August 21, 2014

"Never Again..."

A Facebook friend compared the Islamic State movement [ISIS] to Nazism in 20th century Germany. Given the wholesale mass murder that both ideologies engaged in, I think the comparison is a good one, and completely leaps over Godwin's Law. I replied with the following comment:

The analogy between "ISIS" (Islamic Statists) and NAZI Germany is apropos, but I think there is a more timely analogy for IS - namely, the Ebola virus. Islamism is an ideological virus comparable to the biological virus. Both viruses kill or make carriers of the majority of people which they contact. Both are merciless, and have no goal but their own propagation. Both pose a threat of spreading to every nation on Earth. They are impervious to reason or "negotiation." - So why does Ebola warrant emergency efforts by our NIH and deployment of our latest experimental "weapon" the ZMAPP drug, while the rapidly spreading Islamic Statist movement is met only with "limited airstrikes?"

Thoughts?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Michael Moynihan deliberately mentioned and then contravened Godwin's Law on The Independents last night, saying "This is Babi Yar."

Strong but undeniable words. There are no examples contradictory to equivalence.

I would certainly back the President on a forceful response, but I mistrust his judgment sufficiently to hope for caution. "Limited Air strikes" have been somewhat effective. A clandestine arming of the Kurds could be good politics and good policy.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2014 5:31 PM

January 29, 2014

Dinesh D'Souza v. Bill Ayers

Tomorrow at 7:30 EST, 5:30 MST, Dinesh D'Souza will debate Bill Ayers - "What's So Great About America?"

Watch it live at http://live.dineshdsouza.com/

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:20 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Ayers claims that America is still a white-supremecist nation. Agree or disagree? Why?

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2014 8:37 PM

October 27, 2013

Krauthammer and Stewart

I'm surprised JK missed this (all the ACA schadenfreude has clearly made him giddy) , but I'll be even more amazed if I imbed the video properly. This is very good, respectful debate. It's even a little spooky to see Mr. Stewart hold his ground so well (I had heard, now I believe). Stewart does present the liberal line effectively, and Dr. Krauthammer even more effectively brings the topic back to: too much government. Dr. K was smart enough to not parry all of Stewart's conjectures (Cruz would win a prez primary tomorrow / our current fiduciaries are not unprecedented...), and Stewart admitted that's what they are ... which in my mind, makes him a really big man.

Really, really good stuff. Hat tip to Steve Kelly's afternoon show on KNUS... Parts two and three on the Daily Show

UPDATE [jg] - Please allow me:

Posted by nanobrewer at 1:15 AM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

Stewart criticizing anti-big government politicians for irresponsibility is rich. What about the responsibility of able bodied men to care for themselves? Or, more pointedly, for big government politicians to accept the responsibility of objectively determining which individuals, citizens and non-citizens alike, DESERVE aid?

Let them float that olive branch and then I'm willing to negotiate.

Posted by: johngalt at October 27, 2013 11:48 AM
But AndyN thinks:

Well worth the 25 minutes to watch the whole thing. It's a shame they were focusing on health insurance and not on government finances. I would have loved to see Krauthammer challenge Stewart on why it's important to raise tax rates if tax revenue is already around historical levels. If we're not already sitting in the fat part of the Laffer Curve, how far do we have to go to get there?

Posted by: AndyN at October 27, 2013 11:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Down, AndyN. WAY down.

For Democrats, Laffer Curve means "It's so freakin' funny how much of these losers' money we're taking!"

Posted by: johngalt at October 27, 2013 9:48 PM
But AndyN thinks:

John, from an individual liberty and property rights perspective, I'm with you 100%. The federal government should be asking us for revenues to cover the responsibilities that the Constitution has allowed it and not a nickle more. The point I was trying to make was, even if we agree to let the leftists define the terms of the debate, they're argument doesn't even support their ostensible objective. If your objective is to fund a bloated socialist utopia, you'd be better off finding the sweet spot where you're generating the most tax revenue, not just hiking rates for the sake of hiking rates.

Stewart said he didn't care that tax revenues were very good by historical measures, we ought to increase tax rates anyway. It's perfectly legitimate to ask him whether he thinks there's a point at which that becomes counter-productive, and whether he has any idea where that point is. Of course he is a supporter of a President who as a candidate said he'd be in favor of raising capital gains taxes as a matter of fairness even if it resulted in less money for the government, so it's not out of the question that the goal isn't actually to feed the beast.

Posted by: AndyN at October 28, 2013 8:31 AM
But AndyN thinks:

Oh dear. Their, not they're. That's what I get for commenting before I finish my first cup of coffee.

Posted by: AndyN at October 28, 2013 8:35 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And 'nickel' but I won't 'nitpick.'

The dichotomy you reference is between the advocates of sustainable socialism and fairness socialism. Sustainable socialists don't mind if there are millionares or even billionares, as long as they get to rob a hefty percent of those earnings. Fairness socialists can't live with the fact that anyone earns that much, so they're willing to starve government, relatively speaking, if that's what it takes to wipe out rich people.

I knew that president Obama is in the second group, courtesy of the statement you referenced among other things. Stewart's foot in that camp is a surprise. I thought he had more intelligence than that. But maybe I'm the idiot - maybe it really is possible to inflate the world's reference currency $85 b-billion per month forever, without negative consequence.

Posted by: johngalt at October 28, 2013 3:46 PM

August 20, 2013

Friends like U.S.

As the pro-western Egyptian military declares, through its actions, that it is with George W. Bush and not the terrorists, America's government treats them like pariahs. If I didn't know better I'd think our President was with the terrorists. But there is scant evidence to the contrary. IBD editorial:

In 2009, his grandiose speech in Cairo apologized for America's historical role in the Middle East and snubbed Mubarak, setting the stage for the Egyptian president's overthrow by the mob.

When the worst-case scenario happened and an operative for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, was elected president, Obama's secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, went to Cairo and personally coddled him.

President Obama's foreign policy is reminiscent of his domestic economic policy, where he uses the power of government to punish winners and reward losers. With friends like him, Egypt (and American business) don't need enemies.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:18 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I certainly agree it was bungled. And I'm not above blaming the President's ego. (Too bad Egypt had to try and get by for 5,000 years without his awesomeness).

But now that we're in the soup, I'm not sure fulsome support of the Military is a slam dunk. Bret Stephens presents it as the least-worst option, which I might buy. But al-Sisi as sort of a Dick Cheney with better aim . . . I'm not sure I'm buying that.

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2013 5:25 PM
But jk thinks:

OTOH: Ambassador Marc Ginsberg was on Kudlow last night and made a solid case for this.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2013 2:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"McCain and Graham, the little Bobsey twins..." LOL! He walked it back, but still.

I'm not sure, but it sounded like Ambassador Ginsberg said the Egyptian army is racist. Isn't that what "displeasure with the Obama Administration" means?

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2013 3:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Damned Egyptian Army Racist Teabaggers!!!

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2013 3:48 PM

July 16, 2013

All-white jury?

Many are critical of the Florida Trial verdict because all six members of the jury panel were non-black, but did it have to be that way? CNN's Carol Costello tells us that a potential black juror was dismissed, by the prosecution, and guest Michael Skolnick tells us why:

COSTELLO: Although if I remember correctly one of the prosecutors struck a black, a potential black juror from the jury.

MICHAEL SKOLNICK, POLITICAL DIRECTOR TO RUSSELL SIMMONS, CO-PRESIDENT GLOBALGRIND.COM: Yeah, he was also, I was just, he was also a Fox News watcher. So that was, you know, problematic for the prosecution.

I couldn't have made this more incriminating if I tried, but those are straight, verbatim quotes. Costello even smirked after Skolnick said "Fox News watcher" but quickly caught herself.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | Comments (0)

Bombshell in "This Florida Trial"

I risk sensationalism with the headline but under the circumstances, I believe it is warranted.

Those of us who tried to objectively follow the case that led up to this Florida trial could never explain what caused the transformation from one man following another on a public street to two men in fisticuffs and wrestling on the ground. What precipitated the anger in one or the other party? The trial's prosecutors, and most of the media commentary before, during and after, put that blame on hatred or racism in the heart of George Zimmerman. Between the racism and the gun violence angle, this comports with the typical narrative from those sources. But that entire narrative was left in pieces on the floor of the Piers Morgan show on CNN last night.

So, again, Piers Morgan's question: "But you felt that there was no doubt in your mind from what Trayvon was telling you on the phone about the 'creepy ass cracka' and so on, that he absolutely believed that George Zimmerman, this man -- you didn't know who he was at the time, but this man -- was pursuing him? And he was freaked out by it?"

Why was he freaked out by it, Rachel?

JEANTEL: Yes. Definitely. After I say, "Might be a rapist." For every boys or every man, every who's not that kinda way, see a grown man following them, would they be creep out? So you gotta take as a parent. You tell a child, "You see a grown person follow it you, run away," and all that.

I tried corroborating this with an official transcript of the Piers Morgan Live show but could not find it in unedited form, so will just have to rely on the Rush Limbaugh version quoted above, as linked by Drudge.

So Rachel suggested that Zimmerman "might be a rapist" and Travon should "run away." But where he would have run towards, he knew his younger brother was there. Did he instead decide to stop and fight, because of this perception, a possible sexual predator? At least this does more than anything I've heard to explain why Travon might have tried to beat Zimmerman senseless.

It also suggests that the Zimmerman case might be out of the news in the blink of an eye, after this revelation.

UPDATE: Here's Drudge's version, including a link to a Corner blog.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:48 PM | Comments (6)
But AndyN thinks:

It's my understanding that Zimmerman was following the advice of the 911 dispatcher and returning to his vehicle at the time he was assaulted. I don't know if there's any evidence to support that beyond Zimmerman's own account of the events. If it is true though, "decide to stop and fight" doesn't really describe turning and pursuing someone who's no longer pursuing you.

I've wondered all along if Martin didn't initially decide to confront Zimmerman with much less violent intent, but then saw the gun, took the fact that Zimmerman was armed to mean he really was a dangerous threat, and decided that the only way to save himself was to put Zimmerman down. That might be even more likely if he was concerned that Zimmerman might follow him home to his little brother. A less charitable interpretation would be that he was willing to just walk away from a garden variety crazy ass cracker, but when Jenteal planted the notion in his head that Zimmerman was gay, he decided a little gay bashing was in order.

Posted by: AndyN at July 16, 2013 4:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I intentionally avoided using the word "gay." I'm not as interested in watching the purveyors of group privilege politics squirm between two of their pet special interests as Limbaugh most certainly is. The most interesting part of this revelation, to me, is the part Jeantel's words may have played in sparking the confrontation. Had she not said, "might be a rapist" how likely is it Travon would have just walked into his father's girlfriend's house, to where Zimmerman had apparently followed him very near? We would never have ever learned their names.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2013 9:59 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Do you know if there's a publicly available map of the neighborhood with an official version of where events took place marked on it? Every one I've seen has been nothing but speculation, but none of them I've seen guess at Zimmerman getting any closer to the house where Martin was staying than the opposite end of the street - about 2-1/2 blocks of townhomes away. I'm not trying to be antagonistic or difficult, just sincerely curious - is that what you meant by very near?

If Zimmerman actually did follow him almost to that house, Martin would have had to then follow Zimmerman all the way back up the street and around the corner to get back to where he was shot. I don't think anything in Jeantel or anybody else's comments or testimony has even suggested that Zimmerman was ever much closer to the house where Martin was staying than the point at which Martin was shot.

Posted by: AndyN at July 16, 2013 11:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Prior to reading this blog yesterday I was under the impression that the conflict occurred nearer to Zimmerman's home than Martin's. I can't cite a reason, that was just my understanding before reading [3rd paragraph]:

Zimmerman trailed Martin almost all the way to Martin’s then place of residence, at which point there was a confrontation.

I, and I think you, believe Zimmerman followed to observe and Martin turned back to confront. Jeantel's admitted suggestion "might be a rapist" while still conspicuously absent from the public conversation about the case, helps explain why that confrontation became so violent so quickly.

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2013 11:40 AM
But jk thinks:

This comment thread suggest that it truly is a media story. Helen Maria! After a gazillion hours of breathless TV coverage and a good deal of blog squawk, nobody knows what went down. Not just the hidden layers of mens rea, but the basic facts are obscured.

I am sorry but for this reason this revelation is no bombshell. The big networks are still pushing this as a "stand your ground" story, I don't think 20% of my Facebook feed knows GZ was not as white as Pat Boone. Nothing inconvenient gets out -- this bombshell will resound among Rush's listeners.

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2013 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps, but I think my original prediction still has traction. The more they keep talking about it, the more likely someone rebuts with "but Trayvon thought he was gay." After Holder puts on a show long enough that his boss believes they've satiated their public's cries for "change" they'll let it fade into history. After all, the alternative is to have a truly honest conversation about race in America. That would be the death-knell for the race baiting industry.

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2013 7:03 PM

July 4, 2013

4th of July Rap

Making the rounds on Facebook:

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists [like economists] disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous [Consensus?] in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. -- Newsweek, April 28, 1975

Related: "Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in thirteen U.S. states." (Same article)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (0)

!!!!!!!!

I know ThreeSourcers to be a generous lot; if there's any way: OK Humane Society

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | Comments (2)
But Terri thinks:

OMG! Thanks for sharing! That dog was timed out so well, if this were the Middle East I wouldn't have believed it!

Posted by: Terri at May 21, 2013 12:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. It is CBS, maybe I should not be so ingenuous.

"CUT!!! No, not surprised enough! Put the dog back under there and try again..."

Posted by: jk at May 21, 2013 12:30 PM

April 26, 2013

Boston in Perspective

Difficult to argue with TGreer

Had someone told me two weeks ago that a terrorist attack on a major U.S. city would wreak such devastation that its citizens would be unable to walk outside and convoys of military vehicles would be rolling down its streets I would have dismissed the story without second thought. Only a truly catastrophic attack could possibly produce such ruin and terror.

We suffered no attack of this sort. Our terror is entirely of our own making.


I'm happy to dish out atta-boys-and-girls to the first responders, but the lockdown/manhunt was over the top.

Read the whole piece. This blog's friend did missionary service in the area. He has a personal connection but is still able to put reason in its proper place.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:18 AM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

Clearly I'm right: Backpack Bans.

Posted by: jk at April 26, 2013 7:13 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

My views have evolved a little bit since I wrote that post, both from reviewing the post and talking to people I know who were around for the lockdown.

The term 'lockdown' is a bit misleading. It was not really a lock down. It was voluntary, ect. ect. and everywhere except Watertown people still drove around, visited friends, and went about their normal lives - if they were not dependent on public transport, which is 50% or mor eof the folks I know.

Watertown was different. Again, it was voluntary, but not really. Who is going to go outside when the street is filled with 9,000 soldiers going door to door? The city was under de facto house arrest. With that said, for the most part the 9,000 behaved admirably - not a shot was fired. Far from government thugs some are describing them to be.

But was all of that necessary? That was the main point I tried to communicate in my article and I still hold to it. JG actually gets to the crux of the issue:

Perhaps most relevant is the fact that American LEOs don't do this kind of stuff every day, or year, or decade. If they go off the deep end, especially for fear of hurting innocents or not getting the suspect as fast as possible, I give them a pass. Let us hope that our police never become as expert as these things as, say, Israeli police.

Had an attack like this happened in Israel, England, or India - three democracies with a long history of terrorist attacks of comparable scale to this - no cities would have been shut down, 9,000 men who not have been called up, and paramilitary vehicles (that I did not even realize the police have) would not been rolling down civilian streets. They are experienced with these attacks. They know that such a response was not proportional to the threats these men could possibly pose. When we shut down our entire lives - as well as give 24 hour 7 day news coverage to a situation no one knows anything about - aren't we playing into terrorists hands? And if this is what happens when three people die, what will happen if a more spectacular attack than this succeeds? It is not a good precedent.


P.S. Bruce Schnier wrote a piece for the Atlantic called "Keep Calm and Carry On." It is a good summary of how we should respond to these things.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 26, 2013 9:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said. Proportionality. I've given up on the media "Jim, you're an expert, could you engage in about ten minutes of mindless and groundless speculation while we wait for facts?" But we should expect it from what the Bostonians call Lawr Enforcement.

The Schneier piece is good. If X then the terrorists win has become clichéd -- but only because it contains much truth.

How well this attack succeeds depends much less on what happened in Boston than by our reactions in the coming weeks and months. Terrorism isn't primarily a crime against people or property. It's a crime against our minds, using the deaths of innocents and destruction of property as accomplices. When we react from fear, when we change our laws and policies to make our country less open, the terrorists succeed, even if their attacks fail. But when we refuse to be terrorized, when we're indomitable in the face of terror, the terrorists fail, even if their attacks succeed.

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2013 11:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Coming back around for, mostly, a kumbaya. The most frightening aspect of the manhunt seems to be the militarism of it. Humvees with gun turrets on the roof? In Boston? For who? For what? I'll cut to the chase and declare it's Bush's fault. He should have vetoed the "Department of Homeland Security" and its new multi-billion dollar budget that has to be spent on something to "make Americans safe." Armored vehicles were necessary because you can only stockpile so much ammunition before there's none left on the market (as we're now experiencing) and they were almost forced to buy vehicles they don't need. What else, not spend it all? That's crazy talk in bureaucratic circles.

For Boston and every American city it should be police, yes - DHS, no. Send DHS to the borders if you must. Carry on.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2013 2:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Kumbaya.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2013 6:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

An update on the "it's Bush's fault" angle:

Other questionable spending targeted in the report includes the small town of Keene, N.H. — population 23,000 — buying an armored vehicle to patrol its pumpkin festival.

I also learned how many "multi-billion dollars" are in the DHS Budget (35) and in the grants to local governments for "security initiatives" (7.1.) THAT'S A LOTTA AMMUNITION! (And armored vehicles, and sno-cone machines...)

Note: I didn't go looking for this info, I just stumbled upon it while clicking through for official federal government sanction of private efforts to prepare for the "Zombie Apocalypse." You see, "DHS Spent Money on Zombie Simulation."

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2013 7:29 PM

April 24, 2013

Quote of the Day

*(I use phrases like "the Tucson shooter" or "Little Brother Bomber" because I suspect some who commit massacres do so to ensure the world will remember their name. Thus, I try to avoid using their names. Someone said shortly after the marathon bombing, "the perpetrators' names should be forgotten by history." And my brother noted, "The spelling will pretty much take care of that.") -- Jim Geraghty
Posted by John Kranz at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2012

Company Halloween Costume Contest

It's a small company with lots of creativity...

And the winner is... "Mickey Yoda" [yours truly.]

WP_000829.jpg

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (1)
But dagny thinks:

bout time jg won one of these contests. Last year he was an, "Occupy protester." It was equally hilarious and equally in keeping with current events. Way to go jg!

berkeleysquare MT @notoserfdom "These aren't the dwarves you're looking for" #DisneyStarWars #3src 23 hours ago · reply · retweet · favorite

Posted by: dagny at October 31, 2012 5:03 PM

October 25, 2012

Joda Vida Loco

Colorado has been in the national news again for the past weeks, and for another horrific reason. Ten year-old Jessica Ridgeway disappeared on her way to school October 5th and was found dead some days later. I hung on every bit of news with an uneasy combination of need to know, fear, and a simmering rage and hatred for the unhuman monster who could perpetrate such a crime. I was not surprised to learn that the confessed suspect is a maladjusted male who was teased mercilessly by classmates, including girls, and with bizarre interests such as medical examination and mortuary science. I was surprised to learn that he is but 17 years old himself.

I haven't written anything about this before now since I'm confident my thoughts and feelings are universal, particularly amongst parents. But today I want to cite a coincidence that I think is at least a partial clue into the devolution of a human mind to the level we witness here. Last weekend, while harvesting the season's final hay crop, I found a book discarded along the county road that passes our farm. I picked it up. I was mildly taken aback by the doodled word-cloud that covered the outside in half-inch tall red letters:

FEAR, PAIN, SICK BOY, Tourtcher, MADDNE$$, Die By The Sword, DEATH, suicide, I For AN Eye, Blood For Blood, F*** The World, Vengeance I Demand, War, MEth, F*** Sleep, Murder, CRip, KillER, No Mercy, Lust, NO $URENDER, HATE, Rage, REtROBution.
My Hunger, LiES, TRUE Love (garbled), -> Killa, WASTED Time, TRust no Bitch, Kill All that Snitch, F*** The PiG$, ANti Government!, Anti ChRISt, Anti All Realigion.
104% Blood BANG 104% the Punnisher. Demon.
Joda Vida Loco.

I have no idea whose this is, or how it got on the side of my road. But it seems obvious to me it is a school-aged rant. I remember my high school years. It wasn't easy trying to fit in and be myself all at the same time, particularly when I didn't even really know how to "be myself" or who I was. I scribbled kill this, kill that. But this seems beyond anything I ever thought or felt. It brings my constantly integrating mind back to one thing: The crippling of young minds.

Teach your children. Teach them well.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:50 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2012

If I wanted America to Fail

Here we see that Francisco d'Anconia now has a contemporary counterpart with his own YouTube channel.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:49 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2011

Joyeaux Noel

NED bless America, girls in pink dresses, and free market capitalism. T-Mobile produces a flash mob production of a Robert Allen / Al Stillman favorite. Go fullscreen and crank it up.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:38 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Awesome. I liked it okay on TV (maybe I was distracted as my beloved donkeys were getting spanked) but I really enjoyed taking a second look here.

And yaay for the free market capitalism reference. I'll go one more if I may. In another fruitless Facebook discussion, I was extolling the virtues of division of labor -- not just for prosperity but for freedom. I don't want to farm or fish or hunt for my food and suspect I would be very very thin were I forced to.

