Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Boomer Left


There is a great segment today in James Taranto's Best of the Web Today.

Read the first section under the heading - Iraq and the Liberal Baby Boomers.

An excerpt:
Baby-boomer liberalism, with its smug sense of moral superiority and its impatience with America's imperfections, is today the prevailing worldview among many of our elite institutions, not least the so-called mainstream media.
Know anybody like that? If you're an American it's almost impossible that you don't. If you're a Canadian you most certainly do. If you're European the chances are you don't know anyone who isn't.

Read the whole thing at the link above.

Thomas Sowell has a piece in the same vein. It includes these paragraphs:
... For those liberals who lived through the 1960s, that was often also the springtime of their youth, increasingly treasured as a memory, as the grim realities of old age settle down upon them today. It is expecting an awful lot to expect them to consider any alternative vision of the world, especially one that shatters the beautiful picture of themselves as wise and compassionate saviors of society.

But what are the facts?
Read the whole thing to find out.

Unfortunately, Dr. Sowell, facts do not matter to
Boomer Liberals. But keep the faith.

Tax misery


An interesting Forbes article on worldwide taxation levels is pointed out at Canada's John Galt.

France "wins." Sorry for the spoiler.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Stephen Harper proffers to fulfill a campaign pledge


Perhaps Prime Minister Stephen Harper can spare some time to help abolish reform the US Senate when he has done with Canada's.

Summary.

More detail here.

The question of a vote of confidence may trouble US minds, but I think, at his nadir, George Bush would still win a majority of 535 votes.

Consider the alternative.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Medal of Honor


A Memorial Day story of note and several other links.

Sorry, but...


...here's a lesson we should have already learned from Canada's experiment with Quebec, where "the natives" have a stronger claim.

The United States (emphasis mine) should unequivocally reject this proposal based on recent experience with the Aztlan movement. Alternately, let Hawaii secede. We'll see what happens after that.

Whatever happens, they don't get US protection anymore if they aren't a full member of the Union. Please note that I'm more than OK with that, and the establishment of a free state could motivate me to move to such a place.

Nonetheless, a United States Senator proposing this seems like a breach of his oath of office.

Al Gore : On respect for truth and for Americans


Interviewed by Grist magazine, Al Gore commits the following interchange:

Grist:
There's a lot of debate right now over the best way to communicate about global warming and get people motivated. Do you scare people or give them hope? What's the right mix?
Gore:
I think the answer to that depends on where your audience's head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.
Emphasis mine. You can figure out what an "over-representation of factual presentations" means, if you recall the meaning of the word "is" as defined by Mr. Gore's former keeper mentor supervisor.

H/T Free Republic

Googlevil


Google's search page is always dressed up with a holiday relevant logo modification.

Not today however.

Google Ignores Memorial Day


Bastille Day and Valentines Day are more important.

Do no Evil? Bullshit.

H/T NewsBusters

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Why should we remember?


If we do not remember those who gave their lives to preserve our way of life, we are likely to lose that way of life by the worst possible means - the accident of thinking things had to be the way they are and not some other way. This lesson is not buried in some dusty tome; our grandparents know better. How could we forget?

Some of us understand that things are the way they are because some soldiers were - and are - so committed to liberty as to give their own lives in its defense. Sadly, the vast majority of us do not seem committed to remember this debt.

There is encouragement for this amnesia. We have many enemies, and putative friends, who desire that we forget past courage and honor. They desire that the remembrance of the justice of the causes of the past should slip away. They view even their own immediate ancestors - who rose to meet challenges of personal and cultural annihilation - as quaint throwbacks to an unenlightened age.

These enemies and self-declared friends are wrong. We must reject their idea that our enemies are simply people we haven't yet had the intelligence to recognize as our moral equivalents.

Remember Ypres, Belleau Wood and Dieppe. Do not forget Iwo Jima or The Bulge or the Chosen Reservoir or Khe Sanh.

And Khe Sanh is a good example of how an agenda of defeat twists logic: At Khe Sanh 205 Americans were killed, while the North Vietnamese lost between ten and fifteen thousand. The Western press portrayed Khe San as a defeat. Like Tet. Do not forget Tet, where Walter Cronkite surrendered, on our behalf, following our resounding victory.

Our enemies had these "victories" because, while our soldiers were annihiliating them, we lost heart. We should certainly remember that.

What we remember will affect what we think. The ritual denigration of the US military continues to affect Associated Press headlines 40 years after Tet, as observed by TOC.

If Memorial Day is not an event that counters this defeatism, where will we find the will to win the war against Islamofascism? Respect for those who gave their lives on our behalf LAST WEEK is as necessary as respect for those who died in the Civil War and WWI and WWII and Korea and Viet Nam.

Without our continuing consciousness of their effort, those who have died and those who die tomorrow on behalf of our present freedom, are literally dust. You must not let that happen. They died for their homes and families and friends, and for a rule of law and traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for you.

This truth was not a question until latter half of the 20th Century.

Memorial Day grew from the carnage of the Civil War. Until after WWI it honored only those who had died in the Civil War.

In 1918 Moina Belle Michael read a Canadian Army doctor's poem, In Flanders Fields, written about the horrors he saw in the Ypres salient.
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
This inspired Michael to write her own poem,We Shall Keep the Faith
We Shall Keep the Faith
by Moina Michael, November 1918

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
Moina Michael went on to campaign for the poppy as a national symbol of gratitude to those who had died in the war. She started the tradition of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

I have never had the opportunity to make a donation for a poppy in the United States, but I have kept one I contributed a few dollars for in Canada, where the Royal Canadian Legion offers them near Remembrance Day - November 11th. Memorial Day is close in spirit to Remembrance Day.

The Royal Canadian Legion has some links to music appropriate to remembrance. here's one worth a listen on Memorial Day: Terry Kelly comments on some anonymous individual who apparently couldn't observe 2 minutes of silence on the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - A Pittance of Time.

Whether in May or November, it seems appropriate on a day of gratitude to fallen warriors.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Thousands more killed on Iwo Jima...

...Up to 26,000 people die in violence in the past month

If it's the AP, it'll be the third paragraph before you find out the people were "mostly" Japanese soldiers, and even then you won't know that means 20,000.

Today's Lansing State Journal carried an AP story entitled "Dozens more killed in new Afghan fighting - Up to 363 people die in violence in the past week" The story noted that:
...the US Military acknowledged that the Taliban have grown in "strength and influence" in recent weeks.
That two word quote is taken out of context. What Colonel Tom Collins actually said was:
"There are several hundred hard-core Taleban fighters," he said. "And we know for a fact that in recent weeks they have grown in strength and influence in some parts of Kandahar, Helmand, and Uruzgan."
It is left to the student to determine whether a Taliban uprising in those remote provinces would constitute the AP's implied general growth in Taliban "strength and influence", especially considering the huge casualties suffered by the, as AP styles them, "militants."

As many as 300 of the 363 dead are were Taliban. Strength and influence would be a fleeting advantage for these terrorists if it weren't for the AP and the LSJ.

Inconvienience is where you find it


Mr. Albert Gore, the former straight-man for Bill and Hillary, has been whizzing around the world on his larger-than-a-small-town carbon footprint advertising a movie he invented. No one is yet sure if this is Gore's attempt to begin a political comeback, or if it just his normal manic lunacy saying hello to some badly needed Prozac. Naomi Wolf could not be reached for comment.

An Inconvienient Truth is intended to scare the methane out of everybody. The trailer has music straight from Boris Karloff with an Al Gore voiceover. It could only get scarier if Al dressed up as the title character from Alien. If his movements had been fluid enough to bring off a comparison with a computer generated monster, I'm sure he would have tried it.

