Saturday, December 30, 2006

Concerning the news last week...

...I thought I'd reprise an oldie-but-goodie.

h/t Rodger.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Irony Alert...

As mentioned in the comments here, the scene of Saddam's legal team headed to the courts of the Great Satan to prevent his execution absolutely drips in irony.

A lesson on...

...Moonbats. I've dealt with some of the lesser moonbats on that other Forum, and they can be equally oblivious to logic.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Intellectual Argument for....

...what I've long said: We need to fight this war with the gloves off, or not at all. I have said, for years now, that we need to aim for Victory instead of Peace.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I wondered about this too....

I was thinking recently about the new report regarding Sandy Berger's theft at the National Archives. Specifically, I was wondering if Berger realized that he was stealing and destroying American history here, and if he did realize it, did it bother him at all? These documents did not belong to him. They are ours. He stole them from all of us.

Then, today, I find over at Powerline, a post from a reader-expert who spoke to exactly this point.
"...They were true historical documents capturing a snapshot in time in the Administration and the thoughts of those individuals involved with the events of the day.

Those documents belong to the People, not to any individual. Sandy Berger was destroying historical records and putting them into a 'memory hole.'"

Berger's reputation cannot possibly get further smeared, but unfortunately, there will be far too many who forget this level of depravity.

Layover photos....

This is one of the photos that I had no idea how it would turn out. In full attribution, I have no idea how to make a photo turn out the way I might like it, but I'm pleased with this one none-the-less.

Central Park. A purple tree.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My New Homeboy....

Yeah. You guessed it. Danny Bonaduce.

h/t lgf.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Layover Photos...

For no other reason than I've got nothing else to say today (nor the time to say it), I'm beginning a semi-regular feature of this blog...favorite layover photos.

And here is one of my recent favorites...a combination Dunkin' Donuts/Sushi shop in Boston. I've always wondered what came first: The donuts or the Sushi?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Go Roman...

OK, not more than three hours after I write that I won't have much time to write than I find (as I was eating my soup at lunch) this gem.

Dennis Miller absolutely gets this...

h/t...John at Op-For.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Not much time to post here with lots of things to do around the house, busy at work, Christmas, etc.

Will try to put up something later, but I don't expect to have much time until after the holidays.

And in that vein, to my tens of readers, Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

An object lesson on tin-horn dictators...

...presented by Charles.

If only this were comedy.

Let's redeploy from Iraq...


And I thought ScrappleFace was a humor blog.

Oh, yeah. You know where the hattip goes.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Is the MSM just daft or willfully stupid?

I open up this morning and see this headline as their top news story...
WP: Combat troops out of Iraq?
The story begins talking about the ISG (see below) recommendations that combat troops in Iraq should be withdrawn by the end of 2008.

Seven paragraphs into the story, Bush is quoted as saying...
"This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever," Bush said.

Further, it takes no time at all to find this story (from the NYT, no less)....

So, what is it? Daft or willfully stupid? Both?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is anyone really surprised...

...That the Iraq Study Group will recommend a pullout (sort of). This sort of compromise between staying and leaving offers the worst of both approaches.

The liberals will hail the brave ("realistic") recommendation of the James Baker-led ISG to meet with the Syrians and the Iranians (as if any serious person could believe either have something constructive to offer). While doing so, they will conveniently forget the criticism they leveled against Baker in his previous dealings with the Iranians.

As I've said many times, what is missing in discussions of this war is a determination to do anything and everything necessary to achieve victory. We've become soft. Until we're willing to totally crush our enemy--Islamic fundamentalism--wherever it may reside, we're not taking this war seriously enough.

h/t Charles, Captain Ed, and nearly everybody else.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I am honored... be the anonymous reader in the update here.

The flying imams: Another look

In today's Washington Times Audrey Hudson reviews the behavior of the flying imams: "How the imams terrorized an airliner." Here is information on the seat belt extenders that I have not seen reported elsewhere:

Three of the men asked for seat-belt extenders, although two flight attendants told police the men were not oversized. One flight attendant told police she "found this unsettling, as crew knew about the six [passengers] on board and where they were sitting." Rather than attach the extensions, the men placed the straps and buckles on the cabin floor, the flight attendant said.

(Emphasis added.) The story also discusses the seating of the imams on the plane, including the apparent fact that two of the imams moved from their assigned seats to first class:

The imams who claimed two first-class seats said their tickets were upgraded. The gate agent told police that when the imams asked to be upgraded, they were told no such seats were available. Nevertheless, the two men were seated in first class when removed.

With two of the imams in first class, the six imams were positioned on the plane from front to back:

Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks -- two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

Greg Lang of takes a look at the seat belt extenders. In a message summarizing his research, he writes:

I believe the seat belt extensions create a serious airline security threat. This is one heck of a weapon that has been overlooked. Basically the "heavy" head of this is very heavy with both the latch and the belt adjuster lock thing. In a weapon sense it's a lot like a padlock on a chain or in prison a canned item in a sock. A solid blow to the head can disable and the strap can be used to choke or restrain. I was astounded that these were [allowed for use as] carry on items.

I close with a quote from former Minnesota Senator and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights Rudy Boschwitz:

There you are at the gate about to kiss your wife and kids goodbye and the imams begin praying. Would you walk away and let the family go forward? Or would you be much relieved if the airline said: hold on, we ought to check these guys out. Give me a break and not this liberal bullshit.

The airline acted prudently just as it should have.

UPDATE: A reader who asks not to be identified adds:

I am an airline captain at a major national airline. On the subject of seat belt extensions, at my airline, we carry them onboard and I wasn't aware that they could be purchased elsewhere. These extensions have a legitimate place onboard. They are used by our larger passengers who are unable to fasten the seatbelt absent an extension (and if you've spoken to this point already, I've missed it).

That these extensions could be used as improvised weapons is not something that our crews are unaware of. There are many, many innocuous items that can become deadly. You've already cited a canned item in a sock (I wonder how many passengers think the flight attendant is simply being overly thrifty with the soft drink can when she wants to only dispense a glass at a time?). A belt with a heavy buckle would serve the same purpose. Sturdy pens can be stabbing weapons. The list of improvised weapons is only limited by the ingenuity of those who might use them.

The larger point I'd like to make is that, despite the increased level of TSA scrutiny we all go through, it is unrealistic to expect that airplanes would be weapons-free zones. Prisons cannot be made weapons-free despite strip searches and controls on contraband.

Although without knowing more details of what actually went on in this case, it is difficult to know exactly how I might have reacted, from what I've read, it appears that the crew did the right thing. These imams were behaving oddly enough that, knowing what I know now, I think I would have had them removed too.

Monday, November 27, 2006

It's for the Children...

Don't cha' know.

h/t Gerald

"Civil War"...

...according to NBC. I have to disagree that Iraq is in a civil war now. Certainly the sectarian violence is troubling. However, wide parts of the country are basically at peace. The violence level in Iraq is less than many parts of the world now considered to be at peace. I guess that "civil war" thing gets around.

Either that, or NBC is editorializing.

Update...via Glenn, here. (Isn't The Prospect a liberal rag? Or am I thinking of The American Prospect? Are they related? Should we alert Matt Lauer?)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Range Report...

I finally made it to an IDPA match yesterday, and my recent absence showed. Ivan challenged me with long shots (one at 25 yds). I could probably make the case that my poor results are due to shooting new 180 grain ammo. I do think that my Glock doesn't like it, but that is a slim crutch to stand on. My results are mine--not the ammo's.

