Saturday, November 26, 2005

They're not ignorant; they're ignernt!

Today Glenn Reynolds linked to this piece of his from three years ago about the wacko stuff people say about space, such as the claim that mining on the moon would disturb its orbit.

The trouble with such people isn't just that they don't know what they're talking about. It's that they think they do and that everybody else is being perverse and oppositional because they're trying to destroy the earth to satisfy their greed. Sadly, our schools are promoting this kind of thinking and if not actually teaching it, they fail to teach critical thinking skills, leaving kids to learn them from television advertising. Michael Crichton's book, State of Fear describes this phenomenon quite well, if spicing it up with suspense and some eco-wackos plotting to add credence to global warming by giving Mother Nature a high-tech shove timed to boost fundraising events.

It wouldn't be so bad if there weren't so many celebrities and gullible media types who give these ideas undue publicity and credence. They hate Bush because he refused to sign the Kyoto treaty, failing to mention that it was voted down in the Senate around 90 to 10.

I'm beginning to think that Golgafrincham was onto something with its B Ark Plan.

I don't know if the way Utahns use the word ignorant (pronounced "ignernt") as a synonym for rude, uncivil ot just ornery (pronounced "awnry") is common anywhere else. But that's what these people are.

If I were Canadian, I wouldn't admit it.

At least, after this story. Of course, if Canada had captured an alien craft and its crew in 1948, I doubt that any of its officials, past or present, would be talking about it in public. Call it Roswell envy.

I can't wait to hear what Mark Steyn has to say.

Update: Woohoo! I got a comment!

No offense meant to Canadians. Actually, I was paraphrasing s bit from W.C. Fields. A man comes into his store and asks if he knows a man named "Carl LaFong, capital L, small a, capital F, small o, small n, small g." Fields replies "No, I don't know Carl LaFong, capital L, small a, capital F, small o, small n, small g; and if I did know Carl LaFong, I wouldn't admit it!"

I well remember what it was like to have Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. We can't always have politicians we're proud of.

Two tales of one city

Fox: It's the best of times. NBC: It's the worst of times.

The economy is booming by most standards, but the MSM knows better. After hearing reports of a great Black Friday on Fox, I was interested to hear how NBC portrayed the shopping as cautious, with the real weakness of the economy due to show up Real Soon Now. And we know that the economy is tanking because public opinion polls show that people think it's bad.

Now we know what really gets Glenn going.

Heh. He's so reasoned and calm about fighting terrorism, but mention the moon . . .

Friday, November 25, 2005

Blogging Bataan

Some time ago I received a CD with a PDF copy of the memoirs of my mother's older brother who was captain of an anti-aircraft battery on Corregidor and was in the Bataan Death March. I've just begun reading it. He seemed kind of bitter toward the Army leaders and his fellow servicemen, but considering what he went through, and the way he and his men were abandoned when war broke out, I can understand it. There was no real reason that so many people had to die in the Pacific War, only incompetence and complacence of the military leadership.
On November 28, 1941 . . . the commander of the Harbor defenses of Manila and Subic Bays received a communication from [USAFFE] headquarters which stated that "a state of unlimited emergency exists, take all due precautions." The General's action was to order all units to take field positions and to maintain battle stations on a 24 hour alert status [by noon the following day].
It's natural, therefore, to wonder why nearly the entire Pacific Fleet was bottled up at Pearl Harbor 8 days later.

I can also understand why some of those left behind when MacArthur left for Australia might be kind of bitter toward his "superiors." MacArthur seems to have taken the attack on Pearl Harbor as less than a cause for putting his air forces on alert, so his fighters were mostly destroyed on the ground. The Coast Artillery had been on alert for at least a week. I doubt that he knew much or had any confidence in air power at that time.

More to come.

Update: My uncle's story is obviously based in part on his official written reports. He talks a lot about the guns in his battery and include how many rounds they fired each day. Some of it is familiar cliche about Army life. He catchs a Private asleep on guard duty. He takes his rifle and bayonet and holds a .45 pistol in his face as he wakes him up. No court martial. They spent five months under attack by the Japanese, the last month of which was under siege and almost constant bombing and shelling. His writing is pretty objective, he notes it when he gives an opinion, but generally he lets the facts do the talking. The Army had 14 Quartermasters' mules stabled on the Rock as they called Corregidor. On one-third rations and out of meat, they asked for permission to slaughter the mules for meat, since they weren't being used, and were subject to frequent wounds and fright from all the shrapnel and debris cast up by the shelling. "We thought it to be a very good idea to slaughter the mules and use them as a meat supply. Upon petition to the Quartermaster to do this we recieved a flat refusal. He must have been an old muleskinner." They did were allowed to slaughter the mules that had been critically injured, however.

