you ask some people, they'll tell you it makes perfect sense.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

RedState to Ron Paul Supporters: You're Not Wanted Here

There's an interesting bit of blogosphere fuss about RedState's policy of preventing new commenters from voicing their support for Ron Paul. RedState says that they're basically crazy people, and that they add nothing to the debate. Let me say this: I am the farthest thing from a Ron Paul supporter than you can possibly be. As a pro-war, center-Left liberal Democrat, I'm as far from Paul's constituency as Tokyo is from Texarkana, but I reject the idea of excluding certain groups of commenters without sufficient cause. I'm feeling a bit lazy now, so I'll let my comment over at Michael van der Galien's place speak instead:

Well, I’m coming at this from the perspective of a pro-war liberal Democrat, but let me add a couple of things. In my view, Ron Paul is something of a crazy person, embodying the worst of 1930’s isolationism, and Lew Rockwell-style hardcore libertarianism. His supporters are almost cult-like in their zeal. The way I see it, no self-respecting liberal would support him.

That being said, Paul’s candidacy is a legit phenomenon, and ought not be ignored. It’s bad form to exclude certain groups from the discussion out of hand. RedState can do what they want, but it’s bad form if you ask me. Meaningless cheerleader posts should be met with equal mental energy, which is to say, not much. Thoughtful and substantive posts should be encouraged. As I’ve said, throwing the whole bunch out is bad form, and I’ll leave it at that.

I'm not sure how likely this is, but if Ron Paul supporters happen to show up here, the door is open. I welcome open and honest debate, even from those with whom I vehemently disagree. Including those who support a bats**t crazy person who wants to basically hollow out the government, and thinks the Civil War was an unnecessary war. If you do show up though, prepare to have your arguments challenged openly, and as I see it, torn to pieces.

Also, I think Simon over at SF has a point about Andrew Sullivan extending a welcome hand to Paul supporters. Sully really does have to open up his blog to comments, if he's going to make statements like that.

HT: Stubborn Facts

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sure, You've Heard of Chickenhawks,

but have you ever heard of chickendoves?

Double-reverse chickendoves, no less:

People who talk up war without going get slapped with chickenhawk slurs. Clearly Friedman’s no chickenhawk, at least not anymore. Chickenhawk slurs are slapped on people who support war and haven’t gone. ”Chickenhawk” gets tossed around by people who don’t feel the need to lift a finger in support of the peace they profess to love. Not a human shield among them.

Friedman presents us with something different. The double-reverse chickendove. War supporter turned surrender enthusiast makes ironic funny about how painful this war has been for him. The terrible barrage of headlines, slogging through all those long, bitter thumbsuckers. News is hell. But apparently, he hasn’t been reading it.


HT: Instapundit

Friday, October 19, 2007

Say What You Want About Al Gore Winning The Nobel Prize,

but at least he's not this guy, who despite his assertions to the contrary, is a horrible racist.

BTW, as for Gore getting the Peace Prize, I think its a good thing. OK, then.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Of Heroism, Courage, Sorrow, and Pride

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

John 15:13

I dare say it is your duty to read in full this deeply moving piece by Christopher Hitchens, on the heroic life of Lt. Mark Daily, and the emotion Hitchens felt when he learned that his words inspired a young man to fight and sacrifice for his country. Quite possibly the best and most emotional piece he's ever wriiten, and maybe one of most moving pieces on this war you'll ever read.

HT: Centerfield

UPDATE: He's still utterly lost when it comes to religion, though:

He also told the crowd that heaven would be comparable to North Korea, as they both embody a totalitarianism of eternal gratitude.

Hitchens pointed to the “horrific pointlessness and misery” of having to thank a leader for everything when the leader was never asked for in the first place — which he said is intrinsic to both the concept of heaven and in North Korea.“At least you can fucking die and get out of North Korea,” Hitchens added.

Sigh. I'm praying for you, Christopher. I really am.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Sport of Kings

It's kind of a slow news day, so I give you this, what has to be one of the coolest game show concepts ever:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Matter of Principle

"Where there is no vision, the people perish."

Proverbs 29:18

"The result by the 1980s was a much weakened liberalism that was no match for a renewed conservative movement. Sapped of energy, liberalism had become, in Paul Starr's words, mostly "defensive" and "oppositional." Liberals tried to stick to the catechism of the older values, but were often pushed off course by the conflicting priorities championed by the cultural left. Liberals lacked any clear conception of first principles or anchoring ideas to guide them. Except for the fact that the Democratic party remained the home of almost all of the intelligentsia, it had now become the "stupid party" of American politics, an honor previously reserved for Republicans. Not even the two Clintons, with their high IQ's and a new generation of policy wonks to serve them, could change this. The "New Democrat" thrust was wholly strategic and practical: to move the Democratic party to the center and to "reinvent" government. Whatever other contributions may be ascribed to the Clinton Democrats, deep reflection about the party's theoretical foundations was not among them."

A must-read article, on the future of liberalism, the Democratic Party, and political discourse at large. Read the whole thing.

HT: Stubborn Facts

Friday, October 12, 2007

Congressional Foolishness, Ill-Advised and Dangerous

While we should recognize the tragic and bloody Turkish deportation of over a million Armenians during World War I as a horrible thing, I'm basically in agreement with Michael van der Galien (and the Bush Administration) that the nonbinding resolution that sprung forth out of Congress is a ill-advised and counterproductive measure:

Bush didn’t want the panel to send the resolution to the full House, because he feared (and fears) that it’ll do great damage to the relationship between Turkey and the US. The US is increasingly dependent on Turkey. Not only is Turkey a Nato ally closest to where the action takes place these days, it’s also one of the most important and powerful Muslim countries. Of all the Muslim countries in the world, the US can’t afford to insult this particular one.