I looked for the "how this came together" video, clicked the wrong one and watched Carly, her dresses and the dress designer, Debra LeClair. Ms. LeClair detailed the time she spent designing each dress, and Ms. Foulkes spoke to the selection process.

Hate to go all "Devil Wears Prada" on you, but thinking of the (well spent if you ask me) millions of dollars to put that pink dress on that young lady makes me appreciate an economy that creates creative jobs. Lotsa dress designers in North Korea? I'm guessin' not.

Posted by: jk at December 24, 2011 8:27 PM

Not a Creature Was Stirring...

It's Christmas Eve and the magical hour is nigh, but in the internet age it's not too late to write a letter to Santa Claus.

(It's a great option for kids too.)

Fort Lupton, Colorado, United States

Dear Santa Claus,

My name is Eric. I am a boy and I am already 48 years old!! I live in the great city of Fort Lupton. Of course, that's in Colorado, United States but I'll bet you knew that! This year I've been so good that I should be the angel on top of the tree!

Santa Claus, some things I might like for Christmas this year are:
- smart phone;
- new pair of hockey skates; and,
- Rush Limbaugh endorsement for Mitt Romney.

Santa Claus, I almost forgot to say... Please also give something nice to Timmy Tebow and the rest of the Broncos. A deep run into the playoffs would be nice!

Love, Eric

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2011

Frohe Weihnachten

I had this in mind all day, and dear blog brother KA's holiday cheer in an unrelated comment made it a must. Please join in the merriment with your comments. Merry Christmas to all.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:39 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Here I am, scarcely a trebuchet's throw from Hollywood, and there you are, in the winter wonderland of Colorado. A hit, a palpable hit!

I have taken the liberty of crediting JG when I re-posted the video to Facebook. A Joyous Christmas wish goes out to all -

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 23, 2011 6:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Nice. It looks quite a bit like that today.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2011 11:18 PM

November 26, 2011

Find Who Your Friends Are [see update]

The C.F. Martin Guitar Company could not find time for a word of solidarity with Gibson when its competitor was raided by the US Fish SWAT team. When pressed, they suggested that they eschew politics entirely, and it wouldn't be appropriate to comment, yadda yadda...

I guess they have more time on their hands now:

UPDATE: I am a complete dork. "Pepper spray" refers to a shopping incident of which I was unaware and not the OWS. In the words of the Governor of the great state of Texas: "Oops."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2011

New Item for the Store?

Occupy%20sticker.jpg

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:07 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

dagny preferred the version without the presidents but I couldn't resist the temptation to put the words in these two men's mouths.

Posted by: johngalt at October 27, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Hate to pile on, bro, but I think I am with your lovely bride. By making it about Obama and Cain, I lost the saying in the personalities. Just the text, imperative case, is better. IMHO.

Posted by: jk at October 27, 2011 3:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It isn't a very persuasive message anyway. Many people would be happy to occupy a job, if more existed.

Posted by: johngalt at October 27, 2011 4:26 PM

October 9, 2011

His Tedness

I don't know that Lou Dobbs "does the Lord's work" (Thou shalt not manipulate currency in my Father's Temple!) but the rest of this Ted Nugent screed is awesome:

Posted by John Kranz at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2011

"Since then, I'm Scared to Import Anything."

The Wall Street Journal has been a good source for Gibson-raid news and all the latest on the 111-year-old Lacey Act. Today, they look at other users and importers.

The wingnuttosphere has taken up this cause celebre, certain that it is purely political retribution. But I am ready to go to my fallback position: it is pure nanny-state incompetence and tinhorn petty bureaucrat gub'mint regulation gone wild:

A good piece today in the WSJ backs this up. It is also notable in that the Martin CEO is quoted -- I got this link from Martin Guitars on Facebook, so it is probably free but temporary,

Exactly who the government could target in the future is a matter of debate in the wood-products industry.

To be sure, musical instrument makers are worried. "I think it's causing panic in this industry," said George Gruhn, owner of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, Tenn. "Manufacturers and dealers, as well as musicians and collectors feel very much threatened."

One small entrepreneur who got singed by Lacey is Harlan P. Crouch II, who owns Cocobolo Inc., of Pinellas Park, Fla. Mr. Crouch imports rosewood and other woods and sells them to makers of furniture, pool cues, burial urns and art pieces.


I don't know if Harlan P. Crouch II called AG Eric Holder a name in Kindergarten or gave a million to elect Sen. McCain, but [spoiler alert] his story does not end well.

So. No retribution, just out-of-control regulation. Feel better?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (7)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Hey, food for thought: if Sir Golfsalot's administration is so bound and determined to put an end to all importing, do we still need NAFTA?

Will this have an impact on the cost of Japanese and German imported cars?

How many new government jobs will have to be created in order to inspect every single container at our ports stuffed with goods manufactured by our strategic ally and trading partner, Red China?

Who's for a trade war? I hereby officially dub this policy "Smoot-Hawley II".

Question for ThreeSourcers: will this have a positive or negative effect on America's economy? I say negative (see "Smoot-Hawley," above).

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2011 2:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Yer just tryin' to get me wound up, aren'tcha?

These people will not rest until we each grow our own food and freeze in the dark. Gibson stopped buying Madagascar wood after the 2009 raid. I'm sure the lumbermen, shippers, sellers and merchants in the bustling Madagascarian economy (GDP per capita: USD $ 1000 (2008 est.) -- Wikipedia) just went out and picked up jobs doing computer backup software and manufacturing tape libraries.

Guitar enthusiasts lost a choice, exporter and importer lost a job, and the whole world economy became -- if you believe Signori Ricardo -- a little bit poorer. But I've no doubt some affluent white folks feel pretty good about themselves.

But, no, Brother Keith, I am not going to take the bait and deliver a rant on free trade.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2011 3:40 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I obviously need to find better bait.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2011 5:02 PM
But jk thinks:

It's just very difficult to get me animated. Calm, Cool, Collected and all.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2011 5:15 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

"These people will not rest until we each grow our own food and freeze in the dark"

Why would we freeze while lounging around the faculty cafe/breakroom? Did something happen to the electricity grid? And why should we worry about those atavistic types who aren't as elevated as we?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 3, 2011 4:20 AM
But johngalt thinks:

HA! Good point nb. All those crazy paranoid Tea Partiers, wasting money on generators and bottled water and non-perishable food... In the case of any sort of trouble they could just go to the nearest college campus instead (as long as they have lots of quarters for the vending machines.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2011 11:38 AM

August 31, 2011

Tea Partiers for Gibson!

I tweeted @thekudlowreport, suggesting that Larry should do something on the Gibson raid. It seems up his street. He had Ann Coulter on last night and she mentioned it several times. So, I guess it is an official Right Wing Movement now. The Hill

Gibson Guitar uses Twitter to tap into Tea Party anger over federal overreach

Gibson's official Twitter account uses the hashtag "ThisWillNotStand" for posts about the raids, and on its Facebook page, the company promised, "We are fighting this tooth and nail."

"We believe the arrogance of federal power is impacting me personally, our company personally and the employees here in Tennessee, and its just plain wrong," said Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz at a press conference last week.

The company accused the Justice Department of "bullying" and "harassment." Juszkiewicz said the raids temporarily shut down the factories, costing the company money.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2011

Dana Loesch Interviews Gibson CEO

UPDATE: YouTube suggest I might also be interested in Debbie Gibson Only In My Dreams MV( Music Video Official) Were I clever, I would trick Brother Keith into clicking a link for this. Something like: the real story of the Gibson Raid.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:49 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2011

"Only Democrats can protect you from GOP extremists"

...or so the press would have us believe.

The internets are buzzing over the bombing and mass shooting in Norway that has now been confessed to by suspect Anders Behring Breivik. In a hysteria that surpasses that which surrounded the Jared Loughner murders, establishment media and left-wing bloggers are pouncing on the "facts" of this case for they appear to finally "prove" that TEA Partiers and other "right-wing extremists" are a threat to polite society.

The first print report I read was from MSNBC.com. "...police say suspect was right-wing Christian fundamentalist" reads the sub-head.

Breivik had belonged to an anti-immigration party and wrote blogs attacking multi-culturalism and Islam, but police said he had been unknown to them and that his Internet activity traced so far included no calls for violence.

A 1,500-page manifesto emerged that carried detailed planning for and direct references to an attack on the summer camp where most of the deaths occurred.

The warning to mistrust and beware of peaceful bloggers or anyone else who criticize illegal immigration, identity politics and any aspect of muslim political belief wears no veil whatsoever. Extra credit if said advocate happens to be Christian, or "right-wing."

Think I'm making this up? Think I'm overly sensitive or pointing out bogeymen? The same MSNBC article ends with a one-sentence paragraph:

Home-grown

Home-grown anti-government militants have struck elsewhere in the past, notably in the United States, where Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people with a truck bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995. [Boldface in original.]

So, you may be wondering, how do the press conclude that this nutjob is a "right-winger?" Partially from deputy police chief Roger Andresen's heavily modified quote:

"We have no more information than ... what has been found on (his) own websites, which is that is goes toward the right (wing) and that it is, so to speak, Christian fundamentalist." [Emphasis mine.]

But there is other evidence. The original MSNBC story hyperlinks a companion piece under the words "A 1,500-page manifesto emerged" wherein further detail is provided on the killer's "right-wing" and "anti-immigration" identity. The "right-wing zealot" "who liked guns and weight-lifting" was reportedly a member of Norway's Progress Party for a short time. While there's nothing cut-and-dry about European multi-party government the Progress Party is clearly not "right-wing Christian fundamentalist" as is being reported. The second largest party in Norway, it is a "conservative liberal" party, not to be confused with a liberal conservative party. My head spun with the various contradictory explanations and descriptions, but the most persuasive evidence to me about what ideas the European "Progress Party" holds came from the list of current conservative liberal parties around the world:

Andorra: Liberal Party of Andorra[2]

Argentina: Recreate for Growth

Austria: Alliance for the Future of Austria[2]

Belgium: Libertarian, Direct, Democratic[2]

Bulgaria: National Movement for Stability and Progress[2]

Colombia: Radical Change Party

Croatia: Croatian Social Liberal Party[2]

Czech Republic: Public Affairs[2]

Denmark: Liberal Party of Denmark[1][3][2]

Estonia: Estonian Reform Party

Faroe Islands: Union Party[2]

France: Civic Alliance for Democracy in Europe

Greenland: Feeling of Community[2]

Iceland: Liberal Party[2]

Japan: Your Party

Lithuania: Liberal and Centre Union[2], Liberals' Movement[2]

Moldova: Liberal Party[2]

Mongolia: Civil Will Party

Netherlands: People's Party for Freedom and Democracy[2]

Peru: Popular Action

Poland: Real Politics Union, Congress of the New Right

Romania: National Liberal Party

Slovakia: Freedom and Solidarity

Spain: Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, Majorcan Union

Thailand: Democrat Party

Uruguay: Liberal Party

[Emphasis mine.]

While not completely judging these folks by their titles they certainly don't carry any suggestion of individual rights or a limited, Republican form of government. Like Loughner and McVeigh before him, Breivik's anti-social extremism appears to emanate not from a profound respect for individual rights and limited government, but from the very cultural-identity politics, pitting the supposed interests of various groups against the others, so masterfully practiced on the left. But then the establishment media in the United States (and elsewhere) has indisputedly become quite cavalier when it comes to factual content in its journalistic product.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:15 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I will not defend the lazy, incurious, and biased media organizations. But I will defend one of my favorite words.

"Liberal" as used in Ludwig von Mises's "Liberalism" screams individual rights and is most conducive to limited, Republican government. Sadly, the word has been perverted in this nation by lazy, incurious, and biased media organizations.

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2011 10:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Indeed. I do my small part to reclaim it by calling myself: Liberal, Classical Liberal.

The idea of "liberal conservative" seemed to describe me as well, until I researched this story.

Posted by: johngalt at July 25, 2011 12:35 PM
But jk thinks:

How about "Nazi?"

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2011 12:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nazi could describe this guy. In fact, a friend posted about the story: "Great, the master race is back... I hope the Norweigans can do the right thing and end this idiot!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 25, 2011 2:29 PM

July 22, 2011

The Dad Life

Can we have a little fun here? I got this in a (I think) hilarious e-card from dagny's sister for Father's Day. I've shared the link via email with a few friends over the past weeks but wasn't sure if I should post it for fear of copyright infringment. Come to learn that the card company stole it too - from a place called COTM*. So here's the Youtube. My kids and I have almost all of it memorized after "dozens and dozens" of plays.

* COTM is Church On The Move. A hip little modern ministry out of Tulsa, OK. Good for them, although I had to start skipping ahead when they said "being a real dad is about self-sacrifice, it's about putting the people that we love first and taking care of them" and then some song about sinners. [If you do it for your own satisfaction then it isn't sacrifice. If you don't get satisfaction from putting your family first then don't become a dad.] Awesome vid though.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:18 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Way fun. I think I am still a Whole Foods Parking Lot guy, but this is right up there.

Posted by: jk at July 22, 2011 10:41 AM

July 13, 2011

Yes dear, whatever you say.

Garden Grove, California woman, 48, drugs husband, 51, with an unknown substance in his food, binds his unconscious body to a bed, amputates his penis with a 10 inch kitchen knife as he awakens, and deposits the severed organ in the kitchen garbage disposal and initiates its operation. "He deserved it," she told police who arrived in response to her 911 call.

Sounds like the dude must've been pretty danged evil. I wonder what he did to her?

The couple married on Dec. 29, 2009. The victim filed for divorce in May, citing irreconcilable differences, according to court records.
Posted by JohnGalt at 9:18 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Rule number one: when you're going through a bitter divorce with someone, (1) don't be alone with them in a place where they have access to weapons, (2) don't eat or drink anything they've prepared for you, and (3) if you're feeling queasy, leave - go home or go to the hospital. Do not, under any circumstances, lie down in their bed and fall asleep. That's just begging for trouble.

"... pieces of penis were recovered and taken to UCI..." And delivered where, to the pathology lab for identification? 'Cuz they're not going to sew it all back together after it's been osterized.

"... their relationship seemed strong and going well..." Yeah, except for that little divorce thing, I mean.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 14, 2011 11:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I can't find it now but I did see a story that suggested it could be reassembled. I couldn't bear to click through on it though.

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2011 2:42 PM
But jk thinks:

The Six Milion Dollar Man theme song swells in the background...

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2011 3:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

They sew that back together, and the Six Million Dollar Man theme song is going to be the ONLY thing that does any swelling. I'm not betting that the Frankenmember would be in any kind of functional state after surgery.

That notwithstanding, I'm sticking with Rule Number One - it just seems like common sense.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 14, 2011 5:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Ayyyup. Don't say you were not warned, ThreeSourcers.

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2011 5:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Frankenmember." Franken-furter?

Never mind.

Senator Al, call your office.

Stop me! Stop me!

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2011 4:32 PM

June 2, 2011

Quote of the Day

[Rep. Weiner's] answer ranks "somewhere below 'no controlling legal authority' and above 'wide stance,' " said Democratic crisis-management specialist Chris Lehane.
Posted by John Kranz at 10:45 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Dude thinks he's Brett Favre.

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2011 6:04 PM

April 26, 2011

R U Ready 4 Some Football??

I understand -- and applaud -- the paucity of Charlie Sheen commentary, Idol chatter, and the like around here. But the silence on the NFLPA strike is deafening.

Roger Goodell takes to the WSJ Ed page today to suggest that the union is endangering the parity that has made the sport so popular. Complete freedom of labor (Unfettered Capitalism, anybody?) would remove smaller market teams from viability.

In an environment where they are essentially independent contractors, many players would likely lose significant benefits and other protections previously provided on a collective basis as part of the union-negotiated collective-bargaining agreement. And the prospect of improved benefits for retired players would be nil.

Is this the NFL that players want? A league where elite players attract enormous compensation and benefits while other players--those lacking the glamour and bargaining power of the stars--play for less money, fewer benefits and shorter careers than they have today? A league where the competitive ability of teams in smaller communities (Buffalo, New Orleans, Green Bay and others) is forever cast into doubt by blind adherence to free-market principles that favor teams in larger, better-situated markets?

Conn Carroll refuses to take the argument seriously, because those filing the suit (Brady, Manning &c) profited from the existing system. Carroll notes that only the union exemption from anti-trust makes the current system legal. If it is removed from the NFLPA, it cannot be legally recreated by the league or owners.

The answer is the NFLPA. See, unions are exempt from U.S. anti-trust laws. So practices that would be anti-trust violations if performed by a business suddenly become legal if they are performed as part of a collective bargaining agreement with a union.

Unions need their anti-trust exemption because without it, almost everything that they do would be illegal. Unions function the exact same way as cartels like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) do: They restrict supply (labor for unions, oil for OPEC) thus driving up prices (wages for unions, barrel of oil for OPEC). The result for American football fans: higher prices and less football.


Tough, n'est ce pas? My inclination is to consider the owners to be the grownups and as capital investors empowered to dictate work rules. There is not a team and a league without their capital. I'd make the world's worst anti-trust lawyer but I do not admit that the NFL is a monopoly. They are dominant but not immune from competition.

One hates to upset the delicate balance that has provided the NFL with a truly superb product, but can he ask a talented athlete to forego better compensation in the location of his choosing to provide this product?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:39 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I say the owners made a deal with the devil when they "demanded the unearned" and coerced local taxpayers to build their fancy new revenue enhancing stadia. But in the end it will not be players, or owners, who "lose." (Lose being defined as 'who gives more money to someone else.) That dubious honor will go to fans. Fortunately, attendance is not compulsory.

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2011 4:01 PM

February 28, 2011

Barry O - Captain Slow

I should be the commander-in-chief. (Or at least Sarah Palin's VP.)

Daily Mail: USS Enterprise on its way to Libya as America and Britain ramp up threats to enforce no-fly zone above Gaddafi

The USS Mount Whitney command ship has changed its position in the Mediterranean as well, and the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge is in the Red Sea behind the Enterprise.

That's "an aircraft carrier" (Enterprise) "and a marine amphibious landing ship" (Kearsarge.)

But even saying "better late than never" is charitable to our President. Seems he's merely following the leader of "they're no more important than any other country" Great Britain.

The Prime Minister threatened Colonel Gaddafi with military action, saying if he turned his air force on the rebels, RAF warplanes would be able to intervene.

There was no immediate U.S. response to Mr Cameron's comments - but the current movements of its Navy suggest a co-ordinated move against Gaddafi was underway.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:19 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:


Yeah, but it's been clearly telegraphed by our incompetent Sect'y of State as an empty move. What's worse, doing nothing, or carrying a gun and doing nothing?

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 8, 2011 9:01 AM

January 29, 2011

Energy Sadness

The revoltionary unrest in Egypt is bound to cause a spike in world oil prices, even if Egypt's 2 million barrels per day continue to flow. The reason is fear. Fear that any slight disruption in the flow of oil through the stages of refinement and distribution will cause shortages. And that fear is well founded. Recall the story I posted in Autumn '08 highlighting how tightly the world oil supply is controlled to match demand.

The take away from this should be that adding as little as 1.9 million barrels per day (2.3%) to the world oil market at any time in the last 2.5 years would have put the market in surplus at the time. Remember that the next time someone says, "The small amount of oil we could produce domestically would not lower prices for 10 to 15 years."

So what does "oilman" T. Boone Pickens tell us about the situation in Egypt? Speaking with FNC's Cavuto this morning-

Pickens: "What this is gonna do, let's go over to the United States. We have "resources" in America that we should be using. And we shouldn't be sittin' here when somethin' like this comes up, here we're all runnin' around sayin' what in the hell is gonna happen to us, ya know, how's this gonna affect America and everything else. When we should be getting on our own "resources." Uh, it's just, it's the saddest thing in the world that your leadership doesn't take you in the direction of independence."

Cavuto: "When the administration announced this past week that it's going to end oil subsidies, focus on some of these alternatives ... too little too late for you?" Not enough?"

Pickens: "Well, what was said was in 2035? We're gonna be over to renewables? My God, that's twenty-five years from now. We can do this much, much sooner. And we need to do it sooner. And, it's available to us. What I want the president to do is say look, all federal vehicles in the future will be on our own "resources." Domestic "resources." And we have 'em, we can go to it. It can be done. And it should be done. We're gonna do it now. I think this is gonna push us over the edge."

[Emphasis and scare quotes on "resources" mine.]

I scare-quoted resources because Pickens never explained what he meant by the word. Certainly he can't mean wind power, which he declared "dead as hell" early in the first year of the Obama administration. He might be thinking of natural gas, of which America does have huge a domestic supply.

But we also have massive domestic reserves of oil and coal. If everyone could be free to risk his own investment in developing the energy source he thinks best then the marketplace would enjoy a full supply of every known energy source and could pick and choose from them as needed at any time, accomodating any crisis. America does not need government "leadership" in this area. In fact, government leadership invariably goes in the wrong direction. What is needed for energy independence is economic and regulatory independence. That America doesn't have or demand this is what's really "the saddest thing in the world."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:27 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The saddest thing in the world is to have a successful oilman lose faith in free markets. Wind may be dead as hell but when I see him on Kudlow he's pushing to convert the federal fleet to natural gas to coerce manufacturers to support it.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2011 10:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That confirms it. When he said, "What I want the president to do is say look, all federal vehicles in the future will be on our own resources" he meant "natural gas."

