Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Go Israel.

The Israelis have bombed three bridges between North and South Gaza, cut the power and entered in strength to rescue, we hope and pray, the kidnapped IDF soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

God speed.

It's a shame really, because Gaza was heading for social collapse and civil war all on its own. Now the Palestinians will blame the Israeli's incursion for all their troubles.


Light Posting Excuse

Two of my kids and I are going to visit my folks and sister in Florida for a couple of days. They don't have a computer.

Take it away, Diomedes.


This Day in Ancient History

On this day in 356 BC, Alexander the Great is born. A Macedonian, he defeats Darius, absorbs the Persian Empire, but then goes on to create his own empire from Egypt to India before he is 30, mainly because everyone wanted to be Greek to learn from their extraordinary accomplishments.


Thought of the Day

Satis putant vitio carere; etiam virtutibus carent.


The boasted they had not faults; they also had no virtues.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Realignment of Scale

This should return us to thinking we're in the unfashionable west end and very, very tiny at that.

(h/t The World Wide Rant)


Homosexuality Set in the Womb

After doing some extra reading in college, Human Bio class, 30 some years ago, I came to the conclusion that homosexuality was set in the womb. Good to be way out in front of current scientific thought.

It clearly wasn't in the genes, anything that cuts down on having children gets weeded out to genetic background noise in just a few hundred generations. Check out how prevalent are genetic diseases which kill the child well before puberty, compared to diseases where the sufferer can linger to age 20 or longer, compared to genetic diseases which do not start symptoms until middle age. The first example exists in just a tiny portion of the population; the second is more prevalent and the last one is somewhat rampant. None compare to representation in the population of homosexuality. Perhaps 4% of the population is gay. That's several thousand times too much for it to be caused by genes.

And the gay guys and girls I met all told me the same thing. As soon as puberty hit, they were attracted to the same sex and there was nothing in their life they could think of that caused it. So much for the choice theory.

But there's something else to think of. If the sexual selection switch is set by hormones in the womb as to same, opposite or either one, is the same switch set as to young or old? That is, are pedophile born that way?

Gay guys whining about gay marriage, like Andrew Sullivan, ask are they never to have sexual satisfaction in marriage because of how they were born? I am somewhat swayed. But we can rightly say pedophiles can never have the sex they crave even though it's not their fault they like children. Now I'm merely sympathetic, and the answer is clearly no to pedophiles. That comparison makes it easier to say no to gay marriage too, as sorry as I feel for the guys. We're not saying you gay guys can't have sex without the threat of punishment anymore. It's a substantive due process right.

But that's for a different post.


Poem of the Month

Lesbia mi praesente viro mala plurima dicit:
haec illi fatuo maxima laetitia est.
mule, nihil sentis? si nostri oblita taceret,
sana esset: nunc quod gannit et obloquitur,
non solum meminit, sed, quae multo acrior est res,
irata est. hoc est, uritur et loquitur

Gaius Valerius Catullus Carmen LXXXIII

Lesbia says many bad things about me in front of her man:
These are the source of greatest joy to that fatuous one.
Ass, do you perceive nothing? If she could forget me she'd shut up,
She'd be sane: now because she growls and slanders me,
Not only does she remember me, but, what is so much worse,
She is angry. That's just it, she burns and speaks.

Catullus Poem 83

Proving that human nature has not changed much in 2000 years at least, Catullus accurately analyzes his, by then, former lover, Lesbia. I've dated divorced women who cannot say anything good about their ex-husbands but cannot stop talking about them either. Not a good sign. And I've done it too, talking about the double ex-fiance to the detriment of nascent relationships. Key line (that I've fudged a little in the translation) "If she could forget me she'd shut up" is literally "if oblivious of us she is silent." I like Catullus more for knowing that it was the memory of them together, the 'us', which remained in his lost love's memory. It is the memory of a good 'us' that haunts you. Hate is not the opposite of love, apathy is. Love and hate is divided by a thin line, as the more recent song tell us, and Catullus could hold love and hate for Lesbia in his mind at the same time, as an earlier poem told us.


Concert Report

Went to John Hiatt and the North Mississippi Allstars at Chautauqua with Andrew. We went last year. I think the NMA got a little better, but I'm not sold on the lead guitarist, Luther Dickinson. His solos are technically OK but they have no structure and they go nowhere. The lads start a song one way, go through a few changes and then end it differently. Not my idea of a satisfying set. When they are in a groove with a song, they are good. And when the guitarist changes guitars, the sound from the guitar changes as well. Not everyone does that.

Hiatt took about an hour to get to the stage so the set was a little short. He didn't have time to talk trash about the President as he did last year. He did tell a story about an astronaut friend of his (whose name I have forgotten) who worked on the fix of the Hubble Space Telescope (whose main camera quit working last week--way to make the repair last, zoomie). Hiatt dedicated his Blue Telescope to the guy.

Between songs (no Memphis in the Meantime (Listen) or Thing Called Love (Listen) this year, just as well--I'm sick of the latter) he would talk about his wife and his children, one of whom just graduated from DU, my alma mater legis, more's the pity. He made a great point. He mentioned a song that was 11 years old. 11 years--that doesn't sound so bad. But then he compared it to his childre. His 28 year old son, he was 17 when the song came out; his recent graduating daughter was 11; and his youngest daughter, just out of High School, she was 7. ("And then I begin to feel really old," he said). Don't we all?

He did a great job on Riding with the King (Listen) (he still sings wimped down non-racial version now) expanding it without padding. His voice was pretty good the whole set. But then he ruined the mood with a whiny, nasal, horrible version of Have a Little Faith in Me (Listen). But the last song was my favorite, Slow Turning (Listen), which he did proud, so I left pretty happy. Tough to read Andrew, though. He might have been unimpressed.


Paul Campos Continues His Intellectual Decline

I didn't used to look forward to writing about local law professor Paul Campos' weekly column in the Rocky Mountain News, but that's because, in the past, Campos wasn't a complete lefty loon. He has been on a roll lately, like here.

...without the organized resistance of the Democratic Party, America's robber barons and corporate overlords will steal everything that isn't nailed down.

Who are America's robber barons? It seems to me that the really rich have generally been great philanthropists. Does he mean multi-billionaire Bill Gates, who has announced that he will leave the business world in a couple of years to devote himself to giving his money away effectively? Maybe he means Warren Buffett who has announced he's going to give the bulk of his fortune to Gates to give away. Sadly, Professor Campos can't find the space to name a single robber baron.

Then there's this gem:

...eliminating the estate tax will transfer wealth from more than 99 percent of the populace to a tiny slice of the richest Americans...

What? Stopping the government from taking money at the death of a hard working, successful person will transfer wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich? How? Sadly, again, the law professor deigns not to explain himself. I, for one, doubt he could. Our government's job, as monstrously expanded as it is, is not to act as Robbin Hood. We've agreed that the government can tax our income, but once is fair (and a flat rate is fairer). Taking a second cut just because it can is not proper government action, it's robbing the rich without the possibility of prison. Stopping the reverse transfer from the rich through the government to the poor through wasteful and failed programs is not transferring wealth from the poor to the rich. The rich got it on their own (and were taxed while doing it). Maybe Campos is of the mind that capitalism is theft? That would fit his charge that robber barons steal everything. I guess Campos is a communist.

It takes a great deal of education to make someone this stupid.


Orwell's Prediction Regarding Language Comes True

Of all the scary things in the dystopic novel 1984, and there was a lot, newspeak was the worst. The idea that the masses could be controlled by debasing the language to the point that individual words carried no meaning was brilliant and terrifying; and it's happening. Dennis Prager lists several words that have been felled by the left. Money quotes:

For example, the liberal press' unending preoccupation with American abuses of Iraqi detainees had a number of deleterious consequences. One was a further undermining of Arab and Muslim support for America's liberation of Iraq. But the longest-lasting negative effect was probably the cheapening of the word "torture."

It undermined the war against torture to characterize what some Americans did to some Iraqis in the Abu Ghraib prison -- actions that were indeed sick, un-American and shameful to our military -- as "torture." Labeling abuses as "torture" filled me with pity for all the people around the world who had experienced real torture.

I kept thinking about those whose bodies were burned, whose fingernails were torn out, who were hung by their arms in a way that broke their shoulders (a common Chinese communist torture), who were put into human shredders (in Saddam's Iraq) or who had burning hot steel rods shoved into their rectums. How did these poor souls react to seeing the Western media routinely describe humiliating and frightening naked men for the sadistic amusement of guards as "torture"?

I blame Andrew Sullivan.


