The Wedding Crashers. Funny. Damn funny at spots. The best I've seen Vince Vaughn in so far. He shined with his motor mouthed approach that reminded me of early Michael Keaton. Owen Wilson was good also, but it was Vaughn that drove the comedy in the pair. That's MNSHO at least. Jane Seymour and Christopher Walkin seemed to enjoy themselves in this film. I liked the fact that Seymour did not use a body double in the scene which she said, "Call me Kitty Kat." She certainly didn't need one.
That's not to say there wasn't wasn't 20 or 30 minutes that could have been cut from the film. I'll bet when it comes out on DVD, there will be at least another 30 minutes of scenes they did cut.
Sunday, July 31, 2005
The Wedding Crashers. Funny. Damn funny at spots. The best I've seen Vince Vaughn in so far. He shined with his motor mouthed approach that reminded me of early Michael Keaton. Owen Wilson was good also, but it was Vaughn that drove the comedy in the pair. That's MNSHO at least. Jane Seymour and Christopher Walkin seemed to enjoy themselves in this film. I liked the fact that Seymour did not use a body double in the scene which she said, "Call me Kitty Kat." She certainly didn't need one.
Brian Maloney points out that the left's defense of Air American's funding scandal is short on consistant facts and long on insults and mudslinging.
Update: Mr. Maloney points out the everchanging story coming out of Air America about their funding scandal.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Watch on the Rhine by John Ringo and Tom Kratman.
I enjoyed the Hell out of it. If you like serious good Military SciFi, you probably are familar with Ringo's work.
This does not disappoint. The Posleen are coming, it's time to make unpopular choices...like rejuving Waffen SS troops for the fight...
I went to donate blood at the town blood drive on Thursday and was asked to do a double red cell donatation instead.
That was something I have not done before. I've given platelets before. This was simular. Just one needle in one arm though. They took out 2 pints, spun out the red cells and pumped the plasma, plus some saline to replace the red cells back in. The whole thing took about a half hour.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Paul over at Whizbang makes the following observation on the Plame Game:
Let's say Rove gets fired tomorrow. What does he do? Go fishing???? No, if Rove gets fired tomorrow he starts working the next day on the mid-term elections. Thereby guaranteeing the Dems lose even more power in the Senate. (and the House)
In chess if you have your opponent's Queen pinned the last thing you do is let her go free. Rove is more valuable to the Dems in the Whitehouse working for a President who (let's review) isn't running for another term than he is on the open market.
Have you noticed the Clinonistsas -the only Dems who know how to win elections- have been largely silent on this one? They want Rove to stay where he is. The whole rest of the Democrat party is too blinded by hate to even think rationally. -- Not that this is news.
Read the whole thing.
Harry Stein writes about the rising popularity of Right Wing cartoons in "Laughing at the Left."
He points out that Mallard Fillmore, Prickly City and the Webcomic Day by Day, are following the footsteps of the classic Li'l Abner comic by Al Capp.
Then you had Al Capp of Li’l Abner fame, a former liberal so distressed by the excesses of the sixties that he took time off from chronicling Dogpatch’s amiable swindling and social climbing to lampoon “Joanie Phoanie,” a Joan Baez look-alike in bare feet and love beads, with flies constantly circling her head. Capp also came up with Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything (SWINE). In one representative entry, SWINE, having determined that America should be returned to its rightful Native American owners, induces wimpy Harvard administrators to hand over the university to the only Indian they can find—a shady character named Lonesome Polecat.
Even Lonesome Polecat—who soon trades the school to mobsters—can hardly believe the administrators’ lack of spine. Coming upon a bunch of students hitting a dean over the head with protest signs, he demands, “Why enemy no fight back?” “Because we’re students!” replies one of the kids. “If we commit assault, arson, and vandalism . . . ”
“ . . . they’re not crimes . . . ” chimes in another.
“ . . . they’re simply proofs of our idealism!” adds a third.
In explaining his political shift, Capp described an ideological journey that countless other liberals would make in the decades to follow. “What began to bother me, privately, was that, as things grew better, the empire of the needy seemed to grow larger. Somehow they became entitled to government gifts other people couldn’t get, such as people who worked,” Capp explained. “Yet I remained a loyal liberal,” he continued. “I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the home of liberalism. I spoke at liberal banquets in New York, Los Angeles, Washington. One day a lady photographer came to my studio and showed me a collection of Boston photographs. A publisher would publish them if only I would rattle off the captions. . . . Well, one doesn’t turn down a lady liberal. . . . This one, she said, will break your heart. She showed me a picture of a city street. It was mid-afternoon, the sun was shining. Garbage cans were tipped on the sidewalk. Bottles lined the gutters. On a porch sprawled a half dozen teenagers, drinking and smoking. The caption, I said, should be, ‘Get up off your asses and clean the street!’ The lady stormed out. I guess that was when I began leaving what liberalism had become.”
HT to Mr. Reynolds
The Bronx News has learned, through informed sources, that the diversion of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club in Co-op City to the liberal Air America Radio is at the center of the city’s probe of corruption at the local club.
The money, which was reportedly paid to Air America as a loan, was supposed to be paid back with interest, two unidentified informed sources told the News. One source added that Air America officials, led by an official of the Gloria Wise Club, agreed to help the local club by publicizing its activities.
To date, no indictments have been handed down in the New York City Department of Investigation’s ongoing probe of the Gloria Wise Club’s reported transfer of funds to Air America...
...The city’s DOI is pursuing the probe because the Gloria Wise Club depends heavily on city funding for its operations. These funds are subject to extensive audits, as are funds received through the state and federal governments.
The Co-op City-based club, which Rosen has built into an empire in the Co-op City community, reportedly has 19 contracts and at least one grant with the city, worth a total of $9.7 million.
Over the last year, Rep. Joseph Crowley has secured two major federal grants for the Gloria Wise Club, one for a day-care program for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers and the other for the community’s NORC program for senior citizens. The grant for the program for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers was for $250,000, while the grant for the NORC program was for $99,410.
In 2003, Crowley secured a $218,500 grant for a mentoring program that the Gloria Wise Club runs.
Cohen, who is reportedly at the center of the Gloria Wise probe, is a Guam-based investors who was reportedly a key principal in the start-up of Air America...
HT to Ms. Malkinand Brian Maloney.
Captain Ed has more.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
M.L. Lyke writes in the Seattle-Post Intelligencer about the reaction of US Soliders, most veterans of the conflict in Iraq, to a preview of the pilot of a new series hyped as "true to life" by producers and hailed by critics as "unflinching" and "gut-wrenching."
The soliders preferred to call it "Bogus."
Read the whole thing.
HT to Mark in Mexico.
First off, two crews from my son's Scout troop should have arrived in Philmont today. A bit of orientation, collect their gear and food, then off for 70 miles over ten days. Starting at 6,000 feet (elevation of base camp), hitting 3 peaks (just over 8,000 feet, 11,711 feet and finally 9,003 at the Tooth of Time) before returning to the base camp. It's the same trek we did two years ago. They should have a great time.