It was nice to get to the range again, but I just can't go six weeks and expect to make my shots.

Oh, now here's something new...


The D's are planning to investigate Bush to death. They are still smarting from the impeachment of their last President--a man of dubious character. [Side note: They recently ran out of their party the one Democrat with moral clarity.] Their investigations will amount to nothing, but their media accomplices will make mountains out of any molehills that might exist (e.g. Scooter Libby).

I am afraid that the D's are not taking the GWOT seriously at all. They are ostriches--hoping that it will all just go away. This is going to be a long two years.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Power Line Forum

Although they've been operating it for a month or so, the guys at Power Line have started a Forum. One of the things missing, IMO, on their blog is the ability to comment. This Forum solves this problem.

In the first thread I look at, the question is asked: "Who is the enemy?" And I reproduce here the second answer in full.

It’s time we realize that the Islamic fanatics worship Satan by another name.

In order to know and understand the truth of the evil nature of our Islamic enemy, I watched the Paul Johnson beheading video shortly after the poor man was decapitated by the Islamic fanatic Zarqawi (Thank you God, George Bush and the American Military for removing this scum from existence).

What I saw was an innocent man pleading for his life, and then the knife being applied to the side of his neck, and then the screams of terror as the knife began to cut, and then the thrashing for a shred of hope of life, terrible screams unlike anything I’ve heard, and then after what seemed an eternity, the knife finally reaching the windpipe, and the gurgling sounds, still attempts to scream in horror, still the knife cut deeper, reaching the spinal chord, where the sawing motion became more vigorous and violent in order to get through the bone, still, unbelievably, screams and gurgles, until the moment that Paul’s head was more detached than attached - then the screams stopped, although there was still, even now, gurgling, attempts to put a voice to experiencing the ultimate horror, until the head was finally severed completely, and Paul’s murderers were finished killing innocence in the name of Allah as far too many Muslims are prone to do.

All the while, the Islamic animals in the room, screaming in Arabic, god is good, god is merciful, glory to god. They were reveling in this slaughter of innocence. They call their false god Allah. After watching this video, I now know that the Allah worshiped by this type of Islamic fanatic is just Satan by another name.

Because of these animals, we are forced into a corner. That corner is coming to the conclusion that the enemy is Islam. Surely not every Muslim, but Islam nonetheless.

I hate to say it. I really, really hate to say it. I want to give all people the benefit of the doubt, and I don’t like to paint with a brush any broader than necessary. But sooner or later all freedom loving people will realize it, so I’ll just say it again now.

The enemy is Islam.

It doesn’t feel good to even think it, but sometimes the truth hurts. I wish that all the people who think it would have the balls to say it.

It is regrettable. I know that all individual Muslims are not the problem. That would be an asinine conclusion for one to draw. Good people and bad people come in all stripes.

The enemy is Islam, not because all Muslims are evil, but because a very significant number are. One cannot ignore the fact that the driving force behind the hatred of the Islamo-fascists is the religion of Islam. They believe that in waging Jihad, they are following the will of Allah, and these fanatic Muslims exist in sufficient numbers to draw the conclusion that Islam must be dealt with as an enemy. The remainder will not or cannot speak out or rise up against their fanatic Islamic brethren, at least not in numbers that matter. At some point, we will be unable to afford the luxury of trying to discern which Muslims are peace loving (the ones that don’t strictly follow the Koran, in other words) and which ones want to kill your children in the most agonizing ways imaginable. Therefore we must see the enemy as he wishes us to see him. The fundamentalists want a holy war, and we have no choice but to engage them on those terms, or eventually be exterminated.

If we aren’t willing to even admit who and what our enemy is, we will lose the epic war for the survival of western civilization, and either be killed, or live under Sharia Law in Dhimmitude. Dhimmitude would not be a good life for anyone.

And for those who morally equate the Islamic death cult with American Christian fundamentalists or the Jewish state of Israel, all I can say is you ought to live in the real world and take off your ideological blinders. To equate American Christians with the Taliban, or the retributions of the Israelis against the Palestinian butchers of innocents as has been done by Leftists is intellectually dishonest, and shows a commitment to ideology before truth.

I guess I can say one other thing. In the coming war against the evil of Islamo-fascist Jihad, America is the last, best hope for the West. The Muslims are going to force everyone to choose a side, and those who wish to remain neutral will eventually understand that neutrality is not in the Islamic plan. And I think when push comes to shove, whiners and moral relativists will cling to the coat-tails of traditional American greatness, the mighty American military, and whomever else is given the charge of protecting you and your family.

Welcome to the Jihad. The enemy is Islam, whether you want it or not, because the Islamic fanatics do, and they’re the relevant Muslim coalition that we are forced to contend with.

I can't say I disagree. We're fighting the entire religion. Certainly not every practicianer is a bad person who wishes us dead. But enough of them do that I have to suspect the entire faith. The sooner we realize that we're in a war between Islam and Liberty, and fight it with that knowledge, the better.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hey, Sears...

It looks like you're missing a couple of tools...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Rant on Copilots (and their Hats)...

I recently finished two trips which were much more difficult than they otherwise should have been. Bad copilots on both parts.

Copilot #1...
Just about the first thing he says when we meet is that we need to be on time on the last leg...then four days in the future. He's got a close connection to the last flight of the night. I've got no problem with this as I'm a commuter too and understand completely. Then, on the second day, he wants to switch legs so that he doesn't have to land in the same place twice. I agree, but wonder: On the day he retires, will the number of landings here vs. there make any difference to anybody? (And I notice that this change makes the last leg his.) He has a habit of taking off his shoes, which is somewhat unusual. At one point in the trip, we speak about the good workout room on the last layover. On the last day, he asks if I minded if he dried out his gym clothes. I (reluctantly) was just one leg, and I'd be done with him. Then, as he's standing after draping his wet gym clothes throughout the cockpit, I detect an odor of something. I wonder: Did he just fart, or do his gym clothes come complete with skidmark? I try not to answer.

He did have a hat (more on that later), and a coat. The hat rarely touched his head and spent most of the time on a second hook on his suitcase. The coat fit him, oh maybe, 20 pounds ago, so it didn't often get buttoned.

