Saturday, June 10, 2006

With apologies to Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Abu al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda's Prince!
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

What's in a frame?

Hugh Hewitt read this bit of intellectual flotsam on the air yesterday. I think I now know what the term "thumbsucker" means in the media world.

Robin Givhan must have been on some other assignment. She usually writes this kind of bizarre stuff for the Post, like Condi Rice's fashion and Chief Justice Roberts' family's lack of same. Thumbsuckers, one and all.

It is just me, or . . .

does all this media reaction to Zarqawi's demise sound a lot like "You're not going to have Zarqawi to kick around anymore!"

Good. I hope they violated his human rights, too.

The AP is reporting that a bystander claims he saw American troops beating a man resembling Zarqawi just after the bomb strikes. Something tells me that nobody but journalists is going to give a hoot.

The pension wars to come

This is going to be the biggest crisis for this nation since the Great Depression. I guess that's poetic justice.

The private sector and state governments are behind the eight ball with regard to their unfunded pension liabilities for their employees, but they look like the model of rectitude compared to the federal government. I'm part of the Baby Boom. I was forced to retire this year because of health. I don't expect to live long enough to get much out of my 401(k), but I hope I die before I'm eligible for Medicare or Social Security.
I don't mind the taxes I paid in, but I do mind saddling my kids with the burden of my entire generation's retirement, when they're trying to get an education, raise children, buy homes, etc.

I haven't saved much, but that's my own fault, not my kids'. Just the thought of all the whining by my fellow boomers is enough to set my teeth on edge. Our children will not be likely to take it for long, and I don't see why they should.

Who's jumping whom?

Kathleen Parker critiques our current incivility, noting that "our nation has become a quagmire of insult and ad hominem." She then singles out Ted Kennedy, James Inhofe, Ann Coulter and James Dobson as examples of the offenders, engaging in her own "insult and ad hominem."

She doesn't like it that Dobson said recently that "marriage is under vicious attack ... from the forces of hell itself." What else would you expect from the head of Focus on the Family? Are preachers supposed to quit talking about sin, hellfire and brimstone because it's "insensitive?" Hey, it's what they do. This is more a case of PC liberals trying to silence critics of moral innovations through labelling them, than "insult and ad hominem." The gay marriage issue is not as clearly one-sided as Parker seems to think, and for now she's on the losing side, despite the Senate's inability to rescue it from activist judges. I see it as part of a larger problem, the devaluation of marriage and family life as the wellspring of our society and culture. We have accepted the idea that marriages are disposable, and so it seems natural that if gays want in on such a devalued institution, why not?

As for Ted Kennedy's penchant for getting his considerable mass up on that high horse and charging his opponents with "bigotry," well, that's hardly the worst that liberals are saying about conservatives. Still, the point is that such epithets are unlikely to win support or spur compromise and it's true.

As for Ann Coulter, the line from her latest book in which she criticizes the "Jersey Girls," four widows of the 9/11 attacks on the WTC, for using their personal tragedies as a club to intimidate conservatives and demand concessions, is really a minor detail. It was a throw-away line in a book about what she views as the liberal faux-religion abroad in the world. I think she has a good case. Her remark about the Jersey Girls "enjoying their husbands' deaths" too much is over-the-top, but it hardly describes her whole book. Coulter is a tough debater, with well-researched facts and arguments. I don't care for her style, or her nasal tone, but there's nothing wrong with the substance of her arguments. Parker's own meme is that all these people have "jumped the shark," but would Coulter have done better to use that phrase about the Jersey Girls? Her point is that liberals have a habit of giving people like them, who have lost loved ones, "absolute moral authority," in Maureen Dowd's words about Cindy Sheehan.

One can understand and allow for a cri de couer, even an angry lashing out, in the first experience of such loss, but it's harder to justify turning it into a political career. Max Cleland comes to mind, along with John McCain. They served this country heroically and suffered horrors becasue of it, but that doesn't make them infallible. That was Coulter's point, made bluntly to be sure, but it's an important point in light of the typical response that such people must be right in their politics because they were heroic in another field. She calls it the liberal doctrine of infallibility, and she's right. Jack Murtha is another beneficiary. Veterans seem to be so rare among liberals that they get instant credibility among those who never came near a military base. How else can you explain the nomination of John Kerry?

I probably won't read Coulter's book, because I don't care for her approach, but she hasn't jumped the shark. That implies that she doesn't have anything important left to say, and I think it's false.

How you gonna keep him down on the farm?