After the siege began, he reports an incident I found revealing:
The Regimental Executive Officer came one day to inspect our position. He noticed that we had a great number of flies around our kitchen ara. He told me that I ought to do something about those flies, and to build fly traps for them. I would have had to trap the whole population of the mule corrall [sic] as well. [The corral was nearby.] I ask [sic] him what would I use for bait. He said that a can of salmon would be good bait. I told him that if we ever got a can of salmon in the battery we would eat it, not the flies. He said to come down to Malinta Tunnel and he would give me a can of salmon. That was real regimental help in the midst of the hell of war that we were experiencing.
I'm beginning to understand why there was so much resentment toward MacArthur. He was a big hero back at home, but when the war began, he basically refused to acknowledge it and lost most of the aircraft in the islands as a result. He wasn't one to share the hardships of his men, if you know what I mean.

Thanks be to God.

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38)

Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!

Thanks to him who laid the foundations and set the planets spinning; who coded molecules to make the seed from which all life has unfolded and blossomed. In this time of nanotechnology, that people could still believe that the complexity and of the molecules of life could self-assemble out of a system tending toward entropy and for billions of years oppose it, organizing, creating and storing information and passing it into the future. Only people too proud to repent, or accept guidance and correction, could really convince themselves that there is no creator.

Even in a fallen world where floods, tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes and storms occur, there is indescribable beauty and joy. There are babies, who seize life with both hands, both feet and their mouths. There are young people discovering and testing the limits of what they can do and think, pairing off and building families of their own. There are parents missing their children who have flown the nest and yet treasuring the memories that will never happen quite the same way again. Funny how the difficulties seldom seem as bitter in retrospect as the joys keep their sweetness and grow more precious in memory. There must be an opposition in all things, but men and women are that they might have joy.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Why Mark Steyn is so good.

He's clear-eyed, , cogent, almost as knowledgeable of history as Winston Churchill, and willing to speak the clear truth, which is sadly pretty rare these days:
[The Sunnis in Iraq are] really an equivalent of the white South Africans, or the white Rhodesians. They were this privileged minority that lorded it over the rest of the country. And they're having to adjust to the fact that they're just going to be essentially a permanent minority, and cut themselves as good a deal as they can get.. . .

I think that when the Democrats say oh, we need to get out of there and leave it to the Iraqis, they'll be the first ones to squeal when it turns out that some new Iraqi police department is getting a little bit overzealous in how it conducts its affairs. You can't have it both ways. I think there's bound to be a little bit of this. Let's hope it's not too much. But at the same time, let's not overinflate the importance of the Sunnis. They're really an equivalent of the white South Africans, or the white Rhodesians. They were this privileged minority that lorded it over the rest of the country. And they're having to adjust to the fact that they're just going to be essentially a permanent minority, and cut themselves as good a deal as they can get.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Allahu Akbar

Well, yes. God is the Most High, the Lord of Hosts. But how does that tie in to blowing oneself to shreds in order to take out some of your fellow Muslims? When was that tactic ever used in Biblical history or the Koran?

If God is all powerful, why does he need the help of mere mortals, especially alienated and misdirected young people, to kill others? The story of Sodom and Gommorah seems to show that when a society has become as wicked as Islamist radicals claim Western nations are, he has no trouble putting an end to them. Why does he need Al Qaeda or any of these clerics who keep sending off young people loaded with explosives and schrapnel?

Lslam teaches that Mohammed was the last and greatest of the prophets. If Wahhab or his disciples are so sure that God wanted his people to engage in kamikaze tactices, why didn't he say so in the Koran? Or are Osama, et al., claiming some new revelation, which would make them prophets, in contradiction to Mohammed?

It reminds one of those Star Trek episodes where some mechanical intelligence was unable to resolve the logical conflicts between its programming and its actions and melted down just in time to save the crew.