Second, my sincere condolences to the families of the people accidentally killed at the Jamboree.
Third, major kudos to the US Senate! Mark from Mexico reports:
The Senate voted 98-0 to allow the Boy Scouts of America to continue using military bases for their Jamboree, which they hold every 4 years. It also terminates or reduces federal funds to any state agency that denies the Scouts equal access to public facilities, forum, or programs. It appears to be a direct slap in the face to the ACLU and a challenge to "see you in court."
Update: The legistation in question is Senate Amendment 1342.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Sunday, July 24, 2005
"Let's support our troops. Bring them home." Please don't ever say those words again. Nothing is so disheartening to our troops who are in harm's way than to hear our own citizens say things like that.
I know that the war my men and I fought is a totally different war than the one I see being reported by almost the entire media. There are a few exceptions to this, but they are generally overwhelmed by the massive anti-war/anti-Bush crowd. . . .
I will wrap this up by saying that you are entitled to your beliefs, and you should believe in whatever you want, but don't pretend to know what you are talking about just because you have watched 30 minutes of CNN the night before. Go and talk to the people who have been there — not the people who make assumptions from a TV studio — and then form your opinion based on facts.
Don't pretend to support troops by trying to undercut their efforts at the same time. Just go to bed at night and pray for their safety and thank God that they are there to protect you and your family, no matter your beliefs.
Read the whole thing.
Mr. Reynolds points out that some people don't even pretend to Support US Troops:
Not even 24-hours after Private First Class Tim Hines's wife and family said goodbye at his funeral, American flags that had adorned their Fairfield yard were piled beneath a car and burned. . . .
As firefighters brought the fire under control they discovered a pile of around 20 American flags underneath the car.
Neighbors say Hines' wife's family had flags line their front yard and on the porch.
Those were taken as well as flags in neighboring yards.
That is worse than Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll showing up uninvited at the funeral of a Marine who was killed in Iraq and handing out her business card to members of the slain Marine's family and then saying "our government" is against the war.
Executives who do not produce successful results hold on to their jobs only about five years. Those who produce effective results hang on about half a decade.
"Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule."
"OK, don't get me wrong: it's not that I don't think that the world isn't an incredible, mysterious, magical place, it's just that I think it's incredible, magic, and mysterious in ways the nobody suspects; except maybe you. Hermetic knowledge propels you up the ladder. The Masons and the Trilateral Commission are weenies compared to you." -- Silicon Vally Tarot
"Postmodernists in particular distrust any theory that can be fully explained by resorting to words that already exist in the English language." -- Mr. Pravda
What no spouse of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out the window.
"What good is an obscenity trial except to popularize literature?" -- Nero Wolfe, "The League of Frightened Men"
"The wages of sin are death; but after they're done taking out taxes, it's just a tired feeling:"
"Look at it this way: Your wife's spending $280 a month on meditation lessons to forget $26,000 of college education. And you're still drinking ordinary scotch?"
From a trashy romance novel, "A true noble woman should have snow on her face in company and be fire between the sheets!"
"Ever notice "What the hell!" is always the right decision?" -- Marilyn Monroe
My supposition is that if we were to ask any of these wealthy hypocrites why they have armed bodyguards when they oppose the right of average citizens to own guns, that they would respond that their prominence requires it. But prominence is a matter of degree. To a teen-aged thug, a decently dressed man or woman with $50 and a credit card is prominent enough, even if such people are peasants to the wealthy - those peasants don’t need protection.
The true problem is the gap of understanding between the wealthy gun control advocates who can afford special protection and those honest citizens who need to protect themselves at a minute’s notice when they know that police help, at best, is a half-hour or longer away. Provided, of course, that the endangered citizen has time to telephone for help. I don’t know if that gap results from ignorance or is pure hypocrisy.
In a way, the continuing gun control controversy is much like the prohibition problem in Oklahoma in the fifties and sixties. It was the belief of many that prohibitionists and bootleggers were united in their efforts to prevent the legal sale of alcoholic beverages. In gun control, those who can afford private alarm systems and bodyguards are united with criminals in their desire to keep guns out of the hands of honest citizens.
Go read the whole thing.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
My friend John Nowak, who survived two years living in Paris, wrote the following on the Fantasic Four and Willy Wonka:
Basically, there's five major characters. The Thing and Johnny Storm are excellent, and practically every good moment the film has deals with them. The Invisible Girl is miscast -- I don't know if it's me or the fact that Jessica Alba has a very distinctive face, but it was impossible for me to watch the film without thinking, "Look -- it's Jessica Alba with dyed hair." And I'm not even a big Jessica Alba fan. Mister Fantastic is well-acted but poorly written, and Doctor Doom is just appalling. Doctor Doom is one of those characters who makes Darth Vader look restrained and subtle; and this was neither written nor acted.
Gene Wilder played Willy Wonka as fey, in the old sense. There was something distinctly inhuman about him. Wilder's Wonka was some slightly off center trickster god, a god who tests mortals by temptation. If you pass the test, then you are blessed; if not, hoo boy you're gonna get it. Even his unforgettable entrance scene with the cane has that subtext. If you think you know what I am, you are wrong. This is your only warning. There was something fearsome and terrible in him. It would not seem too far out of place for a skeletal hand to grab one of the children and confide, "It's too late for me -- but do not vex The Wonka."
Johnny Depp plays him as a weirdo.
"Plasma weapons may lack precision, but their dandy combo of kinetic and thermal energy is perfect for really effing up both human and mecha targets. Plus, the sheer, messy spectacle of a major plasma discharge really puts the fear of God into the bad guys... Or the fear of ME, anyway." -- Dirty Pair: Fatal, But Not Serious
Friday, July 22, 2005
Soldiers from Massachusetts and Hawaii who work at the U.S. military detention facility at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, gave visiting home-state senators a piece of their mind last week.
Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii Democrat, met with several soldiers during a visit led by Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican.
Pentagon officials said soldiers criticized the harsh comments made recently by Senate Democrats.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, last month invoked widespread military outrage when he compared Guantanamo to the prison labor systems used by communist tyrant Josef Stalin, Cambodia's Pol Pot and Adolf Hitler.
"They got stiff reactions from those home-state soldiers," one official told us. "The troops down there expressed their disdain for that kind of commentary, especially comparisons to the gulag."
A spokesman for Mr. Kennedy had no comment. A spokeswoman for Mr. Akaka confirmed that the senator met with soldiers from Hawaii but did not recall receiving any complaints during the meeting.
Both senators made no mention of the incident in press statements after the visit. Mr. Kennedy, in his statement, said that he is "impressed with the courtesies and professionalism of the men and women in our armed forces."
Mr. Kennedy has been a leading advocate for closing the prison facility. Mr. Akaka in April voted for an amendment that would have cut funds for the prison.