If the House accepts the resolution - and I’m sure it will - the US has a major problem. Not only may trade problems occur, not only will anti-Americanism in Turkey increase, not only will Turks boycott American products and businesses, Turkey is also likely to move closer to the East and to distance itself a bit from the West. This at a time that the West needs Turkey in the war against radical Islam. More, it also makes it increasingly likely that Turkey will act against the PKK without asking the US for permission or even informing the US about the operation.

I've heard reports earlier today that the Congress (or at least Ike Skelton) has reversed course, and decided to kill this resolution. Let's hope so, and hope no permanent damage has been done. Let's settle this very real issue of the Armenian genocide(?) the right way, and not with nonbinding but dangerous resolutions.

"Look, I Just Want Some Pants. A Decent Pair of Pants!!"

Via Althouse, comes this hilarious and somewhat awkward clip of LBJ ordering some pants. Her analysis of the larger point is also interesting. I took note of this:

"LBJ: Now the pockets, when you sit down, everything falls out, your money, your knife, everything, so I need at least another inch in the pockets. And another thing - the crotch, down where your nuts hang - is always a little too tight, so when you make them up, give me an inch that I can let out there, uh because they cut me, it's just like riding a wire fence. These are almost, these are the best I've had anywhere in the United States"


BTW, in case you didn't get the reference alluded to in the title, watch this:

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Revolution May Not Be Televised

From Michael Totten, comes an initimate report on U.S. efforts to keep the peace in Ramadi and Anbar, that you probably won't see on the local news. Read the whole thing, but I thought this was good to excerpt:

I'm hardly the first. I know several journalists, political liberals as well as conservatives, who write it straight and don't wallow in soldier-bashing. But the soldier-bashing that's also out there sure does make an impression. Every journalist who embeds in Iraq must hear these complaints as often as I did, and I heard it daily.

Indeed. I also thought this was important:

This is what it’s like now in and just outside Ramadi. This mission is the kind of thing embedded journalists see, which is why most war correspondents embed somewhere else. Soldiers Hand Out Newspapers and Rice isn’t much of a headline, and it’s even less of a scoop. But this is the kind of work soldiers do now every day in what was recently the most violent place in Iraq.

That doesn’t mean reporters who go somewhere else aren’t doing their jobs, but it mostly explains why you rarely see coverage from Anbar.

As I said, read it all.

The First (and Last) Time I Address The Limbaugh Controversy

OK, I'm only blogging on this once, because I'm already worn out. It's clear that there has a been a susbstantial amount of heat about comments that Limbaugh made regarding soldiers in Iraq, and dissent, and "phony soldiers." The Left has piled on, and the right has piled on the pile on. Let me say this: I don't consider myself a Limbaugh fan by any means, but I think it's clear that his words were at least ambiguous, and most likely didn't mean to assert that troops who oppose the war are phony. That being said, whatever one thinks of his comments, the context of the comments, the justification of ignoring said context based on past statements Rush has made, or whatever, there was no reason whatsoever to bring this foolishness to the floor of Congress. What a spectacular waste of time that was.

Before anyone brings this up, let me say that as vicious and low-class as the MoveOn ad was, I still asserted that it was also something of a waste to bring a resolution condemning it to the Senate floor. Congress has more important things to deal with. It's clear why the Dems chose to do this, to distract from the MoveOn mess, and because Limbaugh is an easy target, being the combative partisan that he is. Keep in mind that there have been other worse instances of attacks on the troops, from the Left (William Arkin, anyone?), and the Right (Limbaugh and others have said worse things in the past), but nothing was done. When the Swiftboating of Kerry was on display, there were no resolutions on the Senate floor. This is going on right now because of politics, and the whole bit of business is silly.

And, I'm done with this.

Friday, September 28, 2007

They Wonder Why They Don't Get More of the Black Vote...

Perhaps this might have something to do with it?

Are you telling me that Tancredo had enough sense to show up, but none of the frontrunners did? Are you kidding me?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Michael Scheuer Is A Prick

These guys think so too, and I agree with them. You need to read the whole thing, and to my fellow liberals especially, ponder why it is that some of us are so quick to embrace such unreconstructed types. Interesting blog all around too.

UPDATE: Link fixed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

OK, Hold On A Sec...

You know, I've been hearing a lot about how Gen. Petraeus has somehow made himself a political tool of Bush, or has been forced to become one by Bush. This whole idea reeks of absurdity. Keith Olbermann, on most occasions is level-headed and relatively cool. He's opposed to the war in Iraq sure enough, and he hasn't hidden that fact. His criticisms are often snarky and biting, but most times I say, no big deal. But the rant I heard tonight at the end of his show (I'll post the link as soon as it's available) was, for the lack of a better word, unhinged. For a guy who counts himself as a foe of Bill O'Reilly, he sure managed to channel his spirit of hysterical outrage.

His comments were in response to Bush's admittedly self-serving pile-on about the MoveOn ad( backed up by an equally self-serving stunt resolution in the Senate). He argued that Bush and the GOP are in no moral position to chastise MoveOn, when they were mute on the Swiftboating of Max Cleland, and John Kerry. First off, as a rule, one should never justify bad behavior by other bad behavior, and secondly, Bush and crew may not have any credibility here, but the rest of us do. I condemned the Swiftboat smears. I condemned the smears on Max Cleland, and John Murtha (when they called him a coward), and others. John Cornyn (a guy I have limited respect for) has no moral position, but I do, and the 22 Dems who voted for the resolution do.

