Saturday, December 03, 2005

Yeah, it's gruesome, but . . .

It just occurred to me that an avian flu pandemic could be the solution to the Social Security crisis. A lot of people in my age group and older would be the main victims. It would probably bring down Medicare, though.

The beauty of simplicity

If you wonder what's so wrong about Sony's DRM rootkit, here it is in a nutshell, from Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security, Stewart Baker:
"It's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer."
You've got to admire the succinctness and irrefutability of that.

The Stupidity Du Jour

Christopher Hitchens points out a new version of the "chickenhawk" fallacy, a rhetorical ploy used by people like Al Franken and Michael Moore to silence those who support the war. This time it's more mean spirited, projecting some kind of inhumanity and moral leprosy onto someone "who favor[s] war but [is] not willing to sacrifice his own son."

This really shows more about the absurdity of the argument that all wars are immoral and wrong. It's the same kind of thinking that sustains PETA and those who believe human beings should make ourselves extinct for the good of the environment, as if the environment would notice. Any society that totally accepted this view of morality could not survive in this world. If it weren't subjugated by something like the Soviet Union or the ancient Romans, it would be corrupted by the likes of Hitler or Mussolini.

I once read a quote of a man who said he wouldn't want to live in a world where there were no grizzly bears. To take such people seriously is a big mistake and a waste of time, because their philosophy is theoretical at best, and because it leads to arguments with people like this.

The genre that refuses to die

Yet another zombie film. Like the real life walking-dead left, these zombies vote Democrat. They probably believe that Gore was elected in 2000, too.

The photo at The Mechanical Eye, looks more like The Mummy Votes, which would actually make more sense. The premise doesn't make a lot of sense, because 2,100 zombie votes probably wouldn't be enough to change any but the closest elections.

The blogosphere has already shredded this whole subject. And the more I think about it and the death of 10 Marines yesterday, I think this is really bad taste. It makes me wonder how really serious the left is about war being so terrible. I guess is this one makes money, Dante could make a follow-up about the hilarity at Halabja.

He seems to think this will be found clever, along the lines of "Springtime for Hitler," but there needs to be more distance for that to happen. The humor in The Producers, remember, comes at the expense of nutball Neo-Nazis. A current version would have to be about some old hippies who think that Iraq is a second Vietnam and glamourize the antiwar movement of the 1970s when returning troops were spit on and called baby-killers. I see these people my age at Anti-Bush rallies protesting Iraq, and they do think they're kind of ripe for parody.

Say, you don't suppose . . . ?

Is Eric Brady really so thick as to have just stumbled onto the fact that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe might have a religious theme? Or is this just an attempt to stir up controversy. Disney promoting a Christian story? Hey, it worked for Mel Gibson bigtime.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I wonder if this is what Glenn means . . .

when he says "A pack, not a herd."

Who knew that there was a Russian Mafia for squirrels? Will the Russians have to resort to plastic snakes, and would it work? "When they came for the dog, I did nothing, because I was not a dog."

And I wonder if these animal rights protesters would have cared if they'd called it Rat Terrine. I would have thought the bushy tail would put diners off, but the Brits do have some odd tastes.

I suspected this

The state of California has more murders in a year than all the deaths of our troops in Iraq since the war began. Of course, one a per capita basis, Iraq is more dangerous, but I think it's reasonable to ask how really "unacceptable" our losses there are in absolute terms. Imagine if someone started setting up gravestones in Central Park for each person killed in alcohol-related traffic smash-ups every year. Yawn!

But Cindy Sheehan does it outside Bush's ranch in Texas--Oh, the humanity!

Hey! It took us a long time to reduce our schools to daycare centers!

Sometimes the obviousness of a good idea is inversely proportional to how strongly unions will oppose it.

Ebola. Anti-Bush Fever.

You do the math.

Do fruit bats bark at the mooon?

Good question

For me the answer is obvious.

What happens to all the kids in Limbo?

The meaning of truth is raised somewhat by this effort to change the doctrine of the Catholic Church. There are some things that change as the Lord reveals new truth, and there are cases where the Lord revokes commandments, (such as the Mosaic dietary rules for Christians), but how long has the Catholic Church been telling people that unbaptized infants who die, go to Limbo?

The Mormon Church teaches this quotation from the Book of Mormon:
4 And now, my son, I speak unto you concerning that which grieveth me exceedingly; for it grieveth me that there should disputations rise among you.

5 For, if I have learned the truth, there have been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children.

6 And now, my son, I desire that ye should labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you; for, for this intent I have written this epistle.

7 For immediately after I had learned these things of you I inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And the word of the Lord came to me by the power of the Holy Ghost, saying:

8 Listen• to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole• need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children• are whole•, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the circumcisionision• is done away in me.

9 And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery• before God, that ye should baptize little children.

10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach--—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.

