Saturday, May 13, 2006

An Army of Davids (with Tivo)

How TV networks are scrambling to deal with changes imposed by new technologies, such as internet and DVRs. How do you get people to watch your commercials when they can choose to skip them?

You can expect 75% of those asked . . .

to say that NOAA is violating the Constitution.


Thinking it through

Kate Martin, director, Center for National Security Studies is quoted in the WSJ as follows:
"Compiling a data-base of the phone calls of millions of Americans is not likely to find actual terrorists, but is a dangerous threat to the privacy and associational rights of Americans.
How so, unless you assume the NSA is violating the law? But how do we know they aren't?

If you don't want them to intercept terrorists and spies, you can't. You have to trust the people who are briefed on their activities. If you don't trust the people who have this information, what makes you think that some judge who isn't answerable to the public is any more trustworthy? You can have these agencies hobbled or full of leaks and know that they're not a threat to anybody, including terrorists, or you can have them connect the dots and possibly prevent more terrorist activity, but you can't have both.

If you're so distrustful of your government, especially when another party is in control, maybe you don't want democracy. Maybe you can find a country somewhere that'll allow you to take over. Like, say, France. They have a perpetual oligarchy of the liberal class.

McCain attacks the blogosphere!


Big Brother? Dan Rather? Ward Churchill?

If he's out there, we need him now. Why isn't he locking up the press and all liberal bloggers? Why isn't Voice of America rectifying and popping Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and Secret CIA Prisons in Eastern Europe down the memory hole? I don't get it. We've been promised Big Brother! Where is he?

How come we have to search everywhere to find positive news from Iraq? What's with all these leaks out of the CIA and NSA? It seems like someone doesn't want the glorious war to be won.

Unless . . .? It's really pretty clever, when you think about it. Leaking is the reverse of a cover-up. A cover-up seeks to suppress information that would hurt the regime. Leaking goes one step further and releases classified information selectively in order to give the impression that something bad is being covered up.

Big Brother is indeed out there, but he's running the news media!

Unilateral Disarmament

You'd think that the idiocy such a policy would be obvious, but you'd be wrong. I must admit the weird polls being put out have me really concerned. The latest one, from Newsweek sounds like an emergency push poll to counteract the one a few days ago by the Washington Post which indicated widespread support for the program.

I believe that the press is overstating the public's unhappiness with Bush, because the press hates Bush and wants him to fail and thinks everybody else must agree. I hope they're way wrong in making him the big issue in this year's elections instead of the actions of Congress. Bush won't be on this ballot, or indeed any future ballots. I think the Republicans can turn it around by making the case that the liberal media is deceiving us, but they need to get on message and they don't seem to be coordinating anything.

What happens when light exceeds C?

Apparently it goes backwards. Don't ask me to explain it.

Jobs Americans Won't Do

Maybe including intelligence operations against the U.S. But, of course, our media are providing the propaganda.

More suppression of civil liberties!

Can't go to the Prom if your date fails a criminal background check. Oh, the humanity!

No mention of the parents' concern about their high school age daughter dating a guy with a record for possession of drugs.

"Easier to kill than a chicken"

Wow! There's really a worse place to live than the United States!


Daniel Henninger writes that the CIA lacks the seriousness and determination of the Cold War era. It really is as if these people want us to lose this war.

We have made civil liberties a fetish with some people who've heard the Big Brother bs so often that they never stop to think about what that would entail: no courts, no free press, no rights. People call up talk shows in this country and complain about how they're afraid to speak out. I heard a professor from Boston College make that very statement on Michael Medved's show this week. They equate disagreement and criticism with censorship. The public has pretty much swallowed all the myths about Bush whole now. The was a poll yesterday that had Bill Clinton more trustworthy than George W. Bush.

These are the same people who complained about the government's failure to connect the dots before 9/11. Of course, they were only blaming Bush, not the bureaucracy he inherited from Clinton. The CIA is practically in open revolt, the media are full of disinformation and negative spin. They practically write the scripts for Zarqawi and Ahmadinejad. They aren't just dissenters. They've crossed over that line and joined the enemy.

Thank ___ the Tiki Bar is Open

Truthout reports that Karl Rove has advised the President that he'll be indicted in the Plame investigation and will tender his resignation. If true, this will be a bombshell.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The man with lower approval ratings than George W. Bush

I imagine this profile of John Kerry is meant to be ennobling and hopeful, but to me it seems just an illustration of the quote from Estes Kefauver repeated famoulsy by Mo Udall, "Presidential ambition is a disease which can only be cured by embalming fluid. I keep wondering why someone would lust after such a thankless and frustrating job, which is so largely because of the irresponsible legislation which created entitlement programs and a vast bureaucracy manned by people protected by the Civil Service System.