One last time

Let me state that Saddam's WMD was not why I supported this war, and still support it. Those who are whining now that "Bush Lied! People Died!" are caught in the LBJ timewarp. Bush used the WMD assessments as a makeweight argument, but they were never the sole or even the best argument for removing Saddam. For me, the main factor was that he was crazy enough to use nukes if he ever got ahold of them. After all, he fired missiles at Israel during the Gulf War and used nerve gas on the Kurds. He started two wars with neighboring states in 10 years. A guy that reckless should not be allowed to control a country with as much strategic importance as Iraq.

Subsequent events have shown that the war was more than justified. At the time, we didn't know about the Oil-for-Food fraud or the degree to which Saddam had bribed his way into the U.N. and the governments of France and Russia, not to mention journalists and Quislings like George Galloway.

If you still think this war was unjustified, there's no reason to talk any further to you. You're either not serious, stupid or profoundly deluded, if not all three. Don't waste my time. Go sit at the feet of Jimmy Carter and listen to how he rescued Iran from the Shah.

Just when we wanted them to misrepresent the intel

it turns out they didn't get Zarqawi after all. Ah, shucks.

It's really getting tough at the White House,

when the turkeys start refusing their pardons. They'd never have done that to Bill Clinton, but then they probably wouldn't have done some other things to him, either.

But he's not wearing pajamas

I've been watching the three alien invasion shows, Threshold, Surface and Invasion. So far, Threshold is the best. Each show is pretty much self-contained, although knowing the past story arc helps. The other two are installments and they have about as much plot development as a daytime soap opera. They try to build interest and suspense like a fan dancer, but the stories are getting too complicated to keep track of. Tonight, Invasion introduces the fact that the goofy brother-in-law UFOlogist is also a blogger! So much for the credibility of the writers. Of course, there must be some bloggers as goofy as this out there, but the stereotype of bloggers hardly resembles Instapundit or Roger L. Simon. He's more like Art Bell without a radio show.

Surface has a redneck character with an anger management problem and extremely poor impulse control, along with a kid whose devotion to his dangerous pet leads him into car theft. Yeah, they're your typical Americans, if you live in a Hollywood trailer court.

Invasion is one of those shows where everybody is too beautiful to be real, living in Homestead Florida. They've had one scene of a married couple taking a shower together outdoors. Tonight we had a scene that came within about a minute from coitus interruptus.

Invasion and Threshold are full of pod people, despite the denial by Kari Matchett's character tonight. Surface is more like an aliens-invading-Earth and endangering-all-life-as-we-know-it horror flick. I'm losing patience with Invasion and Surface. They feel like a long tease, with nothing worth waiting for at the end, except some cheesy cgi or special effects. They're beginning to resemble the endless maze that was The X-Files.

I also have been watching Criminal Minds, about a team of FBI profilers, starring Mandy Patinkin. He's very good. I've been fascinated with this stuff since my days as a public defender. One of my favorite shows used to be Millennium which started out as a kind of study of evil and how it can affect the lives of people who investigate it, but went downhill fast after Chris Carter handed it off to some other producers who turned it into a thin conspiracy fantasy resembling Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco.

I watched Numb3rs and liked it very much when it began, but this season something hasn't seemed quite right. It's starting to get back into its original family feel now, so maybe it was just too long between seasons. I really like Rob Morrow as a tough FBI agent and his math prodigy brother, played by David Krumholz, and the interplay between them and their widowed father, Judd Hirsch.

That about accounts for my broadcast viewing, except football. Otherwise, I leave the TV on Discovery, Science Channel or History Channel, and read blogs with the TV as background noise.

Politics and Turkey -- a deadly combination

Hugh Hewitt devoted part of his show today prepping listeners with lefties in the family on how to deal with them at Thanksgiving. James Lileks acted the role of the stoner brother-in-law quite well, although he lacked the rage and yelling that has been my experience.

If you really want to keep Thanksgiving dinner civil, I recommend putting a sign on the front door to the effect that anybody talking politics will have to sit at the card table with the leg that won't lock in place. If you don't have one, make them sit in the basement with a paper plate on their lap.

From Mad to Worse

Bush makes a bad joke at a meeting with Tony Blair, and some idiot jots it down and Hey Presto!, it's part of the spiel from the disembodied voices that seem to be speaking to the left these days.

Of course, attacking a news organization headquartered in the country that hosts our center of operations in the Middle East makes about as much sense as having the CIA bomb the London Subway [Warning! That is not true. It's offered as an example of absurdity.], but nothing is too far out for the psychotic left to believe. It's getting so bad that you can't tell when they're kidding. Nothing is too far out for people who think Michael Moore is the voice of truth.