According to Strategy Page the Islamic majority in Thailand is killing the infidels:
The Islamic militants are trying to do some ethnic, and religious, cleansing in the Moslem south. The three southern provinces have a population of some 1.8 million, and only 360,000 of those are Buddhists (the religion of the majority of Thais, who are ethnically different from the Moslems, who are Malays). The terror campaign is having some success, as some ten percent of the southern Buddhists have left the south in the past six months. But many of the remaining Buddhists are arming and preparing to defend themselves, and stay in the south.
HT to Mr. Reynolds, who gives this damn good advice: "Somebody send them some guns."
Via today's Washington Times Inside Politics column comes the words of New York Times Columnist David Brooks:
"This is going to be the first Supreme Court confirmation battle of the age of the blogger. Already the liberal interest groups, amplified by the [leftist] blogs, are rolling out the old warhorse rhetoric. Already they've begun distorting Roberts' record, selectively quoting from his opinions and insisting the Senate maintain the balance of the court (which never matters when a Democrat is president)."
"I suspect the Democratic elites would rather skip this fight because it has all the makings of a political loser. Anybody who is brilliant during Supreme Court grillings, as Roberts is, will be impressive at confirmation hearings. He is modest and likeable, and has done pro bono work on behalf of the environment, parental rights and minorities.
"But the Democratic elites no longer run the party. The outside interest groups and the donors do, and they need this fight. It's why they exist. Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic hopefuls will have to choose between the militant wing of the party, important in the primary season, and the nation's mainstream center, which the party needs if it is to regain its majority status. It will be a defining and momentous vote."
According to Brian Maloney, it was switching to the "progressive" Air America line up.
It was a conservative talk radio station with a respectable 3.5 share, and now with Franken, Rhodes, Miller and Garofalo their rating dropped to 1.8.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
I remember seeing some flack in the news about Senator McCain appearing in "The Wedding Crashers", an R rated movie.
I gave the Senator points for replying "I'm in the Senate. I work with boobs all the time."
Hardball just showed the clip he's in, and who's standing next to him?
None other than James "Snakehead" Carville!
Nobody surprised that the Ragin Cajun's in movie with a bunch of free range titties.
He was in the US Marines after all. :-)
Constantine. It wasn't bad. Not great, but not too bad. Keanu Reeves plays the haunted John Constantine. He sees things nobody is supposed to. Good vs. Evil, Heaven vs. Hell, all that stuff! It's good formula occult adventure.
Tilda Swinton was good as the androgynous Angel Gabriel. I recognized her, but I couldn't remember from where. I looked it up on IMDB, and found out I saw her in a cool movie called Orlando years ago.
In all not high art, but worth the price of the rental and some homemade popcorn.
Behind the scenes, the single most important reason for the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson farce is that CIA Director Porter Goss has finally started to clean house at Langley. Goss's long-overdue shake-up is clearly backed by the White House, the top levels of the Pentagon and State Department, and the new National Director of Intelligence, John Negroponte.
Judging by Director Goss's remarks at his Senate confirmation hearings, those whose jobs are most in danger include the CIA "experts" in WMD proliferation – Valerie Plame's outfit – who completely failed to anticipate the Indian and Pakistani nukes, and just couldn't figure out what was going on with Iraqi WMDs. Valerie Plame's bosses are facing the axe for decades of failures.
And it's about time, because Iran is within sight of its first nukes. You don't suppose that has anything to do with the Plame/Wilson publicity stunt, do you?
Clearly the CIA managers who failed the United States so terribly on 9/11 should have been fired four years ago. Others now worried about their careers include officials who have long resisted the onerous task of building a topnotch human intelligence capability in the most dangerous parts of the world.
Read the whole thing.
Update: Confederate Yankee points out one of the most repeated lies in the Plame Game.
According to CNN:
At least three small bombs have exploded on Underground subway stations and a bus in London, two weeks after the July 7 terror attacks, police said.
Police said Thursday there were small explosions at Warren Street, Oval and Shepherd's Bush stations and an incident was reported on a bus in east London.
Kudos to the Londoners who make the survivors of the Blitz proud:
Bryce Elder, a witness near that station, said there was a heavy police presence but "no real sense of panic."
Wizbang has more.
Update: The latest is that several of the bombs fail to detonate properly. This is a windfall for police. By being able to examine the bombs, unexploded, they can learn a lot of information about the builders.
The ratings are in for LA talk radio.
I'll just focus on the Adults 25-24 numbers, since they are more likely to be voters.
The not so large anymore Rush Limbaugh has a share of 2.5 with 35,900 listeners.
Coming in second with a 0.9 share (13,100 listeners) is Bill O'Reilly.
Al Franken is in a close third with a 0.8 share (11,900 listeners).
Riding in the caboose with only a 0.6 share (9,000 listeners) is the left's Ed Shultz.
I don't listen to Rush, so I'll just quote Ms. Camille Paglia:
"Rush Limbaugh is a principled conservative, master broadcaster and stinging social critic who has won his mammoth following through his own energy, individualism and wit. His daily radio show is the one reliable place ordinary citizens can turn to for a different perspective in the blizzard of propaganda and disinformation from the Northeastern media establishment. History will show that Limbaugh was a major force over the past decade in waking this country up from its p.c. coma."
I feel genuinely sorry for those who are so blinded by narrow partisanship that they cannot appreciate Limbaugh's energy, intelligence and satiric skill. They live in a box with bags over their heads. Though he and I hardly agree on politics (I voted for Ralph Nader last year and may go Green again in 2004), I respect Limbaugh as a political analyst and deft rhetorician who is a master of the microphone and who knows how to engage and challenge a vast audience.
Like him or not, he is the standard to which others are compared.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
James Doohan, famous for his role as Chief Engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott on Star Trek died in his his Redmond, Washington.
The cause of death was reported as pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease.
He will be missed. I'm going to watch an episode of ST:TOS and Trekkies tonight...
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
There are occasions where someone makes a statement so batshit crazy it leaves you wondering what reality they are living in. It's certainly not the one sane people inhabit.
For example, I saw the following posted the OT political section of a RPG forum.
We don't stoop to their level (Gitmo style).
Ok, so what this person is saying here is that in his world the two following scenarios are morally the same.
Guantanamo Bay, where captured Islamofacists are given "culturally sensitive food", and US Taxpayer supplied Korans (which they flush down their toilets in one of their milder methods to annoy their guards). In one case, one of the islamofacists was forced to wear a bra, roll over and then sit up and beg. Hmmm...that sounds like a slow night in a ZooMass fratt house.
al-Qa'eda jihadists kidnapping innocent civilians and then while their captives are bound and helpless, they hack their heads off with a dull knife. The whole barbaric act is captured on film so it can be shown to their folks at home on Al-Jazeera.
He said all elements of the Canadian Forces need to be revamped, including the part where "you go out and bayonet somebody."
"We are not the Public Service of Canada," he declared. "We are not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces and our job is to be able to kill people."
The terrorist bombings in London underscore the need to take the fight to the enemy in failed states where they have room to thrive, said Hillier.