The thing is though, Olbermann actually goes on to defend the ad, and asserts that Petraeus has somehow made himself a political operative of Bush, and Bush has hidden behind Petraeus. Olbermann and others forget that it was the Democratic controlled Congress that rightly passed the measure that required Petraeus to testify before Congress. Petraeus is the top commander in Iraq. Based on his views and analysis, he supports the surge, and testified as such in the hearings. I fail to see how he made himself a puppet or a front man for Bush. It seems that those who believe he is a puppet, believe so because they cannot possibly fathom that anyone could possibly support the surge. According to Kos, only "moron dead-enders" still support the war, so when Petraeus says the war is still winnable, and that the surge is working, he must be a liar, and even a traitor.

At least, that's how Olbermann and others see it.

Olbermann comes close to making a valid point when he talks about the military influencing civilian policy, but he totally misses it. Petraeus is not MacArthur, or McClellan setting policy. He's simply doing the job the Senate confirmed him to do. Criticizing Petraeus is fine. But, I think he deserves a whole lot better than to have his loyalty and integrity tarnished, because he believes in his job.

Oh, and Keith, I know it gets on your nerves when the GOP calls the Democratic Party the "Democrat" Party. It irks me too, but you do learn to get past it; to move on, if you will.

What Gives, Mrs. Clinton?

Senate votes to condemn the MoveOn "Betray-us" slander ad 72-25. Hillary votes no. Biden and Obama didn't vote (campaigning?). Hillary, as well as the other 24 Dems have some explaining to do.

To all the sensible Dems who voted to condemn the ad, I say thank you (I'm sure Gen. Petraeus does as well). I have a hard time believing Webb would've voted against condemnation anyway. Still not sure what Kerry was thinking.

A Brief Thought on The Jena Six

Just wanted to point out this from Glenn Reynolds, who wanted to get to the bottom of the controversy in Jena, and asked Radley Balko what he thought. Balko nails it, in my view:

The final fight took place in the school cafeteria. The victim was among some white kids who were taunting a group of black student-athletes, including one who had been beaten up several nights before. The black kids got angry, and jumped one of the white kids. Six black boys then beat the white boy. It was a fairly serious beating. The initial fall knocked him unconscious. But after treatment at a local hospital, he left on his own, and attended an event that night.

The prosecutor initially charged the six black kids with attempted murder. After some public backlash, he dropped them to felony assault with a deadly weapon (the weapons, as it turned out, were the students' shoes). As I understand it, none of the six had prior records. The first to be tried--Mychal Bell-- had his charges dropped to felony aggravated battery, but still received a 15-year sentence. An appellate judge just tossed that sentence out, ruling he shouldn't have been tried as an adult. The rest have yet to be tried.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, Constitution!

Our Constitution is 220 years old today, and despite the opinions of a few, is still as strong and functional as it ever was. To explain further, I'll leave you with this, from back in the day(HT: Stubborn Facts):

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Quick Question

Why are we expected to take hooligans like Code Pink seriously? Explain to me how this foolishness passes for worthwhile war criticism:

Outside of causing a ruckus, acting a fool, and trying to silence (and slander) Petraeus, as well as other voices that support the surge, I'm at a loss as to what these women hope to accomplish.

Monday, September 10, 2007

This Made Me Laugh...

This from Austin Bay, via Glenn Reynolds, made me chuckle a bit:

"General Murphy is always at work. If it can go wrong it will. Murphy’s Law affects everything but it rules warfare. War is the effort where everything goes wrong — Clausewitz’ concept of friction recognizes this. It’s why perseverance and will are the traits of victors. I’ve dealt with Iraq’s creaky infrastructure –it’s frustrating. But from now on every mid-level Iraqi ministry is going to smile when a US diplomat or reporter asks him how his reconstruction and maintenance operations are going. The sharp tongued will say: 'Our parliament’s microphones work.' "

Ha! "Sure we've got problems, but damn it, when we do have meetings, our microphones work! What do you say to that?!"

Kos Drinks Too Much Anti-War Haterade

Althouse soundly schools the "rational" Kos, on his assertion that only "moron dead enders" still support the war:

Yes, you are the rational one, comforting yourself with made-up ideas that everyone who doesn't agree with you must be irrational. But I don't think Saddam was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks, and I support the war. I'm sure General Petraeus doesn't think Saddam was personally involved, and Pet[r]aeus -- who knows a bit more than you -- supports the war. I think there are many others.

First off, I never believed Saddam was behind 9/11, but I supported and still support the war. Why? Because Saddam was a state sponsor of terror, and a menace, and if Iraq becomes a terrorist stronghold for al-qaeda and others, then the result is, now pay attention here, another 9/11. See, the idea is to prevent future attacks. You'd get that, if you weren't a hopeless ideologue.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Rules to Consider When Buying New Gadgets...

The iPhone has dropped in price, and some aren't happy. Consider these rules:

1. The price will always drop eventually. This ought to be a reasonable expectation of anyone possessing a cursory knowledge of the prices of expensive electronics (iPhones, PS3s, XBox 360s, PCs, etc).

2. There is always risk in buying an item as soon as it comes out.

3. This is more of an observation than a rule, but it really is naive (and somewhat selfish), if one forgets the first two rules, to then lament if the price later drops, as if you somehow got screwed. Let's say you bought a PS3 for $500, and you're happy with it. Why be jealous of the fortunate consumer how bought it a bit later, for $400? If you have yours, you're happy with it, and it was worth the price, why complain? Now, there are situations in which one could understandably be upset, such as if you bought an iPhone for let's say, $300, and you found out only a day later that Best Buy was selling them for $150. This scenario isn't really likely in the case of the iPhone, but you get the idea. Also, if it's the same store, most times you can get the savings back if you keep your receipt, which serves as a good fourth rule.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Let Me Say This...