Copilot #2...
I notice right away that he doesn't have a coat. Well, that's not exactly right. He has a coat, just not a uniform coat. It's more of a windbreaker. No hat in evidence though. The conversation on our first leg is pleasant enough, but it becomes clear to me (and probably to him) that we aren't going to agree on much. He was angry that the pilot's pension was lost while everybody else retained theirs. I explain my belief that our pension was probably just a ghost anyway and about the divorce cons I'd heard go on. He says that we'd be better off if we were a more hard-core union. I think: Great. I'm flying with one of those guys who thinks that we're pussies unless we go past the point of threatening to Burn-the-House-Down, but actually throw the gas and light the match. Never mind that we're in bankruptcy. Never mind the conditions of the rest of the industry. It was all about how we sold out too early. Anyway, again, the conversation wasn't unpleasant, but we soon drift into our own silences. On the second leg, I got to the airplane a bit before him. As he arrives, he asks if I've done the walk-around. I say "No", and off he goes--coatless--for his mid-November walkaround. [A small digression on walkarounds...While he may think I'm being a prick for not jumping at the opportunity for a walkaround, I don't think so. If you've paid attention at all on that other forum, you can probably guess at why I don't really like to get too far away from the cockpit without packing up at least a portion of my stuff. I use the time while the F/O is outside to brief the Flight Attendants. I don't really like most F/As, but I do have to work with them. It is up to me to set an environment where they want to work with me rather than for me. Also, I told myself when I got hired that I'd do half the walkarounds over my career. Guess what? I've already done my half. And finally, the surest way to get me to never do a walkaround is to somehow intimate that you expect it.] His leg into LGA is a challenging one. The weather was low and the winds were near crosswind limits. Most pilots would keep the automation on until we saw the runway, but this guy does otherwise. He clicks off the autopilot and autothrottles and flies manually. There's nothing procedurally wrong with this, but it does make things harder than they need to be. Once we break out, he was lined up on the downwind (right) side of the runway, further making things difficult for himself. The landing was good for LGA and the conditions (read: "firm"). On the approach on his second leg (second day), he again turned off all the automation. We didn't have the weather conditions to deal with this time, but again he lined up on the right side of the runway. I wonder: Is this a trend? [Another digression--this one on his hat. On the third day, his hat makes a brief appearance, from deep inside his roll-aboard, as we change planes in ATL.] His last leg was the real doozy. The weather in LAX was right at minimums. We were very close to needing me to do a Cat II or Cat III approach. So what does our intrepid aviator do? Yeah. You guessed it. He again turns off all the automation and hand-flies the approach. A Cat I autoland would have been perfect here, but that doesn't occur to Steve Canyon. He manages to find the centerline this time, but he wipes off the power at about 25 feet (767) and absolutely crushes the landing. I mean--it was awful. We taxi to the gate in silence. At the gate, he packs up his stuff, we exchange pleasant, but not warm goodbyes, he says goodbye to about a third of our passengers, and then in one of the biggest displays of cowardice I've ever seen, he leaves. I'm left to put my face to what is probably the worst landing experience our passengers have ever been through. No stones at all. None.

Epilogue...Here are the common threads:
  • I had F/As question me on the behavior out of both these guys. The first less-so than the second, but in both the non-conformity was easily noted. The second guy was a bit abrasive with a couple of the girls. One of the F/As in the crushing landing later complained of back pain (after Steve had left). Not good at all (and later, I thought that I should have asked if this was OJI back pain, or just back pain.) They both cut a wide swath.
  • Both these two guys have trouble with the hat. If you're out to make me wonder if you're about to ask for special treatment, do non-standard things in the cockpit, and make me think that I'm going to have to watch for sub-par flying skills, not wearing the hat is a good signal. I'll be able to see you coming a mile off.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Some random thoughts...

...On the election.

Janet Napolitano struck me as all too smug. She's a crafty politician, and she's entitled to enjoy her victory, but she has already taken her "mandate" too far.

There was a discussion on talk radio this AM that JD Hayworth might be able to overturn the results of his defeat with the 100,000 ballots that still needed to be counted. A long shot. I imagine that his "Foghorn Leghorn" act has worn thin in tony Scottsdale and smarter-than-thou Tempe.

The D's appear to be on the edge of making too much of their victory. They have succeeded in serving up the thumpin' (to use Bush's words), but their victory is still less than average for seats won on off-year elections in a President's second term. The House has not much more of a Democratic majority than the Republicans had. The Senate may stay in Republican hands, with razor-close races in Virginia and Montana, although at this writing that appears to be a thin thread. If the D's intend on unending investigations and an impeachment, they're kidding themselves. The Democratic leadership appears to be much more liberal than the successful candidates who have put them in the majority. Caution would be advised. The inmates are now in charge of the asylum.

And in addition to the "thumpin'", the D's have now placed Rumsfeld's head on their pike. Rummy took the heat far longer than Ashcroft did (the other liberal villan). Bush's immediate replacement of Rumsfeld is a stroke of genius, IMO. Now the ball is fully in the D's court. They will have to quickly confirm and just as importantly, work with Gates, or face the deserved criticism of being a "Do-nothing" majority.

At Bush's press conference this morning announcing the change at SecDef, he appeared a but subdued. Although he said we were staying in Iraq to win, the change in Congress may make this difficult to pull off. I just hope the Democrats who hate Cheney more than they fear the Islamists can pull their heads out of their asses.

I'm wondering how long Stevens and Ginsberg have on the Court. Now that a right-wing (read: Originalist) nominee is unlikely to get through the Senate, perhaps they'll be leaving.

I linked to this a week or so back. I hope this is like a bad sci-fi movie and not prologue.


This morning I sat in front of a couple of guys engaged in an interesting conversation. We were headed from Phoenix to Los Angeles, and one of the guys wondered if we'd be able to see the Grand Canyon. Also in the conversation was a discussion of where the Continental Divide was. And one of them named to the Salton Sea as Lake Mead.

I realize that I see these things much more frequently than most people do, and that it is my business to have an understanding of where we're headed, but I wonder: Is basic geography ever taught and understood? Is it too much to know that the Grand Canyon is north of Phoenix, and that this flight is headed west?

Monday, November 06, 2006


Chris Muir spanks the Democrats.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Thomas Friedman... an idiot. Its been some time since I "fisked" an article, so here's another attempt.

Insulting Our Troops, and Our Intelligence
by Thomas L. Friedman

Every time you hear George Bush or Dick Cheney lash out against John Kerry, I hope you will say to yourself, They must think I'’m stupid. Because they surely do.

George Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld think youÂ’re stupid. Yes, they do.

They think they can take a mangled quip about President Bush and Iraq by John Kerry- a man who is not even running for office but who, unlike Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, never ran away from combat service and get you to vote against all Democrats in this election.
Three paragraphs into the article and the "chickenhawk" meme comes out. You'd think the liberals would be tired of repeating themselves. For the record, Bush and Cheney aren't running for office either. Bush served honorably (contrary to what Dan Rather thinks) in the Guard. Cheney got deferments, not unlike many of the time. And, in this country, it is a good thing that we pride ourselves in the civilian control of our military.
Every time you hear Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney lash out against Mr. Kerry, I hope you will say to yourself, They must think I'm stupid.” Because they surely do.