What does this tell us about the quality of their academics?

Via LGF who got it from Allahpundit who linked to this reprint in the Persian Journal of a report by Stephen Fitzpatrick of The Australian, about Ahmadinejad's appearance in Jakarta:
The leader of one of the world’s least-understood regimes was enthusiastically welcomed yesterday by throngs of students and academics at the two universities in Jakarta most likely to influence the thinking of Indonesia’s ruling class.
So the students and academics think their leaders ought to be following one of the world's least-understood regimes? The great, little man was flashing either the V-for-Victory or two fingered peace signs, neither of which bodes well for the future.

Taking hostages seems to be a good career move in the world of Islam.


I wish I could read faster. There are so many books out there.

When I see quotations like the one from Rebecca West, I realize how little I've absorbed. I checked out the book it's from and found this in the review by Mary Park:
It's the story of Abraham and Isaac without the last-minute reprieve: those who hate are all too ready to martyr the innocent in order to procure their own advantage, and the innocent themselves are all too eager to be martyred. To West, in 1941, "the whole world is a vast Kossovo, an abominable blood-logged plain." Unfortunately, little has happened since then to prove her wrong. --Mary Park
Such are the wages of hate and fear, especially if we ignore the lessons of the past.

And to think of the time I wasted on "The DaVinci Code."

The fear of the fight

Eugene Volokh has some provocative quotes from Rebecca West, reminding me again that WWI was to the Brits as Vietnam has been to Americans.
Thus England ... put itself in a position of insecurity unique in history by raising a generation of young men to whom the idea of defending their nation was repugnant not so much by reason of the danger involved (though indeed they were now often instructed in fear as in other times boys had been instructed in courage) as because they could not believe it would in any circumstances be necessary.
The gathering storm today is in Iran, but our country has been so propagandized about the Iraq war being a failure, that we may not respond until something really horrific occurs.

Maybe Bush has been too successful in preventing more attacks here at home. Or maybe we're like the Children of Israel who had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, until the generation that refused to go take the promised land died out, before they were able to take on their enemies. I just hope we don't have to have one of our cities nuked before we get serious.

It's not just a right, it's a duty!

How to eliminate poverty and improve the American race? Keep the poor from reproducing through abortion and the morning-after pill! (See cover letter beginning on pg. 60)

This was a letter from an advisor to Bill Clinton on population control measures, but it's chilling in the tone in which it discusses the need to eliminate poverty by eliminating poor people. It reminds me of ethnic cleansing and the Final Solution.
There have been 30 million abortions in this country since Roe v. Wade. Think of all the poverty, crime and misery...and then add 30 million unwanted babies to the scenario. We lost a lot of ground during the Reagan-Bush religious orgy. We don't have a lot of time left. . . .

The biblical exhortation to "be fruitful and multiply" was directed toward a small tribe, surrounded by enemies. We are long past that. Our survival depends upon our developing a population where everyone contributes. We don't need more cannon fodder. We don't need more parishioners. We don't need more cheap labor. We don't need more poor babies.
Shades of white supremacy!

Maybe there's still hope for America

63% of Americans said "they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism". Of course, this is still a fresh issue for most people. It sounds like the people have a longer attention span than the press and the Democrat leadership. Give the media time, and they'll have two-thirds as paranoid as themselves.

There is a difference between a politician and a statesman, and I think the people understand it better than the media do.

Times off the trolley

Ever since its secret domestic wiretapping program was exposed, the Bush administration has depicted it as a narrow examination of calls made by and to terrorism suspects. But its refusal to provide any details about the extent of the spying has raised doubts. Now there is more reason than ever to be worried--and angry--about how wide the government's web has been reaching.
When you have such fools in control of major national newspapers who can't be bothered to question whether they should report classified information, i.e. violate the law, and then portray the information dishonestly and inaccurately, they damage the First Amendment. The whole point of Freedom of the Press is to protect robust public debate, primarily over poltical issues. Liberal judges and j-schools have added the baloney about the press being a watchdog on government, but who is the watchdog on the press when it's viewpoint is so dominated by such narrow band of the political spectrum.

All you have to do to confirm this is to hear other journalists sneer at bloggers, talk radio and Fox News, or more outrageously, speak of them as some kind of threat or evil conspiracy. What's ironic is that they speak of Richard Nixon as paranoid, wheh they behave just like him.