John Murtha has tasted the limelight and now thinks he should get more. The Congress' version of Cindy Sheehan doesn't seem to realize that he's just a useful idiot for the left's hatred of Bush and the war. I don't think they're ready to hand him the keys to the family car.

Friday, June 09, 2006


It's one thing to have a bad hair day, but when it's deliberate, . . .

Request for a fatwa

Zawahiri's blessing on Zarqawi:
"God bless the prophet of Islam in Iraq, the persistent hero of Islam, the Holy Warrior Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," al-Zawahiri said.
I thought Mohammed was the final prophet. Isn't this blasphemy? Why haven't these people been singled out for stoning and beheading?

Liberal "Patriotism"

After yesterday, the complaint from the left that their patriotism is being impugned is far more untenable. By their uniformly sullen response to the killing of Abu al-Zarqawi, they have forfeited any claim to being loyal Americans. Their loyalty is not to their homeland or the things it stands for anymore. It's to the U.N., to the world community of bien pensants, to the Democratic vision of a socialist paradise where they, the intelligentsia, are the philosopher oligarchy, governing by virture of their moral superiority. They criticize our military for fighting in ways that minimize American lives, as well as those of bystanders. They seem to see this event as a setback rather than a victory for our side.

How can I say this? Isn't this insensitive, the new standard of depravity? I say it because the meaning of patriotism demands it. Patriotism is love of one's homeland, one's own people, one's champions. It means support for the efforts of one's nation to do good in the world, such as overthrowing evil despotic regimes, as we have done in every military venture we have undertaken since World War I. For anyone to disparage our leaders and troops and make blatantly dishonest attacks on them and exhibit such hatred that it begins to resemble rooting for those who kill our men and women and commit routine acts of atrocities against noncombatants is not patriotism, nor Americanism, nor freedom-loving, nor democratic, nor even humane. They exist in a universe where anything good for our country, any success, any act of valor or conviction or support for right is seen as a defeat.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I have despised this meme of How to boil a frog for years. It's absurd, and contrary to common sense and experience, but it still get perpetuated like an urban legend. I'm glad someone is taking the time to explode the myth.

BTW, do you know how to explode a frog? Feed him two Alka-seltzer tablets. No, I've never tried it, and don't quote me.

The odd kneejerk.

The perverseness of the news media is today led by Joel Achenbach who seems to think that there's something unmanly about dropping a 500 lb. bomb on a creep like Zarqawi. Apparently, setting IEDs to explode when nameless strangers drive by and sending some teenage nitwit loaded with explosives into a crowd at a mosque with instructions to detonate himself are more heroic forms of murder. If you know who your target is and put a bomb on the crosshairs with a minimum of collateral damage, you're a cold-hearted bastard; not like this man with the dead eyes who prides himself on sawing off the heads of hostages who have no significance other than their misfortune to fall into his hands.

The silliness of Achenbach's piece can't be explained by stupidity. He's not stupid. James Lileks on Hugh Hewitt's program blamed it on laziness, apparently on the theory that he just punched out his first visceral reaction and hit "publish." But what kind of sullen resentment would cause that to be his first thought? I thought, "Great!" and so did Mark Steyn and Christopher Hitchens and practically every other American outside the MSM or the Rolodex. Nick Berg's father predictably claims that it saddens him when anybody is killed, and finds it another reason to hold against George Bush.

Lileks argues that Achenbach couldn't really have meant what he wrote, that he was musing on the old chestnut that if every soldier had to look into the face of those he kills, there would be fewer wars. But we're not talking about targeting some conscript here; this is Zarqawi, who's been distributing Ricin and planning the murder of random civilians. That he would cough up this without having thought about it and discarded it as drivel, indicates that he's a pretty shallow guy, and that's the best I can say for him.

The reaction from the liberal media in general makes me think that when they heard the news, their first reaction was to assess how it would affect Bush's political fortunes and go into damage control mode. Such people presume to be our ethical instructors, but they have become cold to normal human emotions. In truth, they are more dead to human feelings and morality than the jet pilots for whom they have such disdain. I think it's part of the war against normal male instincts and the emasculation of society being driven by feminism.

James Taranto has a nice roundup of journalistic reactions to the termination of al-Zarqawi (under the heading "Hearts and Minds"). I'd hate to see how today's media would have covered VE or VJ day.

Hey, guys, look on the bright side! At least we didn't torture the SOB.

Cool Tech

The latest use of high tech to read ancient documents. This system has been used to read scrolls found charred in a library in Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Pork Packer

Representative Jerry Lewis, vociferous defender of earmarking in the House is being investigated for ethics violations. There may be nothing to the story, but if he's dirty, I hope he gets the boot. His attitude is not consistent to being a servant of the people.

