Saturday, March 18, 2006

And the nitpicking, "I'm smarter than you!" award goes to

Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press for her "report" Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches.

He mispronounces some words too. Let's kill him.

But surely citing an "expert" is good solid proof. She cites:
A specialist in presidential rhetoric, Wayne Fields of Washington University in St. Louis, views it as "a bizarre kind of double talk" that abuses the rules of legitimate discussion.

Isn't there a fallacy of appeal to questionable authority? Or special pleading, where you criticize others for things you do yourself?

Maybe it's just us lawyers who know that you can find an "expert" to testify whatever you want. And where do I get a copy of those "rules of legitimate discussion?" Who legislated them?

Apparently, Mr. Fields did.
"It's such a phenomenal hole in the national debate that you can have arguments with nonexistent people," Fields said. "All politicians try to get away with this to a certain extent. What's striking here is how much this administration rests on a foundation of this kind of stuff."

Bush has caricatured the other side for years, trying to tilt legislative debates in his favor or score election-season points with voters.
Yep. The boys down at the gas station t'other day were notin' the same thing.

And all specialists in presidential rhetoric are self-absorbed prigs. Most of the "rhetoric" I see from the left is nothing but name-calling. They never present any reasoning, or if they do, it's to call attention to trivia, and extrapolate to indictment.

I wonder if Fields has ever analyzed the stump speeches of Bill Clinton.

Why the War is Unpopular

I didn't realize that so many Libertarians were against the war. I guess writers just kind of flock. Reason magazine rounds up some pundits:
As the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, Reason asked a wide range of libertarian, conservative, and freedom-minded journalists and academics to assess the war, the occupation, and how their views have or have not changed.

Anti Pro Equivocal

W. James Antle III Ronald Bailey Matt Welch
Tim Cavanaugh Christopher Hitchens
Brian Doherty Charles Murray
David Friedman Glenn Reynolds
Nick Gillespie Louis Rossetto
Jim Henley Michael Young
Wendy McElroy
John Mueller
William A. Niskanen
Tom G. Palmer
Charles V. Peña
Jonathan Rauch
Jacob Sullum
Jon Basil Utley
Jesse Walker
Robert Anton Wilson

If I had to say who I'd rather stand with, it would be the group with Hitchens, Reynolds and Murray. The rest are headed for the dustheap of history. This war made me proud to be an American again. What can I say? If we're such pansies that we can't stick with a task for more than three years, we're just what the terrorists think we are -- a paper tiger. We will have validated their strategy. We will deserve to be attacked again.

The Case for Bush as Conservative

Everybody seems to forget that the new debt limits and deficits must be seen in the context of the whole economy. Orrin Judd doesn't.

I don't like government spending, particularly pork, and I like it less when it comes with the high taxes to pay for it all. Remember that when you hear some liberal or Democrat complain about Bush's spending. I agree that Bush should have vetoed more spending bills, but there's a case to be made for letting Congress stew in its own juice. Why is the President supposed to step in when they do something stupid? Didn't we elect them, too? Better to cut out the hogs and mark them for defeat. And if we don't do it, we get what we deserve.

People Power and Fascist Thugs

Activism is based on the nice way people demonstrating peacefully may overthrow an unpopular regime. There are several caveats, however, for the would-be overthrowers, as explained by Strategy Page . One is that you have to get a huge number of people to join you. The AP may puff the story with headlines like "Global Protests Mark Iraq War Anniversary," but you need photos taken will a wide lens to prove it. The other is that you may get killed, as was demonstrated by the popular uprising at Tiananmen Square. Totalitarian states are tough to bring down as long as they have soldiers willing to fire on unarmed civilians.

Whether we admit it or not, we're already at war with Iran, but we're fighting them in Iraq. This is why all this moaning about Iraq being a civil war and a failure is crap. They presume that we will get bored and unhappy with the number of casualties and quit. If we do that, we might as well give them some nuke-tipped missiles, because we're the only ones until now who've told them no, and if we succumb to the steady beat of the quagmire choir in this country,
we lose all credibility around the world. Would you bet your country's future on the U.S. after that? Me, neither.

How do you deal with enemies of the nation?

Well, in the U.S. and Great Britain we let them hold demonstrations. Of course, when few protesters show up, it demonstrates something different from what they intend it to, like weirdness and fringe status.

The Blogosphere scoops Moody

Pajamas Media reports:
Moody may be about to downgrade The New York Times’ ratings.
They've been downgraded by bloggers for a long time.