This piece of, um, video is a documentary in much the same sense as Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine was a documentary, but with better production value and more subtle omissions.

Subtle or not, the content has come under some scrutiny. I offer 3 must reads for anyone who will need to deal with their Liberal acquaintances on the matter.
Questions for Al Gore
By Dr. Roy Spencer

Dear Mr. Gore:

I have just seen your new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," about the threat that global warming presents to humanity. I think you did a very good job of explaining global warming theory, and your presentation was effective. Please convey my compliments to your good friend, Laurie David, for a job well done.

As a climate scientist myself -- you might remember me...I'm the one you mistook for your "good friend," UK scientist Phil Jones during my congressional testimony some years back -- I have a few questions that occurred to me while watching the movie...


The Media's Know-Nothings
By Duane D. Freese
Nothing isn't what it used to be.

Washington Post columnist Sebastian Mallaby recently reviewed Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth." He argued that President Bush "refused to let his administration do anything about climate." And last month New York Times columnist Paul Krugman made the same claim: "most governments have done little to curb greenhouse gases, and the Bush administration has done nothing ..."

One is tempted to ask whether they are being Clintonesque, with nothing depending upon their definitions of nothing. But assuming they were being honest, one can only wonder where they gathered their evidence that the Bush administration was doing nothing.

Obviously it was not from reading Gregg Easterbrook in The New Republic, who in February last year, wrote: "[T]he notion that Bush has done nothing at all about greenhouse gases can only be sustained if you ignore what he has done." ...


Inconvenient Truths Indeed
By Dr. Robert C. Balling Jr.

Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" opens around the country this week. In the film Gore pulls together evidence from every corner of the globe to convince us that climate change is happening fast, we are to blame, and if we don't act immediately, our Earth will be all but ruined. However, as you sit through the film, consider the following inconvenient truths:...
The only clear fact presented in this movie is that Al Gore believes humans are ruining the planet. The evidence for this, as you will have seen if you clicked the links above, is very much in dispute.

The question, then, is whether we should undertake our own certain ruination through actually implementing knee-jerk reactions like Kyoto, or whether we should wait for the facts. Al Gore is telling us the facts are in, and that we must act immediately. I do not think he has proven his case, and I do not think he has a solution even if he is correct. If he is right, the solution will not be abandoning technology but using it.

It's a horror flick. If you like such fiction, go see it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Media trifecta


The Other Club has complained recently about the news coverage of battles in Afghanistan, here and here. This is because the reportage is obviously either incompetent or anti-American. Whichever, this slant is chronic and, with interminable repetition, has had its effects on a population who are mostly strangers to history and economics.

The war is inconvenient for the PNB press because they mostly think George Bush is abominable, so they will hype
anything that damages him. Whether it is conscious or unconscious does not matter.

George Bush has been preserved in office only because of his prosecution of the war. His other policies have engendered as big, or bigger, government than his opponents imagined. George Bush was re-elected because a slight majority of Americans can still recognize bullshit when they are waist deep in it.

John Kerry's lies about American troops in in the 70s, his prevarications about his medals, his inability to take a coherent position and his desire to subjugate American foreign policy to France resulted in his defeat. The only surprise is that it was not a landslide. That would have required chest deep bullshit.

There was a time when a liberal could seemingly be trusted with the defense of the country. Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, for example, have reputations - deserved or not - in that regard. They all conducted major wars wherein American military casualties vastly exceeded those in the War against Islamofascism. American civilian casualties are a different story.

Those civilian dead are a sufficient, if not primary, reason that Democrats who have aspired to the presidency since LBJ - George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, John Kerry, Russ Feingold and Hillary Clinton, for example, can no longer inspire confidence regarding foreign policy.

American voters recognized this in 2004, and that has the extreme left foaming at the mouth. They believe that were it not for a combination of Islamofascists who'd like to slit our throats, and red-state-neck American morons, John Kerry might have been president.

The war is an inconvenient obstacle to dreams of a socialist utopia. Lacking a war, George Bush is certainly no such obstacle. He presided over the largest increase in entitlement spending in our history. So why such acrimony from the Democrat base over a war Democrats voted,
on the evidence, to support? It puts Democrats in a bind.

The party's natural constituency (those who vote in primaries) is a motley blend of ANSWER, ACORN,
democratunderground and MoveOn types. Those extreme-left interests have an overweighted effect on the Democrats. "Bush derangement syndrome" has ballooned into opposition at any cost. Mort Kondracke makes the case for why the disloyal opposition has become so dangerous.

Returning to
the issue with which we opened, part of the problem is the ideological complicity of the PNB press. Here are three further examples:

About Afghanistan -From Instapundit:
...the news reports, rather exaggerated to begin with, are of the form "Dozens killed in renewed fighting," without mentioning that most of those killed are people who should be killed.
About Bin-Laden and Gitmo - From Captain's Quarters; What The AP Discarded:

And finally, a view of how the outrageous becomes normal and uninteresting via repitition - From Victor Davis Hanson;
Eye of the Beholder:
War-torn Iraq has about 26 million residents, a peaceful California perhaps now 35 million. The former is a violent and impoverished landscape, the latter said to be paradise on Earth. But how you envision either place to some degree depends on the eye of the beholder and is predicated on what the daily media appear to make of each...
Words matter. The PNB press know it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Worth a read

Revisionist History
Antiwar myths about Iraq, debunked.
Though I would call it "revisionist current events."

Canadian journalism at its pique


Stephen Harper's got something here.
...members of the [Canadian] press gallery simultaneously got up and left, moments before the prime minister arrived in the room, in an act of defiance against new news conference rules imposed against the media.
Two questions; don't these guys realize Harper's OK with not being able to bask in their glorious presence, and how
can George Bush get Helen Thomas to do the same thing?

OK, three questions - how are any news conference rules established by the person granting the conference "imposed" "against" the media? I mean they can just leave, right?

H/T Nealenews

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Snatch Soliloquy


The United States needs every talented hard science graduate it can get. It needs graduates in history, literature and music too, but superior science is what will determine whether we continue to be an affluent society. That is, a society that can easily encourage historians, writers and composers.

How does one go about encouraging the most capable to consider scientific study? Do you start by providing equal pathways for any brain of merit, or do you actively seek out the disinterested? For Liberals, of course, the latter is the answer if the demographic profile of current enrollees fails to conform with a leftist world-view.

Therefore, since relatively few females are attracted to the hard sciences, Liberals see the problem as social injustice, where the solution is getting more females into hard science programs. This, of course, is not the same problem we were trying to solve a paragraph ago.

As with other "affirmative action" programs, it is necessary to define and institutionalize discrimination. Only then it can be administered "fairly" by the government.

A nascent foray into such social engineering is the lobbying to apply Title IX rules to hard science funding in our universities. The short version is that federal funding is to be based on what's between your legs rather than what's between your ears.

Hey, it seems like it maybe 10-percent worked for making women professional athletes rich with the WNBA; so let's apply it to physics, chemistry, computer and nanotechnology research on behalf of our nation's competitive future.

It's too bad Larry Summers had the temerity to suggest that maybe there is a reason, unconnected to a patriarchal conspiracy, for the fact that only a small percentage of women are interested in hard science. He woke Leviathan.

For further enlightenment see The Vagina Monologue at Protein Wisdom.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Steyn X 3

Mark Steyn is as prolific as he is talented. Read all of the 3 following.

Not just immigration: It's societal transformation
This is not an "immigration" issue. "Immigration" is when you go into a U.S. government office and there's a hundred people filling in paperwork to live in America, and there are a couple of Slovaks, couple of Bangladeshis, couple of New Zealanders, couple of Botswanans, couple of this, couple of that. Assimilation is not in doubt because, if you're a lonely Slovak in Des Moines, it's extremely difficult to stay unassimilated.

