Thursday, December 27, 2007

Horrible News From Pakistan: Benazir Bhutto Assassinated


Heard this on the radio on the way home from the airport: the former prime minister of Pakistan, who returned in October to campaign in the country's upcoming elecions, was assassinated earlier today.

My husband put it pithily, and he was exactly on point: "Awful. And it was really just a matter of time."

Yes, it was. As the above-linked story describes, an attempt was made on her life the very day she returned to Pakistan for the first time in eight years. (Gee, welcome home.) And, the list of people who wanted her dead is not exactly short -- from the Taliban and the warlords supporting them (who hate her for siding with the U.S. against radical Islam), to military officials who stood to lose by her party's rise to power.

Al Qaeda wasted no time taking credit for her death, though U.S. intelligence has not confirmed their claim. While details of who is responsible for the day's events are still emerging, this horror show has all the elements of a typical Al Qaeda bloodfest:

The former prime minister was murdered by an attacker who shot her in the neck and chest after a campaign rally and then blew himself up....

At least 20 others were also killed in the homicide bombing that immediately followed Bhutto's shooting....

[A]n Associated Press reporter saw body parts and flesh scattered at the back gate of the Liaqat Bagh park, where Bhutto had spoken. He counted about 20 bodies, including police, and could see many other wounded people.


Religion of peace, indeed.

I send my condolences to the family of Benazir Bhutto and the other innocents killed or harmed in today's madness. I wish Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, the best of luck keeping his (nuclear) tinderbox of a country under control in the coming weeks, while allowing citizens to grieve. And, to the extent that it is ever appropriate to wish for something good to come out of violence, I fervently hope that the blood shed today will give a few million Pakistanis -- and a good number of Westerners too -- the incentive they need to join our fight.

Godspeed, good lady.

BENEDICK ADDS: More than 50% of the Pakistani population support bin Laden. Musharraf is a barely-tolerable but responsible caretaker of the nukes. And he won't be around forever. Stay tuned for Democrats to start telling us -- once the jihadis take power -- that we need to talk nicely and that we shouldn't be "imperialist" by trying actively to prevent them from nuking Western countries. Iran, Pakistan, nukes . . . hmph. It's all falling into place for the Friends of Jihad we call the Left.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Can't . . . Resist . . . Urge . . .

. . . to make jokes: Tiger Escapes S.F. Zoo Cage and Kills 1.

"Local liberals insist victim had it coming, citing 'human imperialism,' and 'radicalizing depredations of capitalism' as root causes of third-world tiger's rage."

Religion of Peace Update

Via the Jawa Report, see what happens when a Muslim man suspects his wife of infidelity. You may be shocked by the images (warning: they are graphic), but at this point can you really be surprised?

Meanwhile, American Feminists had this to say on the matter:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

OXY-Clinton

Classic. I wish my brother were ambivalent about Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

*GASP*

What's that, you say? The New York Times? Publishing a misleading, anti-White House trope? And having to issue a correction when called out on the inaccuracy? Where have I heard that before?

Oh yeah. Here. And here.

(And here.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Uses of Science I Approve Of

A Study That Shows How I Managed Not to Fall Flat on My Face Whilst Pregnant

As Benedick will attest -- and oh, will he ever enjoy doing so -- yours truly was a sight to behold during the last few months of pregnancy. Let me explain: when not gestating, I'm about five foot one in thick socks and, though no Olsen twin am I, decidedly petite.

So, when I gained 45 pounds during pregnancy -- and every bloody ounce of it went to my belly -- I looked incredibly silly.

And by silly, I mean to say, like a snake that swallowed a small planet. I was comical. Cars actually slowed down to stare at me as I was walking (nay, waddling) along the sidewalk. Friends laughed. My doctor frowned. Children pointed. Strangers *gaped*.

So, to all those (including our friend Benedick) who wondered how in the world I managed to stay upright, here you go. I evolved uniquely for that very purpose. How cool is that?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the human body is a grand thing. (Though, thankfully, I'm about 45 pounds less grand than I was 16 months ago.)

End of The World

Worth a chuckle. I'm not endorsing any political message that may be gleaned from this.

Brief Hiatus

Having figured out how to post YouTube videos on the blog (and, yes, I'm really excited about that), it's time for a short blogging break. I'll be on the road until Monday and may not have much time to log in. While I'm away, if you need a fix of snarky Republican mud-flinging, stop over at Protein Wisdom. Proprietor and blogger-in-chief Jeff Goldstein has been MIA for a couple of weeks, but his guest bloggers are filling in nicely.

See you next week.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Big Endorsement

National Review has endorsed Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination. The writing staff is divided (as are Republicans at large), but the editors explain their choice here.

I'm leaning the same way. I was enthusiastic about Giuliani at first, but I think Romney is the right guy. And Huckabee needs to go away.

More Global Warming "Consensus"

Thanks to Al Gore and the bevy of academics who have turned "climate change" into a burgeoning industry, most of the world seems to have swallowed the wholly improbable (not to mention unproven) hypothesis that human beings are the dominant force affecting the Earth's climate. Consequently, we are constantly pelted with admonitions to reduce our "carbon footprints" and to support macroeconomic policies designed to cripple the developed, industrialized world.

Fortunately, there are plenty of scientists who are willing to point out the obvious flaws in the climate-alarmists' facts and agendas. You don't hear much about them because they threaten the political movement (by the way, scientific inquiry is not supposed to be a political movement). And they are rather courageous, given that their heresy deprives them of research funds and standing. Nevertheless, a growing number of skeptics are making themselves heard:
Lord Christopher Monckton, a UK climate researcher, had a blunt message for UN climate conference participants on Monday. "Climate change is a non problem. The right answer to a non problem is to have the courage to do nothing," Monckton told participants.
Lord Chris is going to get himself beat up with rhetoric like that. We all know how liberals love dissenting arguments.
Monckton also noted that the UN has not been overly welcoming to the group of skeptical scientists. "UN organizers refused my credentials and appeared desperate that I should not come to this conference. They have also made several attempts to interfere with our public meetings," Monckton explained.
Climate science is -- and this is not a controversial point -- an exceedingly complex and nascent endeavor. Science is a process. History is littered with things we thought we knew or understood that turned out to be wrong. That's why science has evolved to be an inherently skeptical exercise. So why are the humans-cause-global-warming prophets so hostile to skepticism?

Even global-warming alarmists are compelled to acknowledge that the best computer climate models of today are wildly inaccurate and unreliable. There are ample reasons to keep an open mind about the causes, extent, and consequences of climate change, rather than to declare "consensus" and set about the task of devising "solutions" that stand to cost the world's developed economies trillions of dollars:
  • Contrary to Al Gore's claim, global warming is not causing the extinction of polar bears.
  • Gore claimed global warming would cause sea levels to rise 20 feet. 20 FEET! Based on more recent studies, the IPCC puts the number somewhere closer to 7 inches. Think about that. That's an "inconsistency" on the order of magnitude of over 3,400% between the predictions proffered by partisans on the same side of the issue.
  • Gore (and others) hysterically prognosticated after Katrina that global warming would pound us with ever more numerous and devastating hurricanes. In 2006 the NOAA predicted 7-9 Atlantic basic hurricanes, with 3 striking the United States. Actual number? Zero.
Collectively, the skeptics are saying, "slow down -- we need to understand a lot of things a lot better than we do now." Science is a process pursuant to which our understanding is constantly advancing and evolving (and sometimes taking very hard turns). Why do the alarmists want to stop science in its tracks? Why do they insist that anyone with a question shut up, sit down, and accept the dogma? Australian scientist Dr. David Evans offered a guess at the recent UN Climate Change conference:
"Most of the people here have jobs that are very well paid and they depend on the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming. They are not going to be very receptive to the idea that well actually the science has gone off in a different direction," Evans explained.
It's no longer science. It's a business and a political movement. And, as is the case with so many other international issues, the American Left is leading the charge in pushing for "solutions" that are calculated to weaken free-market economies, starting with ours. But if you doubt my charges about the hostility of these "liberals" to dissenting voices and the free exchange of ideas, just try going to any college campus and suggesting that we need to better understand climate change before committing to invasive and expensive "remedies." Just make sure you bring a body guard.