As a Western society that values rights and freedoms, Canada is already in conflict with "what people like Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and those others want."
"These are detestable murderers and scumbags," Hillier said. "They detest our freedoms, they detest our society, they detest our liberties."
It's time for Canada to take a stand, he said, just as it did 66 years ago when it joined the Second World War against the Nazis, whom he described as "those despicable, murderous bastards."
Summed up in a single cartoon...
Let's not forget this:
"[I will] totally dismantle every intelligence agency in this country by piece, nail by nail, brick by brick"
-- Ron Dellums, D-Calif, 1993, after House Democratic Caucus elected him chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Via Instapundit, JustOneMinute shows how the MSM Press is "Moving The Goalposts" on just what the President said.
Captain Ed points out the facts that show "Not only did Wilson lie about the source of his mission, he also lied about the results. His report confirmed that Iraq had attempted to start secret trade negotiations with Niger in 1999, an attempt the Nigerien government deducted was aimed at purchasing uranium."
He has a lot more on the subject, stop by and read the whole thing.
Via the Bookworm Room comes Andrew C. McCarthy's article that tells you "What the mainstream media tells the court ... but won’t tell you."
With each passing day, the manufactured 'scandal' over the publication of Valerie Plame's relationship with the CIA establishes new depths of mainstream-media hypocrisy. A highly capable special prosecutor is probing the underlying facts, and it is appropriate to withhold legal judgments until he completes the investigation over which speculation runs so rampant. But it is not too early to assess the performance of the press. It's been appalling.
Is that hyperbole? You be the judge. Have you heard that the CIA is actually the source responsible for exposing Plame's covert status? Not Karl Rove, not Bob Novak, not the sinister administration cabal du jour of Fourth Estate fantasy, but the CIA itself? Had you heard that Plame's cover has actually been blown for a decade — i.e., since about seven years before Novak ever wrote a syllable about her? Had you heard not only that no crime was committed in the communication of information between Bush administration officials and Novak, but that no crime could have been committed because the governing law gives a person a complete defense if an agent's status has already been compromised by the government?
No, you say, you hadn't heard any of that. You heard that this was the crime of the century. A sort of Robert-Hanssen-meets-Watergate in which Rove is already cooked and we're all just waiting for the other shoe — or shoes — to drop on the den of corruption we know as the Bush administration. That, after all, is the inescapable impression from all the media coverage. So who is saying different?
The organized media, that's who. How come you haven't heard? Because they've decided not to tell you. Because they say one thing — one dark, transparently partisan thing — when they're talking to you in their news coverage, but they say something completely different when they think you're not listening.
You see, if you really want to know what the media think of the Plame case — if you want to discover what a comparative trifle they actually believe it to be — you need to close the paper and turn off the TV. You need, instead, to have a peek at what they write when they're talking to a court. It's a mind-bendingly different tale.
Update: John Tierney of the New York Times has a good summary of the whole thing:
For now, though, it looks as if this scandal is about a spy who was not endangered, a whistle-blower who did not blow the whistle and was not smeared, and a White House official who has not been fired for a felony that he did not commit. And so far the only victim is a reporter who did not write a story about it.
It would be logical to name it the Not-a-gate scandal, but I prefer a bilingual variation. It may someday make a good trivia question:
What do you call a scandal that's not scandalous?
HT to Mark in Mexico
...to 1969. On this day, 36 years ago, Mary Jo Kopechne died when a car driven by Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy went off a bridge and overturned into a pond.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Casual players may pursue adventure or money or thrills, but ultimately serious players get caught up in events that require decisions about right and wrong. I think that's always intriguing.
"By G'Quan, I can't recall the last time I was in a fight like that. No moral ambiguity. No hopeless battle against ancient and overwhelming forces. They were the bad guys, as you say. We were the good guys. And they made a very satisfying thump when they hit the floor." -- G'Kar The Red Knight to King Arthur.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
...to two years ago today, we find
Some really bad writing. I'm not kidding her folks! It's the 2003 winners from Science Fiction section of the Bulwer-Lytton Ficton Contest.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
They might have been congratulated for their "green" efforts in an area of heavy air pollution.
Instead a group of French cleaning ladies who organised a car-sharing scheme to get to work are being taken to court by a coach company which accuses them of "an act of unfair and parasitical competition".
The women, who live in Moselle and work five days a week at EU offices in Luxembourg, are being taken to court by Transports Schiocchet Excursions, which runs a service along the route. It wants the women to be fined and their cars confiscated.
Stop by and read this CNN article about how Kadhem Kathem travelled from Iraq to Houston for live saving open heart surgery.
[Kadhem Kathem] was brought to the hospital at Tallil Air Force Base near Nasiriyah, and soldiers with the 56th Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division of the Texas National Guard learned about his case.
They arranged for military transportation out of Iraq and sought private and corporate donations to pay for Kadhem's hospital, travel and other expenses.
"I am very grateful to everybody, to the American troops back in Iraq, to all Houstonians and I'm very grateful to the doctors who did the surgery," the father said nervously.
"All of us have children," Lt. Col. Stephen Bentley, with the 56th Brigade Combat Team, said by telephone from Iraq during the news conference. "It is very satisfying we were able to do what we did."
This ABC News video from five years ago, courtesy of Media Research Center, is a classic. Before Democrats had a partisan motive to claim, contrary to all the evidence, that there was no relationship between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and bin Laden's al Qaeda, their close and dangerous relationship was common knowledge. That common knowledge is reflected in this ABC news report, as it was in the Clinton administration's indictment of bin Laden in 1998 for, among other things, collaborating with Saddam on weapons of mass destruction.
It really is a fascinating question: in this era of digital media, can the news media and the Democrats get away with trying to flush what they said as recently as 1998 and 2000 down the memory hole?
Remember that it was President Bill Clinton who signed legislation making the removal of Saddam Hussein from power official US policy.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Hmmm. So let me get this straight: Karl Rove sought to retaliate against American patriot Joe Wilson by illegally and unethically “outing” his covert CIA “operative” wife (and to hear Democrats like Harry Reid tell it, AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR NATION’S VERY SECURITY!)—and he did all this by… waiting for both Robert Novak and Matt Cooper to contact him...?
Man. The Force is strong with this one.
Rove is good...damn good, but I don't think he's that good.
Via Don Singleton, is this Washington Post article that shows Osama bin Laden popularity ratings have dropped "significantly in some key Muslim countries, while support for suicide bombings and other acts of violence has "declined dramatically.""
The poll, done by the Pew Global Attitudes Project finds:
In a striking finding, predominantly Muslim populations in a sampling of six North African, Middle East and Asian countries also shared to "a considerable degree" Western nations' concerns about Islamic extremism, the survey found. Many in those Muslim nations see it as threat to their own country, the poll found.
"Most Muslim publics are expressing less support for terrorism than in the past. Confidence in Osama bin Laden has declined markedly in some countries, and fewer believe suicide bombings that target civilians are justified in the defense of Islam
Perhaps not so striking...it's one thing to strike blows against the "Great Satan", another to murder Islamic children in terrorist bombings.