12 But little children• are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God and a respecter• to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

13 Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell.

14 Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith•, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.

15 For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.

16 Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do, for perfect love casteth out all fear.

17 And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.

18 For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable• from all• eternity to all eternity.

19 Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy.
That doesn't sound good for all those have preached for a thousand years that these children are in Limbo

Why do they prefer "journalist" to "reporter"?

Maybe because a journal is personal to the writer while a reporter is expected to state facts.

Terrorism as a cottage industry

Apparently, Al Qaeda has become a sort of microlender to a number of local terrorist franchises with names like "Supporters of the Sunni People; the Men's Faith Brigade; the Islamic Anger, Al Baraa bin Malik Suicide Brigade; the Tawid Lions of Abdullah ibn al Zobeir."
While some of them, like the Suicide Brigade, claim an affiliation with Al QaedaTM in Mesopotamia and Al QaedaTM.

Highly visible groups like Al Qaeda, Ansar al Sunna and the Victorious Army Group appear to act as fronts, the Iraqis and the Americans say, providing money, general direction and expertise to the smaller groups, but often taking responsibility for their attacks by broadcasting them across the globe. . . .
So it's a kind of small business franchise deal. Now if we could get the SBA over there and teach them how to run a business that doesn't kill your employees.

Canada, again.

Mary Anastasia O'Grady (requires subscription) reports the collapse of the Liberal government, along with this point about the fruits of socialism:
The cost to Canadians of the sponsorship project was CD$250 million. But government critics are calling it the tip of an Ottawa iceberg created by a generalized lack of accountability. Kevin Libin writing in the Western Standard on May 16 reported that "a February auditor general's report highlighted the fact that there are about $78 billion in assets under the control of Crown corporations that face almost no public scrutiny and lack proper controls."

The Devil's Dictionary

Tom Wolfe in the new National Review (requires subscription):
I hasten to point out the difference between an intellectual and a person of intellectual achievement. An intellectual is a person knowledgeable in one field who speaks out only in others. When Noam Chomsky was merely the most original, arresting, and widely talked-about linguistic theorist in America, he was never referred to as a leading American intellectual. That came only after he expressed his outrage over American involvement in the war in Vietnam, about which he knew nothing, since he read The Nation instead of Parade. It was the outrage that gained him entry into that “charming aristocracy,” to borrow the words of Catulle Mendès. Or as Marshall McLuhan once put it, “Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity.”

The Column is Media Notes

So why is it full of sarcasm about Bush's speech at Annapolis? Shouldn't isn't hi tioned until the 8th or 9th graf.a

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Reynolds' Rule

of Politics:
[I]f the government had less power, there would be less corruption. Or at least, the corruption in question would matter less.
Mormons have a scripture:
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
And the more we know about them, the fewer will be chosen.

More pro blogging and one pro who should remain in the MSM.

Mort Zuckerman writes on the changes being wrought by blogs.

In fact, two of his best columnists, Michael Barone and John Leo are blogging. Both seem to get it, that news no longer waits for the 6:00 p.m. time slot or the morning paper. It happens continuously, and people talk about it as it comes in. Zuckerman would do well to start a group blog at the site similar to the Corner.

I have no interest in reading a blog by David Gergen, however. He a cliché, writing stuff like "as our current 'leaders' wander through the stormy present, putting themselves first, allowing the nation to drift dangerously." He's trying to apply the theme of Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest book about how Lincoln brought his political rivals into his administration. The problem with this is seeing how it applies to Bush's situation. Lincoln, didn't bring McClellan into his cabinet, or Jefferson Davis, who is a better analogy to Howard Dean, John Kerry and the minority leadership in the Senate. Bush did try to work with people from the other party, such as George Tenet, but the Democrats have lost all good will. They'd sacrifice the Iraqi nation to get rid of George Bush. The media are as hostile to Bush as they were toward Lincoln, but in those days the federal government wasn't loaded down with holdovers and career bureaucrats who despise the will of the people, as the CIA, State Department and even the Pentagon is these days. The presidency isn't the powerful office it used to be, because of civil service and the hold that entitlements have over politics.

I suspect that if any Democrat were to return civility for civility, Bush would be happy to bring him in, but then in today's climate, for a Democrat to do so would be tantamount to announces a party switch, because he'd be attacked so vociferously by the MoveOn crowd. Democrats can reach out to Republicans for their cabinets as Carter and Clinton both did, but it doesn't work the other way.

The Vietnam Matrix

We seem to be trapped in a time or some alternate reality where the Vietnam war has become the paradigm of all wars.
Somebody needs to take the red pill. Wake up, Rip! That was then, this is now.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. know what happened in Vietnam, and they know what happened in Korea and Somalia, too. They even remember 9/11. They know the danger of another Vietnam, and their plans take it into account, but they know better than to treat such attacks as just another mosquito bite. They aren't as stupid as the pseudo-intellectuals on the left want you to think. If you want to understand what's going on, you have to acknowledge all of this. If you've chosen to see this administration through the distorted lens of the Democrats and MoveOn, you're not as smart as you think you are.