This is not an "illegal immigration" issue. That's when one of the Slovaks or Botswanans gets tired of waiting in line for 12 years and comes in anyway, and lives and works here and doesn't pay any taxes, so the money he earns gets sluiced around the neighborhood supermarket and gas station and topless bar and the rest of the local economy, instead of being given to Trent and Arlen and Co. to toss into the great sucking maw of the federal budget.

But a "worker class" drawn overwhelmingly from a neighboring jurisdiction with another language and ancient claims on your territory and whose people now send so much money back home in the form of "remittances" that it's Mexico's largest source of foreign income (bigger than oil or tourism) is not "immigration" at all, but a vast experiment in societal transformation. Indeed, given the international track record of bilingual societies and neighboring jurisdictions with territorial claims, it's not much of an experiment so much as a safe bet on political instability.

To connect the dots, you have to see the dots
I'm a strong believer in privacy rights. I don't see why Americans are obligated to give the government their bank account details and the holdings therein. Other revenue agencies in other free societies don't require that level of disclosure. But, given that the people of the United States are apparently entirely cool with that, it's hard to see why lists of phone numbers (i.e., your monthly statement) with no identifying information attached to them is of such a vastly different order of magnitude. By definition, "connecting the dots" involves getting to see the dots in the first place.

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) feels differently. "Look at this headline," huffed the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "The secret collection of phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. Now, are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al-Qaida?"

No. But next time he's flying from D.C. to Burlington, Vt., on a Friday afternoon he might look at the security line: Tens of millions of Americans are having to take their coats and shoes off! Are you telling me that tens of millions of ordinary shoe-wearing Americans are involved with al-Qaida?

WITH A MAJORITY LIKE THIS…

Last year Newt Gingrich was up in New Hampshire and my neighbor Scott went along and expressed various dissatisfactions with the GOP Congress. And Newt said, well, you must remember Republicans are still pretty new at this, we’re not used to being in the majority.

That’s it? The Iraqis are expected to pick up the ins and outs of this governing business instantly, but the Republican Party can’t get the hang of it after 11 years? Don’t worry, I’m not predicting electoral disaster this November. It would be nice to think that the GOP might get to enjoy a Geena Davis-style “hiatus” while they “retune” their winning formula. But I doubt it will happen: Even losers need someone to lose to, and the Democrats have failed to fulfill even that minimal requirement for the last decade. Christopher Hitchens said on the Hugh Hewitt show recently that he “dislikes” the Republican Party but he has “contempt” for the Democrats. I appreciate the distinction, though I’m not sure I could muster even that level of genial tolerance. The Democrats have been the most contemptible opportunists in the years since 9/11: if they’ve got nothing useful to contribute to the great challenge of the age they could at least have the decency not to waste our time waving around three-year-old Abu Ghraib pictures and chanting “exit strategy” every ten minutes.

But what happened to the other guys? “The Republican Party,” says Arlen Specter, “is now principally moderate, if not liberal” – and he means it as a compliment. “I’ll just say this about the porkbusters,” chips in Trent Lott. “I’m getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble since Katrina.”

Aid and comfort


The reporting on recent casualties in Afghanistan is even more abominable than I noted on Friday.

Bill Roggio reports:
The news reports of a major Taliban offensive in southeastern Afghanistan are inaccurate, as Coalition offensives and Taliban attacks have been lumped together to give the impression of a coordinated Taliban assault in multiple provinces.

...It is important to understand how the fighting was initiated, as the current reporting is giving the impression of a coordinated Taliban uprising. This provides the Taliban with a propaganda victory, as their power is perceived as far greater than it actually is, which can negatively influence the government and peoples of the Coalition forces serving in Afghanistan. The narrow passage of the extension of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan (by a 149-145 vote in Parliament) illustrates the fragile nature of the support for the mission in some Western nations.
Of course it is important to understand the nature of the combat, and if the PNB press were as dedicated to reporting facts as they claim to be, we might even have had information that reflected reality. Instead we have stories that reflect the predetermined attitudes of the left. To wit; the Taliban is gaining strength and resistance by the West is ultimately futile. Nichola Goddard's life was wasted.

I want to know, if we have Al-Jazeera, why do we need the AP?

If the AP had been constituted the same way in World War II as it is today, the reporting from Iwo Jima would have had headlines screaming; "2,000 Marines die in the first 18 hours of fighting".

The flag was raised on Mt. Suribachi on day 4 of the attack. The battle went on for another 32 days. Headlines would have been
"A dead Marine every 2 minutes for 36 days" and "Marines suffer 6,821 deaths. Some ask - For what?".

The strategic value of Iwo Jima would never have been mentioned, and the fact that 20,000 fanatical enemy soldiers died would have been covered by a story headlined - "Japanese widows grieve".

Here's an example of how it was actually reported. Don't miss the audio link.

Iwo Jima was not the end of the Pacific war. In fact, it was the first battle on Japanese soil. We finished the War with Japan on August 15, 1945 - nearly 4 years after Pearl Harbor.

The Battle of Afghanistan will not end the War against Islamofascism - unless we lose. Whether we still have the will to win even this battle is an open question, in part because that will is being undermined by the AP's characterizations.

H/T SDA, where it is noted that Roggio is going to be embedded with Canadian Forces in Afghanistan starting next week. I've added an additional Counterterrorism Blog link to the blogroll for your convenience.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Feminism as if it meant something


Captain Nichola Goddard, a Forward Observation Officer with the 1st Canadian Royal Horse Artillery, died in combat in Afghanistan this Wednesday. Her LAV (Light Armoured Vehicle) was hit by an RPG while she was doing her job, standing up and observing. My sympathies to her family and to her comrades-in-arms. My most humble thanks to Captain Goddard. Your bravery rekindles hope for Western civilization, and your death makes me weep.
Thank you Canada.

The battle in which
Nichola Goddard was killed was reported by the LA Times/Associated Press as "Wave of Afghan Violence Kills More Than 100." The fact that 80 to 90 of those killed were Taliban is only mentioned by indirection.

The twisted headline makes it sound as if many civilians died because the military could not protect them. The fact is that Nichola Goddard died protecting Afghan civilians in a battle where she helped inflict massive losses on the enemy. Feminists should be upset over this denigration of a female soldier. I certainly am, and I do not share their obsession with having women in combat. I also suspect that that is the only principle Nichola Goddard shared with Feminists.

An overwhelming victory by coalition forces is saddled with a headline intended to instill despair in the West. How about "Nearly 100 Taliban die in Attack on Coalition Forces", instead? You still get to use a round number, and it is a more accurate reflection of what transpired. While that sort of phrasing does not fit the "America is guilty" mentality, it would least honor Captain Goddard's skill and sacrifice.

Excerpts from an interview with Captain Goddard reported in Toronto's Globe and Mail (requires subscription) are inspiring. Some of this can be found at Strongworld:
They [Afghan National Army] had watched in awe as Capt. Goddard completed a 10-kilometre [6 miles] march up a mountain, carrying 45 kilograms [100 pounds] of kit on her back, and she had watched as they ran past her up those same rocky inclines.

Later, at a shura, one of the meetings with village elders Canadians hold regularly, the men in the town were staring at Capt. Goddard. The interpreter approached her and said, she wrote, "Please excuse their staring. They are just very surprised that you are a woman working with all of these men. I have told them that you climbed over the mountain with us with your heavy bag and that you had no problems. They think that you must be very strong.

"I explained to them that you are just like the men, and that you can do everything that they can do the same as them."