Which is not surprising considering he owns a natural gas fueling station company.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2011 4:35 PM

January 9, 2011

"America's Gun Culture," Driven by TEA Partiers, "Claims It's Latest Victims"

It was predictable that frustrated gun-grabbers would leap at the opportunity to villify handguns provided by the tragic shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and numerous bystanders yesterday. But they're making it a two-fer by blaming the TEA Party movement at the same time. The first such conclusive leap I saw was posted on the same day as the shooting - 'Lock and Load and Lost in Tucson Today: What's the Matter with My Arizona?' Wherin Jeff Biggers cites Gregory McNamee-

"What is clear to me, at this chaotic moment, is that no one should be surprised by this turn of events. The bullets that were fired in Tucson this morning are the logical extension of every bit of partisan hatred that came spewing out during the last election, in which Gabrielle Giffords---a centrist, representing well and faithfully a centrist district---was vilified and demonized as a socialist, a communist, a fascist, a job-killer, a traitor, and more.

Anyone who uttered such words or paid for them to be uttered has his or her name etched on those bullets."

And Biggers himself-

Now in Arizona--and the nation--do we have the courage and wisdom to deal with our gun laws? To stop the hatred from finding its all-too-easy expression through the barrel of the gun?

The Huffpo headlines are even more inflammatory today:

'Giffords Shooting Is an American Tragedy We Need to Urgently Address' by Paul Helmke (President, Brady Campaign)-

"While we are all still learning details about this shooting, and particularly the 22-year old responsible for this horrendous act, we should find it unacceptable that when Americans and our elected leaders are assembling in public places, their lives are at risk from gun violence."

'Congress Must Rein in Gun Industry in Response to Giffords Assassination Attempt' by Josh Sugarmann (Exec. Dir., Violence Policy Center)-

"America's gun culture claims its latest victims."

(...)

"If the attempted murder of one of their colleagues does not force Congress and President Obama to face the gun issue, what will?"

Perhaps worst of all is this, from former Colorado Senator Gary Hart who I have to believe truly knows better: 'Words Have Consequences'-

"Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric. (...) We all know that there are unstable and potentially dangerous people among us. To repeatedly appeal to their basest instincts is to invite and welcome their predictable violence.

So long as we all tolerate this kind of irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric (...) so long will we place all those in public life, whom the provocateurs dislike, in the crosshairs of danger.

That this is carried out, and often rewarded, in the name of the Constitution, democratic rights and liberties, and patriotism is a mockery of all this nation claims to believe and almost all of us continue to struggle to preserve. America is better than this."

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:03 PM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

If Gifford is a "centrist" or "moderate," then what does "liberal" mean anymore? I shed no tears.

Leftists decry any availability of guns, but it's their desire for disarmament that made Gifford a sitting duck. If this had been a conservative gathering, the shooter had a 100% risk of leaving in a bodybag after firing just one bullet, and a high probability of getting blown away just for drawing his gun?

Killer's rants on a social network page, check. "Semi-automatic" weapon, check. "Extended clip," bonus! Innocent bystanders were killed, check. But the intended victim survived...

Getting "close" to Gifford, the killer still managed no more than a non-fatal head wound. This couldn't have been better for leftists if they had done it all themselves. And I wouldn't put it past them.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 9, 2011 2:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If we come to learn that the killer had a liberal political motivation I will be just as completely shocked as if he is proven to be a TEA Partier. The act was the sick manifestation of an incoherent mind.

You make an excellent point about conservative crowds though. If Giffords had attracted any such citizens to her event they might have stopped the shooter before he emptied his first magazine, at the very least. Perhaps she's not as centrist as some want to believe.

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2011 4:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Glenn Reynolds nails it in a guest WSJ editorial today:

To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2011 10:32 AM

March 4, 2010

"Snow Babe"

Proof that urban Americans live too close together.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:07 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Oh yeah, that's really tastefull with the clothes...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2010 4:57 PM

February 3, 2010

Thank you Rahm!

Personally I agree with Jason Lewis that Sarah Palin becomes what she claims to abhor when she chooses to attack Rahm Emmanuel for calling the hard-core progressive Democrats in congress "f-ing retarded." He did so for suggesting they run campaign ads against fellow Dems who won't walk the plank for health care. Criticizing speech for being "offensive" is the stock in trade of the politically correct. But don't those people just need to get a life?

Instead I think all conservative-minded people should write a letter to Rahm thanking him for the best "he said it" moniker for our political enemies since the L.A. Times gave us Barack the Magic Negro.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Giving credit where credit is due, Mr. Rahm did apologize for the the offense he gave:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0210/Special_Olympics_Apology_not_accepted.html#

I'm trying to find out if Joe Biden was the one who accepted the apology on behalf of the offended minority.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 3, 2010 5:45 PM

January 28, 2010

ToyWHOAta

Bloomberg, via BusinessWeek:

Toyota's "reputation for long-term quality is finished," said Maryann Keller, senior adviser at Casesa Shapiro Group LLC in New York, a strategic adviser to the auto industry. "People aren't going to buy Toyotas, period. It doesn't matter which model. What's happened is sufficient to keep people out of the stores," she said in an interview yesterday.

For what it's worth, I stake my claim as creator of the brand's new pet name.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:56 AM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Finally! Something to argue about around here.

I'm sure the recalls are a PR nightmare (how many seconds until I see a Hitler video showing Der Führer very upset with Toyota?) but Toyota has a lot of goodwill in the bank with folks like me who have owned and driven their cars to extreme odometer readings with minimal maintenance and breakdowns. Sie sind nicht kaput!

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2010 1:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought the "finished" quote was overblown. That's why I linked it. I'm sympathetic to the difficulty of diagnosing rare, intermittent bugs (we called them "phantoms") but it's high time the consuming public realized that no automobile is immune to this kind of thing - even Japanese brands.

Personally, my impression of Toyota is and always has been dominated by a vision of the first Corolla I ever saw. How do you say? Mirabile visu!

Posted by: johngalt at January 28, 2010 2:51 PM
But Keith thinks:

You young kids may not remember the Tylenol recall of 1982. I do. Pundits were saying Johnson and Johnson was finished. But the corporate courage and willingness to take a massive hit in the short term to protect their customers bought them a lot of goodwill and market share in the long run. That was a recall done right, and the public rewarded them appropriately.

I'm not making any prediction about how this will turn out - only that recalls are not *necessarily* the end of the world for the automaker. By the way, happy to see that my car's manufacturer (the only one of the Increasingly Small Three not beholden to Uncle Sugar) just reported a profitable year.

And I admit with jg that it took me a long, long time to get past the spectre of the UJC (Universal Japanese Car). Sadly, it's the Datsun Bluebird 510 that haunts my memories.

Posted by: Keith at January 28, 2010 4:27 PM
But jk thinks:

A few things are universal around here -- I think we all join in a huzzah! for Ford's bailout-free profitability. Huzzah!

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2010 5:35 PM
But mcmhvonpa thinks:

Go out on Valentines day and show your sweetie that you love her. Buy her a Ford F150 with CrewCab, extended long bed, dualies and a nice diesel engine. Nothing says love like a giant American steel hug.

Posted by: mcmhvonpa at January 30, 2010 11:24 PM
But jk thinks:

A nit, but I think you need punctuation in your new pet name, jg.

The rest of the world is not quite as slow as me, but I didn't get it until I saw it in HTML (what a geeky thing to admit). I was trying to say Toy-Who-Ta (Kinda like Who dat?) and not Toy-Whoa-Ta. (Heh -- now I get it!)

Just a suggest...


Posted by: jk at January 31, 2010 11:30 AM

December 22, 2009

He Hate Me

govthatesme.jpg

Capturing my thoughts in the wake of the Nebraska (and Louisiana and Vermont and Massachusetts and Connecticut and NEVADA) windfalls.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:17 AM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

love it. nice XFL connection.

Posted by: AlexC at December 22, 2009 5:27 PM

November 22, 2009

"2009 is also the first year of global governance"

Hope and Change for the entire planet.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to the new President of the European Union, Herman van Rompuy.

Here is my transcription, complete with relevant emphasis:

It is my firm intention to ensure that our work develops, over a long-term period, a perspective that goes beyond six months and will allow us to be better organized where the major multi-annual dossiers are concerned, such as the financial perspectives in the Lisbon strategy. I also think that going back to our roots in the European Council could help us to discuss from time to time in an informal and open way the big questions of the European project. I'm thinking more specifically of the economic and social agenda and this is a particularly urgent matter because of the environmental and energy challenges we face and aspirations we have for greater security and justice for all our fellow citizens. We're living through exceptionally difficult times. The financial crisis and its dramatic impact on employment and budgets. The climate crisis which threatens our very survival. A period of anxiety, uncertainty and lack of confidence. Yet these problems can be overcome by a joint effort in and between our countries. Two-thousand-and-nine is also the first year of global governance with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet. Our mission, our presidency, is one of hope supported by acts and by deeds.

Brother tg assures us that the climatologists in the climate cabal "are not evil environmentalists bent on hatching a secret plan to rule the world -- they are scientists, no better or worse than the rest of us." That may be true but it doesn't mean their work is not being used by others to "hatch a secret plan to rule the world."

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:32 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2009

Obama Plays Russian Hoops: Nothin' but Nyet

Ever since Obama entered office, the Russians have been training him to jump through hoops. For his best trick yet, Obama has agreed to withdraw the missile shield that would defend some of our newest and best European allies from inevitable Iranian ballistic missiles. Did the Russians agree to withdraw from Georgia? Nyet. Stop meddling in Ukraine? Nyet. Stop selling nuclear material to Iran? Again, nyet. In fact, he got nyothing in return for this major concession. According to a WSJ report:

Russia on Thursday welcomed the news that the U.S. administration will drop plans to deploy a nuclear missile defense shield in Europe, but said it saw no reason to offer concessions in return.

This is really gonna make those mullahs sit up and take notice of "American resolve."

Side question: Why is it that the only group which the Democrats view as enemies and with whom to play hardball is the Republicans?

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:24 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

No, not Republicans. Racist rabble-rousing white mobsters over 30 and a few Uncle Toms, most of whom may happen to be registered Republican voters. Republican politicians are for the most part welcome in the Democrats inner circle - because they act like Democrats.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2009 12:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I think the President was just being nice and giving them something to help celebrate an anniversary:

Seventy years ago, in the morning hours of September 17, 1939, the Red Army troops crossed the Polish border and over the following weeks, in accordance with the secret protocols of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, occupied and annexed large swathes of what was then eastern Poland and is now western Ukraine and Belarus and southern Lithuania. The outgunned and outmaneuvered Polish army was already by that stage collapsing under the onslaught of the first German blitzkrieg, so from a military point of view the Soviet invasion did not materially affect the outcome of the struggle. It did, however, provide a dastardly coup de grace for the first chapter of the Second World War.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2009 12:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Forgot to give Brother br props for the headline: good stuff, man, Good stuff.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2009 1:00 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Oh, the Russians have given us concessions.

I was wondering when we would see what it was the Obama team bargained for to get that agreement. (And perhaps this one as well.) Logistics is a hard mistress; one cannot wage war without it.

We have given the Russians the Eastern European missile shield in order to continue our Bactrian expedition. My worry then, is this - the next time the Russians come a-knocking they might ask for something much more valuable than an fanciful missile shield.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 17, 2009 10:48 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I'm more worried about the Iranians. These guys have perfected the art of haggling over the price of rugs for the past 3000 years. They now know Obama will give something big for nothing. They will hold out for nothing less.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 18, 2009 11:01 AM

September 13, 2009

How Many People?

So there was a rally yesterday in Washington. The best part of the rally is how the media described the turnout.

  • The New York Times headline: "Thousands rally with or against Obama" -- there is not estimate of how many were in Washington, but the article does state that there were 15,000 people at Obama's speech.
  • Washington Post: "Tens of Thousands Protest Obama Initiatives and Government Spending"
  • Daily Mail: "Up to two million people marched to the U.S. capitol today..."
Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 4:34 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

How many thousands are in a million?

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2009 2:37 PM
But jk thinks:

I like Reason's: Tea Party March on DC Draws Somewhere between 2 million and 60,000 People. Go figure.

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2009 3:50 PM

September 9, 2009

"Don't break things up in the name of progress..."

President Obama is scheduled to lecture congress this evening. First, let's watch Sgt. Joe Friday and Bill Gannon lecture him.

"Show me how to get rid of the unlimited capacity for human beings to make themselves believe that they're somehow right and justified in stealing from somebody."

Circa 1950?

Oh, and Happy 09/09/09. (It doesn't deserve its own post, but just so's everyone knows we noticed...)

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2009

The Second to Last Word on Honduras

I encountered a good friend of this blog in another forum (no, not a strip club on East Colfax...) and expressed surprise at his assertion that the contretemps in Honduras was indeed a coup. I suggested that I had no dog in the fight but that I felt several pieces in the WSJ Ed Page made a compelling case that the rule of law was well represented in this. I have been promised a longer response after the strip club closed other obligations were completed, and I will post or link here.

In the meantime, the bar on "not a coup" has been raised pretty high. Judge Miguel Estrada, who was considered bright enough that the left waged a full onslaught to interrupt his SCOTUS-bound career path, researches the case and the Honduran Constitution and states:

It cannot be right to call this a "coup." Micheletti was lawfully made president by the country's elected Congress. The president is a civilian. The Honduran Congress and courts continue to function as before. The armed forces are under civilian control. The elections scheduled for November are still scheduled for November. Indeed, after reviewing the Constitution and consulting with the Supreme Court, the Congress and the electoral tribunal, respected Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga recently stated that the only possible conclusion is that Zelaya had lawfully been ousted under Article 239 before he was arrested, and that democracy in Honduras continues fully to operate in accordance with law. All Honduran bishops joined Rodriguez in this pronouncement.

Estrada details events that may sound odd to American ears, but are clearly founded in due process considering Honduran law.

He concedes that the exile/expulsion of Zelaya went too far, but he makes a substantive case that removal from power was not.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:21 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Nothing is too far when dispensing of proto-dictators. A bullet through the head of a pre-dictatorship Chavez would have prevented a lot of headaches throughout the world, for example.

The Honduran Constitution explicitly calls for immediate removal for office just for trying what Zelaya did. If he had been permitted to stay in the country, he'd be rallying his evil forces personally.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 12, 2009 11:14 PM

July 1, 2009

Birds of a Feather

Even if you've already seen this one you'll appreciate it again:

toon063009.gif

Indeed. If you aren't already familiar, here is the real story on the "military coup" in Honduras.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:59 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

The WSJ Ed Page did a nice piece as well.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2009 12:51 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Excellent. It's refreshing to see major sources pointing out that this was not a real coup, but the removal of a proto-dictator. What does it tell you when Chavez and the UN insist that someone be returned to power?

Billy Hollis at QandO has been publishing stuff from his friend in Honduras. Must-read.

So now you know, when U.S. and AFP news talk about "protestors" battling with police, whose side the protestors are actually on. And think about what will happen if Zelaya returns. He'll virtually flood the streets with the blood of his opponents, making Robespierre look like Mother Theresa.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2009 1:40 PM
But jk thinks:

'nother good cartoon

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2009 2:07 PM

April 15, 2009

Serfs Up

Since the day when (then candidate) VP Biden scolded the American people, saying it is our "patriotic duty" to pay taxes, the left has opined in one form or another that we should not be protesting taxes, but instead paying them with gratitude. Although a link probably is not necessary, The Refugee will offer this one to a column by Alan Colmes on Fox New's website for those with a strong stomach.

The whole notion that we should be "grateful" and "patriotic" when paying taxes is straight out of the Middle Ages when it was a serf's duty to support his king. All of the serf's labor went to support the king's priorities, while the king provided just enough to keep the serf alive to attend to next year's crop. Socialism is nothing more than a reincarnation of this model (perhaps why it is so readily accepted in Europe). Moreover, it fosters an attitude that government is the provider and citizens should grateful for the alms that Congress throws their way.

Congress is becoming increasingly imperialistic. Some members righteously flog (if only verbally) miscreants who dare to cross them. Those who are targeted cower in contrition before the royal committee, aware that Congress will pass punitive laws against those they disfavor (e.g., CEOs). The inquistorial Justice Department will be called to investigate, and financially ruin, those who do not immediately cast their rights aside and beg mercy.

The government should not be thanked for increasing taxes and spending the producers into serfdom. They should be rebuked and reminded that they serve the people, not the other way around.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 12:29 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

A friendly correction:

"Some members [of Congress] self-righteously flog miscreants (or peons) who dare to cross them."

Excellent analysis.

Posted by: johngalt at April 16, 2009 1:56 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Correction accepted!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 16, 2009 2:23 PM

January 15, 2009

The Next Senator from New York?

Captain of US Air flight 1549.

Posted by AlexC at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 8, 2009

We Did?

Three sources tell Guardian Obama plans to talk to Hamas

Posted by AlexC at 8:17 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Must've been The Refugee, man. I didn't. I swear I didn't.

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2009 11:11 AM
But Keith thinks:

Somewhere, in an alternate universe, there's a headline reading "'Three Sources' tells Guardian Fred plans to have a 'chat' with Hamas"

The second paragraph of the article mentions that "chat" includes sending Jack Bauer to shoot them all in the thigh.

Posted by: Keith at January 9, 2009 11:46 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee stands unjustly accused! But if he had told Israel to talk to Hamas, the suggested dialog would be unsuitable for print in this erudite publication. Something about firing those rockets where the sun don't shine.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 9, 2009 12:26 PM
But Keith thinks:

Refugee: I don't see how Hamas should have a problem with your suggestion. I mean, they're all into that "blowing themselves to pizza toppings" thing anyway. Whether they do it with a vest full of C-4 or a ballistic suppository shouldn't make that much of a difference to them, should it?

Posted by: Keith at January 9, 2009 1:32 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Ballistic suppository! Coming to a YouTube video soon...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 9, 2009 2:18 PM
But Keith thinks:

Refugee: I have to give you credit for the inspiration. You wrote "... firing those rockets where the sun don't shine..." and suddenly all I could see was a guy sitting like Wile E. Coyote on the nose of an ACME missile launcher and lighting the fuse... with the expected result.

Posted by: Keith at January 9, 2009 2:58 PM

December 30, 2008

Brave Sir Obama

Unforunately, we were treated to Mr Obama's opinions for two years about how things were wrong. Now that world watches his every move, he has the temerity to say, "there is only one president at a time."

Meanwhile, the world waits.

World leaders, including Gordon Brown and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, have called for an immediate ceasefire.

Mr Ban even said that Israels response attacks from Gaza amounted to an excessive use of force.

But Mr Obama has made the decision to leave all comments to outgoing President George Bush, who has so far chosen only to attack Hamas.

On the golf course, his security team even turned away a letter from pro-Palestinian campaigners urging him to help stop the four-day-old violence.

Pensioner Robert Steiver, 65, of Honolulu, said he was disappointed that the president-elect was not echoing the condemnation of other world leaders.

He told the Honolulu Advertsier: I don't think he's taking a vacation, he's preparing to be the next president.

I'm deathly afraid he'll continue the failed policies of the Bush administration. I've been suffering with the Palestinians for years.

Posted by AlexC at 11:32 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Still time for one last disagreement with my blog brother ac in 2008 -- awesome. (Maybe I misread...)

I'm actually pretty pleased at both his deference to President Bush and his allowing Israeli operations to continue. The World and the Daily Mail readers eagerly await somebody to stop Israel. And I fear next January 20, the new Sherriff in town will be more likely to kowtow to the good opinion of the Daily Mail editorial board.

Posted by: jk at December 30, 2008 12:22 PM
But AlexC thinks:

My disagreement is not with Bush or his response, it's correct.

My complaint is that Obama is laying low.

He should be agreeing with Mr Bush and his administrations policies towards Israel.

I fear that his silence is driven by knee-jerk "dont agree with Bush-ism"....

Posted by: AlexC at December 31, 2008 2:07 AM
But jk thinks:

Good point. I guess I am so relieved that he is not attacking President Bush in this, and championing appeasement that I am handing out props. You're right. Happy New Year.

Posted by: jk at December 31, 2008 11:34 AM

June 24, 2008

George Carlin at His Best

George Carlin, comic genius, has passed away. Here is my favorite bit:

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:07 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

De mortuis nil nisi bonum. Carlin has brought me great joy in his career and this clip is entertaining and thought provoking. I'll agree it is vintage Carlin.

I have had a transcription of this emailed to me many times, and I was always a bit put off by his conclusion. I love the idea that Earth is tough; I am less enamored of the idea that human life is insignificant. We have free will, we wrote Kubla Khan, An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations, the Magna Carta, and the Declaration of Independence.

Funny and enjoyable skit, but we are not fleas.

Me be too grouchy?

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2008 5:29 PM

May 27, 2008

Wi-Fi Allergy

Stop the earth - I want off.

Seriously, didn't most people have that same reaction to the 1970's nutjobs who wanted to outlaw drilling for oil in this country because it was "dirty?" Leave the idiots alone and look what it gets you - politicians who say things like "gasoline prices are not based on supply and demand, they're being driven up by reckless speculators and obscene oil company profits" and "we can't drill our way out of this problem" when, in fact, that is the ONLY way to bring gasoline prices down. And it makes us "less dependent on foreign oil" at the same time.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:33 PM

April 6, 2008

Death of a President

Charlton Heston was a president; he was MY President. As figurehead of the NRA he said what members of America's gun culture wanted to say to those who blamed them for the crimes of others:

Mr. Clinton, sir, America didnt trust you with our health care system. America didnt trust you with gays in the military. America doesnt trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, dont trust you with our guns.

Last night this American icon passed away. Rest in peace, and give my best to John Wayne and Ronald Reagan. May there be new cowboys born today to replace you.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:12 AM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:

Amen.

I joined the NRA when Mr Heston was elected, and just recently did I finish the last installment of my life-membership.

Rest in Peace, Sir.

Posted by: AlexC at April 6, 2008 12:19 PM
But jk thinks:

"Oh Captain, my Captain!" Heston his supporters should take great comfort in the advancement of rights during his tenure.