This Day in American History

On this day in 1905 the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) the Wobblies are organized in Chicago. The Wobblies were the more militant socialist edge of the labor movement, and their members included Eugene Debs and William D. "Big Bill" Haywood. The Wobblies had plans for the "emancipation of the working class from the slave bondage of capitalism." They were a big tent outfit welcoming immigrant workers from any nation of origin, with the idea that if they became large enough, they would call an apocalyptic strike that would effectively fell the capitalist system. I think total, humiliating failure is a charitable final analysis of all their efforts. Truth be told, I think I saw some Wobblies at an anti-war rally a few months ago--all eight of them.


Thought of the Day

Didicere flere feminae in mendacium.


Women learn to lie by weeping.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Tough to Improve on

Hugh Hewitt takes apart Bill Keller's letter to the readers, his apology for violating the Espionage Act.

I have one tiny addition.

Hugh quotes Keller and chides his poor writing here:

The Administration case for holding the story had two parts, roughly speaking:first that the program is good--that it is legal, that there are safeguards against abuse of privacy, and that it has been valuable in deterring and prosecuting terrorists. And, second, that exposing this program would put its usefulness at risk.

I'd add: So the Administration asked us not to reveal a secret, legal program with safeguards that was effective and that would be less effective if exposed; and we said, "Naaah"

Also see the condensed version from Paul at Wizbang:

Dear Reader:

1) We have no reason to believe the program was illegal in any way.
2) We have every reason to believe it was effective at catching terrorists.
3) We ran the story anyway, screw you.

Bill Keller


Thought of the Day

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

Ronald Reagan


This Day in American History

On this day in 1963, from the balcony of the Rathaus of Schoeneberg (a suburb of Berlin) President Kennedy said:

Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis romanus sum. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is 'Ich bin ein Berliner.' All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner!

Since there is a jelly doughnut called a Berliner in Germany, it is often said that using the definite article 'ein' changed 'I'm from Berlin' into 'I'm a jelly doughnut.' It's not that clear--mainly because Berliners didn't call it a Berliner much and the word doesn't change meanings just because it has 'ein' in front of it. If I said, for example, I am Hamburger or I am a Hamburger, there's little difference.

However, if you get a chance to see footage of the speech, look at Mayor of Berlin Willie Brandt's face, who is behind Kennedy as he says it. I think he's laughing at him.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Doubling Down on Defeat

I read Andrew Sullivan's London Sunday Times article. Big mistake. Christopher Hitchens, another Brit lefty who was sane about the war (Hitchens still is, Sullivan has strayed), at least goes to Iraq before he tells you what he thinks is really happening there. Sullivan merely pretends to know. I admit that I haven't been either, but I read guys who are or have been there (and I don't mean repeating from a hotel balcony in the Green Zone of Baghdad what some stringer risked his life to obtain). Rule 602, first hand stuff is what I read. Sullivan's inability to see the truth of what's happening in Iraq destroys any value in his opinions because his frame of reference is warped and worthless.

Here are a few choice bad opinions and my response.

It is, of course, easy to beat up on the Democrats [for cut and run proposals by any other name]. The strategy adopted by Dick Cheney, the vice-president, and Rove is clear: ignore all the empirical reality in Iraq, hope for the best, and bash the opposition as weaklings and defeatists. (Emphasis added).

I think it is Sullivan who is ignoring the empirical reality. We killed the posterboy insurgency leader and retrieved his hard drives to roll up nearly a thousand (killed or captured) al Qaeda in Iraq types in the following days. We go into cities, go door to door (braver men that I probably could be) and we kill or capture hundreds more. The terrorists themselves think they're losing. What's worse (for them), the terrorist have already made the metaphorical jump from bombing the airfields to bombing the cities (as Germany did during the Blitz) and are doing things that cannot possibly change the tactical reality (and, in a different metaphor, are a hail Mary pass hoping the IED casualties will cause the folks back home to waiver and quail and call the troops home--just like in Viet Nam).

Throughout his article he takes it as a given that Gulf War II is a failure ("chaos" "mismanagement" "nightmare" "recklessness and incompetence of the Bush team") but I wonder what war he's comparing it to? The British effort there 1919-1932? WWII? (I can do 10,000 words on why the Italian campaign from beginning to end was a real nightmare due largely to the reckless incompetence of Mark Clark, and that's just one campaign). All war is chaos, nightmare, reclkessness and incompetence. But Mark Steyn is right, if we, with a population of 300,000,000, can't sustain less than 3 dead a day in a war others brought to us, we might as well pack it in, consign the globe to anarchy, and let the real nightmare begin.

And then there's this sentence:

Remember how [Karl Rove] managed to turn Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, into a coward and liar about his own war record, while portraying a man who essentially ducked his duty into a symbol of military valour?

Rove didn't make Kerry lie about details of his service (Christmas In Cambodia and the CIA magic hat) nor did he ever imply that his leaving Viet Nam early with three scratches--two of which were almost certainly self-inflicted (by accident) --was cowardly; many inferred that from the details of Kerry's own biography. As to turning Bush into a symbol of military valour--I must have missed that. The President served in the Texas Air National Guard as we completed our phased withdrawal from Viet Nam. How is that essentially ducking his duty? Apparently only guys who saw front line duty in Viet Nam served admirably during that 8 year war; and everyone else in uniform everywhere else during that period was doing squat--essentially ducking his duty. I'm getting a little sick of the chicken hawk label the Dems throw at our necessarily civilian leadership at the drop of a magic hat and I especially don't want to hear it from a British citizen who never spent a second of service in this country's defense. Oops, now I'm doing the chicken hawk dance.

In faint praise of Sullivan, his insight into the probable political interactions is pretty sharp. If only the scales would fall from his eyes about the great success Iraq has been and will continue to be. I'm sure I'm asking for too much.


Rare Sports Post

The Rockies and Rangers had a pitching duel last night that was 11 to 6 when I stopped watching (and they apparently stopped scoring). That win puts the vaunted Rockies in the middle of the West, two games behind both the Padres and the Dodgers. You can feel the excitement mounting day by day.

In World Cup action, I was pulling for Mexico because it, with Canada, are our continent mates; but since I have picked Argentina to win the whole thing (beating Germany in the finals) it was difficult really to cheer for them. I liked the ref in this game but even he made some bone headed calls and the officiating generally has ranged from piss-poor to really awful.

Andrew and I have some new rules to make the game less of an appalling nightmare to watch. Hocky fans know that the refs there can call a dive--a bit of acting where the player is near death and down from the slightest of contact. New Rule: A dive in soccer earns a yellow card from the ref. If you go off on the stretcher, you can't come back in, unless you're willing to take a yellow card for histrionics. I think players should have to wear stiff thumbless mittens to stop the jersey grabbing--you could still throw the ball in, but Andrew is not ready to go that far.

Spain is a dark horse here. England, Brazil, France and Portugal are paper tigers. Ghana has a snowball's chance.

UPDATE: So of course England (bend it like Beckham indeed) and Portugal win--in two of the worst soccer matches I have ever seen. 16 yellow cards from the Russian ref in the Dutch/Portugal sideshow. Just appalling.


This Day in Ancient History

On this day in 363 AD, the last pagan Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate, dies after a short reign. I used to dislike this guy but Diomedes has convinced me to be merely ambivalent about him.


This Week Vanishes

This Week with George Stephanopoulos is not on this week, pre-empted by an infomercial about real estate called Hot On. Was I the only guy watching it? Maybe it's going to go head to head with the Fox Sunday show and Meet the Press.

UPDATE: It was bumped to noon by the World Cup. I can't even remember who was on now.


Thought of the Day

In economics, the majority is always wrong.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Fuzzy Logic From the New York (Seditious) Times

You can almost follow the logic of the editorial titled Following the Money, and the Rules in today's NYT if you keep in mind the recent style manual addition that there can be no unadulterated praise of this administration no matter what it accomplishes. But then you hit this paragraph:

That sounds like good news. What's worrisome is a familiar refrain. Despite a compliant Congress, which was eager to give the administration all the investigative tools it requested, the White House has chosen to operate outside any real scrutiny, and not to seek explicit authorization for what has clearly become a permanent program.

Has anyone told the NYT editorial board that the Government of the United State was set up with three co-equal branches of government? The Executive branch, doing what is clearly in its job description--like, oh, fighting a war--doesn't have to get authorization of the clearly legal tactics it chooses to employ. After Congress declares war (as it clearly did here) the only control it maintains is through funding bills. The Courts are not involved at all (or at least shouldn't be).

"the White House has chosen to operate outside any real scrutiny"? Yeah, when the administration was doing secret things (until the NYT exposed the effective and legal program, apparently just for fun) to discover the identity and location of the enemy, there is no need for any scrutiny, real or imagined, and a very real danger that if there was scrutiny (and the resulting exposure), the program would become less effective through countermeasures from al Qaeda once al Qaeda became aware of our methods and sources.