The Times had to issue a correction for a story claiming to be about the person photographed at Abu Ghraib with a hood over his head. (Doesn't that suggest that you might want to check his story. But today it's published another story claiming:
As the Iraqi insurgency intensified in early 2004, an elite Special Operations forces unit converted one of Saddam Hussein's former military bases near Baghdad into a top-secret detention center. There, American soldiers made one of the former Iraqi government's torture chambers into their own interrogation cell. They named it the Black Room.
There's a placard from this detention center proclaiming the "High Five Paintball Club" and the slogan "No Blood No Foul" Apparently, the "torture" included being shot at with paintballs.

It doesn't actually state that the story comes from a Pentagon investigation, but it is nearly 2 years old. I hope their documents are better than the last torture story.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Yapping on the Left

Before I listen to you critique strategy in a war, I want to know that you believe in the goal. Otherwise, you're not an honest critic. Pacifists lecturing the military about strategy are like the Pope providing sex counseling.

True Polygamy

Charles Krauthammer is the latest to acknowledge the new HBO series, "Big Love", about polygamy among apostate Mormons.

Being a descendent of some polygamists, I've often thought about the modern alternative where one divorces one wife before taking another and then avoids supporting her children. My ancestors never did that. They were interested in obtaining the covenant of Abraham, whereby he was promised an endless posterity, not only in mortality, but in heaven, as well. They would never have countenanced receiving welfare from the government to support their families. They were Victorians and so were their wives. They were straitlaced and modest. There were no harims. There was nothing hidden from the women who entered into plural marriage. They consented to it.

The family of each wife lived separately, in separate homes or apartments. There were no orgies or beds full of women, as the rest of the world imagined it.

Modern polygamy amongst apostate Mormons sounds hideous, with middle aged men marrying 13 year olds, welfare fraud, tax avoidance and secretive living on the fringes of the law.

This just in.

Leave it to the Boston Globe to report 2 year old "news." The Democrat party has been in thrall to the MoveOn.Org crazy camp since Howard Dean discovered they had money.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Real Cockalorum

I keep telling myself that not all reporters are pompous jackasses, but they keep making it harder.

How not to help your newspaper

One rule would be to hang on to the really good writers, like Mark Steyn. Until the publishers and editors pull their heads out and wake up to the fact that conversatives constitute a large part of the public and that they're sick of being ignored and condescended to, they'll continue to lose readership. When you've got a columnist as smart, knowledgeable and witty as Mark Steyn, you ought to treat him as more valuable than any editor.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam and more Spam

I've been having trouble with my email for months. I'd go to the ISP's site and check my email and it would show that I had an ever increasing number of messages. Finally when it was nearly 30,000 last week, and checking it was timing out in the time it took to load, I had to do something. I sent messages to the webmaster which went unanswered.

I checked everything I could think of, reinstalling software and researching error messages. Sometimes it seemed to work. I could download 10 or 12 thousand messages, but when I checked the website, they never got removed.

Finally, I realized that there were a few emails in the server with malformed headers that were clogging things up. My browser, the Mozilla suite, couldn't download them. So I tried Thunderbird. Breakthrough. I found that malformed headers could be used to launch denial of service (dos) attacks. The ones in my email were probably not intentional. They appeared to be garbled, but the more recent versions of Outlook Express and Thunderbird had been patched to blast through such problems, preventing a buffer overflow that seemed to cause the trouble. When I removed the two offending messages, the rest was just being patient. It took about a week during which my phone was off the hook while I tried to download the spam and get rid of it.

I can't say what a relief it was to finally go to the server and find 0 messages.

I install DSL tomorrow.

Bennish is Back!

Jay Bennish has been reinstated. That's fine with me. He's been warned. Whether he keeps politicizing his classes is up to him. If he does, he should be canned.

As I think back to high school, I couldn't tell what my teachers' politics were. One, I learned later, was a conservative, but that's all I know. If they wanted to criticize a president, they could wait until he was dead. It would have been highly unprofessional to bring politics into anything. That was true in colleges, too. Activism, as in "The use of direct, often confrontational action, such as a demonstration or strike, in opposition to or support of a cause," has always been offensive to me because of the apparent willingness of those involved to deny other people their rights. This used to be a civil society, where it wasn't legal to accost people on the street and demand money, or call them names because of their faith. What made the civil rights movement so powerful was that they did things that white people could do with impunity. Sit-ins were demonstrations where blacks would violate Jim Crow laws by sitting in a restaurant asking to be waited on, remaining seated in the front of a bus instead of moving to the back for white riders, or marching peacefully carrying signs.