Gun control forces have been in political retreat for a decade, and with a good decision in Heller, might make huge advancements before President Obama tries to dismantle them.

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2008 12:43 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

And Clinton never took his guns from his cold, dead hands.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 8, 2008 8:14 PM

February 17, 2008

H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y

Charles Barkley believes that all conservatives are "fake" Christians because they pass judgement on others. This is true, if conservatives read the Bible, they would realize this right is reserved for God and Charles Barkley.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 4:05 PM | Comments (2)
But At The Water Cooler thinks:

Christians fall short of the glory of God, they already know this, They are saved not by their own works but by the grace of Christ.

By Charles Barkley standards Christ alone would be a Christian. Why would a man be motivated to call somebody who asks for the forgiveness of Christ a "fake" because they are not somehow transformed in to a superior being who who are free from judging others. Does he mean to say that those people are going to burn in hell!

I have never called anybody a fake Christian, I really doubt many Christians have called another Christian a fake - is that not superior enough.

Posted by: At The Water Cooler at February 18, 2008 3:04 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm loath to come to Barkley's aid on this -- he clearly deserves the drubbing.

Barkley shoots off his mouth a lot. I will point out that his just as impolitic on occasion in calling for the African American community to assume more personal responsibility and pay less attention to the professional and permanent racially aggrieved class. I have developed something of a soft spot for the guy.

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2008 4:23 PM

June 2, 2007

John says:

JK has "Review Corner" and the elevator talk. I've been contemplating a new feature where I respond to hypothetical questions as I would if I were the President of the United States. For now I'm calling it "John says." I'll start with South America's version of Barack Obama.

Mister president, how do you respond to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez says US conspiracy wants to discredit him?

"It's not a conspiracy, it's the official policy of my administration. The sitting president of Venezuela owes his position to dubious elections and must not be allowed to silence his domestic opponents in the arena of ideas. Venezuela's citizens have the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When Hugo Chavez threatens all three of those I will do everything in my power to discredit him."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:22 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Not to go all Rep Ron Paul on you, but may I pose a follow up question, Mr. President? Is this nation dedicated to actively undermine every regime in the world that not uphold the spirit of our Declaration of Independence? That seems a little more interventionist than the electorate.

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2007 2:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Sure thing Stretch. I'll answer that: Actively undermine? That implies sending American soldiers or agents to foreign lands to carry out various missions. No, that's not always in America's interest. But it is always in our interest to discredit the failed ideas of history. Whenever I'm asked, I'll say they're wrong. Maybe good folks like you in the press will help me out with that, once in a while."

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2007 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Senator Fred Thompson may be channeling you.

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2007 11:17 AM

May 6, 2007

La France

The French go to the polls today to choose between what we in the United States would call "a socialist" and a Democrat.

Anyway, here's a photo accompanying a BBC article about the vote.

frenchVote.jpg

Are these the French? I would have pictured bitter people with waxed moustaches, berets and cigarettes.

Posted by AlexC at 12:51 PM | Comments (4)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I've always pictured them with a bottle of wine in one hand,..a baguette in the other and running away from a bar of soap,..but that's just me.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 6, 2007 1:11 PM
But jk thinks:

You've both been reading blogs too much. Think of attractive young women...

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2007 2:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And the Socialist claims there will be riots in the streets if the Democrat is elected. Why? He's allowed himself to be photographed in some proximity to an American flag.

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2007 9:21 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

jk,.."young, attractive women" + "France" don't seem to go together in my head.

Now,..if you want attractive Arab women to fantasize about being under those burkhas - try Haifa Wehbe! :)

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 7, 2007 8:13 PM

May 4, 2007

45 Days

Paris Hilton to the joint.

A judge sentenced Paris Hilton to 45 days in jail Friday for violating her probation, putting the brakes on the hotel heiress' famous high life.

Hilton, who parlayed her name and relentless partying into worldwide notoriety, must go to jail on June 5 and she will not be allowed any work release, no furloughs, no use of an alternative jail and no electronic monitoring in lieu of jail, Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer ruled after a hearing.

The heiress arrived at court 10 minutes late in the back of a black Cadillac Escalade and swept into the Metropolitan Courthouse with several men in suits, ignoring screams of photographers lining the route into a rear entrance. Her parents, Rick and Kathy Hilton, also came with her.


I expect that any videos which might inadvertantly find their way OUT of the woman's prison she will be inhabiting will be an immediate best seller.

Posted by AlexC at 8:02 PM

April 24, 2007

U.S. Out of Ethiopia!

NO MORE BLOOD FOR OIL! Ethiopia Attack 'Leaves 74 Dead.'

"It is a cold blood killing, a massacre. It is a terrorist act," Berekat Simon, an adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told AFP news agency.

He accused a separatist group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), of being behind the attack.

There was no word from the group.

(...)

The ONLF has in the past made threats against foreign companies working with the Ethiopian government to exploit the region's natural resources.

Filthy capitalist imperialists! Leave those natural resources alone!!

The workers were employed by the Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau, part of China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Oh. Never mind.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:30 PM

April 22, 2007

The Other Virginia College Shooting

Could it be that johngalt linked to a Glenn Reynolds piece before JK did? Could be...

A google news search for "appalachian school of law shooting 2002" yielded "Which is Safer? More guns or fewer?" by Reynolds published in Denver's Rocky Mountain News.

It's a short piece and every paragraph is superb, but here's one I'd like to highlight:

What's more, she would have been safer. That's how I feel about my student as well (one of a few I know who have gun-carry permits). She's a responsible adult; I trust her not to use her gun improperly, and if something bad happened, I'd want her to be armed because I trust her to respond appropriately, making the rest of us safer. [emphasis mine]

It isn't often one reads a distinction between reality and perception - between "being" and "feeling" - in a newspaper. It's no surprise, when it happens, that it comes from the pen of a blogger.

Hat Tip: My dad, who brought me Friday's Rocky Mountain News "RockyTalk Live" column with reader comments on the VT murders, including one by "KW" that mentioned the 2002 incident.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:04 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

My Internet connection was down -- I woulda smoked you!

Seriously, great post. Professor Reynolds is not only right, but also in a good position to make this point without seeming an ideologue or a gun nut.

I watched the President of George Washington University on FOXNews Sunday. When a similar a suggestion was made, he bemusedly waved it off, bragging that even Campus Police were unarmed.

I feel safer already.

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2007 12:56 PM

April 17, 2007

VT & Gun Control

Rush Limbaugh has a really good quote from Governor Rendell regarding additional gun control laws.

Liberal "Rep. Jim Moran who, less than '24 hours after the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history' took to the airwaves to launch a political attack against President Bush, congressional Republicans and the National Rifle Association.... Moran suggested Republicans were to blame for Monday's tragedy at Virginia Tech, which left 33 dead and injured another 30.

"The anti-gun congressman said Republican policies made it easy for the shooter to obtain a gun." The serial numbers were filed off of these two guns, were they not? Well, now, I'm going to tell you: if you file the serial numbers off your gun, it means you have evil intent in your mind and your heart, and there is no gun control law, period, that is going to stop you. Grab audio sound bite 18 again. If you're just joining us, I want you to go back and listen to Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, talking about the Amish tragedy, the shooting there in Pennsylvania last fall. This is from October of last year. The reporter said, "Governor Rendell, do you see any need for any changes in state public schools in terms of security?"

RENDELL: You can make all the changes you want, but you can never stop a random act of violence by a person who is intent on killing themselves. It's the same thing as protecting the president of the United States. You can have 50 Secret Service agents there, but if someone is willing to swap their life for the president's, they're going to get a point-blank shot at the president.


A tragedy, to be sure....

But it's a little depressing to see everyone pointing fingers at each other over gun issues immediately. Shouldn't we first get that place back in order first?

Posted by AlexC at 6:31 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

One of my most beloved but misguided relatives is campaigning for a Rep. Kucinich-style Department of Peace.

I received a "Media Alert" email from her suggesting that I "Call in to a talk show and discuss how a Department of Peace would help prevent another Virginia Tech from happening."

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2007 7:07 PM

April 14, 2007

"Contest for survival"

For at least several years there has been a quiet underground movement to secure the rights of liberty and freedom for citizens of a major nation on the world stage. Brave national patriots, both within their country and in exile, expose themselves to boundless peril at the hands of the authoritarian regime that rules the country with an iron fist. America has committed military force to defend these ideals in Iraq and Afghanistan. But western nations give not even diplomatic support to those struggling for the same freedoms in this other, critically important, nation - at least not publicly.

This major nation is not Iran, nor Venezuela, China, Vietnam, North Korea or Zimbabwe (nee Rhodesia). It is one of five veto powers on the UN Security Council: Russia.

One Russian patriot, Alexander Litvinenko, has already lost his life in pursuit of the cause.

Another, billionaire Boris Berezovsky, lives in the UK under political asylum - a status that is continually threatened by Russia's Putin regime.

And today, world famous Russian chess champion Gary Kasparov has been arrested in Moscow for "shouting anti-government slogans."

Activists had planned to gather at a city centre square about one km (half a mile) from the Kremlin to protest at what they say is Putin's trampling of democratic freedoms and demand a fair vote to choose a new president in 2008.

Teams of riot police, acting on a ruling from the city authorities banning the protest, pounced on protesters as they appeared in small groups near the square and swiftly loaded them into buses, Reuters witnesses said.

Surprisingly, Kasparov was able to make statements to reporters:

"Today the regime showed its true colours, its true face," the former chess grandmaster said during an adjournment.

"I believe this was a great victory for the opposition because people got through and the march happened."

Moscow police explain just how important it was to forcefully detain these "dangerous" citizens:

Moscow police chief spokesman Viktor Biryukov said about 170 of the "most aggressive" protesters had been detained.

"Thanks to the well-coordinated actions of the riot police and Moscow police, we were able to prevent an illegal gathering being carried out," he said.

This all serves as stark evidence why free men must never grant complete trust to government.

"For ordinary people in Russia today, it's a contest for survival," Anastasia Krampit, 39, said as she watched the protesters drift away.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:22 PM

February 12, 2007

Let It Snow

The Philadelphia area (in fact the whole northeast) is bracing for it's first big snowfall of the year. While not the scale of our square-state friends, it's still a big deal for the news.

Lately we've been upgraded from "a lot of snow" to a mess.

As of this morning, the weather service saw this set of scenarios for Philadelphia:

Tonight: A slight chance of snow.
Tomorrow: Snow in the afternoon, accumulating an inch or so.
Tomorrow night: Snow gives over to sleet and freezing rain.
Wednesday morning: Freezing rain, then rain.
Wednesday afternoon: Chance of snow.

The suburbs, South Jersey and Delaware are likely to suffer a similar fate.

Heavy snow, however, could still sock much of the rest of Pennsylvania. Areas west of a line roughly from Allentown to Lancaster are under a "Winter Storm Watch," with snow possible from Tuesday through Wednesday evening.


Is that a relief? I'm flying on Wednesday morning.
"From a forecaster's perspective, it's frustrating," Mike Gorse, a Weather Service meteorologist in Mount Holly, said yesterday. "The computer models just aren't agreeing."

In related news, the computers all agree, that anthropogenic climate change will destroy the earth, unless we stop the engines of progress.

Posted by AlexC at 11:49 AM

February 1, 2007

Dirty Hippies

A perfect example of "dirty hippies".

Here are the two knuckleheads that shut down Boston.

BX10202011711-big.jpg

Advised not to speak to the media about their "ad campaign." They held a press conference outside of the courthouse.

How much bong water did these guys drink? I'm almost rooting for them to go to jail.

Posted by AlexC at 1:47 PM

December 23, 2006

Christmas Extremists

Boy.

    A man used flammable liquid to light himself on fire, apparently to protest a San Joaquin Valley school district's decision to change the names of winter and spring breaks to Christmas and Easter vacation.

    The man, who was not immediately identified, on Friday also set fire to a Christmas tree, an American flag and a revolutionary flag replica, said Fire Captain Garth Milam.

    Seeing the flames, Sheriff's Deputy Lance Ferguson grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran to the man.

    Flames were devouring a Christmas tree next to the Liberty Bell, where public events and demonstrations are common.

    Beside the tree the man stood with an American flag draped around his shoulders and a red gas can over his head.

    Seeing the deputy, the man poured the liquid over his head. He quickly burst into flames when the fumes from the gas met the flames from the tree.


Call me crazy, but I'm sure that the loss of "winter fest" and "spring fest" didn't put him over the top.

Posted by AlexC at 3:12 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

There's a war on winter fest, ac. You may not notice it out East, but out here some people look nervously at their shoes when I wish them a "Happy Winter Fest." Like I've broken some taboo.

Chilling.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2006 5:27 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Sounds to me like another case of Darwinism!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at December 23, 2006 9:52 PM

December 7, 2006

Iraq "Surrender" Group Report

" . . . more than six people cannot agree on anything, three is better -- and one is perfect for a job that one can do. This is why parliamentary bodies all through history, when they accomplished anything, owed it to a few strong men who dominated the rest. Never fear, son, this Ad-Hoc Congress will do nothing . . . or if they do pass something through sheer fatigue, it will be so loaded with contradictions that it will have to be thrown out." --Bernardo de la Paz, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, pg 162 [Robert A. Heinlein]

I've been waiting all week for someone to blog the celebrated Iraq Study Group report, for I have a comment I'd like to make about it. Alas, nobody has obliged on these pages. But with each passing day I've come to realize that the real blogging is taking place on the front pages of the major dailies. They took the slap dash 97 page report as their kernel and proceeded to concoct every sort of meaning from it in their headlines. Every one, that is, except for making the world safe for liberty. Well, here goes.

Let's start with part I, subpart D: Achieving Our Goals:

We agree with the goal of U.S. policy in Iraq, as stated by the President: an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. In our view, this definition entails an Iraq with a broadly representative government that maintains its territorial integrity, is at peace with its neighbors, denies terrorism a sanctuary, and doesnt brutalize its own people. Given the current situation in Iraq, achieving this goal will require much time and will depend primarily on the actions of the Iraqi people.

It is critically important to understand that, with Saddam gone, Iraq matters little in the present war between civilization and archaic totalitarianism. Re-read the passage above and replace "Iraq" with "America." An America that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. [...] Given the current situation in America, achieving this goal will require much time and will depend primarily on the actions of the American people."

And where America represents civilization in this war, the seat of archaic totalitarianism today is... anyone? anyone? Bueller? That's right: Iran. Now re-read the passage above replacing "Iraq" with "Iran." In our view, this definition entails an Iran with a broadly representative government that maintains its territorial integrity, is at peace with its neighbors, denies terrorism a sanctuary, and doesnt brutalize its own people.

Now, what actions of the American people can do anything to help Iraq "govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:10 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Speaking for myself, I was so happy that the report wasn't worse. I think it significantly undercuts the cut and run crowd and can be used more to the Presidents favor than his detractors.

The idea of using Iran and Syria seems tedious but there is an interesting context. I don't know if you saw Brit Hume's panel discussion on this (you get kicked out of the VRWC if you don't watch 4x a week) but Secretary Baker believes that Syria might be incentivized to help us and the Sunnis. "Flip Syria" he said to Brit as they were packing up their cameras.

It's a long shot and I hate to think of the price but it is not necessarily "nuts."

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2006 7:33 PM
But AlexC thinks:

They want peace in the middle east. That's a bold vision.

How much did we pay for this, again?

Posted by: AlexC at December 7, 2006 11:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And now, my long awaited comment. With respect to diplomacy with Iran, or even Syria:

"Do steers sign treaties with meat packers?" -Robert A. Heinlein

I agree with John Murtha. It is time to redeploy coalition forces to "another region in the Middle East." TEHRAN

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2006 8:51 AM
But jk thinks:

I also resent the implication that ThreeSources was behind in commenting on the ISF. We hit the idea of Syria help on November 21.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2006 11:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Credit duly noted. And that post also reminded us what we get whenever we employ "realpolitik" when killing people and breaking things is in order.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2006 3:09 PM

December 7th

Victor Davis Hanson reminds us of today's significance 65 years ago.

... and of it's connections to today.

Little Green Footballs links to a WWII poster (govt produced too) you would never see today.


Posted by AlexC at 12:39 PM

November 3, 2006

Who?

Breitbart

    The Rev. Ted Haggard said Friday he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a male prostitute. But the influential Christian evangelist insisted he threw the drugs away and never had sex with the man.

    Haggard, who as president of the National Association of Evangelicals wielded influence on Capitol Hill and condemned both gay marriage and homosexuality, resigned on Thursday after a Denver man named Mike Jones claimed that he had many drug-fueled trysts with Haggard.


I'm not an evangelical, but I thought I was pretty plugged into "Christianist" circle.

I've never heard of this guy.

Posted by AlexC at 8:27 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I'm not the first to rush to defend the "Christianists," but something seems odd.

A Christian evangelist who fails to live up to his principles is chided as a hypocrite, whereas an ex-vice-president or a film star flying around in a learjet to raise awareness of global warming is okay.

I'd live and let live on both accounts, mind you, but it almost seems that the media might be biased or something.

Posted by: jk at November 4, 2006 10:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Keep in mind JK that this story has been brewing at KUSA for at least 2 months but Paula Woodward never pulled the trigger. Until, that is, your old buddy Peter Boyles forced her hand.

As for Haggard, he's not a household name in Colorado either (unless I guess you're in the evangelical circle.) Both parties (Haggard and his accuser) appear to be shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly. Haggard steps down, then the gay escort fails a polygraph, then Haggard admits "some indescretions." In all the talk about "what should be done" to Haggard I keep asking myself, what law has he broken? Show me a judge on this continent who will lock a man up because he used dope.

The only people who have any judgement to pass are his parishoners.

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2006 11:19 AM
But AlexC thinks:

JK, funny you say that, because Haggard is a global warming fellow traveller.

Posted by: AlexC at November 4, 2006 6:47 PM

November 1, 2006

John Kerry Jokes

The compendium.

    Knock, knock.

    -- Who's there?

    Our soldiers are terrorizing women and children.

    -- Our soldiers are terrorizing women and children who?

    Our soldiers are terrorizing women and children and dragging them out of their homes in the dead of night.

    -- I don't get it.

    Don't question my patriotism. I served, reluctantly, in Vietnam.

UPDATE (by jg): This url from the comment by mdmhvonpa below is a MUST SEE! It deserved a hyperlink, here. Thanks mdmh. LMAOBT

Posted by AlexC at 9:16 AM | Comments (2)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

classic: http://www.photopile.com/photos/dead/auctions/273904.gif

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at November 1, 2006 2:46 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

OMG! I'm splitting my sides here!

ROFLMAO!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at November 2, 2006 10:28 PM

October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat

The Bride of Frankenstein.

I wish I would have gotten a better picture of her hair. It was cool.

IMG_0001.jpg

Many compliments on the hairstyle. But no Milk-Duds. What's with people these days?

Posted by AlexC at 10:12 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Excellent costume!

Posted by: jk at November 1, 2006 9:45 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

You know alex, next year we'll have to get the 'montco gang' together with the lil' monsters and have a little fest.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at November 1, 2006 2:00 PM
But AlexC thinks:

thank you thank you.....

the only problem now is, "how do you top it next year?"

Posted by: AlexC at November 1, 2006 11:31 PM

October 9, 2006

UN Security Council to Discuss North Korea

I expect a strongly worded resolution promising a another strongly worded resolution if the North Koreans don't start playing nice.

Posted by AlexC at 10:14 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

If that doesn't work, we'll resolution your ass.

Posted by: jk at October 9, 2006 11:50 AM

October 3, 2006

Foley & the Democrats

begala_orange.jpg

I'm not sure I'm understanding the Democrats reaction to former Congressman Mark Foley's "revelations."

Here's Paul Begala

    "Most normal people, even political people, react to this like moms and dads. Im a dad. Somebody sends an email like that to my kid, they are going to deal with the law firm of Smith & Wesson, OK? It aint going to go to no Page Board."

"Smith & Wesson?"

Democrats and guns?

Vigilante justice?

He's not going to do any gay bashing is he?

Mixed messages abound.

Besides, aren't these guys busy enough?

    Now that the muckadoos are all focused on connecting every single living Republican to the Mark Foley scandal, does that mean they are no longer hyperventilating about how the new bill on interrogation will remove habeas corpus and is our first step into becoming a fascist state?

Posted by AlexC at 7:56 PM | Comments (1)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

I'm waiting for some loud-mouth D to slip and say that all pedofiles should be rounded up, branded and put out of our misery. Hrmmm ... National Socialism would have no better friend.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 4, 2006 10:01 AM

September 11, 2006

Today's Weather

As I was around town today, I commented to myself, "today's weather is the same as it was on 9/11/2001."

It was a nice September day in the 70s.

I'm not the only one who noticed.

Tony Snow did.

    Theres an interesting little detail which I got at both sites. The people in New York said, the weather has been exactly the same every September 11th since September 11th, 2001; and the people at Shanksville said the same thing, the same kind of weather conditions have prevailed each year since. I dont know what you make of it, but its one thing that people took pains to mention.

(tip to Extreme Mortman)

Posted by AlexC at 7:59 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I noticed the exception. It was a little overcast out here, when every other 9/11 had been as perfect as 2001.

I, of course, blame Global Warming...

Posted by: jk at September 12, 2006 11:06 AM

September 7, 2006

Minute 28

Wonderful

    The right-wingers who think nothing but the worst of Cindy Sheehan probably won't change their minds after reading Peace Mom. In the book, which hits bookstores September 19, the antiwar icon admits she has fantasized about going back in time and killing the infant George W. Bush, thereby preventing the Iraq War. In fact, she reveals, her son's death in that war almost drove her to take her own life: "Every night I had to restrain myself from taking my entire bottle of sleeping pills instead of just one."