To paraphrase Dr. Evil--You just don't get it, do you, Bill Keller?

More misplaced anxiety from the NYT:

When government agencies are involved in continuing investigations that might infringe on Americans' privacy, it is important that some outside entity is keeping track of what is going on.

Might infringe? Might? Are you kidding me? You decided to blow this operation because of fear of what might happen? What's important is that the legal, effective investigation be kept secret from the enemies who are being investigated. That's what's really important.

Orwellian at the finish:

Investigators will probably need to monitor the flow of money to and from suspected terrorists and listen in on their phone conversations for decades to come. No one wants that to stop, but if America is going to continue to be America, these efforts need to be done under a clear and coherent set of rules, with the oversight of Congress and the courts. (Emphasis added).

Oh, so the NYT says that the two formerly classified programs it has revealed to our enemy are necessary--No one wants them to stop--but by revealing them, the NYT has terminated the effectiveness of both programs, the NYT has stopped them for all but the stupidest of terrorist. And then it's back to the need for oversight--as misplaced an idea, fundamentally, constitutionally unsound, as the idea that it wanted the programs to continue but needed to give the enemy a heads up on what we were doing.

These guys are dangerous, fatuous maroons. As Hugh Hewitt says, I don't like the Democrats because they are going to get me killed.


Afghanistan Summer Offensive

The good guys in Afghanistan, to steal Rowdy Roddy Piper's phrase in They Live, have decided to chew bubblegum and kick Taliban ass; and they are all out of bubblegum. Recent fighting has resulted in 65 Taliban dead. Coalition forces' casualties have been light to non-existent.

The Taliban started their dreaded Spring offensive with vows "to drive foreign forces out of the country." It hasn't actually worked out just as they planed, as the Taliban has been coming in a distant second in nearly every clash since.

All is not rosy in Afghanistan, as recent riots over traffic accident deaths have exposed (as if we had really forgotten) the hatred the Afghans feel for most non-Afghan (and many fellow Afghans).

The Soviets invaded in December 1979, stayed just over 8 years and suffered 43,000 casualties, including more than 15,000 killed; and the union never recovered. We've been there coming up on 5 years and our casualties number in the low hundreds. Dreaded Taliban Spring offensive my left butt cheek.


This Day in Ancient History

On this day in 79 AD, the good Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus (Vespasian) dies at age 70 with the famous last words--Puto dis fio (I think I'm becoming a God). He is succeeded the same day by his son, Titus, who as a general of the armies conquered Jerusalem and ended the First Jewish Revolt. Titus' triumphal arch still stands in Rome with a marble relief of the spoils from the Temple.


Thought of the Day

The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy - I mean that if you are happy you will be good.

Bertrand Russell

Friday, June 23, 2006


Friday Movie Review

Went to see A Prairie Home Companion with Sheila. I was less than impressed with the trailer, but against my better judgment, I went--it's a Robert Altman film after all. Before I get to the review, here is an illustrative story. I've never listened to more than a few seconds of the NPR show of the same name, so this story comes from TV, HBO to be precise and the wonderful police series there, The Wire, about to start its fourth season. The genius of The Wire is that it can make you like and care for the ignorant young drug dealers, as much as you like and care for the cops. One of Avon's crew who has survived so far is going in a car up to Philadelphia to accept and transport a large shipment of heroin. He tells the older drug dealer, driving the car, that he has never been outside of Baltimore (and he says it properly, with no 't') and has therefore never listened to a radio station other than Baltimore stations his entire (though short) life. He turns on the radio to tune in to a Philadelphia station and he's very excited. But it's NPR and A Prairie Home Companion and after about 6 seconds listening, the excitement has drained away, he looks pretty disgusted, and he says: 'These stations in Philadelphia suck!' (or words to that effect). It's an apropos story.

The movie version sucks. I mean it's bad from the very beginning and not funny once until Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly start telling jokes. It's also pretty pointless-- 105 minutes of my life I'll never get back. What is the private eye (Roy Noir--my how droll) stuff at the start? It leads nowhere--and Klein, for all his talents, is not a gifted comic actor, particularly not a gifted physical comic actor (and apparently A Fish Called Wanda was a fluke--no pun intended). And what's with the Angel? Silly, pointless, stupid and not funny. And I'm being way kind.

Altman is known to abuse marijuana and sometimes his movies click and sometimes they look like they might have seemed funny to someone really stoned but just seem silly, pointless, stupid and not funny to us non-smokers. He's known just to let the actors go to it with no real script--just the most basic of outlines. He tried that here. Nothing clicked. Particularly, painfully bad was the ad lib portion about peacocks and dogs and chain saws and duct tape--all with sound effects. I'm never using duct tape again just to punish someone for that abomination. He's been known to hide clues to arcane and eldritch connections between the characters. He tried that too. Like anyone cared. In Nashville, the actors sang the Country songs and some of them wrote some. Ditto. There's the overlapping dialogue. There's the intercom announcements like in MASH. Silly, pointless, stupid and not funny. In short, he tries to be quintessential Altman and nothing, and I mean nothing, works.

When Jerry Springer played himself in his dog's breakfast of a movie, Ringmaster, the critics said he was such a bad actor that he could not play himself convincingly. Garrison Keillor can play himself convincingly, but who would want to?

It was good to see that L.Q. Jones is alive and well (but pretty old). A Boy and His Dog, which he directed, remains the best science fiction film between 2001 and Star Wars (I know that's only 8 years, but still..)

The median age for the audience was post-retirement. Now I know who's listening to NPR on Saturday evening. It's funny, only Streep, who's looking pretty matronly, sounded like she was from Minnesoootah. And did Lilly Tomlin have those breasts when she was on Laugh In? I don't think so. And who the hell is Maya Rudolph? And what exactly was her job at the radio show?

Do not waste your money on this. I'm serious. Don't even watch it when it comes on TV.


Holtzman Finally Quits

Having failed to get enough votes at the Republican convention, or enough signatures on Plan B petitions, to get his name on the ballot as a Republican candidate for Governor against ex-Denver DA Bill Ritter, Marc Holtzman called it quits yesterday and endorsed the Republicans' real choice, Representative Bob Beauprez.

Thank the Lord. I was actually getting sick at the stupid anti-Beauprez ads which Holtzman was running non-stop on the radio.


Anytime, Baby

The aging defender of the fleet, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, which began service in the Navy in 1972, flies by recently. The twin tailed Tomcats are being retired this September. Passing of an era.


New York Times Reveals Classified Information, Again

The New York Times reporters Eric Lichtblau and James Risen helped out the enemies of our country today by revealing a legal but classified U.S. program designed to trace al Qaeda banking practices.

Is there a reason we are not enforcing the law against people publishing classified information?

It's not like this is the first time they've done it. Dana Priest does it too. And instead of prison, these guys win prizes.

Here is what secret ruler of the United States and NYT executive editor Bill Keller said: We have listened closely to the administration's arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest.

Prison for Priest.

Lengthy Sentence for Lichtblau.

Rigoruous incarceration for Risen.

Kooler for Keller.

UPDATE: Adrew McCarthy sees this as part of a larger pattern. I'm willing to believe that. Money quotes:

The blunt reality here is that there is a war against the war. It is the jihad of privacy fetishists whose self-absorption knows no bounds. Pleas rooted in the well-being of our community hold no sway.

The anti-warriors know only the language of self-interest. It is the language that tells them the revelation of the nation’s secrets will result, forthwith, in the demand for the revelation of their secrets — which is to say, their sources in the intelligence community — with incarceration the price of resistance. It is the language admonishing that even journalists themselves may be prosecuted when their publication of national secrets violates the law.

Bluntly, officials who leak the classified information with which they have been entrusted can be prosecuted for theft of government property. If the information is especially sensitive, they can be prosecuted for violating the Espionage Act. In either event, the press has no legal right to protect such lawlessness.

That is our simple choice: Strong medicine we will either take or persist in declining … while resigning ourselves to more of the same.

UPDATE II: Heather Mac Donald has a good take as well, here. Money quote:

The bottom line is this: No classified secret necessary to fight terrorism is safe once the Times hears of it, at least as long as the Bush administration is in power. The Times justifies its national security breaches by the mere hypothetical possibility of abuse--without providing any evidence that this financial tracking program, or any other classified antiterror initiative that it has revealed, actually has been abused.