They think that they can get you to overlook all of the Bush team'’s real and deadly insults to the U.S. military over the past six years by hyping and exaggerating Mr. Kerry a’s a mangled gibe at the president.
Nobody has had to hype or exaggerate Kerry's gaffe. It stands on its own.
What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to the U.S. military than to send it into combat in Iraq without enough men — to launch an invasion of a foreign country not by the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force, but by the Rumsfeld Doctrine of just enough troops to lose? What could be a bigger insult than that?
The "Powell Doctrine" carries with it the idea that your overwhelming force will prevent the Iraqis from bringing on their own forces. What of Powell's Pottery Barn Rule--"You break it, you've bought it"? How would the Murthians settle this score? The "Rumsfeld Doctrine" balances the immediate military needs with not keeping an overbearing force in country. What would the incentive be for the Iraqis to develop their own military if we were there doing everything necessary?
What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in uniform than sending them off to war without the proper equipment, so that some soldiers in the field were left to buy their own body armor and to retrofit their own jeeps with scrap metal so that roadside bombs in Iraq would only maim them for life and not kill them? And what could be more injurious and insulting than Don Rumsfeld’s response to criticism that he sent our troops off in haste and unprepared: Hey, you go to war with the army you’ve got — get over it.
Some of the responsibility for not enough proper equipment ought to properly rest with Congress and President Clinton...and with that ordinary Americans of all stripes who have become accustomed to their entitlements. The decision to add armor to HMMVVs did not come easinitiallyy were initally unarmored because without the extra weight,maneuverablere maneuverable. Adding the weight of the armor also adds to suspension problems and the likelihood of rollover accidents. Compare Rumsfeld's quote to...
Once, during the Siege of Boston, when almost nothing was going right and General Schuyler had written from Albany to bemoanWashingtonbles, Washington had replied that he understood but that "we must bear up against them, and make the best of mankind as they are, since we cannot have them as we wish</span>." [emphasis added]
1776, David McCullough pg 256.
What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in uniform than to send them off to war in Iraq without any coherent postwar plan for political reconstruction there, so that the U.S. military has had to assume not only security responsibilities for all of Iraq but the political rebuilding as well? The Bush team has created a veritable library of military histories from Cobra II to “Fiasco” to State of Denial all of which contain the same damning conclusion offered by the very soldiers and officers who fought this war: This administration never had a plan for the morning after, and weÂ’ve been making it up— and paying the price ever since.

Look. What Friedman and the rest of the liberals don't get is that the enemy has a vote in what happens as much as we do. We are still very much in this war. He wants a plan--a timeline--for every step of the war, and fails to account that the enemy will throw up roadblocks every chance the can. You always make up the "plan for the morning after". Whatever plan you started with is your first casualty.
And what could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in Iraq than to send them off to war and then go out and finance the very people they are fighting against with our gluttonous consumption of oil? Sure, George Bush told us we’re addicted to oil, but he has not done one single significant thing — demanded higher mileage standards from Detroit, imposed a gasoline tax or even used the bully pulpit of the White House to drive conservation to end that addiction. So we continue to finance the U.S. military with our tax dollars, while we finance Iran, Syria, Wahhabi mosques and Al Qaeda madrassas with our energy purchases.
Changing not just our, but the world's reliance on oil, will take generations. It is not just George Bush's fault. And we have to have a viable alternative energy source in sufficient quantities to replace oil. If it was so easy, someone would have already done it.
Everyone says that Karl Rove is a genius. Yeah, right. So are cigarette companies. They get you to buy cigarettes even though we know they cause cancer. That is the kind of genius Karl Rove is. He is not a man who has designed a strategy to reunite our country around an agenda of renewal for the 21st century — to bring out the best in us. His “genius” is taking some irrelevant aside by John Kerry and twisting it to bring out the worst in us, so you will ignore the mess that the Bush team has visited on this country.
Note to Tom: Karl Rove hasn't had to do anything here. The Kerry gaffe was caught by a radio station reporter. It was posted to, and it took off like wildfire from there. It's just a guess, but I wouldn't be surprised if Rove read about this on his Blackberry.
And Karl Rove has succeeded at that in the past because he was sure that he could sell just enough Bush cigarettes, even though people knew they caused cancer. Please, please, for our countryÂ’s health, prove him wrong this time.
And just what is the relevance of the connection to cigarettes? Has Bush or Rove spoken at all about Big Tobacco?
Let Karl know that you’re not stupid. Let him know that you know that the most patriotic thing to do in this election is to vote against an administration that has — through sheer incompetence — brought us to a point in Iraq that was not inevitable but is now unwinnable.
You know, there is tons of military advice (Also see this for a defense of Rumsfeld) that says that this war is winnable. It is very difficult now, and Bush has been forthcoming on this point from the start.
Let Karl know that you think this is a critical election, because you know as a citizen that if the Bush team can behave with the level of deadly incompetence it has exhibited in Iraq — and then get away with it by holding on to the House and the Senate — it means our country has become a banana republic. It means our democracy is in tatters because it is so gerrymandered, so polluted by money, and so divided by professional political hacks that we can no longer hold the ruling party to account.
Ah yes. It is self-evident that if the Repubicans don't lose the House and Senate, then our democracy is doomed. "Tattered". "Polluted".
It means we're as stupid as Karl thinks we are.
Speak for yourself, Tom.
I, for one, don'’t think we're that stupid. Next Tuesday we'll see.
Yes, we will. I'm betting the R's hold both Houses and the D's go crazy (again).

Edit: Lots of formatting problems coming from the cut-and-paste of Friedman's column. I got most of them, but not all.

So Iran wants nuclear power...

Guess who else does? A better question might be: Who doesn't?

h/t ahem at Jeff's place.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The reasons for the War in Iraq...

Told ya' so. Even the NYT says so now.

Paul at Powerline weighs in.

And, of course, Captain Ed is all over it.

Monday, October 30, 2006


The "Third Way" act is wearing a bit thin.


A few posts back, I saluted the Canucks, so here is something for the Aussies...

Hey, Dixie Chicks. This is how to do it. Otherwise, STFU.

Oh, yeah. It doesn't hurt that Beccy is hot in the same way that other Aussie ladies can be.

h/t B5.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Reductio ad Absurdum...

Gee, fella's. As I reflect on all this, I now see that you're right, and that I've been wrong all along. The War in Iraq is wrong on so many levels. We were lied to. Repeatedly. There were never any WMDs. There wasn't a plan on how to win the peace after we’d achieved the military victory. No one has ever been able to enunciate a decent exit strategy. We've accomplished nothing in Iraq except to create more terrorists and more problems than we can ever deal with. Mea culpa...we never should have gone into Iraq.

Now that I've seen the error of my ways, I think the best course would be to apologize profusely and get out of Iraq in the fastest way possible. Timelines-Bah. Let's get out now. Right now. Every day we're there, things get a little worse. (OK. A lot worse.) If we need to assuage our guilt over the damage we've done, let's throw together a big bunch of money, and let the U.N. administer the re-building. I hear they’re pretty good at stuff like that. Maybe the French or the Russians could do better than we've been able to do (Hey. They couldn't do worse, now could they?). Iraq has been nothing but a big mistake.

And as I'm looking at the world from this new perspective, I'm thinking that we should re-examine Afghanistan too. We've been there almost five years now and we still haven't been able to find Osama. I mean, C'mon, it's just one guy we're looking for. How hard can it be? (And on this point alone, Rumsfeld deserves to be fired.) The Taliban is resurgent, they're growing poppies like there's no tomorrow and they have no control--none--of their border with Pakistan [Ignoring for the moment that it is a fair observation that we don't have control of ours either.]. Did we learn nothing from the Soviets?

You know what else? Elections, smelections. These aren’t real democracies we’ve stood up. They’re nothing more than Islamic Banana Republics. I guess it was sorta quaint to see those men and women in their traditional clothes all lined up waiting for the chance to proudly dip their fingers in ink. But really now. Are we really—seriously--supposed to believe that all these disparate tribes are even remotely capable of forming functioning democracies? I mean, a bunch of them can’t even read. Ridiculous. As bad as Saddam and the Taliban were, at least they made the trains run on time (OK, OK, OK. The Taliban didn’t have trains. But they did get everyone called to prayer on time. Let’s give them that.)

