The local CBS channel is playing this story as the cue for war. Apparently, firing on the jets over the no-fly zones is a violation of the new Security Council resolution. Is this going to be the gotcha? It seems like we had this justification before we kissed France's and Russia's butts. Is that all there is to diplomacy?
Strutting and fretting in an insane world.
Friday, November 15, 2002
I just found this site. Click on the Cartoon Channel link.
James Lileks has some thoughts on the social side of politics, i. e. why do some people think that people in the other party are subhuman:
I wasn�t completely comfy on that side [liberal]; I�m not completely comfy over here. So it goes. But I don�t ascribe an moral inferiority to friends and neighbors who have a different path to common objectives - unless they insist on proving they're willfully stupid, and live in an ideological exoskeleton that dictates which way they must move regardless of new data.
An old friend who still believes what we believed in college took me to task the last time we met, and wondered where Mr. Middle Ground had gone, why I no longer seemed interested in finding commonality. The simple answer is that there is no common ground with people who think you�re a political leper, a winged monkey in the service of a green-skinned Nancy Reagan in a witch�s hat. Respect works both ways, and if it�s not returned, then something changes. There�s a difference between thinking someone�s strategies are wrong, and thinking them a knave who acts from ignorance at best, and more likely acts from malice. If that�s what you think, I am not interested in changing your mind. I am not interested in working together. I am not interested in suffering your insults or your condescension or any other form your preconceptions take. I am interested in defeating you, and getting down to work with the people who come in your place, and grant me the respect I�ll give them.
This is why crowing among Republicans is so distasteful and all the weeping and gnashing among Democrats is so silly. When I talk about Democrats disparagingly, I'm talking about their leaders and platform, not all individuals who vote Democrat. I registered as an independent some years ago, despite being raised Republican, because I'd seen too many Republican candidates who made me feel ashamed to be in the same party with them. I tested the waters as a Democrat, but I had the same problem. The national spokesmen for the Dems didn't speak for me, and I didn't want to be identified with them.
Thursday, November 14, 2002
Local issue: The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has announced that Joe's Valley Reservoir in Emery County, Utah will be closed to fishing from November 1 through December 14, explaining that this is necessary to prevent the "exessive harvest of large spawning fish."
Now, it must be understood that the fish in question are Splake, which are hybrids of lake trout and brook trout. They are sterile, like mules, and although they go through the motions of spawning, they don't actually produce baby fish. The DWR started planting these fish in selected lakes 10-15 years ago, including Joe's Valley.
Joe's valley is not a good fishing lake. It has steep sides and poor soil, which product too little food for the fish. When you catch a fish there, it is usually skinny.
A few years ago the DWR started restricting the size of fish which could be taken there to less than 15" to longer than 22". In the past few years, some of my friends figured out where the bigger splake come close to shore to "spawn" and began catching fish bigger than 22", throwing most of them back. The word got out and last year a lot of people went to that spot and many caught these trophy fish. And that just drove the DWR nuts.
Some of these big fish are inadvertantly snagged or "foul hooked," which is against the law. In its press release, the DWR says:
The potential for serious injury or death from snagging injuries is considered high. DWR Southeastern Region Aquatics Manager Louis Berg likens foul hooking to wounding a deer. Catching and releasing numerous foul-hooked fish during a day of fishing is akin to shooting and wounding a number of deer during the deer season, but tagging only one.
Well, first of all, people don't normally know what the hook is doing out there until they haul in the fish. Sometimes, they get foul hooked when they try to bite the hook but miss. I don't know of anyone who deliberately tries to snag fish, although I have found some lures left behind when the lake goes down with hooks attached which were far too big. I suspect those were for snagging. Most of the time, you can't tell when you've snagged a fish until you reel it in, any more than you can avoid catching a fish of an illegal size. But when you shoot a deer, you presumably aim at it intentionally.
Secondly, a small cut made by a hook is not fatal. Occasionally you catch a fish which has swallowed the hook so deeply that its gills get cut when you remove the hook. Then it will bleed out and die. Of course, if its an illegal size, you throw it back and waste it, because that's the law. (Whenever this has happened to me, however, the seagulls snarfed it right up.) But when you shoot a deer with a high powered rifle it is seriously injured, often with broken bones. It may die from loss of blood, or be crippled for life.
Now the DWR, which wants to be seen as so humane, raises millions of fish in hatcheries every year and feed them grain until they are fingerlings, after which they carry them all over the state in tanks and dump them in lakes and streams. You can always tell when you've caught one of these "planters." Their fins and tails have been chewed down to nubs by other fish in the hatcheries.
In addition, the DWR regularly kills all the fish in lakes with rotenone, which prevents them from getting oxygen from the water and causes them to suffocate. They destroy millions of trout to get rid of "trash fish" like carp, chubs and suckers. Now they are planning to poison some drainages in a piscine version of ethnic cleansing. They want to restore these creeks and reservoirs to their "pristine" native populations of Colorado Cutthroat trout, by killing off all the half-breed trout which are there because the same DWR had planted Rainbow, German brown and Brook trout a long time ago. It is said that this is being done under threats from the Sierra Club, but I'm not sure if this is true.
So, one must question the logic of protecting the large Splake, which are sterile and non-native, while killing all fish of all sizes and types in order to achieve poltical and environmental correctness. The Division says that they need these big fish to eat the chubs which otherwise interfere with trout fishing. So, we can't fish for trout now because they eat the fish which interfere with trout fishing.