News the MSM Ignores

Right here.

At Least it wasn't an SS uniform

Patrick Kennedy, pathetic drunk and addict or party animal? Probably a pathetic party animal, given a sinecure by the voters of Rhode Island.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What do you call government by journalists?

Mediacracy? Mediarchy? I'm wondering for future reference.

What a bunch of wimps!

“We don’t intend to offer any proof of actual damage,”

That's Patrick Fitzgerald's statement to the court in the Libby prosecution. Astonishing.

Read the whole thing. We have a special prosecutor who seeks to prosecute perjury without mentioning the subject matter of the alleged perjury.

Connecting the dots

James Lileks on the Hugh Hewitt Show:
They [the critics of the NSA] want us to connect the dots, but not to collect the dots.

I've maintained for a long time that our most precious civil rights are life and liberty, with privacy quite far behind, which is why the Fourth Amendment says "unreasonable searches and seizures."

The point is being made more and more that, as one of Hugh's callers said, eavesdropping is a realtime job. Think back to all those scenes in movies and TV where federal agents are staking out criminals or running a wiretap. It usually takes two or three agents per shift. Now multiply that by 200,000,000. Then ask yourself who's eavesdropping on the agents themselves, and why you haven't been offered a job at the NSA.

Of course, I doubt they would contact this idiot, who is a victim of his own paranoia and bizarre rhetoric.

John McIntyre seems to have as little patience with these fools as I do.

"Shut up" is not an argument

Steven den Beste is heard once again, as cogent as ever:
I keep running into this from lefties. They criticize others (us), and if in turn they're criticized suddenly they squeal about "censorship!" and "McCarthyism!" Their freedom of speech demands that we not say anything in our own defense, let alone actually point out their problems.

And so it is here. Howard Fineman is deathly afraid that the Republicans will point out what the Democrats actually stand for. How dare those scheming Republicans actually defend themselves!

Yesterday, Best of the Web noted this report of an atrocity in Tal Afar, which then veered off into an attack on George W. Bush, implying that the incident somehow disproved Bush's citing that city as an example of progress in the war.

This is one of my pet peeves about the MSM. They seem to think that every bit of bad news should be laid at the feet of the administration, as if they expect the President to hold everybody's hand. According to them he's responsible for all the evil in the world because he has failed to stop it.

I always thought the best reason for removing Bill Clinton from office was his demonstrated lack of responsibility. He didn't take his office seriously. Now we have a president who does, and he's being pilloried by the press. If America survives this confrontation with terrorism, the past 15 years will go down in history as an era of unseriousness. It reminds me of the combination of bungling leadership and retreat from honor of the 1960s and 1970s. I guess it should, because most of the media and Democrats think of that era as their glory days.

The Logic of Paranoia

John Hinderaker examines the Big Brother fear:
I did a quick calculation: assuming that there are 200 million adult Americans, each of whom places or receives ten phone calls a day (a conservative estimate, I think), it would require a small army of 35,000 full-time NSA employees to pay a total of one second of attention to each call. In other words, lighten up: the NSA obviously isn't tracking your phone calls with your friends and relatives.

This what they mean by "providing context"

Every time I see one of these blockbuster hype stories, it reminds me of the avowed role of the media as they explain it. Liberals eat this stuff up, as if the government has nothing better to do than sit around listening to random telephone conversations. I think it's part of their general belief that they're more interesting than they are.

Sometimes I wonder if leakers aren't like arsonists. They just love to watch the fires and all the activity they generate. And the news media love to stoke the fires. To see what I mean check out the links on related to the report that "The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth." Of course, this material isn't in any form that would be conducive to spying on individuals. It's used to analyze patterns in terrorist communications. USA Today makes it sound like we have all these NSA gnomes in a bunker somewhere listening to peoples' phone calls.

Given the number of obviously partisan leaks, I'm beginning to wonder if requiring everybody in government employment to wear a wire might not be a bad idea.

Right Wing Nuthouse considers the hysteria this has generated.

Another positive piece about Romney

This time in the Des Moines Register. I think the "cult" label comes from some protestant ministers who fear the idea of a lay clergy.

Accordings to a cult is:
1. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
That was the rap on Mormons in the 19th century, but if it were a cult of Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, it wouldn't have survived and prospered. The only unconventional thing about Mormons today, not including apostate polygamist groups, is their abstinence from coffee, tea, tobacco and alcohol. It that really a good reason to turn down a brilliant, successful and effective executive and leader as a candidate? The LDS church is thought to be authoritarian, but one of its scriptures explains that authority is not to be exercised except with "persuasion, long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge." The belief that the church would try to give orders to a member politician shows an unfamiliarity with the church I've known all my life.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dear Mahmoud, Son of Xerxes

[Expletive deleted].