And let’s look at just who these knuckleheads elected. For crying out loud, the Afghans “elected” some guy who wears a frikkin’ cape everywhere he goes. Wazzup wit’ ‘dat? And the Iraqis were able to finally, finally settle on a guy who needs to shave about 4 times a day. Would it hurt him to keep a Norelco nearby? Helloooo? Plus, al-Maliki is a Shi’ite, fer christ mohammad sakes. Can anyone guess another country where you can find a bunch of Shi’ites? Does anyone else hear alarm bells? Ding. Ding. Ding.

While we’re in the neighborhood, let’s not kid ourselves about Pakistan. They don’t have control of their side of the border either, and their intelligence service is thoroughly infiltrated by the bad guys. At least Musharraf is able to wear a decent suit, but I don’t trust ole’ Pervez as far as I could throw him. I mean, he’s both the President and a General. Bad combo, man. Bad combo. Does anyone really believe he wouldn’t incinerate Bombay in a New Delhi minute if he thought he could get away with it? He may have figured out that cozying up to Bush was the key to keeping his job (and his head on his shoulders), but I’m tellin’ ya’, he’s bad juju. Bad juju.

So now that I’ve looked at it all in the right light, I say we get out of the Mid-East. The biggies like Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Qatar, Bahrain and all those other crappy little places nobody can find on a map. All of it. Just get the hell out of Dodge, if you get my drift. None of it is worth our blood and treasure. And you know what else? I’m thinking that redeploying to Okinawa is still too close to the action. You know, the Indonesians don’t exactly like us either and they’re the most populous Islamic nation on the planet. Moving to Okinawa is just asking for trouble.

And let me tell you something from personal experience: The Okinawans don’t like us either. Not. At. All. They hated our presence there since before I was flying through there in the mid-eighties. The Japanese, much as they come off as all polite and everything, can really chafe at a conquering military presence on their soil. And who wouldn’t? We need to think about getting out of Japan too. Isn’t it time yet?

Since we’re looking at Japan, I guess we ought to look at South Korea too. Besides cheap DVD players and Hyundais, can anyone tell me how we benefit from a close relationship with South Korea? Me neither. And the semi-democracy we keep propped up there isn’t exactly what the people want. Unlike today’s American anti-war protestors, the South Koreans can get thousands to show up for demonstrations against their government. And these demonstrators are violent.

I guess I ought to also think about Taiwan, but try as I might, there’s really nothing to say. I don’t know one thing about Taiwan, other than that we have simultaneously extended our nuclear umbrella over Taiwan while we also oppose their independence through our One China policy. Could there be anything more contradictory? Let’s let China take back Taiwan. I mean, there are no gulags in Hong Kong, are there? What could go wrong in Taiwan? We’ve got Hawaii. Don’t the Chinese deserve an island paradise too? Not even a Puerto Rico? Guam?

There’s one other thing. I don’t think the Asians really even like their democracies. Every time you see one of those stories about a fistfight on the floor of a legislature, it’s from Taiwan or South Korea. Contrast that to the images of the guys who can get things done in North Korea and China. Everybody is always smiling and clapping. Democracy and liberty are over-rated. Only a crazy man would want liberty. The Asians like their dictators. They really do.

Since it looks like I'm repainting the whole damned house, I should at least look at the condition of things in the living room: Europe. Here is the sad truth: We've got troops in Germany, Italy, and Great Britain for no damned reason. The Russians are done--the life expectancy of a Russian man is 59 years. (Plug that into your Social Security calculator.) The Warsaw Pact is more than kaput...the Warsaw Pact countries have been fighting tooth-and-nail to get into NATO. Just who American troops are protecting Western Europe from is beyond me. It's well past time for the Western European countries to stand on their own. We need to bring our European troops home too.

Finally, I can't ignore the source of just about every problem in the Mid-East: Israel. You know, I'm sorry about the Holocaust and everything. We should have allowed more Jews to emigrate here. But man. They've had 60 years to find their niche, and they're still fighting their neighbors. They just can't get along. The Palestinians have been downtrodden for far too long. I'm not saying we should support the Pali's, but I think we need to re-think our support for Israel. Let the Israelis work it out with the Pali's and their pals. It's none of our business any longer.

As I look at the world, there are two kinds of countries: Countries who may need us but really, really don't like us, and countries who like us but really, really don't need us.

So in a nutshell, here is my plan: Bring back everybody. Every swinging dick. (Sorry, ladies. I lost my political correctness a long time ago.) Fold the Navy into the Coast Guard and keep them within eyeshot of an American coastline. Fold the Army and Air Force into the Border Patrol. Decommission every American military unit with a strategic mission. We're going to save a ton on military expenditures, and we'll be able to keep the homeland safe.

[/ reductio ad absurdum]

If it isn't obvious, I believe in exactly none of the above. We have a special place in the world: The one remaining superpower. I don't like being the world's policeman, but nobody else is going to bring stability to the world. Try for a minute to think through what the world would look like if we withdrew. You can just withdraw from Iraq, or you can withdraw from everywhere, and I end up at the same place: A world far less stable than before we left. I don't think that we're colonizing the world in our form. Rather, I deeply and completely believe that the liberty we far too often take for granted is something that everyone on this planet inately seeks. What we're doing in Iraq (and the rest of the world) is to offer them a chance at that kind of liberty.

The War in Iraq is central to the War on Terror. But don't take my word for it, and don't take George Bush's. Take Osama's.

The history of the last thirty years shows a steady escalation of Islamofacist actions against the West. In recent history, these actions have accelerated. Spain changed their government and withdrew from Iraq after AQ attacked their trains. The recent coup in Thailand was led by a Muslim General. France is in the middle of an intifada today.

The Democrats today are sporting seven or eight different ways to handle Iraq, but they all center on getting out. Getting out means giving up. And the Islamists aren't going to give up until we're defeated. Thoroughly. Not just in the Mid-East, but everywhere.

I apologize for the length, but as you can tell, I am passionate about this topic. If you've gotten this far and are interested in another lengthy and scary read, you can find one here. There are elements in this story that I wouldn't necessarily predict, but I'm afraid that if Democrats have their way, there will be far more truth here than most of us would like.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Christopher Walken...

...via Karl at Protein Wisdom.

And for no other reason than this one cracks me up every time I see it (also from Karl. And I'm glad that NBC hasn't, in defense of their copyright, tubed the YouTube.)...

This election is in the bag.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday will interview John Kerry.
...almost two years after he nearly won the White House, we will discuss the latest foreign policy and political news with Sen. John Kerry. What are the Democratic Party's proposals for addressing the North Korean nuclear threat and the escalating sectarian warfare in Iraq? And with the likelihood that Democrats may win back one or both houses of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections, what are their legislative plans for next year? We will discuss the foreign policy challenges with Sen. Kerry, along with his chances in the 2008 presidential campaign.
Good questions, those. I wonder how long he will take before he drops the "Bush Lied" line.


This is why they are barbarians.

h/t Powerline.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"I'm so ronry. I'm so ronry..."

[Sorry. Couldn't resist the Team America reference.]

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Good Friend...

The following was stolen shamelessly from Cowboyblob,

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sun light.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is Heaven," he answered.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."

This photo is one taken by Daughter#1 for the photography class she took this past summer.

I've always felt that I'm not half the dog-parent that I ought to be. Abby deserves more walks, more baths (and better care of her ears), more throws of the Kong, more time in the pool. Still, in spite of my failings, she loves me like nothing else. She's a great dog, and one day, if I'm lucky, I'll walk with her (and Chelsea) in Heaven.