"It was," Capt. Goddard wrote, "perhaps the greatest statement of equality that I have ever heard, and it was given by a Pakistani-raised, Afghan male in the middle of an Afghan village that is only accessible by a five-kilometre walk up a mountain.
Read it all. Especially if you consider yourself a Feminist.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Even the obvious has now become revolutionary.


Christopher Hitchens. Read it all.
One can stare at a simple sign or banner or placard for a long time before its true meaning discloses itself. The late John Sparrow, warden of All Souls College, Oxford, was once struck motionless by a notice at the foot of the escalator at Oxford Circus Tube station. “Dogs,” it read, “must be carried.” What to do then, wondered this celebrated pedant, if you hadn’t got a dog with you?

And then there came a day, well evoked by Ian McEwan in his novel Saturday, when hundreds of people I knew were prepared to traipse through the streets of London behind a huge banner that read “No war on Iraq. Freedom for Palestine”. This was in fact the official slogan of the organisers. Let us gaze at these two simple injunctions for a second. ...
H/T CM

What part of "concealed" don't you understand?


Yesterday I briefly commiserated with Ohio holders of concealed carry permits because newspapers there are editorially supporting a bill to continue making CCW permit holders names available to newspapers. Newspapers say this is because newspapers have a special responsibility for keeping government accountable.

This had been the responsibility of voters, last time I checked, so this idea would seem to be connected with a media ability to emit political opinion in the 60 days preceeding an election - when the NRA or NOW can't.

Among free-speech suppressionists this is known as the “press exemption”, for no reason I have ever been able to find. You'd have to ask John McCain and Russ Feingold, two presidential wannabes who think the First Amendment is optional. Their Campaign Finance Reform act has received support from the PNB press in general and specifically from the Lansing State Journal, where there is a lingering suspicion that political speech is not yet suppressed enough.

So, no surprise, today the Lansing State Journal joined the fray in opposing privacy protection for CCW holders in Michigan. Done with the First, let's move on to the Second and Fourth.

This is a paper that thinks the NSA shouldn't have your anonymous phone records, but that newspapers should know if you, personally, have a concealed carry permit.


One must assume the LSJ is not claiming that denying criminals foreknowledge of
who definitely has a firearm is a violation of those potential convicts' civil liberties. It is not actually explained how LSJ access to your CCW records (or lack thereof) would enhance public officials' accountability, but they do make the claim:
The Michigan House now has a bill that would hide another government function from public scrutiny, a bill that would make public officials less accountable.
Less accountable to who? The LSJ did not have access to CCW records before the law was changed, and I do not remember any complaints about it then. But as long as Proescutor Dunnings and Sheriff Wrigglesworth could be sole arbiters, the LSJ didn't care. The real issue? The LSJ doesn’t think CCW laws should have changed to take the arbitrary suspension of Second Amendment rights out of the hands of cronyist local gun control boards.
Back in 2000, the Michigan Legislature was pushed to "reform" concealed weapons law by limiting the discretion of county permit boards.

Then, the argument was that these local boards were inconsistent and even played favorites with permits - issuing them to only those favored few. Under the new law, county boards "must issue" permits to all qualifying applicants.

If you buy the logic of that law, the local boards - on which the county prosecutor and county sheriff sit - can't be trusted to act on their own discretion.
It's shall issue, which is different than "must." "Must" would mean the gun control board wasn't even necessary. "Must" ignores the requirement to pass an FBI check. "Must" is untrue if required training has not been completed. "Must" is untrue if an applicant has a domestic violence record, among other disqualifiers. Use of the word "must" is bias.

The formerly arbitrary issuance of the permits isn't even at issue, it was commonplace. Where was the LSJ when light needed to be shined on that part of accountability in government?

After the law was changed we were given more evidence of gun board capriciousness in the foot dragging obstructionism on the part of several Counties - who had to be sued into compliance with the law. So, yes, I buy the logic that local gun boards can't be trusted - it was the point in the first place. It’s exactly why I wouldn’t trust those officials now – they’re the people who opposed my right to self defense before – and they’re not over it. Why would I trust their discretion to "[withhold] such records … on privacy grounds?"

The way people know that county gun boards are acting appropriately is by the statistics on gun crimes committed by permit holders. If there had been any we’d have heard about it from the LSJ, and the “I was right about blood-in-the-street” letters to the editor would have been a flood. Instead, the most recent stats I can find in a short search are that of over 1,900 permits issued in Ingham County by late 2003, 7 had been revoked.

We know about the effectiveness of the CCW program the same way we know the Internal Revenue Service is doing its job - by the number of people who are prosecuted for breaking the tax laws.

And you know what? We don’t seem to need journalist access to all Americans’ tax returns to prove the IRS is doing its job.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Three to read


Don Boudreaux Explains Why Our Existing K-12 Schools Won’t Ever Deliver Desired Results

It's like government run supermarkets. The lettuce has to pass a standardized national test that cannot take into account whether the lettuce is brown.

Media continues to howl over amendment to House Bill 9
According to newspapers, concealed carry permit holders' names should be published - in your local newspaper. What part of "concealed" don't you Ohioans understand?

Howard Dean: Tin-eared Politician
Just another example. Tin-eared is an understatement. And, yeah, I love him, too.

McCainanite philosophy


I tell you, if John McCain is nominated, I'd like to sit on my hands in the 2008 Presidential election, but sending a lesson to the f**king GOP by voting for Hillary would be very tempting.

What a pompous whiner; "I used to think I was hot shit. Now that I actually am thermonuclear fecal material, the rest of you need to shut-up. That's why we have McCain-Feingold, you unwashed morons!"

Poll Axe


What's the difference between a USA Today/Gallup poll showing 51% of Americans disapprove of the NSA phone number database and the Washington Post/ABC report that 63% of all Americans did not mind the telephone companies giving those records to the NSA?

Dafydd ab Hugh thinks it might just be in the way you ask.

H/T Captain's Quarters

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sally Jacobsen update


Students in Abortion Vandalism Case Get Community Service, Professor Won't
Jacobsen's attorney Margo Grubbs, told the Cincinnati Post he [sic, see photo] was enraged by the decision to drop the charges against the students but keep them against the professor.
Apparently, Ms Grubbs does not subscribe to the common-sense idea that a teacher (aka, powerful authority figure) should be held accountable for the impressionable minds in her care. Grubbs contends that urging students to commit vandalism should be considered equivalent to their commission of it.

Ms Grubbs, I'm sorry, but whatever credence can be granted to the defense of "I was only following orders." - it clearly cannot be applied to the issuer of those orders.

Thomas Beiting disagrees with Ms Grubbs on the same basis.
Thomas Beiting, who represents one of the students in the case, said Jacobsen told them they would not get in trouble because she claimed the Northern Right to Life student pro-life group did not have permission to put up the display. The group had actually obtained a permit from the university.

"These girls did not believe they would get in trouble," Beiting told the Post.
Why did they not think they would get in trouble for vandalism? Because the person being paid to teach them told them they wouldn't. Why didn't they perceive a free speech issue, whether or not NKU had given permission for the display? Because their mentor told them her anger was more important.
"I did, outside of class during the break, invite students to express their freedom-of-speech rights to destroy the display if they wished to," Jacobsen said.

Asked whether she participated in pulling up the crosses, the professor said, "I have no comment."

She said she was infuriated by the display, which she saw as intimidating and a "slap in the face" to women who might be making "the agonizing and very private decision to have an abortion."

Jacobsen said it originally wasn't clear who had placed the crosses on campus.

She said that could make it appear that NKU endorsed the message.

Pulling up the crosses was similar to citizens taking down Nazi displays on Fountain Square, she said.