George W. Bush is too dumb to be president, but somehow he managed to defeat every effort of the left to thwart his nefarious plot. Of course, he's the puppet of Karl Rove who, in turn, is the tool of Dick Cheney who, you know, never really resigned as the head of HALLIBURTON [shriek!]. Either that or the Bilderbergers are really running everything, under the direction of the International Bankers' Conspiracy. Yadda yadda yadda.

What's scary is that the media seems to have bought into all this and has put it in the Koolaid. White phosphorous, widely used as an incendiary in WWII is now being compared to nerve gas in some quarters. And have you noticed how much Harry Reid is beginning to resemble Marshall Applewhite?

Let this be a lesson

A charge that isn't answered quickly is perceived as an admission. (Link requires subscription-It's a poll indicating that a majority of respondents believe that the White House misleads the public.)

Bush has a reluctance to get involved in the kind of "you did-I didn't" arguments that the left is always raising, but he can't afford to ignore stuff like the claim that he misrepresented intelligence to justify thi war in Iraq. Saddam and his sons were an international threat if only because they were corrupting member states on the Security Council, and because their pathological cruelty and inpredictability left no bounds to what they were capable of.

Atlanta, we have a problem

CNN may have some liberal activists working for it.

The Truth about Bush v. Gore

Justice Scalia sets the record straight.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the high court did not inject itself into the 2000 presidential election.

Speaking at the Time Warner Center last night, Scalia said: "The election was dragged into the courts by the Gore people. We did not go looking for trouble."

But he said the court had to take the case.

"The issue was whether Florida's Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court [would decide the election.] What did you expect us to do? Turn the case down because it wasn't important enough?"
He's right. Gore filed the lawsuits demanding a recount, and the Florida courts inserted themself into the election. I disagreed with the reasoning in the Bush v. Gore opinion. I thought it should have flatly stated that without proof of fraud, the courts, including the state courts, have no business involving themselves in national elections. Otherwise, Scalia is spot on.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Take the plaque down

I looked up The New Colossus, the poem by Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty, to get the words right. As I read it again, it occurred to me how sad it is that so many Americans no longer believe what it says.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Of course, now that we've adopted so many socialist measures, that wretched refuse of your teeming shore can't be allowed. Freeloaders.

Sony is a four-letter word

Texas has filed suit against it for installing a really tough virus called a rootkit on the computers of people who buy it's CDs and DVDs as a form of copy protection. The existence of the rootkit was discovered by a computer security expert. According to Wired magazine,
A rootkit is a particularly insidious type of Trojan horse that hides its existence from users and programs by tampering with the operating system on the most fundamental level. Where normal malicious code might be content to choose a deceptive file name, a rootkit "hooks" operating system calls that might reveal its presence, and essentially reprograms them to lie -- like bribing the coroner to conceal a murder.

And the lie the First 4 Internet code tells is a whopper. Under the program's influence, Windows will deny the existence of any file, directory, process or registry key whose name begins with "$sys$." Russinovich verified this by making a copy of Notepad named "$sys$notepad.exe," which promptly vanished from view.

That means that any hacker who can gain even rudimentary access to a Windows machine infected with the program now has the power to hide anything he wants under the "$sys$" cloak of invisibility.
Thus Sony not only protects its own material, it leaves a gaping hole in your computers protection. Now it's being asked why it took so long to discover this, and suggested that computer security firms have covered it up, because, well, it's Sony and it's in everybody's (except consumers') interest to prevent piracy. I guess they'll have to add a paragraph to those EULAs for virus protection programs, disclaiming failure to point out backdoors installed by Sony and any other content company. It kind of makes you wonder why you were being so honest yourself. I guess we'll all have to go back to snailmail and never using computers for anything that could be personally identifiable.

So my laptop is nothing more than a spam collector. I wonder how much of my hard disk is occupied by spam, rootkits and viruses.

John Dvorak notes that it's unsafe to be online anymore and advises people with broadband to disconnect it when not in use. His conclusion:
This situation is totally out of control with today's architecture, and it's about time we scrap the whole structure. And by this I mean Linux, Unix, Mac OS, and Windows. Scrap it all.
I've thought for a long time that the people who developed our computer OSes and networks were all pretty naive. I doubt that any of them had a thought about how what they were designing could be turned into a means of stealing information, wasting bandwidth with spam or committing fraud. Most of the early computer scientists never saw the PC revolution coming.