How you know that you've successfully raised your children...

From Kim, via Rodger...

Your son should understand...
* Drive a car well, ie. a stick shift;
* Know how to handle any gun, and be comfortable with its operation;
* Understand basic macro- and microeconomics;
* Know the difference between a popular democracy and a representative republic;
* Be able to cook a basic meal (meat, rice/potatoes, vegetables) from scratch;
* Speak at least one foreign language
* Understand how to read a map, and be comfortable with basic orienteering;
* Have two years’ experience in a trade (any trade, eg. carpenter, electrician, welder, auto mechanic, plumber);
* Play a musical instrument, and have a basic understanding of music;
* Understand basic self-defense/unarmed combat techniques;
* Have excellent manners, and know all aspects of social etiquette;
* Travel to a foreign country (Mexico and Canada don’t count, in the U.S. circumstance);
* Be extremely knowledgeable about history (for the reasons given by Coop
[shown at the link] );
* Have read at least twenty books in the Western Canon;
* Be able to use a computer, especially spreadsheet, word processing and basic database programs;
* Be able to write a cogent, grammatically-correct essay of no less than 1,000 words in length
* Been a member of a social group or club (4H, Boy Scouts, Young Republicans, whatever) for at least two years

Your daughter should understand...
The basic rules of fashion (and the difference between fad and fashion, never giving in completely to the former)

Be comfortable in the body she was born with

How to properly groom herself and apply/wear make-up appropriate for the setting/circumstances

Sew (sufficient to hem, reapply a button, make curtains) including a knowledge of fabrics and fashion terms

How to iron beyond getting the creases out (knowing how to properly iron a dress shirt including a non-permanent press version, set creases in slacks, and handle pleating)

The rules of etiquette in both business and personal settings for a variety of cultures, including:

* How to set a table
* How to make introductions
* How to make seating arrangements at a table
* Proper conduct at formal events, such as weddings, funerals, etc.
* Rules of reciprocation

Recognize gossip, know how to avoid it, and people who do it

Be an ear/shoulder without being a martyr or know-it-all

Bathe and clothe a baby

Feed a baby

Be physically fit sufficient to birth a baby and endure a 2-year-old

Understand the basics of child psychology and child rearing, sufficient to properly coach a child to explore, read, and discover

* Basic arithmetic
* Basic science
* Properly address and handle a tantrum

Write letters

Be gracious without being condescending

Understand our system of government sufficient to keep vigilance of it and properly exercise her right to vote

Be able to defend herself, her husband, and her children with a gun

Read at least 20 books from the Western Canon and understand them

Recognize at least 100 paintings/art treasures and what is good/bad about them

Play at least one musical instrument, and understand the basics of music

Recite poetry or sing without being self-conscious

Speak a foreign language sufficient to travel in that country

Play bridge to win, and win gracefully

Drive defensively

Understand how a car works, sufficient to attend to its required maintenance

Be able to use basic household tools to perform basic household repairs

Know how to hang a picture and WHERE to hang it

Understand the basics of design as it applies to household decor, architecture, garden and landscape planning/maintenance

Manage a household:

* Hire, direct, and train household staff
* Menu/meal planning (including organizing and planning parties and events)
* Budgeting and forecasting
* Maintain records (including important documents, expenses/checking and savings accounts, etc.)

Cook/Kitchen management, including:

* Make bread
* Understand dietary considerations (health, customs, and religions)
* Select, keep and store ingredients properly and safely
* Understand the proper use and selection of herbs and spices
* Bake a pie, including fruit, cream, and meringue
* Make sauces, including rue-based, vegetable-based, and creams
* How to test for doneness in meats, breads, and cakes
* How to choose equipment and serving pieces
* Be capable of making an entire Thanksgiving dinner on her own (on time and everything hot/cold as appropriate)

How to say “no”

How and when to say “yes”

Be supportive of her husband without deameaning herself

Recognize and end relationships that are destructive

Dance etiquette

Walk gracefully in high heels (or know not to wear them!)

Tell a joke

Bathe a dog

Kim appears to be a bit harder on his daughters than he is on his sons. However, this is good preparation for life, as life has always been harder on women than on men.

By Kim's standards, we've failed our children on a number of counts, but overall, they're turning into wonderful young adults, in spite of our failures.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

School Shootings Post #2...

I've got O'Reilly on in the background as I write, and he's interviewing Geraldo Rivera regarding his predictions of more school shootings (especially of school-age girls) after the Bailey, Colorado shootings. Since then, Geraldo's prediction has come true with the subsequent shootings in Wisconsin and more recently at the Amish school in Pennsylvania. Of course, being the knuckleheads that they each are, O'Reilly and Geraldo are all wrong, but their discussion is predictable. Geraldo is advocating giving male High School seniors and parents radios and cell phones to help them as they patrol the schools. He even admits to being an "old fashioned liberal" [Geraldo's response: "No. I'm a radical."].

They are failing to think outside the box. More cops. More parents. Better communications. This is their thinking. None of it will work. I said so here, over a year and a half ago, in my first month operating this blog.

The kids in schools will be vulnerable to the crazy sick adults and the disgruntled kids (not to mention the terrorists) who turn up in schools with murderous intent as long as they insist on keeping schools as gun-free zones. You cannot possibly put enough cops into each school every day to protect the kids until time immemorial. The American public won't accept the taxes it would take to pay these cops.

"They see our compassion as weakness and our integrity as blindness to reality."


I've been remiss about posting here for the past week or so. Patterico has scored an amazing and exclusive interview with an Army nurse who has personal experience with the terrorists at Gitmo.

Read below. You won't regret it.

Part One.
Part Two.
Part Three.
Part Four.
Part Five.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"106˚ in Mesa; It's not the Heat...

...It's the Hegemony."

Good Gawd. That Iowahawk is one funny dude.

h/t littlegreenfootballs

Guess who said....

...[T]he president will speak on national television. He will say this: Iran is determined to develop nuclear weapons; if this happens, the entire region will go nuclear; our diplomatic efforts to prevent this have failed; Iran is offering a haven to known al Qaeda leaders; the fate of our ally Israel is at stake; Iran persists in supporting terrorism, including in Iraq; and sanctions will have no affect...Therefore, he will announce, our own national security and the security of the region requires us to act. "Tonight, I have ordered the elimination of all facilities in Iran that are dedicated to the production of weapons of mass destruction....." In the narrowest terms this includes perhaps two dozen targets....

Gary Hart in the HuffPo (natch).

Hart lays this all out as a scenario leading up to an "October Surprise" to affect the November elections.

On the other hand, I have absolutely no problem with the President taking a note from Hart.

h/t hotair

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How much fun....

...would this be?

Chuck Schumer's having a stroke about now.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Azlibertarian's Pet Peeve #47...

...nailed by John, with the inspiration from Glenn.

CNN is an absolutely horrible network. A hotel which only has news provided by CNN makes for a miserable layover. I find myself constantly flipping through the channels, finding nothing to watch. If I was travelling on my own, I'd make my reservations based on what channels were in a hotel's TV spectrum.

Fox News rules (although I'm a bit perplexed about the whole ED Hill thingi. [also note the end of the article about a "Kim Hume" leaving after the mid-term elections. Interesting.])

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hey. Look who has a burr under his saddle...

It appears that Clinton has gone all whiney about his legacy (such as it is).

h/t Stop the ACLU via Ace.