This Day in American History

On this day in 1862, Robert E. Lee (recently placed in command of the Army of Northern Virginia due to the wounding of Joe Johnston at the battle of Fair Oaks) confers with his lieutenant generals, including Thomas Jackson, to plan the battle of Mechanicsville which will start the series of battles to send the overwhelming Union forces, just a few miles from Richmond, back down the peninsula between the James and York rivers in ignominious defeat, in what will be known thereafter as the battle of the Seven Days.


Thought of the Day

Non pote non sapere qui se stultum intellegit.


A man must have some wit to know he is a fool.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Lileks Does It Right

I commented on the New Direction Democrat plan for America (nearly detail free) here. But James Lileks does it right, by mocking it. Money quotes:

The minimum wage was indeed a New Direction -- last century, anyway. But when the unofficial GOP slogan is "Fight and win the War on Terror by blowing up more bad guys real good," a call for a wage boost is like running against FDR with a pledge to reduce postal rates.

"Lower Gas Prices and Achieve Energy Independence." By cutting the gas tax? More nukes? ANWR? Faster, pussycat! Drill! Drill! Right? Alas: They will "crack down on price gouging," presumably by hiring 100,000 people to roam the land looking at gas station signs and comparing notes. They will use federal funds to "develop American alternatives." Because there's a magic fuel just waiting to be invented, if only we spend enough money. Forget hydrogen cells; we're going to spend $230 billion on hydrogen stem cells. Everyone will be driving a Ford Embryo by 2016.

"Ensure Dignified Retirement." Again, sounds great. Mandatory fedoras for men; a 50 percent reduction in Viagra commercials. But no: The Democrats wish to "prevent the privatization of Social Security," because you cannot be trusted with your own money. It's an interesting definition of dignity: waiting by the mailbox for your government check.


Stagnation of Democrat Progressive Ideas

The Washington Post had a story yesterday that Rush Limbaugh would appreciate--he's been saying the Democrats ran out of ideas about 1976 for a long time now. Money quotes:

There is also a belief shared at least by some of the participants that Democrats have ridden for too long on what are the fumes of the New Deal and the Great Society, which sustained Democrats for half a century. The first issue of Democracy offers articles on rethinking how to finance the health-care system, the economic and security challenges posed by differing birthrates around the world, and alternatives to redistribution to reduce inequality. The Democratic Strategist provides essays on competence as a campaign theme, protecting voting rights and demography’s impact on politics.

Doug Hattaway, a Democratic communications consultant who worked for Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000, recalled a moment of epiphany during a focus group of Democratic operatives and marketing professionals he attended last year. The participants were asked to say what Democratic accomplishments they were most proud of. Their responses filled several pages on a flip chart set up in the focus group facility. “We all realized there was nothing there within the past 30 years,” Hattaway said.

Many Democratic politicians are still tied to past glory and what worries some of the progressives trying to generate new ideas is that elected officials are divorced from what is a lively debate-in-the-making on national security and domestic challenges. “Somehow or another this conversation does not really make its way to Democratic politicians very much,” said Michael Tomasky, editor of the liberal American Prospect.

The lone exception he cited was Bill Clinton and his presidency.

(h/t Bull Dog Pundit)


This Day in American History

On this day in 1944, President Roosevelt signs into law the best government program ever, the GI Bill, thus assuring post-WWII prosperity for the entire nation.


Thought of the Day

Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

Oscar Wilde


Concert Review

Went with daughter Alex to see Aimee Mann and Richard Thompson at the Chautauqua. Although she was at Snow Patrol last month, the last concert we went to together was Brittany Spears/InSync about 5 years ago. This one was better.

It was a beautiful night but a crowded highway up to Boulder. Richard Thompson was in fine form--even his voice sounded good. He played the old favorites well (I'm still waiting for Hand of Kindness) and had a few really good new ones--one about the war in Iraq (he reduces Baghdad to 'dad--like, he explained, the U.S. soldiers reduced Viet Nam to Nam) Dad is Going to Kill Me which had the line: At least we're winning on Fox Evening News; and one very clever one about impotence although he had picked up the parlance preferred by the drug companies--calling it ED. Really very clever. His guitar work remains impeccable. Could have wished for a longer set, but not a better one.

Aimee Mann, who's from Richmond, my adopted home town, and who looks like one of my girlfriends the summer before I went to college, was OK but I'm not rushing out to buy her albums. It was slightly soporific music. Here best work was on the soundtrack for Magnolia. There were times her voice sounded perfect and sometimes it just sounded strange. She's still a beauty and an OK songwriter, but not a lot of soul or a block rocking beat inside her trim frame.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Andrew Sullivan is Unable to Judge Evil

Andrew Sullivan has lost his ability to see evil clearly. Here is what he writes about the torture and murder of two of our soldiers from the 101st:

I doubt whether even Donald Rumsfeld will describe what has been done to two young American soldiers as a "coercive interrogation technique." But you never know...And so the cycle of depravity and defeat deepens ...

Is it possible that he cannot discern there is a difference in kind (not degree) in putting underwear on someone's head and gouging out eyes?

I wasn't reading him much any more, but if his judgment is that warped by his obsession with American faux torture and blindness to Jihadist real torture, I'm not missing anything.

More outrage at nothing much:

They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. [...]

This shallow, monstrous, weak, and petty man is still the president. God help us.

Water boarding is the only thing in the list that actually might qualify as torture (although it does no damage to the interrogatee). If allowing these sort of harsh interrogation techniques, which are not torture, earns you the title 'monstrous' what word do you use for the people who beat a face unrecognizable and cut off parts. We don't know what word Sullivan would use because he doesn't deign describe the real torturers in this conflict.


This Day in Ancient History

On this day in 546 BC, Thales 0f Miletus, the head of the Seven Sages, a philosopher often called the father of modern science, dies.


Thought of the Day

You can kill a man but you can't kill an idea.

Medgar Evers

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Steaming Towards North Korea

The Reagan, Kitty Hawk and Lincoln a few months ago. They are now steaming towards North Korea (in pre-planned war games). When a country has a nuke weapon or two, and won't follow the international protocols for a long range missile test, it's prudent to treat it as a hostile act. I'd rather live test the recently activated missile defense, but it would be safer to take out the missile at the launch site.

Another photo here.


The Dark Side

There are moments of passage in a person's life--when your friends become more important to you emotionally than your parents; when roller coasters just aren't fun anymore; and, when Frontline no longer seems a trustworthy source of information. I had that one tonight, as I watched a 85 minute smear of the Administration's response to war being waged on us by Islamic Jihadists, it was not so much lies as obfuscation by omission.

I might come back to this but I'll just write this now: The producer and writer had to be schizophrenic about the CIA. They did tick off a partial list of CIA failures (very partial but still pretty long), but then they relied on ex-CIA guys to advance their theory. Well, which are they--arrogant incompetents or savvy truth detectors? It was impossible to resolve during the show.

I'm comfortable saying that none of us knows all the facts yet and history will judge the War against Jihadist (so far in Iraq and Afghanistan) in a way that will defeat a lot of conventional knowledge (on both sides of the aisle). I just hope it gets written before I die.


Raising the White Flag of Surrender

I have to admit that the Republicans have been pretty successful at branding the Democrats as the cut and run party. You can hear the frustration as Senator Kerry (D-MA) repeats it over and over in a radio interview this morning. He knows he's been tagged. And it does help that they are in fact the cut and run party, certainly in their leadership and the guys who crave face time before a camera and microphone. I'll leave Joe Lieberman out of this (as the cut and run Democrats are trying to do also). Jed Babbin has a new line if cut and run becomes a cliche--trim and trot. I like the alliteration but can't see the need for a new term yet (cheese eating surrender monkeys being taken already).

Rush Limbaugh's brother David has a good column on the exquisitely bad timing of the Murtha-Pelosi-Kerry 'new' direction (towards surrender and defeat) and Frank Gafney takes my position (or more likely I take his)--

...Iraq is just one front in the larger War for the Free World. Saddam Hussein’s despotism had to be eliminated if our necessary success in that war was to be achieved in the only way it can be: by systematically eliminating the regimes that sponsor Islamofascism and otherwise serve as well-springs of terror. If we are clear about that reality, we will indisputably have a chance to prevail, not just in Iraq but wherever freedom is under assault.

Having lost (93-6) on his proposal to pull the troops out of Iraq by the end of the year, Sen. John Kerry wants to try again with a proposal to pull the troops out by July, 2007. Snatching defeat from the jaws of certain victory.

This story ought to have some legs.


Too Cute By Half

Local law professor and bon vivant, Paul Campos, is nearly incoherent today in his Rocky Mountain News column. It starts out about Ann Coulter, but is actually about bureaucracy vis a vis modern medicine. It's not a smooth transition.