Monday, December 10, 2007

This Should Be Fun

Insane race-baiter Cynthia McKinney is running for president:

The former six-term Democrat Congresswoman was ousted in 2006 from Georgia’s 4th Congressional district for the second time. In 2002, she spoke to the Black Congressional caucus claiming that President Bush had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. She also openly solicited $10 million from the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal; New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani rejected the check after the prince suggested U.S. foreign policy had brought on 9/11. McKinney’s actions resulted in her first electoral defeat in the 2002 Democratic primary, after serving five terms in office. On the night of her 2002 primary defeat, McKinney’s father told media, “Jews have bought everybody...J-E-W-S.” She came back in 2004, and promptly signed a “call for immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur.”
Her coup de grace before being ousted from her House seat was an incident in which she punched a white Capitol police officer.

So, what impact could this have on the general election?

Ralph Nader received roughly three million votes in 2004 running on the Green Party line. McKinney’s Presidential effort could pull more African-American votes than Nader did, particularly if Obama falters. A 3-to-5 million vote margin for the Green nominee is possible. That sort of vote margin coming out of the Democrat column could prove devastating to Hillary Clinton.
Now all we have to do is make sure the right-wing crazies who support Ron Paul don't offset the left-wing crazies whom McKinney can be expected to siphon away from Hillary.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Frustrated Democrats

Next time you vote, bear in mind the revelatory moaning by Democrats this week. What are they so upset about? Why, that they're having a hard time raising your taxes:

Republicans say they simply want to prevent higher taxes of any kind, even if the targets are not-so-sympathetic groups such as oil companies and hedge fund managers. After 11 months of insisting that all major programs be paid for with tax increases or spending cuts elsewhere, Senate Democratic leaders acknowledged Thursday they cannot persuade enough Republicans to join them. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., reluctantly allowed a vote on a long-debated middle-class tax cut that would add billions of dollars to the deficit because it is not offset elsewhere.

The main tussle lately has been over how to fix the problem of an Alternative Minimum Tax that stands to bludgeon middle-class taxpayers in 2008 unless revisions are made. The Democrats' plan was to cap the AMT and to make up the difference by . . . (wait for it) . . . imposing other taxes!

And this, folks, is the philosophical difference between Republicans and Democrats on fiscal issues. When there's a need to balance the ledger, Democrats only look at the income (tax) side, devising creative ways to take more. They don't even dream of making downward adjustments on the spending side. God forbid we trimmed some of the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted on misguided and mismanaged government programs each year.

So let them whine. If you have a combined household income over $100,000 thank the Republicans for keeping the tax man from reaching ever deeper into your checking account. And when you get your next paycheck, look closely at the amount that's been subtracted for federal and state taxes. And ask yourself whether you want to elect people whose number-one priority is to make that number bigger. You know, for your own good.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Jericho Returns (Soonish)

One of the best new television shows last season was Jericho, the CBS prime-time drama about a rural Kansas town's efforts to survive in the wake of a massive nuclear attack against the United States. The show wasn't renewed, but -- thanks to unprecedented and herculean efforts by rabid fans -- CBS agreed to produce a shortened, seven-episode second season to run as a mid-season replacement. The episodes were shot in early fall, and they are edited and in the can.

I was biased in Jericho's favor long before it ever aired, as one of its creators was my roommate in law school and remains a close friend. But it really is terrific entertainment, and exactly the sort of show I would have embraced even without the personal connection. My friend informed me the other day that CBS has officially announced Jericho's return. CBS will begin airing Season Two on Tuesday night, February 12, 2008 at 10:00.

This second season is a sort of probationary period for the show. It was cancelled because its ratings had trickled off near the end of the first season. CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler has made it clear that if a Season Three is ever going to happen, the ratings this time around are going to have to justify the additional investment.

It is, then, perhaps a blessing that the motion picture and television writers are currently on strike, with no end in sight. Networks are rapidly running out of new episodes and unable to produce any more until the strike ends (which my friend speculates will not happen until March, at the earliest). Thus, between now and Spring we can all expect an increasing dose of reality shows (which require no writers) and re-runs.

Which means that come February 12, Jericho will be one of very few primetime dramas that are actually airing new episodes. Hopefully this will draw in fans that otherwise wouldn't have bothered giving it a chance. It also helps that -- unlike last year -- Jericho apparently won't face off against American Idol.

If you're intrigued and didn't catch Season One, I highly recommend picking up the DVDs and getting up to speed. Otherwise, you can enjoy this in February, while I'm enjoying this.

You Have A Friend In Pennsylvania

This gentleman from Alabama sure seemed to find a few, when he was involved in a car accident in Western PA over the Thanksgiving holiday.

All I can say is, it's a good thing he wasn't in Philly.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New Look

Yes, you're in the right place. I've been toying for some time with the idea of changing the layout of Primary Reason to make it a little more interesting visually. Also, I didn't think block quotes stood out enough in the old template, and I use them liberally enough that they ought to be readily identifiable. So we'll try this format out for awhile. As always, feedback is welcome.

Megan Meier Update

I wrote last month about the tragic suicide of Megan Meier, who was driven to depression and despair by a fake online personality created by the parents of a former friend of hers. Neighbors who lived down the street and were friends of Megan's parents. When the story first became public, the media refused to identify the perpetrators, law enforcement said there was nothing it could do, and Megan's parents (who are in the process of getting divorced) had decided not to take legal action.

Here's an update. Authorities are still refusing to press charges, but the woman down the street who created the fake MySpace account has since been identified (in comments to this blog and elsewhere) as Lori Drew. Ms. Drew has lawyered up and now claims ignorance of the abusive online messages that drove Megan to take her own life.

To me, the more interesting development is that the Meiers apparently are now pursuing a civil case against the Drews:

Tina Meier told The Associated Press on Monday that the bottom line for her was that the other mother knew about the fake profile, knew Megan was on medication, and let the hoax continue. She said the fake profile was deleted right after the death. Then, she said, the woman didn't tell the Meiers about what happened. "Our daughter died, committed suicide, and she still didn't say a word," Meier said. "I still feel what she did is absolutely criminal."

As do I. And civil litigation is going to take its toll on the Drew family, which, let's face it, is a viscerally satisfying prospect.

Given that the now-deleted MySpace account is at the crux of the matter, this case is going to be all about what we law-talkin' folks call spoliation (not "spoilation") of evidence -- that is, the intentional or negligent loss or destruction of evidence that one reasonably should know will be relevant to litigation that one should reasonably anticipate. A party found to have "spoliated" evidence faces sanctions ranging from an "adverse inference" instruction (an instruction from the judge to the jury that they may infer, from the loss/destruction of the evidence, that it would have been harmful to the spoliator's case) to an outright judgment against the spoliator.

Here, the Drews created the MySpace account for the sole purpose of targeting and harrassing Megan Meier. As soon as they learned she'd hanged herself as a direct consequence of the online harrassment, they damn well knew they could be in a lot of trouble -- civilly, if not criminally. And with that in mind, they deleted the account, destroying the evidence. Slam dunk, if you ask me.

I'm glad the Meiers are pursuing this. I hope holding the guilty accountable will help to assuage some of the rage that inevitably attends a tragedy like this one. I'll follow this story and keep you updated.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Yikes

Over at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg links to a couple of Canadian public service ads. And they are oh so disturbing. Seriously, if violence bothers you, skip these. Otherwise, check out what Canadian TV audiences are seeing these days on the topics of landmines and workplace accidents.

I'm reminded of Kyle's mom's line in South Park - The Movie: "Remember . . . horrible, deplorable violence is OK, as long as nobody says any naughty words!"

Willful Blindness

Over the last three months, the defeatists in the mainstream media (e.g., The New York Times, Associated Press, and Reuters) have been forced to acknowledge that the surge of troops in Iraq has proven a dramatic success under the brilliant leadership of Gen. David Petraeus. Heck, even John "Our Troops Are Cold-Blooded Murderers" Murtha acknowledged it this week. The facts don't lie. Violence in every part of the country (including, recently, in Baghdad) has plummeted. Iraqis are working with coalition forces, marginalizing radicals, and joining security services in droves. Although political progress on some issues has been slower than U.S. commanders would like, the significantly improved security situation can only make such progress more likely.