"Any violence perpetrated against that silly display was minor compared to how I felt when I saw it. Some of my students felt the same way, just outraged," Jacobsen said.
We might well applaud a teacher who urged her students to commit civil disobedience, - even if we didn't agree with the principle being challenged. But Sally Jacobsen misunderstands the meaning of the word "liberty" as practiced in Western civilization, and she compounded that ignorance with a lack of knowledge about a specific fact she could well have checked.

It is hard to imagine a greater breach of responsibility in the urging of civil disobedience, even if you are not a teacher. Jacobsen's accountability is of a vastly higher level than her students', and Ms Grubbs would do well to recognize it.

Update, 6:30PM, No diversion program for NKU prof

Grubbs is going to play dumb hardball? Seems to be a bet on how much effort will be dedicated to dragging Ms Jacobsen back from her "retreat."

Rick Woeste seems to be up to the challenge:
Assistant Campbell County Attorney Rick Woeste objected to Professor Sally Jacobsen's inclusion in the diversion program, which allows for charges to be dropped and later expunged after some form of community service.
As well he should.
...[Jacobson] was charged with theft, criminal mischief and criminal solicitation. But Grubbs said Jacobsen, who was out of town Thursday, was never served with papers informing her of the charges.
Maybe because she's at an "undisclosed location?".
District Judge Karen Thomas gave Jacobsen until May 23 to come to court to answer the charges.

Grubbs said Jacobsen is currently working on a paper on English author Virginia Wolfe at an undisclosed location, and might not be back by then.
I have a feeling
Karen Thomas and Rick Woeste think she'd better be back by then. Who's afraid of Virginia Wolfe?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Cultural emporiumism?


Mark Steyn's ruminations on Western culture and its variations are always worth reading. Here's a teaser from a recent effort:
...it's routinely accepted in Canada and Europe that America gives less foreign aid than other wealthy countries. Americans are famously "stingy," to use the word chosen by Jan Egeland, the UN humanitarian honcho, in the wake of the tsunami. Unlike virtuous Canadians and Scandinavians, stingy rednecks save it all for the trip to the mall. But what does American stinginess actually boil down to? Carol Adelman, head of the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Prosperity, ran the numbers. In 2003, the U.S. government gave US$16 billion to foreign aid--which made it the highest donor in absolute dollars but the lowest among developed nations as a percentage of gross national income.

Sounds pretty stingy, right? But, as Ms. Adelman points out, this number does not take into account private U.S. aid. In 2000, for example, Americans gave US$35 billion through various foundations and other bodies--which works out at three-and-a-half times U.S. government aid for that year. And even that figure doesn't take into account local church missions, donations by overseas units of U.S. corporations and various other elements.

Canadians and Continentals, by comparison, give far less private aid--for many European countries, private donations are insignificant. I happen to think that donating as an individual or through a private company is, in fact, more virtuous than leaving it to the government to write a cheque from out of the general fund: for one thing, a private source is more concerned about how well the money is spent rather than how much--which would seem to be Mr. Egeland's priority. But put that argument aside. The broad reality is that Americans provide their foreign aid privately and Canadians and Europeans leave it to the state, just as Americans provide their health care privately and Canadians and Europeans leave it to the state. My point is that Americans get no credit for this because in transnational-speak there is literally no way to express it. By transnational definition, "aid" is statist: only governments can do it. So, in the international league tables, no matter how generous Americans are their form of generosity is, by definition, inadmissible. Indeed, as Mr. Egeland sees it, "aid" is defined exclusively as cheques made payable to his office.

This is a remarkable state of affairs. The UN and other transnational agencies were mostly designed by America at the dawn of the American era and continue to be funded principally by America to this day. Yet they're such an explicit rejection of American values that their language can't even embrace such routine American activities as private philanthropy.
It's all here. May require registration. I have registered with The Western Standard, so I can't be sure if the link will ask you or not.

WSJ and WaPo agree


NSA is able to track phone call patterns which do not include names or conversational content.

The Wall Street Journal points out, that's Another nonthreat to your civil liberties.

The Washington Post agrees, it's The Right Call on Phone Records.

Anybody remember William Stephenson?


I read the same article at Nealenews and planned a post.

Strong World beat me to it:
This news item from today's Province is meant to be reassuring...

"Canada's electronic spy agency says citizens need not worry their phone calls are secretly being tracked by the government -- a reality Americans woke up to on Thursday."

To which I ask, why not?

Is not the threat of terrorism just as great here in Canada as it is in the US? In recent weeks we've had indications that Islamic extremists are operating in Canada and that Canada is a potential target.

I don't find it reassuring to learn that our government is not doing everything in its power to protect us from a terrorist attack.
I do have another question. Can
A spokesman for Canada's Communications Security Establishment, a cryptologic agency embedded in the Department of National Defence which works closely with the NSA, insisted no such program exists here.
...be trusted on the matter?

I hope not. And I hope there are fewer leakers at CSIS/DND than at the CIA and NSA.

Friday, May 12, 2006

"Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?"

"Here at the Phone Company, we serve all kinds of people; from Presidents and Kings to the scum of the earth..."
---Lily "Ernestine" Tomlin
Lily: Sold Out February 2, 1981 on CBS.
It can be fairly said that the phone company does not discriminate. The same thing cannot be said of of the PNB press. They discriminate against common sense.

This morning's Lansing State Journal, taking a lead from USA Today and the New York Times, willfully confuses a database of telephone numbers with monitoring the content of Americans' conversation. The LSJ even does a half-assed job of admitting it understands this:
Previously, Bush has said the NSA focuses exclusively on calls between the U.S. and other nations. "One end of the communication must be outside the United States," Bush explained when furor erupted last December over warrantless [sic] eavesdropping.

...What the NSA does [in this completely different program], USA Today reports, is monitor [sic] millions of phone calls [sic] to pick up patterns - who's calling whom - rather than listening to the actual conversations.
"Monitor" is the wrong word because "calls" is the wrong word. Nobody is listening to calls, it is phone numbers being recorded..

The LSJ goes on (and we'll return to this):
It's noteworthy that telecommunications company Qwest declined to help the NSA, not believing NSA's assertion that a court order wasn't needed for call-tracking.
And then closes with this snide presumption:
...senators, and American citizens, should want to know more about this insidious NSA program.
I'd be willing to listen to the LSJ proposals for fighting a war against a dispersed, determined, sly and exceedingly vicious enemy whose command and control structure critically depends on a global public communications network. So far, they've only demanded that we
abandon one of our most significant advantages - information superiority. So far, it's bleating twaddle.

The records under discussion are not recordings of conversations, as the LSJ acknowledges. In fact, they are the same sort of records that the virtuous Qwest was in an Arizona court protecting in 2002. Protecting, that is, their right to:
...share customer account and billing information only among the Qwest family of companies. He [Qwest's executive vice president of consumer markets] added that the company sometimes needs to make account information available to other business with which Qwest has marketing agreements in order to enable the delivery of a Qwest service. Smith cited high speed internet service and Qwest's agreement with MSN as an example of such an instance. Qwest may have to tell MSN about the characteristics of a customer's phone line in order to provide the appropriate service.
Emphasis mine. I mention Qwest because they are currently lauding themselves for refusing the NSA access to the phone records without a warrant.
Apparently, what the NSA really needed was a "marketing agreement."

A perusal of Verizon's policy reveals that Qwest is hardly alone in "concern" for your privacy:
Under Federal Law, you have the right to, and we have the duty to protect, the confidentiality of your telecommunications service information. This information includes the type, technical arrangement, quantity, destination, and amount of use of telecommunications services and related billing for these services.