Ron Silver has endorsed Rudy for Prez. I like Ron Silver, and I'm certainly not bothered by him backing a Republican, as others might be, but I feel the need to point out something.

Considering this related quote:

[H]e is still a registered Democrat, and Mr. Silver told his convention audience that he has not disavowed the left's social agenda. But at the moment he represents a particular slice of the American political spectrum: voters who put national security before ideology and want to keep President Bush's hand on the nation's rudder.

I certainly believe that national security is basically the primary issue (I'd like to think I've established that rep on this blog), but I have problems with the idea that believing that requires one to want to keep President Bush's (or in the case of the current election, a Republican's hand on the nation's rudder.

This Is An Interesting Theory

Glenn Reynolds on the differences between lefty and righty blogs.

Now, I don't necessarily agree with this theory, but it is thought-provoking. The right has made media bias into a national religion, yet the activist Left often speaks about the "corporate media." Also, I see plenty of punditry on the left, as well. I'll have to ponder this some more.

HT: Booker Rising

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Heads Still Placed Firmly In The Sand

One of my favorite movie lines ever is the line from The Usual Suspects, in which Verbal Kint, speaking of mystery villain Keyser Soze, remarks that "the greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn't exist." Apparently, even if he came out and told them, some people still wouldn't believe. Consider this from Christopher Hitchens:

Over the past few months, I have been debating Roman Catholics who differ from their Eastern Orthodox brethren on the nature of the Trinity, Protestants who are willing to quarrel bitterly with one another about election and predestination, with Jews who cannot concur about a covenant with God, and with Muslims who harbor bitter disagreements over the discrepant interpretations of the Quran. Arcane as these disputes may seem, and much as I relish seeing the faithful fight among themselves, the believers are models of lucidity when compared to the hair-splitting secularists who cannot accept that al-Qaida in Mesopotamia is a branch of al-Qaida itself.

Now, there is obvious religion-bashing going on this statement (we're all aware of Hitchens' God-hatred), but the highlighted part appears to be tragically true. Some people just don't get it, and they continue to abide under the most idiotic of assumptions.

Read the whole thing, but check out another excerpt:

We can not only deny the clones of Bin Ladenism a military victory in Iraq, we can also discredit them in the process and in the eyes (and with the help) of a Muslim people who have seen them up close. We can do this, moreover, in a keystone state of the Arab world that guards a chokepoint—the Gulf—in the global economy. As with the case of Afghanistan—where several provinces are currently on a knife-edge between an elected government that at least tries for schools and vaccinations, and the forces of uttermost darkness that seek to negate such things—the struggle will take all our nerve and all our intelligence. But who can argue that it is not the same battle in both cases, and who dares to say that it is not worth fighting?

Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and regrettably others, who ought to know better.

HT: Instapundit

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Well, Somebody Had To Say It

You really have to read Jasmyne Cannick's spot-on commentary on the out-of-balance reaction to Michael Vick's alleged dogfighting. She says what I've been basically thinking for a while now, although cruelty to animals isn't a small matter. An excerpt:

"I am not in the camp of people that think that dog fighting deserves this much of our attention. Sure it's not pretty and for the most part is horrific, but it's not the worst thing Vick could be charged with - try 14 counts of child pornography and having sex with an underage minor. Enter R&B singer R. Kelly. Set to begin his long overdue trial next month on 14 counts of possessing child pornography for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a girl, prosecutors have said could be as young as 13, you wouldn't know it the way his albums are still flying off shelves and black people are still bumping and grinding to his music. So what does R. Kelly have to do with Michael Vick? While traditional black organizations have been quick to jump to Vick's defence, for the most part they've said nothing on Kelly. Last time I checked a dog was not human, but a 13-year-old girl was. And regardless as to whether or not she willingly engaged in the act, she was the minor and he was the adult."

Now, I'm not at all defending dogfighting either, and it is a horrible and sickening crime. If Vick actually allowed this to happen in his house, or enabled it, he did a horrible thing. Cruelty to animals is in fact a horrible thing, and as I said, not a small matter.

Here's the thing: I've seen serial rapists get less heat in the press than Vick's getting from some. A bit bass ackwards, don't you think?

HT: Booker Rising

Monday, August 06, 2007

Back From My Blogging Break

I've been away for a while, just wanted to let everyone knows I'm still alive, and I finally plan to get caught up on things I've been meaning to blog on. Not much longer now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Senate Iraq Showdown Slumber Party In Full Swing

Well, it looks like it's going to happen. The machinery is set, and protests pro and con are already under way.

This all seems awfully familiar...

Discuss. (Actually, I plan on blogging the aftermath tomorrow).

BTW, they really might want to pay attention to this guy. (HT: Stubborn Facts)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Question Harry Reid Cannot Answer

Jake Tapper from ABC News tries to get a straight answer from Sen. Reid, on whether a premature pullout will make the Iraqis safer.

Regrettably, he fails:

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID, D-NEV: As reported in the news this morning, 69 percent of Iraqis feel they are less safe because of the presence of Americans; 21 percent of the Iraqi people feel they're safer. That's pretty clear that American troops who are over there protecting the Shias, the Sunnis and the Kurds -- they're not welcome. That's the reason that they're doing a good job of protecting the Shias, Kurds and Sunnis, but they are all trying to kill our soldiers. That is a recipe to bring our troops home. And that's why the Levin-Reed amendment is so critically important. …It transitions the mission within 120 days, and by the first day of May of next year, our troops will be out of there, our combat troops will be out of there. They will be left to do counterterrorism, training the Iraqis -- continuing to train the Iraqis and protecting our resources. That's what the Iraqi people want and that's what American people want.