Well, the far left still isn't having any of it. Success? What success? An editorial this week in The Nation (a socialist publication with wide readership among "progressives") exemplifies the extraordinary commitment to failure in spite of all evidence that success is attainable:
With antiwar sentiment at home widespread but not deep, the outcome of the domestic debate on Iraq depends in large part on the perception of success or failure: public opinion is liable to swing in favor of staying in Iraq if people think the war is going well. This poses a challenge -- and opportunity -- for the peace movement . . . . Without question, it is important to counter GOP propaganda about the surge's "success." But to build a stronger opposition movement, the emphasis must remain on what is fundamentally wrong--not just what is going wrong now--with the war and occupation.
Kind of a stunning admission, no?

You see, under no circumstances should we allow the U.S. to successfully complete its mission. Under no circumstances should we provide Iraqis with an opportunity to build a stable, pluralistic nation. Under no circumstances should we defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq. Under no circumstances should we permit civil liberties to flourish in Muslim countries. I mean, sure, all those things might be nice and all. And the chances of succeeding may be better today than ever before.

But it is far more important to hand the Republicans a political defeat. That Fascist Bush must be remembered as a failure, and no sacrifice is too great in service of that cause. So get out there, Peace-lovers, and "counter" any "propaganda" that consists of good news or positive portrayals of the military.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Global Conning

You've heard the hysteria (how could you miss it?). Humans are making the planet warmer. Chaos will ensue. Tidal waves. Mass extinction. Blah blah blah. So, amidst all this breathless doomsaying, why isn't the mainstream media telling you that "[t]his carefully ignores the latest US satellite figures showing temperatures having fallen since 1998, declining in 2007 to a 1983 level - not to mention the newly revised figures for US surface temperatures showing that the 1930s had four of the 10 warmest years of the past century, with the hottest year of all being not 1998, as was previously claimed, but 1934"?

I guess it's sort of an Inconvenient Truth.

But don't you DARE question the "science." The "scientists" have spoken.

Monday, November 26, 2007

We've Got These, Part 2

Terminator, here we come.


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Religion of Peace Update!

British teacher in Sudanese international school allows students to name class teddy bear Mohammad, now faces blasphemy charges and angry mob calling for her head.

Now, I'll bet you dollars to donuts that this nice British lady is a big believer in the equal intrinsic worth of all people and cultures and would tell anyone who deigned to listen that the world would be a wonderful place if meanies like George W. Bush and his Halliburton pals would just go away and let the guitar-toting unshaved peaceable types run the show.

I wonder if she still thinks that now.

And, in all seriousness, I hope she gets out of the Sudan fast, and safely.

Also, a note to self: If I ever decide to own a pig, I shall name it Mohammad. Because I can.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Good News In France

Sarkozy's resolution in staring down the strikers is proving to be a winning strategy. The rail and subway workers appear poised to return to work.
The collapse of support for the strike by individual rail workers marks the first success in what Mr. Sarkozy considers the key goal of his presidency, the abandonment of expensive entitlements and special conditions for public sector workers, including generous early retirement and pension benefits for half a million rail workers, which he believes make France uncompetitive.
Keep it up, Mr. President.

And You Thought Killing The Earth Was Bad

Some scientists believe humans may be shortening the life span of the universe. This conclusion stems from the principle of quantum physics that certain things exist only as probabilities until such time as they are actually observed. If you remember Schrodinger's Cat, this might have some conceptual familiarity:
New Scientist reports a worrying new variant as the cosmologists claim that astronomers may have accidentally nudged the universe closer to its death by observing dark energy, a mysterious anti gravity force which is thought to be speeding up the expansion of the cosmos.

The damaging allegations are made by Profs Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and James Dent of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, who suggest that by making this observation in 1998 we may have caused the cosmos to revert to an earlier state when it was more likely to end. "Incredible as it seems, our detection of the dark energy may have reduced the life-expectancy of the universe," Prof Krauss tells New Scientist.
I suppose the only way to save the universe is to ban science. An amendment to the Kyoto Protocol surely is in the making.

Finally!

My prayers have been answered. At long last, a group of whack-job hippies have made an important decision that will make the planet a better place. They've sterilized themselves and will not reproduce. Is it too much to hope for that this trend might spread to other corners of the Left?

Okay, stepping out of flippant mode for a second, this story is actually rather nauseating.
Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.
That's right. Toni had an abortion . . . for the good of the planet. Now I'm not one to moralize on abortion. As a policy matter, I struggle with it. What galls me is the sheer narcissism at work here. You see, anyone can "save the planet" by recycling and riding a bike to work. But, oooh, look at at me, I love the planet so much, I killed my baby for it.

No doubt to a chorus of "you go girl" from her patchouli-stinking comrades who, given the mindset of the average Leftist, probably cultivated an unholy amount of good ol' knee-jerk Western Guilt for the sin of having reproduced. At which point the only way to even attempt to assuage that guilt was to press the earth-destroying offspring into service at organic-food co-ops and anti-Israel protests.

Toni's selflessness is indeed something to behold:

"I've never doubted that I made the right decision. Ed and I married in September 2002, and have a much nicer lifestyle as a result of not having children.
"We love walking and hiking, and we often go away for weekends.

"Every year, we also take a nice holiday - we've just come back from South Africa.

"We feel we can have one long-haul flight a year, as we are vegan and childless, thereby greatly reducing our carbon footprint and combating over-population."

You see? It's terribly important for each of us to reduce his or her "carbon footprint." And as long as you abort the only child you've ever conceived, it's perfectly okay to burn some jet fuel. You know, as a reward for being such an awesome steward of Mother Earth.

If you read the rest of the article, you'll meet the boyfriend of another, like-minded eco-warrior, who blames babies for global warming. No, I'm not kidding.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Stream-of-Consciousness "What I'm Thankful For" Post

My family, especially my parents, who love me and have always loved me simply because I'm me. Good friends who forgive my foolishness. Living in the greatest, most free nation in the history of human civilization. Twenty-six ounce steaks. The courage and determination of proud warriors who sacrifice all to preserve us. Especially Navy SEALS and Army Green Berets. Their families, who sacrifice as much, or more. Teachers. Surround sound. The NFL. Live music. The smell and sound of the ocean. Rocky I, II, and III. Gravity. Strangers in foreign countries who give directions to American tourists. The calm determination of a president to forcibly resist enemies his detractors would rather appease. Jessica Biel. The internet. Jessica Biel on the internet. Israel. Comedy. Freshly brewed coffee. Spring. Curiosity. Opposable thumbs. Mysteries. The sound of my nephew saying my name. Capitalism. Kissing. Patriotism. Dreaming. Ronald Reagan. Optimism. Ronald Reagan's optimism. Fairy tales. Waking up thinking it's Friday and realizing it's Saturday. Silence. Noise. Advil. Hitting one long, straight drive in an otherwise forgettable round of golf. Standing on a Swiss mountaintop and laughing at nothing in particular due to a combination of thin air and a temporary shedding of worldly worry. Las Vegas. Second chances. Rediscovering old friendships. The sun.

Tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Unsolicited Confession No. 4

It might have been partly the influence of the 101 degree fever I was sporting while shivering under my comforter late last night, but I came to the realization that I would make an outstanding cult leader. Charisma, check. Destiny for greatness, check. Movie-star good looks, check. Powerful psychological influence over the feeble-minded, check.

I'm just a little uncertain of my indomitable ego, though. So I have to work on that. Because if the rubes see even a trace of hesitation in your eyes, they simply won't drink the kool-aid. Or send their daughters to your bed.

Text Our Troops

Hundreds of thousands of our troops will spend Thanksgiving in harm's way, far from home. Here's a great way that you can personally thank one of them, and all you need is a cell phone with text messaging capability. It's called "America Supports You."

Text a message of thanks to 89279 (TXASY). It will be forwarded to one of our soldiers in the field. More than 52,000 messages have been sent (2 by me), and there's still time to send more. It's free. All it takes is a few seconds. Please show your support.




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Monday, November 19, 2007

Go Sarko!

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is dealing with the first "crisis" of his term -- massive, nationwide strikes, which actually are a way of life in France.