Living in trees, and now Terminator style retro-active infanticide/assassination and suicide.

She's the voice we need guiding our foreign policy.

Posted by AlexC at 10:37 PM | Comments (2)
But Charlie on the PA Tpk thinks:

Didn't I see this story line in an old Quantum Leap episode?

Oh wait, Sam was a rational, good guy...

I used to give Ms. Sheehan a wide berth in my blog, but every time I think she's hit rock bottom, she's reaches new lows.

Posted by: Charlie on the PA Tpk at September 7, 2006 11:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Dont recall Quantum Leap, but in Stephen Fry's "Making History," a young physics student gets a small window to push inanimate objects back in time. He puts birth control in Hitler's mom's well to prevent his birth. It doesnt really turn out as well as he planned

You're the second person with a Charles-derived sobriquet to give me the wise counsel to ignore Ms. Sheehan. Yet, if she is going to write books and continue holding the stage, I feel we can disagree politely.

I love the juxtaposition of "Peace Mom" (how can you guys dislike "Peace Mom?") and the desire to kill the President. It is also telling that she would use this machine to kill the President and not Saddam Hussein. Telling choice.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2006 10:00 AM

August 29, 2006

Political Abduction

The son of a lawmaker was recently kidnapped from a city street and his mother and sister were shot the following day.

Iraq is a terrible place.

Too bad it happened in Philadelphia.

    The adult son of a state lawmaker was abducted from a Philadelphia street at gunpoint, and his mother and sister were shot by intruders a day later, officials said Monday.

    Shamari Taylor, 26, remained missing for the second day Monday, while his 56-year-old mother remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition after being shot in the head. The sister, 21, had been treated and released Sunday evening.

    Taylor is the son of Rep. John Myers, a Philadelphia Democrat who has been a vocal advocate for gun-control legislation.


The motive is unclear.

Posted by AlexC at 1:03 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

We need a timetable to pull out of Philadelphia. This administration has no plan. General Washington didn't have enough troops...

Good luck to the family -- get better, get found.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2006 1:47 PM

August 23, 2006

Be Good Back There!

or I'm turning this plane around!

    Dutch police arrested 12 passengers on a U.S. Northwest Airlines plane bound for India which was forced to turn back to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on Wednesday, news agency ANP reported.

    ANP said a police spokesman said 12 were arrested, but declined to give further details due to the ongoing investigation. Dutch police were not immediately available to comment on the report.

    The Dutch defense ministry said earlier the pilot decided to turn back after the crew said several of the 149 passengers on flight 42 to Mumbai were behaving suspiciously.


No indication is given of any of the passengers' description or behaviour.

Which means they can only be ________________.

Posted by AlexC at 1:44 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Really scary Dutch prostitutes!

Posted by: jk at August 23, 2006 3:27 PM
But dagny thinks:

Grandmothers with crochet hooks and shampoo bottles?

Posted by: dagny at August 23, 2006 3:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm sure they could be both in Amsterdam. A city to give even the most devout libertarian pause...

Posted by: jk at August 23, 2006 8:22 PM

August 16, 2006

Peace in Our Time

What Would Chamberlain Do?

    HISTORIANS will look back at this weekend's cease-fire agreement in Lebanon as a pivotal moment in the war on terror. It is pivotal in the same sense that the Munich agreement between Adolf Hitler and Neville Chamberlain was pivotal in an earlier battle against the enemies of freedom. The accord in October 1938 revealed to the world that the solidarity of the Western allies was a sham, and that the balance of power had shifted to the fascist dictators.
    Resolution 1701 shows that, for the time being at least, the balance has likewise shifted to the terrorists and their state sponsors. Like Munich, it marks the triumph of the principle of putting off until tomorrow what needs to be done today. Like Munich, it will mean not peace in our time, but a bigger war in our future.

Read It All

Posted by AlexC at 11:56 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Sadly, every word may be true.

I'm not sure they are correct in portraying it as weak alliances. Free nations want to pursue prosperity and frequently ignore important chores. It's a good, if deadly, shortcoming.

Posted by: jk at August 16, 2006 12:38 PM

August 14, 2006

Condi '08

Not after these foreign policy wins.

Posted by AlexC at 9:58 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Et tu, AC?

I do not blame the Secretary for those failures. Those rest entirely on the president. And I'd like to know which president they think could have handled all these crises to National Review's satisfaction, while still fighting Ned Lamont Democrats and leakers and The New York Times.

Fine, give up on Secretary Rice. Do you prefer the candidate that rescinded the First Amendment or the one who enshrined health care mandates in his home state. Are you going to like Mayor Giulianis SCOTUS picks? Is NR?

Sorry, I am still on board. Now if we can just get the candidate...

Posted by: jk at August 14, 2006 10:18 AM
But AlexC thinks:

I don't think any of the 08 candidates excite me. Perhaps there's a governor out there that might.

But so far? It looks like I'll be voting against Hillary. Sadly.

Posted by: AlexC at August 14, 2006 11:01 AM
But jk thinks:

It's funny, I have never been more keen on Secretary Rice. She is on the Sunday morning shows almost every week and she makes the case for freedom with firmness and style. She FLATTENED a Tim Russert who was trying to make the case for appeasement in Lebanon.

President Bush and the nation clearly want to take the diplomacy tract more than you and I. As I see it, she has been given the charge to work the UN (I'd rather go to Alaska when it's 60 below myself) and she is actually advancing freedom's interest there.

Posted by: jk at August 14, 2006 11:17 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Hmmm, who is the Governor of Utah? You know, Mormons are not classified as 'Christians', but rather, as splinter sect ... the ACLU should love that.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at August 14, 2006 11:38 AM
But jk thinks:

Almanac of American Politics sez:

"Jon Huntsman Jr., a Republican, was elected governor of Utah in 2004. He was born in Palo Alto, California, the oldest of nine children, spent time in California and in Washington, D.C., where his father worked in the Nixon administration, then moved to Utah. He dropped out of high school to play keyboards in rock-and-roll bands; he attended the University of Utah briefly before leaving on a two-year Mormon mission to Taiwan. There he learned to speak fluent Mandarin Chinese. When he returned, he transferred to and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the son of billionaire philanthropist and industrialist Jon Huntsman, the wealthiest man in Utah (his company invented McDonald's Big Mac clamshell packaging), and the family owns a controlling interest in the Huntsman Corporation, a multinational petrochemical corporation headquartered in Salt Lake City."

A Keyboard player? I dunno, maybe a bass player or something...

Posted by: jk at August 14, 2006 12:07 PM

August 3, 2006

Multiculturalism Shrugs

I'm an optimist, but this still surprised me: The king mac-daddy pragmatist of world politics, Tony Blair, officially pronounced the death of multiculturalism as a guiding geopolitical principle. Mark the date, kids: August 1, 2006.

"9/11 in the US, 7/7 in the UK, 11/3 in Madrid, the countless terrorist attacks in countries as disparate as Indonesia or Algeria, what is now happening in Afghanistan and in Indonesia, the continuing conflict in Lebanon and Palestine, it is all part of the same thing. What are the values that govern the future of the world? Are they those of tolerance, freedom, respect for difference and diversity or those of reaction, division and hatred? My point is that this war can't be won in a conventional way. It can only be won by showing that our values are stronger, better and more just, more fair than the alternative." (emphasis mine)

In a paragraph where a European head-of-state admits that Israel's life and death battles with Islamists in Lebanon and "Palestine" (and the implicit inclusion of the Iraq war later in the speech) are "all part of the same thing" as 9/11, what can overshadow such a monumental confession? One word: Better.

The hallmark of multiculturalism is an absolute prohibition on such value judgements. "No culture's ideas are 'better' or 'worse' than any other's, they are merely different. Each is best for the culture that holds it," the multiculturalists say. But here we see Prime Minister Blair not only publicly admit his heretofore unacknowledged belief that western values and ideas are better than the Islamist's (without even the excuse of intoxication) but declare that propagation of this value judgement is the "only" way that this war can be won! Congratulations Mr. Blair. The first step to the cure is to admit that you have a disease.

The rest of the speech goes downhill from here, but believe me... this is a watershed moment in postmodern western civilization.

UPDATE-04AUG2006:

In the wake of PM Blair's concise and reasoned analysis of the war between western modernity and Islamic extremism, the British press shows its mettle in cutting him back down to size. (As explained in this David Aaronovitch editorial, 'If you're so clever, then why is it that they all hate you?')

What was clear was that no one in the room was prepared to be sidetracked by anything as arcane as the PMs account of his contacts with Bush and Siniora. Nor were they interested in Mr Blairs condemnation of the latest comments from the President of Iran about the need to eliminate Israel. They were far more concerned to remind him how everyone hated him.

[...]

The question that summed the morning up went something like this: If your opinions are so moderate and sensible, how come everyone thinks theyre crap, whatever they are?

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:35 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

My Favorite Socialist! PM Blair can be very eloquent on the war and it's hard to imagine getting this far without his brave leadership -- a true Profile In Courage, considering the chattering classes over there that he needs to mollify.

In spite of this admiration, I read your excerpt as going a little too far. He compares liberal values favourably [sic] to terrorist values but I don't think you'd get him to stand tall for the supremacy of "Western" values.

Not sure we're there yet.

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2006 1:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Your judgement that my analysis of this excerpt overreaches is fair, but only in that Blair's model of "Western values" is distinctly different from yours and mine. As I said, "The rest of the speech goes downhill from here." Muslims of the world will not be convinced of the superiority of western civilization by American adoption of the Kyoto Protocol.

But the sole object of my sweeping pronunciation was a postmodern principle that has confounded mankind for at least sixty years. I maintain it is no exaggeration to say that Blair's judgement of "tolerance, freedom, respect for difference and diversity" as "better," BETTER, than "reaction, division and hatred" - this unambiguous value judgement - constitutes a mortal wound to the status quo in geopolitics. Not because of which values he listed as superior to what others, but for the very fact that some values ARE better than others.

The 'status quo ante' was multiculturalism, as evidenced by such insanity as the President of Iran being granted a visa to enter the US and address the General Assembly of the UN. (The president of a nation with whom America terminated relations when they invaded our embassy and took our nationals hostage for over a year - a man who was personally involved in that invasion of sovereign American soil - is given a free pass to stroll the streets of a nation that, in a sane world, would throw the bastard in jail and keep him there for 66 consecutive sentences for kidnapping.)

Now that Blair has allowed the word "better" back into the international lexicon it will be more difficult for the likes of Kofi Annan and Jacques Chirac to defend the indefensible.

Posted by: johngalt at August 4, 2006 1:43 AM

July 30, 2006

"Genius"

That's my new nickname for the hapless prime minister of Lebanon, who recently declared: "We will not negotiate until the Israeli war stops shedding the blood of innocent people." He was also quoted on Fox News this morning as having said, "We will not negotiate until there is an immediate, unconditional cease-fire" and something to the effect of, "This deliberate killing of innocent civilians is unacceptable."

The PM seems to be echoing the attitude of one Khalil Shalhoub who, on the scene of the demolished building full of people screamed, "Why are they killing us? What have we done?"

Well, for one thing, an IAF spokesman claimed that Hezbollah was intentionally packing civilians into buildings and firing missles from them. "OK" I thought, "that's entirely plausible. Now show us all pictures to prove it!" Within moments, FNC announced EXCLUSIVE VIDEO. ("Free" Video, after a short cimmercial message, of course.)

As many government leaders throughout the western world rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against calculated, deliberate, and ongoing aggression from Islamist fanatics they should ask themselves one question: How will these diplomats feel about tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians killed by an Iranian nuke if their diplomatic efforts on behalf of Hezbollah, in the name of "innocent" Lebanese civilians, are successful?

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:06 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I was also moved by the Taranto piece. There is international outrage when civilians are killed in the crossfire when Hezbollah is complicit in their killings. Yet, when Hezbollah lobs hundreds of rockets into Israel hoping to kill civilians, there is no outrage against those with bad aim and crappy hardware.

It is sadly another reminder that most of our allies, like much of the domestic political opposition, are simply not serious enough to be trusted.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2006 12:44 PM

July 19, 2006

World War?

I thought the DNC talking points after the renewal of combat in Lebanon included the line that "This is World War III." I surmised that they wanted to be able to claim that World War III began under Bush's leadership... that warmongery begets warfare.

I just listened to former supreme commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark in an interview with a local talk radio show. The first questions for the general were, "Who is our enemy and what is the name of the war we are currently in." Simple enough questions, right? Fat chance.

Clark said only Republicans like Newt Gingrich or (can't remember the other guy) call this "World War III" or "World War IV" respectively. Alternately, the General says we are not even engaged in a war. Instead, we have a "loose conglomeration of individuals trying to pursue their own ends." He admitted that they use terrorism as their method, but his solutions were all "law enforcement." The natural question then is, "Whose laws?"

The big picture of the Clark interview is that he can't see the big picture in human events. Doesn't he read the Australian newspapers? (Or he sees it but is forced to deny it because Bush named it first: Axis of Evil.) Those who deny any link between al Qaida and Iraq also deny any link between either of them and Hamas or Hezbollah. Or Iran.

In answer to the questions the General never answered:

OUr enemy is every nation, organization, or "loose conglomeration of individuals" who practice Islamofascism and attempt to impose it on others by force.

The name of the war is "The Islamist War."

There, now let's go win the frackin' thing.

UPDATE: On last night's show, Bill O'Reilly said, and I paraphrase, "Regarding the war on terror, Americans can be divided into three camps: One says bomb the crap out of them, the second says it's all America's fault, and the third says I don't want to hear about it, let's go to the beach." Dagny and I are proud members of the "bomb the crap out of them" camp.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:57 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

The WSJ Ed Page suggested that September 11, 2001 was the start of World War IV, WWIII being The Cold War. This Republican is happy with that terminology. I worry more that people forget there is a war than they think it started under President Bush.

The World War appellation ties in 9-11, London, Madrid, Mumbai, and the current Israeli two front conflict.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2006 11:19 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

The Islamist War ... a bit like our 2 conflicts with Iraq ... seems to be an extension of the Crusades. A clash of ideologies.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at July 19, 2006 11:57 AM
But jk thinks:

Bill O'Reilly would be another good reason not to get AlexC's 103" plasma screen. I favor a muscular response but would be loathe to characterize it as "bombing the crap out of 'em."

We've said some harsh words about President Bush over the years but I have to say that I am bursting with pride. His unwillingness to reach moral relativism, his unscripted comments with PM Blair that were caught on mic -- he is doing it right and we are very lucky to have him in the White House.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2006 12:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Like I said, I was paraphrasing. I think "bomb the crap out of them" was just the way I remembered it.

As for the president, I very much agree. (I'm biting my tongue now to prevent mention of the pending stem-cell bill veto. Let's debate that in a separate thread.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2006 12:42 PM
But jk thinks:

I missed the paraphrase bit, mea culpa.

I would still suggest that there is more nuance in the BTCOOT demographic. Israel will lose ground as Reuters and the BBC highlight civilian casualties over the campaign.

(New post above for stem cells, BTW)

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2006 1:31 PM

July 17, 2006

Stand with Israel Rally - NYC

Pamela from Atlas Shrugs attended the Stand With Israel Rally in NYC today and gives a weblog report. She has great coverage on her site 'Atlas Shrugs' including some great photos of Hillary swallowing her bile when Elie Wiesel said, "Thank God Bush is in the White House."

Great stuff Pamela! Check it out.

UPDATE: Here's the Rush Limbaugh program transcript of Pamela's "breathless" call to the show on Monday. Man, she was on fire! (And if you look close on Pamela's post, you'll see that the very first trackback ping is: Three Sources!)

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:37 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Not many times I wish I lived in New York, but I would have liked to have been there.

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2006 11:04 PM

July 11, 2006

$66 Billion in Unearned Guilt

I've been thinking about how to blog this story since it broke: Megabillionaire Warren Buffet recently donated (evading the estate tax in the process) $37 billion of his $44 billion in personal wealth to a charitable foundation established by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. Combined with the $29 billion already under foundation control the resulting $66 billion is five times the wealth of the next largest, the Ford foundation.

I won't belabor the contradictions of Buffet praising the estate tax as an "equitable tax...in keeping with the idea of equality of opportunity in this country, not giving incredible head starts to certain people who were very selective about the womb from which they emerged." Or of his criticism of "dynastic wealth" coupled with the likely, though I haven't been able to document it, multi-million dollar inheritances he'll leave his own children.

I'm most interested in the issue raised by John J. Miller on the Opinion Journal page of July 7th. "The Microsoft mogul and his wife should not leave their foundation to posterity," he writes.

I fully agree with many points made in this editorial. For example:

"Surely there are better reasons to embark upon the world's biggest grant-making program than to salve the conscience of a guy who has no business feeling guilty in the first place."

And, "If Mr. Gates views his foundation as a vehicle for guilt riddance, chances are his grants will fail often and spectacularly. Yet if he views it as a way of furthering his already enormous contribution to society through nonprofit rather than for-profit means, then perhaps he will make a positive difference in the areas where he is focusing his efforts: global health and American education."

But Mr. Miller's principal point is not just that a charitable foundation should be used to further the values of its benefactor(s), but that it must necessarily be constrained to shut itself down after some arbitrary number of years for fear of the "harmful trend" of "an organization that exists in perpetuity, clinging tightly to its assets and ever further removed from its benefactors and their intentions."

It seems to me that if you want your wealth to live on and contribute in your image after your passing, you'd want it to do so for as long as possible. The trick here is to build something that can't be highjacked by others for their own purposes after your passing. This is exactly the problem that faced the founders of the United States government. So here we have another instance of resignation that nothing can retain its original nature and purpose against the pressure of revisionism.

The irony here is that the Gates Foundation, which has chosen to make a positive difference in the areas of global health and American education, has an opportunity to counteract such pressures. The reason the American Constitution, the American government and the American way of life are under threat today is precisely because of revisionist pressures endemic to modern American education. If the Gates Foundation threw even a fraction of its weight behind a return to accurate and objective teaching of American history and civics it could single handedly save the nation from apathetic disintegration.

Alas, such an effort is unlikely from a man who says, "We really owe it to society to give the wealth back."

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:13 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Well said.

It strikes me that this giveaway is the worlds largest Rorschach test. Folk Marxists can either coo in delight that the Gateses have discovered "what's really important" or more likely think "damn well time those robber barons gave some back!"

I'm guessing a rare moment of unity for ThreeSourcers believing this will end very badly. I suggested when it happened that they clearly would do less good for society giving it away than they did when they earned it. Now I fear O'Sullivan's law will kick in [Every non-Conservative organization becomes more liberal over time] and that this money could become a colossus of unintended consequences, doing far more harm.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2006 9:04 AM
But howard thinks:

"Or of his criticism of 'dynastic wealth' coupled with the likely, though I haven't been able to document it, multi-million dollar inheritances he'll leave his own children."

-as far as I've heard in previous interviews with, and statements from, Buffet, he has no intention of leaving millions to his own heirs. And his beliefs against dynastic wealth are purportedly based on the idea that inheriting abstract sums of material wealth begets more laziness than not. I don't believe his support for the estate tax is any more elaborate than that.

Agree or disagree, there's very little hypocrisy in his position on this - unless you know something about his motives that I don't know. But then it seems like a lot of people are in the business of questioning what others do with their money, and here I thought that was a liberal tendency.

Posted by: howard at July 12, 2006 11:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Howard, I said in my post on this topic that "Mr. Buffett can do what he chooses, indeed that's the best benefit of having billions, is it not?"
http://www.threesources.com/archives/003037.html

Two concerns you'll hear around here are, one, that the foundation will devolve into something that doesn't match its founders' wishes, and that its gifts will do more harm than good. And, two, there is a distinct disconnect between his objection to dynastic wealth and his use of tax shelters for his own estate. The WSJ says:

"In explaining his charitable motivations this week, Mr. Buffett also went out of his way to say that he is "not an enthusiast for dynastic wealth." This is fair enough, and is also one of Mr. Buffett's arguments for so vocally defending federal death tax rates of 50% or more. But we can't help but point out that Mr. Buffett's gift will itself be shielded from Uncle Sam because it is going to a foundation. So in practice he is in favor of death taxes only for those whose estates are too small to hide in foundation tax shelters.

In addition to his Gates Foundation gift, Mr. Buffett also said he will give major donations well north of $1 billion each to separate foundations run by his three children and another in the name of his late wife. These gifts, too, will be shielded from taxation and will allow his heirs to wield power and influence long after the 75-year-old has gone to his just reward."

Gates and Buffet did a lot of good for people as they assembled their fortunes. I doubt they'll do half as much good giving them away, but that it sheer speculation.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2006 9:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you Howard for the eloquent comment. I did try to learn what Buffet has or will leave to his children but was unable to find even the $1B donations to his children's foundations that JK informs us of by way of the WSJ.

So even if they don't receive direct cash inheritance, each will certainly award himself a salary as full-time director of the foundation. (Hey, a guy's gotta eat, right?)

I also wanted to clarify: The liberal tendency is not to question what others do with their money, but to control it. (Or prevent it altogether.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2006 3:56 PM

July 3, 2006

Mexican Election

AP

    Two bitter rivals declared themselves winners of Mexico's extraordinarily close presidential race, even though official results wouldn't be ready for days, sparking cries of fraud from supporters and fears of violence.

    The two candidates were separated by fewer than 401,000 votes, with more than 36 million counted in a preliminary tally by electoral officials. The conservative, Felipe Calderon had 36.6 percent to leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's 35.5 percent, according to results from 91.4 percent of polling places.


I don't know if it's good or bad, but liberals are all the same the world over...
    "Smile: We've already won," Lopez Obrador told his. "We're going to defend our triumph. We aren't going to let them try to make our results disappear."