Another Alito Moment

It's still a month away from the hearings, but the MSM is hard at work trying to turn Alito's memos from before he was a judge into some kind of current scandal.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fie on goodness!

The local TV news tonight has an interview with a couple of sourpuss atheists who have filed a lawsuit to remove some concrete crosses installed around Utah's highways to commemorate Utah Highway Patrol troopers who have died in the line of duty. Each one has a small plaque telling about the trooper and how he/she was killed.

Update: Here's a report from the Deseret Morning News. It reports that the crosses are made of steel, not concrete. I hope they are safe to run into.

The LDS Church (Mormons) doesn't use the cross symbol, so the cross marker has nothing to do with the religion of the trooper being remembered. If one of them were Jewish, I would understand his family preferring a star of David, but what religion goes around demanding that any symbols it doesn't sanction be taken down? These crosses were erected by a private organization for troopers' families, not by the state. I've never seen one, but I see a lot of smaller memorials to people who have died in accidents. They don't bother me.

What bothers me a lot, however, is the attitude of the two grouches interviewed about their suit. They remind me of the stereotype of the Church Lady sitting around worrying that somebody somewhere might be having fun. There are a lot more offensive thing on the highways than stuff like this, like weeds, litter, advertising, and rude and reckless drivers. They can't see a memorial of a life lost in service,only a religious symbol. The reason a cross was used, is that they are so commonly used in national cemeteries that they have become quick means of recognizing the marker of a death.

I couldn't be an atheist, because as an ideology it asserts that no proof of God equates with proof that God doesn't exist. The most one could reasonably say is that many of the reasons people give for their faith can be explained by natural processes. Of course, all that does is push the question back one level. Why does nature act the way it does?

These grumps seem to think that they should be able to order the world to conform to their liking, which is the very attitude that our courts have fostered. The issue has gone from a claim that religion is oppressing nonbelievers, to the nonbelievers wielding these decisions to intimidate everybody else out of expressing their faith in public. This kind of intolerance is exactly what the Constitution was intended to prevent. In my experience, it is the nonbelievers who are more disagreeable about their differences than religious people.

Atheists are revealing their true antipathy to freedom of religion and speech. Nobody gets the right to tell everybody else how to act. In the name of humanism, they become inhumane, chauvinistic and imperious. This is what happens when courts take over policy-making, and why any judge and jury with any sense would laugh this case out of court. Civil liberties have been turned into a club to be used by self-pitying minorities and contrary personality types to make pests of themselves.

Bill Grinch

Hugh Hewitt is denouncing Bill Gates and Microsoft for failing to produce enough XBox 360s for the Christmas market. More proof that MS's marketing prowess is a myth.

On the other hand, Apple and Toyota have been able to market the Ipod and the Prius so well that they can sell products at unjustified prices. I never bought an Ipod, because I have several Walkman-type cassette/radios that costed less than $30, and I just can't justify $230 for the same thing without the radio. Beside, the earbuds never stay put in my ears.

Everything today is becoming more entwined with computers and hence follows the rules of early adopters: They pay more, have more problems with the product and end up with an obsolete product quicker than others. I like my XBox just fine.

I started taking a class in advertising in college, but I dropped it. I guess I just don't believe in setting people up for disappointment.

Great moments in employee/volunteer recruiting

The antiwar group, four of whose workers in Iraq have been taken hostage, renounces "the use of violent force to save lives of its workers should they be kidnapped, held hostage, or caught in the middle of a conflict situation.

We don't use headhunters, but you could end up being captured by a group of the real thing. In that event, it was nice knowing you.

Ross Perot doesn't work there.

Who needs a network?

Glenn Reynolds considers the possibility that Hollywood producers could make money selling programs on DVD and bypassing the broadcast networks altogether.

Harry Reid's loose lips

I wonder if he'll be accused of misleading us all with bad intel.

If he's repeating actual intelligence, it could squander a big opportunity in the fight with Al Qaeda, since presumably, we found the corpse and a lot of other information about al Qaeda. If on the other hand, he's talking through his hat, why would he say it? How would it help the Democrats' arguments against Bush's policies? If it's disproven he looks like a bigger fool than he already does. If it's true, doesn't that help Bush's policy? We kept OBL bottled up where he couldn't do much except issue occasional videotapes, and eventually his own hideout killed him. How does that spin to the Democrats' favor?

"I take responsibility, but"

Every time I hear somebody say that, I wonder what they mean. James Taranto links to an instance of Hillary! saying it.