According to an article in the International Herald Tribune (owned, I believe, by the New York Times), in a sentence that unironically reveals the ludicrous nature of modern French society: "This is the season for strikes - and a difficult moment for the French economy."

The "season for strikes." Like maple syrup season, only with class-ist angst. So how many strikes are we talking about?

"Transit workers have been striking since last Tuesday to protest the conservative government's plan to eliminate special retirement privileges that the private sector does not enjoy. Although many workers have since returned to the job, the job action is costing the
French economy between $440 million and $586 million a day, the Finance Ministry said Monday."

But there are also impending strikes of "teachers, hospital workers, tax agents, bank tellers, postmen, telecommunications, airport and other public-sector workers, even weathermen . . . ."

That's not all: "French lawyers and judges are scheduled to strike next week to protest structural changes that could eliminate 200 courts. Tobacco shop owners are planning to protest over the country's new anti-smoking law."

Oh, and the beauty of France is that you don't even have to have a job to get in on the fun: "In an unrelated move, university students also are staging strikes, protesting - paradoxically - against a new law that gives underfunded state universities more autonomy and access to some private funding. Courses are blocked at more than two dozen of 80 universities in France. By contrast, a strike by gas and electricity workers has collapsed."

This, folks, is what happens when you socialize your economy and permit the government to regulate everything from your rate of pay to the number of hours you may work each week. And because taxes are so high (to pay for all of the extensive social programs from healthcare to childcare to subsidized smokes), people depend exclusively on the government to provide for all of their basic needs, including their retirement.

In short, the private sector has, over time, ceded all authority for micromanaging the economy -- and, thus for individual financial decision-making -- to the government. Sarkozy wants to change all that. And the natives are terrified, naturally. God forbid they should be given the right (not the obligation, mind you, the right) to work more than 35 hours a week. Because if the government lifted that cap, then, gawsh, some enterprising folk might go and do something terribly un-French, like work more to earn more. Horror.

But Sarkozy's determined to do exactly what he pledged to do when we was running for office: "'Sarkozy's calculation is to say, 'I want an American-type of society where you can make money and it's not a sin.' But I'm not sure you can change a hundred years of habits just like that. Sarko is playing poker here. It's a dangerous game.'"

Sure it is. But it's the only way France can haul itself out if a total economic down-spiral that has its ranked "only the 18th most competitive nation in the world; the country's public debt has grown faster than anywhere else in Europe. Unemployment sits at 8.4 percent, but is 22 percent among people under age 25 and up to 50 percent in some troubled suburbs."

We wish the French President luck. France needs this, and Western Europe needs an example.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

We've Got These

Few things make me happier than reading about super-cool gadgets that our men and women in uniform get to use in retaining our military superiority.

This is just such a thing.


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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Word

If you've used Microsoft Word for any substantial period of time, this will resonate.


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Hi-Larious

I've posted before about moronic "anti-war" protesters who manifest their rage by attacking military recruiting centers. Apparently, some crazy-left "activists" in Olympia, Washington decided to take their flagellation to a new level by blocking military shipments at the sea port.

Ace of Spades (who opened my eyes to the Megan Meier story) offered up a quick post about it yesterday.

And hilarity ensued.

Seems these "progressive" types have an interactive, online community calendar, where they post notices for whatever mindless, flag-burning, Bush=Hitler marches they have upcoming. Well, some of Ace's readers decided to contribute to the calendar. With spectacular results.

It's since been taken down, but not before someone captured a screen shot. (Click on the image to enlarge.) Revel in it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Pakistan Primer

The inimitable Mark Steyn explains it all to you -- or, rather, states why it can't all be explained or predicted or summed up and why those who would tell President Musharraf what to do really ought to just sit down, have a glass of milk, and do the Jumble or something.

Via NRO.

Chavezwatch: The Insanity Continues!


A few days ago, our Benedick (whom I like to think of as the Rog to my Rerun, though I must emphasize that I look a lot *less* like Rerun now than I did when I was 9 months pregnant -- and if you didn't grow up in the 80s and have no clue who Rog or Rerun are, then I can't help you) linked to an article about the Spanish King, Juan Carlos, who recently responded to the nonsensical ranting of the Venezuelan dictator and ally of Bad Guys Everywhere with a good old-fashioned "Why don't you just shut up?"

It happened right out in the open at a summit in Chile, and evidently Hugo didn't like being given the business by some fussy old king. So, he is now demanding that King Juan Carlos apologize. Or else!

Or else what, you ask?

Or else Chavez is going to take the money in Spanish banks located in Venezuela, apparently.

Shouldn't this be a big deal? Am I missing something here? Or is it just that Chavez has done this so many times (both the threats and the actual usurpation of private property) that it's just old news?

Also, in case you hadn't had your daily dose of irony, apparently this flap all started when Chavez called somebody else a fascist.

BREAKING: We are all racists!

That includes you, if you are (a) Caucasian and b) a believer in a program that was, until recently, force-fed to Resident Assistants at the University of Delaware.

Quoth UD's program:

A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. ... By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination.


Unquoth.

Sigh. I'm certainly not the first person to bring this up (among many others, NRO's splendid Phi Beta Cons has been on the case). And happily, this program is no more -- though, apparently, not before the few RAs with the stones to publicly question its wisdom were pulled aside and threatened with loss of their position and its benefits. But -- as I noted in a post several weeks ago -- I was an RA in college, and while I certainly was spoon-fed an awful lot of diversity claptrap (if I recall, it tasted like lentils), it was nothing like this.

It's scary out there, I tells ya. Thank goodness for the fine folks at F.I.R.E., who stand sentry for all of us.

Snack Deprivation As Torture?

This, according a a Fox News story that's vague in a truly amusing way:

Two students accused of kidnapping and torturing a man with hot cookies are no longer welcome back on campus at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, at least for now.

The school's police chief, Regina Hays, has notified sophomore Jordan Sallis and junior Rosario James to stay away as the face charges of kidnapping, robbery and battery.

Authorities say three men went to James' house November Second to buy marijuana, but two of the men grabbed the drugs and fled, leaving the third behind. That's when the suspects allegedly held that man and tortured him to press him into finding money for the stolen drugs.

The victim later managed to escape.

So how did this go down, exactly?

Pot Seller: Hey, man. Like, your buddies totally took off without paying for the pot.

Pot Buyer: Dude, I have no idea why they did that.

Pot Seller: Look, man, we need our money. This is way uncool.

Pot Buyer: I know, man, but what do you want me to do? I'm too high to even, like, escape with those guys.

Pot Seller: Dude, you've got a choice. Give us the money or, like, tell us who your friends are.

Pot Buyer: Whoa, man, I'm not, like, a narc or anything. I am really @#$%ing hungry, though. I've got the munchies bad.

Pot Seller: Oh yeah? Well I just happen to have this big plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Pot Buyer: AW YEAH! DUDE! Gimme one of those!

Pot Seller: No way, man. I'm going to, like, sit here and eat all these cookies. And you're gonna watch.

Pot Buyer: NOT COOL! Seriously, Dude. Not. Cool.

Pot Seller: *crams entire cookie in mouth* Mmmm. Mmmm mmm mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Pot Buyer: DUDE!

Pot Seller: *crams second cookie in mouth, sips milk* Ogh mangh -- dheshe aw shum gwhate fhwockin khukeev.

Pot Buyer: DUDE! DUDE! DUDEDUDEDUDEDUDE! I'M SO HUNGRY! Omigod I'll do anything -- JUST GIVE ME A COOKIE!

Pot Seller: Whersh dha muh-eeh? Huh?

Pot Buyer: HERE! TAKE IT JUST TAKE IT!


Boys at Gitmo . . . you paying attention?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Outrage

Since I saw this story earlier today, I've been unable to keep my anger from steadily increasing. Blogger Ace of Spades notes a story in the St. Charles (Missouri) Journal that will make your stomach turn.

Thirteen-year-old Megan Meier had a history of weight problems, low self-esteem, and social difficulties. Then one day, she met a handsome sixteen-year-old boy named Josh via her MySpace page (an online social networking site popular with teens). They developed a flirtatious online relationship. Until, suddenly and without explanation, Josh became abusive and hateful, taunting Megan with assurances that everybody hated her and decimating what little confidence she'd developed through their correspondence.