Riiiight. Read the rest. The comments are interesting as well.

HT: Instapundit

Alright, Then

I went to the dictionary on this, and now I think I'll have to apply the same rule here.

HT: Stubborn Facts

UPDATE: Not that I'm suggesting that persistent global warming deniers are stupid either, rather many are misinformed, in my view.

Friday, July 06, 2007

More on Transformers

OK, so obviously some people didn't agree with my assessment of the film. I think we must have been watching different movies. Don't get me wrong, this movie had noticeable flaws, and I say this as die-hard Transformers fan for over twenty years, but it was very good. I think Cooper was entirely too harsh, and her critique reads as a non-fan critique, where as my critique (and my issues with the film are from a fan's perspective.

For the sequel, Michael Bay needs to be as far away from this franchise as possible.

The Gray Lady's House is Filthy

I mean, really it is.

HT: Stubborn Facts

The Massachusetts Bar Exam Is Anti-Christian?

This man thinks so. From

A Massachusetts bar examination applicant who claims he failed the test because he didn't answer a question about homosexual marriage and parenting is suing the test administration agency, the state Supreme Judicial Court and four individual justices for constitutional violations

The story continues:

Dunne claims his score of 268.866 on the November 2006 bar exam just missed the passing score of 270 points because he didn't follow the prescribed format for an unlawful question about gay marriage. Dunne said the question required applicants to "affirmatively accept, support and promote homosexual marriage and homosexual parenting." Dunne claims the defendants violated his First Amendment right to exercise his religion and violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. He also claims their actions impose illegal state regulations on interstate commerce.

Interesting. I certainly respect Dunne's right to morally oppose same-sex marriage being the law, but I'm wondering if he has a case here. Whether he likes it or not, same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts. If the question did actually require him to support a policy he disagrees with, then there's a big problem, but you'd have to prove that (and farnkly, I find that kind of dubious, considering this is the Bar exam). Also, what of the fact that he must have certainly gotten other questions wrong? Can you argue that you failed because of that question, when there are clearly others you got wrong as well?

Of course, as I said, if the Bar exam does actually force applicants to potentially compromise their beliefs (as opposed to simply applying laws), then he has a case. I'd really like to see that question, in order to determine whether we have a case of authentic anti-Christian bias, or someone with a political axe to grind, who cannot pass the bar. Who knows?

HT: Pam's House Blend

I Don't How Else To Say This

I'm planning on blogging more extensively on the issue after getting a better handle on things, but as I see things now, this is bad. I know it may place me in unexpected company to say this, but the situation in Colombia is bad. I hope I'm reading this wrong, but if things are as they seem, then Congress has a lot to answer for.

HT:Instapundit (Yes, that Instapundit. Some people seem to have a great deal of antipathy against the good professor, but the fact that we don't agree on everything hardly disqualifies him from polite society, and certainly ought to exempt him from such low-class namecalling.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

What's The Best Word I Can Use?

This is sort of a morbid thing, but I've been trying to come up with a single English word that best captures the fullness of a bad situation. In other words, if I wanted to describe the worst possible situation one could fall into, I'm looking for a word a bit more striking than say, disaster, or chaos, or that politically charged of late word, quagmire. The best I've been able to come up with is catastrophe. I can think of no other single word in English that captures the feeling of ruin and despair. I love the word, with its bold Greek origins. "An over-turning." Indeed.

As to why I felt compelled to engage in this exercise, besides the love of language, it had partly to do with coping with some personal issues, and reflecting on certain events still in the news, and how they all seem to hit at once. First of all, the situation with my grandfather's accident and paralysis, and the struggle to it all in. When we first found out that he was basically paralyzed from the neck down, I found myself trying to think of word to describe at all, and all I could think of was catastrophe, as in "this is a total catastrophe." Things are looking up though, and while there's certainly a long road ahead, by God's grace we'll pull through. I hesitated to blog on this, because I still hadn't taken it all in yet (I still haven't even now), and I don't want to unload negativity on the millions of readers I often pretend I have.

And then there's the Benoit story. Catastrophe. No other word for it. As a wrestling fan, and more importantly as a human being, there's not other way to decribe it.

OK, enough negativity. I've found my word. I'll keep a look out, but as it stands now, catastrophe is my word. Or rather not my word, because all things considered, my life isn't a catastrophe.

OK, that was a little cornball, I know.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On This Fourth of July,

Let us remember the words of Thomas Paine:

"THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God."

Amen. Read the rest.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Yes, That Would Be Great

From Brendan Loy:

“Technical reasons,” eh? Wouldn’t it be great if it turned out the terrorists were trying to set off the bombs with newly purchased iPhones, but failed because they couldn’t activate them? ;)

Ha! One can only hope. Nice work, Apple!

I Just Saw Transformers...

And it was damn good! Yes, it was good!!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Brezinski's Rebellion

This is a couple of days old, but in case you missed it, watch as Mika Brezinski shows us the way:

Bravo, madam.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just Two Quick Seemingly Unrelated Points...

Someone needs to clue in Ann Coulter that while she indeed has the right to spread her brand of cultural pollutant, others have the right to reject it, and recommend that others do the same. That right does not disappear when one becomes a presidential candidate, or the wife of a presidential candidate.

Oh, I still wonder though: What's the point of even engaging this? The more coverage she gets, the more power she has.

Taking my own advice, I'll stop talking about her... See, that was easy!

Oh, and just as a sort of brief statement on my view of the much discussed fairness doctrine...

It's bad policy. Fundamentally bad. Illiberal, actually. I actually plan to discuss at length later, but I just wanted to share that.