What does it mean? To me, if you do something wrong, you take responsibility by admitting it and taking whatever punishment is affixed. Duke Cunningham is taking responsibility for accepting bribes. But what has Hillary! done other than dismiss her support for the war with a meaningless phrase? What she really says is "it wasn't my fault, I was fooled by Bush's 'false assurances, faulty evidence and mismanagement of the war.'" Of course, she could have been fooled by her husband's administration too, since it was using the same intel. If it was misleading, why didn't he do something about it, or at least say so at the time she voted to authorize the war.

Bush isn't "taking responsibility" for those things she accuses him of, because he didn't do anything wrong. He was just as misled as she or anybody else by the intel he was getting. But he's doing more. He's sticking to his guns, keeping faith with our troops, and pursuing the policy he announced from the start with steadiness and resolve. He has put his presidency on the line, and he's not going to bail out on those who have trusted us.

By contrast, consider what John Hinderaker has to say about Hillary!'s strategy of taking both sides on the war. No fork in the road for her. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I . . . took both.

If they've said it once, . . .

How much time and money is spent repeating things for those who weren't listening or have been misled by demagogues. The press and the Democrats have been whining that we don't have an exit strategy, when anybody who wasn't busy hating Bush already knew what the plan is.

Rhetorical Note: When you're losing an argument, you can get a lot of mileage out of pretending your opponent hasn't said what he said. Changing the subject and making bald assertions without providing proof are also popular tactics. Don't be surprised if they ignore the release of the strategy and just keep repeating the Big Lie.

On second thought, don't be surprised if they start complaining that this plan isn't new.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

No threat, eh?

Daniel McKivergan remembers how close Saddam came to having a nuclear weapon in 1991. I've assumed that he ditched his materials before the UN Inspectors came back, counting on his bribed buddies to get the UN Sanctions lifted, after which he would put his scientists back to work. The media have been defending him from criticism because they'd rather see him in power than George W. Bush. Where is some real investigative journalism? There's a huge story waiting to be told, but the liberal media don't want to know about it.

Is American Idol back early?

If so, I'm not impressed by Harry Reid's performance.

Sorry, Ma'am, your fifteen minutes is over

Cindy who? This isn't the dog days of August any more. There's real news to cover back in D.C.

Monday, November 28, 2005

First, the whales. Then sand dunes. Now this.

The world is alive with the sound of icebergs!

I think I see a sequel for March of the Penquins.

The Democrats have an idea!

The Democrats, according to Jon Henke, citing David Broder, have finally developed an Iraq Policy, and, quelle suprise!, it is the same one Bush has had all along. Those worried about Iraq becoming another Vietnam, however, should remember which party turned it into a quagmire to begin with. If nothing else, the idea of having Hillary! As commander in chief should give us a lot of incentive to bring it to an end before they can take it over and mess it up.

New polls, meanwhile, suggest that the the public sees anti-war rhetoric as harmful to the morale of our troops; more evidence for Michael Hanlon's thesis. The reflexive negativity and steadfast insistence of the media on portraying this war as a repeat of Vietnam are doing a disservice to our country. We seem now to have a core of anti-Americanism in the Democrat Party, and it's harming us. It's one thing to criticize our policy in order to make it more effective, and quite another to try to defeat it.

An Exemplar for the Very Rich

John J. Miller explains why the Olin Foundations is going out of business. Olin was very perceptive, in fearing that his foundation would taken over by liberal management if it continued too long. I've thought many times how ironic it is that fortunes built in the oil and gas industries have ended up financing environmentalists who attack the businesses on which they were built. Maybe this should be mandatory, although it would probably just result in a Tag Team strategy where new foundations would be created and the funds transferred. I don't know whether anything can be done about this, but I hope more of those people who establish charitable foundations will learn from Mr. Olin's example.

The Civil-Military Divide

Michael O'Hanlon argues that the growing difference in perception of how the war in Iraq is going between civilians at home and the military in general is "insidious and dangerous." I agree.

We can't fight an enemy like Al Qaeda without resolve, and the Democrats and most of the media, in their determination to destroy George Bush, are maligning our troops and their effectiveness. We need to remember that its our troops we depend on, not our media elites.

The Leaden Age of Film

Mark Steyn points out some glaring problems with the movie industry, noting that the latest Harry Potter movie made more money its first weekend than the rest of the top ten films combined. He doesn't mention the last three Star Wars films, but he points to the main problems with them: political correctness. I suspect that the main thing that keeps the movie industry in business is the magic of the big screen, but even that can't save it from its own lack of understanding why Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, even March of the Penguins do so well, while the rest lose money.

More Manteiv

The old Vietnam era complaint that our soldiers are primarily from the underclasses is a favorite of war critics like Bob Herbert and Charles Rangel, without a factual basis according to USA Today.