We may use this information, without further authorization by you, to offer you: (i) services of the type you already purchase from us, and (ii) the full range of products and services available from Verizon and other Verizon companies that may be different from the type of services you currently buy from us. In addition to local telephone services, Verizon and other Verizon company services include long distance (where authorized), wireless, and Internet services. A more complete description of our companies and service offerings is available on this Web site. Use of your information will permit us to offer you a package of services tailored to your specific needs. Without further authorization by you, we may also share your information with other Verizon companies with whom you already have an existing service relationship.
There also seem to be some short memories at the LSJ, USA Today and the NYT about the general public availability of your phone call records. In January, the Chicago Sun-Times reported:
Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.

Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official.

Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often.

And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist -- or a competing company.
From that, it is easy to see the value of patterns that may be found in a list of phone numbers called. There should be concern over easy access to such lists for one phone. The ability to follow a network of calls would be even more powerful.

No private citizen should be able to find out how many times your mistress called your bookie, much less whether those calls were immediatley followed by a call from your bookie to your dealer. The practice of selling such records should be made a serious crime, and the phone companies should be protecting them in the first place.

Nonetheless, cheating on your wife is in a different national security class than is plotting, for example, to plant a dirty bomb. The first is certainly not the business of the government nor of some sleazy PI. The second is precisely the business of the government, and one of the few Constitutional activities to which it commits any funds. Perhaps that's why, while the President's approval rating is at 29 percent; 63 percent of Americans say the NSA program is an "acceptable way to investigate terrorism." How many times the terrorist called the Semtex supplier, who then made a call to a Saudi bank funds transfer hotline is of interest, and I only hope the computers can keep up with it.

The LSJ sees a threat to fundamental liberty because patterns of phone calls are being tracked that might reveal the interactions of your bookies and your mistresses. Too late, this info is already for sale.

And, if it weren't for the fact that we're at war with people who used telephones to set off 9/11 - and that nobody at the NSA really gives a rat's ass about your bedding or betting habits - there might be a small point, if the phone companies didn't already diss your privacy. As to the argument that the records become more vulnerable to misuse in the hands of the NSA - well, go see if you can buy back the rights to your call records from those internet brokers, and ask them how they vet their customers.

To close, I offer some commentary from Best of the Web Today:
The Times' conflation of "monitoring" and "collecting information on" calls is quite dishonest [just like the LSJ]. What the government is doing here is essentially maintaining a database of people's phone bills--information the phone companies store and use for their own marketing and billing purposes. In Smith v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law-enforcement agencies do not need a warrant to collect such information.

That's not even the most astonishing thing about the Times piece. The USA Today report that leaves the editorialists so breathless turns out to be largely a rehash of a story that appeared way back on Christmas Eve--in the New York Times!

... the paper is so eager to hyperventilate about President Bush that it is willing to give another paper credit for a scoop it reported itself months ago. This is demented.
The only odd bit there is why Taranto is surprised at NYT dementia.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ridenour on media hysteria about oil prices


Check it out. And the links.

Pox Canadiana diminishing


We can learn much from our northern neighbors - when it's allowed to be made public.

The pace of social experimentation, political correctness and the implementation of left-wing values in Canada have actually outstripped California for 2 decades or more.

When someone runs experiments in taxation, liberty and public safety involving 30 million people we should pay attention, because the cost is high and the lessons are often lost. For example, Stalin ran an experiment where 30 million people died and some of us learned nothing from that.

Canada's latest "teachable moment" is not nearly so heinous, but it is worthy of attention.

Here's a preview of what the Hundred Mom Marchers and the Brady Bunch of anti-2nd Amendment types would like to do with your money, your right to self defense and your privacy.

There's also insight into the left's consistent tendency to reward failure. In this case it is spelled "Maryantonett Flumian." The eponymy is subtle, but marvelous. Considering the care she took with the public purse, what comes to mind is a hybrid of "Let them eat cake!" and the decadence of the late Roman Empire. "Cake and circuses!", should have been the Grit campaign slogan. The subtitle would have been, "Mind you, no beer and popcorn."

A Billion or maybe 2 Billion dollars have been utterly wasted. How many police could have been put on the street between 1995 and 2002 for a Billion dollars? How many more could have been hired since 2002 for (likely) another Billion? How much shorter might medical care waiting lists be if the money had not been spent on removing firearms from the hands of honest citizens? How many fewer people might have died prematurely if not for the Liberal conceit that calling the 2nd-Amendment names could be a campaign slogan?

The Grits hid this enormous waste because,
like Liberal programs in all countries, it is only the intent that counts. Otherwise, why is failure to have even remotely reasonable results always so well rewarded?

People mustn't know the reality of consistent failure. If they did, most would not put up with it. Violent gun crime is up in Canada, not despite Liberals "best intent" and 2 Billion wasted taxpayer dollars, but because of it.

Dudley Dooright would have known better in his heart, as does Prime Minister Harper in his heart and his head.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to use the auditor general's report as a reason to begin dismantling the disputed program, which is opposed by many of the party's core supporters, particularly in Western Canada.
We can only hope the sense of these core supporters, in those boondocks so far, far away from "Toronto the Good", prevails.

H/Y Nealenews

Monday, May 08, 2006

Directors of the CIA


See: Directors and Deputy Directors of Central Intelligence
William Joesph Donovan, 13 June 1942–1 October 1945. Appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as Director of Strategic Services (OSS, CIA precursor). Major General, U.S. Army. Awarded Medal of Honor in 1923 for bravery in 1918 Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Sidney William Souers, Jan. 23-June 10, 1946. Appointed by Truman. Rear admiral, U.S. Naval Reserve; deputy chief of naval intelligence; executive secretary, National Security Council.

Hoyt Sandberg Vandenberg, June 10, 1946-May 1, 1947. Appointed by Truman. General, U.S. Army Air Corps; vice chief of staff, Air Force; chief of staff, Air Force.

Roscoe Henry Hillenkoetter, May 1, 1947-Oct. 7, 1950. Appointed by Truman. Vice admiral, U.S. Navy; intelligence officer, staff of Pacific commander, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz; inspector general of the Navy.

Walter Bedell Smith, Oct. 7, 1950-Feb. 9, 1953. Appointed by Truman. General, U.S. Army; chief of staff for Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower; ambassador to the Soviet Union; commander, First Army; undersecretary of state.

Allen Welsh Dulles, Feb. 26, 1953-Nov. 29, 1961. Appointed by Eisenhower. U.S. Diplomatic Service, 1916-26; Office of Strategic Services; deputy director for plans, CIA; deputy director, CIA.

John Alex McCone, Nov. 29, 1961-April 28, 1965. Appointed by Kennedy. Deputy defense secretary; undersecretary of the Air Force; chairman, Atomic Energy Commission.

William Francis Raborn Jr., April 28, 1965-June 30, 1966. Appointed by Johnson. Vice admiral; director, U.S. Navy Special Projects Office; deputy chief of Naval Operations.

Richard McGarrah Helms, June 30, 1966-Feb. 2, 1973. Appointed by Johnson. Officer U.S. Naval Reserve; served with Office of Strategic Services; CIA officer; deputy director for plans, CIA.

James Rodney Schlesinger, Feb. 3, 1973-July 2, 1973. Appointed by Nixon. Economics professor, University of Virginia; RAND Corp.; assistant director, Office of Management and Budget; chairman, Atomic Energy Commission; defense secretary; energy secretary.

William Egan Colby, Sept. 4, 1973-Jan. 30, 1976. Appointed by Nixon. Officer, U.S. Army; served with Office of Strategic Services; CIA officer; deputy director for operations, CIA.