Well, I Guess That's It For Immigration Reform

Another key vote was today, and it fell 14 votes short. The way things were going in the Senate yesterday, I wasn't sure this would pass anyway. Oh well, I guess we don't get secure borders, or a rational immigration policy then.

UPDATE: If you say so, I guess. (Sigh...)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chipmunk High Seriousness

It's all too much for him to bear.

HT: Garance

Young Liberal Hawks Unite!!

Yes, this makes a lot of sense to me, and quite frankly (with a few qualifications), I like it a lot.

Kee p in mind, that I'm not suggesting that we should be somehow uncritical of the justifications of war, or fail to criticize war policy when appropriate, or even that this study is at all ironclad. Nor am I suggesting that the current tough times in Iraq are not a reality (I still cling to hope, however). I just think that younger, more liberal people tend to be more cautiously idealistic about the prospects of defending freedom abroad. Remember that a lot of the opposition to this war came (and still comes) from old-school conservatives.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Now Maybe I'm Grabbing At Straws,

but this statement:

I’ve heard all the rhetoric — you’ve heard it, too — about how this is amnesty. Amnesty means that you’ve got to pay a price for having been here illegally, and this bill does that.”

hardly counts as an admission of the recently revived comprehensive reform bill as being amnesty. I know how opponents of this bill would like to cast it that way, but it's not. It's just another regrettable Bush gaffe. He does have a habot of those, you know.

Ok, I'm done with this.

UPDATE: James M. in the comments, who supports the bill, argues that this bill is amnesty, and supporters should just admit that. With all due respect, I cannot that do that. This is not amnesty. It's a sort of leniency, sure, but not amnesty. Now, if one believes that the penalties are too light, than we can debate that, but let's be clear on the meaning of words first.

Monday, June 25, 2007

On The Benoit Tragedy

Wow. I'm still at a loss for words. The wrestling world has lost one of the greatest of all time, in Chris Benoit. Chris, his wife Nancy ("Woman" from WCW and ECW), and his son Daniel were found dead this afternoon at their home in Atlanta. Still can't believe it. I was certainly shocked not to see him at the PPV last night, and I, we lost another great one, folks. Chris Benoit will be missed (along with Woman), and my heart goes out to his family.

Tonight's Raw was scrapped, and a very moving three hour tribute to Benoit was done. It was really good. The McMahon "death" angle has been scrapped (Vince and crew handled tonight's show with as much class as anyone could). I wanted that angle over with, but not like this.

Again, Chris Benoit, RIP.

UPDATE: Apparently, their deaths are being ruled a double murder-suicide. Good Heavens, this is horrible.

UPDATE #2: It's been confirmed. Apparently, Benoit killed his wife and son over the weekend, and himself late on Sunday. Good God, this just gets worse and worse. WWE has removed all tributes from TV and the website, and Vince has apologized for the tribute. Honestly, the WWE handled this the best they could. None of us knew the whole story at the time. Still don't know what to think.

UPDATE #3: I removed the picture, and adjusted the title, as you can see. I just doesn't feel right leaving it there, for obvious reasons.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I'm Sure She Bought It Because She Thought It Was Hip,

but perhaps Cameron Diaz really should have thought things through just a bit more, because sometimes a fashion statement isn't just a fashion statement, you know?

Let me be clear and say that I don't think Diaz is a Maoist. Rather, I suspect she had no clue of the meaning of the imagery:

A prominent Peruvian human rights activist said the star of "There's Something About Mary" should have been a little more aware of local sensitivities when picking her accessories.

True dat.

UPDATE: I fixed the link.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

About That New Hillary Ad, Part II

You know, I didn't quite see it first, but I thjink Ann Althouse really is on to something with this ad. I'm a writer (I'd like to think of myself as one), so I usually pick up on these things. I'm not sure if I was just being lazy, or what, but the carrot vs onion rings sexual imagery fits.

Oh, and I guess the carrot really is a phallic symbol. Nothing like those masturbation stories, huh? Thanks, Google!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

About That New Hillary Ad...

I've seen the ad, and frankly I thought it was cool. I suspect that there are various reasons why Hillary chose to do the ad, and various interpretations of its meaning. In case you haven't seen it, it's a spoof of the final scene of The Sopranos, with Bill and Hillary sitting in the diner, eating, picking songs in the jukebox. Ann Althouse has an interesting analysis, but I think she reads a bit too much into it.

I think the problem of non-Sopranos watchers is interesting, but it's fair to say that Hillary made a safe judgment in assuming that the average person who would watch the ad probably watched, or at least heard of the show, and with the coverage of the finale, the reference was already out there. Of course, assumptions are by their nature fallible. I suspect the only ones who would think using a Sopranos reference is elitist, are those who probably won't vote for her anyway.

Ann's second point is entirely valid. Let us not forget that in the midst of this great story about these complex characters, that we're dealing with hardcore criminals. Tony Soprano is the protagonist, but he is the boss of an organized crime family, and Carmela turns a blind eye. We love these characters, but they aren't exactly role models. Such associations could backfire. You know full well how this could be spun.

The rest of it I'm not touching, because it reeks of reading too much. As one commenter put it, sometimes an onion ring is just an onion ring (BTW, the carrot really is a phallic symbol? I didn't know that!).

At the end of the day, just as the show was a show about family, that happened to involve mobsters, this ad was a clever way for Hillary to try to be hip, current, and edgy, I suppose.

And Johnny Sack was in it. That was cool.

Oh, and the comments are getting ugly on her blog, BTW.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Foibles of Modern Journalism Notwithstanding,

This isn't just an overstatement, this is outright bomb-throwing hysteria. Don't get me wrong, the media truly needs to do a better job in practically every area, but the way Dick McDonald tells it, you'd think..well I'll just let you read it.