And if we'd engineered the 9/11 attacks there'd be nothing left of Manhattan or D.C., as you'll discover if you don't stop developing nukes.

George W. Bush

Couldn't they afford at least one veteran?

One of Tim Blair's readers roundly fisks the NYTimes defense of Zarqawi's military prowess.

I loved the reason he gives for not responding sooner.

The Republicans' Bankruptcy of Ideas?

Ideas, no. Courage of their convictions, yes.

Thomas Bray explains why the Republicans will keep control.

Deer in the Headlights

If this poll is accurate, I'd be moving away from New York, Washington, L.A., New Orleans and San Francisco. They seem to be the biggest terrorist targets we have. Maybe Israelis will have more steel.

Another day,

another nominally neutral, liberal organization comes out of the closet as a nakedly partisan organization.

I have a bias on this. I hate bar associations almost as much as I hate CLE programs. I hate the self-congratulatory tone of their get-togethers and the hypocrisy of having committees to study delivery of legal services to the poor, when it's more often the middle class who need them. I hate the greed of the Trial Lawyers masquerading as altruism and the arrogant power grabs of the courts, and their handing out political victories in the name of civil liberties. At least, the ABA is now being forthright.

Hey. We like evangelicals!

Howard Dean is still not ready for prime time.

Interesting question

How do you come up with a positive description of a party whose policy for the past decade has been obstruction? While the economy grows like crazy, your main economic proposals are to raise the minimum wage and repeal the Bush tax cuts. Your leaders look forward to hearings to investigate the last 6 years. And this is called "progressive."

How disastrous has the performance of Republicans been if they're losing to that?

Look Closer

The headline whoops Poll Gives Bush His Worst Marks Yet. But if you read down to the final two paragraphs, you get some perspective. After wading through all the bad news for Bush, you also get this nugget: "Still, 55 percent said they believed the effort in Iraq was somewhat or very likely to succeed."

Professionals need not apply

Mickey Kaus offers Big Media some advice about blogging:
"Testing," ... "development"? Wow. People actually do those things! And criticize others for not doing them! Sounds like creeping professionalism to me. ... Of the two modes of product launching--(1) Rational, systematic testing and development, with dry runs and mock issues before anything becomes public, or (2) Just start doing it and fix anything that sucks--I've always found that (2) is not only more fun, it's vastly more efficient. Dry runs are soul-killers. Nobody really puts their heart into a mock issue, and there's no substitute for feedback from actual readers.
It seems to me that what the framers had in mind for Freedom of the Press was a lot more like the Blogosphere than the opinion monopoly and political correct desert that the MSM has given us. The people running The Media today are their own worst censors. They can't even grasp the concept that there are other intelligent views out here. How're they going to present any. Hiring Will, Krauthammer and Brooks is all very fine, but it won't take the place of having reporters who ask the questions you don't learn in J-school. Big Business and Blogs just haven't managed to mesh, probably because there's a huge cadre of PR consultants and other "professionals" in the way.

Caliphate Fever

Sounds like 1984 for Muslims. (Via Hugh Hewitt) The Christian Science Monitor explains what the Caliphate means and why Islamists think they need to restore it. One of them says, "[President] Bush says that we want to enslave people and oppress their freedom of speech, but we want to free all people from being slaves of men and make them slaves of Allah."

No wonder so many Muslim states end up under dictators and autocrats. They don't understand human nature.

Oh, the Tangled Web!

Howard Fineman previews the Republican strategy for this fall. Hugh Hewitt already identified the point: Whatever the issue, the Democrats aren't the answer.

Fineman sounds cynical about it, as if it were somehow a shady tactic, but every election is a comparison between two people, not necessarily two parties. If you think the war in Iraq is a big mistake, how would electing Democrats make it better? If you like Congressional witch-hunts and tedious posturing, you'll love a Democrat majority. Nancy Pelosi on Sunday stated that her major objectives, should she become Speaker, would be to raise the minimum wage and to investigate the Bush Administration. You know that rescinding the tax cuts of the past 6 years will be a priority and John Conyers will want to put reparations for descendants of slaves on the agenda.