And Megan killed herself.

And, while that's ultimately the worst part of the story, in a way it's not.

You see, "Josh" wasn't a Josh at all. "Josh" was a fiction crafted by the parents of one of Megan's former friends. Neighbors who lived on the same block as Megan's family, who had bought their home with Megan's mom's assistance, who had stored their belongings in the Meier's basement. And these people -- who have not been named publicly -- are apparently without remorse.

The parents of Megan's former friend created a fake online profile, gradually nurtured Megan's trust, and then -- knowing she had a history of emotional problems and even an earlier suicide attempt -- used it to crush her spirit.

Now, nobody is naming these people. But I suggest to you that I can give you all the tools you need to find out who they are to a substantial degree of likelihood. Keep in mind, substantial likelihood is not what I consider to be a strong enough basis to make an outright accusation. But if you're curious how I garnered my suspicion, you need only follow these simple steps:

Megan's parents (who are now splitting up) are Ron and Tina Meier, in suburban St. Louis, MO. The article tells us that their house is in a subdivision called Waterford Crossing.

A Superpages.com search shows us that Ron and Tina Meier own a house at 251 Waterford Crystal Drive, O'Fallon, MO.

St. Charles County, MO -- in which they live, also has a property database:

If you search for the address above, you find

MEIER RONALD E & MEIER CHRISTINA M
251 WATERFORD CRYSTAL DR
DARDENNE PRAIRIE MO 63368

These are the victims. Twice confirmed.

Now the tricky part. We need to find the right set of neighbors. The Journal article gives us one key clue to help us narrow it down:

"It was Tina, a real estate agent, who helped the other family purchase their home on the same block 2½ years ago."

So I must look for a home purchased on the same block two-and-a-half years ago.

I run an advanced search back at the property web site. I look for all 2005 purchases. Four hits. Three of the four hits reflect purchases in October or November 2005 -- only about two years ago, not two-and-a-half. The other hit shows an April 6, 2005 sale date. That's about two-and-a-half years ago. And it's the only sale on that street that occurred in the first half of 2005. Indeed, going back to 2004, the only sale was in August of that year. That's more than three years ago, and it's title owner appears to be a single woman. (Interesting side note -- recall from the Journal article who divulged the truth to Ron and Tina about the identity of "Josh.")

If you look at the street number of the address on the house sold in April 2005, you'll find it's only 18 off from the Meiers'. Given that houses are typically numbered alternately, with odds on one side and evens on the other, this puts the house no more than 9 houses down . . . and possibly fewer, since many subdivisions skip numbers in order to allow for future development. I checked Google Maps. A satellite photo shows that they are, in fact, merely 4-5 houses down. Which is precisely what Megan's mother said during a Fox News interview with Megyn Kelly this afternoon.

The names: I won't print them. As I said, I cannot be sure they are the culprits, and it would be irresponsible of me to accuse them of anything. But this publicly available information, coupled with the contents of the Journal article, was too compelling for me to ignore.

Whoever it was, there is a very special place waiting in Hell for them.

UPDATE: For those who simply want the names, rather than following the trail of breadcrumbs, at least one blogger (who has contributed to the comments to this post) has taken the plunge. I'm not fully endorsing the conclusion, for reasons stated above, but again -- publicly available information.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Let's Try One More Time!

Socialists (and, yes, we have plenty of them in the U.S.) shut their eyes and deny the fact that large-scale experiments in socialism fail utterly every time. Chavez's Venezuela is only the latest example.

Power Line explains.


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Do You Know What Today Is?

It's Veterans Day. Amidst your shopping, football watching, leaf raking, and other mundane activities today, please take a quiet moment and think about those who have sacrificed -- and who continue to do so -- to preserve the way of life we all so easily take for granted. An occasion such as this one is a fitting time to reflect on the fact that those who mindlessly and slanderously demonize our brave military men and women to curry cheap political favor with extreme left-wing constituents are absolutely wrong when they attempt to enshroud their calumny in the trite meme that "dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

I submit that picking up a weapon and doing battle with those who would kill or subjugate your countrymen is a considerably more noble form of patriotism. And I am humbled by the millions of my betters who have done just that to preserve our young nation.

And, while reflecting, please consider making a donation to one of the fine charitable organizations that strive to give back to those who have given so much in service of their country. The Wounded Warrior Project is a great place to start.

God Bless our Heroes.


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Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's About Time

While Hollywood stars continue to bask in the company of fascist thug, Venezuelan "President" Hugo Chavez, a world leader (if only a ceremonial one) has finally had the gumption to say two very important words to the would-be Castro:

"Shut up."

Bless you, King Juan Carlos. Would that more people of prominence had your common-sense reaction to this pig.


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Thursday, November 08, 2007

"What Hillary Clinton Stands For"

No, the title of Joe Klein's article in Time is not intended to be a joke. But it might as well be. Klein tries to prop Hillary up as a tactical genius who uses gamesmanship to secure progress. But his contortions do a poor job of concealing that her aspirations add up to to little more than opportunism and power lust. Klein himself writes, "And having watched both Clintons for nearly 20 years now, I believe it is an honest summation of what they think they're about: 'stuff done,' as Bill Clinton used to say. That means being flagrantly political, working the system, making the compromises necessary to get the best deal possible to enact their priorities."

Move over Lincoln, here comes another true American hero.




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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More Economics

I apologize for the light blogging lately. It has a lot to do with IT issues at work. In any event, Andrew has made some interesting points in the comments to the last post. I'm inspired to link to the blog hosted by the Club for Growth, a watchdog political-advocacy group that champions fiscal responsibility in the public sphere. There are some interesting points about the health of the economy generally, and some specific news items on Congressional pork and related matters.

I hope to get back to my daily blogging productivity later this week.

Incidentally, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that the Dow lost 360 points today. What's it mean? Don't ask me -- I think it's obvious I'm not an economist!

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Economy Is How Bad?



This is what Bush has done to the economy. This is the legacy of so-called "tax cuts for the rich." Do you really want the Democrats to take us in a "new direction"? What other direction might that be? There's only one.

But don't tell that to the Democratic contenders for the White House:
All of the major Democratic presidential candidates would allow President Bush's tax cuts for wealthier households to lapse. Most support raising the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes. Some want to raise taxes on capital gains and other investment income.

On Capitol Hill, a leading Democrat -- House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel of New York -- has proposed an additional tax on wealthy people and a levy on hedge fund managers to help pay for easing the tax burden on the middle class.
Because nothing says "growth" like destroying incentives to work harder and earn more.

Why do "liberals" insist on pushing policies that have proven over and over and over again to lower tax revenues, curtail private investment, and shrink the economy?

It's the Politics of Envy. There's nothing unfair about making more money if you work harder or perform a service or manufacture a good that's more valuable -- particularly when, by any measure, you end up paying a disproportionately high amount (in gross and percentage terms) of your income in taxes. But the majority of people don't excel. And they get jealous. And so Democrats nurture that jealousy, engineer policies designed to reward it, and collect the votes. And then things happen like, say, the Carter administration.

But only if we let them.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

History Writ Large

Important moments in the long history of human civilization have been marked by rhetoric -- speeches -- given by the leaders who have presided over those events. We're all familiar with snippets of speeches. Kennedy. King. Churchill.

I stumbled across an amazing site the other day that collects the greatest speeches given in American history. Called American Rhetoric, the site publishes not only the texts of famous oratory, but also a huge collection of accompanying audio and video.

For example, last night I watched Reagan's First Inaugural, as well as his momentous 1987 "Tear Down This Wall" Brandenburg Gate address. Having been five years old when he was elected, it's absolutely fascinating (and inspiring) for me to watch his speeches with the eyes and ears of a full-grown "Reaganite" Republican. If you can stand it, recall President Reagan's live address to the nation from the day the Challenger was lost.

Of course, for my money, the greatest speech Reagan ever gave was "A Time for Choosing," in support of Barry Goldwater's candidacy in '64. It's eerie how the themes he hammers home resonate so clearly more than forty years later. And awesome to watch him take his first, huge step into national politics. You want to know why I'm a Republican? I could never put it better than Reagan did. Just watch him go.