The part that made me laugh was the photo of Mr. Campos (not exactly Adonis) next to his chastising Ann Coulter (whom he knows, by the way) for looking good. You can't buy irony that pungent.

...the cover features a portrait of the artist as a young tart, blond locks flowing, her size zero little black dress catering to a combination of ideological and erotic perversion that's disturbing to contemplate.

The good professor is also a amateur psychiatrist:

...Coulter's views have always seemed to me to be sincerely held, to the extent that narcissistic borderline personalities can be sincere.

If you look good, and you know you look good...I call that sound mental health.

Do you notice that nearly all the complaints about Ann Coulter involve her looks and hardly anyone takes on the substance of her statements? Is there a DSM IV diagnosis for that mental illness?


This Day in History

On this day in 1837, Princess Victoria became Queen Victoria of England, following the death of her uncle, King William IV. The Princess was only 18 when she was called to rule Britannia and by most accounts was right cute. Under her able figurehead like leadership, the sun never set on the British Empire near its zenith and for over 63 years much of the world was well served by British administrators. She even had the wit to die in 1901 so that the Victorian Age ended properly, just at the beginning of the 20th Century.


Thought of the Day

Dicis amore tui bellas ardere puellas, qui faciem sub aqua, Sexte, natantis, habes.


You say the lovely girls burn with love for you, Sextus, but your face usually looks like you're swimming underwater

Monday, June 19, 2006


Preview of the Democrat Foreign Policy Plan

"We don't even have a party position on the war." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).


Democrat Plans for Global Domination

'Quit while you're behind' is a concept apparently unknown to the Democrats. Now they want to have a vote for a phased-withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Yeah, because Sen. Kerry's 'pull out by the end of the year plan' did so well (93-6 defeat). Just bizarre. Money quotes:

Democrats plan to offer a resolution in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday seeking a timetable for a phased withdrawal from Iraq, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on Sunday.

Recent polls show a slight majority of Americans favor such a course but White House spokesman Tony Snow said President George W. Bush would not consider it.

Setting a timetable "would be an absolute, unmitigated disaster, not merely for the people of Iraq, but the larger war on terror," Snow said on CNN's "Late Edition."


This Day in American History

On this day in 1864 out side Cherbourg, France, the CSS Alabama, a 1,000 ton steam sloop was sunk by the USS Kearsarge. Except for a inflicting the worst day the U.S. Navy had until Pearl Harbor off Hampton Rhodes by the ironclad we call the Merrimac, the confederate navy was no match for the other side and resorted to raiders who sailed around the world capturing or destroying union merchant vessels. The Alabama in its two years had destroyed or captured 68 such vessels. Forced out of port by the French, the Alabama put an explosive shell into the steering post of the Kearsarge early on but it did not explode. It was about the only good shot the Alabama got in and within an hour it was a slowly sinking wreck.


Thought of the Day

Da mihi castitatem et confinentiam, sed noli modo.

St. Augustine in the Confessiones (VIII, 7)

Make me chaste and pure, but not yet.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Photos from North Korea

No flying monkeys but bleak as hell and scary in its own way, with the narration. I wish the military hadn't been nearly halved during the Clinton Administration so we could actually do some good there. As it is, we'll just have to talk about it in reverent, hushed tones like we do about Darfur, where we're not doing anything either.


Matthews Short (but still silly) Show

Again, it's an all liberal kaffee klatch at Chris Matthew's, even erstwhile Islamacist hawk Andrew Sullivan is sounding looney left. We're losing the war in Iraq? That's not how Zarqawi saw it. Most of the captured documents over the past years are in accord. Only the liberals in America think we're losing. It's genius class delusion. (No wonder the Jihadists think their best way to victory is a helpful press--they write in the' to do' column: "To use the media for spreading an effective and creative image of the resistance.")

Now they're onto misrepresenting the Rove case, spinning defeat out of a Republican victory, mis-seeing the truth. Joe Wilson is a liar, not a whistle blower. The 16 words were true. There was over a metric ton of uranium in Iraq. The president or vice president cannot leak classified information because their telling us something they have the right to de-classify is de-classifying it. And Bush did not promise to fire a leaker, he promised to fire a law breaker, which Rove was not, indeed, no one about Plame was. Is it impossible for these guys to get the facts straight? It's like a vision of an alternative universe--the Democrat Universe. No wonder only 300,000 in a nation of 300 million can stomach this guy.

OK, I feel better now.


Dan Rather at Sunset

There's a scene in the wonderful movie The Ruling Class where the psychiatrist, Dr. Herder, defeated and bereft, walks from the manor holding a cut out of his murdered lover saying over and over "cock a doodle do" (see Der Blaue Engel). That's how I see Dan Rather now--clutching the throughly exposed, fraudulent TANG memos, walking from CBS headquarters saying over and over again--"But I got the memos, but I got the memos."

Sad really.

Notice how the NYT covers Rather's disgrace in the story about CBS recently telling Rather not to let the door hit his butt on the way out:

... Mr. Rather was referring, however obliquely, to his displeasure with the leadership of CBS. He appeared, for example, to fault the network for eventually withdrawing its support for the "60 Minutes II" report that would, in turn, unravel his career. In the segment, he had sought to raise new questions about President Bush's Vietnam-era National Guard service, using memorandums that the network, and later a panel of outside investigators, said they could not authenticate.

First, what "new questions?" Second, they could not "authenticate" the memos--you mean the supposed typewritten 1970s memos which are identical to modern coumpter generated ones entered into the computer on the default settings on Microsoft Word? Those memos?

There is none so blind as he who will not see.


Rare Sports Post

There's no This Week with George Stephanopolous because he's being pre-empted by World Cup soccer (Japan v. Croatia--yeah, like I care) but it puts me in mind of some sports lately. (Wait, the Japanese have a non-Asian on their team. What's up with that?)

The Rockies swept the Nationals but suck against reasonably good teams. Better than last year, but still not a contender.

Our national soccer team played to a 1-1 tie against less than mighty Italy and so kept our hopes of advancing on life support. The lads did play a lot better and, man, were the refs quick with the red cards. I wouldn't have given Pablo Mastroni (who plays on the Rapids and is an American) even a yellow card. Ghana helped us out by beating the Czechs 2-0. If we can beat Ghana convincingly, I guess it's possible we could proceed. Definitely not holding my breath.

After 6 games, I have to think that Carolina is a slightly more skilled team than the Oilers. Too bad they're playing hockey where heart counts so much. Edmonton was playing demolition derby last night while the Hurricanes were just trying to skate. I think the shots on goal were like 30 to 8, as the Oilers took them apart (OK it was 34 to 16, but it didn't seem that close). Last game in Raleigh, NC. Even if you're not a huge fan, you've got to love Stanley Cup Final games 7.

How big is Croatia? Do they have even 5 million people? Japan has about 125 million. They should be killing these guys just on a bigger talent pool and Bushido like training regimes. It has been, in the second half, a game of muffed chances. Were about a mnute from the end now.

Diomedes wants to change the rules so that two players have to stay in the other side's half of the field so the offense is always two men up. Tough to square with offsides rules and the defense would keep two men back to cover the guys if the offsides rule was changed; so maybe that's not actually workable, but interesting. A lot of people can't stand 0-0 ties, and he's one of them.

Australia v. Brazil next. Hawkstruth--now that's a gaime, mate.

UPDATE: The Brazilians are mailing it in, again. The Adidas commercials are terrific. Makes me glad Andrew bought that brand for his new shoes.

I'm off with the kids to shoot with my cousin in Boulder who has joined the Marines and wants to be a rifleman. You make us proud, Jake.


This Day in American History

On this day in 1812, The United States issued a declaration of war on Great Britain (cheeky colonial bastards). And so began the easy to remember when it took place War of 1812, prompted by Britain’s violations of America’s rights on the high seas (impressing sailors into service with the British Navy) and the involvement of the British in Indian uprisings on the frontiers. The Brits proceeded to loose three in a row frigate on frigate engagements at sea (which nearly drove the rest of their Navy crazy) but pretty much spanked us on land early on, taking Washington DC and burning the capitol and the White House. The war is famous for the unsuccessful bombardment of Fort McHenry with Congreve rockets (which apparently produced a red glare) and for our slaughter of the Brits in New Orleans well after the war ended.