What The Heck Was That?

The Sopranos finale just ended. SPOILER ALERT. Everyone except Meadow is sitting at the table in the restaurant, and Meadow is taking forever trying to park. She finally gets through the door, and...blackout. Blackout. THen credits. No music. I thought my cable was out, but that was the end. Confused as hell. Did David Chase execute the biggest swerve of all? Were they all killed, and we just don't get to see it? Did he just override all speculation and just decide to leave us in the dark, forever?

You don't end a series with a cliffhanger! WTF?!

Is it really the end? Was the biggest swerve that this wasn't the real finale? I don't know what to think.

UPDATE: You know what, after reading the comments over at Althouse, I'm wondering if the feeling in my gut is correct that this a stroke of genius by Chase. In one sense he wants us to suffer, never really knowing, and in other sense he expects we'll be figuring out the ending in our heads for years. Heck, we could just look at it for what we saw: Tony and his family lived. Period.

UPDATE#2: You know what, I think this guy nails it.

UPDATE#3: Well, if you were looking for the big bang finale, it seems the WWE has done it. I was thinking in the back of my head how crazy it would be if something like the limo blowing up happened, and how it would never happen. That's silly. And then it happened. Wow. REally didn't see that coming, that it actually happened, I mean.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's Starting To Sink In

This Sunday really is the final episode of The Sopranos. No kidding. It is really is starting to sink in.

The Grand Bargain Fails

The comprehensive immigration reform bill may have been dealt the death blow yesterday in the Senate. I really do plan on blogging about this later in-depth, but frankly, I'm kind of worn out. There has been so much hysteria and distortion in this debate, that one wonders whether anything will get done. Marc Cooper basically calls it on why the bill failed:

Meanwhile, the "grand bargain" immigration reform bill has collapsed in the Senate. For this I blame opponents in both parties. The bill was essentially amended-to-death by a fruit salad of Republicans and Democrats who were cynically trying to smother it.

Shame on them.

Here's the bald truth about comprehensive immigration reform: there were only two real-world choices. Either pass an imperfect bill that would at least begin to improve the current outrage of policy. Or do nothing and conform to the current outrage of policy. Period. Compromise or Death, to paraphrase Fidel Castro. Any body who believes differently is living on a different planet.

Now what do we have? From the perspective of the restrictionist Right, instead of bringing some order and some identification to the sea of undocumented in America, we will continue to have 12 million "illegals" around (whom I suppose will continue to serve as convenient scapegoats). And, take my word for it, they will continue to pour across the border -- fortified or otherwise.

From the perspective of the restrictionist Left, those like Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan who helped kill this bill by objecting to the guest worker program, an equally pyrrhic victory has been achieved. In the name of protecting American workers from job-grubbing braceros, as well as protecting would-be guest workers from becoming super-exploited braceros, they have now guaranteed the continued existence of a 12 million strong pool of low-wage undocumented workers -- most of them bereft of any labor or legal protection and not very different from braceros.

Many are wondering if the system is totally broken, and have called this "a scathing indictment of the political culture in Washington." Mickey Kaus, (whom I disagree with on this--I'm pretty sure he's against the bill) nonetheless has some interesting points on the coverage and politics of the bill, basically pointing out that for various reasons (see above as well as his analysis), that it just wasn't going to pass. The anti-immigrant and anti-guest worker program forces just couldn't agree. The far-right wants to basically deport them all (regardless of how much they tell you otherwise), and regard anything less as amnesty, and many on the Left have issues with the guest worker aspect.

At the end of the day, as one who supports comprehensive reform, one wonders about the future of this thing. I'm continually reminded of the line in Pulp Fiction, in which Marsellus says to Butch:

"You came close, but you never made it, and if you were gonna make it, you would've made it before now."

Sounds a lot like John Edwards' political future, but I'll leave that segue for later in the day.

UPDATE: I want to reiterate how much this debate is totally off-balance. The anti-immigrant right, while refusing to budge on this, fails to own up to its own arguments. Michelle Malkin wishes her critics would stop accusing her and the opponents of comprehensive reform of wanting to deport all 12 million undocumented workers. I'm more than happy to do that, Michelle, but I'm afraid you'll actually have to stop advocating that position first. O'Reilly said on his show that the Left doomed the bill with unpopular amendments. The fact is, the GOP base opposed this bill from the start, and would've found any reason to kill it. As it's been said, they don't want real reform. The opponents of the bill, are the ones who are for amnesty. It's that simple.

Paris Hilton Back To Jail

Ok, then. Story here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Paris Hilton in Jail

I just wanted to share my thoughts on Paris Hilton's jail time and the supposed implications...wait, hold on..what? She's out? Really? Damn, that was quick. Oh, never mind, then.

HT: Althouse

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Christopher Hitchens on the Stakes, and how the Far-Left Fails To Acknowlege Them

This is good. A little religion-bashing thrown in, but it is good. The look on lack-witted Chris Hedges' face at the end is priceless.

Hat tip: David Thompson

UPDATE: From Zombietime, comes a full-report on the debate, and the context, as well as more videos.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hugo vs. Free Speech

Apparently, FAIR thinks it's fair. Read this, and try not to vomit:

When Chávez returned to power the commercial stations refused to cover the news, airing instead entertainment programs—in RCTV's case, the American film Pretty Woman. By refusing to cover such a newsworthy story, the stations abandoned the public interest and violated the public trust that is seen in Venezuela (and in the U.S.) as a requirement for operating on the public airwaves. Regarding RCTV's refusal to cover the return of Chavez to power, Columbia University professor and former NPR editor John Dinges told Marketplace (5/8/07):

"What RCTV did simply can't be justified under any stretch of journalistic principles…. When a television channel simply fails to report, simply goes off the air during a period of national crisis, not because they're forced to, but simply because they don't agree with what's happening, you've lost your ability to defend what you do on journalistic principles."
You've got to f-ing kidding me. How much did he pay you, FAIR? How much?