It's Chinatown

Dennis Prager said that he believes that the news of Zarqawi's killing would be greeted by the left with sorrow, because it will help George Bush. NPR's subhead on it's main page is:
A symbolic strike by U.S. forces may change little about the situation on the ground.
Tim Worstall sampled the broadcast media and found the same minimizing attitude.

George Friedman was a guest on Prager's show, with an interesting comment that the death of Zarqawi was almost simultaneous with the finalizing of the new cabinet of Mr. Taliki in which the Minister of Defense/Security is now a Sunni. He sees this as evidence that the Sunnis had been protecting Zark, to use him as a bargaining chip. That implies that they could have fingered him earlier and allowed him to continue his murders until they got what they want from the Shiites and Kurds, i.e. a powerful post in the new government. This has to be a gamble, since a Sunni at the head of the military might see himself as the next Saddam. I don't think we'd allow that, so long as we have Republicans in the White House and control of Congress. Time will tell.

Dan Darling believes that Al Qaeda turned on him when he rejected their counsel against continuing to kill other Muslims.

Jim Geraghty notes the gloomy reactions from ex-CIA analyst Michael Scheurer and Nick Berg's dad:
I believe that Berg's father just said Zarqawi getting whacked "will stir resentment among al-Qaeda."

Dude, they're al-Qaeda. They're already resentful.
All of this makes me realize once again that the media and I don't really know how things work in the Arab world. The difference is that I don't claim to know.

Oh, the tangled webs . . .

Talk about slicing the baloney thin:
Generally speaking, the MSM journalists most likely to get caught up in blog wars are, like Chait and Joe Klein, reporters who cover the left and Democratic politics with enough attitude and familiarity to place themselves in the position of being a member of the left or center-left while remaining, in tone and manner, somehow apart from the world that they cover. (Right-wing pundits under attack by left-leaning bloggers, meanwhile, experience blogswarms, not blog wars.)
No wonder the Democrats can't agree on what they stand for.

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Le Bon Mot

Michael Yon destroys the media reporting on Haditha with one sentence:
No rational process supports a statement like: “We don’t know what happened, but we know why it happened and whose fault it is.”
Perfect. I can imagine a scenario for reasonable doubt but then I don't know much about the evidence.

Add me

I'm an American and I'd LOVE to undermine the U. N. I'd like to see it moved out of this country (Geneva, Montreal?), and the U.S. withdraw from it.

SOMETIMES I WONDER whose side Ann Coulter is on. She's sure not on the side of civil discourse.

Consider Me Energized

The knock on bringing the Defense of Marriage Amendment up for another vote is that it's a cynical stunt to energize conservative voters:
The Senate on Wednesday rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, dealing a defeat to President Bush and Republicans who hoped to use the measure to energize conservative voters on Election Day.
Is it really a defeat for that purpose? They knew the vote would probably fail, but they wanted to remind people who are talking about "sending a message" to the Republicans by sitting out this election that we need to keep working to build majorities in Congress that will put a stop to policy-making by federal judges. It's too early to tell whether conservatives in general were energized, but I was. It made me see more clearly, what's at stake in politics. Not just the war, or the judges, or the deficit, or immigration, but democracy itself. What good are our votes when judges can overrule them in the name of judicial review?

There is nothing in the Constitution that mandates gay marriage and vote after vote has shown that Americans oppose giving that kind of validation to a lifestyle that disturbs them.

Gay activists are desperate to have their relationships validated by the rest of society, but legalizing gay marriage won't be the end of it, because the difference will remain, and more demands will follow until they control what is considered normal. It's true Americans have degraded marriage and accepted the widespread pornography and coarsening of society, including "sexual" behavior that gratifies lust, but serves no other purpose. But marriage and family life are still the basis of society, where new citizens are born and raised and civilized. We should be seriously alarmed by trends toward more sex outside of marriage, more abortions, fewer children born into stable families, more divorce, homes where both parents leave the home to work, etc.

Yes, we have freedom, but freedom of action doesn't equal freedom from consequences, and we have very little consciousness in modern society of the ultimate implications for society of the innovations in lifestyles of the past 60 years. The information is out there, but it is ignored in our media and attacked by advocates of more freedom with less accountability.

We are now seeing the claim made implicity that criticism or opposition to practices like gay "sex," abortion and increasingly easy divorce is somehow a denial of one's freedom. The modern world is dividing along the lines of libertinism and responsibility, and if conservatives don't keep up the fight, the drift will continue to the point where society outside our homes is hostile to what we want in our own lives and those of our children.