Thought of the Day

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

Ronald Reagan

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Close Reading of Democrat Domestic Policy

Let's look close at the huge Democrat plan, the labor of months and months, long delayed but finally announced this past week. Here it is, a whole page (my comments are interspersed in color):

Make Health Care More Affordable: Fix the prescription drug program by putting people ahead of drug companies and HMO's, (I think the apostrophe there is a mistake and what does that mean, anyway? Is the Republican plan to put people behind drug companies and HMOs?) eliminating wasteful subsidies (Is that the best way to lower health care costs, by removing government cost help? I'm OK with not spending Government money on private enterprises but I don't pretend that cutting off subsidies will lower prices), negotiating lower drug prices (You mean like Walmart negotiates lower prices because of the strength of its sales?) and ensuring the program works for all seniors (What program? The prescription drug program spearheaded by President Bush and passed by Republican big spending legislators?); invest in stem cell and other medical research (invest being a euphemism for tax and spend--and if stem cell and "other medical research"--thanks for narrowing that down--was so promising, why does it need federal funding?).

Lower Gas Prices and Achieve Energy Independence: Crack down on price gouging (notice they assume it exists, which it doesn't--could someone please explain basic economics to these people?); eliminate billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies (I'm actually for this but I do not delude myself that it would lower gas prices) and use the savings to provide consumer relief (doled out in a more circumspect way than Katrina relief, I hope) and develop American alternatives, including biofuels (from corn?--bad idea) ; promote energy efficient technology (is promote the same thing as invest, but more aggressive?).

Help Working Families: Raise the minimum wage (bad idea--it would cut job growth at the lower edge); repeal tax giveaways that encourage companies to move jobs overseas (I'd be willing to bet that cheap labor and lack of entangling labor laws might be the real culprit for sending jobs over seas).

Cut College Costs: Make college tuition deductible from taxes (OK idea, but won't Universities jack up their not really worth it prices all the quicker?); expand Pell grants (OK, but it's tax and spend) and slash student loan costs (OK, if it doesn't take government subsidies to make up the difference or dry up loans because the lenders can't make money any more because their margin is too thin after the regulations).

Ensure Dignified Retirement: Prevent the privatization of Social Security (and thus insure it's eventual catastrophicc failure--the mad fools); expand savings incentives (How? by taxing estates or by cutting tax liability for money saved? The first is the Democrats anti saving plan and the second is not bloody likely); and ensure pension fairness (step in with Government pension paymentss that have bankrupted the company?).

Require Fiscal Responsibility: Restore the budget discipline of the 1990s (I too am nostalgic for Republican legislators who don't spend like drunken sailors) that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth (we're having record economic growth now--what would the Democrats do that the Republicans haven't already done well?).

This isn't just short on detail, it's nearly incoherent. The subsidies the government pays to private businesses are willy nilly good and bad to the Democrats. They decry high gas prices but vote as a block to stop domestic oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, continental shelf Pacific and tiny areas in frozen Alaska. It's increased supply that lowers prices. The Democrats want to create more jobs and keep them here at home but actually plan to do things that stop job creation and miss what actually drives jobs overseas. It is, in a word, a mess. It also seems a little trivial during wartime. I wonder what the Republican domestic policy platform was in 1943?

Can't wait for the page-long, foreign policy positions (as soon as the Democrats figure out where they stand on that).


This Day in American History

On this day in 1930, President Hoover signs the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which, anyone? as all government fixes to a problem are wont to do, only makes things worse. The protectionist bill is seen as too aggressive by foreign governments, who retaliate with their own protectionist laws which, anyone? makes a foreign fix to the 1929 crash all but impossible and exacerbates the U.S. fiscal problems so that a mere downturn becomes, anyone? the Great Depression.


Thought of the Day

All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Friday, June 16, 2006


Friday Movie Review

Went to see Andy Garcia's The Lost City with Sheila at the Chez Artiste (in the little theatre). The movie was long and sad; the story was sad and all the love affairs star-crossed, and it was full of family goodbyes and goodbye to all that and, well, loss. But the music was terrific. (Andy Garcia wrote it, said the movie credits, but not IMDB). There's just something about Cuban music and this film had all the kinds there are (or were).

I think that telling the story of the beginning of the long, recent agony of Castro as a family saga was a sound move. Showing Ernesto Guevarra, as he really was, was a brilliant idea. All the plot tricks worked (with the possible exception of the extremely unfunny Bill Murray--who was more licensed fool than stand-up comedian as he twice described himself), except for sure Dustin Hoffman as Meyer Lansky--that was just stupid.

Sheila was bawling away as the lovers split and the family split. It was sad.

Here's the strange part. It was written by G. Cabrera Infante, whose only other film was the weirdly satisfying Vanishing Point from way back in 1971. Mr. Infante was born in Cuba in 1929 (which would have made him about Garcia's character's age in 1958, when most of the action takes place, although Garcia himself is 50)) and he died last year in London.

Garcia's acting career may have cooled a little (he's stuck playing the heavy in the soon to be interminable Ocean's increasing number series). I liked him a lot in Black Rain. He may not be a great actor (although certainly not bad) nor a great director (though, again, not bad) but if he really did write the music for the film, man, what a composer. I think I mentioned that the music in the film was terrific.

It's 2 hours 23 minutes long and drags now and again. There is some violence (pretty stylized) the most shocking of which is from newsreel footage of executions and romance but no sex and you don't get to see any of the pretty women in it naked, more's the pity--especially Aurora played by Ines Sastre. What a dish.

Overall grade: B- which is not bad for a first major effort.


New Direction for America

Leave it to Democrat committees to come up with a new slogan as bland and boring as A New Direction For America. Pathetic.

I have a new direction for America--don't vote for Democrats.

It's similar slogging through the release from Granny Pelosi (who indeed looks prepetually like she's about to be hit by a bus).

Here are the exciting Democrat core values:

Make Health Care More Affordable: Fix the prescription drug program by putting people ahead of drug companies and HMO’s, eliminating wasteful subsidies, negotiating lower drug prices and ensuring the program works for all seniors; invest in stem cell and other medical research.

Lower Gas Prices and Achieve Energy Independence: Crack down on price gouging; eliminate billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop American alternatives, including biofuels; promote energy efficient technology.

Help Working Families: Raise the minimum wage; repeal tax giveaways that encourage companies to move jobs overseas.

Cut College Costs: Make college tuition deductible from taxes; expand Pell grants and slash student loan costs.

Ensure Dignified Retirement: Prevent the privatization of Social Security; expand savings incentives; and ensure pension fairness.

Require Fiscal Responsibility: Restore the budget discipline of the 1990s that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.

Be still my heart.

I'm going to come back to this.


House Resolution Vote

Colorado lefty stalwarts Diana Degette and Mark Udall voted against it. John Salazar (the bro') voted for it. What is it? This resolution. [I'll skip the Whereas clauses]

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) honors all those Americans who have taken an active part in the Global War on Terror, whether as first responders protecting the homeland, as servicemembers overseas, as diplomats and intelligence officers, or in other roles;

(2) honors the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and of partners in the Coalition, and of the Iraqis and Afghans who fight alongside them, especially those who have fallen or been wounded in the struggle, and honors as well the sacrifices of their families and of others who risk their lives to help defend freedom;

(3) declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq;

(4) declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;

(5) congratulates Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and the Iraqi people on the courage they have shown by participating, in increasing millions, in the elections of 2005 and on the formation of the first government under Iraq's new constitution;

(6) calls upon the nations of the world to promote global peace and security by standing with the United States and other Coalition partners to support the efforts of the Iraqi and Afghan people to live in freedom; and

(7) declares that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

I would love to know what numbered paragraph Degette and Udall could not support. I pray it's not #7.


This Day in Literary History

This is the single day, in 1904, when the events in James Joyce's great novel Ulysses take place in Dublin, Ireland. The novel was published in 1922, in Paris, and was banned in the United States until 1933.


Thought of the Day

Simia quam similes turpissima bestia nobis!


The monkey is most ugly; he's much too much like us!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Cut and Run Senate Proposal Defeated

The Senate debated and then voted on John Kerry's proposal to withdraw most of the American Troops from Iraq by year's end. The vote was 93-6 against pulling out the troops. Whew, that was close.

The Senate defense experts who voted for it were the usual suspects: Kerry, Kennedy, Boxer, Feingold, Byrd and Harkin. Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) didn't vote.

Mitch McConnel (R-KY) actually brought up the legislation he based on Kerry's proposal for a bill.

Speaker Hastert expects a vote after debate in the House tomorrow on a contra-positive proposal.

The funny thing is I don't think the Democrats know how much the things they are saying in the debate are hurting them. The complete collapse of even a face saving minority core in favor of bugging out of Iraq is an embarrassment as well.


Nifong Then and Now

Local first class blogger Jeff Goldstein posted a few days ago a hilarious post mortem interview with Zarqawi where there obviously were no answers. That's the unfunny situation with Durham, NC District Attorney Mike Nifong. At the beginning of the Duke Lacrosse "Rape" case, he was talking a mile a minute. Now that his case has all but completely fallen apart, you can hear pins drop in his offices.