Go read the rest of the article.
You can't break a law by outing a person as a covert agent when they do not meet the standards of that very same law which defines the term 'covert agent.'
James Taranto points out that Joe Wilson's own book states that he and his wife had lived in the US for over 5 years prior to his trip to Niger that his wife (not VP Cheney) set up for him.
She then goes on to ask why this clear violation of federal law has gone unpunished:
Meanwhile Sandy Berger, he of the pants stuffed with classified documents, still has not been sentenced.
Asked why Berger wasn't sentenced as scheduled [for stealing and destroying top secret terrorism documents from the National Archives, to which he plead guilty] on Friday, July 8, a Justice Department spokesman told NewsMax on Tuesday that Berger's sentencing has been postponed till September.
Um, JD spokesman, that doesn’t answer the question ‘why.’
Update: Mr. Reynolds has a roundup including Jerry Pournelle putting in his two centicredits.
More from Mr. Pournelle:
"[M]ost of the Democrats who want to beat up the administration over the war voted to authorize it, so an honest analysis of the war decision factors won't work. So, we have this imbecile investigation taking up time."
and Mark Steyn:
"But in the real world there's only one scandal in this whole wretched business -- that the CIA, as part of its institutional obstruction of the administration, set up a pathetic 'fact-finding mission' that would be considered a joke by any serious intelligence agency and compounded it by sending, at the behest of his wife, a shrill politically motivated poseur who, for the sake of 15 minutes' celebrity on the cable gabfest circuit, misled the nation about what he found. . . . What we have here is, in effect, the old standby plot of lame Hollywood conspiracy thrillers: rogue elements within the CIA attempting to destabilize the elected government."
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Blackfive points out There was a protest march of Iraqis against terror on July 5th. You probably haven't heard about it from Peter Jennings or Dan Rather:
QAYARRAH, Iraq: Citizens of the southern city of Qayarrah, of the northern province of Ninewah, gather to demonstrate their defiance against terrorism during the March Against Terror. Over 1,000 Iraqi citizens, including several influential political and religious leaders, marched alongside Iraqi Army and police officers in this first of several such demonstrations planned for the northern region of Iraq.
Stop by the site for pictures.
Will, over at Wizbang, points out that HRC is a "money-raising rock star" from groups that predict that "she will one day be queen."
She is smart, is certainly capable of playing extremely hard ball politics and has no problem morphing into what she thinks the American public wants her to be.
As Will points out, "it is becoming an ever more foregone conclusion that Hillary Clinton will be the Democrats' nominee in 2008."
A car bomb was set off by an al-Qa'eda jihadists in Bagdad, killing 27 people, including 18 children and one American soldier. Another 70 people were injured.
According to Iraqi police Lieutenant Mohammed Jassim Jabr, tweleve of the dead children were 13 or younger.
Most of the al-Qa'eda jihadists are Sunni Arabs, the children killed where Shi'ite.
The Mudville Gazette has a good post on the members of this death cult that justifies killing children in their "Holy war."
The Rite Wing TechnoPagen points out that these days, you are actually advised to keep your towel with you!
In an interview with counterterrorism expert Joval Aviv, he says the following:
Since mass transportation is the next attack, when you travel to work have with you, a bottle of water, a small towel and a flashlight. What happened in London is exactly a point to look at. Those people who were close to the bombs died, then others were injured or died from inhaling the toxic fumes or getting trampled. The reason you take a bottle of water and a towel is that if you wet the towel and put it over your face, you can protect yourself against the fumes and get yourself out of there.
So next time you're out, be a Froopy Dude (or Dudette)!
One of the Elders of the Senate, democrat from West Virginia and former Klansman, Robert Byrd has made the following announcement:
"[President Bush] called me today and I said to him, I am shouting your name from the steeple tops for reaching out, reaching across the aisle."
He was referring to President Bush's handling of the SCOTUS nomination process.
Trey has the video.
Since top presidential adviser Karl Rove and top vice-presidential adviser Lewis Libby signed strongly worded waivers releasing all reporters from any pledges of confidentiality, why hasn’t Miller testified? Does that mean her source was someone else who has not signed a confidentiality waiver?
...the Senate Intelligence Committee, in its bipartisan report, said that "interviews and documents provided to the committee indicate that (Wilson's) wife, a CPD employee (a reference to the CIA’s Counterproliferation Division), suggested his name for the trip. The CPD reports officer told committee staff that the former ambassador's wife 'offered up his name' and a memorandum to the deputy chief of the CPD on February 12, 2002, from (Wilson’s) wife says, 'my husband has good relations with both (Niger's prime minister) and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.'" So why did Wilson say his wife played no "substantive role" in it?
Byron York points out some interesting data:
According to a report in Newsweek, Cooper's e-mail to Time Washington bureau chief Michael Duffy said, "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation..." Cooper said that Rove had warned him away from getting "too far out on Wilson," and then passed on Rove's statement that neither Vice President Dick Cheney nor CIA Director George Tenet had picked Wilson for the trip; "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip." Finally — all of this is according to the Newsweek report — Cooper's e-mail said that "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly that there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger..."
A few days after sending the e-mail, Cooper co-wrote an article headlined "A War on Wilson?" that appeared on Time's website. The story began, "Has the Bush administration declared war on a former ambassador who conducted a fact-finding mission to probe possible Iraqi interest in African uranium? Perhaps."
According to Luskin, Cooper originally called Rove — not the other way around — and said he was working on a story on welfare reform. After some conversation about that issue, Luskin said, Cooper changed the subject to the weapons of mass destruction issue, and that was when the two had the brief talk that became the subject of so much legal wrangling. According to Luskin, the fact that Rove did not call Cooper; that the original purpose of the call, as Cooper told Rove, was welfare reform; that only after Cooper brought the WMD issue up did Rove discuss Wilson — all are "indications that this was not a calculated effort by the White House to get this story out."
We have known for over a year that Iraqi government officials were in Niger looking for Yellow Cake Uranium.
The Wall Street Journal Opinion Page points out that Rove is actually a whistleblower:
For Mr. Rove is turning out to be the real "whistleblower" in this whole sorry pseudo-scandal. He's the one who warned Time's Matthew Cooper and other reporters to be wary of Mr. Wilson's credibility. He's the one who told the press the truth that Mr. Wilson had been recommended for the CIA consulting gig by his wife, not by Vice President Dick Cheney as Mr. Wilson was asserting on the airwaves. In short, Mr. Rove provided important background so Americans could understand that Mr. Wilson wasn't a whistleblower but was a partisan trying to discredit the Iraq War in an election campaign.
Media chants aside, there's no evidence that Mr. Rove broke any laws in telling reporters that Ms. Plame may have played a role in her husband's selection for a 2002 mission to investigate reports that Iraq was seeking uranium ore in Niger. To be prosecuted under the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, Mr. Rove would had to have deliberately and maliciously exposed Ms. Plame knowing that she was an undercover agent and using information he'd obtained in an official capacity. But it appears Mr. Rove didn't even know Ms. Plame's name and had only heard about her work at Langley from other journalists.