    Thousands of Lopez Obrador's supporters had gathered in a steady rain in Mexico City's Zocalo plaza, chanting "Lie! Lie! Fraud! Fraud!" after the delay was announced.


Fraud is always the first thing they claim, it's never "maybe our ideas aren't that great."

Posted by AlexC at 12:00 PM

June 30, 2006

Freedom of Speech?

Ben Stein

    there are already immense exceptions to the doctrine of free speech. What occurs to little me is that if we can tell a man he'll go to jail for calling a black man a name that any child can hear a thousand times a day on rap radio stations, why can't we say it's also a slur to people's feelings -- especially veterans' feelings -- to burn the flag?

    If we can tell people that it's obscene to show pictures of children having sex (and it is), why can't we say it's obscene to burn the flag that is the symbol of this shining city on a hill, a flag for which many brave men and women have died? If it hurts women's feelings to hear sex jokes at the office and if that's illegal, doesn't it also hurt patriots' feelings to see the flag burned?

    I don't get it. Why is protecting the flag less of a priority than banning song lyrics or dirty jokes or pornography?

    What am I missing here? The flag is sacred. There is more than enough state interest in protecting to keep it from being burned. Can we reconsider this, please?


I really have a problem with hate crime legislation, but is burning a flag a hate crime?

Posted by AlexC at 7:05 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

I like the comparison to hate speech. I support FREE speech which might include objectionable things like Illinois Nazis (I hate Illinois Nazis!) or flag burning.

The better comparison is McCain-Feingold. I wish all these Democrats had found religion when they were voting on that. Flag burning is smallball by comparison.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2006 11:39 AM
But AlexC thinks:

I agree, McCain-Feingold or the 527 "reform" are way bigger examples of destroying free speech.

If burning a flag is patriotic, and expressing "freedom of speech", I wish the pyromaniacs would wrap themselves in it first.

Posted by: AlexC at July 1, 2006 11:47 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm tough on politicians around here but it's a good time to celebrate a man who faced opprobrium to vote against both.

Two ThreeSources Profiles in Courage Awards to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2006 12:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Amendment I to the Constitution prohibits Congress from making laws "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;" and yet, SPEAKING certain words has been made unlawful while ACTING in certain other ways is considered sacrosanct.

Everyone should always have the right to say, "America sucks" or "the flag stands for ______" (insert collectivist slur of choice). But nobody should have the right to burn the Flag in the public square, even if he owns said flag. There is no "self-evident" right of an individual to publicly and uncerimoniously destroy, with extreme prejudice, the preeminent national symbol of this country.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2006 3:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, and Mitch McConnell makes me sick. His was the deciding vote in killing the amendment. He can't seriously believe that the lack of a Flag Burning Amendment will be any impediment to those who strive to emasculate the Second Amendment!

http://mcconnell.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=257826&start=1

While I agree with McConnell's argument about truth and reason, those who risk their lives for the flag on foreign shores should not be forced to stand by while it is piddled on back home. If we can pay veterans medical costs, we can protect the one symbol that means more to them than anything else on earth. The Constitution will survive such an exalted exception.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2006 3:36 PM

June 29, 2006

Mushrooms After A Rainstorm

Reuters

    The U.S. military has found more Iraqi weapons in recent months, in addition to the 500 chemical munitions recently reported by the Pentagon, a top defense intelligence official said on Thursday.

    Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, did not specify if the newly found weapons were also chemical munitions. But he said he expected more.

    "I do not believe we have found all the weapons," he told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, offering few details in an open session that preceded a classified briefing to lawmakers.


These things turning up this month is very odd.
    Republican lawmakers, some facing tough election battles amid growing anti-war sentiment, called the discovery of the weapons significant.

    Republican Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania suggested the munitions were in fact the weapons of mass destruction that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein lied about, leading the United States to war.

    "For those who claim that these weapons are not the weapons of mass destruction that the United States went to war over, I would refer them to 17 United Nations Security Council resolutions that Saddam Hussein violated," Weldon said. "It didn't say pre-'91 chemical weapons. It didn't say post-'91 chemical weapons. It said chemical weapons."

    But Democrats dismissed such arguments and said the weapons were not the "imminent threat" used to justify the war.

    "It's very difficult to characterize these as the imminent threat weapons that we were told we were looking for," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat.


Ugh. For the thousandth time...
    Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

That's the 2003 State of the Union.

Posted by AlexC at 6:34 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Another fair and balanced report from "al Reuters."

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2006 5:50 PM

Treason

Ann Coulter writes about the NY Times' recent behaviour and famous traitors like Tokyo Rose & Axis Sally.

    There was no evidence that in any of these cases the treasonable broadcasts ever put a single American life in danger. The law on treason doesn't require it.

    The federal statute on treason, 18 USC 2381, provides in relevant part: "Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States ... adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000."

    Thanks to The New York Times, the easiest job in the world right now is: "Head of Counterintelligence Al-Qaida." You just have to read The New York Times over morning coffee, and you're done by 10 a.m.

    The greatest threat to the war on terrorism isn't the Islamic insurgency our military can handle the savages. It's traitorous liberals trying to lose the war at home. And the greatest threat at home isn't traitorous liberals it's patriotic Americans, also known as "Republicans," tut-tutting the quaint idea that we should take treason seriously.


As usual, it's good points mixed with Ann Coulter's "wit."

But I'm wondering... according to 18 USC 2381, it presupposes owing allegiance to the United States. What if you're an admitted post-nationalist? Are you exempted?

Posted by AlexC at 1:20 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I'm not itchin' to jump in and defend the New York Times but the treason here -- and it is clearly treason -- is the leaker.

If I may go all Joe McCarthy for a moment, this person works for the United States Government and was willing to harm the government and citizens. I wish the Times showed better discretion, yes, but the traitor here is the leaker.

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2006 10:29 AM
But AlexC thinks:

The leaker definately is a traitor. But that doesn't mean I can't call it the Paper of Treason.

Posted by: AlexC at June 29, 2006 12:30 PM

June 28, 2006

Dummest. Move. Ever.

al-Reuters

    A spokesman for gunmen in the Gaza Strip said they had fired a rocket tipped with a chemical warhead at Israel early on Thursday.

    The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the claim by the spokesman from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.

    The group had recently claimed to possess about 20 biological warheads for the makeshift rockets commonly fired from Gaza at Israeli towns. This was the first time the group had claimed firing such a rocket.

    "The al-Aqsa Brigades have fired one rocket with a chemical warhead" at southern Israel, Abu Qusai, a spokesman for the group, said in Gaza.


Israel is denying it, but if true, this is the end of the Palestinian "government."

Posted by AlexC at 10:51 PM

East Coast Flooding

In southeast Pennsylvania, the local rivers & creeks are nearing record level flooding.

    The NBC 10 area is battling its worse flooding situation in decades, as the rapid rise of the Delaware River threatens parts of cities from Easton to Trenton.

    The Schuylkill will crest at lower-than-expected levels in Philadelphia. Big local creeks like the Perkiomen, Neshaminy and Brandywine have crested after soaring over their banks Wednesday.


A hundred miles north in Wilkes-Barre 150 to 200 thousand are being evacuated.

Here are a few pictures of the Perkiomen Creek River.

This is of Park Road at the Perkiomen in Schwenksville. The low spot in the road is a bridge.... well, used to be a bridge.

This is Perkiomen Bridge at Collegeville, taken from the parking lot of the Collegeville Inn. Yes, that's their parking lot. The bridge itself dates back to the 1790s, when the Pennsylvania legislature authorized a lottery to raise funds for its construction. The stone bridge was actually widened to three lanes in the early 1900s to allow for trolley traffic.

Thanks to my wife Rachael, who braved the deluge, while I'm out of town!

Posted by AlexC at 5:27 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Yikes! Stay safe!

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2006 7:30 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I'm in Alaska right now.

But with global warming thawing this whole place out, it's only a matter of time before we're inundated!

Posted by: AlexC at June 28, 2006 7:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Ummm, I was suggesting that your wife stay safe but you've a point. All those icebergs melting and all, it's pretty scary anywhere.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2006 8:02 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I knew what you meant. ;)
Funny, this internet thing.
Let's hope it's only a passing fad.

Posted by: AlexC at June 28, 2006 8:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I hope you've given your friends and family careful instructions for protecting themselves from looters. Oh, and make sure she grabs one of those FEMA debit cards for you too!

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2006 5:55 PM

June 26, 2006

At War With America

Michael Baron says the New York Times is at war with America.

    Bush administration officials asked the Times not to publish the story. Once again, the Times went ahead anyway. "We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration," Bill Keller is quoted as saying. It's interesting to note that he feels obliged to report he and his colleagues weren't smirking or cracking jokes. "We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest."

    This was presumably the view as well of the "nearly 20 current and former government officials and industry executives" who were apparently the sources for the story.

    But who elected them to make these decisions? Publication of the Times' December and June stories appears to violate provisions of the broadly written, but until recently, seldom enforced provisions of the Espionage Act. Commentary's Gabriel Schoenfeld has argued that the Times can and probably should be prosecuted.

    The counterargument is that it is a dangerous business for the government to prosecute the press. But it certainly is in order to prosecute government officials who have abused their trust by disclosing secrets, especially when those disclosures have reduced the government's ability to keep us safe. And pursuit of those charges would probably require reporters to disclose the names of those sources. As the Times found out in the Judith Miller case, reporters who refuse to answer such questions can go to jail.

Posted by AlexC at 1:47 AM

June 21, 2006

Blogola

What's the first rule of Blogola?

Don't talk about Blogola.

Here's an excerpt of an email sent by Markos Moulistas to the Townhouse, an email list of elite liberal bloggers.

    My request to you guys is that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story. Then, once Jerome can speak and defend himself, then I'll go on the offensive (which is when I would file any lawsuits) and anyone can pile on. If any of us blog on this right now, we fuel the story. Let's starve it of oxygen. And without the "he said, she said" element to the story, you know political journalists are paralyzed into inaction.

Posted by AlexC at 5:12 PM

June 18, 2006

Private Property Rights

Geno's Steaks again...

    The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, silent until yesterday on the "Speak English" signs at Geno's Steaks, says it backs its Philadelphia counterpart's decision to file a complaint against the cheesesteak shop.

    The state antidiscrimination agency said, in a statement, that it encourages the use of English as a common language but compared the laminated placards near the shop's takeout windows to discriminatory signs in the country's past.

    "Even though this may not have been the intent of Geno's, the presence of the sign harkens back to a time when signs stating, 'no colored allowed,' 'Whites only,' 'no Jews,' or 'no Italians or Irish need apply,' often greeted patrons of public places," said Stephen A. Glassman, the commission's chairman.


And now Six Flags?
    Jonathan DeLeon, 17, was hired at Six Flags America in Largo, Md., in March to wear the costumes of Sylvester and Daffy Duck. A few weeks later, he said he was told to cut his braids, which were at least 3 feet long.

    Though his mother cut more than 2 feet of his hair, park officials were dissatisfied, he said.

    "They told me I had to cut them even shorter or go home," DeLeon told The Washington Post. "They said they wanted an all-American thing. That's what they said to all the black people. I had already cut it a lot, so I just left."


Though I can't imagine why you'd need short hair to work inside a costume, that's their policy. The ACLU is involved in that one.

I used to work at a Boston Market. At the time, the dress policy was no hoop earrings, hair in a pony tail, for women, and for men, it was short hair, mustaches to the corner of the mouth, and side burns no longer than your ear.

It wasn't an issue.

When did people lose the right to run their businesses as they decide?

Both Geno's and Six Flags established those policies for business reasons. There are upsides and their are downsides. Can't we just leave it at that?

At the end of the day, you don't have to buy a sandwich from Joe Vento, and you don't have to work for or go to Six Flags.

Posted by AlexC at 10:34 AM | Comments (1)
But Mohamed alGore thinks:

BS like this, is beginning to convince my kids that they dont want to live east of the Mississippi, west of Nevada and be self employed in order to beat the hell out of paying taxes

Posted by: Mohamed alGore at June 19, 2006 3:59 PM

June 15, 2006

The Media Enablers

To most this is self-evident.

Unless you're a member of the press.

    "Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers."

    The researchers counted direct references to terrorism between 1998 and 2005 in the New York Times and Neue Zuercher Zeitung, a respected Swiss newspaper. They also collected data on terrorist attacks around the world during that period. Using a statistical procedure called the Granger Causality Test, they attempted to determine whether more coverage directly led to more attacks.

    The results, they said, were unequivocal: Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.


A message not lost on the remains of Zarqawi and the remainder of his group.

All kinds of terrorist attacks take place in Baghdad, because that's where the cameras are.

Surprise!

Posted by AlexC at 4:47 PM

June 13, 2006

Bush in Iraq

President Bush is/was in Iraq today.

No "fake turkeys" were served.

I wonder how many rehashes of the fake turkey story will be written by the commentariat in the next few days.

Posted by AlexC at 5:24 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The WSJ Ed page says:

"This message reminds American GIs that they're fighting in a noble cause with support on the home front. It tells the terrorists that they aren't close to the political victory they seek of driving the Coalition out of Iraq. It tells the Iraqi people that they can afford to take a risk and join the police or assist the new government with more confidence that the terrorists won't be able to exact revenge. And it gives the Maliki government more political and military options as it considers how to restore order to Baghdad, among other dangerous places."

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2006 10:08 AM

So Much for Fitzmas

NYTimes

    The prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case on Monday advised Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, that he would not be charged with any wrongdoing, effectively ending the nearly three-year criminal investigation that had at times focused intensely on Mr. Rove.

    The decision by the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, announced in a letter to Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, lifted a pall that had hung over Mr. Rove who testified on five occasions to a federal grand jury about his involvement in the disclosure of an intelligence officer's identity.

    In a statement, Mr. Luskin said, "On June 12, 2006, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove."


That sound you hear are the hopes of the liberal left being dashed against the rocks of disappointment.

Posted by AlexC at 10:02 AM | Comments (8)
But silence dogood thinks:

Yeah, boys engage in tomfoolery. It takes real overly self assured men to really screw things up.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 2:56 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Oh yes, and I beleive the other argument in the Clinton era went something like "if he didn't do anything wrong, we wouldn't have had to spend so much money investigating him".

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 2:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Tomfoolery? Democrat attempts to manufacture "culture of corruption" examples can hardly be dismissed as practical jokes.

And if replacing a murderous dictatorship with a self-interested representative government is "really screw[ing] things up" then let's screw up some more, and damn fast.

By the way... did you notice that the de-facto leader of al Qaida was "neutralized" last week? Man, that USAF is some bunch of screw ups.

Seriously Silence, when I read that first comment I wondered why you forgot to include "neener neener." You've got better chops than that.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2006 3:15 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Did I miss a neener, neener opportunity? Damn. Seriously no one has to manufacture the culture of corruption, it has existed at least since Roman times. The only reason the Republicans are having more issues with it is that they are the party in power, fewer folks are trying to corrupt the minority party. As to the culture part, that has more to do with ethics definitions muddied for years by legalisms from both parties. It always amazed me how much more cut and dried the ethics rules were for me when I worked for a defense contractor than they are for the politicians that award the contracts.

And now for something completely different (to borrow from Monty Python) Silence's parable:

A homeowner has a horrible wine stain on his carpet so he calls a carpet cleaner. The cleaner conducts a phone conversation with the homeowner to assess the situation. He concludes that the combination of Bordeaux and that type of cut-pile warrants immediate and aggressive treatment, for the stain may continue to soak through fibers until the whole carpet is ruined. He arrives the next day to clean the stain, which as he surmised is very bad. It is so bad in fact that the only treatment is douse the affected area with lighter fluid and then the surrounding area with fire suppressant and burn the stain. His truck however is a little low on fire suppressant, but the chance of the stain spreading is so great he decides the treatment is necessary anyway. Unfortunately the fire does get out of control and begins to spread. In an attempt to control the blaze he piles all the most flammable materials in an area over in the corner away from which the fire is spreading. To his consternation a breeze through an open window, common this time of day, changes the fire's course and ignites the flammables. Through heroic efforts he manages to stem and then finally after several hours extinguish the fire. Now the cleaner must replace the carpet, and fast. He calls his buddy who sells carpet on the side to get a replacement piece. Lacking proper tacking tools he opts for an adhesive and even though it says the surfaces have to be clean and dry, his buddy assures him it will work anyway. They work feverishly and glue down all the carpet, but unfortunately as they reach the last corner they notice the first corner starting to peel up. They press it back down only to see it peel somewhere else. Round and round they go for an hour attempting to get the carpet to adhere. Finally in disgust the cleaner sends his buddy away and hires a carpet installer to properly install new carpet. The installer does not have the proper shade of gray though, so he substitutes a nice blue but does a fabulous job on the installation and the new carpet is flawless. The homeowner inspects the new carpet and declares the job a complete success.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 14, 2006 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Would I be disbarred if I said "Neneer-neener?"

I sense we may be agreeing that the "Special Prosecutor" function is fraught with peril. Better to encourage transparency and allow the voters to make decisions.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2006 3:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You've got me speechless Silence. I've already used the word "Huh?" once this week and that is my limit.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2006 2:28 PM

June 12, 2006

Geno's II

Maybe Joey Vento should have put a "we reserve the right to refuse anyone service" sign up instead.06122006genossign.jpg

    The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations will file a complaint later on Monday, effectively opening an agency case against Geno's Steaks of South Philadelphia, said Rachel Lawton, acting executive director of the agency.

    The Philadelphia controversy has fed a national debate over immigration in which the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would declare English the national language and politicians have raised objections to a Spanish version of the national anthem.

    The sign may violate the city's Fair Practices Ordinance, which bans businesses from discriminating on the basis of nationality or ethnicity, Lawton said.

    "The complaint will say that the sign discourages patronage by non-English speakers because of their national origin and/or ancestry," said Lawton, whose agency enforces the city's anti-discrimination laws.

    Geno's will be given a up to two weeks to respond and, if the agency determines the sign has violated the city ordinance, will be ordered to take the sign down. If the restaurant refuses, it will be subject to a $300 fine, Lawton said.


Mr Vento has no intention of taking the sign down.

Good for him.

I wonder if it's a $300 one time fine or $300 / day fine.

    Roberto Santiago, executive director of the city's Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, said he received around 50 "hate" e-mails in response to his criticism of the sign.

    One from California said groups like his should be banned for representing "filthy, illegal alien invaders", he said.

    "This is dividing this nation," he said.


Geno's or this "mulit-lingual" thing we've got going?
    "I'm really saddened by these individuals who are upset by having to be tolerant. I'm glad I'm living in an America where comments like Mr. Vento's are out of order."

First amendment and freedom expression be damned!

Geno's is probably forty miles from my house. But it might be time for a sandwich.

Update: I take that first part back. He already has that sign. (thanks to Chris)
capt.7db9963cb0964580b7dadf866ba2bd56.english_only_cheesesteaks_px106.jpg

Posted by AlexC at 3:10 PM

June 11, 2006

Laying Blame

Reuters

    A lawyer for Saudi nationals imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay said on Sunday he held U.S. authorities responsible for the deaths of two Saudi prisoners who hanged themselves at the U.S. naval base.

    Saudi Arabia, a staunch U.S. ally, said it was stepping up efforts to repatriate all nationals held at the base in Cuba.

    An Interior Ministry statement identified the two Saudis as Manei al-Otaibi and Yasser al-Zahrani but gave no further details about them. A Yemeni man also committed suicide.


Those meddling Americans (and their dog)! Let's blame them for the suicides.

I'm mean if it wasn't for those two buildings in New York, and that building in Washington (and the "potential" one).... let's not forget to blame the Americans for meddling in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Let's blame the Yanks.

Posted by AlexC at 10:24 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Well, perhaps if we followed the enlightened retention and interrogation procedures of, say Saudi Arabia, this kind of thing wouldn't happen. We should aspire to be more like them.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2006 9:31 AM

June 10, 2006

Haditha Hoax?

The American Thinker...

    Evidence accumulates of a hoax in Haditha. The weblog Sweetness & Light has done an estimable service gathering together the articles which cast substantial doubt on the charge of a massacre of civilians at Haditha . Because the blog is too busy gathering and fisking the news, I offered and the publisher accepted my offer to put what he has uncovered in a narrative form.

    Having done so, I can tell you that the story has a whiff of yet another mediagenic scandal like the TANG memos or the Plame outing. While the Marines quite correctly will not comment on the case pending the outcome of their investigation, I am not bound by those rules, and I will sum up the story for you.

Posted by AlexC at 10:19 AM

June 7, 2006

The Last Word on CA-50

50 Congressional Districts! Damn. That's a big state.

Anyway, Michael Barone gets the last word on this race.

Basically, bad news for both parties.

    Democrats had hopes that an enraged Democratic base would turn out in larger numbers proportionately than an apparently discouraged Republican base. That didn't happen. That's not a good sign for Democrats in November. Republicans won in 2002 and 2004 in large part because they won the battle of turnout: John Kerry won 16 percent more popular votes than Al Gore, but George W. Bush won 23 percent more popular votes in 2004 than in 2000. The totals from the California 50th suggest that Democrats are gaining only a very small advantage in differential turnout this year, even though the national polls show Bush in much worse shape than in 2004 and suggest that Republican Party identification is down slightly.
...
    The bad news for Republicans is that there is now more splintering on the right than on the left. Back in 2000, some 2 percent of voters nationally voted for Ralph Nader, even though there was no hot-button issue like Iraq to differentiate him from Al Gore. Less than 0.5 percent in contrast voted for Pat Buchanan. Conservatives were more unified than liberals. Now it seems to be the other way around. Discontent with Bush and/or the Republican Congress over immigration, spending, pork-barrel projects, the Dubai ports deal, the Republican leadership's protests over the search of Democrat Bill Jefferson's officeyou can probably add a few items to the listhas now evidently got more voters on the right willing to cast a protest vote.
Overall, he calls it worse for the Democrats.