Or, if you're not into Reagan, try JFK's Inaugural Address. Or Truman announcing the Truman Doctrine. Or even FDR's first "Fireside Chat." It's not all politics, of course. "I Have A Dream." Lou Gehrig's "Farewell to Baseball."

There's even a superb collection of great movie speeches.

But it's the real stuff that really engrosses me. If there's a better way to put yourself in another moment of history, I've not yet found it.

Be warned, though. You could lose hours of your life revisiting these moments in time.


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"Al Qaeda Is Dead"

Increasingly in Iraq, anyway, according to prominent Sheik Omar Jabouri, tribal and political leader. Mark down South Baghdad as the latest victory.

And no, you won't find it in the New York Times.

That's why we love Michael Yon.


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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Real American Heroes

Paul Smith, Jason Dunham, and Michael Murphy. If you get your news from the mainstream media, you've probably never heard of them. Oliver North would like to remedy this. And rightly so.

YARR!

I affect a neat pirate costume this time of year, but did you know piracy is alive and well in the 21st century? I wonder whether they wear eye patches and cool hats.

No Justice

Where's a white Al Sharpton when you need one?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm Speechless

Identical twins separated at birth. As an experiment by a Yale psychologist. And these sisters lost 35 years.

I usually don't find reasons to be angry on a Sunday, but there is a special place in Hell for the "scientist" who committed this crime. And for everyone who abetted it.


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Friday, October 26, 2007

All The Rage

Over at NRO, Mona Charen aptly sums up a disgusting new fashion accessory available at Bloomingdales: Anti-war dog tags.

Lincoln and the Jews

Abraham Lincoln took some extreme (and even unconstitutional) actions during the Civil War. History remembers him kindly for this, for the central reasons that (1) he did so not to augment his own power but literally to prevent the country's self-destruction, and (2) when the crisis was over, he restored every right and civil liberty he had suspended (and created a few new ones, to boot).

I've read a great deal about Lincoln, but I'd never heard this particular anecdote: What happened when General Ulysses S. Grant issued an order expelling Jews from those portions of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi in which his forces were operating? Taking note, first, that Grant's motives weren't as insidious as one might at first blush think, Lincoln's response -- particularly considered in the context of his willingness to suspend, e.g., habeus corpus -- is something to be remembered.

Learn about it here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week

This week, conservative students on campuses across the country are enraging their faculties and fellow students by organizing events calculated to draw attention to mysogeny, repression, and murder that attend societies governed by radical Islam and that comprise the expansionist goals of that ideology.

Canadian columnist David Warren draws attention to the effort here.

Predictably, these efforts are being opposed by the campus mainstream. And they are doing so with characteristic peace, love, and tolerance:
"I left the Middle East because there was no freedom of speech and now I am here and there is fascism," Nonie Darwish shouted at the organized demonstrators trying to drown her out at Berkeley on Monday.

Protected by a bodyguard, and with the help of campus police, who removed (but did not arrest) the most aggressive hecklers, she was nevertheless able to continue, against the background noise of the campus fascisti beating on the doors and walls outside the lecture hall.

Imagine that scene. Ms. Darwish -- a Muslim woman who is attempting to give a speech describing and deploring the systemic repression of women, homosexuals and Jews -- is so vilified by American university students that they form a mob, surround the building in which she speaks, and literally pound the walls as they scream their denunciations. She requires armed protection from this mob, so odious is her message to disciples of modern campus orthodoxy.

Wasn't there a time when the political left championed the rights of women, gays, and religious minorities? In fact, domestically at least, doesn't it still? So why the complete -- and violent -- about-face when the same issues arise within the context of Islam?

For one thing, leftist orthodoxy since the 1960s has held that the United States and the socially traditional and capitalist institutions that comprise it are inherently evil. The United States is the enemy of radical Islam. And for these juvenile modern leftists -- many of whom are not, technically speaking, "juveniles" -- the enemy of their enemy is their friend. Muslim women bedamned.

As for the fact that, if given political power in America, the Islamists would shutter the universities, genitally mutilate the women's studies professors, slaughter the memberships of the gay-lesbian alliances, forcefully replace Che Guevara t-shirts with robes and burkas, and punish belovedly post-modern atheism with imprisonment and torture?

Bah. Details, details.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Unsolicited Confession No. 3

Sometimes when I think about all of the strife in the Middle East -- and strictly without crediting the occupation- and colonization-fantacist arguments of leftist anti-semites and jihadist apocalypticians, and without disregarding the dangers they would pose in any event -- I muse how serene it all might be (however temporarily) if, instead of reclaiming the biblical Holy Land, the Jews had successfully petitioned to form a sovereign state in, say, Arizona. Arizona being arid and all, which seems to be a draw. Or Montana -- can we really not afford to carve off an Israel-sized sliver of Montana?

Then I remember that whenever a dangerous Arab regime obtains nukes, we rely on our ever-scapegoated, kashrut pals in the fertile crescent to put their kibbutz-farming on hold for a few hours, launch the F-16s, and eviscerate the baddies. Which, without fail, they do.

So instead of engaging in geographical masturbation, perhaps I should just say toda rabah, and go about my business.

We Want Your Comments

Okay, so Puck and I know we're not running Power Line or NRO. But -- thanks to our sneaky web statistical-gathering techniques -- we know we have a growing readership that has included thousands of unique visitors and dozens of at-least-weekly denizens.

And knowing you're there fuels us. Believe me.

But, folks, you're on the Information Super-Highway now. It's an interactive medium. You have something to say. I know you do. Post a comment. Start an argument. Send us an email (via the contact info available in the right-hand sidebar). Threaten us with damnation. Whatever you like.

This is, to a large degree, an exercise in self-congratulation (yes, we realize that), but we want folks to be interested in this page. If you hate us, tell us! If you disagree with a post, tell the world. If we're missing something that interests you, give us a research assignment.

Let's have some fun. The InterWeb is yours as much as it is ours.

Glass Half-Empty II

Last week, in Glass Half-Empty, I noted how the AP had managed to turn the sharp reduction in violence in Iraq into bad news.

Well, today there's even more "bad news" from Iraq. In September 2006, there were 1,400 violence-related Iraqi deaths. In September 2007, that number plummeted to 250. The morgues are not nearly as busy as they once were.

So what's it all mean?
Taxi driver Ahmed Khalil Baqir used to station himself outside Baghdad's main morgue, waiting for grieving families who went there to claim their relatives’ dead bodies.

"I was totally dependent on them for my living," Baqir, a 44-year-old father of four, said." I never thought about picking up people in the street as I was being hired five to eight times a day by these families. But now it is a waste of time to wait there and these days I wait only for about three hours in the morning and I continue my work picking up passengers in the street.”
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: "Damn you, Bush!"

(h/t OpinionJournal)

Diversity Candidate

Who will be the first non-white President of the United States? It won't be Obama. He doesn't have a prayer. Which means it won't happen in 2008.

But what about 2012? 2016? Who might be that first minority President? If you're running through a mental list of black and hispanic Democrats, hold that thought.

What if I told you it could be an Indian-American (not an American Indian -- but an American whose parents emigrated from India)? And what if I told you it could be an Indian-American from Louisiana? And how about if I piled onto this thought experiment by suggesting that the Indian-American from Louisiana in question is a Republican? Did I blow your mind?

Meet Bobby Jindal, who this week was elected Governor of Louisiana at the tender age of 36. "At Brown University, the only grade he ever got was an 'A.' He turned down both the medical and law schools at Yale and Harvard, to accept a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. " He then went on to turn Louisiana's health care system around as a 24-year-old Secretary of Health and Hospitals. He later served as president of Louisiana's state university system.

Jindal's parents immigrated to Louisiana from India when his mother was four months pregnant with him. He remains a defender of legal, but not illegal, immigration. "(W)e already know that drugs and hundreds of thousands of illegal
immigrants come across our borders now every year, and that is simply not acceptable," he told the publication India Abroad. "(O)ur nation cannot be serious about protecting our country from the threat of terrorism without securing our borders and preventing illegal immigration."

Conservatives may someday look back and see a providential hand in the Jindal family's timely arrival in Louisiana. Had Bobby Jindal been born in India, not Baton Rouge, he could never have satisfied the constitutional mandate that "no person except a natural born citizen" can serve in this nation's highest office.