George Herbert Walker Bush, Jan. 30, 1976-Jan. 20, 1977. Appointed by Ford. Navy pilot; Texas congressman; U.N. ambassador; chairman, Republican National Committee; ambassador to China; vice president; president.

Stansfield Turner, March 9, 1977-Jan. 20, 1981. Appointed by Carter. Admiral, U.S. Navy; director, systems analysis division, Office of Chief of Naval Operations; president, U.S. Naval War College; commander, U.S. Second Fleet; commander in chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe, NATO.

William Joseph Casey, Jan. 28, 1981-Jan. 29, 1987. Appointed by Reagan. Officer, U.S. Naval Reserve; chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission; undersecretary of state for economic affairs; president and chairman, U.S. Export-Import Bank; member, President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board; manager, Reagan presidential campaign.

William Hedgcock Webster, May 26, 1987-Aug. 31, 1991. Appointed by Reagan. Lieutenant, U.S. Navy; U.S. attorney; U.S. district judge; U.S. Court of Appeals judge; director, FBI.

Robert Michael Gates, Nov. 6, 1991-Jan. 20, 1993. Appointed by George H.W. Bush. Intelligence analyst, CIA; National Security Council staff; deputy director of CIA; chairman, National Intelligence Council; deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs; assistant to the president and deputy for national security affairs.

R. James Woolsey, Feb. 5, 1993-Jan. 10, 1995. Appointed by Clinton. Captain, U.S. Army; program analyst, Defense Department; National Security Council staff; general counsel, Senate; undersecretary of the Navy; ambassador and U.S. representative, negotiations on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

John Mark Deutch, May 10, 1995-Dec. 15, 1996. Appointed by Clinton. Systems analyst, Defense Department; undersecretary of energy; undersecretary of defense; deputy defense secretary.

George John Tenet, July 11, 1997-July 11, 2004. Appointed by Clinton. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence staff member; special assistant to the president and senior director for intelligence programs, National Security Council; deputy director of CIA.

Porter Johnston Goss, Sept. 24, 2004-present. Appointed by George W. Bush. U.S. Army intelligence officer; clandestine service officer with the CIA; Florida congressman.
I make that military 14, civilian 6. Of the miltary DCIs, 9 were appointed by Democrats and 3 by Republicans.

What would Congressman Hoekstra have said to Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson or Carter about the "timing" of a miltary person being in charge of the CIA in wartime?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali


Here is a female human who is actually concerned about other human females.

This is what American feminism aspired to be for about 15 minutes in 1975, and has since found to be too much trouble, even vicariously. Ayaan Hirsi Ali's courage is not an inspiration for the National Organization for Women. It isn't even acknowledged.

Here is what you can find on NOW's site if you search for Hirsi Ali:
National Organization for Women Search for:
Hirsi Ali

Search for Hirsi Ali. Search results: hirsi : 0, ali : 2

Sorry, your search for Hirsi Ali did not find any results.

Suggestions:
* Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
* Try different or more general keywords.
* Use our extended search mode to have more search options
"Pelosi" returns 141 hits. "Margaret Sanger" returns 3.


Suggestion to NOW: try to be less pathetic.

The success of American feminism can be measured by the causes with which they attempt to motivate women. You can make your own list. I'll give you a start.

1- The Augusta National Golf Club's failure to admit women members.
2- Nancy Hopkins getting the vapors over remarks by Larry Summers.
3-

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Moussaoui gets life, the terrorists win


Mark Steyn:

Moussaoui gets life, the terrorists win
"America, you lose," said Zacarias Moussaoui as he was led away from the court last week.

Hard to disagree. 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.

...Try to imagine the bereaved in the London blitz demanding that the Germans responsible be brought before a British court.

Agreeing to fight the jihad with subpoenas is, in effect, a declaration that you're willing to plea bargain. Instead of a Churchillian "we will never surrender!", it's more of a "Well, the judge has thrown out the mass murder charges, but the DA says we can still nail him on mail fraud."
Yes. Read the whole thing.

A beautiful mind


“...a lot of American B.S.”
-Zacarias Moussaoui

Sympathy for the Devil

Read it.

Islamochauvinist pigs


Calling them that (the swine reference) might earn you an individual fatwa, but it would definitely be speaking truth to womens' worst nightmare.
Where are Betty, Gloria, Naomi, Patricia, Della and Kim when you need them? Granted, Betty's dead and we do know where Della's head is.

Atlas Shrugs has an interesting picture of the face of a "kinder, gentler" Islamic Republic's repression of women.

From Betty we expect silence. We've already heard from Della. And since no one else is speaking truth to anything, she seems to have established feminist policy regarding having acid thrown in your face because someone doesn't like your makeup. To wit: "If your face isn't white, I am not qualified to comment."

I think there is an opportunity for some feminist leaders to come up with an alternative to Mary Kay and Avon. For a working title let's call it the Jane Fonda line of acid-resistant makeup.

Update: 6:02PM, 7-May-2006
H/T lgf

Part of me died when I saw this cruel killing

Here is a frontier against which American feminists may test their conviction and their courage. Thus far they are failing miserably.

Update: 6:21PM, 7-May-2006

Protein Wisdom

Read it.

Anthropomorphic leftwing insults


Amy Ridenour reports being taken to task by a reader, pen-named Antiochus the First, who feels she does not read Nature magazine with appropriate diligence.

After wandering into equating the theory of evolution with speculation about anthropogenic global warming, he closes with this argument:
Either get a brain or get the [expletive deleted] out of politics!
I wonder if he learned his debating techniques from reading Nature?

If Mr. First had been reading Nature lately himself, he might have noticed the demise of a piece of,
as he puts it, "liberal claptrap."

World Climate Report notes that that venerable icon of the climate panic industry, the dreaded "hockey stick" curve, has been demolished.
The saga of the “hockey stick” will be remembered as a remarkable lesson in how fanaticism can temporarily blind a large part of the scientific community and allow unproven results to become “mainstream” thought overnight.
It is safe to say that a significant number of the articles Antiochus the First wants others to read dealt with this "proof" that global warming is man-made.

Reading Nature would expose you to other interesting articles as well, where conclusions are reached that seem to be unscientific because they are not falsifiable. This article is an example.
If the match between these observations and these model runs is strong enough to prove a human influence then…well, then anything can be proven to be related to global warming…which, is probably the main point here. If some aspect of the weather irks you, just blame it on pernicious industrial activity…you can’t be proven wrong.
Ridenour notes that "the real Antiochus I [sic] reportedly was a believer in astrology." This is fitting, since astrology equates coincidence with causality in much the same was as do anthropogenic global warming enthusiasts. Astrology, being slightly less tied to the demands of scientific method, does enjoy one advantage - its models can predict the past.

Lessons in Danish for Congressman Murtha


From the Washington Times

Danish troops to stay in Iraq
COPENHAGEN -- Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said yesterday that the furor over cartoons of the prophet Muhammad had "strengthened our resolve for the long haul" and that Danish troops would remain in Iraq.

In an interview with The Washington Times in his Copenhagen office, Mr. Rasmussen brushed off a Danish television report of plans to cut Denmarks 530-man deployment in Iraq by nearly one-fifth in July.

"It is clearly our intention to stay in Iraq as long as we are requested by the Iraqi government, as long as our presence is based on a U.N. mandate, and as long as we believe we can make a positive difference on the ground," the center-right Danish leader said.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Further thoughts on Moussaui


Maggies Farm
Moussaui dared you to kill him. He and his kind will understand only that we didn't have the nerve to do it. He'll be perfectly happy in his solitary jail, offering his life up as a kind of prayer, just as he offered it up before, praying all day, every day, for the deaths of those that spared him.
The G. K. Chesterton quote (you'll have to read the link) made me think about what,
for a Zacarias Moussaui, is punishment.