So if this is really Rove's cunning plan, it sounds like a pretty sound strategy to me. I'm not happy with many of the Republicans in Congress, but I'm not ready to hand the government back to these bozos just to make a point.

That Wild and Crazy Persian

The more I hear about Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush, the more it reminds me this letter in the Book of Mormon. What's more astonishing is that some Americans describe it as a peace proposal.

It shouldn't be, however, because it's immediately clear that letter is based on all the complaints of the left in the West against Bush. Mahmoud has obviously been paying a lot of attention to the hysterical rhetoric of the left in this country and is spouting their rhetoric back at Bush. It could have been written by Cindy Sheehan.

One of the best parts is where mentions that he's a teacher and that he worries about the human rights of prisoners in Guantanamo. He probably wonders why the haven't been beheaded.

His spiel isn't serious, any more than Bush's critics are serious or rational, but the rapidity with which it has been embraced by the left including news organizations should be alarming. It certainly is to me.

Right Wing Nuthouse has more on this phenomenon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


My guess is that the Indian's will do the math and the U.S. will write the checks.

The Democrats' Idea of Ideas

Amir Taheri polks holes in the myth of JFK's "sophisticated" diplomacy and reminds us how well Jimmy Carter's diplomacy with the Islamic Revolution worked:
the Carter administration did "engage" with the mullahs without artificial deadlines, saber rattling and name-calling. The results for the U.S. were disastrous.

In 1979, soon after the mullahs seized power, Mr. Carter sent Ayatollah Khomeini a warm congratulatory letter. Mr. Carter's man at the U.N., a certain Andrew Young, praised Khomeini as "a 20th-century saint." Mr. Carter also tapped his closest legal advisor, the late Lloyd Cutler, as U.S. ambassador to the mullarchy.
And we know how well that worked out.

Then there's Bill Clinton's approach:
Mr. Clinton did not reveal that in 1999 he offered the mullahs "a grand bargain" under which the Islamic Republic would be recognized as the "regional power" in exchange for lip service to U.S. "interests in the Middle East." As advance payment for the "bargain" Mr. Clinton apologized for "all the wrongs that my country and culture have done" to Iran, whatever that was supposed to mean.
The calls in the media for Bush to "engage" the Iranians come quite close to the definition of insanity attributed to both Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein (What? Not Stephen Hawking? -- ed.)

Read the whole thing. It's quite devastating. I think this is another paper tiger/strong horse moment.

They brook no wavering!

Imagine what Richard Cohen's mail would have been like if he were a Republican! Where has he been for the past 5 years? Oh . . . yeah. He's been part of the mob.

Let's hope that more liberal pundits will realize how crazy their party has become and do something to return it to sanity.


More proof that government designations don't really "protect" wilderness. Delicate Arches in Arches National Park is almost a trademark for Southern Utah. It's on some of our license plates. A few years ago a photographer started a fire around the base for a photograph, without thinking what that could do to the sandstone being heated up. Now some jerk has "free climbed" it.

This reminds me of the people who use ancient Indian rock art for target practice or a good place to write their names. The problem with passing laws putting these things in wilderness or other "protection" is that it doesn't work. Just because somebody backpacks or hikes in, instead of driving, it's no guarantee that he's not a yahoo.

More criticism for the NSA wiretaps.

This time from Bobby Inman, former director of NSA. Of course, how this proves that they are beyond the president's inherent powers isn't quite clear.

More bad news for the MSM

Al Qaeda documents indicate that they're losing in Iraq.

A new label

Andrew Sullivan has come up with a new label for people who don't think God approves of sodomy. He calls them "Christianists," which he defines as "those who see Christianity as compatible with only one political party, the Republicans, and believe that their religious doctrines should determine public policy for everyone." I suppose he'd classify me as a Christianist because I oppose using the power of government to validate his lifestyle by changing the definition of marriage. I'm not sure that it's my burden to defend the status quo, however. This language, "their religious doctrines should determine public policy for everyone," is just an attempt to put arguments he doesn't like out of bounds, so that only his views are allowed legitimacy in the debate. Why do we outlaw murder? Is it because of the commandment given through Moses? I imagine that to a lot of people that is what they'd answer. Others would say that is violates the rights of other individuals. I'd say it interferes with a healthy society, which is one where people live together and receive advantages of trade, social interaction, family support and specialization and accomplishments through joint efforts which none of us could bring about on our own. What we give in return is an agreement not to interfere with the reasonable expectations of others from society. That's why we have breach of the peace laws, and the concept of public nuisance.