Another group I blame for much of this is the privacy freaks. There are places where privacy on the internet is absolutely necessary, such as China, but for most of us, being anonymous is not something we care about. We carry credit cards and drivers license precisely because being anonymous is really inconvenient. Yet somehow having a national ID is perceived as a threat. The reason we worry about identity theft is that we have done away with cash in most transactions. What we need is an infallible ID so that if someone steals your credit card, he can't use it, because the card would contain some unfakeable information about you that only you can provide. Passwords are a lousy substitute. Maybe in the future we'll have to have our fingers scanned in addition to swiping our cards.

I don't know what could be done to make the internet more safe, but it's a cinch that the monitoring programs aren't up to it or their vendors don't really care.

The Arab Street disappoints the MSM

Mark Steyn notes that the popular support for Al Qaeda seems to be mostly in the minds of Western journalists.

He also has this to say about the antiwar element:
n war, there are usually only two exit strategies: victory or defeat. The latter's easier. Just say, whoa, we're the world's pre-eminent power but we can't handle an unprecedently low level of casualties, so if you don't mind we'd just as soon get off at the next stop.

Demonstrating the will to lose as clearly as America did in Vietnam wasn't such a smart move, but since the media can't seem to get beyond this ancient jungle war it may be worth underlining the principal difference: Osama is not Ho Chi Minh, and al-Qa'eda are not the Viet Cong. If you exit, they'll follow. And Americans will die - in foreign embassies, barracks, warships, as they did through the Nineties, and eventually on the streets of US cities, too.

As 9/11 fades into the past, that's an increasingly hard argument to make. Taking your ball and going home is a seductive argument in a paradoxical superpower whose inclinations on the Right have a strong isolationist streak and on the Left a strong transnational streak - which is isolationism with a sappy face and biennial black-tie banquets in EU capitals. Transnationalism means poseur solutions - the Kyotification of foreign policy.
"Demonstrating the will to lose" remember that when your kid or grandkid asks what the demonstrations are for. The greatest victory a lot of people in my generation had was convincing our leaders to leave our erstwhile allies in South Vietnam high and dry after we pulled out. That's why you see all these goofs out reliving their college days at "peace" marchs.

Funny how you never see any signs that say "Break our word! Dishonor our treaties!" or "To hell with your huddled masses yearning to breathe free!" or "Give the terrorists what they want!"

The condemned man could not be reached for comment.

A prosecutor who notched his belt with a death penalty conviction may be learning that the take-no-prisoners attitude of many like him is ill advised. No prosecutor should ever let the cops make his charging decisions for him. We know too much about the flimsiness of "eye"-witnesses and the power of suggestion to trust them as the sole basis for a capital case.

The dying on the dying

The LA Times pronounces the U.S. auto industry dead. Considering the paper's own financial health, it should know.

Americans are going to have to brace themselves for protectionism and higher prices, or jobs without lifetime health care benefits.

The news before it happens.

The Financial Times reports the guilty plea by Michael Scanlon to charges of fraud. Although there's scant evidence in the story to justify the headline, Threat of federal charges against DeLay grows. Actually the story waits until the tenth paragraph to tell the reader that
Although Mr DeLay’s earlier indictment on unrelated money laundering charges forced him to give up his seat as majority leader in the House of Representatives, it is unclear how strong the case against the Texas Republican is.
The rest of the story brings up connections to DeLay over and over. You'd think that DeLay was accused of being involved.

He still could be, but there is nothing to suggest that he's even being investigated. His connection to this case is pure speculation. Nope, no bias here!

Sure guys, whatever you say.

CNN is blaming a computer bug for the superimposition of a large black X over the face of VP Cheney during his speech to the AEI. It could be, but when they say they can't make it happen again to show how it happened, you have to wonder.

Hugh Hewitt is accusing them of lying about it.

Rehashing history

Shakespeare's Sister crows
Instapundit owes Eason Jordan an apology (and a job)
. It's about a report that Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera but Tony Blair talked him out of it. Sir George Turner is having none of it. His points make more sense.

The Sister thinks this proves somehow that the U.S. military targets journalists, but it does nothing of the sort.

403 to 3

The Murtha fiasco is being spun as 'that's not what he meant." Duncan Hunter called the Democrats' bluff and they folded like a cheap tent. Now they're trying to back away from the clear intent of his resolution.