Hat tip: Marc Cooper

With Great Breast Power, Comes Great Breast Responsibility

Via Ann Althouse, a discussion on the power of women's breasts. Hmm.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Poignant Verse for Memorial Day

I was looking around for some timely verse to commemorate Memorial Day, and I think I found a good one. It's by Henry van Dyke, written during the latter days of World War I, calling America to her mantle:

Thou warden of the western gate, above Manhatten Bay,
The fogs of doubt that hid thy face are driven clean away:
Thine eyes at last look far and clear, thou liftest high thy hand
To spread the light of liberty world-wide for every land.

No more thou dreamest of a peace reserved alone for thee,
While friends are fighting for thy cause beyond the guardian sea:
The battle that they wage is thine; thou fallest if they fall;
The swollen flood of Prussian pride will sweep unchecked o'er all.

O cruel is the conquer-lust in Hohenzollern brains;
The paths they plot to gain their goal are dark with shameful stains:
No faith they keep, no law revere, no god but naked Might; --
They are the foemen of mankind. Up, Liberty, and smite!

Britain, and France, and Italy, and Russia newly born,
Have waited for thee in the night. Oh, come as comes the morn.
Serene and strong and full of faith, America, arise,
With steady hope and mighty help to join th brave Allies.

O dearest country of my heart, home of the high desire,
Make clean thy soul for sacrifice on Freedom's altar-fire:
For thou must suffer, thou must fight, until the warlords cease,
And all the peoples lift their heads in liberty and peace.

Henry van Dyke April 10, 1917

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ridiculous Declaration of the Day, 5/15

Joe Biden could very well be elected President.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Oh, and Happy Mother's Day!

It's a bit late, but I had to give a blog shout-out to moms, especially my own.

Mohammed Fadhil on the Stakes

Iraq the Model's Mohammed Fadhil, on the stakes in Iraq, and the cost of we leave the mission unfinished:

It is up to us to show tyrants and murderers like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah, Syria's Bashar Assad, and their would-be imitators who seek to control Iraq's people and wealth that we, the people, are not their possessions. They can't take out our humanity and they can't force us to back down.

The world should ask them to leave our land before asking the soldiers of freedom to do so.

The cost of liberating Europe in the last century was enormous in blood and treasure. In fact, it took half a century of American military presence thereafter to protect those nations from subsequent threats. If that made sense during a Cold War, and it did, then I don't understand why anyone would demand a pullout from Iraq (and maybe later, the entire Middle East) when the enemies are using every evil technique, from booby trapped dead animals to hijacked civilian aircrafts, to kill innocents.

And so, my friends, I will call for fighting this war just as powerfully as the bad guys do - because I must show them that I'm stronger than they are. The people of America need to understand this: the enemies of a stable Iraq are America's enemies, and they simply do not understand the language of civilization and reason.

I have nothing else I can add. Read the whole thing, as they say.

HT: Michael J. Totten

UPDATE: Some commenters have complained on MJT's blog about Fadhil's connections and biases. It's reasonable to assert that he's biased in favor of the war, but I don't think he ever hid that fact. Many have complained that his piece was linked to by righty outfits like Hannity, Michelle Malkin, et al. I fail to see how this is Fadhil's fault, or relevant. At the end of the day, it was an interesting and compelling piece, and that's why I (and I'm assuming MJT, the NY Daily News) linked to it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

This Does Give One Pause

You know, I don't exactly buy into the "left-wing cabal versus America" meme that the righty partisans advance, at least not in the way they do. Don't get me wrong, the far-left is in full assault mode, and indeed has far too much influence in the Democratic Party, and the country. The catalog of attacks on Joe Lieberman and others who would dare to support him are proof of this. This notwithstanding, I do think George Soros' influence is somewhat overstated in the grand scheme, and he serves as a convenient boogeyman for the right. That being said, as it pertains to the effect of his propaganda machinery and influence on the Party, this poll really does concern me.

Let me be clear that is pure insanity to suggerst that Bush knew about the attacks in advance, and allowed them to happen, or any other politician for that matter. There is no evidence to support such poisonous absurdity. Such baseless conspiracy theories have far too much credence in our discourse on 9/11, and while it's easy to dismiss this as more O'Reilly-fueled hysteria, again, this numbers give me pause. Whatever one thinks of the poll, this is a substantial number.

This does sort of reflect somewhat the divisions within the Democratic Party. While the majority doesn't hold this view, you've got a third of Dems who are totally sold out to far-Left insanity, and this group has too much influence as it is. It's hurting the Party, and more importantly, the country.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Let's Play The Quote Identification Game!

OK, I know this is cheap and predictable, but three guesses as to who said this:

The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq's history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.

If you want to know, check here.

Martin Kramer Schools Juan Cole

This was good. Against such an asinine and ridiculous utterance as Cole's, such satire works perfectly.

HT: Michael J. Totten.

Jon Voight Supports the Fight Against Terror

A good interview. you should check it out. An excerpt:

The war on terror is real. People would have you believe it's not real. This is not Vietnam. This particular situation is not the same wherein we can walk away and just leave destruction behind us. No, we can't. Anyone who has paid attention to what [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad is saying, what all the mullahs are saying in this country and in England, and in all of the Arab world, this is serious—they're calling for the destruction of America and all democracy and that's what's going on. We could lose this war.

Yes, indeed. Let us hope we don't lose this war.