Ok ok ok... Dean Barnett too.

    If Busby does go down to defeat, (which given the support she has received from the nutroots seems all but inevitable), and her ridiculous misstatement is a leading cause for said defeat, then the entire episode should prove instructive for those of us in the pundit class. It is true that the Republican Party has become frustrating on a good day, pathetic on a bad one. But in order to win all the individual races out there, the Democrats will have to provide a superior alternative. Given the state of the Democratic Party, this promises to be no easy feat.

    Youd have to say the California 50th race was a winnable one for the Democrats, even if it werent the year of a putative Democratic tidal wave. After all, the former Republican incumbent now sports an orange jump suit. And yet, it appears like it wont work out because the Democratic candidate just wasnt up to snuff.

Posted by AlexC at 11:06 PM

The Toronto Terrorists

I haven't linked to Lileks for a while.

But here's a must read.

    You're an enlightened world citizen. Your T-shirt says "9/11 was an inside job." You're pretty sure we're living in a fascist state, that President Bush taps the Dixie Chicks' phones, Christian abortion clinic bombers outnumber jihadis, and the war on "terror" is a distraction from the real threats: carbon emissions and Pat Robertson. Then you learn that 17 people were arrested in a terrorist bomb plot. How do you process the information? Let's take it step by step.

Posted by AlexC at 11:01 PM

Clinton vs Coulter

Ann Coulter really said something reprehensibly stupid today.

    Coulter writes in a new book, "Godless: The Church of Liberalism," that a group of New Jersey widows whose husbands perished in the World Trade Center act "as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them."

    She also wrote, "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."


For some reason, the Junior Senator from New York decided to get in on it.
    "Perhaps her book should have been called 'Heartless,'" the senator said. "I know a lot of the widows and family members who lost loved ones on 9/11. They never wanted to be a member of a group that is defined by the tragedy of what happened."

    The New York Democrat and former first lady said she found it "unimaginable that anyone in the public eye could launch a vicious, mean-spirited attack on people whom I've known over the last four and a half years to be concerned deeply about the safety and security of our country."


... and she was right to.

Of course this means there's a rebuttal from Ann.

    'Before criticizing others for being 'mean' to women, perhaps Hillary should talk to her husband who was accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick and was groping Kathleen Willey at the very moment Willey's husband was committing suicide.'

Hint to Hillary and other Democrat Coulter haters.

The more you talk about her, the richer she gets. Forget about her, eventually, she'll go away.

Just forget about her.

Here's a comment that surprised me from Phillyfuture.org

    Just a question: Why do extremists like Ann Coulter (any *current* examples of her ilk on the left? anybody?) get air time and page space by the media to espouse such hatred?

No liberal / leftists extremists? Is he serious?

Ted Rall is the most odious obvious example.

Posted by AlexC at 9:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Haven't found the goods yet but local talk radio host Mike Rosen, whom I trust implicitly, says the "enjoying their husband's deaths" comment is taken out of context.

She's a firebrand, yes, but let's see an example of factual error from her. I don't think you'll find many.

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2006 3:56 PM

June 5, 2006

East Timor

Wretchard brings the East Timor incident into perspective.

    Twelve innocent persons killed by a mistake in judgment, not by a teenaged soldiers, but the senior foreign commander on the scene who ignored the advice of his advisers. This caused an incident that almost threw an entire country into civil war, though there were tensions before that. And what was the foreign response? Don't cooperate with the investigation; then deny you said you wouldn't cooperate with the investigation. The finally cooperate when you've got no place else to run. But oops. This isn't a rogue state -- like America. This is the UN. Look to follow this story on page 55.

Posted by AlexC at 9:57 PM

May 31, 2006

Middle East Forum

Natan Sharansky and Rick Santorum

on

Religious Freedom, Democracy, and the Middle East

Moderated by Daniel Pipes

Monday, June 19, 2006

Registration: 6:00 p.m.
Program: 6:30 p.m. 7:45 p.m.

Centennial Auditorium, The Haverford School
450 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, Pennsylvania


To make reservations (it's free) email Prosser@Meforum.org

This sounds excellent. I will definately be attending. For those of you don't know (like my wife), a line from Natan Sharansky's The Case for Democracy inspired the name of this blog.

Read more for info on the speakers.

MK Natan Sharansky is a member of the Likud party delegation to the newly elected session of the Israeli parliament, as well as a former Soviet dissident and renowned human rights activist. First elected to parliament in 1996, he has served as deputy prime minister, minister of internal affairs, minister of industry and trade, and minister of Jerusalem affairs. Mr. Sharansky is a distinguished fellow at the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center and the author of Fear No Evil: The Classic Memoir of One Mans Triumph Over a Police State (Public Affairs) and The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror (Public Affairs).

Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is currently serving his second term in the United States Senate. Mr. Santorum established the Congressional Working Group on Religious Freedom, a bicameral group of members of Congress who meet regularly with groups representing oppressed individuals and religious groups around the globe. The working groups efforts raise awareness about countries in which abuses take place and promote religious freedom within these countries.
In addition to his efforts in the working group, Senator Santorum also introduced the Workplace Religious Freedom Act in March 2005. The bill will require employers to make reasonable accommodations for an employees religious practice or observance, such as time off and attire. Senator Santorum has long been active in working to raise the issue and importance of religious freedom, both domestically and internationally.

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and a columnist at the New York Sun, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and the Jerusalem Post. A former official in the U.S. Department of State, Mr. Pipes is the author of fourteen books on the Middle East, Islam, and other political topics. He was appointed by President Bush to the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, has testified before many congressional committees, and has served on four presidential campaigns.

Posted by AlexC at 4:16 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I am truly jealous -- post pix!!!!

Posted by: jk at May 31, 2006 5:31 PM

Hurricane Preparedness

NY Times on states and how they plan to prepare for the 2006 hurricane season.

    the main strategy, it seems, is to scare the multitudes of people who emergency officials say remain blas even after last year's record-breaking storm season.

    To persuade residents to heed evacuation orders, the Florida Division of Emergency Management is broadcasting public service announcements with recordings of 911 calls placed during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

    "The roof has completely caved in on us," a woman cries as chilling music swells, only to be told that rescuers cannot come out during the storm.

    Speaking of the tactics, Craig Fugate, Florida's emergency management director, said last week at a news conference in Tallahassee, "We're going to use a sledgehammer."

    This save-yourselves approach comes after government agencies were overwhelmed by pleas for help after last year's storms and strongly criticized as not responding swiftly or thoroughly enough to the public need. Now, officials have said repeatedly, only the elderly, the poor and the disabled should count on the government to help them escape a hurricane or endure its immediate aftermath.


That's amazing. Because here I thought government was supposed to take care of us. Now they're abdicating the duty!

At the end of day, the federal government will always be blamed. Because it's quite clear the states have washed their hands. Cities no doubt, as well.

Posted by AlexC at 3:56 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I'm not quite so willing to give up on Federalism just yet. New York City and State performed admirably in 9/11, and Mississippi and Texas performed well in Katrina (sure, Senator Lott tried to get $3/4 Billion in corporate welfare, but all are playing true to form...)

Just because America's own third-world nation insists on electing corrupt incompetents lake Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco does not mean we should turn everything over to the Feds.

Posted by: jk at May 31, 2006 7:04 PM
But AlexC thinks:

It's not about giving up on Federalism. It's on giving up on government.

Roughly speaking conservativism and liberalism disagrees on the role of government. Liberals contend government can do it for you. Conservatives say you can do it better.

If the government can't protect you from the weather, you have to.

Posted by: AlexC at June 1, 2006 11:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If government officials, be they federal, state, or local, can't distinguish the damage done to Americans by the weather from that done or threatened by hostile foreign humans, it shows us that our concern should not be over the efficacy of Federalism.

Posted by: johngalt at June 1, 2006 3:38 PM

May 27, 2006

Republican Bribery Scandal

CBSNews.com

    (CBS/AP) Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI director Robert Mueller signaled they would resign this week rather than give in to Congress in a dispute over an FBI raid on Rep. William Jefferson's Capitol Hill office, an administration official tells CBS News.

    Top law enforcement officials at the Justice Department and the FBI indicated to their counterparts at the White House that they could not, and were unwilling to, return documents to the Louisiana Republican which were seized as part of a bribery investigation.


Why those dirty Republicans and their culture of corruption!

Wait a minute. Rep Jefferson is a Democrat!

Funny how these errors all tend to go in one direction.
CBS_gop.jpg

Posted by AlexC at 8:08 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Inaccurate, but not fake -- is this a good sign?

Posted by: jk at May 29, 2006 12:46 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Progress, my friend!

Posted by: AlexC at May 29, 2006 1:51 PM

May 26, 2006

VDH on Immigration

We're entering a brave new world according to Victor Davis Hansen.

    Many Americans - perhaps out of understandable and well-meant empathy for the dispossessed who toil so hard for so little - support this present open system of non-borders. But I find nothing liberal about it.

    Zealots may chant Si, se puede! all they want. And the libertarian right may dress up the need for cheap labor as a desire to remain globally competitive. But neither can disguise a cynicism about illegal immigration, one that serves to prop up a venal Mexican government, undercut the wages of our own poor and create a new apartheid of millions of aliens in our shadows.

    We have the entered a new world of immigration without precedent. This current crisis is unlike the great waves of 19th-century immigration that brought thousands of Irish, Eastern Europeans and Asians to the United States. Most immigrants in the past came legally. Few could return easily across an ocean to home. Arrivals from, say, Ireland or China could not embrace the myth that our borders had crossed them rather than vice versa.

    Today, almost a third of all foreign-born persons in the United States are here illegally, making up 3 to 4 percent of the American population. It is estimated that the U.S. is home to 11 or 12 million illegal aliens, whose constantly refreshed numbers ensure there is always a perpetual class of unassimilated recent illegal arrivals. Indeed almost one-tenth of Mexico's population currently lives here illegally!

Posted by AlexC at 8:55 PM

May 23, 2006

Mainstreaming "Animal Rights" Terrorism

Michelle Malkin has an excellent video log piece on the movie Hoot. The message of the movie is to break the law and think like an outlaw. They mean this theory to be put into practice, not as an exercise of "talking heads."

And this issue is not a theoretical one, either. This is serious, and deadly. It has already resulted in the destruction of millions in commercial property, attacks on individuals' private property, destruction of important scientific work (work aimed at improving human health and life), physical, violent attacks on innocent people -- and murder.

Iain Murray, in Animal Rights, Human Wrongs, says:

Animal rights extremistswhom the FBI has labeled Americas biggest domestic terrorism threathave encountered a number of serious reverses recently. These reverses are a great victory for science, free inquiry, and public health. In particular, Americans could learn from a popular movement in Britain that is standing up to the threats and intimidation of the animal liberation movement and asserting the moral arguments for animal testing.

The poster child for animal liberation extremists has been Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), a British-based firm that conducts experiments on animals largely in the field of toxicology protection. In April 1997, the firm was found to have breached British animal protection laws and had its license revoked for three months. However, after that punishment was imposed a group of animal rights activists founded a gang called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) with the express aim of closing down HLS within three years. SHAC claims to be committed to non-violent direct action, targeting not just HLS but anyone connected or doing business with itwhether a director of the firm or a cleaner doing contract work for it.

In February 2001, HLS Managing Director Brian Casswho was later honored by Queen Elizabeth II for services to medical researchwas attacked by three men armed with pickaxe handles. HLS Marketing Director Andrew Gay was attacked with a chemical spray that temporarily blinded him. After SHAC started using public records to threaten HLS shareholders, the company relocated its financial center to the state of Maryland.

Oxford University had decided to consolidate its dispersed facilities into one biomedical research center on South Parks Road alongside its other famous scientific centers. The new center would replace existing laboratories and at the same time upgrade them, thereby increasing the welfare of the animals involved. To the extremists, however, it was too good a target to miss and they resolved to make its construction impossible.

Threats were issued. The first contractor, Walter Lilly, pulled out of construction after SPEAK, the group coordinating activities against the new facility, began hosting demonstrations against it. It was during one of these demonstrations that on January 29 this year, a 16 year-old high school dropout named Laurie Pycroft thought that enough was enough. He spontaneously organized a small counterdemonstration in favor of the benefits of animal research and with it Pro Test was born (http://www.pro-test.org.uk/).

Coincidentally, the most infamous of all the animal rights extremist movements, the Animal Liberation Front, got involved at about the same time. In a press release dated February 2, the ALF announced:

This is just the beginning of our campaign of devastation against ANYONE linked in ANY way to Oxford University. Every individual and business that works for the University as a whole is now a major target of the ALF. The University have [sic] made a crass decision to take us on and we will never let them win!

This ALF team is calling out to the movement to unite and fight against the University on a maximum impact scale, we must stand up, DO WHATEVER IT TAKES and blow these f***ing monsters off the face of the planet. We must target professors, teachers, heads, students, investors, partners, supporters and ANYONE that dares to deal in any part of the University in any way.

There is no time for debate and there is no time for protest, this is make or break time and from now on, ANYTHING GOES.

We cannot fail these animals that will end up in those death chambers.

Be warned, Oxford University, this is only the beginning of our campaign. Everyone linked to your institution is right now being tracked down and sooner or later, they will be made to face the consequences of your evil schemes.


Apparently, this made legitimate targets of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and your present writer, among others. It also woke up about 18,000 students to the realization that they were now at risk of attack from a terrorist organization.

As a result, within a month of its founding, Pro Test was able to host a major rally in Oxford, with over 1,000 people attending...

In their words, their thoughts, and their actions, these people are evil. The ALF is not the only group who commits such atrocities.

So when they say to "break the rules" and "think like an outlaw" -- they mean it. And the producers of the movie cannot say they are unaware of such evil practices; they therefore condone and support them.

The movie is, basically, a call to violence -- serious, real, physical violence.

We are not talking an isolated issue, here, either. "Animal Rights" and Ecoterrorism have gone on for decades, occurs all over the US, and occurs in other countries. In "The Threat of Eco-Terrorism" -- testimony given by James F. Jarboe, Domestic Terrorism Section Chief, Counterterrorism Division, FBI, before the House Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health on February 12, 2002 -- Mr. Jarboe says:

Good morning Chairman McInnis, Vice-Chairman Peterson, Congressman Inslee and Members of the Subcommittee. I am pleased to have the opportunity to appear before you and discuss the threat posed by eco-terrorism, as well as the measures being taken by the FBI and our law enforcement partners to address this threat. During the past decade we have witnessed dramatic changes in the nature of the terrorist threat. In the 1990s, right-wing extremism overtook left-wing terrorism as the most dangerous domestic terrorist threat to the country. During the past several years, special interest extremism, as characterized by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), has emerged as a serious terrorist threat. Generally, extremist groups engage in much activity that is protected by constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly. Law enforcement becomes involved when the volatile talk of these groups transgresses into unlawful action. The FBI estimates that the ALF/ELF have committed more than 600 criminal acts in the United States since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of 43 million dollars. In recent years, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has become one of the most active extremist elements in the United States. Despite the destructive aspects of ALF's operations, its operational philosophy discourages acts that harm "any animal, human and nonhuman." Animal rights groups in the United States, including the ALF, have generally adhered to this mandate. The ALF, established in Great Britain in the mid-1970s, is a loosely organized movement committed to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals. The American branch of the ALF began its operations in the late 1970s. Individuals become members of the ALF not by filing paperwork or paying dues, but simply by engaging in "direct action" against companies or individuals who utilize animals for research or economic gain. "Direct action" generally occurs in the form of criminal activity to cause economic loss or to destroy the victims' company operations. The ALF activists have engaged in a steadily growing campaign of illegal activity against fur companies, mink farms, restaurants, and animal research laboratories.


In February 2001, teenagers Jared McIntyre, Matthew Rammelkamp, and George Mashkow all pleaded guilty, as adults, to title 18 U.S.C. 844(i), Arson, and 844(n), Arson Conspiracy. These charges pertain to a series of arsons and attempted arsons of new home construction sites in Long Island, New York. An adult, Connor Cash, was also arrested on February 15, 2001, and charged under the same federal statutes. Jared McIntrye stated that these acts were committed in sympathy of the ELF movement. The New York Joint Terrorism Task Force played a significant role in the arrest and prosecution of these individuals.

On April 20, 1997, Douglas Joshua Ellerman turned himself in and admitted on videotape to purchasing, constructing, and transporting five pipe bombs to the scene of the March 11, 1997, arson at the Fur Breeders Agricultural co-op in Sandy, Utah. Ellerman also admitted setting fire to the facility. Ellerman was indicted on June 19, 1997 on 16 counts, and eventually pleaded guilty to three. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and restitution of approximately $750,000. Though this incident was not officially claimed by ALF, Ellerman indicated during an interview subsequent to his arrest that he was a member of ALF. This incident was investigated jointly by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

Movies like "Hoot" need to be attacked mercilessly -- verbally and economically, not in ALF fashion.

(In the "Extended Entry" are a few articles giving you more exposure to the ALF.)

A story from CNN says:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Violent animal rights extremists and eco-terrorists now pose one of the most serious terrorism threats to the nation, top federal law enforcement officials say.

Senior officials from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) and Explosives told a Senate panel Wednesday of their growing concern over these groups.

Of particular concern are the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).

John Lewis, the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, said animal and environmental rights extremists have claimed credit for more than 1,200 criminal incidents since 1990. The FBI has 150 pending investigations associated with animal rights or eco-terrorist activities, and ATF officials say they have opened 58 investigations in the past six years related to violence attributed to the ELF and ALF.


Here is a file documenting some of the ALFs damage. Its on the ALF site guess they are bragging and proud of it??? Here is an excerpt, but the whole thing is worth reading and remembering:

In July 1989, without warning, Animal Liberation Front activists entered a laboratory and office at Texas Tech University's Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas.

So begins the description of an incident designated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an act of domestic terrorism.

The laboratory was the center of research on sleeping disorders, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, conducted by Dr. John Orem. When the ALF raiders quit the premises, they left damaged and disabled equipment and slogans spray-painted on the walls and stole five adult research-conditioned cats. Immediately after the invasion, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals aired ALF's statement justifying theft of the cats and Orem and his research became a target of vicious harassment.

The laboratory was effectively closed for 45 days. Total direct and indirect costs of the break-in was estimated at more than $1 million after equipment was repaired or replaced, new cats were purchased, additional security was installed, and inactive staff was paid.


The UK Telegraph had a story this year entitled "Terrorists In Our Midst." Here is an excerpt:

Last week, Tony Blair jutted out his chin and declared himself determined to hurl the full force of the law against anybody who dared to "glorify" terrorism. There were many, ourselves among them, who wondered what this ill-defined offence would add to a statute book already well stocked with laws against incitement to violence.

But if Mr Blair really wishes to get tough on apologists for terrorism, he should direct the attention of the police and the prosecuting authorities to Bite Back, an American-based website. This is where members of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) anonymously boast, week after week, about the crimes that they have committed in the name of "animal rights" - arson, assault, vandalism and threats of murder.

A typical announcement, posted on Valentine's Day, celebrated a raid on the house of the head of animal testing at a pharmaceutical company: "We slashed all the tyres on his large, silver vehicle. We poured paint stripping fluids on the paintwork and covered his house and car in at least 20 different slogans We are sick and tired of having to track down murdering scum like you Your time is up."

Posted by Cyrano at 9:19 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Continue reading? You mean, there's more??

;)

Posted by: johngalt at May 24, 2006 3:22 PM

May 7, 2006

Bonds @ 713

NBC10.comasterisk.gif

    Barry Bonds hit his 713th home run Sunday night, moving within one of tying Babe Ruth for second place on baseball's career list.

    The San Francisco Giants' slugger hit a mammoth shot in the sixth inning off Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Jon Lieber, sending a 2-1 pitch off the facade of the right-field upper deck. He took a slow trot around the bases, and some Phillies fans even stood up and clapped.


He's still a stinkin' bum.

Posted by AlexC at 11:04 PM | Comments (3)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Two things came to mind this week about Barry Bonds:

1) If it weren't for this perverted idea of "the purity of the game" every pitcher from day 1 should have either plunked him, pitched around him, or intentionally walked him until he got the hint and retired!

2) Failing that, I believe its inevitable that he's going to get indicted by the federal grand jury investigated some of the peripheral BALCO claims. WHEN it happens, Bud Selig better have the common sense to order his entire SF record purged (seeing as he didn't bulk up until after he left the Pirates in '93).

If part of that bothers you, then consider that I also support the same be done to McGwire and Sosa if they, too, are found guilty of juicing up.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 8, 2006 8:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Would somebody please explain to me why Bonds is the anti-Christ? In order to do this I think you'll also have to tell me why steroid use is evil (other than it being against the law (like speeding) or against the rules (like corked bats.))

Why do red-blooded, cash lovin' capitalists endorse regulation of professional athletic competitors when they'd never stand still for limits on corporate competition?

Posted by: johngalt at May 10, 2006 10:49 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm gonna let the baseball guys cover that but I am glad you brought it up. My understanding is that the game relies so heavily on statistics and history that the real crime is being unable to compare Bonds to Ruth fairly.

A writer in TNR asked an interesting question as well. What if there were the equivalent for mental professions? What if you could "juice" your IQ up 10 points, increase your memory and focus with the same risks these athletes face? What if other engineers were doing it and your career was being held back?

The article contended that journalists would have a different outlook on it. I think that is true.

Posted by: jk at May 11, 2006 9:52 AM

April 22, 2006

Dark Days Ahead

It is my view that world events are bad and are going to get worse. Not that there will be a war -- there is already a world war. If you are informed about world events, you recognize this.