These days the demonstrators, too often start fights, scream at people, throw things, destroy property or disrupt what others are doing. Somewhere along the line, the demonstrators became the masters, with judges backing them up, while people who just want to go shopping or walk in the park are supposed to be ashamed of themselves if they object to panhandling, vagrancy or people marching around chanting.

Activism was once justified when people were being manifestly denied their civil rights. But more and more these days, they are just demands for whatever they want, right or not. If Bennish wants to criticize the president or indoctrinate his students with hatred of this country, he should be told to hit the road. That's not what school is for. Alternatively, he could teach what used to be call political economics. But even then, rants about individual politicians or parties are out of bounds. The Dems are angry. I can understand that. But acting like spoiled children and venting on the job are no more welcome that posting Playboy centerfolds or telling racial or sexual jokes.

Here's an example of what I mean. Accusing Lieberman of supporting "rapists' rights" because he opposes abortion, or marching with "God hates fags!" signs, or barging into a wedding party outside an LDS temple with a bullhorn telling the participants they're all going to hell--they're all going on and they stink. They're dividing this country into angry camps. It started in the 1960s with angry students. Now it's spread to just about every group seeking change or defending it.

It's time we reinstated self-control as the norm of our society. I hope Justices Alito and Roberts will bring back some of that civility. We are supposed to be a society where disputes are resolved by political debate and votes. The courts and our other institutions, such as public schools and universities have no business trying to short-circuit that process, except when one is so obvious in the Constitution that ignoring it amounts to invidious discrimination.

More support for disbanding J-schools

Even foreigners are wondering "who are these people?"

As much as I respect some journalists and reporters, even some j-school professors, I think that their problems come from the idea that journalism is a profession, like doctor or lawyer, with special ethics. The problem with that is that journalism doesn't have any authority to rule on who can practice it. If it did, it would probably violate the First Amendment. What would the criteria, other than a J-school degree, be for admission?

Such attitudes tend to create a divide between the members and the public. The members perform for the approval of their fellow members. They end up being warped to the point that people wonder how you get to be so ignorant, arrogant and biased.

Feingold the Fanatic

Feingold's Motion in the Senate to censure President Bush has the looney left doing cartwheels, but it's just what Frist called it, a political stunt. Just as the field in 2000 followed Howard Dean down the path, each trying to out-angry old Angry Howard, Hillary!® has come out showing that she can be as bitter and angry as the Party Chairman. So Feingold, a hopeful without the $100 million that she's apparently already raised and which is now supposed to the cost of a ticket to run, has to play the "How Angry Are You?" game just to raise money. By gum, they may pull another disaster out of victory!

Hoppin' Mad Hillary!®; High Dudgeon Dean and now Frantic Feingold. It's going to be a real cage match.

The WaPo is reporting that censure has very little support. Duh. Of course, Feingold doesn't really expect any. I would like to see the Republicans press the issue and get a full vote on the issue. Harrycarry Reid has "commended" Feingold. As Bugs Bunny would say, "What a maroon!"

Romney Rising

Nancy French, an activist for Mitt Romney, was interviewed on Hugh Hewitt's program today. I'm hoping there will be a transcript of it at Radioblogger. She talked about how she was able to get enough people out to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference to bring Romney in second to Bill Frist in the attendees straw poll. The conference was held in Tennessee, so Frist's support was expected. Romney's was not.

What impressed me was what Ms. French had to say about the reactions to Romney's being a Mormon. Some people told her Mormons are better Baptists than most Baptists. One minister told her, "You've already got a pastor. What we need is a good president." In other words, the backlash by Evangelicals may be Evanescent.

Romney really is an impressive guy. He has terrific executive skills and an outstanding record in dealing with budget deficits both as Massachusetts governor and coming in when the Utah Winter Olympics were in peril and leading them to a successful and popular event. I think he has the charisma of Reagan, but with more youth, and the intelligence and executive experience to be a national leader. He has the ability to explain his ideas cogently and to come up with solutions that make sense.

The Romney Revolution could run McCain's Straight Talk Express off the road. He's already demonstrated that he's not anathema to liberals. I think that a lot of Democrats in Massachusetts respect him, even if he is a Republican. He nearly beat Ted Kennedy for Senator, until Kennedy's union supporters went to work and played the religion card.