Update: Not that any of these folks need my help with their traffic, but you can read more on Clinton's legacy here, here, here, here, here, and here, among many, many others. Clinton screwed the pooch here. If I were a Democrat looking to win a seat in Congress in a couple of months, I'd be cringing now. This performance was all about Clinton and his legacy, and not about advancing the interests of Democrats. And Hillary(!) is doomed. I bet she's throwing more ashtrays.

Update2: I just watched the video again with the sound off and couldn't help but noticing Clinton's body language. Like all good politicians (and lawyers), he's learned to use gestures to help make his points. But he takes this to excess, IMO. I'm no expert on the meaning of gestures, but here's what jumped out at me...

He makes great use of his famous wagging the point at a couple of instances of changing his wagging finger into a stabbing finger. At other points, his wagging finger morphs into wagging hands. He leans forward into his opponent. He reaches across to stab his finger into Wallace's leg...a gesture that I would have a hard time not responding to. At one point, Clinton pulls back and defends his point with a hand to the face, his pinky touching the corner of his mouth.

I'm hoping someone with some expertise here can delve more deeply into his body language.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Political Seduction of Committee Reports...

I apologize for stealing the sub-title to Bork's book, The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law, but this opinion piece shows that politicians cannot help but be politicians. They will emphasize certain points while omitting or down-playing others as a means to further their daily political needs. [One can also make the case that the 9/11 Commission and it's report were similarly political.]

[Note to self: I'm beginning to read The New York Sun often...Update the links.]

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Paul Krugman...

Both Carl von Clausewitz and Willam T. Sherman were right: War is both a continuation of policy by other means, and all hell. It's a terrible mistake to start a major military operation, regardless of the moral justification, unless you have very good reason to believe that the action will improve matters.

In relation to Israel's action into Lebanon, as quoted in the Aug 1, 2006 Arizona Republic. Do you think he realizes that his exact words could justify our presence in Iraq?

Tony Blair...again

From the New York Sun...again.

Our response to the September 11th attacks has proven even more momentous than it seemed at the time.That is because we could have chosen security as the battleground. But we didn't. We chose values.

We said we didn't want another Taliban or a different Saddam. We knew that you can't defeat a fanatical ideology just by imprisoning or killing its leaders; you have to defeat its ideas....

Yeah. The whole thing is worth your time. Read it here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Damn That George W. Bush...

...And his BigOilBidness Rethuglican Cronies. Facists!! **Shakes Fist!**

Update to this post.

Iranian Flying Boats...

As an experiment to aid my understanding of Google Bombs, I am again showing this image, although this time not just as a link, but as an image.

I have written on Iranian military improvements earlier here. I don't get many readers, but of those that I do get, most come from a search for the above photo. In fact, a large proportion of my readers come from Iran. So this post is an experiment to see if I can google-bomb this photo.

Regarding Iran's military, I am somewhat conflicted. They are definitely a third-world power who is trying to bluff others into believing they are more capable than I believe they really are. As I wrote earlier, this flying boat has been around at least 25 years. Their 200 mph torpedo is basically a suicide weapon. Recently I saw video of an Iranian military officer flying a RC airplane into what appears to be a tethered hydrogen-filled balloon [Our squadrons of tethered hydrogen-filled balloons are in great jeapardy!]. Here... video of what I take to be an Iranian reconnaisance UAV. It does not strike me as capable of flight in anything but the calmest of winds, probably does not have much range, and appears to offer no better images than can be found on Google-Earth. They have a large military of largely under-equipped and poorly-trained cannon fodder. All-in-all, I am not impressed with Iran's military capability.

All that said, it won't take much to drastically change the equation. Their nuclear ambitions are, at best, quite troublesome. Barring those, the fact that choking or closing the Strait of Hormuz would be a childishly easy military task is something else for us to worry about.

It's funny how things work out....

I spent yesterday at the TSA's Crew Member Self Defense Training. It was a good, basic course taught by a couple of Phoenix Police trainers. There's much more to learn, and if the TSA can get more interest in this basic course, there may be follow-on intermediate and advanced courses as well, but that's for the future.

Anyway, one of the trainers responded to a question on why this sort of course is necessary with something like "People are either sheep, or they are wolves". I immediately thought to add that "People can also be sheepdogs", but thought better of it and we moved on. This same trainer also, seperately, spoke highly of this book.

So, later in the evening, over at Little Green Footballs, I was directed to this article. Was it my fate to read this article (again) on the same day these thoughts had been discussed in class?

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11...

On the fifth anniversary of the day that changed everything, I planned my month to be home. In past years I had either forgotten about the upcoming 9/11, or it didn't factor too highly in my planning, but this year, it just seemed different.

I had never imagined that my life and the lives of my children would be defined by war, but that seems to be the case. I've certainly changed at work--taken a pay cut, lost most of my retirement, and have taken other changes that I won't get into. I think Son #1 is entertaining a career in the NSA. Daughter #1 is on track to marry a guy from the Air Force Academy. Daughter #2 is active in her high school's UN club, and has a copy of The Qu'ran on the breakfast table as I write. Never in a million years would I imagine any of these things, but they are real, none-the-less.

I spent 9/11/06 just about like I had wanted to...with the people who mean everything to me. I made a sack lunch for Daughter #2, spoke with Son #1 as much as he's able to manage in the morning, finished some chores around the house that needed attention, helped out Mrs. Azlib on some of her work, went to a financial planner (finally!), and was able to briefly see Daughter #1 at ASU.

Anyway, I don't mean to offer something significant...just that being home was important this year, and it worked out well.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thin skins...

The Democrats are upset at what they perceive as inaccuracies in ABC's The Path to 9/11. So upset that they've forced ABC to alter the show.

One is left wondering where this concern for accuracy was when Michael Moore was selectively telling his stories (e.g. 1, e.g. 2.)

One is also left wondering just how credible any complaints about accuracy are from a guy who admits lying about his theft of classified documents from the National Archives and another guy who would defend the sexual abuse of a subordinate with a quibble regarding the definition of "is".

Update: No sooner do I pen the above (Honest. I wrote mine before I went anywhere else.), than I click over to Chris Muir and see his take. Someone with far more impact than I might say: "Heh".

Monday, September 04, 2006

Missed this anniversary....

I should have remembered this anniversary. It will happen here one day, in some fashion.

So, Who's to Blame for This?

For many years, on the three-day weekends of the summer, we have seen the media cover stories on how high gas prices were. We see the stories about travel plans changed, how people are chosing to stay home rather than get away, and how the airlines and hotels are suffering because people can't or won't pay what it takes to travel.

Yet no (or at least, few) such stories are floating about on this Labor Day weekend. Gas prices are as low as I've seen in some time. In Houston (and I suspect many more locations), gas prices actually fell prior to the weekend.

More importantly, just how are the Democrats going to blame Bush for this?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Clash of Civilizations...

Not that I claim this idea as mine, because I don't. In fact, I first heard it expressed by Tom Friedman--a guy I usually disagree with. However, we are in a Clash of Civilizations. A war of the worst type--a religious war. On one side are the Islamofacists. And on the other are Those-who-worship-Freedom.