On the "no underlying crime" point, moreover, no less than the New York Times and Washington Post now agree. So do the 36 major news organizations that filed a legal brief in March aimed at keeping Mr. Cooper and the New York Times's Judith Miller out of jail.
Mr. Wilson also vehemently denied it when columnist Robert Novak first reported that his wife had played a role in selecting him for the Niger mission. He promptly signed up as adviser to the Kerry campaign and was feted almost everywhere in the media, including repeat appearances on NBC's "Meet the Press" and a photo spread (with Valerie) in Vanity Fair.
But his day in the political sun was short-lived. The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report last July cited the note that Ms. Plame had sent recommending her husband for the Niger mission. "Interviews and documents provided to the Committee indicate that his wife, a CPD [Counterproliferation Division] employee, suggested his name for the trip," said the report.
The same bipartisan report also pointed out that the forged documents Mr. Wilson claimed to have discredited hadn't even entered intelligence channels until eight months after his trip. And it said the CIA interpreted the information he provided in his debrief as mildly supportive of the suspicion that Iraq had been seeking uranium in Niger.
About the same time, another inquiry headed by Britain's Lord Butler delivered its own verdict on the 16 words: "We conclude also that the statement in President Bush's State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that 'The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa' was well-founded."
In short, Joe Wilson hadn't told the truth about what he'd discovered in Africa, how he'd discovered it, what he'd told the CIA about it, or even why he was sent on the mission. The media and the Kerry campaign promptly abandoned him, though the former never did give as much prominence to his debunking as they did to his original accusations. But if anyone can remember another public figure so entirely and thoroughly discredited, let us know.
Jim Lindgren, at the Volokh Conspiracy has questions the Today Show should as Joe Wilson, but probably won't. It's a good summary of the key facts in the story also.
Betsy has a damn good summary of "every such brouhaha we've had in the Bush administration from Halliburton to Abu Ghraib to Tom DeLay to Gitmo." It's 12 recognizable steps.
Bill C-60, which amends the Copyright Act and received its first reading in the House of Commons on June 20, suggests it could be illegal for anyone to provide copyrighted information through "information-location tools," which includes search engines.
Ottawa copyright lawyer Howard Knopf, of the law firm of Macera & Jarzyna Moffat & Co., has been poring over the bill since it was tabled, and says he was startled to discover the potentially negative effect of Bill C-60's provisions on "information location tools."
The phrasing of the proposed law is difficult, Mr. Knopf says, because at first glance it seems to be a helpful provision in that it limits the liability of companies such as Google to no more than an injunction when they have not received actual notice of infringement. But then the language of the bill works on the assumption that the search engine itself is capable of infringing copyright by having archived copyright material on it.
The memorial area of Ground Zero should be exclusively dedicated to highlighting the lives of those taken from us on 9/11 and in 1993. It should document what happened and why. That alone will inspire visitors to appreciate their freedoms.
If you haven't already, consider signing the "Take Back The Memorial" petition. And for the latest information on the issue, see the Web sites for Take Back The Memorial and 911FamiliesForAmerica.org.
Our two previous cartoons on this issue: Step Right Up and Culture Complex.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
[Joe Wilson] leaked the contents of his own report to the CIA--in the pages of the New York Times!--only he lied about his own report. He "peddled disinformation," falsely claiming to have found no evidence of an Iraqi effort to buy uranium from Niger, in order to "harm a political adversary," President Bush. The Times didn't mind that particular disinformation, however, since it fit the paper's political agenda. In fact, the Times has never issued a correction of the misstatements in Wilson's op-ed. On the contrary, today's editorial links to Wilson's 2003 piece and repeats its central allegations, without even mentioning that Wilson's op-ed has been found to be fraudulent by the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee!
...as Cheney pointed out at the time, and as the Senate Intelligence Report confirmed. Contrary to false statements made by Wilson and his wife, it was Valerie Plame who suggested her husband for the Niger venture, and the Vice-President's office had nothing to do with it. This is precisely what Karl Rove told Matt Cooper, but the Times demurely fails to quote Cooper's email to that effect.
As usual, the Times's editorial will sound plausible only to the uninformed.
Tom Maguire at Just One Minute
Lorie Byrd at Polipundit
Consider the facts. The revelation of Karl Rove’s contact with Matt Cooper is not sufficient to result in the feeding frenzy (to put it mildly) that erupted today. What the partisan David Gregory and Terry Moran were reacting to was not the contents of Matt Cooper’s notes and email, but to the very name of Karl Rove.
The New York Times
"It is clear that Karl Rove's conversation with Matt Cooper does not fall into that category" of criminal conduct, Mr. Sanford said. "That's not 'knowing.' It doesn't even come close."
There has been some dispute, moreover, about just how secret a secret agent Ms. Wilson was.
"She had a desk job in Langley," said Ms. Toensing, who also signed the supporting brief in the appeals court, referring to the C.I.A.'s headquarters. "When you want someone in deep cover, they don't go back and forth to Langley."
The Confederate Yankee points out:
As a matter of fact, it might be rather easy to prove that Rove did not leak classified information.
Valerie Plame was a lot of things--a CIA employee, an Ambassador's wife, a socialite in the pages of Vanity Fair--but she was far from a secret agent who had her cover blown.
In fact not one source that I've seen has ever been able to conclusively establish that she had a secret identity to blow.
Valerie Plame was a WMD analyst who drove from her cushy estate in Georgetown through the gates of CIA headquarters at least twice a day, five days a week. "Secret agent?" I think not. Johnny English could have found her.
Karl Rove may have told a journalist that "Joe Wilson's wife" was an analyst in the CIA, but that was hardly a breach of national security. She wasn't undercover. Period.
Baldilocks gives some background:
First, we have two raging narcissists—the former covert agent, Valerie Plame, and the former ambassador, Joseph Wilson--married to each other and trying to live out/relive their political intrigue fantasies. The wife sees that the husband’s career is waning, so she uses whatever pull she has to give it a boost. However, because of his inability to tell a story and stick to it, the move backfires on him. And, like narcissists everywhere, he wants to point the finger at everyone but himself.
Check here for the whole thing.
He has some great quotes by Glenn Reynolds:
"I think we really need to look at the right to gun ownership as a human right. And the UN was formed, in no small part, in order to ensure that we never again have a genocide, like what we saw in the Holocaust [note: Hitler disarmed all the Jews before rounding them up --js] and in fact we decided to protect against it with international law. We got a convention on genocide which was signed by such nations as Cambodia, the Congo, and Rwanda, all of which have been sites of some of the greatest genocides in the 2nd half of the 20th century. The UN, in each case, did nothing and in the case of Rwanda was in fact complicit. And as a result, the notion of relying on international law to protect us from genocide seems pretty dubious. In every case the international community just stood aside and did nothing except offer tea-and-sympathy when it was all done.