In recent years the argument that nobody has a right to be offended by speech or conduct of others has held sway, but, of course, it's turning out that the argument seems only to go one way. People who demonstrated for the right of "counter-cultural" figures to speak out during the 1960s and '70s, are now banding together to prevent Condoleeza Rice from speaking at Boston College's commencement, and receiving an honorary law degree, on the ground that it would "politicize" the event. What they really mean is that they don't want to hear what she has to say or to allow her to say it. The reasons they give are as disingenuous as they are hypocritcal. If she were a famous lesbian feminists spokesperson, would they be complaining that allowing her to speak would be too divisive or contrary to B.C.'s Catholic values?

There's a bill in the California legislature which would put require school textbooks
``accurately'' portraying ``the sexual diversity of our society.'' More controversially, it could require that students hear history lessons on ``the contributions of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States of America.''
Now, I've never seen a public school textbook that belittles or denigrates gays and lesbians, but I'm aware of the tendency of school kids to call each other "gay." My sister-in-law reports that her son who is 7 or 8 objected to wearing a purple shirt to school because it was "gay." He didn't know what that meant, exactly, other than that it carried some opprobrium. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the third grade curriculum explained it all and inculcated admiration for gays and lesbians instead? Nothing like making the curriculum even more irrelevant to real life. Sorry, I just can't picture the middle school crowd giving up their favorite jeering term to accommodate poltical correctness.

So, it's very bad if peoples' "religious doctrines . . . determine public policy for everyone," but it's okey-dokey if anti-religious doctrines and social theories do.

Utah in the News!

North Lehi is infested with Meadow Voles! There must be a Monty Python sketch in that.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Is this a hint at the meaning of Amadinejad?

18 page letter, eighteen letters in "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." You decide.

Maybe it just means "runs off at the mouth."

Update: Good for Shimon Peres! "[T]he president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map." I like the photo with that report. Mahmoud looks like he's practicing the "You talkin' to me?" scene from taxi driver. I'm ready to try out our new bunker busters.

Tough Customer

Michael Hayden looks like a guy who can handle himself in a fight. If what Bush says about him is true, this could be another case of the Democrats making themselves look foolish before a nominee. That's Hugh Hewitt's take, too. Those who want to fight over the NSA wiretaps have been listening to the Washington Post and NYTimes too much.

I wasn't aware that the House of Representatives had a say in had a say in presidential appointments. As bumbling as the Republicans in Congress have been in supporting Bush, I see no reason to seek their counsel on this. And then there's Mr. Nuance. Anything that "troubles" Mr. Kerry is probably the right thing to do.

Lawyers and Priests

I have mixed feelings about suing the Catholic Church over old child abuse claims. On one hand, I think the church brought this on itself by covering up the problem for so long and by its doctrine of celibacy, which is not scriptural. One the other hand, I really dislike the fact that lawyers collect a third to a half of all the damages. This has got to be addressed, but won't be as long as politicians get donations from trial lawyers. A few years ago the LDS church was sued in Oregon or Washington over an old man who molested a kid. The molester had no connection to the church beyond being a member and the kid's mother had allowed him to stay in her home knowing the guy's history as a sex offender.
Nevertheless, the church says it had encountered an unfriendly judge and settled for $3 million because it was cheaper than the attorney fees it would incur in appealing the matter. I guess it was a matter of following the Lord's injunction in Matthew 5:25.

Can't two live as cheaply as one anymore?

I'm sorry. I just don't trust attempts to solve the problems we've created by abandoning values with more new fixes. I think that the source of most of our social problems is due to the decline of the idea of commitment in marriage and the idea that a woman can't be fulfilled without a career. Some want careers, and who am I to begrudge them, but it shouldn't be mandatory.
I fully realize that men need to do more than be couch potatoes at home, which is why I admire James Lileks and Glenn Reynolds, who seem to take the view that being a dad is a duty as well as a neat thing.

The important thing for me is raising children, and enjoying it. I have as much guilt as anybody, but I know that my children know I love them. We need moms and dads who want and embrace parenthood and passing on good values to children. There are certain irreducible requirements and if it means forgoing the boat or the camp trailer or the HDTV or whatever, it's better if the kids have one parent home with them, when they can't have two.

I'm not really convinced that we have to have two incomes in every home. I don't know what others' circumstances are, so I won't criticize anybody, but I think we could all do better if we tried.

I worry about kids raised in day care centers, etc. I hope we're realizing the problem and swinging back to emphasis on complete families, but I'm afraid there is a permanent split among us like there is in so many other things.

I need an economist!