So I present here another post making this same point. And Van der Leun believes that we will have to get hit again hard to make us all understand what we're facing.
On September 11, the agents of Radical Islam began their attempt to destroy Freedom by attacking it at its core. The reaction of Freedom to this assault has been, once you consider the destructive power of the weapons systems it possesses, measured, deliberate and cautious. This is because Freedom, although sorely wounded, does not yet feel that its very existence is threatened. A more serious attack at any time in the future will put paid to that specious notion.

I again am in complete agreement with Van der Leun when he says...
What we must seek is not merely the "control" and "containment" of terror, for terror in this guise cannot be controlled or contained. We must come to the deeper understanding that only a complete victory over the global Radical Islamic forces can prevent the onset of a confrontation more terrible than the current war.
My signature line at The High Road is...
I do not wish for Peace with our Enemies.
We did not create our enemies--they created themselves.
What I really want is Victory over our Enemies.
Anyway, I encourage a trip over to The American Digest. [Note to self: Update the links!]

Update: Links now updated, and Chris Muir is added too!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Storing This...

For use in a debate in another venue...

Clicky Click.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Elites have it all wrong...

The elite in this country--the media, academia, many pundits--have it all wrong. Americans, by and large, approve of our military and what we're doing.

Case in point...

Yesterday in Savannah, we arrived at the gate to see a wife and two teenage daughters waiting to greet their hero home from the war. [How they were able to get inside security for this event is another story. However, I digress.] They'd made posters and carried American flags. They even went to the trouble to distribute smaller American flags to the crowd.

As the Navy Captain, in desert camo, came into the terminal from the jetway, a great round of applause broke out and those with flags waved them enthusiastically. Hugs and tears were exchanged between the separated family members, and the tears spread to the crowd.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Grand Canyon...

One of the best movies I've ever seen is Grand Canyon. The theme is that we're often faced with very bad circumstances in our life, which will suprisingly lead to something very good (and vice-versa). As you're in the middle of what you think is the worst thing possible, something really great is just around the corner.

In that vein, the war in Iraq, and more broadly, the War on Terror looks to be in bad shape. About the best thing one can say about Iraq is that we're in a stalemate. The sectarian fighting does have the potential to descend Iraq into a civil war. No one seems to be willing to effectively confront Iran. Hezbollah, while having been pounded more than they're admitting, did hold off long enough to claim victory over Israel. It all appears to be headed in the wrong direction.

I'm not the only one with this view. My main guys are feeling it too. So, what an inspiration it was to read in the comments to one of their posts...
"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...."

Thank you, brentbo.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Electoral College...

I've been a fan of the New York Sun for about a year now. It is a smallish, mostly conservative newspaper that I pick up while on layovers in NYC. I enjoy their reporting and editorial slant. It should not have to be said that I've given up completely on the New York Times--I won't even grab one off a seat somewhere.

The other day, I picked up a Sun which had an article on their front page on an effort among New York state legislators to "curb the Electoral College". Many in blue states cannot help but remember that the 2000 presidential election had Bush winning the electoral vote, but Gore winning the popular vote, and they want to "correct" that. They are entirely disingenuous, however, when they openly admit that this is an attempt " establish a popular vote system without a constitutional amendment, which requires the support of two-thirds of Congress and 38 states...." In other words, find a way around the clear meaning of the Constitution because, you know, it's unlikely that they would actually succeed in amending it.

The supporters of this movement miss the obvious: The interests of those in urban coastal cities are often very different than the interests of other voters. They are entirely locked into their arrogance that Big States=Smart States that they are proposing a change which might result in case where the voters of "as few as 11 of the most populous states" might determine the Presidency.

Who cares the wishes of all those hicks in the South, the hayseeds in those flyover states, and all those rubes in those big square states that nobody can name? We've been to Haaavad; We've marched in Berkeley. We know better than them who ought to be President.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tony Blair....

Tony Blair, that famously liberal Friend of Bill, has become one of the best friends that this country has ever had. He was never better than at the joint press conference the other day....

...I don't think, actually, it's anything to do with a loss of American influence at all. I think -- we've got to go back and ask what changed policy, because policy has changed in the past few years. And what changed policy was September the 11th. That changed policy, but actually, before September the 11th this global movement with a global ideology was already in being. September the 11th was the culmination of what they wanted to do. But, actually -- and this is probably where the policymakers, such as myself, were truly in error -- is that even before September the 11th, this was happening in all sorts of different ways in different countries.

I mean, in Algeria, for example, tens and tens of thousands of people lost their lives. This movement has grown, it is there, it will latch on to any cause that it possibly can and give it a dimension of terrorism and hatred. You can see this. You can see it in Kashmir, for example. You can see it in Chechnya. You can see it in Palestine.

Now, what is its purpose? Its purpose is to promote its ideology based upon the perversion of Islam, and to use any methods at all, but particularly terrorism, to do that, because they know that the value of terrorism to them is -- as I was saying a moment or two ago, it's not simply the act of terror, it's the chain reaction that terror brings with it. Terrorism brings the reprisal; the reprisal brings the additional hatred; the additional hatred breeds the additional terrorism, and so on. But in a small way, we lived through that in Northern Ireland over many, many decades.

Now, what happened after September the 11th -- and this explains, I think, the President's policy, but also the reason why I have taken the view, and still take the view that Britain and America should remain strong allies, shoulder-to-shoulder in fighting this battle, is that we are never going to succeed unless we understand they are going to fight hard. The reason why they are doing what they're doing in Iraq at the moment -- and, yes, it's really tough as a result of it -- is because they know that if, right in the center of the Middle East, in an Arab, Muslim country, you've got a non-sectarian democracy, in other words people weren't governed either by religious fanatics or secular dictators, you've got a genuine democracy of the people, how does their ideology flourish in such circumstances?

So they have imported the terrorism into that country, preyed on whatever reactionary elements there are to boost it. And that's why we have the issue there; that's why the Taliban are trying to come back in Afghanistan. That is why, the moment it looked as if you could get progress in Israel and Palestine, it had to be stopped. That's the moment when, as they saw there was a problem in Gaza, so they realized, well, there's a possibility now we can set Lebanon against Israel.

Now, it's a global movement, it's a global ideology. And if there's any mistake that's ever made in these circumstances, it's if people are surprised that it's tough to fight, because you're up against an ideology that's prepared to use any means at all, including killing any number of wholly innocent people.

And I don't dispute part of the implication of your question at all, in the sense that you look at what is happening in the Middle East and what is happening in Iraq and Lebanon and Palestine, and, of course, there's a sense of shock and frustration and anger at what is happening, and grief at the loss of innocent lives. But it is not a reason for walking away. It's a reason for staying the course, and staying it no matter how tough it is, because the alternative is actually letting this ideology grip a larger and larger number of people.

And it is going to be difficult. Look, we've got a problem even in our own Muslim communities in Europe, who will half-buy into some of the propaganda that's pushed at it -- the purpose of America is to suppress Islam, Britain has joined with America in the suppression of Islam. And one of the things we've got to stop doing is stop apologizing for our own positions. Muslims in America, as far as I'm aware of, are free to worship; Muslims in Britain are free to worship. We are plural societies.

It's nonsense, the propaganda is nonsense. And we're not going to defeat this ideology until we in the West go out with sufficient confidence in our own position and say, this is wrong. It's not just wrong in its methods, it's wrong in its ideas, it's wrong in its ideology, it's wrong in every single wretched reactionary thing about it. And it will be a long struggle, I'm afraid. But there's no alternative but to stay the course with it. And we will....

h/t ranting profs