Let's compare what he said during the salad days to what appears to be the truth.

Salad Days: On March 23, prosecutors asked a judge to order DNA samples from 46 lacrosse players: "The DNA evidence requested will immediately rule out any innocent persons, and show conclusive evidence as to who the suspect(s) are in the alleged violent attack."

Nifong expressed confidence that the DNA would be important to filing charges. "By next week, we'll know precisely who was involved," he said shortly after the samples were taken.

Truth: None of the Duke players left any DNA material in or on the 'victim'

Salad Days: Before the results were made public, Nifong told The News & Observer, MSNBC and The Charlotte Observer that condoms might have been used during the alleged sexual assault.

"If a condom were used, then we might expect that there would not be any DNA evidence recovered from say a vaginal swab," Nifong told MSNBC on March 31.

"I would not be surprised if condoms were used," Nifong told The Charlotte Observer in a March interview published April 11. "Probably an exotic dancer would not be your first choice for unprotected sex." [and Rush Limbaugh is criticized for calling the accuser a 'ho']

Truth: The accuser told a nurse March 14 "that no condoms ... were used during the alleged sexual assault," according to an affidavit by defense lawyers Kirk Osborn and Ernest Conner.

Note the change. DNA will be helpful then once he gets the bad news that DNA evidence exonerates his suspects, he begins the back track blaming the lack of DNA on condoms even though his now, pretty much only witness says there were no condoms.

This had to hurt, but he went forward with charges after the DNA cleared the three.

Salad Days: In the March 23 court filing, prosecutors said the accuser reported being "hit, kicked and strangled."

"She was grabbed from behind," Nifong told MSNBC on March 31. "Somebody had an arm around her like this, which she then had to struggle with in order to be able to breathe. ... She was struggling just to be able to breathe."

Truth: According to Osborn and Conner's affidavit, the accuser told the nurse March 14 "that she was not choked." One doctor noted that the accuser denied being hit and that she claimed no tenderness in her neck. The nurse noted that her head and neck were normal.

Salad Days: Nifong has been unwavering in saying the woman was raped in a bathroom at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd.

His prosecutors filed court papers March 23 saying she reported being raped vaginally, anally and orally.

"There's no doubt in my mind that she was raped and assaulted at this location," Nifong said March 29 on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News.

"My reading of the report of the emergency room nurse would indicate that some type of sexual assault did in fact take place," Nifong told WRAL on March 29.

Truth: The accuser told doctors that she was assaulted vaginally and made no mention of any other sexual assault. The nurse's examination of the accuser's pelvic area noted swelling of the vaginal walls but no vaginal injuries, according to Osborn and Conner's affidavit.

I don't want to rush to judgment here, but it's beginning to look like DA Nifong might be wrong about some of the evidence he only thinks he has.


The Counterstrike For Zarqawi was Swift and Sure

I heard on the radio that since we killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi there have been no American casualties in Iraq. Not true. Zarqawi was killed on early Wednesday, June 7, 2006. The Department of Defense (DoD) has announced two American battle death on that same day and three the following day. The DoD has announced 5 American battle deaths that occurred on June 9, but since then, there have been no further announcements. (Two deaths in Afghanistan have been announced). Good news from Iraq, especially in light of what we've been doing.

We've carried out 452 company sized raids, some with mainly Americans but most others had mainly Iraqi troops, since the death of Zarqawi and killed at least 104 terrorists. We're stepping up things in al Ramadi and appear to be preparing a Fallujah type house by house clearing operation in Baghdad. Here is the reaction from the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza al Muhajer :

"You crusaders, what will happen in the coming days is something that will turn your children's hair white - battles that will reveal the falsehood of (your) might, the weakness of your soldiers and your lies."

I'm reminded of Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon--"The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter."

Many of us following the war in Iraq have never heard of Zarqawi's successor. Apparently that's a plus:

The lack of information released by al-Qaida about al-Muhajer since al-Zarqawi's death appeared to reflect a new emphasis on secrecy by the group. U.S. forces have launched raids based on intelligence in the safehouse where al-Zarqawi was killed. The group may fear infiltration, or that al-Zarqawi's public stance led to his downfall.


George Will--Not Happy

Will's pessimism about the long row to hoe left for us in Iraq is difficult to dissipate. I don't know if I'm actually buoyed by this but I keep remembering what Winston Churchill said about the Iraqis after they essentially kicked the liberating British forces out in 1932, having started the bloody process in 1925. He called Iraq a volcano of ingratitude.

Let's hope times have changed.


This Day in Pre Renaissance History

On this day in 1215 at Runnymede, King John (the bad guy in Robin Hood) sealed the Magna Carta. John might well have been illiterate, so he did not sign it--in fact, no English monarch signed it until Queen Elizabeth II did in 1965. I don't think it contains many citizen rights, but my medieval Latin is rusty. It certainly puts some limits on the monarchy's power.


Thought of the Day

North Korea is the country where the monkeys in The Wizard of Oz come from.

Lewis Black

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


James Webb vs. George Allen

Something's very wrong. Are you telling me that James Webb, of Scots-Irish stock (my people), author of Fields of Fire, a marine front-line LT in Viet Nam in the An-Hoa, graduate of Annapolis, who fought and lost a controversial boxing match to Ollie North, who was awarded the Navy Cross,[1] the second-highest award in the Navy; the Silver Star Medal; two Bronze Star Medals; and two Purple Hearts, who as a law student at Georgetown started a six-year pro bono representation of a Marine who had been convicted of war crimes in Vietnam (finally clearing the man's name in 1978, three years after his suicide), who served as one of Ronald Reagan's Secretaries of the Navy, and resigned that post because he refused to preside over any reduction in the size of the Navy--that guy is running for the Senate seat in Virginia presently held by George Allan and Webb is running as a Democrat?

What the...?

What's happened here?


More on Gore

Turns out that Gore's claim in An Inconvenient Truth of unanimity among climate scientists might not be completely accurate. There are the scientists mentioned in this article, for example:

Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia [to name but one] is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. "Climate experts" is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore's "majority of scientists" think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.

Or this guy:

Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, "There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years."

Or him:

Dr. Boris Winterhalter, former marine researcher at the Geological Survey of Finland and professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, takes apart Gore's dramatic display of Antarctic glaciers collapsing into the sea. "The breaking glacier wall is a normally occurring phenomenon which is due to the normal advance of a glacier."

Or this guy:

Dr. Wibjorn Karlen, emeritus professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden...clarifies that the 'mass balance' of Antarctica is positive - more snow is accumulating than melting off. As a result, Ball explains, there is an increase in the 'calving' of icebergs as the ice dome of Antarctica is growing and flowing to the oceans.


In April sixty of the world's leading experts in the field asked Prime Minister Harper to order a thorough public review of the science of climate change, something that has never happened in Canada. Considering what's at stake - either the end of civilization, if you believe Gore, or a waste of billions of dollars, if you believe his opponents - it seems like a reasonable request.

Here is a good graph of the non-correlation of atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures. Gore showed the past 600,000 years in the movie--this one shows the last 600 million. Only at the Ordovician/Silurian Periods' interface, in the last half Carboniferous Period/first half Permian Period, and in the last quarter of the Tertiary Period and in all of the Quaternary (that is now and the past 1.8 million years), of course, have temperatures been like today. In a deep, killing frost type period of the late Ordovician extinction, there was 12 times today's average atmospheric CO2. Go figure.

Gee, maybe there's not a simple one-to-one ratio of atmospheric CO2 to global temperature after all.

UPDATE: Even more debunking here:

"I can assure Mr. Gore that no one from the South Pacific islands has fled to New Zealand because of rising seas. In fact, if Gore consults the data, he will see it shows sea level falling in some parts of the Pacific." -- Dr. Chris de Freitas, climate scientist, associate professor, University of Auckland, N.Z.

"We find no alarming sea level rise going on, in the Maldives, Tovalu, Venice, the Persian Gulf and even satellite altimetry, if applied properly." -- Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, emeritus professor of paleogeophysics and geodynamics, Stockholm University, Sweden.

"Both the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are thickening. The temperature at the South Pole has declined by more than one degree C since 1950. And the area of sea ice around the continent has increased over the last 20 years." -- Dr. R.M. Carter, professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.

"From data published by the Canadian Ice Service, there has been no precipitous drop-off in the amount or thickness of the ice cap since 1970 when reliable overall coverage became available for the Canadian Arctic." -- Dr./Cdr. M.R. Morgan, FRMS, formerly advisor to the World Meteorological Organization/climatology research scientist at University of Exeter, U.K.