Notice that I have not called anyone names, impugned character, or compared anyone to some heinous figures or movements in history. I support civil discourse. If I forget, I hope someone will remind me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Lanny Davis . . .

is on Michael Medved's program discussing a new book he's written about the effect of scandal-based politics on our society and government. His book is sorely needed by Democrats afflicted with BDS, and by angry Republicans, as well. I think that most Republicans today are just baffled by the amount and quality of the venom being spewed by the MoveOn/Kos left. Some of the right give it right back, but the people I admire in the blogosphere are more inclined argue based on facts and logic than by merely calling names. I don't believe that Republicans are above reproach, certainly, but I don't think it contributes anything constructive to think of people as totally evil, the way the Bush-haters seem to.

Lanny Davis sounds like a person I could discuss politics with and learn something from as well as sharpening my own positions.

Partial News

Andrew McCarthy discusses the reluctance of the lefty media to identify the Canadian men under investigation for terrorism:
Consequently, the piece of information most obviously pertinent to the public’s understanding of what could be catalyzing this global savagery is consciously withheld. Such a revelation might, after all, lead people to ask the sensible question: What is it about Islam that makes it such a fertile breeding ground for this pathology?
The answer seems to be radical clerics who teach that Muslims have a duty of conquest of the rest of mankind. Many of these have been set up in business here with Saudi money and preach the radical Wahhabbi brand of Islam which is the state religion of Saudi Arabia. I think we would consider deporting them.

Christians have a doctrine that someday, "every head shall bow, every knee shall bend" to Jesus Christ, but not because Christians go to war against everyone else. They believe that he will return in power and glory sufficient to overwhelm all doubt or denial. My question to Muslims would be, if Allah is so mighty and powerful, why does he need these crazed young men to do what he could easily do himself?

In any event, the unwillingness of our major media to acknowledge this obvious common denominator, is not in keeping with the goals espoused by journalism and to the extent it withholds key information from readers is a kind of fraud, especially from a newspaper that promises "All the news that's fit to print."

Lions, Tigers and Bears

Glenn Reynolds and John Hinderaker have noted the increase of wild animals encroaching on suburbia. I have long had a lot of deer in my yard eating fallen apples from our fruit trees. This year they nibbled on my new peach tree and injured the bark.

Local farmers have frequent trouble with deer and elk eating their hay. I occasionally see a coyote, but only about twice during the past 26 years. Lions and coyotes are still actively hunted here and trapping is allowed with a permit. I've never seen a mountain lion in the wild. But there a number of idiots environmentalists who want to bring back wolves into our mountains. They rhapsodize about being able to hear wolves howling while they're out camping. (I think more in terms of yellow eyes reflecting firelight from the shadows.) These are of a type with those who oppose hunting because men killed Bambi's mother, when it was actually his father who would be hunted. They didn't show Bambi starving to death because of deer overpopulation, but I suppose that would have been kind of cruel.

Wolves were wiped out here because they were the top predators and therefore in competition with humans, who are now the top predator, but I still keep hearing the argument that we need them back in order to have a healthy ecosystem.

My argument is this: domestic dogs are the same species as wolves. When a group of dogs get together and are not kept under control, they form a pack and become feral, and have to be destroyed. Why then, should we want to bring back feral dogs into our environment? It's the myth of the noble wolf, which is about as realistic as Bambi is regarding the life of a deer. I prefer that this issue be decided by democratic means, but with bureaucrats empowered to make such decisions, we're never safe from those yellow eyes.


All I can say to remember those who fought in WWII, particulary on D-Day, and liberated the empires of Germany and Japan is that we should make the words from Saving Private Ryan our motto,
"Earn this!"

Monday, June 05, 2006

People don't get smarter with age

I just got Paul Simon's new album Surprise, and my first reaction was "not another preachy PC lecture from an aging liberal!" This is a collaboration with Brian Eno, which probably saves it from being just another set of protest songs.

The first song seems to scold us for asking why anybody would live in a swamp like New Orleans, and by implication, for being reluctant to rebuild it without raising it above sea level.

Of course, John Prine's new album, the first since he underwent surgery for cancer on his throat, contains an obligatory attack on George Bush, with the customary tolerance of the left, trying to dehumanize him because of his convictions.

Maybe I should learn to quit listening to lyrics.