I used to enjoy fishing, but now it feels to fraught with pitfalls that it's not fun anymore, even when I'm fully within the law.
A few years back, when I was a public defender, I had to represent a guy who was in big trouble for bagging a black bear in an area which was off limits for bear. He had seen the bear, gone into town and bought a bear permit, then went back and shot it. The only notice that the canyon was off limits was published in the Elk Hunting proclamation. Recently, some campers noticed a bear cub in a tree near their campsite and located a DWR officer to come and get it. When he got to the scene, however, he shot the cub and killed it, because it would only starve to death otherwise. I think I know what the result would have been had the campers done the same thing.
John Fund presents the circumstantial case for believing that the Dems stole the Senate seat in South Dakota.
Jesse Walker writes:
. . . it�s hard to devolve decision making when Washington keeps arrogating power to itself. Since 9/11, a Republican administration has federalized airport security, imposed new unfunded mandates on local transportation authorities, and even flirted with moving the military into domestic police work.
He's discussing a Jonah Goldberg piece crowing over the elections, in which he paid homage to the ideal of returning public policy decisions to cities and counties. I could get behind that and the rollbacks of unfunded mandates, but his complaint about anti-terror measures is a little more libertarian than I would go. The legitimate powers of the federal government include national defense, and I see no reason as yet to take it away.
I think that most of the problems so far with the FBI, CIA, etc. are partly due to the civil service protection that causes institutional inertia and the carry-over of the Clinton administration's thinking into the Bush era. Maybe this will change under the new Homeland Security bill, but I doubt it.
Wednesday, November 13, 2002
Here's an interesting piece on what it will take to reform the Muslim religion. Christianity used to be at least as bad as the Taliban, but "In the words of Herbert Butterfield, toleration was 'the last policy that remained when it had proved impossible to go on fighting any longer.' "
It may be that this is what it will take to convince the Arab nations, too. This is why I think that resolve and refusal to compromise on the issue of tolerance is so important.
Apparently, the State Department diplomats aren't all as stupid as I'd thought. At least one of them recognizes the Euros for the hypocrites they are. Not including Britain or Rumania, of course.
Oh, NO! Our right to spout idiocy is being chilled!
Michael I. Niman (Does the I. stand for Idiot, who first floated the theory that Paul Wellstone was murdered, complains that his rights were violated or at least chilled by Andrew Sullivan's criticism of him in Salon.
He writes that Sullivan's comments "crossed the boundary from media criticism into the realm of a bile-laden partisan attack."
I wasn't aware that bile-laden partisan attack was illegal or immoral. In either case the Democrats (See The Great Depression) have a lot to answer for. Almost as much as the media.
Michelle Cottle asks "What Would Jesus Drive?" and endorses a campaign by the Evangelical Environmental Network against SUVs. She sums up as follows:
. . . with Republicans now in charge of both the White House and Congress, our only hope for protecting the environment may be if thinking-green becomes a cause for the Christian right. Ralph Reed: Environmental Holy Warrior. Has a nice ring to it, no?
Do these people really think that God cares what we drive? As I understand it, Jesus walked everywhere, but he didn't have to be on time for work and he didn't have to deal with sleet and snow.
I'm coming to the conclusion that a lot of Democrats and Environmentalists have high school mentalities. Just look at Maureen Dowd. They don't seem to be able to tell the difference between what's really important and what's trivial, and they seem prone to adopting cause fads without the slightest bit of critical thought. They can't spot their own inconsistency. They complain constantly about the loss of our freedoms, while advocating more government dictates with apocalyptic fervor.
Why is this a story? Is the ubiquitous media coverage of this new "bin Laden" tape a result of a desire for facts to paint Bush's war on terror as feckless? Nah, they'd never let their private opinions affect their objectivity.
My guess is that he's dead and that they've gotten some Arab Rich Little to tape this to buck up the troops' morale.
Update: Michael Medved is reasoning that this tape proves the connection between al Qaeda and Saddam, because it warns the West not to attack Iraq. This is a little thin, even for me. Any attack on Iraq is bound to kill some innocent Muslims, unfortunately, so why wouldn't al Qaeda use this prospect to justify its own violence and threaten more?
Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Doug Bandow argues against going after Saddam. I disagree.
As with all such arguments, his premise is that Saddam is deterred by our military might. " Would Baghdad give nuclear weapons to terrorists?" Bandow asks rhetorically. I have to answer, "Yes, if he thought he could get away with it." You could have asked, prior to 1990, "Would Saddam invade Kuwait and Saudi Arabia?"
The point is that Saddam is unpredictable. Applying logic to him is futile. Would he use nukes against Israel to make himself the greatest hero in Islam? He might.
Secondly, this argument depends on his being convinced that we would level Baghdad if he attacked us or our allies with weapons of mass destruction. I'm not so sure we would. Our reaction to Al Qaeda, after all, has been pretty tepid. We bombed Afghanistan, but did so under constant criticism from the left for killing innocents. What would the NYTimes, the WaPo and the rest say if we were contemplating the annilation of Baghdad? I would hope that we'd retaliate without submitting it to the U.N. security council first, but that is not a sure thing any more.
The reason for going after Saddam is that we don't know what he'll do. We have pretty good guesses about the rest of the Axis of Evil, but Saddam is a loose cannon on a deck loaded with explosives. We've got to tie it down. Now.