Molly Ivins--Eternal Optimist

Molly Ivins is only worth reading to stay in touch with far lefty feelings (and I choose that word carefully) about World events. For her, there is no amount of good news that will change her mind. Witness:

The debate over this war is unrealistic and even ludicrous. A) It is not going well. B) It keeps getting worse. C) Yes, it is possible that if we stay there long enough, it will get better eventually. D) There is no evidence suggesting that beyond hope.


I would hope the right would at least be concerned over the damage being done to the American military by this war. Morale, my ass. Excuse me, but our government doesn't even seem to be able to pay these people on time. Not to mention stretching them past the breaking point in Iraq, leaving them without adequate mental care when they come home, endlessly extending their tours, bribing them to re-up, and so forth and so on. Then, of course, something like Haditha happens, and they all get a black eye out of it.

I'm on the right, and I'll admit that the buggy whip media, of which Ivins is a very veteran member, has covered this war in a way nearly guaranteed to demoralize out troops. Fortunately, the soldiers know what's really going on and morale is very high indeed, as is the 're-upping' of the troops when their contracts come up for renewal. As are our efforts to get new soldiers to join. As for damage to our troops' morale caused by our mission itself--I've seen no evidence for that. Perhaps Ms. Ivins would be so kind as to support even one of her assertions.


La Shawn on Nifong

La Shawn Barber, a conservative, religious black woman, writes what I feel about the Duke lacrosse FUBAR over at Townhall. Her best points:

When a black stripper claimed three white Duke University lacrosse players gang-raped her at a party, I knew instinctively it was a lie. [Comparison to Tawana Brawley case]...

As more evidence leaks out, it seems that my gut reaction was spot on. In the early stages of the Duke rape investigation, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong couldn’t keep his opinions to himself, talking to the media, holding race-pandering sessions at a black college and all but guaranteeing the DNA evidence would prove the rape allegations. When the tests failed to link any of the 46 men to the stripper-accuser, Nifong finally did what he should have done in the first place: kept his mouth shut.

Indeed, it is unethical for a prosecutor to voice an opinion about his case in public or the quality of the evidence or the credibility of the witnesses. Maybe the rules in North Carolina are different.

And then things really went downhill.


California Guns

A good majority of the citizens of San Francisco voted a while back to ban the possession of hand guns and sales of all guns in their beautiful city. Earlier this week, a trial court judge said not so fast there, kitty cat.

So let's review. In California, a blue blue state, the city cannot violate the state constitution's guarantee of self defense with firearms. However, here in Colorado, at one time considered a red state, it's OK for Denver to ban possession of guns based on cosmetics and price, in the face of specific legislation denying cities the ability to do that and a section (Art. II; Sec. 13) of the state Constitution stating:

The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question...

Got it.


This Day in Ancient History

On this day in 510 BC, the Republic of Rome is organized.


Thought of the Day

Aut amat aut odit mulier; nihil est tertium.


A woman either loves you or hates you; there is no third choice.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Rove Will Not be Indicted Regarding Plame

I've been writing about the Plame kerfuffle since I started this blog. I predicted nearly a year ago that Karl Rove would not be indicted or fired, here. Now it's true for sure (despite the lunatic ravings of Truthout recently). What a monumental waste of time and effort on something we political tyros could see was not a crime nearly from the beginning. And now the traitorous leakers of secret information can be prosecuted and other reporters made to finger them. Good job, NYT. Really super.

UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh had an interesting take on one Democrat's reaction to the news. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said this:

No matter what the outcome is of the final investigation, I am renewing my call on Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald to issue a report detailing his findings and explaining his charging decisions. In this type of case I think that's the prosecutor's obligation to the American people.

I have asked for a report. Clearly the name was leaked, and there is a different standard between leaking a name, which is wrong, and a criminal standard, which is a statute that's been on the books since 1982. It's prosecutor Fitzgerald's decision only to prosecute if the criminal standard is met. But that doesn't absolve the White House or the leaker of culpability and there ought to be punishment for them as well, an appropriate punishment even if it's not a criminal punishment in a trial.

But as Victoria Tensing pointed out, the report at the end of the investigation was the statutorily mandated speciality of the Independent Counsel law which both sides of the aisle were eager to let lapse. Grand Jury testimony is secret. So without an enabling statute (and there is none now) Schumer is soliciting Fitzgerald to leak secret testimony, soliciting him to commit a crime. Way to go, cooling saucer boy. Fortunately, no one listens to Schumer anyway.

By Schumer's thinking it's wrong, but not criminal, to name the head of the CIA. What a maroon.


Colorado Supreme Court Embarrasses Itself

In an opinion piece which pulls no punches, the editorial board of the Rocky Mountain News spanks the Colorado Supreme Court for taking an issue out of the hands of the voters on the flimsiest of excuses. Don't blame the smart ones, Nancy Rice and Nathan Coats, who dissented, or the new one, Justice Eid, as she had to recuse herself yet again.

The issue was one that was being hawked at the gun show a mini-group of bloggers met at--no money not mandated by federal law (education, emergency care, etc.) to illegal aliens. The Supreme Court felt that it was on more than one subject. They said an identical version years ago was fine (and the supporters screwed the pooch and failed to get enough signatures). Wonder what was different this time? (other than the supporters obtained enough signatures this time). The Governor has said he will call a special legislative session to put it back on the ballot this November, if the Supreme Court does not reconsider properly. Well he can call. The Democrats control our state senate and house, so it's not guaranteed it will be back on.

It would pass if it gets back on.

UPDATE: The paper also reports that the University of Colorado next layer of administration has voted in the main to fire faux Indian Ward Churchill for his scholarship misdeeds. How about firing him because he doesn't even have a Ph.D. and his M.A. is from a tiny, fifth rate college no one has ever heard of, and he's a bully and a bore and a jerk? What idiot hired this fool in the first place? I see I've gone into invective there. Sorry. I don't like Churchill very much.


Minister of Silly Walks to Retire

John Cleese, funniest member of Monty Python group and proprieter of Fawlty Towers, announced last week that he was retiring at age 66 from performance to write a history of comedy.

I thought he'd already retired from performance.


The Looney Right

While a thousand self-described Kossacks attended the Yearly Kos in Las Vegas, Nevada (where tinfoil hats were worn, appropriately) this past weekend, a full 30 Klu Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis attended a rally last week at the Antietam Creek battle site in Maryland, scene of the bloodiest battle in the Civil War and a minor turning point in that war.

At least we have marginalized the most extreme of our side. The left revels in its wingnut wing.


New Target Named

Al Qaeda in Iraq named Abu Hamza al-Muhajir to be a successor to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. They didn't say where he was located, however, more's the pity.


Newdow's Newest Notion

Fresh from his triumph in the United States Supreme Court, which held a few years ago that he did not have standing to complain (falsely?) about his daughter's inability to say 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance, Michael Newdow, a doctor and lawyer with apparently not enough to do, had his latest helpful lawsuit, to take 'In God We Trust' off our coins, dismissed by federal judge Frank Damrell of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, who ruled that Newdow was wasting everyone's time with this silly stuff (actually that the phrase on the coinage was sufficiently secular and historical not to violate the First Amendments prohibition of the establishment of a state religion).

On to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, vowed Newdow.


This Day in Ancient History

On this day in 40 AD, Gnaeus Julius Agricola is born in what is now Provence, France. He is best known for his military exploits in Britain where he was governor for a time, 77 to 84 AD. He dies, at age 53, (young) on August 23, 93 AD. It didn't hurt, as far as modern knowledge of the details of his life, that Rome's most famous historian, Tacitus, was his son-in-law.


Thought of the Day

Sine Cerere et Libero friget Venus.


Wthout food and drink, romantic love freezes.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Short TV Post

Dr. Who ended well. Goodbye, Eccleston--you did well if only for a short time. Rose and Captain Jack remain in the TARDIS, with the 10th Doctor, next season. Too bad Douglas Adams is dead.

Rescue Me has shed the detritus that doomed Leary's first TV series, The Job, (which was pretty good)--the girl is gone, Uncle Teddy is in prison, having murdered the drunk driver who killed Leary's only son, so he'll only be around in short, acceptable bursts. It's not all Leary self destructing all the time. I like it a lot. Tatum O'Neal is remarkably good. Who knew?

Deadwood started a new season strong with its sharp, near poetry, script. This is the last season--that's a shame; but I admit that I'd hate to see tired, bad Deadwood--so let's go out on top.

New episodes of The Shield and The Wire wait in the wings. There will be 8 more Sopranos and at least 13 more episodes of Rome. Life is good

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