Maybe it's Freudian

Why do boys like geysers, waterbombs, supersoakers and stuff like this? Anybody who has toilet-trained one can probably guess.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Seriousness about the war on Terrorism

Jim Geraghty ponders the failure of the MSM to cover the unfolding terrorist events in Canada and in London. He assigns it to their unwillingness to report anything that might encourage support for the President and the war on terrorism.

One thing that occurs is that there is a strain of Islam that, whenever it feels powerful as it has with increased oil profits, will attack non-muslims in order to force the rest of the world to submit to it. It's one of the Five Pillars to Muslims afflicted with this cult. They seek to restart the war that ended only after the West turned the tide by defeating Muslims in the Middle Ages. When Islamic empires began to diminish and lose power, this impulse withdrew and became dormant, but it didn't disappear. The new realization is that Muslims cannot compete militarily with the West, but it senses that the West is vulnerable to terrorism, to attacks by "martyrs." They are now in a position to support such attacks financially, and through the indoctrination in madrassahs run by Wahhabbists and the radical Shiites who have seized power in Iran, they have plenty of willing suicide bombers. This struggle is as serious as the Cold War was, and may last longer, unless we lose our nerve and sit like sheep waiting to be driven and killed.

How to goose your reader comments

Illustrated here. Who'd have thought it would be so simple?

Behind the Vietnam Nostalgia

The first Item on Best of the Web from last Wednesday confirms everything I've noted about the media and the current crop of lefties since the 1980s. The quote from "Pinch" Sulzberger is perfect.

Spot on.

After reading the Instapundit's comments on the media coverage of Haditha, I found this bit of hysteria in our local newspaper, illustrating the accuracy of his observations.

More information than we needed.

It's really kind of a pathetic claim. She's not anti-abortion. It's just a play on words. She's angry that she couldn't get the morning after pill, after she failed to "slip in her diaphragm" in a moment of passion, and blames it on Bush's politics. It's unclear why she wasn't taking regular birth control pills, but the difference between taking a "morning after" pill and having an abortion, seems more a complaint about convenience than any real qualms about the latter.

Do you think we're safe?

The Canadian terrorist ring should be a wake-up call to those who've grown complacent about terrorism. It seems that this stuff doesn't need to be taught at training camps. It's endemic in Muslim Mosques with Wahhabbist clerics.

The Globe and Mail seems to miss the main thing the suspects have in common. Heh.

Putting toothpaste back in the tube?

Peter Beinart, as far as I can see, is more glib than intelligent. He was the first commentator I remember who deployed the specious claim that Bush lied to lead us into war in Iraq. Now he's advocating the view that only liberals can defeat terrorism and that Democrats need to revive the spirit of FDR and HST. Today's Democrats would never nominate Harry Truman. Truman was too much of a patriot.

John Leo points out some holes in Beinart's scenario. The basic problem is that the Democrat Party is now firmly in the control of the same kind of people as those who nominated George McGovern in 1972. They are knee-jerk anti-war, any war. And they're not interested returning to the Truman model, as the current attempt to replace Joe Lieberman shows. The campaign of James Webb for the House of Representatives is an attempt to revive the Jacksonian thread in the Democrats. It might work in Virginia, but I doubt it. I admire Webb, having read his book, Born Fighting, but I think that if Jackson were alive today, he'd be a Republican. There may be some of the old plutocrat Republicans around, but I'm not one and I don't think that they are the base of the party anymore. It's the Jacksonians who are upset with Congress today and threatening the Republican's hold on power.

Oops! That talking point wasn't supposed to public!

The truth behind the refusal to enforce our borders is that politicians fear a Hispanic backlash, like what occurred in California after Pete Wilson supported an initiative denying public services to illegal immigrants. It's been pretty obvious for some time that the Democrats have a strategy of making it easier for non-citizens to register and vote, and Francine Busby, who is running as a Democrat for Duke Cunningham's seat in the House, made it explicit.

Even her butt-covering statement that she only meant to say that "you don't need to be a registered voter to help," is offensive. What business do foreign nationals have supporting or opposing candidates in U.S. elections? It's against the law for foreigners to donate to political candidates, isn't it? Then why should foreigners here illegally be allowed to work for campaigns in this country.

I'm all for accepting Mexican immigrants who go through the process and respect our laws, but the idea that non-citizens should be allowed to vote was widely asserted during the big ANSWER-organized demonstrations, and it now appears to be part of Busby's campaign.

This is the crux of the difference between the Senate and House immigration bills. The House bill is about enforcing the borders; the Senate bill is about trying to schmooze Hispanic voters to prevent a backlash.