What we need to do, instead, is think about things that actually prevent genocide. And there is a lot of evidence that armed populaces are not generally subject to genocide because -- and this is so obvious that it shouldn't require explanation -- it's harder to kill people [armed] with guns. And if we don't think of mass-murder and genocide as good things then we ought to make it harder to kill people.
The UN is actually proposing a ban on civilian ownership of small arms (including revolvers, self-loading pistols and semi-automatic rifles) because of large number of civilian deaths. Gee, that sounds real nice until you find out that those massive numbers of civilian deaths were cause by governments using small arms on unarmed populations! Amnesty International is also jumping on this bandwagon, stating that they don't want to "empower the victims to create a climate of retaliation." Damn! That sounds like the reasoning used by US gun grabber, and Christian pacifist, Josh Sugarman, who views a woman defending herself against a rapist as a deplorable an act of violence as the rape itself. He can't stop the rapist, so he works to make sure the rape victim is less able to defend herself. Mr. Reynolds made this "on target" statement about the Amnesty International position.
Yes, [empowering people is] exactly right! But they're not really about justice and they're not really about preventing genocide and I think they unfortunately made that quite plain. Some in the international community are far more interested in feathering their own nest than then they are in protecting people. That's disappointing, it's a big disappointment to me, but the evidence speaks for itself.
There's more, so stop by and read the whole thing!
As Rob at Wizbang puts it, "Because nothing says "free speech" quite like some intimidation from the IRS."
He's referring to this CNSNews article:
A conservative advocacy group says it will not be intimidated by pressure from Sen. Dick Durbin's office.
Move America Forward, a group that supports the U.S. military and wants to eject the United Nations from the United States, is currently running broadcast ads criticizing Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, for comparing U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or mad regimes like Pol Pot's.
"But these aren't the faces of torturers, the ad says: "They're the heroic men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. They're our sons and daughters fighting for the cause of freedom around the world. Support our troops, at MoveAmericaForward.com."
Durbin's office is trying to silence Move America Forward, the group says, by hinting to an Illinois newspaper (the Northwest Herald of Crystal Lake) that the Internal Revenue Service should audit Move America Forward.
Someone from Durbin's office was quoted as telling the newspaper - in connection with Move America Forward -- "Have you ever seen that H&R Block commercial where the guy leans in and says, 'I see an audit'?"
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Mohammed Bouyeri told a Dutch Court today, "I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion." This was his statement after confessing to the brutal murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. Van Gogh's crime against Mohammed Bouyeri's religion, he made a film pointing out the inhuman treatment of women by Islamic fundamentalists.
In Mohammed Bouyeri's judgement, this was enough for him to shoot Van Gogh fifteen times, stab him, and then slit his throat. (so much for strick Dutch gun control).
Other comments made by Mohammed Bouyeri at his trial:
"I can assure you that one day, should I be set free, I would do exactly the same, exactly the same."
"I cannot feel for you ... because I believe you are an infidel."
"I acted out of conviction -- not because I hated your son."
"I cannot accuse your son of hypocrisy because he was not a hypocrite. He said things out of conviction."
"It isn't a fascist police state when you can publically call it one - unless you mean that term as a complement." -- Lisa Steele
"[I will] totally dismantle every intelligence agency in this country piece by piece, nail by nail, brick by brick" -- Ron Dellums, D-Calif, 1993, after House Democratic Caucus elected Dellums chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
"I preume there are far too many abortions performed in this country. And I also believe that at the end of the day, as much as I might disapprove, none of them are really any of my business." -- Dennis Miller
"Many people find it tough to swallow [Michael] Moore's jokes about the wealthy and then watch him fly first class at his publisher's or film distributor's expense to his posh home in New York City's Central Park West, where he also sends his teenage daughter to an elite private school."
"I say we scrap the current system and replace it with a system wherein you add your name to the bottom of a list, and then you send some money to the person at the top of the list, and then you... Oh, wait, that _is_ our current system." -- Dave Barry, on Social Security
My political philosophy as a libertarian says that government has no business intervening in any consensual private behavior. My professional ethic as a thinker and writer, however, says that self-knowledge is our ultimate responsibility -- Camille Paglia
"The [Elian] raid... was almost worth it, if only to watch Jesse Jackson...defending an armed pre-dawn raid by the US government on a minority household." -- Rich Galen
"A gay Jew can find a date at a Klan rally faster than a political conversation will ever change anyone's mind about anything."
Monday, July 11, 2005
In her address, she told those gathered in Horse Guard's Parade that the years of war had not been in vain - but sadly, it could not be claimed the world had been free from conflict or terror since 1945.
"It does not surprise me that during the present difficult days for London, people turn to the example set by that generation, of resilience, humour, sustained courage, often under conditions of great deprivation," she said.
"That example, and those memories, should be kept alive by younger generations as they in turn strive to keep the peace in our troubled world."
Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists - if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings - or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way - by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.
And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village.
What do I mean? I mean that the greatest restraint on human behavior is never a policeman or a border guard. The greatest restraint on human behavior is what a culture and a religion deem shameful. It is what the village and its religious and political elders say is wrong or not allowed.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die." -- Replicant Roy Batty, Bladerunner
Investigators now think that the attacks were carried out by homegrown extremists using low-tech explosive devices.
The attacks of 9/11/01 were highly sophisticated and killed thousands. The attacks of 3/11/04 in Madrid were somewhat less sophisticated and killed hundreds. The attacks of 7/705 appear to have been the work of amateurs and killed dozens.
Anyone see a pattern here?
And so much for the theory (contained in a recently leaked CIA “assessment”) that the battlefields of Iraq are turning out the most highly skilled terrorists ever (while our forces, presumably, learn nothing).
This is interesting, too: “The bus bombing is also considered by investigators to be another clue of an amateurish attack. They say they are almost certain that the blast was a mistimed explosion caused when the bomber accidentally detonated the device as it was being taken to its intended target.”
I'll echo Mr. Reynolds "Let's Hope", and admit that perhaps I've worked in High Tech too long...I can't help but think of this in Dilbert terms.
The front line terrorists being told by Pointy Haired Mullahs to do more with less and how things are going exactly according to plan while they watch CNN reports that Iraqi Insurgents are now shooting at al-Qa'eda jihadists as they cross over the border from Syria.
I picked up David Weber's latest Honorverse book at the library the other day. All 745 hardcover pages of The Shadow of Saganami.
I'm convinced that Weber has reworked his contract with Baen so he is paid by weight of books sold, rather than the number of books sold.
I just finished chapter nine, which goes up to page 127. In that chapter, the Captain of the latest Manty Uber-Ship, the very Heavy Cruiser Hexapuma spends pages in a speech explaining to his officers about the risks of their current assignment. Risks Weber spends dozens of pages previously explaining to the reader already. Then one of the characters spends three or pages summarizing another Honorverse book (Crown of Slaves).
I'm probably going to slog through this book, just because I've read every other damn book in the series and Weber does do good space battle.
We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are.