The blogger Fjordman has two good essays here and here. Excerpts are in the "extended entry."

Multiculturalism is part of America's and Europe's problem, but more fundamentally the problem is bad epistemology: the theory of human cognition. You are seeing people unable to recognize evil and fight it, because they are unable to define the nature of evil -- as well as the good -- and integrate that idea into the whole of their knowledge.

They cannot define evil because they don't take ideas seriously (they say "we must be practical" or if they are in government, 'we must not upset the balance of power'), they don't recognize intellectually that things have identity (they say "everyone sees things different" or "how do you know" or "it's all relative" or 'what's good for you isn't necessarily good for me'), they don't know the rules of definition, they generally don't relate ideas together, they generally can't see an idea in a larger context.

In short, we will loose this war because people in general are too stupid to think. Not that it's their fault -- they are products of the modern educational system, which is a system designed to destroy the capacity of reason in every individual. (And of egoism.)

Not sure about that? Check out the "intellectual" products of the educational system, such as the news -- reporting is horrible. Their writing is poor. They have trouble gathering relevant facts and checking validity, and they have trouble putting things in context (especially of reality!!!). Reporting is concrete-bound -- it deals mostly in the here-and-now, and has little cause-effect relationships in it.

Modern politicians, another "intellectual" product of the educational system, produces people who don't even know what our government represents or what its history is. I wonder how many have read Locke's "Two Treatises of Government?"

How, after all, can you reconcile the facts about Islam, the history of Islam over the past 50 years -- hell, the history of Islam over the past 1300 years -- and current events, with Bush's taking no action toward Iran or Palestine? You can't reconcile it, because it is irreconcilable: it is irrational. He is out of touch with the facts. (And I am NO Bush-basher, I am NO damned lefty.)

Or read Dewey and Kant and investigate our educational system for yourself.

Multiculturalism is, by comparison, just window dressing. It's just a device of power-lusting, wanna-be intellectuals to rule over people -- until the real pros, that is, come along: the barbarians. But it does have an important, moral element to it: altruism, giving up your own ideas and values for those of another culture. Reason in contrast is egoistic.

It is not until people can use reason (a conceptual faculty, which integrates knowledge) and logic (man's means of conceptually knowing reality; the methods by which reason functions properly) -- not until people can say and understand that "a thing is what it is" -- that they will be able to say "Iran and Islamism is evil, therefore we must destroy them." That's the world we live in: a world of cause and effect.

Thank goodness volition is in the equation; thank goodness our destruction is not deterministic. There is the element of choice to consider.

But looking at all the facts, I say we are doomed.

(I thank Ayn Rand for these insights: 1) the importance of epistemology, and (2) the relationship between corrupt intellectuals and barbarians.)

From: http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2006/04/fall-of-france-and-multicultural-world.html

In my essay about the retreat of the Western world order, I mentioned the possibility of civil strife in the West caused by runaway immigration. This is no longer just a theoretical possibility. It is pretty clear to anybody following the developments in Europe that the situation in France is starting to become rather serious. President Jacques Chirac threw out part of a youth labor law that triggered massive protests and strikes, bowing to intense pressure from students and unions. The unemployment rate for youths under 26 is a staggering 22 percent nationwide, but soars to nearly 50 percent in some of those troubled areas with many Muslim immigrants. French Jews are leaving the country in ever-growing numbers, fleeing a wave of anti-Semitism. Nidra Poller, American ex-pat writer and translator in Paris, has written some appalling stories about aggressive anti-Semitism, such as the murder and brutal torture of French Jew Ilan Halimi early in 2006.

Muslim blogs are calling for violence against the Jews, the whites and the well-to-do. They say, We must burn France, as Hamas will burn Israel. The growth of the Islamic population is explosive. According to some, one out of three babies born in France is now a Muslim. Around 70% of French prisoners are Muslims. Hundreds of Muslim ghettos are already de facto following sharia, not French law. Some have pointed out that the French military are not always squeamish, but there are estimates that 15% of the armed forces are already made up of Muslims, and rising. How effective can the army then be in upholding the French republic? At the same time, opinion polls show that the French are now officially the most anti-capitalist nation on earth. France has chosen Socialism and Islam. It will get both, and sink into a quagmire of its own making. Some believe France will quietly become a Muslim country, others believe in civil war in the near future:

Im not sure which of these scenarios [slow Islamization of France over a generation, or a civil war in the next few years] is scarier. People keep talking about the nukes that the Iranians may get, but what about the hundreds of nuclear warheads the French have? Will they be used to intimidate the rest of the West? How do we handle an Islamic France, still the heartland of the European continent, with Muslim control of hundreds of nukes? And how do we handle a Bosnia or Lebanon with a population much larger than either of these countries, and with hundreds of nuclear warheads at stake?



The population movements we are witnessing now are the largest and fastest in human history. In Europe, they can only be compared to the period often referred to as the Migration Period, following the disintegration of the Roman Empire. However, during the 4th and 5th centuries, the total human population of the world was in the order of 200 million. Today, it is 30 times larger than that, and still growing fast. We also have communications that can transport people anywhere on earth within hours, and media that show ordinary people how much better life is in other countries. On top of that, the Romans didnt have human rights lawyers advocating that millions of barbarians be let into their lands. Is it a coincidence that the last time we had migrations like this was when large parts of the European continent suffered a complete civilizational breakdown? Is that what we are witnessing now? The second fall of Rome?



The Islamic world is now at war with most of the major powers on the planet at the same time, from the USA to India and from Russia to Western Europe. It is a real possibility that we will get a full-blown world war because of these events. If so, I dont think this will happen 50 years from now, but within the coming generation.

***************************************************************************

From: http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2006/04/retreat-of-western-world-order.html

Samuel P. Huntingtons The Clash of Civilizations thesis has generated a lot of debate, and some justified criticism. He has been accused of simplification, but also for underestimating the case of Islam. Huntington does talk about the bloody borders of the Islamic world. However, he has also stated that there is nothing implicit in Islamic teachings that has created the current turmoil among Muslims, but rather the huge number of young men, the primary instigators of violence in any culture. This is obviously not the case. If Huntington had read books such as The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew Bostom or Onward Muslim Soldiers by Robert Spencer, he would have understood that Jihad and aggressive violence have been intimately related to Islam on three continents for 1300 years. Yes, an abundance of young men as cannon fodder for war or demographic Jihad certainly helps, but this situation was created by the contents of Islamic core texts.



Maybe future historians will label this age the retreat of the Western world order. I say retreat of because it is not yet certain that this is the end of the Western world order, although that is a possibility. These massive changes and the real or perceived weakness of the Western civilization that has been dominant globally for centuries could very well create a new world war. Multiculturalism and the inability or unwillingness of Western nations to uphold their borders from massive immigration is viewed by Muslims as an invitation for attack and a signal that their ancient Western rival is weak and ripe for conquest. This is no doubt the background for the ongoing aggressive posture by the Iranian president, among others. We should take this dead seriously, because it is meant that way.

Muslims really do believe that the time has now come for overthrowing the West and putting Islam into the global, dominant position it should have according to their scriptures. They will spare no efforts, including nuclear war, in achieving this goal. The Iranian president has quite openly stated that Islam will soon rule the world, which implies that they will have to destroy or subdue the West. Al-Qaeda strategists have earlier outlined a schedule for awakening the Islamic world and crushing the West, with a timeline stretching over the coming fifteen to twenty years. They still stick to this plan, which means that tensions are bound to escalate even further in the near future. Westerners need to understand that a world war of sorts with the Islamic world is already inevitable by now, no matter what we do.

Posted by Cyrano at 1:43 AM | Comments (7)
But Cyrano thinks:

Balderdash squared.

Freedom is not a primary. Let's not turn to Buffy, but to history. "Freedom" hasn't helped the French since the 1790's. It hasn't helped Afghanistan or Iraq.

Furthermore, ancient Greece and Rome show how cultures can decay.

America can, too. Since the 1800's, we have lost freedom -- in spite of having it aplenty, and having a good understanding of it.

What has made the difference is cognitive corruption. It is only reason that can grasp the identity of freedom, discover how freedom fits in the whole of human life, and defend it, in word and action.

It is only reason and rationality which can be our savior.

Posted by: Cyrano at April 22, 2006 9:47 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Balderdash cubed. (the exponents they are a rising) We have lost freedom since the 1800's? How about if you are female or African American, still stand by that statement?

JK you forgot the mother of 70's fears, global thermonuclear war. I watched the movie War Games with my daughters the other day and they, being born 10 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain just didn't get it at all, simply no concept of what I took almost as a foregone conclusion at their age.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at April 23, 2006 3:19 AM
But jk thinks:

Missing from my comment, Cyrano, was the admission that I am in no way sanguine about France. I hope she survives with some Gaullist nature intact, but I'm not betting either way.

It is possible much of Western Europe will fall, and it's not impossible that the US will lose ground in freedom.

I see freedom on the rise, however, in Eastern Europe and feel that India and China, the archetypes of socialism and communism, will become freer and that free economies will continue their dominance.

You say freedom hasn't helped Afghanistan or Iraq. Really? Life was just swell under the Taliban and those wacky Husseins. I'd happily turn to history there to make my case. Women voting in Kuwait. Opposition parties in Egypt. Lebanon lifted from Syrian oppression. I count the Middle East as a net gain of freedom with a high potential for more gains.

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2006 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

But Cyrano is correct that even America's glorious reign as the worldwide beacon of freedom CAN come to an end. "The tree of freedom must, from time to time, be refreshed with the blood of tyrants." But how can this happen if you can't tell a tyrant from Bill Maher?

The decades old disintegration of American education IS destroying reason and egoism in the abstract, but the one thing that keeps getting "idiot cowboys" like George W. Bush elected is the visceral reason and egoism endemic to every red-blooded American not mainlining meth. This reason and egoism has a name, and that name is "selfishness." It is why Americans always vote their pocketbook, and it is why they always elect the hawk when America is threatened abroad.

The intellectual failures of post-modern America that Cyrano paints are very real, and they will continue to delay the new renaissance until the day they are universally renounced. But this blue-collar, down home, "go ahead, make my day" selfishness of the American spirit is what will be the final bulwark against the advancing forces of the dark ages in this country and, I think, also in western and eastern Europe. It is what warrants JK's optimism.

Selfishness, like our thirst for "badonkadonk," is irrefutable, imperishable and indomitable.

Posted by: johngalt at April 25, 2006 9:24 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And another thing! (Damn I miss Dennis Miller sometimes.)

Yes, even females and "African Americans" (whatever that means) have lost freedoms. Punitive taxation may have been designed to punish "rich white folk" but to the extent you are financially successful you are less free to keep what you've earned. And who ever heard of imminent domain in 1799? I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting, and hopefully Cyrano will enumerate further, but the continual navel gazing about slavery and women's suffrage in this country is downright unproductive. Particularly in a world that includes Sharia Law and international human trafficking (also, unsurprisingly, a booming business in certain middle east countries.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 25, 2006 11:29 AM
But jk thinks:

I took an Economics class from a member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. I had this as an essay question, and I knew that he wanted me to decry the government impingements on freedom from taxes and regulation.

I threw a curve at him, briefly mentioning the democratic freedoms afforded to women and minorities. But my main thesis was that economic freedoms are more pronounced today, and that these superseded those that we have lost to government. It's nice if the gub'mint leaves you alone, but if you have to work 24 x 7 on your sustenance farm, are you not less free than a guy who is hit with outrageous taxes and regulations, but who can work out of his home, write code, produce CDs, and have a blog?

(He didnt like it either, but he grudgingly gave me a good grade as I recall.)

Posted by: jk at April 25, 2006 1:18 PM

April 13, 2006

Chocolate Bunny Outlaws

Last month AlexC blogged the Saint Paul, Minnesota "human rights director's" unilateral and unsolicited ban of easter bunny displays on city property. JK warned that, "If chocolate bunnies are outlawed only outlaws will have chocolate bunnies."

Now, via email, we dare to publish CARTOON IMAGES of chocolate bunnies.

chocolatebunnies.bmp

Prepare yourselves for the backlash.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:51 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Infidel!

Posted by: jk at April 13, 2006 11:22 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

ROFLMAO!!!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 13, 2006 7:52 PM

April 11, 2006

A President's Best Friend

If George Tenet deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the certainly Scott McClellan is due one ... or at least combat pay. Check out the tenacity of this guy in the April 7th press briefing. Never gives an inch, never acknowledges inconsistency of positions, holds the line. Well done Mr. McClellan.

Posted by LatteSipper at 3:58 PM

April 7, 2006

Disturbing revelations or liberal media blather?

Here are three different articles on information in the court papers recently filed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in "U.S. v. I. Lewis Scooter Libby" : Fox News , Washington Post , FindLaw (I was unable to get a story from the Wall Street Journal - they either didn't cover it or my non-subscriber status prevented me from finding it.)

I'm interested to hear the group's take on this. Is the whole leak investigation story much ado about nothing, or is there something to be concerned about here?

Posted by LatteSipper at 12:43 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

The Wall Street Journal (remember, the news pages are as liberal as any, only the Editorial Page is right wing) has the headline "Libby Trial to Spotlight Bush Tactics" and the lede says "...signaling Mr. Libby's coming criminal trial threatens to renew questions about the invasion of Iraq and the White House's dealings with detractors."

I'll see if either of our token Democrats want to play, but the President has the power to declassify classified information. Public opinion is important and it seems that sacrificing some secrecy for support is valid. If I believed that he did it only to harm an opponent, I would be displeased, but the White House was countering a lie made by Wilson.

Got to go for the AP Headline for succinctness: "Bush Approved Leaks"

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2006 1:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One of the many criticisms that might actually have merit is that the classified information was not actually declassified. It was "leaked" and then kept in its confidential status.

Can't say whether this is actually how it went down but if it did, why?

(This is about as much investigation as I have been willing to devote to this massively overhyped story.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2006 2:36 PM
But AlexC thinks:

It's too insider baseball for anyone to care. Including me.

Austin Bay had a pretty good take.
http://austinbay.net/blog/?p=1025

"The sudden press flap over Scooter Libbys alleged revelation that President Bush declassified intelligence information related to Iraq is silly but all too predictable. The entire flap relies on mixing terms and misunderstanding by innuendo a technique of demagoguery, not journalism. The flap is yet more evidence that the national press is more interested in playing gotcha with the Bush Administration than reporting the news."

Posted by: AlexC at April 7, 2006 3:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Hard to argue with Glenn's assessment at Instapundit. Professor Reynols says:

"My take: The latest 'Bush leaked' story -- which doesn't hold up very well when you look at the actual story -- is basically a 'spoiling attack' by the NYT and other media who fear subpoenas in the Libby case. As with all their efforts on this front, it's likely to backfire. The more they say that leaks are bad, even as they rely on politically motivated leaks from insiders for their bread and butter , the more vulnerable they become. That's why the Plame affair has been more damaging for them, long-term, than for Bush. Bush will be leaving in a couple of years, but the Times and other media will be living with the world they've created, and I predict that their position in this regard will be no better if a Democrat is elected in 2008."

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2006 1:02 PM

April 3, 2006

Beisboll Been Berry Berry Good to Me

One thing I really dig about baseball is the endless persuit of statistics.

Witness.

    A three-time All-Star shortstop, [Jimmy] Rollins nearly helped the Phillies reach the playoffs by hitting .379 during his streak. Philadelphia finished one game behind National League wild-card winner Houston despite Rollins' effort.

    Now Rollins has his sights on breaking DiMaggio's 65-year-old record. There is a catch, though, because DiMaggio did it in the same season. The major league marks for longest hitting streak in one season and longest hitting streak spanning two seasons are separate records.

    DiMaggio holds both marks with his 56-game streak in 1941, but there is a difference in the NL records: Pete Rose (1978) and Willie Keeler (1897) share the NL mark at 44 games. However, Keeler got a hit in his final game of 1896, so his run of 45 games overall is the first record Rollins can chase.

    "You have to start over in your approach," Rollins said. "There's no pennant chase now, so I'm going to have to find other things to focus on."

    Rollins' hitting streak is the ninth-longest over one season in big league history, and the longest in the majors since 1987, when Paul Molitor hit safely in 39 consecutive games. The old Phillies franchise record of 31 was set by Ed Delahanty in 1899.

    The colder weather certainly won't help Rollins. He has never hit well in April, compiling a .227 average during that month over the last two years.


Rollins currently stands at 36 consecutive games with a hit, so he's got to get at least 20.

Posted by AlexC at 11:53 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:
But AlexC thinks:

8th inning double baby!

Posted by: AlexC at April 3, 2006 8:13 PM

March 9, 2006

The Port Deal

Is it a win? ... and for whom?

    United Arab Emirates-owned DP World said Thursday it would transfer its operations of American ports to a U.S. "entity" after congressional leaders reportedly told President Bush that the firm's takeover deal was essentially dead on Capitol Hill.

    "Because of the strong relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the United States and to preserve that relationship ... DP World will transfer fully the U.S. operations of P&O Operations North America to a United States entity," Edward H. Bilkey, DP World's chief operating officer, said in a statement.


Lets hope it's Halliburton.

A good American company.

Posted by AlexC at 4:36 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I think it's a huge loss for freedom. A moderate Muslim nation that has supported the US in the War on Terror has been told that it is not allowed to compete on a level playing field with other companies.

And the protectionists have allied with the xenophobes to help do their part to diminish wealth creation. A very bad day and deal all 'round.

Robert Green makes a great case in TCS that the Dubai sale would improve port security: http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=030906B

Posted by: jk at March 9, 2006 4:48 PM
But AlexC thinks:

We've spent the last five years actively hunting terrorists across the globe. It's not lost on Americans that those terrorists are from one culture.

That's the message.

Posted by: AlexC at March 9, 2006 11:52 PM
But jk thinks:

We fought Japanese, Germans, and Soviet Satellites for more years. When they wanted to play by civilized rules, we welcomed them into world markets.

What you describe is natural and -- trust me -- after the cartoon wars I find it hard not to succumb. But I still believe in trade and still believe that the ultimate solution is to integrate the moderate member nations into world markets.

Yeah, the UAE shuns Israel. China thinks she has sovereignty over Taiwan and exercises it over Tibet. Trade will someday make both the UAE and China better to those who live there.

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2006 10:27 AM
But AlexC thinks:

We defeated all those countries first, THEN welcomed them as partners in Western Civilzation and world markets.

Which country should we defeat that will solve our quickly solve our problem with Islamofacism? The democracy in Iraq strategy is a long term one.

Nazism, Communism and Japanese Nationalism were all based around a nation.

Fascism went down to defeat in the 40s because the whole world rallied against it.

It took 50 years to defeat communism, and that was working with some strong allies, some tepid "Americans are better than the Soviets, for now" (ie Old Europe), and seemingly the rest of the world with the Soviets.... and it was with rational actors as enemies.

Islamofascism is not a rational actor, it's in a lot of places, and with global trade and travel the way it is, can we well afford (or willing to do what it takes) to wage a war with these guys for 50 years? They've been sharpening their knives for 700 years.

Now, of course the UAE is not a sponsor of Islamic terror, but democracies are fickle, and sometimes they throw the baby out with the bathwater, for this reason. Trust is hard to earn, but easy to lose.

Posted by: AlexC at March 10, 2006 12:55 PM

March 3, 2006

Hillary, Meet Bill

I realize that both the former President and the Junior Senator are busy people and could be anywhere in the world.

But if they were ever talking to each other, you'd think this would come up.

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton revealed yesterday that her husband never confided in her that he was advising Dubai leaders on how to ease opposition to the deal in Congress - where she's been one of its loudest critics.

    The surprising turn came yesterday when the senator was asked if her husband had ever mentioned that he was helping officials in charge of the state-owned Dubai Ports World.

    She said he hadn't - then quickly tried to take back the admission, saying, "That's . . . I mean, as far as I know, he supports my position and has said so publicly."

    Bill Clinton has hailed Dubai as "a good ally to America [that is] trying to build a new Middle East, they really are" - all while agreeing that congressional critics have a legitimate gripe.

    The former first lady has been among the most vocal congressional bashers of the Bush administration-backed $6.8 billion sale, a deal that includes commercial operations at New York's port and five other major U.S. harbors.


"So, Bill, whatcha been up to?
"Well, Hill, I've been advising the UAE on a deal."

See? Not so hard. It's hard to believe that they didn't talk. But it's possible.

It's even more remote that Hillary knew of Bill's discussions and decided to rail against them.

That would be nuts.

Posted by AlexC at 12:14 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

There's a simple explanation: Bill likes the brothels in UAE. (And they just revive bad memories for Hillary.)

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_13548.shtml (see mentions of UAE)

Posted by: johngalt at March 3, 2006 3:25 PM

February 13, 2006

Bird-shot Gate?

Yes, the Vice President accidentally shot a fellow hunter. Thankfully that man will fully recover.

But that doesn't stop the feeding frenzy.

    But GMA host Charlie Gibson later claimed that there was "growing political fallout" from the incident, wondering:
    "Why didn't the White House tell everyone when this accident happened? Why did they wait so long and did that make a bad situation even worse?"

    Normally, the MSM loves to hate talk radio and the pajamahadeen of the blogosphere, but when it suits their purposes . . . ABC White House reporter Jessica Yellin stated that it took the VP's office nearly 24 hours to go public with the incident, adding:

    "That delay has prompted speculation online and on talk radio that perhaps Mr. Cheney was hoping to cover up the incident.


So the media that refuses to show the cartoons that have lead to the deaths of nine and riots in the Muslim world is demanding to know about the delay?

I'm tempted to mention something about delaying the reporting of a certain vehicle belonging to a certain Senator driving off of a bridge into a certain body of water killing a certain woman. But I will refrain.

Posted by AlexC at 2:53 PM