I just read Max Boot's column about how the inflated oil prices are enriching dictators and autocrats around the world. His solution strikes me as reasonable:
The most important step would be to increase the federal gasoline tax, currently a paltry 18.4 cents a gallon. Congress should enact a sliding-scale tax that rises as oil prices fall and vice versa. That would shape demand, which would in turn shape prices. The goal would be to create a "floor" at, say, $50 a barrel, which would avert the kind of precipitous price collapse that in the past has eviscerated investment in alternative energy sources and kept low-cost oil producers such as the Saudis and Russians in the driver's seat.
Maybe a sliding scale tariff on imported oil with the revenues devoted to funding development of oil shale and other promising alternative fuels like biodiesel, etc. I'm not enough of an economist to see the flaws in it, however. I'm not sure I trust the bureaucracy and the companies to use the money wisely either. I just hate to think how much evil we've spawned in the world by buying oil from these creeps. They'll get along just fine without our 25%, but I'd sure feel better.

My guess is that this would be counterproductive somehow, that it would be wasted on boondoggles like windmills and similarly unreliable projects. I'd prefer that the funds went to upgrading coal-fired power plants with better pollution controls. Coal is abundant and it allows these plants to run regardless of weather. I'd prefer to use gas to heat homes because if it becomes too expensive people will go back to wood stoves and other, dirtier heat. Coal and oil aren't good home heating fuels because home furnaces burning them can't be as efficient as gas.

I would also like to see more done to figure out how to tap the reserves of methane locked up in hydrates in the ocean. They're a ticking timebomb, if we don't use them, they could let go suddenly from temperature rising or some other cause and then we've got huge amounts in the atmosphere. Even if it isn't enough to burn off the oxygen it's a worse greenhouse gas than CO2. Running our cars on natural gas makes more sense to me than depending on the corn harvest every year. But, what do I really know about anything?


I stumbled across this nice little puff piece at the Washington Post's website today. On an impulse, I ran a search for "Atwar Bahjat," the Iraqi TV reporter who was tortured and murdered by "insurgents." No results.

Maybe the Post ran a story about her, but I couldn't find one.

Joe Biden has a cunning plan for victory in Iraq. He also avers that "Everything I'm proposing is already in Iraq's constitution." He goes on to explain how he would organize things in Iraq, as if we had the power to dictate to the Iraqis. We have been careful and gone to great lengths to let them decide for themselves about the details of their democracy.
My plan would guarantee the Sunnis a proportionate share of oil revenue. It would tie economic aid to the protection of minorities' and women's rights. It would require a regional non-aggression pact. And it would allow us to responsibly withdraw most U.S. forces from Iraq by 2008 — enough time for a settlement to take hold.

What I'm proposing is not partition; in fact, it might be the only way to prevent partition. Violence between the Shiites and Sunnis has surpassed the insurgency as the main security threat. Ethnic militias increasingly are the law in Iraq. They have infiltrated the official security forces. Sectarian cleansing has begun in mixed areas, where tens of thousands of Iraqis have been fleeing their homes in recent weeks.

The only way to hold Iraq together and create conditions for our troops to responsibly withdraw is to give Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds room to breathe in their own regions.
Funny, that sounds like partition to me and a prescription for civil war. What we're doing is aimed at forcing them to engage in politics and work out the tough questions and see for themselves why they must control these militias. The Iraqis must do that, not us. Biden's plan sounds like papering over the sectarian tensions so that we can pull out, as in Vietnam, knowing that when things go South, the Congress will never authorize going back.

Area 51 releases the Aliens from Roswell

At least that what I thought when I saw this picture.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Leadership wanted.

John Yewell illustrates why Republicans need to band together and defend the President. As I've said before, running as if the polls are justified is crazy. His enemies are making idiotic claims and they need to point it out and keep doing so. They can't distance themselves from Bush. They've got to get out and make the case for him and his policies. He biggest offenses in the eyes of conservatives, after all, is signing the bills they passed. The war in Iraq is not a failure and they should defend it and rally the support of the people for it. They don't have any chance at all if they accept the MSM's depiction of it.

Leadership means taking a principled stand and convincing your followers. Politicians who run on early polls aren't leaders; they're palookas.

Is a lawsuit censorship?

Boy, if I were asked to represent Jesus Christ, these days, I'd want a b-i-i-i-i-g retainer. I once had to defend a guy charged with possession of half a coffee can full of marijuans. At presentment, he was asked if he had an attorney and replied, "I need no attorney! God is my attorney!" I got appointed anyway. I thought about having new cards printed.