Another Rate Cut On The Way?

Larry Kudlow thinks it could happen next week.

Some folks worry that another cut will heighten inflation risks, but given the relatively strong performance of the equity markets over the last few years (and heeding persistent housing-market and credit concerns), another substantial cut could boost prospects for long-term growth and even, as Kudlow suggests, have the no-less-salutary effect of boosting the flagging dollar.

Because right now, our dollar is getting beat by Canada, for the love of Pete. And that's like losing on the exchange rate to Chuck E. Cheese.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Don't Try This At Home

W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a retired U.S. Marine and a correspondent for National Review, where he posts on NRO's military blog, The Tank. Smith has spent the last couple of weeks in Lebanon, doing some very risky reporting on the very tenuous political situation there.

He's also, it appears, completely @#$%ing nuts.

Light Posting

Posting is likely to be pretty light this week -- at least over the next day or so. Puck and I have busy weeks at our respective places of business, and I'm feeling a bit under the weather to boot. I'll try at least to get some links up to some of the more interesting things being written around the web.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Michael Yon

His latest is here. He's despondent about falsehoods and manufactured negativity. Who can blame him?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Give Her This: She's Old-School!

According to the L.A. Times, Hillary Clinton is enjoying a fundraising bonanza from a most unlikely source: dishwashers in Chinatown.

It seems the denizens of one of New York City's most dilapidated neighborhoods are suddenly forking over $1000 and $2000 donations to the junior senator. How does one explain this phenomenon? The Times article proffers a peculiar mix of apologetics and reality:
Clinton has enlisted the aid of Chinese neighborhood associations, especially those representing recent immigrants from Fujian province. The organizations, at least one of which is a descendant of Chinatown criminal enterprises that engaged in gambling and human trafficking, exert enormous influence over immigrants. The associations help them with everything from protection against crime to obtaining green cards.

Many of Clinton's Chinatown donors said they had contributed because leaders in neighborhood associations told them to. In some cases, donors said they felt pressure to give.

The other piece of the strategy involves holding out hope that, if Clinton becomes president, she will move quickly to reunite families and help illegal residents move toward citizenship. As New York's junior senator, Clinton has expressed support for immigrants and greater family reunification. She is also benefiting from Chinese donors' naive notions of what she could do in the White House.
(Emphases mine.)

First of all, could the Times have possibly contorted itself any more strenuously in its quest not to call the Chinese mob the Chinese mob? I mean, "Chinese criminal enterprises that engaged in human trafficking [and] exert enormous influence over immigrants"? "Protection against crime"? I could save the Times a great deal of space. Here's how the same paragraph could be written:

"The Chinese mob is shaking down poor immigrant workers to make political donations they cannot afford."

See? Easy. Of course, that would be way too close to, you know, suggesting that the Clintons have unseemly ties to Chinese criminals. Which, of course, they do.

The real laugher is that the Times follows up its euphemistic reference to the Chinese mobsters' community activists' exertion of "pressure" by suggesting with a straight face that, anyway, these poor immigrant workers are really motivated to donate by their boundless hope that Good Senator Clinton, if elected, will ease their burdens and lift them up.

As for that whole menacing-you-with-brass-knuckles and threatening-to-break-your-children's-legs thing? Purely incidental. Don't be so sensitive.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

From the You've-Got-to-Be-Kidding-Me File: The Game of Oppression

Via Phi Beta Cons at NRO:

A board game called The Game of Oppression has been created specifically for use by "student affairs professionals." (Side note: I'm pretty sure these were the people that made me sit through two days' worth of lectures and group activities on dealing with "diverse students" before allowing me to become a Resident Assistant. I also recall that the entire two days' worth of bloviating could have been summed up with a brief recitation of The Golden Rule, but then I'm no "student affairs professional" so what do I know?) In any event, The Game of Oppression:

is designed to encourage and challenge individuals from different backgrounds and experiences to engage in authentic dialogue..... The program equips diversity educators with strategies to encourage students to take full advantage of the diversity on their respective campuses and in their communities. The game provides a "safe space" for authentic dialogue around the issues of oppression.

But how does it work?

The Game of Oppression is designed to be played by 10 to 20 players at a time, with half playing as active participants and the other half as observers. The optimum amount of time allotted to play is four hours to ensure proper facilitation and personal engagement, but the game can be played in a minimum of three hours. The goal is to achieve "enlightment." To do this, the active participants move their pawns around the game board and respond to statements on the playing cards. After a set period of time, the two groups switch roles. At the end of the game, all players participate in a reflection and group discussion period to synthesize the game experience for each participant.

Emphases mine.

The website also advises that this is "not a game of amusement."

Well, no. Not intentionally, anyway. I found myself laughing about it anyway...just after I finished weeping for our future.

Glass Half-Empty

From the "What Liberal Bias In The Media?" Department . . .

If you're a newspaper reporter who opposes the Iraq War, and who believes it's his solemn duty to undermine the war effort and to destroy morale and erode public support at every turn, how do you cope with plunging casualties and widespread reports of progress?

You get creative.

It looks like a parody -- something from The Onion, perhaps -- but it's not. This is an actual news headline: "As violence falls in Iraq, cemetary workers feel the pinch."

Damn you, Bush!!!

Those Evil Israelis

Israel is the most demonized country on the planet. It has been threatened and attacked by its neighbors and unfairly singled out for scorn and abuse by the United Nations over and over again. During the first gulf war, Israeli citizens were driven into bomb shelters as Saddam's scud missiles rained down.

Yet the Israelis remain steadfastly generous and magnanimous, and Iraqis are the current beneficiaries. Earlier this week Israeli doctors screened 40 Iraqi children for heart disease in Jordan. As a result of those screenings, 2 children were found to have serious, life-threatening heart conditions. So what did the Israelis do? They flew the children to Tel Aviv and performed emergency heart surgery.

Indeed, since January Israeli doctors -- working in a program called Save A Child's Heart -- have operated on 18 Iraqi children.

This makes it ostensibly the more puzzling that -- also this year -- 135 British physicians called for a World Medical Association boycott of the Israeli Medical Association. It's not actually puzzling to those of us who are paying attention, of course. This is just the latest divestiture effort (often originating in Britain) targeting Israel. It amazes me that Israel continues its good works, undaunted, despite the unjust treatment meted out by most of the rest of humanity.

We live in Crazy World.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Schadenfreude of the Day

Morgan Stanley has dumped its holdings of New York Times stock. This was no small portfolio adjustment either. Morgan held 7.3% of all outstanding shares. The stock immediately dropped about 3% in value. By the way, the stock, which now hovers around $18.40/share, was worth more than $50/share just four years ago.

The entire print-media industry has suffered to some degree during the advent of the internet-news era. But one can't help but wonder whether the multi-year plunge suggests that NYT's shrill, left-slanted journalism has alienated mainstream consumers. I sure hope so.

Crisis Averted?

Yesterday, I posted a lengthy discussion of the Democrats' insidious attempt to subvert the Iraq war by so offending our Turkish allies with a lame-brained resolution that Turkey would cut off our logistical supply route.

It now appears some of the Democrats who previously signed on to Pelosi's treacherous scheme have decided they really don't want to be infamous for intentionally depriving our soldiers of armor and ammo after all. So they're abandoning the gambit, and not a moment too soon.

But it's not over yet. There are still some stalwarts who can be counted on never to give up in the fight to weaken America:
Backers of the resolution, which has the fervent backing of the Armenian-American community, described the loss of support as slight and attributed it to the intense lobbying by the Turkish government, the Bush administration and their allies. They said they would try to change the minds of some of those who were wavering.
“This is what happens when you are up against a very sophisticated multimillion-dollar campaign,” said Representative Brad Sherman, Democrat of California, who chided the Turkish government. “Since when it has become fashionable for friends to threaten friends.”

You mean like when you threaten our military with paralysis, Rep. Sherman?

$!*#ing Great News!!! (and Timely Too!)

Cursing at work is good for the company.

So you see, Benedick, my use of the verboten last night was merely an attempt to boost your morale. I'll say it: I swear because ... I care.

I love science.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Have An Important Announcement.