The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.
Update: More Hitchens:
For a few moments yesterday, Londoners received a taste of what life is like for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose Muslim faith does not protect them from slaughter at the hands of those who think they are not Muslim enough, or are the wrong Muslim.
It is a big mistake to believe this is an assault on "our" values or "our" way of life. It is, rather, an assault on all civilisation. I know perfectly well there are people thinking, and even saying, that Tony Blair brought this upon us by his alliance with George Bush.
A word of advice to them: try and keep it down, will you? Or wait at least until the funerals are over. And beware of the non-sequitur: you can be as opposed to the Iraq operation as much as you like, but you can't get from that "grievance" to the detonating of explosives at rush hour on London buses and tubes.
Don't even try to connect the two. By George Galloway's logic, British squaddies in Iraq are the root cause of dead bodies at home. How can anyone bear to be so wicked and stupid? How can anyone bear to act as a megaphone for psychotic killers?
The grievances I listed above are unappeasable, one of many reasons why the jihadists will lose.
They demand the impossible - the cessation of all life in favour of prostration before a totalitarian vision. Plainly, we cannot surrender. There is no one with whom to negotiate, let alone capitulate.
We shall track down those responsible. States that shelter them will know no peace. Communities that shelter them do not take forever to discover their mistake. And their sordid love of death is as nothing compared to our love of London, which we will defend as always, and which will survive this with ease
"In August 1998, the detainee traveled to Pakistan with a member of Iraqi Intelligence for the purpose of blowing up the Pakistan, United States and British embassies with chemical mortars."
U.S. government "Summary of Evidence" for an Iraqi member of al Qaeda detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Read the whole thing.
Friday, July 08, 2005
I was listening to Tori Amos' "In the Springtime of his Voodoo" and when I heard the line "Standing on corner in Winslow, Arizona and I'm quite sure I'm in the wrong song."
The image of angst filled young women across the country listening to that song and having absolutely no idea what she was talking about almost caused me to splort my hot tea all over my keyboard.
No I'm not kidding. Here is the CNN story.
If you don't know what War Driving is, check here, here, or here.
Two thoughts on the subject.
If Mr. Dinon was so concerned that Mr. Smith was using his WiFi that he called the police on him, he could have also taken the time to actually open the manual on his WiFi access point and set up WEP and stop broadcasting his SSID.
Mr. Smith could have also figured out that sitting out in your car in front of someone's house for hours at a time might freak some people out enough to call the cops.
Surf over to Ace of Spades HQ and read the whole thing.
Funny & Sad at the same time.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
A wise Englishman by the name of Rudyard Kipling once wrote:
IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation,
To call upon a neighbour and to say:—
“We invaded you last night—we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”
And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!
It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:—
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”
And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray,
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to says:—
“We never pay any one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost,
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!”
Ward Churchill is calling for the murder of US soliders.
"Fragging an officer has a much more impactful effect"
Watch the video or just listen to the audio.
Here is the "money" quote:
"For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal. But let me ask you this: Would you render the same level of support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?"
"...Conscientious objection removes a given piece of cannon fodder from the fray. Fragging an officer has a much more impactful effect."
HT to Trey Jackson
The Dever Post covers the story and lists this additional part of Churchill's statements:
When one of the forum's attendees said that the impact such a fragging might have on the officer's family should be considered, Churchill replied, "How do you feel about Adolf Eichmann's family?"
HTs to Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Maguire.
Mr. Reynold notes that this story was buried on page A15 of the New York Times:
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: June 28, 2005
WASHINGTON, June 27 - Senators from both sides of the aisle competed on Monday to extol the humane treatment of detainees whom they said they saw on a weekend trip to the military detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. All said they opposed closing the center.
"I feel very good" about the detainees' treatment, Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said.
That feeling was also expressed by another Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
On Monday, Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, said he learned while visiting Guantánamo that some detainees "even have air-conditioning and semiprivate showers."
Another Republican, Senator Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, said soldiers and sailors at the camp "get more abuse from the detainees than they give to the detainees." . . .
One senator, Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, has come under criticism and apologized repeatedly for comparing reported abuses at the camps to treatment in Soviet gulags or Nazi concentration camps.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
"In person Mr Bush is so far removed from the caricature of the dim, war-mongering Texas cowboy of global popular repute that it shakes one’s faith in the reliability of the modern media."
HT to LASunsett
After speaking with soldiers, sailors, and civilians who collectively staff Gitmo, I left convinced that abuse definitely exists at the detention facilities, and it typically fails to receive the press attention it deserves: it’s the relentless, merciless attacks on American servicemen and women by these terrorist thugs. Many of the orange jumpsuit-clad detainees fight their captors at every opportunity, openly bragging of their desire to kill Americans. One has promised that, if released, he would find MPs in their homes through the internet, break into their houses at night, and “cut the throats of them and their families like sheep.” Others claim authority and vindication to kill women, children, and other innocents who oppose their jihadist mission authorized by the Koran (the same one that hangs in every cell from a specially-designed holder intended to protect it from a touching the cell floor – all provided at U.S. taxpayer expense). One detainee was heard to tell another: “One day I will enjoy sucking American blood, although their blood is bitter, undrinkable….”
For those not up on the terminology, it means that the remaining Iraqi insurgents are fighting the incoming foreign al-Qa'eda terrorists invading their country.
From the Telegraph story:
American troops on the Syrian border are enjoying a battle they have long waited to see - a clash between foreign al-Qa'eda fighters and Iraqi insurgents.
Tribal leaders in Husaybah are attacking followers of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist who established the town as an entry point for al-Qa'eda jihadists being smuggled into the country.
The reason, the US military believes, is frustration at the heavy-handed approach of the foreigners, who have kidnapped and assassinated local leaders and imposed a strict Islamic code.
Fighting, which could be clearly heard at night over the weekend, first broke out in May when as many as 50 mortar rounds were fired across the city. But, to the surprise of the American garrison, this time it was not the target.
If a shell landed near the US base, "they'd adjust their fire and not shoot at us", Lt Col Tim Mundy said. "They shot at each other."
Following al-Qa'eda's seizure of the main buildings a number of residents fled. Arkan Salim, 56, who left with his wife and four children, said: "We thought they were patriotic. Now we discovered that they are sick and crazy.
"They interfered in everything, even how we raise our children. They turned the city into hell, and we cannot live in it anymore."
HT to Ace
Via Wizbang, comes this story stating that Barbara Bush (the daughter of the President, not the mother) has been quietly working as a volunteer in a Cape Town Hospital.
Update: Kudos to the very liberal Boston Globe for running this story on the front page. It's below the fold, but on the front page.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
I've took a few hundred pictures. I'll be posting some later.
I did see my first bear outside of Camp Curry. This one was on the John Muir trail.
It was obviously a California black bear. You could tell because of it's blond highlights...
The waterfalls were amazing full. There was even a fair amount of snow still in the high country.
One cool thing was pulling into the Vista Point by the Wawona Tunnel and finding a brass band playing.