As for urging legal actions against the DaVinci Code, this is a silly thing to say for two reasons: 1. Why give publicity to a dopy book? I finally read The Davinci Code just to find out what the hullabaloo was about, and found it poorly written and not all that well researched. To assert that the Dead Sea Scrolls say anything about Christianity marks you as a poseur.

2. The movie will be a hit, no matter what anybody says about it, if only because 30 million people have read it. Anybody who made up his mind about religion based on a hack novel or a movie based on one is probably a soul not worth saving.

Hell, No! They Won't Go!

It's a nice idea. I can see Bruce Willis and a few others signing up, but who would put up the money? Mel Gibson?

America loses

Mark Steyn agrees with Moussaoui that America lost:
Not just because he'll be living a long life at taxpayers' expense. He'd have had a good stretch of that even if he'd been "sentenced to death," which in America means you now spend more years sitting on Death Row exhausting your appeals than the average "life" sentence in Europe. America "lost" for a more basic reason: turning a war into a court case and upgrading the enemy to a defendant ensures you pretty much lose however it turns out. And the notion, peddled by some sappy member of the ghastly 9/11 Commission on one of the cable yakfests last week, that jihadists around the world are marveling at the fairness of the U.S. justice system, is preposterous. The leisurely legal process Moussaoui enjoyed lasted longer than America's participation in the Second World War. Around the world, everybody's enjoying a grand old laugh at the U.S. justice system.
Well, not in Europe. They're probably thinking justice was done. But throughout the Muslim world, al Qaeda certainly looks like it picked the right patsy.

I take no comfort from the people who say that it proves what a fair system of justice we have. Justice is in the perception, and most people don't believe that rewarding the conspiracy in the death of 3,000 people with life is just.

The only comfort for us is that France is even more fatuous:
"A Paris court fined the terrorist known as 'Carlos the Jackal' more than $6,000 Tuesday for saying in a French television interview that terror attacks sometimes were 'necessary.' The 56-year-old Venezuelan, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, was convicted of defending terrorism. The court did not convict him for expressing pleasure that 'the Great Satan' -- the United States -- suffered the Sept. 11 attacks, saying those comments were his personal reaction."

That's right, folks. The French state brought a successful hate-speech prosecution against Carlos the Jackal, albeit not as successful as they wanted:

"Prosecutors asked for a fine four times larger than the $6,110 penalty imposed. But the judges said they did not see the need for a higher fine because Ramirez's comments referred to the past and aimed to justify his own actions. Ramirez, dressed in a red shirt and blue blazer, kissed the hand of his partner and lawyer, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, during the judgment."


The Washington Post:
Mitt Romney : Probably the brightest and most talented candidate in the GOP field, boosted by recent passage of universal health care in Massachusetts. Mormon faith could be an asset in that it offers a network of potential supporters and donors, and a liability in that some conservative religious leaders either don't consider Mormons "true Christians," or regard the fastest-growing religion in small-town America as a threat.
I wonder how many people consider Bill or Hillary Clinton true Christians?

Heart of Darkness

Will the American media cover the murder of Atwar Bahjat, an Iraqi television reporter for Al Arabiya, as broadly as they did the taking of Jill Carroll. Explain to me, please, why we should flee before such cowards and bullies as those who sawed of a pious Muslim woman on video.

The men who did this were reciting "Allahu akbar" as they slaughtered an innocent woman. What kind of Muslim believes in human sacrifice? That's what this amounts to, in truth. Where are the Imams condemning this? How can Arabs expect anyone to believe that they are capable of self-government when they tolerate such horrors.

And what kind of Americans avert their eyes and still demand that we flee from Iraq in the face of such atrocities? Where is the feminist movement? Where is Amnesty International. Where is the Democratic Party? As if the 9/11 attacks weren't enough, we've had this sick, depraved ritual repeated over and over ever since, and yet no one on the left seems to be moved by the human tragedy of it to do anything about it.

Update: I just did a Technorati search on Atwar Bahjat and was truly shocked at the number of bloggers who's reaction was to blame this on President Bush and the war in Iraq. This sort of thing happened in Germany as Nazis dropped back into a guerrilla role. It took about 10 years to wipe it out.

This sort of thing is also described in the Book of Mormon. The terrorists of the time were called the Gadianton Robbers. They grew so numerous that they were able to threaten the government, through assassinations of the chief rulers. The only thing that worked against them was preaching, and conversion. We can't reach these people with the gospel, however, until they have a civil society which enforces freedom of religion.