Effort - a new radical idea in education

Downtown College Prep, a charter school in San Jose is getting good results by following a " work-your-butt-off philosophy of education. Its leaders analyze what's not working, adapt quickly and waste no time on esteem inflation or excuses."

This is too good an idea for the education unions to ever go along with it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

How good a soldier is Jack Murtha?

He seems to have led his troops into an ambush and turned tail when the shooting started. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, so Murtha is to be congratulated for not trying to defend an indefensible position.

It also turns out that Murtha's vaunted 37 years of service weren't quite what they first appear. He served full-time for 6 years and the rest as a reservist, not that there's anything wrong with being a reservist. But I would think that the 37 years should be explained since one naturally assumes that he was on active duty the whole time.

He's a tough customer, but it's pretty clear that he's seen better days. His photo reminded me of this one I surfed onto last week.

MSM Cannibalism

Howard Kurtz examines the cases of "a line of lonely crusaders," whose work hase been discredited, as with Mary Mapes ("Mapes is right that the . . . memos . . .have not been proven to be forgeries, but is that the standard for broadcasting a serious charge?") and broadens the essay to include journalists, such as Judith Miller, and now Bob Woodward, who have fallen out with their own organizations.

Unfortunately, he presents these stories as some kind of Profiles in Courage,
Perhaps the saddest case involved Gary Webb, a San Jose Mercury News reporter who suggested in a 1996 series that the CIA knew a drug ring linked to the Nicaraguan contras had been selling crack in Los Angeles. When the "Dark Alliance" series caused an uproar, the Mercury News editor concluded after a review (and critical pieces in other major newspapers) that it "fell short" of the paper's standards. Webb, who called the findings "bizarre" and "nauseating," left the paper after being demoted. He committed suicide last year.
I'm not sure that all of these stories are really about the brave investigative journalist destroyed by his employers, but it's always interesting to see how the press views itself.

Fixing Intelligence

Louis Freeh assesses a major failure by the 9/11 Commission. It seems to me that the biggest problem with commissions like this and the agencies they investigate is that they're from inside the Beltway. We'd be much better off if the CIA headquarters were moved to Colorado Springs and the Pentagon to Omaha. The further you can get from the D.C. toxic mix of bureaucrats and journalists the better.

The Biweekly Standard.

I subscribe to The Weekly Standard, but it seems to show up in the mail in fits and starts. Sometimes only a day passes between issues.

Thus I ended up reading this editorial over the weekend. It offended me. Here's Bill Kristol, one of the first conservative intellectuals to attack President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to SCOTUS, dissociating himself from the President's troubles:
How to recover? Begin by facing reality.

The Miers episode did more damage than one might have expected. It raised doubts about Bush's judgment, on top of the Katrina-related doubts about White House competence, which have lingered. But Miers, and Katrina, are over.
It seems to me that the reason the Miers nomination turned so negative for Bush was because people like Kristol, George Will, Charles Krauthammer and the gang at National Review mau-maued her far more effectively than the Democrats ever could have. It his own allies turn on him and denounce him, how can anybody expect his poll numbers to hold up? And to then speak of it as if you had nothing to do with turning it into a disaster seems the height of arrogance and hypocrisy.

Perhaps Miers wasn't the best candidate, but she isn't as empty-headed and ignorant as conservative media pundits made her appear. They should not be allowed to pretend that they had nothing to do with Bush's present troubles. It's apparent that despite their professed contempt for the MSM, they are part of it and see the world through the same lens, albeit without the same slant.

Now Kristol wonders why Bush isn't out there punching. It's kind of hard to do that when you're carrying the knives of your "friends" in your back. I don't agree with every choice Bush makes, but I respect his judgment and his desire to do what's right. I support him, because that's what supporters do, and because I understand how difficult it is to govern when the Democrats and the MSM are campaigning against you full time. Having a herd of backseat drivers beating on you doesn't help.

An Ecstasy of Fumbling

James Lileks reviews Kurt Vonnegut's totally predictable pronouncements against Bush and the war. Of course, Vonnegut has to push the envelope by claiming that dulce et decorun est to die for what you believe in, even if it's something as vacuous of disporting oneself with 72 dark-eyed virgins (or raisins) or a bloodthirsty god who rewards the murder of innocents.

I read Slaughterhouse 5 and thought it was pretty bad. I assumed that it was hailed because it's main point was that the Allied bombing of Dresden was a more horrific atrocity than Hiroshima.