I think I'm changing my position on ABBA.

I'm not sure about this yet, I admit. I've spent my adolescent and adult life mocking those who would scream and flail their arms wildly at the first heavily synthesized notes of Dancing Queen, Waterloo and similar, shaking their hips in a sadly unrhythmic fashion. It's a little disconcerting to realize that I secretly wish to join them.

But as I was driving home tonight, I happened upon Take a Chance on Me. And you know what? That [bleep!] is FUN.

BENEDICK ADDS: (1) Your picture link is a mess; (2) LANGUAGE [Eli may be a pirate, but he doesn't like potty-mouths]; and (3) if I get Free Bird, you can have ABBA. As Helen Slater said in The Legend of Billy Jean, "Fair is Fair!"

Dems Finally Find A Way To Lose The War?

They failed to stop the surge. They failed to block military appropriations. They failed in their smear campaign against General Petraeus. But the Democrats have finally found a creative way to threaten the war effort in Iraq, and just as the good news has started to dominate the bad.

Bear with me for a moment; a brief history lesson is both relevant and important to understanding what's going on.

Back in 1915, during the final breaths of its centuries-old sultanate in Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire (Turks) engaged in a wholesale slaughter of its Christian Armenian population. By any measure, this was a campaign of ethnic cleansing that merits mention among the great crimes of the twentieth century.

In 1923, the Turks abolished the 623-year-old sultanate and formed the Republic of Turkey, a new, secular society. In the decades that followed, Turkey became a key ally to western nations. It became a charter member of the United Nations in 1945. It assisted UN forces in the Korean War. It joined NATO in 1952 and became THE bulwark in the region against Soviet Cold War expansion.

Today, Turkey is a parliamentary, representative democracy. It is a secular nation and embraces significant Christian and Jewish populations in addition to its majority Muslim community. It refuses to give safe harbor to jihadists. It possesses a stable military and is a staunch ally to the United States in both the War on Terror generally and the Iraq War specifically. It even has close diplomatic relations with Israel.

Just how important is Turkey to our efforts in Iraq? Turkey is our supply line. 70% of all air cargo shipped to support our military in Iraq travels through Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey. This includes 33% of all fuel used by the troops in Iraq and 95% of the new, highly armored vehicles that have dramatically improved our soldiers' survival in IED (improvised explosive device) attacks. This is a vital -- critical -- supply point.

Where am I going with this? Let's return to the slaughter of the Armenians nearly a century ago. This historical crime is a very, very sentitive point for Turks. There's a lot of collective guilt coupled with shame. They don't like to talk about it. This is well known among diplomatic and foreign-policy types.

All of which makes it highly suspect (to say the least) that the Democrat-controlled Congress has chosen this moment in history -- 92 years after the fact -- to pass a resolution condemning the Turks for committing "genocide" against the Armenians. This is a carefully timed slap in the face to our Turkish allies, calculated to incense them and push a most sensitive button, provoking them to withdraw their support for our war effort. When Pelosi's gang first proposed the resolution, the Turks made it quite clear what the consequences of such an insult would be: the denial of Turkish airspace.

To put it more succinctly, the Democrats are attempting to cut off logistical support to our troops by abusing the one key ally that enables our military to ship fuel, munitions, and armor to soldiers in the field.

There is no question but that the Ottoman murder of Armenians was a horrible crime. And it should not be buried or ignored. But what possible practical purpose can passing this incendiary resolution, at this time, have? None. What it can do is get U.S. soldiers killed and cripple a war effort that by all accounts is now succeeding.

Now that the resolution has passed, the Bush administration, the military, the Iraqis, and all citizens who want our military to succeed in Iraq, hold our collective breath to see whether Turkey will do what the Democrats want it to do.

This is absolutely shameful.

UPDATE: If this issue interests you (and it should), NRO links to several timely, related articles here.

PUCK ADDS: I am cruising through the Congressional Record trying to find out exactly who is responsible for this mess, and I came across this fabulous little find, from Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas). Money quote:

But who really bears the brunt is the United States soldier. And, Mr. Speaker, this is not just a theoretical concern. October 2000, same bill, conflicts are a little bit different. Northern watch, keeping the Iraqis from attacking the Kurds. Those planes in northern Iraq to enforce the no-fly zone and keep Saddam from attacking the Kurds, those F-16s flew out of Turkey and they kept watch every day of every week during what we now know as Northern Watch. They kept the Iraqi Republican Guard in a box and kept them from attacking Kurds.

Mr. Speaker, I was not in Congress in October of 2000. But I will tell you that a young man who is now a constituent, actually stationed in Clovis, New Mexico, but was moved to Incurlik, Turkey, and was on duty then, he talked to me back in October of 2000. He said, we were away from home in a place that really was awfully strange for a 21-year-old. And then we picked up our newspapers one morning and there's a big hole in the side of a United States ship, the USS Cole which was bombed in October of 2000. The tension was mounting daily. Other attacks were a possibility. And then all hell broke loose outside the base. There was protests, there was shouting, there were people yelling at us at the gate. None of us were allowed off the base. And why? Because the House of Representatives was going to take up the Armenian genocide resolution.

Mr. Speaker, this constituent was my son. He asked me then, Dad, why is Congress making things tougher for us over here? I didn't have an answer for him now and I don't have an answer for him now. President Clinton did not support this bill in 2000. Majority Leader Armey refused to allow it to come to the floor. Don't make life tougher for our soldiers. We're a country at war. Let's act like it for once.


Indeed.

PUCK HAS STILL MORE! Look who else has urged Madam Pelosi not to bring this before the full House for a vote: Former Secretaries of State Alexander Haig, George Shultz, Lawrence Eagleburger, Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Colin Powell. Not exactly a rogue's gallery of Darth Bush's minions. Former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen and others are getting into the act too.

How The Left Supports Our Troops

Code Pink -- a cadre of far-left anti-war types -- has made a name for itself during the course of the Iraq War. Its members are prone to burning American flags and accusing our troops of atrocities. Recently, Code Pink has taken to protesting in front of military recruiting centers.


The pictures speak volumes.

What's heartening is the response published by the Marine officer in charge of this Berkeley recruiting center, Captain Richard Lund. An excerpt:

The fact is this: any independent nation must maintain a military (or be allied with those who do) to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. Regardless of what your opinions are of the current administration or the current conflict in Iraq, the U.S. military will be needed again in the future. If your counter-recruitment efforts are ultimately successful, who will defend us if we are directly attacked again as we were at Pearl Harbor? Who would respond if a future terrorist attack targets the Golden Gate Bridge, the BART system, or the UC Berkeley clock tower? And, to address the most hypocritical stance that your organization takes on its website, where would the peace keeping force come from that you advocate sending to Darfur?
Captain Lund's entire essay is worth reading. Also notable is the quotation by John Stuart Mill that Captain Lund hung in front of his station:


You tell 'em.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Unsolicited Confession No. 2

I have, on more than one occasion, killed time by wondering silently to myself how, if I were able to command the animal kingdom, I would choose to deploy my forces. And as I contemplate to what use I would put such creatures as lions and jackals, I invariably find myself confronted with the immutable truth that, as a matter of nature, some of my fauna minions would be at odds with one another -- what with being accustomed to killing and eating each other for survival. And then I wonder whether possessing this spectacular power really would be worth the constant bickering.

Democrats Fear Redneck Cooties

This has to be one of the most bizarre, politically tone-deaf things I've ever heard. Before attending a NASCAR race over the weekend, Democratic Congressional staffers were urged to get innoculations for Hepatitis A and B, influenza, tetanus, and diphtheria.

Where does one begin in cataloguing the idiocy on display here? Presumably with the fact that there isn't any reason to suspect that a NASCAR event is any more likely a place to contract a disease than any other public event. Like diphtheria, which doesn't even exist in the United States anymore.

The NASCAR demographic is huge and politically important. Nothing says "savvy" like implicitly accusing millions of race fans of being walking germ farms.

Hilarious, that the party of diversity and tolerance should act on such raging and unfounded prejudice.

More hilarious: Hepatitis is a sexually transmitted disease. What, exactly, did the Democrat who urged this preventative medicine believe his or her colleagues would be doing at the NASCAR track? And with rednecks, no less. Kinky.