His sentence is not about rehabilitation, the most bleeding heart Liberals have not argued that Moussaui can be made a productive member of society - even French society. A sentence of life without parole is intended purely as punishment and/or deterence, but whatever what we did to him within our normal parameters would make him a martyr.

In the case of Muslim terrorists of this caliber, for punishment and for deterence, I vote for death by drowning. In pig offal. That would be unusual, certainly. We can debate cruel.

Protein Wisdom
This [verdict] is not the signature of moral sophistication. It is the signature of moral sophistry—and it is a product of the victim culture that has taken over this country. How the victim culture relates to identity politics, whose failings I have catalogued here on numerous occasions, I’ll leave it to you to puzzle out.
Hint. Start by explaining how we came to establish affirmative action as part of the "rule of law", despite its obvious contradictions with the Constitutional objective of considering the content of character instead of the color of skin.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Free health care


More of the Canadian experience.

You don't get what you pay for.

Health Care: Paying to be on a waiting list

Rot?


Daniel Henninger, writing at OpinionJournal, has some comments parallel to yesterday's TOC post on Zacarias Moussaoui.
There is reason to believe that pre-9/11 thinking will in time return and prevail.

Defenders of Moussaoui's life sentence say he will "rot in prison." Perhaps in a better world Zacarias Moussaoui would share a cell with Hannibal Lecter. But if our moral betters aren't going to let Saddam's torturers rot in Abu Ghraib, if they aren't going to let the CIA's most important al Qaeda captives rot in "secret" foreign prisons, they certainly aren't going to let Moussaoui rot in Florence, Colo. He will be treated more than well.

Not to mention the Moussaoui trial itself. We arrive at the end of these interminable trial circuses of procedural delay and then claim "the system works" and "justice" has been done. No, it has done damage to the normal idea of justice. He saw the game early on and made a mockery of it. Moussaoui achieved a two-year delay in his trial by demanding to interview al Qaeda detainees. But our moral betters insist that the whole lot of Guantanamo detainees be given access to this same system of justice. They would diminish and crush it.
You can read it all at the link above.

Henninger has a point.
Moussaoui will be served halal meals, he will get a prayer rug, the direction of Mecca will be made known to him, he will receive better medical care than many Americans, and he will be supplied with a Koran handled in the gloved hands of his infidel jailers lest they defile it. Each of those things he will consider to be a small victory, and since what we think of our system does not matter to him or his fellow jihadists, he will have a propaganda victory with the bin-Laden wannabes.

The difference between Adolf Eichmann and Zacarias Moussaoui is not a moral difference, simply one of degree and opportunity. If Henninger is right, the differences between Moussaoui's Virginia jury and
Eichmann's three Israeli judges seems to be that Eichmann's childhood experiences did not outweigh the childhood terminations over which he presided, even though he did not personally commit them, and that the Israeli judges had longer memories.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The mark of Zorro


Zorro's trademark was a nicely sliced "Z", usually in the clothing of an opponent. This was always accompanied by the "szwits-szwits-szwits" of his sword's rapid movement.

In the present case, the "Z" is for Zacharias, and there was no "szwits-szwits-szwits". Moussaoui just stood there holding the epee steady while someone slowly moved the United States against its tip in a reverse "Z" pattern.

It took four and a half years to determine that Zacharias Moussaoui will not be put to death by the state for withholding information that might have prevented the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.

I don’t much care about the verdict. On the whole I think he deserved the death penalty. But, whatever. Let him rot in solitary. The “free Mumia” crowd won’t get much leverage from Moussaoui’s incarceration.

I am more troubled by the idea that American jurors accepted childhood psychological trauma as a mitigating factor, not only for what he planned to do on 9-11, not only for what he said during his trail, but as a de-facto justification for Jihad. Why does Moussaoui hate us? Poverty. Racism practiced by the French and British. A nasty family life. So? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and a psychopath is just a mass murderer in waiting. Hannibal Lecter would have been a more sympathetic figure if his I.Q. had been 75 and he’d been tortured as a child, but so what? We wouldn’t feel any collective Western guilt about putting Mr. Lecter to death.

Opposing the death penalty on principle, by the way, is a different matter than collective guilt about the white man’s burden. This was a decision made by people who all said they could, at least in principle, find for the death penalty for a crime that merited it in a jurisdiction where it is legal. They forgave Mr. Moussaoui because “the West” had discriminated against him. Possibly, therefore, this is the worst example of affirmative action we have ever seen.

Four and a half years it took to reach this denouement; and what do we hear? We hear about the terrorists, who were not apprehended on US soil, not yet being given their day in court. A parsed summary: “Moussaoui is a minor player compared to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, but Khalid’s been held for three years without trial. This proves the United States is as incompetent as it is evil. Why aren’t these others being tried in a court of law?”

Well, the Constitutional argument against supporting full criminal due-process for the mastermind of an act of war, and the largest mass-murder in our history, and who was captured on foreign soil in wartime, has been made and is strong. However, it has also been largely ineffective with a certain segment of Americans, so let’s just look at some practical questions.

Taking the Moussaoui trial as our example, can our courts bear the load of criminally prosecuting all these hapless jihadists? Can we afford it? Moussaoui’s case cost $20 million in public funds. Ten more such trials would finance a bridge in Alaska. What kind of evidence would come out of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's defense discovery requests that would damage national security?

These are not all questions one would normally ask of a system of justice. Due process is a key element of why we think of ourselves as a free people; the burden should be borne by the state. But for those who despise the very foundation of the law being used to protect them and who wish it utterly destroyed, I think the question is entirely different. We do not owe them such consideration at such great risk to ourselves.

That Zacharias Moussaoui committed a capital crime against the United States and yet is not going to die because he was treated badly in Europe and came from a dysfunctional family is an admission of moral incapacity. In wartime.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Excess profits defined


We now know how Congress defines excess profits.
ExxonMobil and Northrup Grumman are in two vastly different businesses. One would not base a thesis on a single number from their financial statements. Still, such a comparison permits some discussion.

ExxonMobil's 2005 operating margin was 16.2 percent. Senators
of all partisan persuasions are calling for "windfall profit taxes."

Northrup Grumman's fiscal 2005 operating margin was 7.1 percent. The United States Senate has voted to give
Northrup Grumman $200 million to cover an insurance loss.

I do not know if such corporate welfare is subject to income tax, so I cannot be certain it flows directly to the bottom line. Considering the intent of such a bailout, however, it hardly seems sporting to tax it. On that assumption, the Senate has agreed to increase N-G's profit from $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion - comfortably over an 8 percent increase to the bottom line.


The Senate obviously cannot consider 7.1 percent to be an "excess profit." Therefore, the gray area the Senate leaves us with in defining "excess profit" is between 7.1 percent+ and 16.2 percent.

It would be interesting to know what number(s) the Soviet Union used to calculate how much value had to be created by an industry to justify its existence. It isn't as if the Politboro could raise taxes above 100%, and any given industry would not want to perform too well lest they hear: "Comrade, great work to exceed your quota! Your reward is increasing your quota."

H/T Captain's Quarters

Cultural drift


Interesting chart at Dust My Broom.

I'm not endorsing the method, the data, the axes on which it is plotted or how the information was obtained/calculated. It is just an interesting concept.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Reinforcing why John McCain is unfit to be Dog-catcher

Editorial: Arrogance defined by McCain
The Washington DC Examiner Newspaper
May 2, 2006
Read closely and you will see that Senator John McCain and NKU Professor Sally Jacobsen are of one mind about free speech.